Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Open Letter to The Malaysian Voter: Heading Towards A Catastrophe? - By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Dear fellow Malaysian,


I am writing this Open Letter because I am deeply concerned about two trends within the electorate which may have an adverse impact upon the future of our nation. The first is a trend associated with a segment of the Malay electorate, both rural and urban. The second is a trend associated with a segment of the non-Malay communities. If these two trends are enthroned through the 13th General Election on the 5th of May, 2013, it could be catastrophic for our people.

The Malay Electorate.

Some Malays, disillusioned with elite corruption and the widening gap between the have-a-lot and the have-a-little, regard a hudud-oriented Islamic State as the solution. They should ask themselves the following questions.

One, is there any such State in the contemporary world that serves as a model worthy of emulation? Saudi Arabia? Sudan? Afghanistan?

Two, why is it that the vast majority of Muslim states have not opted for a hudud oriented Administration?

Three, why have the people in the world’s largest Muslim country, namely Indonesia, rejected hudud oriented parties over and over again in elections?

Four, why has Turkey whose ruling party has an Islamic root, eschewed hudud and a fiqh oriented legal system in favour of a democratic, constitutional, secular system of  governance?

Five, if the mainstay of the ruling coalition in Malaysia since 1957 was PAS and not UMNO, what would be the socio-economic situation of the Malays today? Would poverty have been reduced from 64% to 1.7%? Would there have been the phenomenal transformation of an entire people, sustained over two generations, which has resulted in a significant Malay role in education, the professions, commerce and industry, compared to what it was at the time of Merdeka?    Would the Malays have emerged as an important component of the Malaysian middle-class which has undoubtedly helped to stabilise ethnic relations and politics in the country and allowed democracy to function?

One just has to look at PAS’s 22 year rule in Kelantan to get an idea of what its version of Islam can do to a people. From its dismal failure to provide jobs for tens of thousands of well-qualified Kelantanese to its utter inability to curb rising drug addiction, Kelantan is Malaysia’s first and only failed state.  Malaysian voters should have no illusions about the type of Islamic State that PAS seeks.           

The Non-Malay Electorate.

If some Malays are under an illusion about PAS’s Islam, a lot more non-Malays, especially many middle-class Chinese and some middle-class Indians are labouring under a huge misconception about what their vote would deliver. They are convinced that it would be able to “eliminate ethnic discrimination” and bring to an end alleged “Malay supremacy.”  Since those who have been pedalling these cliches, have never really explained in detail what they mean by eliminating ethnic discrimination or Malay supremacy, non-Malays exposed to this rhetoric have drawn different conclusions.

For many, the perception is that the Pakatan Rakyat is going to set aside the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputras of Sabah and Sarawak.   This cannot be done.    The Articles in the Malaysian Constitution pertaining to places in the public services, licences, scholarships and land reserves (like some other Articles) cannot be amended or abrogated by Parliament even if the PR wins 100% of the seats. Special Position is safeguarded by the Conference of Malay Rulers.

Publicly, all three PR parties, including the DAP, have endorsed Special Position. However, at the hustings some of the DAP and PKR activists give the impression that it is discriminatory and is therefore unacceptable. This is why their leaders should be honest with their members and supporters. Tell the whole truth. Neither Special Position nor any of the other iron-clad Articles in the Constitution pertaining to citizenship, language and the Rulers will change one iota if PR comes to power.  

Since PR cannot do anything about Special Position, what sort of discrimination is it going to eliminate? Will it abolish the NEP?  In theory, the NEP does not exist anymore. It came to an end in 1990 though one of its twin objectives of restructuring society in order to reduce the identification of ethnicity with economic function continues in certain specific areas. Given the nature of this objective, it would be wrong to view it as ethnic discrimination.  Rather it is an attempt to enhance national integration.  


