Friday, August 29, 2008

Budget 2009 - will we get what we want?

All I want is for things to be cheaper and life a little easier. Is that too much to ask for? But this government is bent on spending my tax-money on stuff, which makes no sense. Why not plow all the tax money into lowering the cost of fuel? Wait, if they do that then there will be no left-overs for some cronies to eat from. Our tax money is being used to feed the jokers whom lead government.

Forget the one month bonus, it will help nothing. Instead, increase the basic pay or introduce minimum wage. Up the salary scale and this will help the fix income earners in the long run. Up-lifting the lives of 1.2 million civil servants would spill over to the private sector. Increasing the income of civil servants would pump money back into the market, moving local and generating business for local businessmen. It would also be a relief for banks who suffer when money lies stagnant in bank accounts.

All I ask for is to have more money in my pocket and it should be channelled in directly. Not via rebates or hand-outs but directly through tax-cuts, low cost of living or lower contributions to the EPF. It is all I want, more money and I believe all Malaysians want this yet the government has been so caught up in itself, it has failed to see this.

Don't expect much from the Budget for 2009. I suspect it would just be a reactive budget. Trying to fix fires yet not moving anything forward.


Malaysian bloggers vs the BN government.

Malaysia-Today has taken the bullet from the BN government, yet you can't keep a good man down so Raja Petra has moved it to another location that by-passes the government-controlled-kow-towing ISPs. Is Malaysiakini going to be next? Or will bloggers fall like dominoes in the wake of a cyber "Operation Lalang"?

Looking at the parliament, we now have more active bloggers joining it. Anwar Ibrahim has a blog, Lim Kit Siang has been blogging for ages, Jeff Ooi, Tony Pua and a host of other MPs have a presence on the internet. Forget the BN lame attempt at joining the blogosphere since they are hesitant at being labeled as monkeys. A term the BN government used against bloggers before the 12th General Election.

But the BN government lost because of the monkeys in a lawless jungle.

So now the BN government is bent on sending these monkeys the way of the Dodo. Malaysian jails will not be housing the robbers, rapist or murderers but bloggers. Yes, the robbers, rapists and murderers will be plying their trade on the Malaysian streets while the police round up the bloggers and dump them into crowed prisons. This is the state of the Malaysian BN government now, paranoid at the prospect of loosing their grip on power and resolving to putting their critics into prison.

Stupid and ridiculous because there is no way for the BN government to stop bloggers. It is akin to cutting telephone lines and telling people to resort to using carrier pigeons for their messaging needs. Remember, it was the government under Tun Mahathir that opened up Malaysia to the Internet and now the government after Tun Mahathir is resorting to clamp it down. There is really something wrong in the minds of our ministers who agree that this is the best course of action to take in the wake of their defeat at Permatang Pauh.

Sore losers!

I say, go ahead. Clamp down on bloggers and independent news providers or the alternative media. Go ahead, round them up, put them into prison or slap court charges against them. Go ahead and see what would happen. The people will take to the streets to demand justice, the people would un-subscribe from using the services of ISPs who kow-tow to BN government pressure, the people would stop listening to government propaganda channels such as RTM and TV3. The people would take matters into the own hands and come 13th General Election, the BN government would be relegated to a sentence in our history books. Heck, it could happen as early as 16th September if Anwar Ibrahim follows through with his plan.

I say, BN government go ahead with the clamp down and you will see a fight between Malaysian Bloggers and you. The winner has been decided, the results were seen during the 12th General Elections. Bloggers won and pushed your 2/3 majority out of the window, bloggers exposed your wrong doings, bloggers shifted the mind-set of the people. Bloggers can do it under the pressure of everything the BN government threw at them and who says bloggers cannot survive a clampdown now?

And may I suggest that they also investigate the comments and postings on BN blogs or blogs by BN MPs because they also have seditious and "hot" issues. Look at the WHOLE Malaysian blogging community, not just the opposition blogs. Some of the most racist comments are found on pro-UMNO blogs. Why aren't they investigated and brought to court? You tell me.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Friend or Foe? Abdullah Badawi and Anwar Ibrahim

It would be interesting to see the body language of these two tomorrow when Abdullah Badawi deliver the budget speech. Primarily because both Abdullah Badawi and Anwar Ibrahim are from the same era. Both have served under Tun Mahathir and are no strangers to each to other. They may defer on policy but the two once shared the same camp together during Tun Mahathir's time. No doubt there is no ill blood between them as seen by Anwar's statement in his first press conference after being sworn in as a MP this morning.

Tomorrow would be doubly interesting as Anwar Ibrahim is no stranger to budgeting, Malaysian government style. He was the former finance minister before his in-famous sacking by Tun Mahathir so he would be keenly listening to what Abdullah Badawi's government can offer the people of Malaysia for the coming year.

Anwar Ibrahim is also a better orator compared to Abdullah Badawi and maybe better than anyone else in the house. Anwar is capable of tearing apart the arguments thrown at the opposition by the BN MPs. It would be interesting to see what he has to say about the budget. I am sure Abdullah Badawi would be feeling quite uncomfortable having Anwar Ibrahim stare down at him in the house.

