Wednesday 31 August 2011

No more blank cheques for PR!

Sometime in the past one year UMNO regain its advantage over Pakatan Rakyat….maybe it would be more appropriate to say that Pakatan Rakyat lost its momentum and UMNO took the lead by default. It was a gradual and excruciating process played out in the theatre of Malaysian politics but when it happened we were left in no doubt that Najib had indeed done a “Perak” again on Pakatan Rakyat!

We were left in no doubt that Pakatan Rakyat was now on the defensive but with its back still not yet against the wall… but getting there. Najib had done it by going for DSAI on a personal level. And DSAI had not learned from the lessons of his past and had inadvertently allowed Najib to lure him into the spider’s web.     

And now DAP and PAS awaits the outcome of DSAI trial. There are resigned to the thought (rightly or wrongly) that there is nothing else they can do but wait. While waiting Kit Siang and Hadi will plot the path their own party will take upon DSAI’s conviction or acquittal. Either way the opposition is damaged maybe beyond its own capacity to recover. We now know that in a crisis Pakatan Rakyat reacts after the fact – not before. We now see the fragility of this union of three political entities where racial consideration paralysis any open constructive dialogue amongst its leaders : even if it is to prepare for the possible loss of DSAI to the wheels of justice in Malaysia. Race and religion are capable of powerful imagery's that would prevent DAP from even trying to impose its thoughts, what more preferences, onto PKR or PAS. While each play out their waiting game, we wait and see what they will do.

UMNO has no such limitations. Whatever UMNO will do and can do will be judged on the effects it will have on the Malays and the Malays alone. There are enough votes from within the Malays to ensure UMNO victory in the 13th general election. UMNO has no worry that MCA has been over shadowed by DAP’s ability to now have the Chinese votes in numbers large enough for UMNO to consider  DAP as a possible coalition partner in a revamped Barisan Nasional before or after the 13th general election. Gerakan has as much say in Barisan Nasional proceedings as the IGP would have in the extension of his term of office after reaching his retirement age. Give MIC some post in the cabinet and Najib will have his dessert and eat it too with the Indians.

Najib is set to go. If push comes to shove I believe that Najib will call in his markers amongst the UMNO warlords and once and for all put Muhyiddin out of contention for the post of PM. The incumbent will always have the high ground unless there is a KJ lurking around. Rosmah may be a pain the neck for us all but for Najib she is his rock. Anybody would want to have Rosmah in their corner when the going gets tough.     

So where does that leaves Mahathir? I think we are giving too much credit to the old man. For the media he makes for good copy. For us he always has interesting things to tell. In the bigger picture of UMNO politics one thing Mahathir will not do is give money out in the manner that UMNO stalwarts are used to. So what can the old man offer this time? Maybe, just maybe the PM’s post for Muhyiddin. One post for one man when there are many in UMNO waiting for their ship to come in? No, not only will  Mahathir not dish out money he does not have the means to decide where power will reside within UMNO’s first tier leaders. Whatever power he might have is only perceived to be so – he cannot guarantee delivery. Without that ability UMNO will pay lip service to Mahathir – nothing more, nothing less. Even now Mahathir is history…he still has his story to tell but he is history.

Najib has everything and more telling, he is not beyond using that “everything” to remain PM. Over 30 years of politics at the very top makes any one that little bit more aware of what is needed to ensure victory. All that stands between Najib and the PM’s job is the possibility of his past and present personal indiscretion being aired in public. If nothing has come out until now then nothing will. Najib is good to be PM – he knows it, he wants it and he has done enough to ensure that he gets what he wants.

UMNO runs a tight ship. It only loses people it no longer wants or can afford to lose. What happens in UMNO normally stays in UMNO and those that strays from UMNO does not stray too far. Power, money and more money are all powerful persuaders and potent aphrodisiac to those wanting to be alpha males. And UMNO has plenty of them.

If Pakatan Rakyat can wake themselves from the stupor they are now in then there might still be time to take the high ground again if the people can be persuaded that Pakatan Rakyat’s cakap is serupa bikin  DSAI rather then to face the prospect of DSAI been convicted square on and start the process of finding a replacement. To do so is simply common sense and good governance given BN’s ability to dictate to the judiciary if they so chooses.

