Monday, January 30, 2012

Geneticist clarifies role of Proto-Malays in human origin by Aidila Razak- Malaysia Kini

INTERVIEW Leading Oxford University geneticist Dr Stephen Oppenheimer is taken aback by how politically charged the research into the origins of human population is in Malaysia.

Most recently, strong reaction had arisen over media coverage of a conference on the origins of the Malay race, which marked the Orang Asli - the Senoi, Semang and the Proto-Malays - as torchbearers of the modern human race.

NONEClarifying this finding in an interview last week, Oppenheimer said the Orang Asli, particularly the Semang and the Proto-Malays are direct descendants of the first humans who stepped foot in South-East Asia (then Sunda), and are “ancestral” for east Asia and the Americas.

“Particularly, the Semang and the Proto-Malay have lineages which are characteristic and very unique to their own populations, which clearly have a local geographic distribution. So they have been here since the original settlers...,” he said.

Sequencing random mutations in mitochondrial DNA, a type of DNA inherited only from mothers, Oppenheimer traces the origins of human population, from the first human in Africa, to the homeland of Europeans in the Arabian gulf and to homeland of east Asians in Sunda.

Oppenheimer was in Kuala Lumpur last Friday to present a paper at the Asal Usul Melayu: Induknya di Alam Melayu conference organised by the Association of Malaysian Archeologists.

He is the author of the books ‘Eden in the East’ and ‘Out of Eden’ which details his theories on human population migration. A graphic presentation of his research can be found here.

Excerpts of the interview follow. The content has been edited for language, brevity and flow.

Malaysiakini: You use your research in mitochondrial DNA to trace the origins of the human population. Your theory is that there was only one single migration out of Africa.

Stephen Oppenheimer: The ancestry of all humans living today is from Africa. From looking at the mitochondrial tree, for the whole human species that is still alive today, you'll find most of the branches and roots are in Africa. When you look at the rest of the world, it belongs to one twig of the African tree.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fundamentally Flawed

To some Malaysians, asking voters to scrutinise and not to give a free ride to any candidate in the next general elections, plus to vote based on Reason, Conscience and the Constitution is considered fundamentally flawed. How ridiculous.

In trying hard to validate against a rational and judicious alternative view to ABU's unthinking, irresponsible and destructive approach towards decision making, many of the detractors try very hard to sound intelligent and sensible by suggesting that while the stand to scrutinise individual candidates is correct, it is 'not suitable' for 'the Malaysian political system.'

In a simple-minded way, this context of 'the Malaysian political system' does not seem to include the opposition parties. Thus, for example, it seems that UMNO and BN will use the whip to ensure all their lawmakers toe the line, but perhaps not PR. This is obviously naive.

Another favourite is to suggest that unlike America, our democracy is not matured enough to take what they see as an idealistic stand. Perhaps it is they who are not ready and this becomes a pretext to project their inability to think straight and unwillingness to act fairly as a representation of the Malaysian psyche. One can notice a lack of judgment when, even as it is claimed that we are not ready as the US, in the same breath they wish our politics to be more like theirs; complete with Presidential debates and all that. Ironic, because by promoting unthinking, party-based blanket votes, we move one step backwards from becoming this more matured democracy.

Yet the gold medal goes to this final argument. When all else fails, when they cannot argue with reason and conscience, when they do not want to listen or even consider an alternative standpoint, when they cannot accept an iota of difference of opinion, a majority will resort to name calling, abusive language and accusing the other as being bought over. They then spew the mantra, "if you are not with us then you are against us", leaving no room for a centrist position, no chance to just be a simple voter – a rakyat.

It is the willingness to sacrifice the journey for the goal, the means for the end, which is fundamentally flawed.

"They say the means are after all just means. I would say means are after all everything. As the means, so the end....If we take care of the means we are bound of reach the end sooner or later." Mahatma Gandhi

Until we give NO FREE RIDE to every candidate, no matter which party they may represent, we cannot stand proud and say that "WE, THE RAKYAT, ARE IN CHARGE".

anas zubedy

Friday, January 27, 2012

We want development, minus corruption by Anas Zubedy- Free Malaysia Today

From Anas Zubedy, via e-mail

First, why is corruption bad for business and society? Because it does not promote the best use of economic resources and guarantees that the wrong person gets the job. Productivity means using the least resources to produce the most results. Corruption gets in the way of productivity as more resources than necessary are spent.

When the wrong person gets the job, the final product or service is never at its best; and sometimes they are not even up to par. What Malaysians need is well planned, sustainable development. We want modern services and a better standard of living; we want up-to-date medical facilities at par with the world’s best, available to every Malaysian. We desire strong and efficient infrastructure and support systems for a superior quality of life.

We want good schools, roads, hospitals, offices, shops and homes. We want institutions of higher learning where our children can thrive and when they graduate, we want growth that ensures they have secure jobs with increasing incomes. We want progress and we are entitled to want to move forward towards a brighter future for everyone.

