Friday, March 28, 2008

Civil servants must be non-partisan

Party and government are not the same

I refer toNot compulsory for teachers to attend Penang state functions” (Star,March 27)

The directive from the State Education Department not to compel teachers to attend official functions organized by the state government may be a good idea as many such functions are a waste of precious time of the teachers. We are well aware that too often teachers are taken away from their classrooms to attend functions that are not relevant to the duties. Such valuable time could be betters spent in the classrooms with their students.

However the decision to grant such an option to teachers because the state is no more under the BN government clearly lacks professionalism and an understanding of the principle of our democratic system. It is important to remember that the teachers as civil servants are to serve the public and the government, regardless of the party that forms it. The government is duly elected by the people and legitimately sworn in accordance with the laws of the state. Therefore civil servants are to respect and take orders that are legitimate from the officials of the state government regardless of the political party that forms it. Civil servants themselves should be non-partisan and be loyal to the government of the day.

After being subjected to fifty years of rule by a single party it may be difficult to accept a sudden change in the administration, and the emergence of ‘Little Napoleons’, who are reluctant to adopt the new changes, will be inevitable. The new administration that takes over should be patient and try to win over the trust and confidence of the staff before it embarks on radical changes especially controversial ones. They should walk the talk and the changes they undertake should be seen to benefit the people in general and not as a means to run down the previous administration. If treaded with care and caution, ultimately it would be possible to change the mindset of the civil servants and develop a clear partition between political party and the government.

The people have spoken and their verdict must be accepted by all, including the civil servants. They must change to adapt to working with the new government which is elected by none other than the people themselves. Those refuse to work with the new government must make way for others who can.

Politicians come and go but the government with its various ministries and departments should remain non-partisan, committed to serve in accordance with the laws of the state irrespective of which party rules it. In the final outcome the system that is in place should benefit not the party or the government but the rakyat who are the real masters.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Freedom as its constraints too

The Star Online > Worldupdates

MYT 3:46:35 AM

Pope's baptism of Muslim not a hostile act - Vatican

By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's baptism of an Italian Muslim over Easter weekend was not a hostile act against Islam, the Vatican's newspaper wrote on Tuesday after the public conversion prompted criticism in the Muslim world.

Pope Benedict XVI baptises journalist Magdi Allam (R) as he celebrates a Easter Vigil mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 22, 2008. (REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli/Files)

In a surprise move, the pope baptised Egyptian-born Magdi Allam, a well-known journalist and outspoken critic of radical Islamism, at an Easter Vigil service in St Peter's Basilica on Saturday evening that was broadcast around the globe.

Muslim commentators said Allam's hostile writings and his headline-grabbing baptism strained relations between Muslims and the Catholic Church and cast shadows over a recently agreed dialogue between Catholicism and Islam.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, apparently reacting to this criticism, wrote a front-page editorial arguing that Benedict's gesture was an expression of religious freedom and certainly not directed against Islam.

"There is no hostile intention toward such an important religion as Islam," editor-in-chief Gian Maria Vian wrote on Tuesday. "For many decades now, the Catholic Church has shown its willingness to engage and dialogue with the Muslim world, despite thousands of difficulties and obstacles."

But critics of the baptism questioned why the pope chose to highlight the conversion of Allam, known in Italy for his attacks on Islam. Church experts on Islam privately expressed concern that his message could strain inter-faith relations.

Writing in Sunday's edition of the Milan daily Corriere della Sera, of which he is a deputy director, Allam said: "... the root of evil is innate in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictual."

"DIFFICULTIES AND OBSTACLES"

Catholic-Muslim relations nosedived in 2006 after Benedict delivered a lecture in Regensburg, Germany, that implied he thought Islam was violent and irrational.

Muslims around the world protested and the pope, who said he did not agree with the Byzantine emperor he had quoted, sought to make amends by visiting the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul and praying towards Mecca with its imam.

Earlier in March, the Vatican agreed with Muslim leaders to establish a permanent, official dialogue to improve relations.

L'Osservatore Romano said the Vatican remained dedicated toward dialogue with Islam: "Difficulties and obstacles should not overshadow what there is in common and how much can come of the future."

Aref Ali Nayed, a key figure in a group of over 200 Muslim scholars that launched the dialogue with the Vatican and other Christian churches, said on Monday the Vatican had turned the baptism into "a triumphalist tool for scoring points."

"The whole spectacle... provokes genuine questions about the motives, intentions and plans of some of the pope's advisers on Islam," Nayed, who is director of the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Tom Heneghan in Paris)


© 1995-2008 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)


Comment:

It is not wrong to convert anyone including a Muslim but conversion is not the issue here.

The real issue here is the motive - why the highly publicized manner.



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Umno polls to be postponed?

This is not surprising.Instead of solving the problems facing the party head on,Umno prefers to sweep them under the carpet,only to re-emerge with a bigger magnitude.


Pak Lah would be making a grave mistake by following the style of his predecessor in postponing the elections.He must play by the rules of the game and not shift the goal-posts so as to ensure victory for himself all the time.

The BN and Pak Lah may be down but not out yet.They have been given another chance to re-organise and revamp to become relevant again to Malaysians.


Umno polls to be postponed?

Syed Jaymal Zahiid Malaysiakini Mar 25, 08 3:11pm

Umno may postpone its party elections to next year in order to avoid “havoc”. said its information chief Muhammad Muhd Taib.

muhammad muhd taib 250308Speaking at a press conference in his office at the Rural and Regional Development Ministry today, Muhammad said that there was a big possibility that this is happening.