It would be interesting. Anwar may still see Abdullah as a friend outside of politics and I think the respect is mutual but what would the other BN MPs think? I am sure some would feel a bit guilty for slandering Anwar when he was outside of parliament, easy to do when Anwar was at a distance. Now, Anwar sits under the same roof as they do and facing up to the man would be something that would rile them. Shame on them!

It will be interesting indeed. Anwar and Abdullah Badawi under the same roof, staring at each other. I wonder if they would share a round of tea together?


Malaysian Government's censorship of the Internet.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's (MCMC) order to all the 21 ISPs to block is really a throw back to the stone age. Raja Petra Kamaruddin has vowed to fight this injustice and bring MCMC along for the ride.

Clearly there is now a move to censor the Internet in Malaysia. Main Stream Media (MSM) is so controlled, that only news favoring the current BN government is allowed while the rest is covered over, Malaysians have turn to alternative media especially portals and blogs for news. It is no secret that such bias reporting cost the BN dearly during the previous election. Yet they still did not learn their lesson, repeating it again in Permatang Pauh. Now, the BN government is taking it a step further - control of the Internet.

Word is out, that sooner or later; such control will also be extended to the blogosphere. Blogs deemed "un-appropriate" would be blocked on the ISP level. This goes against everything the MCMC stand for and it is obvious the directive came from the top ranks of the Malaysian BN government.

This does not augur well for Malaysia. Too much forced control would ultimately create chaos and the people of Malaysia are not going to let that happen any time soon. The government seems bent on dictating what we see, hear or know and this overbearing attitude towards the general citizen merely shows how the BN government view it's citizens. We are only good when we vote for BN. Outside of that, we are opposition. Any form of opposition is automatically deemed bad or evil and requires banishment or censorship.

MCMC please do not insult our intelligence. The citizens of Malaysia are wise enough to determine what they can read and comment on. And a little criticism is good for a nation. Too much sugar is never a good thing, we all need a bit of bitterness too.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What next Anwar Ibrahim?

CONGRATULATIONS to Anwar Ibrahim. Though I'm not so great a fan of this fella but anyone other than an UMNO guy is a better guy to me right now. So now, what next Anwar Ibrahim?

Will you make good your promise for September 16th?

Why is Abdullah Badawi so silent in the face of this defeat for UMNO? Only Najib Razak has issued a mild statement. What happened to the other BN ministers that came down on mass to speak out against Anwar Ibrahim, where are their voices now?

So what next?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

PERMATANG PAUH for the people.

It's nearing the end of polling for the people of Permatang Pauh and I feel it in my bones. Unless, Barisan Nasional puils off the most dirtiest of stunts; Anwar Ibrahim has this in the bag. Mine you, BN can still win if they play real dirty because all indications seem to point Anwar Ibrahim's way.

I'm not an out and out supporter of Anwar Ibrahim because I do have my reservations but I'm not a fan of the current establishment either. But I am on for the people and the people are fed-up with the way this country is being managed. The current establishment is cracking up along the seams and the biggest losers are the people. The ones running this country can do just Run away from being responsible leaders. Run away from the main reason the people voted them in and simple tell us what to do when they are no better (if not worst) than us.

Najib Razak said the stupidest thing the other day. Reminding the people to be thankful to BN for running this country. Hello! BN should be thankful to the people for keeping them around while they rob the country. We are the reason these jokers are in parliament. We are the reason these fellas have a wage to take home every week. We are the reasons these fellas can do business whether legal or illegal. We are the reasons these fellas exist in the higher strata of society.

What we can give, we can take back and I for one want the BN to be taken to task. Forget forming a new government, Pakatan Rakyat may not be ready for it, but the day will come when BN themselves would implode and in turn sit on the opposition side while the people take back control and run this country.


Monday, August 25, 2008

13 reasons why BN can win Permatang Pauh.

BN has a fighting chance to win Permatang Pauh for very simple reasons:

  1. Pakatan Rakyat got lazy and the people of Permatang Pauh can't see beyond the present day,

  2. RM200 is good enough to get my vote for BN, cause I can buy groceries and drink coffee after that,

  3. EVERYTHING Najib Razak promised for the Chinese and Indians will be fulfilled including giving scrap metal licenses,

  4. I believed everything EZAM said about Anwar, not withstanding the fact he really bitter he didn't get all he wanted in BN,

  5. I believed everything SAIFUL swore about even when the whole swearing ceremony is turning out to be a scam,

  6. I totally believe that BN has got it's act together after the 12th General Election and we're going to see better days,

  7. The IMMEDIATE fuel decrease had nothing to do with Permatang Pauh,

  8. The Government will not give a BONUS to the 1.2 million civil servant if Anwar wins, even when civil servants are suppose to serve the CURRENT government and not BN,

  9. EVERYTHING the main stream media said about Permatang Pauh was true even though Khairy Jamaluddin has a holding stack in Media Prima which has a hand in ALL main stream media you get on television,

  10. All the BN ceramah was well attended which means people of Permatang Pauh are throwing their support behind BN,

  11. The voters of Permatang Pauh DO NOT MIND waiting another 5 years until the 13th General election when they'll hear the same promises BN promised them for the by-election,

  12. Permatang Pauh voters DO NOT LIKE change, so staying with the status quo would mean things would get better,

  13. and Permatang Pauh voters just DO NOT LIKE Anwar Ibrahim.