As it is now the damage is done. Pakatan Rakyat no longer has a blank cheque to do what it feels it must to win the 13th GE. Now the people will question their every move and be critical of any decision PR makes in their march towards Putrajaya. I for one will no longer treat PR with kids gloves and pull my punches when making my comments on what they do in Malaysian politics. I know for a fact that I am not alone in these thoughts and we do so because we want Pakatan Rakyat to fight the good fight with Barsian Nasional come the 13th general election. 

Australian High Court rules against Malaysia swap deal

The swap deal had been in limbo since a court challenge was filed by two asylum seekers at an Australian detention centre. [Getty]
The swap deal had been in limbo since a court challenge was filed by two asylum seekers at an Australian detention centre. [Getty]
VIDEO from Australia Network News

ANU Law Professor Donald Rothwell discusses the High Court's decision

Created: Wed, 31 Aug 2011 15:19:35 GMT+0930
Last Updated: 1 hour 52 minutes ago
The High Court has ruled against the Australian Government's refugee swap deal with Malaysia, throwing into doubt the future of the scheme.

The deal was put on hold following a challenge from two asylum seekers who were scheduled to be among the first to be transferred to Malaysia from Christmas Island.

Lawyers for the pair argued Australia could be in breach of its international obligations because it could not guarantee the rights of those sent to Malaysia, a view the High Court has sided with.

The court also dismissed the Government's argument the individual deal ensured the rights of asylum seekers sent to Malaysia would be protected.

While the ruling is a major setback for the Government, one international law expert says it does not necessarily close the door on the scheme.

Professor Donald Rothwell says the Government can now seek to change the migration and immigration acts.

"There certainly would be a political solution for the Government in seeking to modify and adjust the legislation so that they could circumvent some of the legal issues the High Court raised," he said.

But any such move would require cross-bench support.

Under the proposed deal Australia will take 4,000 refugees from camps in Malaysia in exchange for the Malaysian government accepting 800 asylum seekers who arrive by boat at Christmas Island.

The legal illegal will now vote UMNO?

The migration from the Indonesian Archipelago to the Malay Peninsula has to a large extent defined what Malaysia is today. I for one am a product of Bugis sailors (or pirates if you want to be more dramatic) stopping off the Malay Archipelago seeking to  shelter from a storm on their way to Mecca? (if you want to be religious) …take your pick!

The British facilitated the migration of others to meet the manpower requirements of their colonial economic endeavors for their motherland, the then Great Britain. Throughout our history migration has given us the impetus we needed to develop as a nation. And now will migration be the cause of our nation’s collapse because political and not economical considerations is the primary consideration of this Barsan Nasional government driven by UMNO?

In the 1960’s Indonesian migration into Malaya was encouraged by UMNO to maintain a numerical advantage over the Chinese and the Indians. The May 13th riots provided the stimulus for the NEP which not only provided employment and economic opportunities for the Malays but also demanded an increase in Indonesian workers in order to meet labour shortage due to the rapid modernization of the Malaysian economy.

With the advent of the NEP, Malay youth began moving into the urban area. The dearth of rural labour was filled by Indonesians workers.     

As Malaysia urbanize during the 1990’s Indonesian labour moved from agriculture to the construction and service industry. In 1997 Indonesian labourers earned $0.28 cents per day in their country versus RM$2 or more a day in Malaysia. The exodus of legal and illegal workers was unprecedented!

With the increase in the numbers of these Indonesian workers – both legal and illegal – the ad hoc manner by which the migration was being managed by the BN government became apparent.

This manifested itself by the authorities inability to monitor the situation when these Indonesian workers started to present a host of social problems that begun to plague Malaysia. At the same time Malaysia lacked the political will to enforce existing laws diligently. Why is this so? 

The paradox of BN cronies being able to make more money out of these illegal immigrants even as more measures against these illegals are being enforced is testimony to the fact that where there is a Ringgit to be made, BN with its cronies, it’s rank and file and its attendant government officials will be there to partake in the spoils. What they did with their abuse of the Ketuanan Melayu they then did with this illegal Indonesian workers situation.

