Archive for July, 2009

ISA and misunderstood Malaysians

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Mukhriz Mahathir yesterday defended the Internal Security Act (ISA) and “lamented that the public had failed to see the benefits from the controversial law that allows preventive detention.”  

“The people cannot really see the benefits from ISA but if we realise that we are able to send our children to school and shop safely then we can see that all of these are from a government policy to provide protection to the people,” he said.

Yeah, the paternalistic government leaders know best for the people who put them in power in the first place.

Yeah, what would those naive ordinary Malaysians, people who make their political preference known via the ballot boxes, know about what’s good for them and the country?

Yeah, would these simpletons, many of whom are probably misled, able to appreciate the difference between defending national interests and protecting the narrow interests of the ruling elite?

Al-Fatihah: Yasmin passed away

Today is a sad day especially for Malaysian movie goers who celebrate human and cultural diversity that is manifested in the movies made by internationally acclaimed film director Yasmin Ahmad. She passed away last night.

Yasmin’s films are politically and intellectually significant particularly in a society where ethnic and religious differences are often capitalised by certain quarters for short-term political gains to the detriment of social harmony.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to her husband and family.


The passing of Teo Beng Hock

I extend my heartfelt condolences to the fiancee and the family of the late Teo Beng Hock, political secretary of Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, who was alleged to have died under ‘suspicious circumstances’. See here for context.

MerdekaReview goes Malay

MerdekaReview will soon launch its Malay edition. To get an initial taste of what’s on offer, check this out.

The temporary website has already posted articles that range from critical analysis of Chinese newspapers to discussion of national politics.

Our (palatial) house

This old number may well be the favourite of, if not a signature tune for, that certain politician (and his family) whose palatial mansion stands magnificiently over a piece of land somewhere in Shah Alam, Selangor.

In contrast, there are still many Malaysians, such as those residing in TOL zones or on a squatter land, who are desperately looking for a decent and permanent abode they can call their own.

Blogger dialogue a la Rais

If dialogue implies conversation and exchange of ideas between two people, then Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Dr Rais Yatim’s idea of an “open approach to the new media” is problematic, if not laughable.

Rais Yatim was quoted by Bernama as saying that “the government always emphasised government policies in every meeting with bloggers, as well as reminding them of the Sedition Act, the Defamation Act and the Internal Security Act.” See here.

This statement indicates an eagerness on his part to instead preach and prescribe to the bloggers what they ought not to do. Rais should try lending an attentive ear for it would benefit him and the federal government in the long run to know what the bloggers, among other Malaysians, think and have to say about politics, justice, freedom of information, economy, religion, ethnic relations, corruption etc.

Otherwise, the planned meeting with the bloggers may turn out to be a monologue of futility.

Pakatan on the rocks?

The reported spat and rift between partners in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in recent days predictably made the headlines, some hitting the front pages, of many of the mainstream newspapers.

The screaming front page headline of today’s Star, ‘Splitsville’, says it all.

Put another way, the Pakatan chaps are put in a negative light, rightly or wrongly, and quite often they are seen through the eyes of their political rivals in the BN.

A piece published in today’s New Straits Times can give us a sense of how the major newspapers have gone to town with the ‘Pakatan disunity’: See here.  

Perhaps this is also the time for the Pakatan chaps to take stock of themselves irrespective of the kind of media reportage they’ve got.