Everything considered, the actual flaws with the NEP are related to its implementation --- its excesses and its abuses. These should be rectified. In the last four years, Prime Minister Mohd Najib has made a concerted attempt to do so. Federal scholarships for students are based largely on academic merit; there is a serious endeavour to increase the number of Chinese and Indian public servants; and their mobility in the public services has improved through some high profile appointments. At the same time, all 1Malaysia ventures --- from its retail trade outlets to its affordable housing programme --- are non-ethnic. 1Malaysia in its concrete manifestation is an all-embracing, inclusive idea. Najib is also paying close attention to the needs of different ethnic and sub-ethnic communities and engaging them at the social and cultural level as part and parcel of his 1Malaysia drive.

There is a lucid message he is attempting to put across. There must be understanding and empathy among us, whatever our religious or cultural differences.   We must respect one another.

Respecting one another means that we should never ever manipulate each other. This is what happened in the recent DAP symbol episode. Though there was no question at all about whether the DAP could use its own rocket symbol, in the high drama that the leadership staged it opted to use PAS’s symbol, rather than the PKR symbol on the Peninsula. Wouldn’t it have been more logical for the DAP to use PKR’s symbol since the DAP wants PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, to be the Prime Minister if PR won the General Election?  Why did it prefer the symbol of a party whose goal of a hudud oriented Islamic state it vehemently opposes?  Is it because Pas has much more Malay support on the Peninsula than PKR and the DAP was hoping to capitalise on its support? Isn’t this rank opportunism?

Isn’t this what the PAS-DAP-PKR grouping is all about?  An opportunistic grouping hell-bent on power but opposed to each other. If an illusion on the one hand, and a misconception, on the other, makes the grouping a catastrophe, its opportunism renders it an even greater catastrophe.
With warm regards,

Chandra Muzaffar.

29 April 2013.    

How to vote based on a candidate’s MENTALITY?

Why must we vote based on a candidate’s mentality?

Our mentality is the characteristic attitude of someone’s mind or a way of thinking of a person or a group. It guides the way we look at things, make choices and decisions, and how we act on them. It is the framework on how we see the world. It guides our interactions and how we engage with our surrounding.  One of the surest ways to tell how someone will behave in the future is to gauge their mentality.

For example, the former US President Bush Jr. (yes the not-so-smart one) is a neo-con who carries the mentality that insist, “If you are not with me, you are against me”. As such, the way he ran his administration reflects that mental make-up. On the other hand, Gandhi’s framework suggests that we must “hate the sin, not the sinner”, so non-violence is the preferred way of life.

Here are 10 types of mentality that I would not vote for.
  1. It is okay to insult and be disrespectful to other people’s religious beliefs.
  2. One cannot wish Merry Christmas, Happy Deepavali, Wesak Day, etc. as it would shake their akidah or the akidah of their followers.
  3. It is okay to take a cheap and easy loan from the government (that the government created specifically for an explicit purpose) and use the money to create companies that do something else while paying their own family members exorbitant salaries.
  4. Whenever they talk about Islam, the first thing they pay attention to is the length of women’s skirts.
  5. It is okay to rape a woman if they wear skirts – and see it fits to suggest to the rape victim, ‘Padan Muka’.
  6. My race is more superior than yours.
  7. It’s okay to practice double standards.
  8. If you are not with me, you are against me.
  9. It is okay to sacrifice the journey for the goal.
  10. Corruption is part and parcel of politics and business.

How about you?

Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

No Free Rides Campaign: Quote 39

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why PAS will be KING if PR wins the GE13?

Tok Guru Nik Aziz’s rock concert like reception at Putrajaya confirms the idea I proposed after the 2008 general election that the real winner of the last GE is PAS.  I have explained this rationale in a blogpost, “Who won in Permatang Pauh?” right after the by-election that returned Anwar Ibrahim to parliament.

It is timely that I re-post the article. Here it is.