We are not against building bridges and big infrastructure projects – what we are wary about is hearing about the equally big corruption that comes along with them. We want progress, but we do not want the corruption that comes with it, corruption that saps our budgets and the integrity of our people and nation.

When bribes are paid, when someone who should not get the job gets it because of corruption, everyone loses, even the very people that got the bribe and the work. The one who gets the bribe does not learn how to get his work done through proper means, the one that takes the work does not do their job well because there is no need for them to.

When there is dishonesty and corruption anywhere in our nation, every Malaysian loses. And we do not want to put up with it any more. Enough is enough, please!

As for the individuals, you and I, we must know that while society can create institutions, legal frameworks, rules and laws to deter corruption, the last line of defense lies squarely on the individual, on us.

In our strategy to combat corruption we must focus on ourselves too. We must convince each individual that we all stand to lose and that corruption will ruin all in the end. Let’s tell our leaders that we want development minus corruption while at the same time promise ourselves that we too will not succumb to it, even if just to run away from getting a police summons.

this article has been publish in FMT website

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bravo Lim Guan Eng!

Firstly, let me congratulate CM Lim Guan Eng and the Penang state government for publicly declaring their assets. It is unfortunate that such a great move was not given more widespread and prominent news coverage. Such news should have been first page cover news story.

This declaration is nothing short of a turning point in Malaysian political history and it should be treated as one. It is an act of transparency, a checking mechanism and a deterrent towards wrongful doing. When office bearers are forced to do this, they cannot enrich themselves through criminal breach of trust and if they do, they cannot escape scot free.

I’m happy that today, some trickling effects are taking place with more calls toward public declaration with the judiciary being the next. We must create a momentum to keep this going. In the long run, all office bearers in both state and federal government should follow suit. The declaration of assets should also cover all MPs and ADUNs. It will also be wise to extend this call to cover all top government servants as well as those who play a role in giving out contracts.

I have strong convictions that the rakyat will be most happy if CM Lim Guan Eng through his channels within Pakatan Rakyat were to convince his fellow comrades, MPs, ADUNs, and state executives, not just in Penang, but in Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan and nationally in doing the same. The top echelon of PR like Anwar Ibrahim, Ustaz Hadi and Tok Guru Nik Aziz’s declaration will ad vigour to this campaign. This will ultimately force Barisan Nasional to do the same. It is no use asking BN to do it until all your team members has done so; as it will dilute your initial effort.

Perhaps you can do this.

The announcement on January 13 of the entire state EXCOs is likened to a good launch to create impact. We in the world of marketing and advertising usually do the same when we want to launch a new product through a brand communication plan. But to maintain a high level of awareness, we will continue to continue communication consistently with definite frequency, usually on a weekly basis (should the budget allow). In other words, after a big launch like January 13, it will be effective that on a weekly basis a member of your MP or ADUN or state EXCOs in PR announce his or her willingness to do the same. This can continue until the next general election and with the remaining comrades declaring all at once as soon as the elections are announced.

Thank you again for the turning point and I hope you see the wisdom of my suggestion.

“To conquer others need strength; To conquer oneself is harder” – Tao Te Ching

Anas Zubedy

Note: for safety reasons (kidnapping of family members etc) another option is to declare their assets and wealth to a third party. This is understandable because they could be those who are already rich before they join politics.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Telling the boss he is wrong: Career suicide or fast lane to promotion? by Lim May Lee - The STAR

Most of us baulk at the idea of indicating, even in the slightest manner, that the boss is anything but god-like in his decisions and ideas.

“Let’s do X merger” “Yes, boss!”

“I think the sky is green today” “Yes, boss!”

People who do nothing but agree sycophantically are scorned as ‘yes’ men, but is the alternative even possible? We’ve all felt the pressure to stay in the boss’ good books, and one of the easiest steps seems to be to agree with said boss. Right?


Stating a fact or airing an opinion that contradicts your boss is not necessarily career suicide. In fact, doing so may show that you have courage as well as a working brain, both of which are positive characteristics that may work well in your favour when it comes to your annual appraisal! That said, you are not advised to embarrass your boss or openly cause dissent, because that would be unprofessional and can come off as petty or vicious. Here are 5 easy steps you could take to make your point or stand without ruffling any feathers.

It doesn't always have to be the boss' way or the

1. Above and beyond everything else, remember that your boss is still your boss. That means respecting his or her authority; so watch that tone. It’s important to phrase your points carefully, eg: “I understand your point, but…” Avoid, at all costs, saying things like “This is MY area of expertise,” as it will automatically make your boss go on defensive mode and may lead to sparring matches from which you will definitely emerge the loser.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year - in the STAR page 27 today

Have a meaningful Chinese New Year

Tun Tan Siew Sin (1916 – 1988), who stressed the importance of unity, self-reliance and pragmatism, and rejected confrontational politics.