So you think you have more reasons?


Friday, August 22, 2008

BN propaganda hitting them in their own faces in Permatang Pauh

It's interesting to see that as we are nearing the Permatang Pauh by-election polling day, the amount of pro-BN propaganda churned out by the main stream media and BN ministers has hit a level that skims the bottom of the barrel of human decency.

BN has attacked Anwar Ibrahim both directly and indirectly. Character assassination plots extend further than just the sodomy charges, now there is even a charge that Anwar Ibrahim acted inappropriately towards a datuk's wife. On top of all that, Anwar Ibrahim's pass performance in government is back under the spotlight.

It is ironic why BN never point to the fact that whatever Anwar Ibrahim put into place when he was a BN minister was fully endorsed by the BN administration at that time. It was not a decision, solely, made by one man but a decision made by the establishment; so pining the responsibility on only Anwar Ibrahim is wrong all together.

In-direct action against Pakatan Rakyat has also intensified during the days leading up to and also during the campaign period for Permatang Pauh. The arrest of the Perak Keadilan Exco Members screams bloody "political conspiracy", a charge Najib Razak denied. But the timing of all these things point sole to the under-hand tactics employed by BN to build perception of the negative kind towards Anwar Ibrahim and also towards Pakatan Rakyat. Old tactics are employed with the hope of turning the voters towards their UMNO candidate.

But BN will fail in this regards. These tactics may have worked in the past but not anymore. The voters that stepped out to vote during the 12th General Election for Permatang Pauh are still the same who would vote on the 26th August 2008. The angry sentiments of the voters towards BN are still fresh and these are the sentiments that would guide voters to vote come 26th August 2008. With the blatant attacks by BN, both directly and in-directly towards Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat, the voting public in Permatang Pauh feel their intelligence insulted. All that is portrayed in main-stream-media about the resounding support BN is getting from the Permatang Pauh people does not tell the real story.

PAS was quick to note, the people you see in those pro-government news reports are party workers. The general public's turn out is minimal. The support for Anwar Ibrahim is huge and it does not get reported in main stream media. Such bias reporting by main stream media (an old BN tactic) is actually helping the Pakatan Rakyat's cause.

Having Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ) screaming his head off, calling for Anwar to take the oath (much like Saiful did) to prove his innocence is not going to help either. KJ himself has much to answer, over his role in the whole sodomy debacle especially when he had fore-hand news about Anwar's arrest even before the rest of parliament knew about it. Having KJ present in Permatang Pauh would only aggravate the situation because he is really not that popular among the populace who see him as merely getting where he is by virtue of being the Prime Minister's son-in-law. As Kit Siang pointed out, KJ is the richest unemployed man in Malaysia. As member of parliament, KJ is neither here or there, making lots of noise but little to show for.

Najib giving out the RM 300,000 cheque to Lee Chong Wei in Permatang Pauh has not helped anything at all. It merely shows the blatant abuse of power practiced by BN all this while, which the public is very much aware of now. Najib could have presented the cheque in Kuala Lumpur rather than in Permatang Pauh.

So why fly Chong Wei to Permatang Pauh? Propaganda stunt and it was such acts that irked the people during the 12th General Election. The BN never learnt their lessons. The people are not interested in BN's show of power or supremacy, instead they just want a leader who would meet their needs. Not just show or tell them what to do but actually get their hands dirty are really bring about change in Permatang Pauh.

The BN propaganda machine has got it all wrong. Discrediting Anwar Ibrahim in order to gather the Malay votes, pumping funds towards the Chinese and Indian communities and scare tactics in places outside of Permatang Pauh will not do any good for them. The general public has wised up to everything BN has to offer. The blatant abuse of power on all levels of the government is glaring and no amount of bias reporting by main stream media can cover it up. The misdeeds of the BN politicians that have gone unpunished all this while is heavy on people's mind.

All the calls for Anwar to swear his innocence in the sodomy charge should by right be balanced out by calls for Najib to swear his innocence in the Altantuya's case or KJ's to swear his non-involvement in the running of the country by proxy.

Najib was right to say that everything they do now is considered political conspiracy because the rakyat is also looking at your pass deeds not just merely what you are doing now and it is not just limited to things in Permatang Pauh but to everything that the BN government is doing.

Permatang Pauh is going to be more than just a lost of a parliamentary seat for BN. A lost in Permatang Pauh would further erode every inch of credibility BN has as an institution that governs this country.

Permatang Pauh has cemented further the resentment the rakyat has towards BN and this would only translate towards more votes for Anwar Ibrahim.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Mud slinging has begun - so Malaysian politics.

Reports from Malaysiakini indicate that the mud-slinging among the candidates for the Permatang Pauh election have begun. Yup, character assassinations are the norm in Malaysian politics. Any and everything can and will be used against you in the public court of opinion. And in truth, the candidates would be voted in on just that - public opinion. Don't you think so?

Everyone has an opinion about someone else and everyone has something to scream about. So the one who can grab the greater crowd of opinion-guided-voters win even if they don't have a track record to show for.