And the winner is PAS …

Immediately after the PRU 2008 in March, I suggested to some friends in Penang (Chinese guys who voted for the opposition) that the true political party who won was actually PAS, not PKR or DAP and definitely not the PAKATAN. They were a little confused but the Perak MBship helped them understand things a little better. My take is simple. Amongst all the political parties today, the most organized and the one that is most clear of its goal is none other than PAS. They also have quality leaders across the levels within the party, nationwide both for the state leadership as well as nationally.

PKR is overly dependent on the cult of Anwar – take him out of the equation and the PKR brand may just be deadish, DAP is a still a NATO party (even today after months of managing Penang - just listen to the debate between LGE and Dr KTK) and UMNO the largest party in the Parliament (actually UMNO has the most number of seats) is in shambles. So here comes the slow and steady PAS.

Now, why Permatang Pauh is a PAS win?

I say that PAS was instrumental in ensuring Anwars’s win especially in countering Saiful’s Quran swearing act. As I said in an earlier blog, that act is really big to Malay-Muslims. Deep inside the Malay- Muslims’ heart they still believe that the swearing is a 
dashat thingy but the Ulamaks have special powers in the Muslim psyche. And they managed to upturn it!

That is why Anwar owe PAS 
taikos big time. If you look at the PAS’ ceramah with Tok Guru seated cooly and with calm authority at the center flanked with his party stalwarts (and Anwar terperosok di belakang; Anwar actually looked like a little boy-teenager eagerly allowing the ‘adults’ to speak for him) you understand the power of the Ulamaks- a powerhouse based on religiosity – not money, not positions, not tenders or APs, not charismatic speeches and definitely not empty promises. In matters of religion, the hereafter and God a simple gentle whisper from a Tok Guru is more powerful than Anwar’s fiery speeches or the BN’s election machinery!!!

Anwar may have won the Permatang Pauh seat, but PAS just won the leadership of the Malays. My take is this. If Anwar managed to swing enough MPs to topple the BN… it may be immediate or just a little later … the PM ship goes to PAS. Now … that will be a real interesting twist in Malaysian Politics! Having a PM from a non-raced based political party with religion as its powerbase. 

The coming of PAS ... jeng!jeng!jeng! ( Original Post here )

Politicizing Crime - Dave Avran

Pic credit: Mior Azfar Mior Karulbaidam

It is indeed tragic that Irene Ong Ai Siam was killed in an attempted robbery which horribly turned into a murder. Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident at Bukit Gasing. The four, aged between 16 and 18, were detained by police at Flat Sri Medan and Flat Bukit Gasing Indah within two days of the incident.

Following the murder, the Police have announced that a mobile beat base will be stationed in Bukit Gasing from today Saturday 27th April to ensure safety. The mobile beat base would operate for six hours every day from 7am to 10am and from 4pm to 7pm. It will also operate on weekends and public holidays.

In collaboration with residents associations, the police have also created a volunteer group comprising joggers in the area to mentor those who have just taken up the activity.

Now comes the even more tragic part. Instead of allowing the grieving family space to deal with their loss, we have some people with vested interests who have swooped to take advantage of this sad incident to put the grieving family into the national spotlight to further their own agenda.  

Read about it here.
After 56 years as a nation, one would have thought that Malaysians would have learnt our lessons and learnt to live together. As we seek more democratic freedoms, we must be prepared to give and take without politicians and their agents resorting to the peddling of hate.

This is a general election where the call for change must be through the ballot box and not through the politicizing of unfortunate victims of crime.

The Spanker accepts that it is a valid election tactic to stoke the emotions of the rakyat so that they will vote for you but those doing the instigation must also know when to pull their punches so that things do not go overboard.

Politicians, well known for their oratory capabilities, owe it to the country to make sure that in their politicking, they also condemn such acts of crime and senseless violence which are simply not the Malaysian way.

Many politicians on both sides of the divide are really of no help as many only want to pursue their own agendas by hijacking the current red hot issue of crime as a free ride to popularity, given the fast looming general elections.