These opportunists facilitated the transportation of illegal Indonesian workers into Malaysia, provided them with accommodation and jobs, took part in the manufacturing and distribution of fake passports, identity cards and work permits without worry of persecution : all under the paternal gaze of its own BN government – complicit at the highest level, in its silence and lack of political will to do anything to police the worsening situation - all for financial gain!

Illegal immigration is big business – big enough to warrant the existence of an all consuming human trafficking syndicates with connections to politicians and government at the highest levels that “protect” them from any undue interference from the authority – who themselves would have a financial stake in the successful conclusion of these “business” undertakings. 

Corruption and the manner in which bureaucracy works within the government does not in anyway assist the implementation and enforcement of any legislation already in place to manage the situation.

And so the stage was set for what we have today.

What has been a problem area for the government since Merdeka days has now become an opportunity to:

·      Secure a massive voting bank for UMNO.

·      Has become an ongoing source of income for
       politicians and government authorities involved in
       this illicit business.

What was once a source of worry for the Islamic traditions of Malaysia because most of the Indonesian here are Christians and are at time s engaged in the spreading of deviant Islamic teachings - these Indonesians are now “Bumiputras” for the purpose of political expedience.

What was once the cause of mob violence and riots inside and outside detention centres:

·      The 17th January 2002 Nilai industrial estate riot involving over 400 Indonesian workers who torched buildings after police tried to detain 16 of their co workers for alleged drug abuse.

·      The riot involving 70 Indonesian workers and stall owners in Cyberjaya on January 20th 2002.

·      Other acts of social aggression, rape, robberies and murder

These are no longer jeopardizing the security of our country but instead these people will now be permanent residents with the right to vote (for UMNO!).

While the DAP and NGO’s had once championed these same Indonesian workers for being unjustly treated by the BN government, the same Indonesian workers are now coming back to bite the hand that feeds it by voting for UMNO. 

In October 2001 the BN government passed legislation that capped work permits for foreign workers to three years specifically to address the frequency of criminal acts perpetrated by Indonesians migrants – changing immediately by that legislation, the status of those workers that carried six year work permits from legal to illegal.

  • This resulted in riots at the Machap Umboo detention centre in Alor Gajah.
  • Riot of 2000 illegal workers detained at Pekan Nenas detention center in Johore.
As a result flogging for illegal workers were ordered and detained illegals were sent home.

Under Malaysian rules stipulated in the Immigration Act (Amended) 2002, unauthorized workers can be sentenced to mandatory jail terms for up to five years, receive up to six strokes of the cane, and fined up to RM10 000.  Malaysians who employ illegal migrant workers can be jailed for three months and fined RM5 000…and there was even the “Hire Indonesian Last” policy encouraged by the BN government.

All this has now come to pass and the BN government now welcomes these same illegal immigrants as a potential vote bank critical to UMNO’s survival in the 13th general election!

Can this really happen? Will UMNO do this just to win an election? Yes they will do this and more!

What we have in UMNO now is a wasteland of Malay leaders whose preoccupation is acquiring wealth and power. You need power to acquire wealth & and wealth to acquire power -  a synergy that blurs itself into one definitive acronym: UMNO.   

Is not the right to vote the most precious of a citizen’s right?  And now this right to vote is cheapen because even those who come into this country illegally, does not speak Malay, knows nothing about Islam or our culture are now on par with us because UMNO need these votes for their political survival?

What a sad day for us. For our people. For the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the Dayaks, Ibans and all the people of our beloved country. 

The immediate result will be an increase in voters numbers for UMNO as these grateful new citizens show their thanks to UMNO by voting for UMNO in the 13th GE. Immediate gains for UMNO to be traded against an uncertain future for us all?

How can consideration for national security be pushed aside to secure political gain for UMNO? Instead of putting into place policies to manage this potential threat to national security UMNO is legislating to “legalize” this threat for political considerations!

Let us recap:
There are probably up to one million illegal Indonesians currently employed in Malaysia without valid work permits and travel documents. Many have been involved in criminal activities enough for the Malaysian authorities to deem them as a threat to national security.

Indonesians make up 74% of legal and illegal foreign labour in Malaysia. 

It was once estimated that up to 36% of prison inmates
throughout Malaysia were illegal Indonesian immigrants

What is more worrying is the involvement of these Indonesian workers in crimes and act of social aggression.