So when the "X" is placed on the ballot paper it will be largely base on impressions, opinions and perceptions. All the voters would know would just be what they have heard. Strange but voter would be voting in someone they may not have seen in action. It's interesting to note (if Malaysiakini is to be believed) that even Anwar Ibrahim is seen as a candidate who doesn't meet his people, especially to those in Permatang Pauh. Instead, some prefer Wan Azizah because she goes down to see her people.

Sometimes it is better to be seen and not heard.

So mud slinging and everything is normal and believe me, when the candidate does not perform; we only have ourselves to fault.


Politics of service for the people

Reading through some of the news reports, we can get a good picture of what the people of Permatang Pauh expect from their elected representative in Parliament. The needs are simple, they want someone who can walk the talk and not merely hand out sweets during the campaign period.

I am skeptical of whatever the Barisan Nasional has promised especially to the Chinese and Indian communities in Permatang Pauh. Primarily because BN do not have a good track record of fulfilling their promises in places not represented by their own. Look at how the federal government (BN lead) handled their affairs for Penang in general.

So why would Permatang Pauh be any different than the rest of Penang? If BN wants to be "nice" to those in Permatang Pauh then they should be nice to the rest of Penang. Don't you think so? It makes perfect sense, if BN is really mesra rakyat (as they claim) than BN should be benevolent towards all the states they do not control. They should rise above all the politics and treat everyone as Malaysians even if they voted for the opposition.

But this is not the case. So would Permatang Pauh be a different thing all together after polling day?

All the people want in Permatang Pauh is someone who would come to their level and meet their needs. They want development, they want a better life for themselves and their children, they want less talk and more actions and frankly, they don't really care about all the politics of the day. All the dirt flinging going about does not matter to simple folks who want a chance at a better life.

Come polling day, Permatang Pauh residents will vote and whoever they vote into parliament must fulfill their promises. Be it Pakatan or BN. Promises must be worked out and given to the people. All the funds, allocated (as promised) must reach the people because that is what they need. This is what real politics is about - service to the people and only the people because it was the people who allowed these characters to become politicians. It is the people who pay taxes so that the politics of the day can use them for the betterment of the people.

But if these promises by these politicians are merely spoken as "sugar" for the campaign trail then I suggest come next election, Permatang Pauh vote in a farmer or rubber tapper or construction worker from their area who would serve his people.

Fulfill your promises and serve the people.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey Najib! Only now do you remember the Chinese and Indians?

This is the state of our government when come election time, they suddenly remember their voters. Come on, don't tell me all this while Najib Razak forgot that in Permatang Pauh there were Chinese and Indian Malaysians? Dishing out RM500,000 for the Chinese and scrapping scrap metal licenses for the Indians would change the fact the BN government forgot about these Malaysians? Or would such promises remain promises cause BN has the tendency to withdraw their election promises should it not be in their favor.

But that's the truth of the matter isn't it? BN forgot about these Malaysians. They FORGOT that these Malaysians also need the same support every other citizen deserves. Or is it because all this while Permatang Pauh has been in the hands of the opposition and giving aid to the enemies camp is really very un-UMNO like. Too bad, UMNO never read Sun Tzu's - The Art of War where it is prudent to be favorable towards the enemies army so you can win them over. The BN government should have done this in their time of plenty. To support the enemies camp, to show a benevolent spirit when dealing with people even those considered the enemy.

Offering such sweets in the time of war would only be a slap in the face of Chinese and Indian Malaysians in Permatang Pauh. It is in the time outside of elections that they should have been remembered. It was during those times before the elections, where these people needed aid for their children, for their schools and their businesses.

Najib Razak and all BN parliamentarians, remember it was the simple Malaysian who voted you all in. When we put that mark on the ballot paper, it did not show our race nor religion but a choice. We did not asked to be discriminated but you all choose to separate development based on our race and religion. So now you want to sugar up to the same people you discriminate?

Please, do not insult our (the Rakyat's) intelligence.


Avril Lavinge not good enough for Malaysia

I listen to a wide variety of music and personally in Malaysia we do have a lack of support and opportunity for the building up of local talent. It's even more depressing when international talents are barred from performing in Malaysia. The latest case being international pop star Avril Lavinge. At first there was a go ahead given for the concert and then due to protest from some quarters, it was eventually cancelled.

Several questions come to mind.

Firstly, if it was approved in the first place, shouldn't that mean it had passed all the requirements set by the Malaysian government? Instead, we have third party bodies protesting it on the grounds, it would bring about decadence among the youth of Malaysia. Heck, the youth are already listening to her music and it's being played over Malaysian radio, so why the protest? They say she is not "good" enough for the Malaysian public. Obviously, pointing towards her image rather than her talent. But showbiz is showbiz and the image does not necessarily reflect the true personality or character of a person.

Secondly, does Malaysian have a moral police? Meaning, it seems certain groups are acting as moral police who determines what I see or hear. To me Avril is mild compared to some of the local acts I see around me. Or does the image of a young woman, in full rock gear not to mention the fact she is also a mother, singing on stage strikes fear in the protesting groups? What gives?

Music is neutral, the rest is open to interpretation.

So I find it pretty stupid that my choices are decided by a group of people whom I have not entrusted in making those "moral" decisions. It is indeed a sad state for the Malaysian entertainment industry.


The Fear of Permatang Pauh

All eyes are on Permatang Pauh and rightly so as Barisan Nasional (BN) goes into election mode and dishes out the norm. The Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has given out aid to the Indian community and has made calls for non-Malays to throw their support behind their UMNO candidate. Fat chance, hasn't Najib learnt anything from the previous election? Non-Malays would rather vote PAS than UMNO.

Abdullah Badawi's government are darn serious in making sure they cut the winning majority votes for Anwar Ibrahim. BN knows that it will lose, the point now is by how much? A small majority lost would show the level of support Anwar Ibrahim has and it would send a signal to the whole country on his standing as a popular leader. A huge majority may spell doom for Abdullah Badawi's government as the writing would be on the wall for the longevity of his stay as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The results for Permatang Pauh is something UMNO fears and knows would determine the future for their shaky party. Already there is talk (as reported by Malaysiakini) that 13 Sabah MPs would join Pakatan Rakyat if Anwar wins. Najib Razak has denied this claim but in Malaysia denials normally point to the fact that there is truth in the claim.

The Rule of Opposites.

If the government say the economy is well, it means it is not; the government denies the sodomy conspiracy against Anwar, it merely means there is a conspiracy and so on, so forth.

So when the government said that Permatang Pauh would not put a dent in their standings, they were actually saying otherwise. It is pretty clear, UMNO would use any means possible to split the voters. To send a clear message to Pakatan Rakyat that support for them is very much, still strong. So UMNO is in fear of Permatang Pauh and such fears will be realized come voting day which falls on the 26th August 2008.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

By whatever means possible - Religious versus Civil Court

The Malaysian law clearly states that sodomy is a crime and that is the law Anwar Ibrahim is being charge with. It is a charge for consensual sex between two of the same gender. Now, if the act was forced upon Saiful then why not just charge Anwar with rape? If it's consensual sex then why not charge Saiful too? Isn't that the letter of the law and Malaysia does pride itself as being a nation that has laws, if not why bother telling America off when it commented on the events in Malaysia?

Still, why bother swearing on the Quran when there is no real provision for it (pertaining to sodomy) in the Syariah courts? And may I point out (I'm no expert) that producing four(4) witnesses is used in a case of adultery or rape. Now, sodomy is different (if you go literally), so does this mean in Syariah law sodomy amounts to rape and adultery? Saiful would need to produce four(4) witness and not swear on the Quran to prove his innocence because regardless of his swearing on the Quran, he still needs to produce the four(4) witness.

If you want to follow the Syariah way of doing things then better follow ALL the requirements. But then swearing on the Quran IN a mosque is not part of the requirement. So really, what is going on here?

It clearly points to one thing. The distrust, Saiful has for the function of Law.

If this case was as clear cut as it is supposed to be, then the Law would have been sufficient to prove the innocent from the guilty. So far, all we have are drama upon drama and the police seem to be cooking everything as they go along. Saiful made a police report first and by right, the Law takes precedence over all things. The Law swung into action, of course Anwar countered with the apparatus of the Law, while Saiful went into hiding (with aid from the police) and the courts took action. Yet Saiful pulls another stunt by initiating this swearing on holy book thing, obviously an attempt to gain what he wants since the Law was unable to swiftly do what he wanted. So now, which takes precedence - Syariah Law or Civil Law? Is this crime of Sodomy a case for Syariah or Civil courts? If Saiful treated it as a religious matter then he should have reported it to the Syariah court first and allow that court to take it due course. Yet he didn't and the whole thing is a muddle of sorts for me.

This then clearly points to an act of desperation by Saiful. Interestingly, Saiful's father now wants Anwar to follow suit and swear on the Quran that he never did commit Sodomy with Saiful. Again pushing something that is not asked for in Syariah law. Why? Why should Anwar even comply to such a request? Even if Anwar swears his innocence with the Quran in hand, what would it change? Nothing. It merely brings us back to square one - who is telling the truth? It merely points to the fact that someone is lying and the need to prove one's words is tantamount.

Who can prove better their case would win and that needs to be done in a court of Civil Law. Back to that place again, so this whole business of swearing on the Quran amounts to no more than a show of perceived innocence. It is unnecessary to do something that is not asked for by the Syariah Courts neither should statements be made in the public domain, challenging one another to prove one's innocence.

Ironically, I recall some BN ministers calling Anwar to swear by the Quran his innocence. I guess they too are ignorant of the fact that it is something that has no mention in the Quran.

It is sad to see that religion is used as a tool to validate a claim that could have been properly dealt with in the Civil Courts. Religion is used as leverage to twist the results of the Civil Courts to one's liking. If religious court, seemingly seen as higher due to its divine links, proves that Anwar is a sodomite than the Civil Court must follow suit even if the burden of proof say otherwise.

That seems to be Saiful's game.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Religion and Race should not determine Citizenship

Everyone is entitled to nationality. Everyone is entitled to belong to a country, to be a member of a nation. It is called Citizenship and peek into your passport or onto your IC and you will see that we are all Malaysians. Yet why does reality defer from what is written in law?

All citizens of Malaysia have equal opportunity to succeed in this nation. We all should have the same opportunities to earn a living, to gain an education and to practice our beliefs systems. We all are Malaysians regardless of our background or where we came from because that's what our passports or IC say so. Last I check I was very much Malaysian regardless of the fact I live on in East Malaysia. Thus, it irks me when I read news reports (MSM and Independent) that seem to segregate Malaysians base on race.

"Malay, Bumiputras, Chinese and Indians". Isn't that a common sentence we see in news reports? I am a bumiputra yet not Malay. Does that make me less Malaysian then the Malays? My wife is Chinese and her relatives (cousins) are Indians. On my mother's side we have Malay relatives (via marriage) and all of us get along fine. Do we segregate ourselves when we meet up? Aside from religious practices, we all sit together and chat away like nobodies business because we're family. And family ties cut across race and religion. We're all Malaysian who are bound by ties stronger than race or religion. We're bound by blood and blood ties run deep.

So why do we have so much talk about race and religion yet emphasizing the need for Bangsa Malaysia? In order for Bangsa Malaysia to be a reality, then any talk along the line of race and religion needs to be totally stop both by the politicians and also the press. There should not be any policies that seek to uplift a particular race or religion instead policies should be broad reaching, sheltering all Malaysians regardless of creed or religion.

Talk about being unable to compete should be abolished. After 50 years, all Malaysians should be able to compete on equal footing or else until when must help be given in order for one's race or religion to be up to par.

Abolish all mention of race and religion in our official documents. It is silly to fill in a form that asks for your race and religion. Why? What significance would that information be when filling in a bank form? Would my race and religion determined whether I get the bank loan or be able to borrow a book at the local library?

Abolish all quota systems. Why offer quotas to the majority group? Why not offer quota to the minority group because they are the ones who need it the most. Quota systems help out the minority groups not the majority yet in Malaysia the reverse is practiced.

Evict politicians who are career politicians. They have no qualms about enriching themselves. Politicians work for the people and not the other way round. They serve us because we put them into office. We were the ones who entrusted them with the responsibility to look after us.

Give Malaysians the opportunity to make a living in this fair country and you will see Malaysia prosper. Allow all Malaysians the freedom to express themselves and to practice their beliefs. Teach respect for one another rather than a doctrine of superiority and you will see a society that is mature and capable of living with one another. Enough of talking about tolerance but instead teach understanding and accepting ones differences. Then truly, Malaysia would be truly Malaysian.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There is no Freedom in Malaysia

It seems rather high-handed when the Home Ministry publication control and Al-Quran division deemed it upcoming editorial on Permatang Pauh outside the context of the publication's permit. The mere mention of Permatang Pauh has sent shivers up the Home Ministry and they have thrown their weight onto the Herald. The ironic thing is, the Home Ministry has yet to read or see the editorial according to the Herald's editor, Father Lawrence. Furthermore, according to Father Lawrence, the editorial is asking Christians to pray for a just and fair by-election.

What's wrong with praying for events affecting the country? And why jump the gun?

It shows that the BN government is getting jittery and they are going out of their way to maintain control over an explosive situation.

Suppressing the Herald, in the said manner, is in itself bad for Malaysia. Would the Home Ministry act the same if the editorial was in favor of the BN government? Would they still argue along the line the the publication should only talk about religious matters and not political matters if the Herald wrote about BN?

Is there fear that a small publication with a reach of 12,000 could have an impact on the by-election?

It is a mockery of freedom, when the Home Ministry quench news reporting the way they do here. It is a subtle form of blackmail. Forcing publications to write according to what is favorable to the current BN government. But all is not lost, by restricting permits in such manner, publications are force to move to alternative media outlets such as portals and blogs to have their views aired.

Main Stream Media (MSM) have become mere apparatus of the ruling government to spread their propaganda whereas alternative media has become the voice of the common man/woman. It will be in cyberspace where Malaysians can truly be free to express themselves and this cannot be controlled.

The Home Ministry needs to wise up and understand that in the Malaysia of today, religion and governance are so intertwined there is no separation from each other. If the Herald wishes to comment on an upcoming by-election, than let them comment because there is nothing wrong there, for any Islamic publication would comment about it sooner-or-later, so would action be taken against them too? I don't think so.

Remember, this government practices Double Standards.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Government that Practices Double Standard.

The recent Bar Council Open Forum to discuss the plight of Muslim converts has drawn it's fair share of comments from both sides of the political spectrum in Malaysia. The BN government (as always) oppose any kind of discussion that would under-mine the religious equilibrium in Malaysia while the Pakatan Rakyat is going into damage control as one of its own was the head huncho in leading the demonstrators.

Ambiga Sreenevasan (Bar Council Chief) is facing possibility of being a victim of the Internal Security Act:

It was an ironic finale but nevertheless fitting when Bar Council chief found herself answering questions on the possibility of being put away under the Internal Security Act after hosting a forum on one of the country's most oppressive laws

Source: Malaysiakini

It's regrettable that Ambiga is threaten with detention under the ISA when such detention should also be extended to the ones leading the demonstrators. I thought a short while ago, the government was against any form of demonstrations? So why the meek response (from the authorities) to the demonstrators who stormed a peaceful open forum, shouted abuse at the participants and threaten to resort to violence if the forum was not closed?

Why wasn't Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin (the head huncho) placed under detention for leading an illegal gathering and demonstration? Why go after just one party when there are others who show total disregards to the rule of law and order?

The BN government practices Double Standards and it is rotten to the core, just ask Tun Mahathir. He had a lot to say on his blog on how rotten UMNO is. With a government so rotten to the core, it is almost with certainty that people like Ambiga would be made to pay while jokers like Zulkifli would walk away with a slap on the wrist.

Pak Lah, the so called "Leader for All Malaysians", has issued a statement that he disapprove of sensitive forums. "Don't hold forums relating to race and religion," he says. Yet we all know this is not true. Such forums are held and approve only if it pushes the government agenda and works to the governments advantage. Pak Lah is not a "Leader for All Malaysians", a leader would foster dialogue among his under-lings. He would be fair to all, not under-mining those from his own camp but also being benevolent towards those not of his camp.

Double Standards are a way of life with the BN government. It is what has kept them in power all this while yet I hope Malaysians would wake up from their slumber and make a push to replace the current government with one that practices what it preaches and one that would look after its people. Replace all the career politicians who are merely warming the seats of parliament with those that would really work for the people.

There should be only one standard, meted out to all Malaysians and it should be one where all are treated equal and fair.


Monday, August 11, 2008

The Widening Religious Divide

Forget tolerance and all that talk about respecting other peoples beliefs. Forget about cultivating open dialogue or free discussions in Malaysia. The people are just not ready for such things. In fact some are just too immature for any form of high level thinking. This includes those in the seat of power in this country. As long as we hide behind the excuse of "tolerance" and "religious sensitivity", Malaysia will forever be in the backwaters.

Discussing religious ideas in an open arena would not damage the religion. The belief system would remain intact and God would remain who He is. The Creator of the Universe has no insecurity issues but those He created seem to be very insecure about their beliefs.

Would open discussion derail the faith of many?

There is a Religious Divide that cuts across Malaysian society and it is eating away at any notion of a Bangsa Malaysia. Religion should be a personal matter and should not be used as a tool to oppress or put down another human being. Too many wars have been fought along religious lines and many more will be fought as long as we have people who think and believe in their superiority over others.

The religious zealots are do not only have an insecurity issue but they also have a superiority complex. This is a human trait especially when one is brought up in an environment where one is taught that he/she is superior to other people of other religion. But such superiority delusions also breed insecurity issues where any perceived "attack" on their religion is taken as a personal attack. And in the case of the disruption of the Bar Council open forum, most of the protestors came to defend their own insecurity issues.

If the religion is strong then it will stand the test of time and words.

I'm sadden by the whole event. It just shows how far we are from real dialogue among people of different religions. When will we ever have the forum to sit down together and discuss the various tenets of our beliefs, not to criticize but to understand and to take the path of being at peace with our neighbors?

Forget tolerance, being tolerant means we put up with one another's quirks and mis-deeds. Instead, lets just point out what bothers us and come to an agreement on how to tackle the issue. Stop sweeping the matter under the rug, using excuses such as "religious sensitivities". Just say it out and lets have a good discussion about it.

Would open discussion make you or me less a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or Hindu?


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Malaysiakini Google search blockage is bad for Malaysian bloggers.

It is an open secret among Malaysian bloggers that in order to get yourself listed on the Malaysiakini blog list, you have to have a reference to Malaysiakini. Literally, you must have the word "Malaysiakini" listed within your posting in order for it to be listed. Malaysiakini employs a GOOGLE search which spiders through the net, looking for any mention of the word "Malaysiakini" and then when finding one, it creates a link-back to the article.

It is a good thing to be listed on the list whereby a blogger can see his hit counter strike the thousands within a short time-frame. This in turn creates revenue for the blogger either through ADSENSE or NUFFNANG adverts. Not bad, considering Malaysian bloggers are desperately trying to create reach for their article and make a buck along the way. In leans times like the ones we face now, any form of passive income is welcome and what better way to earn money then by writing? Malaysian bloggers need all the help they can get, for the channels for Malaysian bloggers to make a small profit from their blogs are limited, minute even. Malaysiakini has that ability to help and develop Malaysian bloggers who are on par with their fellow brothers/sisters bloggers of the world.

But in recent months, Malaysiakini has started pruning this list, blocking some articles from being listed. Apparently, some bloggers have wised up and added the word "Malaysiakini" in the title of their posting. This is prime area for the GOOGLE spider bot to search and almost guarantees a listing on the list. What you have then, are articles that have content which does not refer to any Malaysiakini article and borders on personal opinion or advert-post. The primary goal of the said blogger is to merely get listed, the content is secondary.

Like the moniker, a bad apple spoils the whole barrel, this has lead to this pruning exercise by the Malaysiakini administration staff. I can understand why the Malaysiakini administrators are doing this, it is mentioned in their advisory where they use the term "lazy blogging" yet I also see the harm that this form of pruning does.

I can think of two areas where Malaysiakini irks me the most.

(1) It goes against the very independent ideals of Malaysiakini.

Malaysiakini strives to be an independent news portal for Malaysia. In fact, it is the only one of its kind for Malaysia. Yet, the very people that remain independent (bloggers) are restricted from having their articles appearing on their listing. Independent views constitute independent news even if it may be just an opinion because it can be news for some people.

Malaysiakini should encourage citizen reporting rather then mere referencing their own articles. Citizen Reporters are independent and they are not paid to write about the events happening around them. Their views showcase the actual grass-root feelings the people have towards the situations affecting Malaysia. Malaysiakini should open a channel whereby Malaysian bloggers can submit their RSS feeds and get listed on the Malaysiakini portal. Encourage responsible reporting and highlight bloggers who are contributing well. In time the bad apples will rot away and the good ones will remain fresh in the barrel.

(2) Isn't pruning Censorship?
Malaysiakini screams when the Malaysian government wants to introduce any form of control within the Malaysian blogosphere. Yet they practice a form of censorship on their own portal. By removing bloggers whom they deemed not worthy to be listed, Malaysiakini themselves are applying the very measure of control they so fervently speak against. By this act of pruning, Malaysiakini only allows those postings that are favorable to their own ideals and in turn stifle the only channel most Malaysian bloggers have to air their opinion. This very act by Malaysiakini leaves a bad taste in the mouth of this blogger.

My suggestion for Malaysiakini is simple - Malaysiakini should stop pruning the GOOGLE search results and instead encourage Malaysian bloggers to submit their RSS feeds to the portal.

The very nature of a portal works in this manner yet labeling oneself a portal and being a portal are two different things. If Malaysiakini calls itself a PORTAL than it should act like a portal. Portals collect information from different sources. In this case, Malaysiakini should source out Malaysian bloggers for Malaysian news and views. The only criterium for inclusion into the listing can be set by the administrators and Malaysian bloggers should submit based on the categories set by the Malaysiakini administrators.

We need portals like Malaysiakini in Malaysia where news is stifled and filtered by the current administration. We allow the current BN government to do the censorship and pruning of news but (please) Malaysiakini should not do it themselves. If you advocate freedom of expression then please practice it yourself.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Where is Malaysia heading?

It is a question we all need to ask our leaders. Just where is Malaysia heading? What should the people aspire for? Just what should fellow Malaysians look up to or for?

During the reign of Tun Mahathir, we were given Vision 2020. To see Malaysia among the develop elite by the year 2020. Everything was geared towards achieving this vision. Strategic plans were made in areas of industry, information technology and nation economics. Malaysia was sold on the idea and we had the leader to take us to that goal. Yet after Tun Mahathir retired; there is little if not no mention of Vision 2020.

So where is Abdullah Badawi taking this nation?

In the early days of Abdullah Badawi's administration, there was a lot of excitement. Here was a man with the title of "Mr Clean" and he was going to clean up the administration. Corruption would be dealt with, abuse of power would be crushed, freedom of press, abolishment of ISA, the rule of Justice and the betterment of the quality of life in Malaysia. We enjoyed a robust and strong economy.

That was in 2004. In 2008, things are not as rosy as we thought it would be. Flip-flop decisions by the administration. Most time we see ministers announcing things only to have the Prime Minister reverse it and chief among the announcements was the fuel hike.

2008 and we are still treated to high drama. Chief among the dramas is the Altantuya Murder Trial, which has more twist than all the Korean soap operas put together. The question that begs an answer is the ability of the heir apparent to Abdullah Badawi, Najib Razak, to avoid having his day in court. Him and his wife are both entangled in a web spun by the murder of this Mongolian woman.

Another drama would be the recycled sodomy drama involving Anwar Ibrahim and Mohd. Saiful. It's pure Hollywood, that after a month of investigation, the police had yet to conclude their investigation and then a day after the Home Minister asks them to speed it up; they conclude the investigation and submit their report to the Attorney General's office. It takes a minister to prompt the investigation into high gear.

Now, Anwar Ibrahim is going to make a move to get himself into parliament and the government would surely make a move to create hurdles for him to achieve it. The government is running scared and succeeded in embarrassing themselves with their over-the-top arrest of Anwar Ibrahim for questioning concerning the sodomy charges and flapping attempt by the Information Minister at engaging Anwar Ibrahim in a live debate over the fuel hike.

So where is Malaysia heading while all this drama is going on?

In fact, I think we have gone backwards. Various projects have been introduced prior to the 12th General Elections and still have nothing to show for. The federal government has withdrawn various projects in Penang. Terengganu seems to be imploding, with the current administration seemingly carrying out a witch-hunt for the previous administration's faults. UMNO has been embarrassed by PAS after their so-called unity talks went flat like a dead fish.

Where are we heading?

We have lost sight of Vision 2020. What was clear has now been reduced to near-sightedness flip-flopping reactive decisions. The rakyat has been pushed into desperate mode with the sky-rocketing price of essentials. We are heading backwards and the government seems impervious to what is happening because they are too busy creating their dramas.


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