Bashing the Government, its various agencies and the cops is easy peasy but public apathy has also been identified as one of the reasons why criminals have become more brazen in committing crimes. Fighting crime isn’t the prerogative of the police alone.

There is no doubt that the responsibility for fighting crime rests squarely on the shoulders of the PDRM. That’s what they’re paid for right? The truth of the matter is that there are simply not enough cops to cover every single area.

No Free Rides Campaign: Quote 36

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Open letter to Nurul Izzah and Raja Nong Chik

Dear Nurul and Raja Nong Chik,

Firstly, congratulations on being chosen as the respective candidates for PR and BN. Both of you deserve the honour. I vote at Lembah Pantai. I am one of those non-partisans Malaysians, one without a party. I would like to believe I belong to a third block of Malaysian voters – The Third Force.

I hope to catch both of you before May 5th. I have not decided who to vote for, and I am likely to make my choice the night before May 5th. But you can help me hasten my decision by doing the following.

I would like to have a contract, albeit a halal one, with the two of you. I have a wish list that I would like you to look into before I make my decision. I do not expect both of you to agree to every item, but the one who agrees and promises to do more will get my vote. I would like to videotape your promise if chance permit.

Here are my wishes:

i. Propose the enactment of non-party hopping within six months and continue to push it forward until the law is in place. You personally will not party hop and will open and explicitly go against the acceptance of any party-hoppers into your team

ii. Speak on behalf of all Malaysians regardless of race or religion at all times and never fights only for one community

iii. Promote economic policies that provide support to all Malaysians in the bottom 40% strata of society, regardless of race

iv. Publicly declare your assets with a third party register with a legally binding statutory declaration

v. Propose to make the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) report directly to Parliament, within six months of the GE and continue to fight for it until the law is in place

vi. Call for a press conference within a month after the elections and show clear knowledge, appreciation and support that the Malay and indigenous customs form our core culture, while the Chinese, Indian and other cultures play strong supporting roles as part and parcel to form the unique Malaysia brand

vii. Practice empathy; e.g. - refuse to allow beef or pork to be served or sold in all government-related premises, projects and all party activities.

viii. Initiate a process to work towards one-stream schools which also adequately provides for all who want to learn their vernacular languages, to be established within the next fifteen years. Propose a constitutional change to make this happen within six months after elections.

ix. Ensure that at least 50% of your work schedule is allocated for working directly for the people in your constituency, you will clock in the hours, declare each morning your daily to do list and keep a monthly report of these efforts.

x. Rise above party politics, and keep the above nine conditions even if it goes against your party

Just in case I am not able to meet with any of you face to face, I would be most glad if you simply email me your answers. Looking forward to voting  either of you.

Thank you.

anas zubedy

Is Bishop Paul Tan being insensitive and callous? - The STAR

MALAYSIANS should know that a sizeable number of Christians in this country would disassociate themselves from the outrageously insensitive and callous statements recently made by Bishop Paul Tan toMalaysiakini.
This Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Malacca-Johor had complained to the online media that holding elections on a Sunday, the traditional Christian worship day, reflected a violation by the Government of Christian rights.
The bishop’s self-righteous stand is flawed in so many respects that it brings disrepute and ridicule to his office and opens himself to criticism as being a blatantly partisan man of the cloth.
To understand the extent of his “transgressions”, let us start at the top.
First, he displays his ignorance when he accused the Government of ignoring the needs of Christians by deciding to hold the general election on a Sunday.
Everybody knows that the decision to hold the elections on a Sunday was made by the Election Commission (EC) and not the Government.
The EC is not the Government and the Government is not the EC.
Second, he says “Sunday is a holy day where Christians must go to church and worship God”.
Bishop Tan must know that nowhere in the Bible do the words “go to church” appear.
Neither is there any compulsion in the Bible to do so.
Instead, there are many references in the Bible about the early Christians getting together for worship on a Sabbath (a Saturday).
Therefore, when the bishop said “Christians must go to Church” on Sundays, was he being truthful?
Third, Bishop Tan says in the past general elections were held on Saturdays, not on Sundays.
The truth is that there were three occasions when general elections were held on Sundays – on Aug 3, 1986, Oct 21, 1990 and March 21, 2004.
Therefore, when the bishop made his comment, was he ignorant?
Fourth, doesn’t the bishop know that Sunday is a working day in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu and holding elections on that day would inconvenience the people in those states?
Therefore, when the bishop talked about inconveniencing Christians, was he being insensitive to others?
Fifth, the bishop referred to the 1Malaysia slogan which he said “has been honoured more in the breach than in the observance”.
Isn’t that an exaggeration?
Surely, to any independent observer, it is obvious that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given sum and substance to the slogan many times over.
Therefore, when the bishop talked about breaches of the slogan, was he being cavalier with the truth?
Bishop Tan is obstinate in the face of stark realities.
He says that there are many priests in his diocese who have to return to their original residence where they have registered as voters.
A Christian can, nay is encouraged, to pray anywhere, everywhere and at any time.

