Archive for March, 2009

Woman, woman

Malaysian politics, it appears, has reached an all-time ’high’: party election campaigning is prescribed to some extent by the State.

Given such a political context (see here and here), one wonders whether one can actually, for instance, play or sing songs such as the above.

A case of not seeing the wood for the trees?

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It was reported (and here too) that a DAP assemblyperson was nabbed yesterday by the police in Ipoh in connection with a DVD about the now famous ‘democracy tree’. He was arrested for allegedly violating certain provisions in the Film Censorship Act (2002).

This is a cause for concern for many Malaysians as this incident is not only about the said Tree and the alleged violation of the censorship law; it also touches on the principles of freedom of expression and of the right to dissent in a democracy.


IPOH, March 30 – Police arrested DAP’s Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Ong Boon Piaw here last night in connection with a DVD video on the “democracy tree”.

Ong was arrested for allegedly violating the Film Censorship Act 2002 for “manufacturing, circulating, distributing, and displaying the content of the DVD without first getting a ‘B’ certificate from the Film Censorship Board”.

“We were doing the sneak preview for the DVD of the coup d’etat in Perak. After the speakers gave their speeches, we played the DVD content at 10.30pm. Then a police officer came and told me that the DVD does not have any B certification from the censorship board, that’s why they needed to make the arrest,” Ong told the Malaysian Insider.

The “democracy tree” refers to the rain tree outside the State Assembly where the ousted Pakatan Rakyat government held an emergency sitting when it was locked out of the state government complex.

Bukit Gantang and instant remedy

It appears that residents living near Bukit Gantang, where a by-election will be held shortly, will soon have their problems, particularly land issue, licked in quick time.

The rushed ‘assistance’ offered by Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat to solve this lingering land problem instantly suggests a certain degree of ‘utilitarianism’ and political expediency as regards his treatment of the rakyat’s problems.

Does this necessarily mean that the rakyat can only have their problems addressed and solved adequately if they have a by-election in their vicinity? Isn’t this, by the way, a form of ‘election goodies’?


TAIPING, March 29 (Bernama) — Efforts are being made to solve the land issue faced by residents who, for a very long time, have illegally settled on Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) land in Kuala Sepetang, near here.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said most of the squatters were fishermen who had stayed on the land which was laid with a railway track connecting Port Weld (now Kuala Sepetang) with Taiping.

“It’s an old problem. There’s a lot of such land used for the railway line but now still occupied by people, mostly families of fishermen. After such a long time, they want to know the status of the land.

“I have instructed KTMB and the Railway Asset Management Corporation to carry out a census to find out the number of households occupying KTMB land there and we will try to solve the problem,” he said after a closed-door dialogue with the Chinese community in Bukit Gantang, here, Sunday.

Also present was new Umno deputy president and International Trade and Industry Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Ong, who is also MCA president, said he had gone to Kuala Sepetang to look at the problem, besides holding a dialogue with the community leaders there on solving it.

He said among the solutions was to grant the squatters a temporary occupation licence (TOL) but this must be carefully studied and approved by the land owner (KTMB).

The suitability of the area like its sewage system must also be taken into consideration before a final decision could be made, he added.

“I hope we can find a solution to the problem in the next few days.”

Baby I’m a want you (voters)

Malaysian citizens and voters have been likened to a woman, waiting to be courted by UMNO.

An UMNO delegate reportedly suggested that the party woo Malaysian voters the way men entice women into marriage.

Federal Territory delegate Mohd Shafie Abdullah said Umno must imagine the people as a woman who is to be wooed into marriage.

“Remember how we tried to entice our wives when we wanted to marry? First rule, is to know what she likes. Show her we care, always be close with her.

“We must continue to approach her. And this is the basis of closing ranks with the people again,” he said, drawing laughter and applause from those present.

Shafie and others of his ilk would be better off to steer away from making such a statement, especially if it has an element of sexism.

It would be more fruitful for him and friends to perceive Malaysian voters as citizens and taxpayers who expect the former to respect them as people who have rights and responsibilities and are equally concerned about the future of the country.

The Malaysian people would expect them to listen to them attentively during and after a general election. This means that they want to be heard through, among other things, the media and, if necessary, via peaceful public gatherings that are legitimate in a functioning democracy.

In fact, they have already made known their ‘likes’ in the last general election on March 8 last year, one of which is the crucial need to strengthen the democratic institutions in the country.

People would appreciate UMNO’s attempt to woo the Malay and Malaysian voters alike, just as they would understand that other legitimate political parties such as PKR, DAP, Pas, and component parties of the BN too have similar objective.

This is why many Malaysians perceive as unfair and undemocratic the BN government’s action to suspend recently the party organs of PKR and Pas, especially in the run-up to the forthcoming three by-elections, as these publications serve as an important vehicle for the political parties concerned to reach out to the people.

When change is a constant

Something for those who crave for change in our society; this from a Malaysian Insider report:


Change, as Umno understands it

By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 – While both the top leaders of Umno seem ready to institute reforms in the party, the reality is that the party grassroots might prove to be the biggest stumbling block to meaningful change.

Delegates at today’s debate on outgoing party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi’s speech offered a different interpretation of reform, promoting the idea of strengthening the party by making it fully in control of the government.

“Those days, an application for a taxi permit would require the endorsement of an Umno branch or division chief. If the branches and divisions are strong, then Umno will be strong again,” said Bukit Mertajam party chief Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir.

He also said the party made a mistake in trying to curtail money politics as it showed that Umno leaders are not grateful to the members who have sacrificed for the party.

“Without money, how can the delegates come to Kuala Lumpur to attend the assembly? Please look at the place they are staying, some of them are sharing a room with seven or eight people,” said Musa.

He claimed that the disciplinary board was also very selective and called for it to be dissolved.

“I agree with the proposal to amend the constitution but, before that, please dissolve the disciplinary board,” said Musa.

He also urged the party leadership to appoint divisional chiefs to government-linked companies.

“If we want to change, do it properly. Use our power while we still have it,” Musa said to loud cheers from the delegates.

Musa’s call was also echoed by a Malacca delegate, Datuk Hasnoor Husin, who also urged the government to ensure that only Umno loyalists be appointed to senior positions in public universities.

“Please make sure the faculty members are all Umno men, and the same goes for other civil servants,” said Hasnoor.

He cited the example of UiTM vice chancellor Datuk Seri Ibrahim Abu Shah who was a party loyalist.

Khairy, Khairy, Quite Contrary

khairy jamaluddin umno youth chief 250309

Contrary to popular belief, Khairy Jamaluddin (photo credit: Malaysiakini) eventually snatched the coveted UMNO Youth chief title away from his rivals Mukhriz Mahathir and Khir Toyo.

Khairy saw his triumph as an important indication that democracy was ‘genuinely practised’ in UMNO Youth in particular and UMNO in general — to the chagrin of Mukhriz’s supporters who shouted “Khairy rasuah (corrupt)” soon after the election result was announced.

The 33-year-old was widely expected, initially, to lose the heated contest what with the anticipated move of FIL Abdullah Badawi to leave the national political scene early next month.

With this win, the young UMNO Youth leader may acquire a ministerial position, as was the case in the past. One small step towards a long and winding road to premiership?

The politics of English language

009.jpg image by lauralk83

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Of late, there seems to be a sudden surge of interest among certain Malaysians to spekk Engriss. Indeed, this strange phenomenon of the political kind has made me rather speechless.