Choose the middle path : Everything is not politics, politics is not everything.

When businesses have to spend money in advertising to clarify that they are not racist or political, we know that our politics is entering worrying grounds.

Politics is important, but it is not the only pillar of society. Society is also linked through economics, culture, arts, education, business, and other social relationships. Each of these has a role to play. We cannot sacrifice one for the other. We need to find a balance.

In business, we don’t take sides. Individually businesspeople may have our own political leanings, but as an entity we are neutral. In order to fulfill our role in society, we must work with whoever is in power. In the Malaysian context, at the Federal level, with Barisan Nasional; and in the opposition states, with the Pakatan Rakyat state governments.

It does not mean we are being opportunists. It is just that we have a different role to play in society. Our job is to create customers and serve them. In doing so, we provide products and services for the Rakyat, and we provide jobs for you, your children, your parents, and your neighbour, regardless of your political preference.

We pay taxes.

When we hurt businesses for political ends, we bite the hands that feed us. We directly jeopardize a social order that supports our day to day living. For example, when we gang up to boycott an organisation like Gardenia, falsely using politics, we are endangering the jobs and livelihoods of those who work with them. These people could be someone close to us, or just as easily, we could be next.

We must choose to be justly balanced; choose the middle path. Each pillar that holds together our society needs to be given the right measure of care and consideration. We cannot, for politics, undermine business; nor for business, undermine politics. We deserve good politics and good business. To achieve these, we must do the right things, the right way – for the right reasons, in the right degree and at the right time.

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

Dear Anas by Haris Ibrahim

Thank you for your note.

We plainly do not see eye to eye, and the business of consigning UMNO and BN into the cesspool where they properly belong does not permit me the luxury of a protracted discourse with you on our points of contentions.

History will judge one of us to be wrong.

That suffices for me.

As I share the views of many that you are in some way tied with the powers that be, you will understand if I do not reciprocate and wish you well in your endeavours.

Please do not take it personally.

It is an ABU thing.

visit Haris ibrahim blog

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A note to Haris Ibrahim

Dear Haris Ibrahim,

Thank you for your response to my letter in FMT/malaysia-today.

Perhaps in your passion for your cause, you missed my message, or perhaps I did not explain clearly enough. Here is another try.

  1. My message is NOT ABOUT POLITICS, it is about the PROCESS OF DECISION MAKING. What I am against is the kind of decision making that uses blanket, all-or-nothing, blind support or rejection. The same applies in any given situation; it so happens that in this particular note it is dealing with politics.
  1. As such it does not matter if it is in the realm of politics, business, or day to day living; my core message to ensure we make thinking decisions warrants consideration.
  1. I am not concerned about the politics of UMNO, BN, or Pakatan. Nor am I interested about being anti-UMNO or pro-UMNO. That is each person’s prerogative. In Malaysia today, when someone suggests anything, the immediate concern of a lot of people is whether this person is supporting any political block. A cursory look at the comments to your article and mine would show this clearly. Today, even bread are square-pegged into Barisan or Pakatan. There are things which are more important than politics. In this case, the culture of thinking and making decisions.
  1. My article was written to point to the idea that we must not give a free ride to any candidate, including those from UMNO. Is this not a good idea?
  1. It stresses the need to choose our leaders with Reason, Conscience and based on our Constitution. If one finds that any candidate is not fit to do the job, based on these three pillars, then don’t vote them, be they from UMNO or otherwise. Is this not justly balanced?

As I suggested, this kind of thinking process that ABU is promoting is the type that will lead people to make fallible, sweeping statements like: ‘sebagai orang Islam, kita harus memilih pemimpin yang beragama Islam.’ It can also encourage other sweeping statements in the future like ‘Asalkan bukan kafir’, etc.

A story comes to my mind, something I heard while I was growing up in Penang. Someone I knew to be a good, kind hearted man fell in love with a girl and they were set to be married. Unfortunately, this good man was from a family who was known to have bad repute. What made it worse was his parents were also from a different religion and caste. While this young man was a genuinely good person, the girl’s family refused to allow them to be married, simply because of his family.

Haris, there are things more important than politics. I wish you all the best in your endeavor to make the country a better place. But I genuinely see that you are promoting a way of thinking which is destructive and detrimental to the nation. But we can agree to disagree.


anas zubedy

Note: i. To understand what is meant by changing one MP at a time, it is a similar idea to green movements that campaign for the environment ‘one tree at a time’ Or read Indonesia’s ‘One man, one tree’ effort It does not mean they took 100 million years to plant 100 million trees.

ii. By the way, I have seen the DNBN Kuburkan BN video that you mentioned. It will not work as in terms of presentation it is too long and not very focused. For the kampong folks who you are targetting, I suggest that the ‘Ubah Sekarang, Bersihkan Malaysia’ ad ( will do a better job.