Royal role in appointing the PM by Shad Saleem Faruqi - The STAR

IN the aftermath of a general election, the most critical and possibly controversial issue is the appointment of the Prime Minister. The Constitution provides three guidelines:
> The PM must not be a citizen by naturalisation or registration: Article 43(7).
> He must be a member of the Dewan Rakyat: Article 43(2). This appears non-controversial. However, life being larger than the law, novel situations may arise. In the United Kingdom in 1963, the Conservatives won the election but their leader, Lord Home, belonged to the Upper House. The Queen appointed him as the PM but only on the condition that Lord Home resign his peerage, engineer a by-election and be elected to the House of Commons. In Selangor, in the 80s, a similar situation was thrown up when a vacancy arose in the post of the Mentri Besar and Datuk Abu Hassan, a federal minister, was appointed MB even before he contested and won a seat in the Selangor legislative assembly.
> The PM-designate must, in the judgment of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, be “likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House”. This wording leads some people to believe that the monarch has unlimited and subjective discretion in the matter. Actually, the constitutional position is that if a party or coalition commands the confidence of an absolute majority (112/222) of the members of the Dewan Rakyat, the King has no choice but to choose its leader as the PM.
In conferring the mantle of leadership on someone, the King is not obliged by law to take into consideration the advice of the previous PM, the candidate’s support in the Dewan Negara and the percentage of the popular vote obtained by his party. It is not relevant how many states the PM-designate’s party won or lost at the GE. It is the number of supporting MPs in the Dewan Rakyat that matters.
The race, religion or region of the nominee is not mandated by law and is a matter of constitutional conventions. This is in contrast with the constitutions of the nine Malay states with Malay Rulers which are explicit that unless the Ruler makes an exception, the MB must be a Malay/Muslim.
What are the possible scenarios after the next GE? The first is that the ruling coalition may win a two-thirds or an absolute majority in the Dewan Rakyat, in which case the King’s role in appointing the PM is merely ceremonial.
Contrary to what is believed by some, a two-thirds majority is not necessary to form a government and to pass legislation. A two-thirds majority is relevant only for constitutional amendments.
A complication that can arise is if, for whatever reason, e.g. death or resignation, the ruling coalition is deadlocked on the choice of its leader. In such a situation, the King may follow Australian precedents and appoint a short-term caretaker PM from a minority party to helm the affairs of the state while the ruling party makes up its mind.
A second possibility is that the opposition may win with an absolute majority in the Dewan Rakyat. In such a situation, the caretaker PM will resign and the King will appoint the opposition leader as the new PM. A smooth transition of power will take place.
A complication may be if the winning opposition coalition is deadlocked on who its leader should be. In such a case, the King may allow the incumbent PM to continue temporarily till the opposition resolves its leadership issue. Alternatively, the King may pick someone from a third party to head a temporary caretaker government.