So now they become us. 
With the right to vote! 
Where do we go from here? 
Into the depths of Belakang Mati obviously!

Tuesday 30 August 2011


Assalamualaikum & Salam Sejahtera


Monday 29 August 2011

The Politics of Business in Malaysia.

Like the many marriages of UMNO leaders who takes two or even more wives, the marriage of UMNO and business has always been for reasons other then love. More often then not these marriages are driven by lust on the part of the men while their ‘trophy wives’ pursue their aged and senile quarry yearning for the spoils that would come their way after doing the horizontal mambo with these aging Lotharios!

The marriage of UMNO and business is also without love. It is a self serving marriage of convenience that involves the selling of the executive decision –making process at all levels of government to the highest bidder. Money and politics is the root of all political evil. It is corruption at its very worst.

And nothing accentuates this abuse then the lack of accountability in the private and corporate funding of UMNO and its BN components.

In most countries there are legislation and policies in place  to ensure that corporate and private funding of political parties are regulated through disclosures to ensure that there is no link to corrupt transactions that can be used by the political parties to increase their personal and party’s income. The public is able to monitor the disclosed funding and with this knowledge the public is empowered into active advocacy and monitoring of the political process.

In Malaysia State and Federal power are used to direct resources to support UMNO’s and its coalition partners in the pursuit of winning elections. This undermines the basis of the democratic process that our country professed to practice. It was during the time of Mahathir that this practice started in earnest, was perfected and even encouraged to prosper by no lesser person then the Prime Minister himself.

What is different today is this:  There is now the ability of the public and the alternative media (as opposed to the government media) to interrogate UMNO and its BN component on these matters – as I am now doing!

The growth of corporate power has also created opportunity for these same corporate entity to align themselves with emerging political alternatives to the Barisan Nasional which not only takes away said funding from BN but over time will be exploited by these emerging forces to cause the demise of UMNO and it’s Barisan Nasional component party

No sensible Malay would argue against the need of the NEP or Ketuanan Melayu. It was clear that legislation was needed to ensure its success because persuasion alone will not make it a reality. Ownership of business alone is not the ends of this Ketuanan Melayu – it includes management control, employment equity, skills development, enterprise  and corporate development – as it should. And so government and businesses are obligated by legislation to award tenders, contracts and business opportunities to Bumiputras individuals and entities.

Against this background has grown the plurality of government and business that is now being recklessly abused by UMNO. Also evident is the spectacle of Politicians pursuing wealth – great wealth!  It has also led to the common charge of cronyism, influence peddling and the creation of an UMNO aristocracy while the majority of Malays and other Malaysian bear the brunt of these abuses of political power.

These abuses are now institutionalised within UMNO’s and the government. These abuses has been promoted by polices that are protected and even encouraged to flourish by state and federal policies, state and federal protection and preferences and now operates extensively through the UMNO and Barsian Nasiona networks. 

Ketuanan Melayu has been misapplied for political or personal gain.

But that is not to say that this same Ketuanan Melayu policies have not benefited many Malays – it has! But the same policy is also open to abuse by the same politician that seeks to advance it.

But as we the public clamour for accountability, UMNO and its component parties stubbornly demanded for the status quo to remain as they have so much to hide.

Is transparency in political finance a Utopian dream in Malaysia?

The ketuanan Melayu issues has already been perverted by government officials, BN politicians and party officials wanting to make fast money on party connections and via sources that are potentially corrupting.

We know that the relationship between money and politics have been at the heart of every major scandal in Malaysia…and it involves the Prime Minister down.  Will the narrow mindedness of UMNO to focus simply on the acquisition of personal wealth and political power prove eventually to be self destructive to UMNO?

IN Malaysia money buys influence  politicians  and trophy wives – and not necessarily in that order. A culture of transparency and disclosure must start to take roots now within BN and Paktan Rakyat if our country is to survive .

Talking about transparency and good governance without legislation that can be implemented and enforceable seems to be the way to go for this Najib’s administration. What would it take for him to see that we the public has had enough of politicians making biased decision to advance the commercial interest of those to whom they are beholden? Let Pakatan Rakyat also be cognizance of this demand by the people from whom they will expect much of in the 13th general election if they are to govern. Not to do so would be political suicide for Barsian Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat!