Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Elections and the rakyat

The voters not the voted are the masters

Nominations for the 12th General elections went on smoothly without any major hitches. The various political parties have revealed their manifestos and vigorous campaign for votes have begun. Each party and the candidates themselves claim they are the best. We really hope the parties concerned, both ruling and opposition, have provided their best candidates for the people.

It was heartening to see opposing candidates putting aside their political differences and greeting each other in a friendly manner during the nominations. We hope their friendliness and goodwill will extend into the campaign period and thereafter. We hope they adhere to the election rules and ethics during their campaign, avoiding sensitive issues and personal attacks against their opponents.

It is encouraging that in over 90% of the constituencies there is a straight one-to-one fight between the BN and the opposition, making it easier for the voters to make their pick. It was a great achievement on the part of the opposition. It is now up to the voters to scrutinize the merits of each candidate and the party they represent before deciding who they elect to represent their interests in parliament and state assemblies. After 50 years, I am sure the people are mature enough to choose the best candidate and the party as their wakil rakyat.

Unfortunately this time certain unhealthy trends appeared to have set in when it came to the choice of candidates. Firstly, there was the parachuting of high profile national leaders into areas where they were alien but considered “safe seats”. This virtually displaced the local leaders, who had worked tirelessly over the years to gain the trust and support of the local people. This by-passing of local leaders had caused much unhappiness among them and the residents.

Secondly, there appears to be a tendency towards the setting up of political dynasties. A significant number of children and relatives, some extremely young, of important personalities have managed to secure seats to contest.

Thirdly,many veteran politicians despite having passed their prime still refused to step down to make way for capable younger candidates.

Political parties should not allow these practices to take roots as they would deny talented and capable leaders at grassroots from being selected as candidates. Creating dynasties in political parties is unhealthy for the future of the nation as a whole because by doing so only those who are well connected will get a chance to be selected. Selection of candidates should be based purely on merit not otherwise.

A number of issues require serious attention by the government coming into power. These include an escalating cost of living and basic amenities of healthcare, housing and education, corruption, racial and religious polarizations and allegations of discrimination, a partisan public service and high crime rate.

These issues must be addressed immediately and professionally before irreversible damage is done to the socio-economic well being of the country. It needs a government that is not only experienced but possesses the political will to listen to the people and change for the better.

As responsible citizens, we have a very important obligation to our nation on this March 8. It is not about clearing clogged drains, filling potholes, putting up street lights or carrying out projects to beautify the environment, which should be the responsibility of the relevant local authorities. It is far more important than those; we are to elect the people who will deliberate and debate on national policies and issues that will affect not just the present but the future of our nation.

We may not be able to make a complete change this time but we must at least deny the ruling party a 2/3 majority to check its abuses of power and wealth. Every political candidate and party claims they are the best but that is for us to decide and decide we must do with great wisdom, discern and diligence. In a democratic system, it is the voters not the voted are the masters.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Racial politics must be abolished

Racial politics must be abolished

Abraham Lincoln, in his earlier days, was moved by the sight of slaves being sold in the market,and he remarked "If I get a chance to hit this thing,I'll hit it hard".Yes,he went on to become the 16th.president of America and as pledged he abolished slavery,against the wishes of the white majority and masters of the land.By carrying out the most unpopular decision,which even caused him his life, he become one of the greatest politicians of all times.

Not many political leaders today would want to take a stand,though may be right but unpopular, for fear of losing their support.In Malaysia politics is primarily based on race and over the last 50 years only ethnic champions have ascended the throne of power.Many true Malaysians at heart,who went against that to champion all the races, soon disappeared into oblivion to become just another name in history.

Anwar in vowing to dismantle race politics is taking the biggest gamble of his political career.We salute his courage and his determination to steer the country in the direction where every citizen,regardless of his/her ethnicity will be accorded equal and fair treatment.It may cost him his political career but it should not worry him too much as with his perseverance, one day as his party's manifesto goes,"A new dawn for Malaysia" will definitely materialize.

We all yearn for the day when all citizens regardless of race and religion can play together.eat together,stay together and even pray together without hate and suspicion for one another but share a common brotherhood as Malaysians.

We must give Anwar all the support he needs in his struggles to rid the nation of racial politics that is threatening to destroy the very foundation on which it has been built.We have the means now,our vote.Come March 8,let us all rise up courageously to display our patriotism and say "yes" to Anwar in his endeavors to free our nation from the clutches of racial politics so that our dreams for a united Malaysia will become a reality in the near future.We must destroy racial politics before it destroys us.

Dr.Chris Anthony


Anwar vows to dismantle racial politics

Malaysiakini Feb 26, 08 7:19pm

Opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim has vowed to end race-based discrimination policies in Malaysia, making it one of the major planks of his party's manifesto ahead of March 8 polls.

pkr manifesto launch pc 260208 anwar talkingAnwar, who was deputy prime minister until being sacked and jailed in 1998, said long-running policies favouring majority Malays had only benefited cronies of the ruling Umno.

"The New Economic Policy has been abused to enrich the family of Umno leaders and their cronies," said Anwar who is campaigning for the PKR formally led by his wife.

"If you really want to deal with the issue of poverty, why can't we just say we have an affirmative action policy helping the poor and the marginalised. It should not be racially based."

Malaysia has pursued an affirmative action program for Malays and indigenous groups known as bumiputeras since the 1970s to close a wealth gap with the minority Chinese community.

However, it has been criticised for failing to pull a large number of Muslim Malays out of poverty, and of ignoring the minority ethnic Indian community, which is also disadvantaged.

Battling rising inflation

The manifesto entitled 'A New Dawn for Malaysia', centred on battling rising inflation, which has triggered public anger and rare public protests as the prices of food and fuel edge higher.

pkr manifesto launch pc 260208 groupPrime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said the government cannot afford to continue spending RM43.4 billion annually to subsidise essential items.

Anwar said Abdullah was "in denial" over the state of the economy.

"PKR promises to lower the price of petrol ... as well as manage the prices of basic goods to ensure a consistent supply. Tolls and tariffs will also no longer be raised," he said.

PKR has forged a loose alliance with two other opposition parties who have agreed to stand just one candidate against the government in each constituency, avoiding damaging three-cornered contests.

The opposition hopes that gripes over inflation, rising crime rates and mounting ethnic tensions will enable it to reduce the government's thumping majority below two-thirds for the first time in history.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lingam video scandal : need for revamp of Judiciary

The Royal commission of Inquiry an insult to the intelligence of the people

The Royal Commission Inquiry into the Lingam video has come to an end and the question in everyone’s mind is whether the commission will come up with any credible conclusions and recommendations to heal the ailing judiciary. The general opinion is there will not be any tangible outcome from it therefore confirming perception that it was just a sandiwara.

The commission began with various high profile personalities denying everything that was obvious to the eyes and minds of the ordinary person. It is sad that what is seen and heard become by one’s own eyes and ears can be disputed by those in power and influence. If such evidence was presented of ordinary citizens, they would have been convicted and sentenced without the need for an elaborate Royal Commission requiring the expenditure of thousands of ringgit of taxpayer’s money.

The allegations and the evidence of the various witnesses were extremely serious that has tremendously tarnished the integrity of the judiciary at the highest level. They have cast serious doubts of the integrity of the judiciary in the minds of the rakyat.

Imagine the following scenario:

1. A lawyer writing the judgment for a very senior judge and the accused being convicted and fined RM10million, the highest so far for a crime of that nature.
2. The top judge in the country and his family going on holiday to a foreign land with a lawyer involved in the cases being deliberated by the judge.
3. A lawyer sending expensive gifts to top judges and their families.
4. A lawyer brokering the promotion of not junior but very senior judges to the highest positions in the judiciary.

In most democratic countries these allegations would have been sufficient to pass a vote of no confidence in the government of the day and call for fresh elections. In Malaysia unfortunately the ruling party may not only win the election but with an increased majority because the people are fearful of losing their positions of comfort with somebody else coming into power. They prefer the economic and social “security” over accountability, transparency and good governance.

The way the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam tape conducted itself, is an insult to the intelligence of the people. Should we continue to accept such insults? Isn’t it a time for change? We should ponder over these questions and act wisely come March 8.

The judicial corruption is the making of the BN government especially under the leadership of former Prime Minister,Tun Dr. Mahathir over the last 2 decades. When called to testify before the Royal Commission he conveniently chose to forget his The way the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam tape conducted itself, is an insult to the intelligence of the people. Should we continue to accept such insults? Isn’t it a time for change? We should ponder over these questions and act wisely come March 8.

part that contributed to the emasculation of the judiciary. He was however very vivid with his memory as far as his authority was concerned. He was arrogant enough to say that he owes nobody any explanation for his decisions, not even the Chief Justice in the appointment of judges. He was mainly responsible for the mess in our judiciary today.

There was much hope that after Mahathir’s exit, the new prime minister may initiate measures to clear the mess but it was too much for him. Consciously or otherwise he managed to expose the filth, but he has proven that he is not capable to restore the judiciary and the country to its past glory. Can we trust a party which has created all this mess to be responsible enough to clear them as well? How can we when the government doesn’t even admit its mistakes?

As citizens we are helpless against the powerful government which continues to bulldoze its unfair policies without consultation or dialogue. All peaceful means of expression are denied.Peacful assemblies are crushed brutally with water canons and tear gas.

It is election time and it is the only opportunity for us to make known in uncertain terms our frustrations to the government we chose all these years. We must deny them the 2/3 majority that gives them absolute power to do as they please. We must not lose this golden opportunity to put things right. We must act and now is the time.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Monday, February 18, 2008

Oppositio front,please don't let us down this time

Hope it is finally settled - the seat tussle between the opposition parties,DAP,PKR and PAS.We congratulate Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang for brokering the deal between their parties.It must be remembered that no single party will win all the time,there must be give and take.Leaders of the opposition must rise above party for the sake of the nation.

The people are ready for change,please don't let them down as you may not get this opportunity again. It would have been a great idea to contest under a common name ( Barisan Rakyat) and symbol for all opposition candidates regardless which party they come from.That would not only avoid confusion among voters but would also foster closer understanding and cooperation among the various races in the opposition front.

As Malaysians who want change,we appeal to the leaders of DAP,PKR and PAS; please put aside your differences and work together to secure more seats first and then sort out the power sharing later.Please do not disappoint us this time by your petty squabbles.

Dr.Chris Anthony


Opposition agrees to one-to-one fights

Malaysiakini,Feb 18, 08 5:46pm

After a few false starts and an acrimonious war of words, the opposition has finally stitched a tentative agreement on straight fights against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in the March 8 general election.

However the two key opposition parties, DAP and PKR, still have grounds to cover in the next few days if they are to ink an electoral pact in Sabah and Sarawak.

The opposition needs to finalise the deal before nomination day on Sunday when candidates will be submitting their names to the Election Commission for their respective constituencies.

A source who is part of the seat negotiations however expressed confidence that an agreement will be reached in those two states.

dap pkr seat negotiation 170208According to a blog entry by DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, the opposition had a "five-hour marathon meeting ... which ended with primary agreement for one-to-one contests between DAP or PKR with BN in Peninsular Malaysia states".

The meeting was held at the DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya between Lim and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim along with other top party leaders last night.

Penang and Sarawak

The talks for an electoral pact began well when both DAP and PKR called a joint press conference on Jan 9 to announce that the two parties had inked a deal in Penang.

The deal in Penang on Jan 9 was a breakthrough as the two parties had fought it out in four seats - one parliament and three state seats - in the last general election. The resulting three-cornered contests were all won by BN.

Under the pact, DAP - which for long has aspired to rule Penang - will contest seven of the 13 parliamentary seats and 19 of the 40 state seats.

PKR and the other opposition party PAS will negotiate for the remaining seats.

But the hard-nosed negotiations failed to pick up the momentum from the Penang deal and almost came apart in other key states, in particular Perak and to a lesser degree in Selangor.

This was made complicated by the sizable number of non-Malay voters in the two states who are wooed by both parties.

Sarawak is also seen as intractable as many ethnic Chinese leaders in the state PKR were formerly disgruntled DAP members who had left the party.

Deadlock in talks

lim kit siang dap pc 130208 seriousA disappointed Lim had earlier expressed his unhappiness in the deadlock, saying that the negotiations were taking too much time.

The DAP veteran went as far as offering a three-cornered contest in his Ipoh Timur parliamentary seat in return for an agreement that other seats in Perak should be straight fights with the BN.

It is an open secret that PKR has several non-Malay candidates who are keen to contest in Chinese-majority seats in Perak. But DAP feels this is encroaching on its traditional territory.

In 2004, PKR vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye had eyed Ipoh Timur but following DAP’s insistence to field Lim there, PKR gave way and Lee went to Gopeng instead. Eventually, Lim won Ipoh Timur but Lee lost in Gopeng.

In the agreement yesterday, it is learnt that the two opposition parties have generally reverted to the seats they had contested in the 2004 elections.

This included Sungai Siput in Perak, which is held by MIC chief S Samy Vellu.

It will be again contested by yet-to-be-registered PSM, which in the past two elections had run under the PKR banner.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Samy Velu must accept reality

The MIC president must be a very lonely and disappointed man these days.Wherever he goes he is not wanted.His own people are against him and with the pressure mounting for him to resign, all his friends ,even the most steadfast, will soon dessert him.That is all politics is all about.


Samy: a very lonely man these days (Pix courtesy of Malaysiakini)


Samy is being wrongly advised to think that the majority of Indians still support him but on the contrary we can safely conclude that over 90% are not happy with him and want him to step down.I have yet to come across any Indian,for that matter even the non-Indians,who still want him to lead the MIC.He will be the most disappointed man if only he comes to know the truth.


Samy must face reality and be magnanimous to accept it.To spare his community from whatever dignity and respect it still commands among the others races,he must go.
The earlier he does that the better for the Indian community,which he says he loves so dearly.

Dr.Chris Anthony





Pressure mounts on Samy to go


K Kabilan Malaysiakini, Feb 17, 08 3:19pm


Several MIC leaders are quietly worried that party president S Samy Vellu has become a liability and should be replaced soon.
umno bn leaders election meeting 140208 samy vellu
However they are clueless as to how they can convince him to step down from his party and government posts.

Samy Vellu, also the works minister, looks set to contest for the Sungai Siput constituency in the March 8 general election, a seat which he retained since 1974. He has been the party president for the past 29 years.

“Recently we see that many members of the community have been publicly vocal in blaming Samy Vellu for the failures of the community,” said a party veteran.

“The community’s anger has been escalating since the Nov 25 Hindraf rally. First it was against the government, and then it was against MIC but now it is increasingly more against Samy Vellu,” he added.

He cited the incident in Butterworth last night when a group of angry Indians confronted Samy Vellu, demanding him to be answerable to the police action taken against supporters of Hindu Rights Action Force in Kuala Lumpur earlier in the day.

samy blocked in penangThe group blocked Samy Vellu’s car from leaving after a function and jeered him for being unable to help the community. Samy Vellu was stuck in his car for more than 30 minutes and was only ‘rescued’ by a team of police outriders. (photo, left)

“This is not the first time the crowd had openly faced Samy Vellu in the public, asking him to explain why the community had failed,” said the leader.

The Butterworth incident was the second such incident in the past one week.

samy vellu mobbed at selangor tamil school on feb 13, 2008Earlier in the week, Samy Vellu was also similarly surrounded and heckled by some youths during the foundation laying ceremony for a Tamil school in Selangor. Another group of some 30 people also held placards opposing Samy Vellu at the same function.(photo, right)

The police had to be called in to escort the veteran politician from the area.

“And I am sure this is not going to end with these two incidents. The anger on the ground in not going away. In fact, it is increasing. We realise this but the party can only put a brave face and claim that we can counter them,” added another MIC division level leader who witnessed the Butterworth incident last night.

No sense of responsibility

M Mayilsamy was in the group of people who blocked Samy Vellu’s car last night. He said that the group was angry with the police action which sprayed water and fired teargas at Hindraf supporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning.

samy vellu and mic“They were innocent people who had gathered to give roses to the prime minister. Not a single MIC leader spoke out against the police action. We wanted to ask Samy Vellu on why he was not in support for calls for reform for the community

“But he choose to remain silent in the car, and at one stage called the Hindraf supporters who were arrested by the police as criminals,” added Mayilsamy.

“That got us angry. Criminals? These were normal folks who went to hand in roses to the PM. They weren’t armed. How can Samy just label them as such. He has not sense of responsibility for the community,” he charged.

Several MIC leaders contacted by Malaysiakini today refused to publicly comment on the police action on the Hindraf gathering. And they were afraid to comment on the mounting criticism against the party boss.

Ever since the Hindraf rally on Nov 25 which called for the government to redress the sidelining of the Indian community in this country, a simmering discontent has appeared among the Indian community over the performance of Samy Vellu. The grassroots feeling is that he has not done enough for the upliftment of the community.

Recently the government acknowledged that the community had legitimate grievance and had promised to overcome them.

However the community’s anger has not dissipated, instead it has been channelled at Samy Vellu.

Mounting pressure

However until now MIC leaders have regrouped behind Samy Vellu, saying that only he can ensure that the government fulfills whatever demands that are made via MIC, the sole Indian representative in the government.

In his defence, they have also said that Samy Vellu had never failed to ask the government to help uplift the community and blamed the government’s poor delivery system for the failures in the government programmes and aides reaching the community.

“But it doe not look like the community is going to buy this. They want immediate government equality actions and feel that such actions need not be channelled through MIC,” said political observer and local government veteran M Pithchay.

“Samy Vellu can no longer go around the country and claim that he would get the government to uplift the community. No one will believe him. He has lost his credibility,” he added.

Such sentiments are now slowly being admitted by MIC leaders. Openly they say that Samy Vellu should contest in Sungai Siput. Privately they are wondering how to convince him to give up and leave.

“Perhaps he should adhere to the prime minister’s remarks the other day that Samy Vellu might not put his name up as a candidate,” added a party leader.

samy vellu m saravanan and mic and indian peopleMIC Information Chief M Saravanan however was quick to defend his boss.

“What will they achieve if he goes? Is he to be solely blamed for the failures of the community?” he asked.

But a large segment of the community believes that Samy Vellu’s departure would be a good start for the upliftment of the community as he comes under increasing pressure to do so in the run up to the elections.

Friday, February 15, 2008

When denial means true

The PM says Anwar is not a factor in the date of dissolution of parliament 0n 13.2.08.How to trust him when he was not truthful in announcing the date of dissolution a day before?He denied when asked but less than 24 hours,he did it.No sweat.

Now he says Anwar was not a factor which,by simple reasoning, implies that he was the main factor.Soon he may say he does not know who Anwar is.Malaysian politicians are peculiar,they think we, the voters are stupid.They grossly underestimate our intelligence.We must prove we are not stupid come March 8, otherwise only God can save Malaysia.

Dr.Chris Anthony






'Forgotten' Anwar no longer a factor

Syed Jaymal Zahiid Malaysiakini,Feb 14, 08 6:28pm

“Forget Anwar Ibrahim. He is nothing.”

That was the straight reply from Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairperson Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when asked if BN would have had a daunting prospect of facing PKR’s de facto leader in the coming elections.

umno bn leaders election meeting 140208 pak lahAbdullah said that Anwar was not a factor in upcoming elections, saying he had "forgotten" about him.

The statement was also made to counter allegations of fear on the side of Umno and BN that if Anwar was allowed to contest, his party PKR would see a majority of voters swinging towards the opposition half.

“It (choosing the election date) has nothing to do with Anwar. We always face the opposition (and) they are not a problem ,” Abdullah told reporters in a press conference held after chairing an Umno Supreme Council meeting at the party’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

This coming April marks the expiry of Anwar’s legal barring from participating in active politics.

Anwar had objected to the timing of the polls on March 8, just a month before he is eligible to run for office after the ban expires, saying it was designed to keep him out of the race.

"Nothing to do with that," However Abdullah said today.

"We have forgotten about Anwar. I don't remember about Anwar," he told reporters.

“It is not me who decides on the election date but the Elections Commission,” he said as a rebuttal to opposition accusations.

anwar ibrahim vk lingam hearing pc 290108 talkingAnwar, once a star Umno politician, was sacked by then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and jailed in 1999 on corruption and sodomy charges that were widely seen as politically motivated.

The sodomy charge was later quashed but the corruption count bars him from politics until April this year.

The former deputy premier and finance minister said that Abdullah was rushing to the polls after his approval ratings dropped to an all-time low.

"Malaysians are hard hit by rising prices, rampant crime, endemic corruption and heightened ethnic tensions. The longer that Barisan Nasional waits, the more seats it stands to lose in the general election," he said in a statement.

Samy Vellu to be dropped?

Abdullah also did nothing to dismiss rumours when he was persistently asked by reporters to comment on MIC President S Samy Vellu’s candidacy in the polls.

umno bn leaders election meeting 140208 samy velluSamy Vellu has been the center of tremendous media and opposition speculations that he will no longer be fielded following his unpopular stand among the nation’s Indian community.

When pressed if Samy Vellu will be defending his seat in Sungai Siput, Perak, Abdullah said he has not come up with a decision yet.

“You might never know, he may not even put his name on the list,” he said, leaving reporters bewildered.

His reply was followed by more questions on the fate of Samy Vellu but Abdullah retorted by saying that he does not want to make speculative statements as the list of candidates to contest have not been finalised.

Umno is ready

Earlier, the Umno top brass held a meeting to discuss their election preparations and other matters related to the elections.

bn banner being placed 140208Abdullah said Umno and BN were confident of retaining victory against the opposition when they battle out each other in the 12th general election slated for March 8.

He also said that all Umno leaders have reached an agreement on the party’s election preparations and that the top leaders have ensured that election coordination be done smoothly.

Adding on, he said that this election will see candidates chosen based on their track records and he also said that he was currently assessing the ‘report cards’ of previous candidates.

“Whether or not someone will contest depends on their report cards. The report card will show whether or not the person is suitable to contest or not” he said.

General Election 2008 : Continuity or Change?

We need candidates who have credibility and integrity

Malaysians of all ethnicity and all walks of life will go to the polls on March 8, to decide the destiny of the nation which they have all made their home. It is a rare occasion when all citizens, regardless of race, creed, social standing, political affiliation and even the physically handicapped are made to feel equal in exercising their constitutional rights.

Over the last 50 years under the Barisan Nasional (BN) rule the nation had made great strides; from a underdeveloped agricultural country we have become a prosperous industrialized nation and at the brink of becoming a developed nation by 2020.Our success story is our pride and an example for others to ape. The credit goes to our leaders, for their foresight and wisdom and the relentless work of the people. We have never experienced the rule by any party other than the BN which were made to believe is the only party that can effectively rule the country.

Although we have developed tremendously, like in any country, we have our share of problems and setbacks as well. The country is now plagued with problems of racial and religious polarization, inflation, declining standards of education, high crime rate, immigrant problems, sluggish civil service and corruption at the highest places.

The Election Commission, Anti-Corruption Agency and police have become subservient to the executive. The independence of the judiciary has been seriously undermined and the Lingam Tape scandal has cast serious doubts on its credibility as the custodian of justice. It appears to be to be tainted and chaotic at the highest level. Even parliament is not bold to debate issues that are of grave interest to the public, instead it has become a mere rubber stamp of the ruling party.

The country is being divided not just along racial but also religious lines. We now have a 3 major races divided into 2 religious groups, Muslims and non-Muslims, who are kept poles apart.There is increasing Islamisation of every aspect of Malaysian life that is unchecked and non-Muslims are denied their basic rights and freedom enshrined in the Constitution. There is real fear that Syariah Laws will soon replace the civil laws as the supreme law of the land.

Human rights violations are on the rise and blatant abuse of power by “little Napoleons” at all levels if the administrations. Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are forbidden. Mass media, both print and electronic, are monopolized by the ruling party with only negative reports on the opposition, who are being branded as unpatriotic and anti-national.

It is with this scenario of an illustrious past and a gloomy present that Malaysians are going to the polls that will set the direction to chart the future. They have to make the all important decision between continuity or change. In all previous elections the people opted for continuity as they perceived that to be the means of stability, peace and prosperity. How are we to overcome all the ills that plague us today? Can the party in absolute power for 50 years and had been contributory to all our problems be expected to solve them all in the next 5 years? Are we going to give them another absolute mandate?

Malaysians today are more educated and better informed than before. They are exposed more to international politics, such as the on-going election campaign in the US, and better appreciate the working of democracy. As such their demands and expectations from the government too have increased tremendously and will continue to do so in the years to come. They are beginning to realize that there should be better checks and balances as absolute power if unchecked will corrupt even the most righteous.

The political maturity of Malaysians should not be underestimated and their demands for a transparency, accountability and fairness from the government they elect should not be over-looked. Our politicians must understand these positive changes that are taking place in the general populace and political parties must strive to offer better, more capable and credible candidates to meet these new challenges posed by a more literate and demanding electorate.

On the other hand the time has come for the people to show their wisdom in voting only for those candidates with good tract record, honesty, integrity and good moral values and reject those who thrive on race politics and those who are corrupt and who do not have the welfare of the people at heart. They must use the election to send a clear and strong message to the leaders of political parties that they are not willing to compromise these qualities in their wakil rakyat for anything whatsoever.

Malaysians must show their maturity by rising up to reject money politics. Those who succumb to bribery and vote buying are committing greater crime than those who offer them. They should not allow greed and selfishness and fall prey to such unscrupulous tactics but rather place the national interests above theirs.

The ongoing US election campaign is an eye opener for all of us. It is refreshing to see the potential candidates gracefully leaving the race willingly and in a very civil manner,on realizing they do have the support of the people. The Democratic battle between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama is being conducted in such an open, civil and truly democratic manner that should be the envy of the rest of the world.

It is very gratifying to see the maturity of the political candidates and the American voters. Genuine issues like healthcare, Iraq war, poverty, inflation, tax and poverty are the deciding factors, not race or the religion. If Obama were to become the President, it would be historic, as a member of a once enslaved colored community can rise up to become the most powerful man in the world. That speaks volume for the democracy of their nation.

We are quick to criticize the US for its unfair policies and its alleged racism, but how does our system of guided democracy measure up to that of the US? After 50 years, race and religion have become the major factors that decide who we vote. Can a non-Malay citizen ever dream to become the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or even a Menteri Besar of a state?

Our politicians, especially the veterans and those riddled with all types of scandals refuse to step down gracefully even if not wanted anymore. They cling onto power by all means available to them. Money politics is the order of the day and millions of ringgit are ditched out and all sorts of development projects launched and goodies promised at the last minute in an attempt to fish for votes. If this is not institutionalized bribery then what is it? It is sad that many voters are still swayed by these tactics.

The future of the nation is in our hands as we are given the opportunity to decide its destiny. This time around let us vote based on the merits of the candidate rather than the party that he/she represents. Let’s look at his/her merits – honest, straight, high integrity and above all dedicated to champion our causes effectively regardless of race or religion. We need national not ethnic champions.We must reject politicians who are corrupt and out to use their positions to enrich themselves and their families and cronies.

Let us vote to send only those with credibility and inergrity to parliament where issues confronting the nation can be debated in a civil and democratic way without fear or prejudice. Let us vote to make parliament the truly highest policy making body in the country, submitting to none other than the wishes of the rakyat alone.

As we are deliberating whether to vote for continuity or change, the following words of Barack Obama may be of some help The real gamble is to have the same old folks doing the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expect a different result."

We cannot and should not expect a better outcome with the same old system over and over again. To cure the ills we have today in our country we must strive to effect a change. To bring about that change may not be that easy, it may be a monumental task, but there must be a beginning for all good things to happen, why shouldn’t it be now. It is now in our hands to make that change; do we have the will and courage to do so?

Dr.Chris Anthony

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The 12th.General Election 2008

Let’s vote wisely for credible candidates

The whole nation is gearing up for the 12th.General Elections which is expected to be held in the very near future. It is another milestone in the history of our nation which is at the crossroads moving into the second half century since its birth. Malaysians of all ethnicity and all walks of life will go to the polls to decide the destiny of the nation which they have all made their home. It is a rare occasion when all citizens, regardless of race, creed, social standing and political affiliation are made to feel equal in exercising their constitutional rights.

Over the last 50 years under the Barisan Nasional (BN) rule the nation had made great strides, from a underdeveloped agricultural country we have become a prosperous industrialized nation and at the brink of becoming a developed nation by 2020.Our success story is our pride and an example for others to ape. The credit goes to our leaders, for their foresight and wisdom and the relentless work of the people. We have never experienced the rule by any party other than the BN.

Although we have developed tremendously, like in any country, we have our share of problems and setbacks as well. The country is now plagued with problems of racial and religious polarization, inflation, declining standards of education, high crime rate, immigrant problems, sluggish civil service and corruption at high places.

The Election Commission, Anti-Corruption Agency and police are subservient to the executive. The independence of the judiciary has been seriously undermined and the Lingam Tape scandal has cast serious doubts on its credibility as the custodian of justice. It appears to be to be tainted and chaotic at the highest level. Even parliament is not bold to debate issues that are of grave interest to the public, instead it has become a mere rubber stamp of the ruling party.

It is with this scenario of an illustrious past and a gloomy present that Malaysians are going to the polls that will set the direction to chart the future. They have to make the all important decision between continuity or change. The other option that would be more practical is continuity but without a 2/3 majority. In all previous elections the people opted for continuity as they perceived that to be the means of stability, peace and prosperity.

Malaysians today are more educated and better informed than before. They are exposed more to international politics, such as the on-going election campaign in the US, and better appreciate the working of democracy. As such their demands and expectations from the government too have increased tremendously and will continue to do so in the years to come. They are beginning to realize that there should be better checks and balances as absolute power if unchecked will corrupt even the most righteous.

The political maturity of Malaysians should not be underestimated and their demands for a transparency, accountability and fairness from the government they elect should not be over-looked.Our politicians must understand these positive changes that are taking place in the general populace and political parties must strive to offer better, more capable and credible candidates to meet these new challenges posed by a more literate and demanding electorate.

On the other hand the time has come for the people to show their wisdom in voting only for those candidates with good tract record, honesty, integrity and good moral values and reject those who thrive on race politics and those who are corrupt and who do not have the welfare of the people at heart. They must use the election to send a clear and strong message to the leaders of political parties that they are not willing to compromise these qualities of their wakil rakyat for anything whatsoever.

Malaysians must show their maturity by rising up to reject money politics. Those who succumb to bribery and vote buying are committing greater crime than those who offer them. They should not allow greed and selfishness and fall prey to such unscrupulous tactics but rather place the national interests above theirs.

The ongoing US election campaign is an eye opener for all of us. It is refreshing to see the potential candidates gracefully leaving the race willingly and in a very civil manner with praise for their challengers. The Democratic battle between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama is being conducted in such an open, civil and truly democratic manner that should be the envy of the rest of the world.

It is very gratifying to see the maturity of the political candidates and the American voters. Genuine issues like healthcare, Iraq war, poverty, inflation, tax and poverty are the deciding factors, not race or the party, in choosing their president. If Obama were to become the President, it would be historic day for America, as a member of a once enslaved colored community can rise up to become the most powerful man in the world. That speaks volume for the democracy of their nation.

We are quick to criticize the US for its unfair policies and its alleged racism, but how does our system of guided democracy measure up to that in the US? We are still voting based on race and religion. Can a non-Malay citizen ever become the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister or even a Menteri Besar of a state?

Our politicians, especially the veterans and those riddled with all types of scandals refuse to step down gracefully even if not wanted anymore. They cling onto power by all means available to them. Money politics is still rampant and millions of ringgit are ditched out and all sorts of development projects launched and goodies promised at the last minute in an attempt to fish for votes. If this is not institutionalized bribery then what is it? It is sad that many voters are still swayed by these tactics.

The future of the nation is in our hands as we are given the opportunity to decide its destiny. This time around let us vote based on the merits of the candidate rather than the party that he/she represents. Let’s look at his/her merits – honest, straight, high integrity and above all dedicated to champion our causes effectively regardless of race or religion. We must reject politicians who are corrupt and out to use their positions to enrich themselves and their families and cronies.

Let us vote to send the best to parliament where issues confronting the nation can be debated in a civil and democratic way without fear or prejudice. Let us vote to make parliament the truly highest policy making body in the country, submitting to none other than the wishes of the rakyat alone.

As we are deliberating whether to vote for continuity or change, the following words of Barack Obama would be of some help Change is hard. Change is always met by resistance from the status quo. The real gamble is to have the same old folks doing the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expect a different result,"

We cannot and should not expect a better outcome with the same old system over and over again. To cure the ills we have today in our country we must strive to effect a change. To bring about that change may not be that easy, it may be a monumental task, but there must be a beginning for all good things to happen, why shouldn’t it be now. It is now in our hands to make that change; do we have the will and courage to do so?

Dr.Chris Anthony




Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Indian plight : Will the BN keep its promises?

MIC needs new leadership to do so

The Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently called on the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) to re-engineer itself to remain relevant to the Indian community.It is a sign that the BN is beginning to realise that the MIC is becoming a liability rather than as asset, which it had been, standing solidly behind the BN in all the previous elections. He rightly pointed out that Indian community, like the others, is more educated now and their expectations from the leadership were higher than ever before. This is an inevitable change that results from the rapid socio-economic developments that have taken place in the country over the last 50 years.

The MIC must heed Najib’s call to re-examine and revamp its leadership at all levels and act to regain the confidence of the Indian community. Otherwise as he says there is real danger that the MIC, which has been the sole representative of the Indians in the government since its inception, will soon become irrelevant to them.

Najib outlined the steps the government would take to uplift the socio-economic standing of Malaysian Indians. These include increasing the intake of Indians into the civil service; providing more scholarships to Indians entering public universities; sending qualified Indians to foreign universities for tertiary education; increasing the micro credit loans for Indian businessmen; improving the quality of education at Tamil schools; and orderly relocation of temples. Are these measures genuine or just election promises?

While it is encouraging that the government has suddenly recognized the plight of the Indians in particular, it is lamented that these problems, had been neglected for far too long. Restructuring of society and eradication of poverty did not bring the intended benefits to all communities although the policy was tailored for that.

The government might have initiated numerous development programmes for the various communities but unfortunately their implementation leaves much to be desired. It is imperative that the government ensure that policies formulated at the highest level, are translated into realities on the ground and not sabotaged by the “Little Napoleons” at various levels of the administration. Why did the government fail to reprimand these "little Napoleans" who did not toe the line in implementing national policies which were meant to benefit all communities?

Najib admitted that Malaysia would not become a developed nation by 2020 if any of the races, including Indians, were marginalised.In this context the contribution of all communities, however small, is vital to the overall development of the nation. No efforts must be spared to tap the potentials of all to the fullest. No community however small should be neglected as the ailments in one will rapidly spread over to adversely affect all.

It is election time and the PM and DPM and others top leaders of the BN have promised many goodies for all including the Indian community. The question in the minds of Indians is, will the BN keep its promises after 50 years of failing to do so? Many believe that it can be, to a certain extent, made to honour its promises to the Indian community if there is a change in the leadership in the MIC.The Indians are convinced beyond doubt that as long as the present leaders of MIC remain at the helm, there can never be any change in the attitude of the BN and the government towards the plight of Indians.

Unfortunately the leadership of the MIC, under Datuk Seri Samy Velu, prefers to be blind to the dilemma of community it says it represents. Unless the MIC leaders come out their denial syndrome, the future of the Indians does not look too bright.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pak Lah pragmatic,voters more mature

Pak Lah appears to have understood the plight of Indians and that is why he believes the Indians will vote against the BN this time around.Will they?Waits to be seen.

Understanding without remedial actions is useless.It is not overnight the problems of Indians have cropped up but accumulated over 50 years.Why have they been neglected all these years?

Pak lah is also pragmatic in expecting a tough battle in urban areas.People are more educated and their expectations are high.The challenges on our political representatives(YBs) are much greater than before.

Political parties must ensure their candidates are of high calibre - honest,straight,with good morals and integrity,otherwise the voters will definitely dump them.Race and religious politics will not be enough to sway the voters anymore like they used to before.

Politicians should not underestimate the intelligence and maturity of the voters,otherwise they will be the ones who will feel sorry in the final outcome.The people are ready to demand their rights as they had enough of nonsense all these years.They are beginning to see the wisdom of having a stronger opposition in parliament,they want to deny a 2/3 majority this time.

Dr.Chris Anthony



Indians will vote against BN: Pak Lah


Malaysiakini,Feb 4, 08 12:34pm

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the number of votes from Indians for the ruling party will likely drop in the coming polls amid increasing ethnic strife in Malaysia.

Ethnic Indians protested against alleged discrimination in Muslim-majority Malaysia in a mass rally in November that led to the indefinite detention of five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

When asked if the issues raised by Hindraf, which has made national headlines, would influence how Indians would vote in upcoming polls, Abdullah told the Sunday Star newspaper: "Yes, I think votes will be affected somewhat."

Analysts say general elections could be held in March.

Ethnic Indians, who complain of a lack of job and educational opportunities, have been strong supporters of Abdullah's Barisan Nasional coalition since the country gained independence from Britain in 1957.

Abdullah, who is also the finance minister, said he would address Indian grievances, which include the destruction of Hindu temples.

"I have given instruction that whatever grouses they have should be attended to," he said.

"As for the Hindu temples, I have asked the chief minister to let the Hindu organisations decide for themselves how they intend to tackle the number of illegal temples in Selangor."

Ethnic Indians make up 8.0 percent of the country's population. Muslim Malays, who make up 60 percent, control the government while the ethnic Chinese, at 26 percent, dominate business.

DAP may field ISA detainees

Abdullah also said he expected a tough fight in the elections in urban areas, where people were unhappy about price hikes for goods and transport.

Opposition leader, Lim Kit Siang of DAP, urged voters to deny Abdullah's BN coalition a two-thirds majority in parliament to allow the "people's rights and genuine democracy the chance to flower and mature."

Lim said two of the five detained Hindraf leaders - M Manoharan and B Ganabathi Rao - who are DAP members, may contest the upcoming polls.

"It would be a good idea for them to contest. It will help focus on the injustices caused by their detention under the ISA and to highlight the issue of the marginalisation of Indians in Malaysia," he told AFP.

Lim said there was a precedent when in 1978, two DAP lawmakers who were detained under the ISA were nominated and subsequently won in the polls.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Election Commission must be non-partisan


Indelible ink will not do but an unbiased EC will

It was interesting to know that indelible ink is to make its debut in our coming general elections. It is an attempt by the Election Commission (EC) to improve the system of voting in the country to make it fairer to all parties. These include the use of indelible ink and transparent polling boxes. Are these measures the only ones that that are really required?

Indelible ink used to mark the left index fingers of voters will may help to reduce multiple voting by the same individual but is multiple voting a main cause of fraud in our elections? Use of indelible ink also has its own problems which will definitely crop up when used for the first time.

In an era of sophisticated computer technology, many advanced countries are moving towards a more computerized system including online voting. Wouldn’t it be a backward step for us to resort to marking our fingers with indelible ink? Why shouldn’t we adopt more modern computerized methods of preventing electoral fraud? Don’t we have the knowledge and capability to do so?

The EC may want to copy the use of indelible ink as is practiced in India, the largest democracy in the world. The use of indelible ink may be practical there considering its huge electorate that runs into hundreds of millions, spread across a huge subcontinent. Furthermore the vast majority of the voters are poor and degree of illiteracy high. Even there, with the rapid socio-economic developments, the government is slowly trying to resort to more modern methods of preventing election fraud.

If there is anything the EC wants to copy from the largest democracy, it should be the way their election commission functions; it is truly independent and there is no way it allows itself to be manipulated by the party in power. The election rules are enforced fairly regardless of whether the party is in power or the opposition. The government machinery and all national media are freely assessable to all contesting parties without prejudice.

In our country there is blatant abuse of all the government machinery and the mass media by the ruling party. The ruling party has the sole monopoly over the media with hardly any coverage of the opposition. If they report on them it is invariably their negative aspects. Doesn’t the opposition in our country have any positive points in their favour?

Bribery of the rakyat seem to have become institutionalized and legalized before elections. Millions of taxpayer's money is freely ditched out to the people to secure their votes. If this is not bribery then what in the world is it? It must be stressed these funds are the hard-earned money of taxpayers and the government of the day should more prudent and not use them freely to gain votes. Development projects should an ongoing affair not heightened before elections.

There is a need for the people to be wiser in voting only for those candidates with good tract record, honest, integrity and good moral values. They should not be greedy and selfish to succumb to tactics of institutionalized bribery by those in power but rather look objectively at the merits of the candidates they are voting for.

Indelible ink, transparent ballot boxes and other similar measures may be useful but the most important factor is to have a no-nonsense EC that is truly independent and its integrity beyond doubt. It is of utmost importance that the EC must not only be neutral but must also be seen as such. It must act without fear or favour against any party,ruling or opposition, that contravenes the election laws.

The political maturity of Malaysians should not be underestimated and their demands for a transparency, accountability and fairness from the government are on the rise. This was clearly highlighted by the Bersih rally last November 10.The rakyat have proven that they cannot be cowed by high-handed tactics and threats as in the past. If only our EC can rise up to that undisputed and respectable state there will be no need for very elaborate and sophisticated measures to check fraud in our elections.

What we really need is not marking our fingers with indelible ink but for our EC to be neutral. What we need is a transparent EC not transparent ballot boxes. In short we need an EC which acts professionally and not like a branch or division of Umno and the Barisan Nasional.

Dr.Chris Anthony

It's too late now for Samy


Finally the MIC president seem to have realise the problems of his people.
However it is too late as the Indians have lost faith in his capability to lead them out of their doldrums.

He and his team must step down and make way for others to take over the reigns.There is so much to be done and the task is very tough,to regain past glory
.

Dr.Chris Anthony






Seven issues affecting the Indian community


Malaysiakini Feb 3, 08 12:54pm

There are seven critical issues that have caused uneasiness among the Indian community and the government must immediately take steps to address them.

The seven are:

1. an equitable participation in the share market;

2. Indian intake in public universities;

3. better employment opportunities, especially in the public sector;

4. increase the number of government scholarships;

5. greater access to entrepreneurship training and micro-credit loans;

6. an effective urban poverty eradication programme; and.

7. the establishment of a dedicated mechanism to monitor and evaluate the delivery of public sector services in a just and fair manner.

samy vellu and micMIC president S Samy Vellu, in listing out these seven grouses, urged the government to resolve these issues immediately as they have hindered the party's efforts to ensure the upward mobility of the Indians, Bernama reported.

"The Indians have very high expectations and are demanding from MIC greater inclusion, access and their rights in the socio-economic development on par with the other communities," he said at the MIC special convention for branch chairmen at the Putra World Trade Centre today.

The Works Minister, who has come under increasing criticism for the failures of the community, said that the Indians wanted just and fair treatment from the government.

The special convention was held to prepare the MIC's grassroots machinery for the upcoming general election. It was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

About 3,700 MIC branch chairmen and the party's elected representatives attended the one-day convention.

Elaborating on the seven grouses, Samy Vellu said the MIC wanted the government to ensure equitable participation in the share market through the establishment of a special mechanism such as the Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) in order to attain the three per cent equity target by 2020.

He also added that the MIC could only complement the programmes provided by the government for Indians but these initiatives were not sufficient to re-alter the socio-economic disadvantage of the community.

Serving effectively

He expressed his confidence that the government would take speedy action on the seven issues which have been forwarded to the government several months ago.

"We have been continuously discussing with the government to resolve these issues and I am confident of a speedy solution," he was added.

Samy Vellu also said that the party was confident of repeating its 100 per cent victory in the last general election. In 2004, the party won all the nine parliamentary and 19 state seats it contested.

indian crowd malaysia 291107He said that the present unhappiness among the Indian community would not dampen the party's resolve to retain all the seats.

"With the people's loyalty and support to the Barisan Nasional, the MIC scored 100 per cent success in the 2004 general election. The Indians realise the Barisan government had always served the people's interests and had brought socio-economic progress to all races," he said.

He added that MIC's election machinery had been well-oiled and was in top gear to swing into action when parliament was dissolved to pave the way for the 12th general election.

On today's convention, Samy Vellu said it was to discuss ways for the party to serve the Indian community effectively.

As grassroots leaders, he said, MIC branch chairmen must maintain close ties with the people in their areas and to inform them the various opportunities extended by the government to improve their livelihood.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Anwar has proven again - he is the man

Whether we like it or not only the Malays can take on Umno and the BN.Now we have a Malay to lead all Malaysians,Malays,Chinese,Indians ant others. Anwar has proven again that he is the man Malaysians need now - pious Muslim but wiling to accept all other faiths with a open mind.I think he is sincere in what he says in public and private.

First he defended the Indians and Hindus in the Hindraf uprising,now he is willing to listen to the Christians.I think we should give him a chance,otherwise we will get one again.

Dr.Chris Anthony



Anwar explains his stance to Christian leaders

Terence Netto Malaysiakini Feb 2, 08 11:42am

De facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim was subjected to a rigorous examination of his stances on religious issues by about 200 Christian clerics and lay activists and appeared to emerge intact.

There was no variance between his public pronouncements and his private assurances to his inquisitors, an observer at a recent dialogue between Anwar and the Christian leaders noted.

The closed-door dialogue session held in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday morning ran several minutes past lunchtime, which some attendees, assured of anonymity, said was a sign of the eagerness of Anwar's interlocutors to probe him on issues of deep concern to Malaysia 2.2 million Christians. The meeting began at 9.30am.

Organised by the Christian Federation of Malaysia, the dialogue was the first of several the CFM plans to hold with political parties in the run-up to the 12th general election.

anwar azizah christmas partyHitherto viewed with suspicion by Christian leaders because of his association with the Islamisation drive by the government inaugurated when he joined Umno in 1982, Anwar and his wife Dr Wan Azizah were surprise invitees of the Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam to the Christmas Day open house hosted by the Christian Federation of Malaysia at Bukit Nanas on December 25. It was a sign that the PKR leader was being viewed in a new light.

For the dialogue session, Anwar was accompanied by PKR information chief Tian Chua and supreme council member Dr. Xavier Jeyakumar.

Anwar told his audience said his Islamist convictions were no hindrance to his defence of a free and democratic Malaysia that adhered to the Merdeka Constitution. He said an independent and impartial judiciary would go a long way to ensure that Malaysians enjoyed the rights vouchsafed them by the Merdeka Constitution.

He said PKR was not in favour of establishing an Islamic state but he, like many Muslims, was averse to the notion of a secular state which to Muslims carries the implication that a God-mandated philosophy had no bearing on public life.

‘Allah’ should be allowed

He said PKR enjoyed a unique advantage in that it could mediate the middle ground between the secularism of the Democratic Action Party and the Islamism of PAS. He said PKR's mediation of this ground helped to sharpen everyone's awareness that the rights guaranteed by the Merdeka Constitution deserved upholding.

Anwar said since an entire generation of Malaysians had grown up using Bahasa Malaysia as a medium of communication, he saw no reason why Christian Malaysians in their prayers could not use the Arabic term for God - 'Allah'.

anwar ibrahim vk lingam hearing pc 290108 talkingProbed about his role in the Islamisation campaign by the government instituted when he was part of the ruling party between 1982 and 1998, Anwar denied there ever was an order to take down crosses from mission schools.

He said zealous lower echelon officials may have gone overboard by removing these crosses but these underlings acted of their own volition, and not at executive behest.

Anwar said the widow of the late mountain climber, S Moorthy, should have been allowed to bury her husband because it was she who cared for him.

He said a PKR government would ensure that syariah courts were headed by judges of calibre trained at quality Islamic universities. He said he was in favour of syariah courts enforcing Islamic family and inheritance laws on Muslims but that they should have no jurisdiction over non-Muslims.

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