No Free Rides Campaign: Quote 30

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to vote in GE 13 – No Free Rides – by Anas Zubedy

We must view General Election and internal party elections in tandem. Choosing a lousy candidate because he or she is from your favourite party will give that person power. With that power, he or she will entrench their power in their party and make their party worst off. Similarly, when you choose a candidate that is good, he or she will also become powerful and use the new power to better his or her own party. That is why, we must choose the candidate over the party and give no one a free ride.

To know more, watch the video below.

No Free Rides Campaign: Quote 26

Monday, April 15, 2013

Voting For Harmony by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

It is a truism that the survival and success of our nation depends upon our ability to sustain and enhance our inter-ethnic harmony. This is why the question of how the Barisan Nasional (BN) or the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will manage ethnic relations in the country in the coming years is of critical importance to the voter in the 5 May General Election.

For a society whose multi-religious and multi-cultural texture is one of the most complex in the world, Malaysia has done remarkably well in preserving a degree of inter-ethnic harmony which is the envy of the rest of the human family. An objective criterion testifies to this. Over 55 years there has been a minimum of communal violence. There has been only one major riot with communal overtones that resulted in the loss of lives. That the riot of 13 May 1969 was contained within a specific city, that law and order was restored within weeks and democratic rule reinstated in 21 months, is incontrovertible proof of the Government’s ability to deal with an ethnic challenge.

The BN government and its predecessor, the Alliance, have proven their credentials in a number of other less significant fracases. The 1967 disturbance in Penang; the 1978 Kerling incident; and the 2001 Kampong Medan episode would be some examples. The BN has also defused ethnic tensions arising from certain issues such as the 1978 Merdeka University controversy, and the 2010 sporadic attacks on churches, mosques and a gurdwara in the wake of a Court decision on the use of the term ‘Allah’. Culprits responsible for the one cow head and five pig head incidents in recent years have also been punished by the law.

It is an irrefutable fact that the BN has the experience and the expertise in dealing with ethnic challenges. The PR has yet to be tested largely because when ethnic issues impinge upon security, they come within the purview of the Federal Government. Its management of four state governments has not equipped the PR with the skills and knowledge to negotiate the complex multi-ethnic terrain that is Malaysia.

PR supporters sometimes point to the inter-ethnic harmony in Kelantan as proof of its ability to maintain good relations among the different communities. Inter-harmony in Kelantan has very little to do with the Pas led government per se. Even when the BN was in power in Kota Baru from 1978 to 1990, relations between the majority Malay community and the Chinese and Siamese minorities were amicable. Kelantan has a long and distinguished record of inter-ethnic conviviality which goes beyond parties and politics. The small size of the minorities--- 5% of the population --- and their readiness to integrate into the larger Malay cultural ethos, the accommodative attitude of the majority, and an indigenous structure of governance which was not totally subverted by colonial rule, have all contributed to this.

In fact, current trends seem to suggest that conviviality among the communities in Kelantan may be under some strain as a result of the politics represented by PAS and its partner, the DAP. Some of the restrictions and controls imposed in the name of PAS’s notion of ‘Islamic morality’ are beginning to create a certain degree of uneasiness among younger non-Muslim Kelantanese. Similarly, the rise of Chinese ethnocentrism at the national level, fuelled to a large extent by the DAP, is seeping into the consciousness of a segment of Chinese youths in Kelantan, and separating them from the Malay majority.

This is the real danger of enthroning PAS and DAP in Putrajaya. If they rule Malaysia, their respective ideological orientations will widen even further the chasm that divides Malaysian communities. PAS’s superficial approach to Muslim identity reflected in its negative outlook on the rights and roles of women; the interaction between the sexes; and what constitutes wholesome entertainment, coupled with its obsession with prohibitions and punishments, will not only drive a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims but also polarise Muslims themselves. The DAP, on the other hand, which is already alienated from the Malay majority because of some of its chauvinistic stances will trigger a backlash from the latter if it pursues policies on the economy or education motivated by its lopsided view of equality.

It is not just their individual policies that are inimical to national unity. The DAP is vehemently opposed to PAS’s Islamic state which remains the Islamic party’s real goal even as it continues to flip-flop over its ‘negara kebajikan’. The DAP’s mission of a ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ which in reality demonstrates very little empathy for the defining attributes of the land and its identity --- Bahasa Melayu; Islam and the Malay Rulers --- is a quest which Pas rejects totally though it has not been vocal about it since 2008. This huge gap that separates the two parties in the Pakatan defies resolution. The third partner in the PR, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), has made no attempt to reconcile this ideological split between the two parties. This is why the PR is, for all intents and purposes, an inchoate, disparate inter-party grouping which is utterly incapable of bringing the various Malaysian communities together.

Malaysians should ask themselves if it is wise to hand the reins of power to such a grouping especially at a time when religion is emerging as the fundamental fault-line in our society. This is a pertinent question to raise for while PAS remains wedded to a narrow identity based dogma, the DAP is increasingly becoming the conduit for strident Christian voices that are less than sensitive to the prevailing Muslim majority landscape. How can any sane, sensible person expect these two parties to help forge unity in the years ahead?

No Free Rides Campaign: Quote 24

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Indian problem is a Malaysian concern

Article was taken from The STAR - New approach to old concerns by By DR DENISON JAYASOORIA. 
Since 2008, a different style of leadership one which reaches out to the community and views its concerns as national concerns has emerged.
IN a pre-election rally at the PWTC five years ago, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak asked the Indian community to decide on their future if it would be with the Barisan Nasional or outside. The community sent a message on March 8, 2008 that it would be outside the Barisan and voted in large numbers for Pakatan Rakyat.
In spite of this rejection, Barisan which managed to retain the Federal Government, began a series of initiatives to win the hearts and minds of the Indian community over the next five years.
That day, Najib spoke about birth certificates and identification cards, Tamil school education, civil service employment opportunities, better access to scholarships, micro credit, youth training opportunities, places of worship and local training of temple priests. It was a wide range of issues and promises he highlighted and made.
It is fair to state that with regards to the Indian community, he has kept his word.
Where have they been successful?
In 2008, a Cabinet committee on Indian issues was established with Najib chairing it, starting while he was Deputy Prime Minister and later as Prime Minister. A Special Implementation Task Force was established for the first time at the PM's Department with full-time staff attached to thePemandu team. Indian concerns were now being regarded not as community concerns but as national concerns with the PM having a specific preview to them directly.
One must say that the direct approach of reaching out to various sections, including sub-ethnic and splinter political groups, reflect the inclusive nature of Najib's approach. His walk-abouts, participation at Thaipusam and cultural events as well as approachable nature won many hearts for him and his administration.
While his critics claim he was merely seeking to win votes, this approach has been sustained over five years and we are seeing the impact. No longer would a political party be an ethnic gate-keeper. Now, the ordinary people, cultural groups, sub-ethnic communities and religious groups have direct contact, access and dealings with the PM and his office.
Some say this is divide-and-rule but what has emerged is a different style of leadership one of reaching out directly and viewing community concerns as national concerns in addressing the struggles of the Indian community, especially those of displaced plantation workers who have been badly neglected in the policy and delivery process.
Over the years, three major areas have become the focus of attention.
Tamil school development: Prof N. S. Rajendran of UPSI was appointed to undertake a comprehensive study on improving the quality of teaching and learning. Huge sums of money were allocated towards improving the infrastructure of Tamil schools.
However, there are still many schools, especially in rural areas, with inadequate facilities. This is where the policies must be comprehensive and ensure that all streams of education are treated equally with adequate finances and resources. No child in whatever stream should be left behind but must be viewed as an asset of the nation with the ability to contribute to a high income society and not be a dependent of the state

No Free Rides Campaign: Quote 23

Saturday, April 13, 2013

GE13: ‘Third force will determine GE13 outcome’ by By Loshana K. Shagar - The STAR

PETALING JAYA: Non-partisan voters will be instrumental in determining the outcome of the 13th general election (GE13), said social entrepreneur Anas Zubedy.
The principal consultant and Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd founder said the “third force” had the power to decide which party got the two-thirds majority at GE13.
“We want less bickering and politicking, and we want work to be done with focus on developing the economy and cutting down on corruption,” he said in an interview with's GE13: Showdown programme, hosted by Anne Edwards.
Anas believed the last election had left a positive impact as the Barisan Nasional government, under Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's leadership, had implemented many transformation programmes.
“At the same time, the Opposition coalition has had a chance to run a few states, which is good, as they get to know the realities of running a state,” he said.
However, Anas remained cautious on whether Malaysians had become more politically mature since the 2008 general election.
“A survey we did among young Malaysians last year revealed that many did not know what Article 153 of the Federal Constitution was about,” he said.
“Also, nearly 100% of the respondents quoted the Article inaccurately,” he said.
In a bid to help non-partisan voters understand how their votes could affect the GE13's outcome, Anas highlighted five election outcome possibilities.
One was to hand Barisan a very strong mandate, allowing for governance the “China way”, where government projects were implemented with speed rather than the “India way” where every project was debated.
The second possibility was to hand the same mandate to Pakatan Rakyat, giving them a chance while expanding the talent pool of leadership beyond Barisan.
“Another is a hung parliament, after which the most influential person would be the Agong. We will leave it to his wisdom to create a new coalition,” said Anas.
The fourth was to give Pakatan a chance to lead but with a very slim majority, so that its leaders would “continuously be on their toes”.
The last possibility was to maintain the status quo, which meant that voters would give the current government another five years, suspending their judgement until the next general election.

No Free Rides Campaign: Quote 22

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Have a Meaningful Vaisakhi - Friday in The STAR

Let us see the world through Rukunegara  

Gurchan Singh (1914-1965)
"The Lion of Malaya"

Back to basics: 
Let us see the world through Rukunegara  

Rukunegara is not just something we say with our lips, but it must also be with our actions. This needs commitment. It is not enough that it is printed at the back of our schoolbooks, and murals, we must carve Rukunegara onto our hearts. We need to melt ourselves into what Rukunegara truly stands for; so it becomes us.

We declare ‘Belief in God’.

How do we translate Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan into our daily relationships in a multicultural society? How do we respect each other’s way of life albeit our diverse practices?

We declare ‘Loyalty to King and Country’.

Do we know what Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara entails? Do we realize how this proclamation links us to our history and culture? Do we know our history and culture? Have we accepted them wholeheartedly? Have we embraced them? Do we respect them? How have we shown that?

We declare ‘Supremacy of Constitution’.

What does it mean when we proclaim Keluhuran Perlembagaan? Does it not mean that we must always be guided by it? And respect it in totality? Does it not mean that we must take the Constitution as a whole? And not pick and choose clauses out of context to suit our arguments?

We declare ‘Rule of Law’.

Do we understand the significance of Kedaulatan Undang-undang in our lives? Have we applied it universally? Do we act in accordance to the law? Do we judge others fairly in accordance to the law too? How do we strive to be good citizens?

We declare ‘Courtesy and Morality’.

How often do we check if we practice Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan? Are we practising this in our daily interaction, our business, our economics, and our politics? How do we treat our family members and friends? How do we treat public figures and foreign workers? Do we give due respect to all or do we pick and choose?

While it is good to memorize Rukunegara, it is more important that we put it into actions. We must practice it over and over until it runs in our blood. We need to breathe our spirit into Rukunegara and let Rukunegara breathe its spirit into us. Let us adopt Rukunegara and make it our rules of engagement with each other. Let us commit and embody them in everything we do. Let us make Rukunegara our culture.

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.

Let us be first and foremost Malaysians.

Let us add value,
Have A Meaningful Vaisakhi