“We have received feedbacks from the party leaders of all states and they asked that the party elections be postponed to next year,” he said.

He added that “almost all divisional and state leaders advised that the party elections be delayed for fear of creating havoc”.

When asked if it was because of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s challenge to the party’s leadership post, the former Selangor menteri besar was evasive in his reply.

“Things are blur right now and people cannot see clearly. There is no space to make rational decision and when this happens, the outcome may be a regrettable one,” said Muhammad.

He said that the matter would be discussed at the party's supreme council meeting this Thursday.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Law Minister a hope for judicial reforms

Judicial reforms : let’s start cracking

The newly-appointed de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim,should be commended for his bold suggestion that the government has to apologise to the victims of 1988 judicial crisis.These senior judges including the the then Lord President were humiliated,disgraced and sacked from their positions for standing up to defend the truth and the integrity of the judiciary. The fact that such calls for apology and dissenting voices are being tolerated augurs well for the future of the nation as they were unheard of in the past.

Although there are those would want nothing short of a total review of the crisis but an apology would suffice as the unfortunate tragedy occurred 20 years ago and digging into the past may be too painful and damaging. It is time to put the past behind and focus our attention on revamping the judiciary to return it to its past glory and reputation.

Zaid has promised many changes which are very encouraging and we hope he can achieve all of them. Among his priorities should be to restore the independence of the judiciary and establishing transparency in the appointment and promotion of judges. Political meddling has had disastrous effects on the judiciary as it compromises on its impartiality in delivering justice.

The system of promotion and appointment of new judges should be another area that has to be seriously looked into as the existing system leaves much to be desired. It gives absolute power to the executive without the need for discussion and consultation with any parties, not even the Chief Justice.

Judges appointed should be of high caliber, integrity and morality. Their loyalty should not be to politicians and businessmen but only to the rakyat.Their judgment must be based solely on the provisions in the laws of the country not sentiments or inducements.

The rakyat have given the Barisan Nasional (BN) a new mandate to rule but with a smaller majority which goes to show that they are not happy with its handling of the affairs of the nation. The BN should take it not only as a lesson but a challenge to review, revamp and strive to improve its services to the people and actively address the numerous problems that plague the nation.

The appointment of Zaid as the new Law Minister may be one of the many positive measures taken by the government to heal the ailing judiciary but there are many more that need to be addressed with great urgency.These include corruption,high cost of living, ethnic polarizations, high crime rate and the ‘little Napoleons’, just to name a few.

It is sad that after more than 2 weeks since the elections there is so much in-fighting and power struggle within the ruling party.It is time for the Prime Minister and his new cabinet to seek ways to get over with their political bickering amicably without further delay and get down working seriously to address the problems facing the nation.

Dr.ChrisAnthony

Opposition should not accept political defectors

Anti-hopping law timely

Since PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that his party welcomed any Barisan assemblyman or Members of Parliament (MP) wishing to cross over, there has been considerable interest on this issue of defection of MPs and assemblymen from their parties.MPs and assemblymen crossing over to new parties, although unhealthy, is nothing new in Malaysia politics. It has been practiced before, by the previous BN government, and as been accepted as normal. Very often the ruling party gains from these defections and we rarely see MPs crossing over from the ruling party to the opposition for obvious reasons.

The Barisan Nasional (BN), in particular Umno, appears to be deeply troubled by the talk of their MPs crossing over to the opposition. This has prompted its newly appointed Secretary General, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor,to order a probe into these claims of defections. Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein describes this act of defection as shameful and the Prime Minister himself calls it morally wrong.

You call party-hopping whatever you want, cheating, disloyal, betrayal, treacherous or immoral, but it has been a normal practice employed by those in power to continue remaining so.

In Malaysia MPs and state assemblymen are elected based mainly on the party to which they belong and less so on their individual qualities and merits. Crossing over to another party after being elected under one is definitely not right and is morally wrong. It amounts to betraying the voters who have elected them? It only goes to show a lack of integrity and credibility on the part of the defector. Of greater wrong is buying-over of defectors from other parties. Such money politics is an act of corruption that must be condemned

To protect the electorate from unscrupulous party-hoppers, it is timely to introduce laws to declare a seat vacant and call fresh elections once its MP or state assemblyman crosses over to another political party. This would not only help check defections but also put pressure on the party leadership to be more stringent in the selection of their candidates for the election. It will ensure that only those with a deep sense of loyalty, integrity and credibility would be selected thereby the people would be the ultimate gainers from such an anti-hopping legislation.

MPs and state assemblymen are lawmakers who represent the people’s interests in the highest legislative body, Parliament. Their deliberations and debate on policies to be formulated will decide the present and shape future of nation and its citizens. It is therefore of paramount importance that only those with high integrity and credibility are selected to be parliamentarians. The interests of the voters supercede the personal rights and freedom of the elected representatives.

Crossing over of lawmakers to other political parties and buying-over of such legislators after being elected are not only morally wrong but is a form of corruption that we should not condone for any reason whatsoever. How can we entrust the nation to these party-hoppers who so easily succumb to such temptations for their own interests.

The people have boldly transcended racial divide to give the Opposition the unprecedented victory in the recent elections. They should treasure this unity among the people and quickly start working to fulfill their pledges. The main reason for their success is the multi-racial platform they adopted, pledging to dismantle racial politics that is threatening to tear the nation apart. They must be very selective in allowing those from other parties to be admitted to their fold. Only those who genuinely treasure the multi-racial approach and share the ideology of the opposition coalition should be allowed in not any defector from opponent parties, whose motives are questionable.

The Opposition may not have the mandate to form the government this time but they have succeeded in denying the ruling party a 2/3 majority which is already a great acheivement.They should strive to win over the people by their commitment to serve them better that the previous government. If they can do that there is no reason why they should not succeed in obtaining enough support to form the government the next time around.

Being obsessed with gaining power through the backdoor by buying over elected representatives from other parties will only erode the trust and confidence of the of the people in the Opposition coalition, which is already under severe stress in forming the state governments. They detested such practices by the previous government before and it would be foolish of them to resort to that now when they are in a position of advantage. There are no short cuts to winning the hearts of the people other than hard work, dedication and sincerity.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Accept people's verdict and move foward

NEP is not an issue anymore and should not be exploited for political mileage.The recent election has shown that the people are more mature to be exploited by racial sentiments.The PKR-DAP-PAS coalition has a better plan for all in the form of Malaysian Economic Agenda (MEA) and it should be given a chance to prove its benefits.


The people have spoken loud and clear through the ballot box.All parties in particular Umno should take the people's verdict in a sporting spirit and not continue to vent their anger against the rakyat.Its time to stop bickering and move forward to build our nation.

Umno and the BN have more important issues to address to remain relevant.Umno, as the predominant partner in the BN, should should start taking remedial measures to win the hearts of the people of all races before the next elections.Street demonstration is definitely not our culture and they should not make it one now when they are in an unfavorable position.


NEP: PKR Youth backs Guan Eng


Malaysiakini Mar 18, 08 5:36pm

PKR Youth today defended the new Penang coalition government’s decision to steer away from the New Economic Policy (NEP) and slammed Umno Penang for exploiting the issue for political mileage.

In a statement today, the movement’s spokesperson Hasmuzair Hassan said Umno Penang leaders who raised the issue had caused confusion between the NEP and Malay rights that are enshrined in the Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

He said Penang Umno’s objections were an attempt to raise racial tensions and show that they still had their support despite Barisan Nasional losing the state government to the DAP-PKR coalition.

"Our position is that it is not wrong for the new Penang government to not implement the NEP because it is not enshrined in the Federal Constitution. It is just a policy by Umno that has been absorbed into government administration," said Hasmuzair.

lim guan engNewly-minted Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng had reportedly said that state administration would be "free" of NEP practices beginning with a open-tender system for government deals.

This had triggered angry reactions from Umno Penang which resulted in a demonstration against Lim near his office on March 14.

MEA better than NEP

Elaborating, Hasmuzair said PKR Youth was of the opinion that the NEP was a construct of Umno that is similar to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Islam Hadhari and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Vision 2020.

"What makes NEP ‘special’ is that it is frequently used by Umno leaders to gain support from the Malays. It is only used when Umno feels that they have lost Malay support and for them and their cronies to obtain government tenders and deals.

"With the NEP as a model, Umno leaders and their cronies can obtain tenders and contracts even though they are not eligible or qualified," added Hasmuzair.

penang komtar umno protest 140308 anwar traitor bannerHasmuzair said Umno had always claimed that the Malays would be left behind economically should the party not defend the NEP.

"But the biggest success the NEP had in 40 years is to enrich Umno leaders and their cronies while the original intention of the policy - to ensure 30 percent equity ownership among the Malays - were not achieved," he added.

He stressed that the movement believes that the PKR’s Malaysian Economic Agenda was a better alternative to the NEP as it plays a better role in poverty eradication.

Hasmuzair said that the MEA would also ensure that the rights of the Malays and the position of Islam would be retained as laid out in the Federal Constitution.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Civil servants and the government of the day

Civil servants must be non-partisan

One of the biggest drawbacks of a powerful regime that is allowed to rule for a long time is that it subdues the civil service and the judiciary. This was clearly seen in Malaysia where the BN government had taken things for granted because the civil service was always submissive to it, even when it was wrong.

Law professor Abdul Aziz Bari of International Islamic University Malaysia,rightly pointed out that the civil servants be mindful of the law and not just to follow the order from the political masters. It is the duty of the civil servants to advise the politicians as to the law and procedure.

The recent change of governments in a number of states should be a reminder that governments come and go but the civil service stays. Civil servants are the servants of the public and not their political masters.

We hope the changes brought about by the recent elections would be a new dawn for the nation in the direction of a true democracy. We hope the system in place now will change the mindset of the people to accept change for the better – professional and non-partisan civil service, police and judiciary. Only these will be able to check corruption and blatant abuse of power.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Don: 'Illegal deals' not binding on new state govts

Malaysiakini,Mar 17, 08 11:11am

The new governments in Kedah, Perak, Penang and Selangor may not be bound by contracts and business deals made by the previous governments if they are found to be illegal.

While the general principle is that the new governments are bound by the commitments made by their predecessors, it is nevertheless subject to whether they are legal and valid in the first place, said law professor Abdul Aziz Bari of International Islamic University Malaysia.

He was responding to a recent controversy arising out of a business deal made by the administration led by former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

It has emerged that the Selangor state government signed a deal with Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd the day before the general election to operate and maintain a water treatment plant in Tanjung Karang.

Questions were raised as to how the state government could have signed the deal while being in a caretaker government .

Following this, State Secretary Ramli Mahmud cleared Khir by stating that it was him who had signed the deal, which was approved "a long time ago" under advice from the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry.

However Abdul Aziz said the fact that the deal by was signed by Ramli or had the approval of the ministry was not the issue here.

“That is not quite the issue for most of the deals are made, just like at the federal level, under the authority and permission of the government of the day,” he explained.

Contracts can be rescinded

Abdul Aziz said the legality of the deal hinged on the status of the state of government at the material time.

He argued that if the deal was made after the state assembly was dissolved then Khir did not have the power to authorise Ramli to sign the agreement on behalf of the state.

Abdul Aziz said this was because a caretaker government was there just to carry out the routines and not to make major decisions.

“Deals involving million of ringgits are certainly major, these are not routines administration,” he argued.

When asked as to what the new state governments should do now, Abdul Aziz said that if they were satisfied that the deals were illegal, they can just decline to honour the contracts and let the aggrieved companies bring them to court.

The constitutional law expert said that the issue of caretaker government was of extreme importance not only in relation to the issue of fairness of the election but also to the legality of business deals and other actions taken by the caretaker government.

Abdul Aziz said it was important for everybody in the government – right from the Yang di Pertuan Agong to the lowest rung of the public service to be aware of government status.

“It is important now that the civil servants know that they could not just carry out orders without checking their legality,” Abdul Aziz said.

He also said that the business community should be aware of the status and avoid making any deals before the elections were over and a new government was put in place.

Abdul Aziz admitted that this would create difficulties but it has to be raised so that the matter would be clarified once and for all.

It is also important, Aziz said, that from now on the spending made by the government was made with the full authority of the taxpayers.

“It is also important that the civil servants be mindful of the law and not just to follow the order from the political masters,” he added.

A precedent by the Federal Court

Abdul Aziz also noted that it was not the first time such irregularity took place in the Selangor.

He said in 1997, after the then menteri besar Muhammad Muhd Taib’s resignation after he was caught with a huge amount of cash in Australia, the state exco members continued their business as usual.

Abdul Aziz said that was wrong as the exco members took collective responsibility with their menteri besar and a new government should have been appointed in its place.

“Unfortunately nobody seemed to be aware of the position and I wonder what the state legal advisor was doing at that time,” he added.

Abdul Aziz said it was the duty of the civil servants to advise the politicians as to the law and procedure.

He however said that the law at present was pointing at a different direction as the Federal Court had ruled in 2001 that the caretaker government in 1969 was in a position to declare emergency proclamation.

“But I think the decision of the court under the leadership of former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz was wrong,” he opined.

Abdul Aziz said given the limitation imposed on a caretaker government, such could not be right.

He noted that under the emergency proclamation made by the 1969 declaration, various laws, including those imposing death penalty, were made.

Abdul Aziz said the present Federal Court has the power to depart from the decision handed by Ahmad Fairuz.

A MALAYSIAN ECONOMIC AGENDA

A MALAYSIAN ECONOMIC AGENDA

March 15, 2008

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia - KeADILan's Malaysian Economic Agenda is committed to the upliftment and betterment of the poor and marginalized Malays, Chinese and Indians, Ibans and Kadazans. We have always stated that under our leadership the interests of the Malays will be protected and we remain committed to building a new system that is more just, more equitable and that ensures no one is left behind irrespective of race or religion.

We plan to implement new mechanisms to channel economic aid to the vast numbers of petty traders and small businessmen in Malay communities and ensure that educational opportunities, microcredit financing schemes, social and welfare services and other forms of economic relief are made available to the Malays.

I believe all Malaysians including the Malays are pleased with the mandate that was given to KeADILan on March 8th and they look forward to a government that is more accountable, fights corruption and delivers on its promises to promote economic growth and reduce poverty in all segments of society.

I am therefore deeply concerned with the attempt being made by certain elements to stoke the flames of racial hatred in the aftermath of the March 8th Malaysian elections. We have reason to believe that this vicious campaign is being orchestrated by a small number of very wealthy Malays and UMNO leaders who are themselves guilty of squandering and abusing the NEP to enrich themselves and their cronies at the expense of the general public. These people are now using the UMNO and government controlled media to incite fears among the Malays and deflect attention away from their electoral defeat and from UMNO's historic failures to address the needs of all Malaysians including the poor and marginalised Malays.

I ask my fellow Malaysians to reject the desperate attempts by some UMNO members to salvage the remnants of a broken party by pandering to people's fears and sowing divisions and disunity among the people of our nation.

We must remain united in support of a New Dawn for Malaysia.

ANWAR IBRAHIM



Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia

Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia oleh KeADILan adalah komited untuk memperbaiki dan menaiktaraf golongan miskin dan terpinggir samada Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, Kadazan dan lain-lainnya. Kami sentiasa menegaskan bahawa di bawah kepimpinan kami, kepentingan orang Melayu akan dipelihara dan kami kekal komited untuk membina sebuah sistem baru yang lebih adil, lebih saksama dan berperanan untuk memastikan tidak ada seorang pun yang ketinggalan di belakang tanpa mengira apa agama dan bangsa mereka.

Kami merancang untuk melaksanakan mekanisme-mekanisme baru untuk menyalurkan bantuan ekonomi kepada sejumlah besar peniaga-peniaga kecil dalam komuniti Melayu dan memastikan peluang pendidikan, skim kewangan mikro kredit, perkhidmatan sosial dan kebajikan serta pelbagai lagi bentuk bantuan ekonomi terbuka untuk masyarakat Melayu.

Saya percaya bahawa semua rakyat Malaysia termasuklah golongan Melayu mengalu-alukan mandat yang diperolehi KeADILan pada 8 Mac lepas dan mereka memandang ke hadapan untuk membentuk sebuah kerajaan yang lebih berakauntabiliti, memerangi rasuah dan melaksanakan janji-janji untuk memacu pertumbuhan ekonomi dan membasmi kemiskinan di dalam pelbagai sektor masyarakat.

Justeru saya turut terkesan dengan pelbagai usaha yang dilakukan oleh segelintir pihak untuk mengapi-apikan sentimen perkauman selepas Pilihanraya Umum 8 Mac yang lepas. Kami mempunyai sebab untuk mempercayai bahawa kempen ganas ini dipeloporti segelinti Melayu korporat dan pimpinan Umno yang bersalah kerana menyalahguna dan menyelewengkan Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) untuk memperkayakan kelompok dan kroni mereka menggunakan wang yang sepatutnya disalurkan kepada rakyat.

Hubaya-hubaya ini mempergunakan Umno dan media kawala kerajaan untuk menyemarakkan rasa takut di kalangan masyarakat Melayu dan mengalihkan tumpuan daripada kekalahan mereka dan kegagalan terbesar Umno dalan sejarah, kepada memberi tumpuan dan fokus kepada keperluan seluruh rakyat Malaysia termasuklah Melayu miskin dan tertindas.

Saya menyeru kepada seluruh rakan warga Malaysia untuk menolak usaha desperado tajaan pimpinan dan ahli Umno untuk menyelamatkan harapan rakyat daripada dimanipulasi sebuah parti yang rosak yang menyemarakkan ketakutan rakyat dan berusaha memecahbelahkan rakyat negara ini.

Kita mesti kekal bersatu untuk menjunjung Harapan Baru buat Malaysia

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ku Li's comments hurts non-Malays

We are very fortunate Ku Li is not the Prime Minister now.His statements have deeply hurt the feelings of the non-Malays who are also loyal and patriotic citizens of this country.He speaks as though the non-Malays are aliens and have no right to participate in the governing of the country.

Haven't the non-Malays contributed to the development of the nation?Can the nation be what it is today if not for the non-Malays?Ku Li has some soul searching to do.He must sincerely search his conscience to obtain genuine answers to these questions.

It is sad that a man of his age, experience
and stature lacks the wisdom as a senior statesman.Why does he need to resort to a racist platform at the age of 70,when he should be playing the role of an elderly statesman,unifying the races?

Umno and the BN lost not because the Opposition are angels but the the former have become arrogant,racist and have lost the feeling for the poor and downtrodden citizens of all
races, including the Malays.

Ku Li , as we read your statements,
our hearts ached and tears swell in our eyes.It causes so much pain to hear such words from a veteran leader like you,whom we had so much respect. All our sacrifices and contributions to the nation means nothing to you and your Umno.

Pak Lah may be weak but a real gem of a man when compared to many.Despite heavy losses,which he accepted gracefully,saying "winning and losing is what democracy is all about", he has not reacted with anger against anyone.

He may be under tremendous pressure these days,
but he has not used the racial card which used to be the easiest weapon for Umno.He still says he is the Prime Minister for all races and would ensure that no one community is left behind.We salute him and pray that God will deliver him from the predicament he is in now.

Dr.Chris Anthony





Ku Li wants Umno to call EGM


Malaysiakini,Mar 16, 08 4:10pm


Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has written a letter to all 193 Umno division leaders urging them to call an extraordinary general meeting on May 11 in the wake of the party's unprecedented electoral setback.

ku li tengku razaleigh interview 241106 reluctantIn a two-page letter dated March 12, Razaleigh asked the Umno leaders to invoke the party constitution to demand an EGM to discuss the results of the March 8 election, which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition losing five key states.

Razaleigh said his suggestion for May 11 for the special party meeting was because it was the day Umno was founded in 1946.

The 70-year-old former finance minister who made a failed challenge against Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah Badawi for Umno president in 2004, painted a dire picture for the ruling party.

"In the first general election in 1955, Umno controlled two-thirds of the seats in Parliament. Today, we are a minority voice in Parliament. At the federal level, Umno is no longer a strong political power. I nearly shed tears thinking about this scenario.

Razaleigh, who is the head of Umno Gua Musang division in Kelantan, said that in 2004, the party had 107 out of 219 parliament seats. Now however, the party controls 78 out of 222 seats.

'Umno will not rule again'

"Worse still, at the 12th general election, BN lost four states - Penang, the home state of our own party president (which has fallen into the hands of Chinese-based DAP), Kedah (which has fallen to PAS), Perak (which has fallen to DAP despite that the mentri besar is from PAS), and Selangor (which will be dominated by non-Malay DAP and non-Malays from PKR despite that the mentri besar is a Malay," he wrote appealing to fears of Umno leaders losing political control to the country's non-Malay minorities.

Razaleigh added that the party rank-and-file should not "point fingers at anyone" and absolve themselves for the debacle. According to him, the party should have not allowed the top leadership to make such a mistake.

"This is our collective responsibility, the responsibility of all Umno members and leaders from the branch and division levels to the Umno supreme council, this is not just the responsibility of a few top leaders only."

The EGM, he said, should examine the disastrous electoral performance of BN.

"We must find out why Chinese and Indian voters rejected MCA and MIC candidates. Why were incumbent Umno candidates defeated by PKR and PAS candidates? Otherwise at the next election, if we don't change our policies, culture and morale in BN and Umno - and change radically - BN and Umno will not rule again," he wrote in the letter.

"PKR-DAP-PAS will form the federal government, the PM may be from PKR and the DPM may be from the DAP. And should BN still remain intact, it would become an opposition party which is weak and disunited. Umno will not be able to represent the voice of Malays again."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oppostion coalition must be sincere


It is timely for DAP and PAS to seriously consider adopting the Malaysian Economic Agenda(MEA) mooted by PKR.Anwar is right,there should only be one group that should be the target of MEA - the poor among all races.Poverty transcend racial and religious lines and it must be also tackled likewise.

It may take time and face fierce opposition from those who abuse the NEP for own gains.But if there is sincerity on the part of the government these obstacles can be overcome in the near future.

The government of PKR,DAP and PAS must be sincere in wanting to rise above race and religion in their struggle to eradicate poverty.It they can convince the people of their sincerity to help all,then the path to implement the MEA should be smooth and hassle -free.

Dr.Chris Anthony




PKR: No to NEP, Yes to MEA

Malaysiakini ,Mar 15, 08 8:12pm

PKR today reiterated that it wants to scrap the New Economic Policy (NEP) which the party views as a policy designed to enrich Umno and its affiliates instead of eradicating poverty.
PKR deputy-president Dr Syed Husin Ali said the party intends to replace NEP with a new policy dubbed the Malaysian Economic Agenda mooted by party de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

"(NEP) has been abused by a handful of leaders and cronies in Umno and Barisan Nasional to rob the country of its wealth to enrich themselves in the name of Malays as a whole.

"It has led to discriminatory practices that are against the spirit of justice and fairness for all Malaysians, particularly the poor, marginalised and disadvantaged groups of all races," said Syed Husin in a statement today.

Syed Husin said Anwar had already outlined the MEA clearly in his many articles, public lectures as well as the party’s election statement.

Anwar has been drawing flak from Umno over Malay rights ever since opposition parties PAS, PKR and DAP made heavy inroads in peninsula Malaysia resulting in BN losing control of four states and failing to wrest Kelantan.

He has also been the target of criticism over new Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claim that Penang would be free of NEP practices.

Combat corruption, cronyism

Syed Husin said Umno and BN now use the state-controlled media to accuse PKR of having no stand on the NEP and ways of reducing poverty among the Malays.

"We wish to emphasise that a policy of positive discrimination in favour of all Malaysians who are poor, marginalised and disadvantaged will benefit the Malay rakyat more, because they are the majority of poor people," he added.

To do this, Syed Husin stressed that the MEA aspires to:

1) Institute and implement fair, just and equitable redistribution of wealth
2) Combat corruption, cronyism and nepotism
3) Needs-based positive discrimination towards the poor
4) Channel national wealth into better education, healthcare and housing
5) Improving economic competitiveness

Friday, March 14, 2008

Elections 2008 : A victory for racial unity

A victory for racial unity

The 12th General Elections was the defining moment in the history of our nation. It was a day when the opposition parties, by a rare show of unity among them, succeeded in denying the BN a 2/3 majority in parliament. It brought mixed feelings among the people and the various political parties. To the ruling BN it was a bitter victory that could not be celebrated but to the opposition a sweet success that was considered impossible just weeks before. Nevertheless in general it was a victory for democracy and Malaysians as a whole. Most significantly it was a victory for racial unity that is very much needed these days.

In fact Malaysians in general were encouraged by the unprecedented unity among the supporters of the various parties especially in the opposition. Who would have imagined Malays and non-Malays going out in large numbers to vote for the DAP and PAS respectively? Who would have imagined Malays and Chinese shouting “Makkal Sakthi” at the top of their voices as though it was their common battle cry? It was unthinkable before but this election had proved that racial integration is a reality and can be achieved if there is a political will. It was a show of courage and maturity of the people who proved that if the need arises they can unite to achieve even the impossible.

It was with great difficulties the coalition, comprising DAP,PKR and PAS was formed, which brought them the victory which was considered to be an impossible dream. PKR adviser,Anwar Ibrahim must be commended for his role in the establishment of the coalition and the racial unity that prevailed throughout the campaign. In fact during the final days before the election one could feel the air of goodwill and comradeship among the races which was never felt before. The ‘rocket’ and the ‘moon’ symbols that were taboo to the Malays and the Chinese respectively became their household favorites.

The people were willing to put aside their differences, rose above racial division, just to vote for change Unlike before the ethnicity of the candidate did not matter, they voted as long as he was from the opposition. The original aim was just to deny the BN a 2/3 majority in parliament but in the process they were pleasantly rewarded with 5 states to govern as well. The results were unbelievable and there much joy and jubilation. The people were rightly rewarded for their exceptional unity that was unprecedented since merdeka. We are familiar with the slogan ‘Unity is strength’ but it was not until Election Day did the people realize the real meaning of that strength. In fact if unity was strength, then unity in diversity was even greater strength.

However this unexpected reward put to test the goodwill and unity that was established before the elections and unfortunately they seem to be failing in that test so soon after the victory. The squabble for the post of Perak Menteri Besar and the EXCO seats is a disgrace and shame for what the coalition stood for - eradicating race politics. The people were united and ready to rid of race politics but apparently the politicians are not. Instead of capitalizing on the prevalent positive mood of the people to further promote integration, they shamelessly succumbed to selfish racial interests.

The leaders must realize that this time around the people had risen above race and religion to vote for the opposition. The overwhelming victory for the DAP,PKR and PAS is due to the votes from all races,otherwise was no way they could have beaten the mighty BN. In return it is only fair the politicians keep their promise to stay together as one in thick and thin to serve all the people regardless of race and religion and strive to eradicate race politics once and for all. If the need arises, they should put the interest of the people above those of their parties as in a democratic system the people are the ones who matter most. The voters not the voted are the real masters.

The most important prerequisite for the coalition to succeed is mutual trust, which sad to say is badly lacking. Unless they consciously cultivate this trust, the coalition would be heading for doom. The various parties may have serious differences in ideology but that should not be translated into mistrust. How can the coalition develop into future force when PAS and DAP cannot sit down to discuss their commonness and differences?

The Malays,Chinese and Indians,Muslims and non-Muslims are here to stay and as citizens we must adapt ourselves to live together in peace and harmony. This is a must not an option. That may need some compromise on all parties and whether we like it or not that is the only way.

We have lived together for 50 years and during this period we have attained many changes in our lives. Each community had acquired certain rights and characteristics which cannot be questioned anymore. These include the position of the Malay rulers, special rights of Malays, the status of Islam and Bahasa Malaysia. The Malays are the predominant race in the country.

There is no point in going back to the sixties but it would be wiser to move forward from here. The elders must make way for the younger generation to re-negotiate a new charter among the races to craft a new future for them as Malaysians where not race and religion, but national loyalty and merits alone, will be the determining factors in the availability of opportunities to excel.

This election has revealed that the younger generation of Malaysians has attained the maturity, intellect and wisdom to do away with race politics once and for all. Let not the politicians ruin this opportunity that the recent electoral victory has created. We detested the concept of Ketuanan Melayu before,therefore let us not work towards creating Ketuanan Cina or Ketuanan India but Ketuanan Malaysia.

Dr.Chris Anthony


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Opposition coalition doomed?

Yesterday it was DAP,today PKR.Looks like only PAS can be trusted.Is this what we voted for?
The same old race politics.All politicians are the same.How are you different from the BN?

Does the DAP want to replace the Ketuanan Melayu,the very concept it condemned,with Ketuanan Cina?

Come on put racial issues behind and concentrate on nation building.You are not going to go anywhere,except to the opposition benches, if you continue with such petty squabbles.Remember the BN just needs 2 more seats to form the government.

PAS is here to stay and the DAP must adopt to live with them and with other races as well.The sooner it does that the better for all.


Dr.Chris Anthony




PKR threatens to pull out of Perak state gov't


Malaysiakini Mar 13, 08 1:52pm

Just as one fire has been doused in Perak over the appointment of a PAS man as the new mentri besar post, another one is taking place.

PKR has today threatened to pull out from the Perak coalition government on hearing that eight of the 10 executive council posts will go to DAP while the remaining two going to other parties.

In a statement issued by PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali, the opposition party expressed its objection to “the agreement made between PAS and DAP with regards to the composition of the Perak state exco”.

“In the spirit of sincere openness, we stress that the composition of the exco must reflect the composition of the population of Perak and represent the interests of all ethnic groups fairly,” said Syed Husin.

“We ask that this composition be discussed again and if the composition is not altered to the satisfaction of all parties involved, PKR will not take part in the administration of Perak.”

However, he said that PKR will honour its agreement to support the coalition government.

According to available statistics, Malays represent 53.7 percent of the population in Perak, Chinese (31.4 percent) and Indians (13 percent).

It is believed that an earlier agreement between the three parties was for the 10 exco posts to be distributed among them where DAP will have six, PKR two and PAS two.

In last Saturday’s general election, the opposition won an unprecedented 31 of 59 state seats - DAP 18, while PKR has seven and PAS six. The remaining 28 are in the hands of BN, with Umno 27 and MCA 1.

According to Syed Husin, PKR accepts Sultan Azlan Shah’s decision to appoint PAS state assemblyman, Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, as menteri besar of Perak.

“While at first we stressed the need to choose an individual that will be well received by the majority, we now accept the decision in the spirit of cooperation between PKR, PAS and DAP as well as in the interests of stability and harmony for Perak and for the whole of Malaysia.”

Furore in Perak

Yesterday, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang created a furore when he said DAP would boycott the swearing-in ceremony today in protest against Nizar’s appointment as mentri besar.

However, in a dramatic reversal this morning, he apologised for any offence caused to the Perak royalty over his statement, which he said was not made out of disrespect to the Perak sultan and regent.

Meanwhile, state DAP chairperson and Sitiawan state assemblyperson Ngeh Khoo Ham told Malaysiakini that all the party’s elected representatives will attend the swearing in ceremony before the Sultan of Perak in Kuala Kangsar at 4pm.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

DAP should accept MB from PAS

Coalition members must have trust

It was with deep regret and sadness I read the report, Lim: DAP rejects Nizar as MB.

The Perak State Constitution must be respected and its provisions honored at all times. As it stipulates The Menteri Besar (MB) must be a Malay Muslim, it has be so. The Sultan may waive this condition if conditions require so. This would apply if any party obtains a majority to form the government by itself.

Unfortunately this was not the case as the DAP secured only 18 out of the 59 seats. In this case the best Malay Muslim candidate must be chosen, regardless from which party he comes, as they are all members of the coalition that won the election. If Mohamad Nizar Jamaludin,from PAS is the most eligible so be it.

It was with great difficulties that we formed the coalition among DAP,PKR and PAS.that brought us the victory which we thought would be impossible. Why throw it down the drain so fast? Even if DAP does not favour PAS it has to give in for the sake of the coalition’s long term success.

The most important prerequisite for the coalition to succeed is trust, which sad to say is lacking especially in DAP.Lim Kit Siang should allow a free hand to his leaders in Perak to work out the deal and stick by it. If the DAP continues with the boycott, I am afraid BN will take over the rule. Remember BN has 28 seats.

DAP should accept PAS candidate if it wants the coalition to survive.


Dr.Chris Anthony



Lim: DAP rejects Nizar as MB

Mar 12, Malaysiakini 08 8:19pm

While the long-drawn debate on who should be the Perak mentri besar finally came to an end today, an unexpected twist came in the form of DAP leader Lim Kit Siang who said that his party had not approved PAS’ Mohamad Nizar Jamaludin to lead the state.

“The decision to appoint a PAS assemblyperson Mohamad Nizar Jamaludin as Perak mentri besar has caused shock and consternation to DAP leaders, members and supporters,” he said in a brief statement today.

The statement came just hours after it was announced in Ipoh that the Regent of Perak has agreed on Nizar’s appointment.

Earlier Nizar, state DAP chairperson and Sitiawan state assemblyperson Ngeh Khoo Ham and PKR’s Behrang assemblyperson Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi had met with Regent Raja Nazrin Shah.

Ngeh and Jamaluddin were the two other candidates vying for the post.

The three of them later told a press conference that the regent had agreed with Nizar’s appointment as well as the appointment of Ngeh as deputy menteri besar (1) and an Indian candidate - to be named later - as deputy menteri besar (2).

Lim however in a five-paragraph statement released today said that the DAP was only prepared to accept either Ngeh or Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi as Perak mentri besar.

He added that at a March 9 meeting - the day after Saturday's polls - the party leadership only gave approval for the formation of a Perak coalition government comprising 18 DAP assembly members, seven PKR assemblypersons and six PAS assemblypersons.

According to him, the party did not give its consent to the appointment of a PAS leader to helm the state.

Lim ticked off by supporters

Lim also said that as such all DAP Perak assemblypersons would stay away from the swearing-in ceremony for Perak mentri besar scheduled tomorrow.

When contacted for an immediate reaction, Nizar said: “We believe that as a coalition government, all decisions will be collective.”

“We would not respond to comments being made outside the new coalition government," he added.

Previously, Ngeh had told reporters that all three parties would respect the decision of the sultan and cooperate to form the new state government.

Efforts by Malaysiakini to reach Ngeh has been unsuccessful.

Lim's statement has been posted in his personal blog, and it received 100-odd responses from readers within 90 minutes, a majority of which slammed the DAP leader for the decision.

Lessons from the 12th.General Elections

A victory for racial unity

March 8,2007 was the turning point in the history of our nation. It was a day when the opposition parties, by a rare show of unity among them, succeeded in denying the BN a 2/3 majority in parliament. It brought mixed feelings among the people and the various political parties. To the ruling BN it was a victory that could not be celebrated but to the opposition a sweet success that was considered impossible just weeks before. Nevertheless in general it was a victory for democracy and Malaysians as a whole.

Putting aside winning and losing, this general election revealed the development of an encouraging trend among the electorate, which is more educated and knowledgeable. The peaceful way the election campaign and the election itself were conducted revealed the maturity of the people and the politicians. It was gratifying to realize that by enlarge the candidates refrained from resorting to racial issues and character assassination to gain votes.

In fact Malaysians in general were encouraged by the unprecedented unity among the supporters of the various parties especially in the opposition. Who would have imagined Malays and non-Malays going out in large numbers to vote for the DAP and PAS respectively? Who would have imagined Malays and Chinese shouting “Makkal Sakthi” at the top of their voices? It was unthinkable before but this election had proved that racial unity is a reality and can be achieved if there is a political will. It was a show of courage and maturity of the people who proved that if the need arises they can unite to achieve even the impossible.

Another remarkable trend that unveiled was that the losers and the victors in this election were gracious to accept the will of the people. This was particularly so with former Penang Chief Minister,Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, who must be commended for his gentlemanly attitude in facing his defeat. In fact he was victorious even in defeat. The Prime Minister,Pak Lah, too was very gracious in facing the tremendous losses of his party on that day. According to him, accepting the people’s verdict, either favorable or otherwise, is what democracy all about. In the end the people’s interests is what is important not the politicians’.

Now the elections are over, it is time to move forward to serve the people. The BN must revamp itself to become more relevant to the masses. It has a formidable task to regain the confidence of the people. In this context it may be timely to seriously consider abolishing communal parties and paving the way for a multiracial BN in keeping with the demands of the rakyat.

It is time for all the political parties to fulfill their promises and pledges to the people. It is especially important for those ruling the states controlled by the opposition to immediately start working on those pledges. The humility and the people-friendliness that prevailed during the campaign must continue into the tenure of their rule. The people have voted for change and change they must see and experience, otherwise they may not hesitate to effect another change the next time around.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A victory for all

Oh, how sweet it is to be proven wrong!

Abdullah Junid Malaysiakini Mar 10, 08 6:18pm


Syabas
, Malaysia! I've never been prouder to call myself a Malaysian than I am today. This is a win for the people of Malaysia more than anything else.

Like so many others, my heart wished for this result, but my head said the deep-seated fears and mutual suspicions nurtured by the Barisan Nasional and its predecessor would once again create second thoughts among most voters on the journey between their homes and the polling booths.

Oh, how sweet it is to be proven wrong! How sweet to show the world that we as a people have a backbone and we have a real democracy.

This is also a win above all else for Anwar Ibrahim. The journey from being a beaten - literally and figuratively - wheelchair-bound figure to becoming the de facto leader of this group of gutsy people who have shaken the previously unshakeable BN machine to the core is nothing short of remarkable, the stuff legends are made off.

As some would say, the man can take a licking - but he keeps on ticking!

It was Anwar's clarion call of teformasi, defiantly and in the face of a dictator who would stoop to anything to retain power, in the 1990s that triggered everything that has eventually resulted in this triumph. Anwar irrelevant? The BN folk should practise their stand-up comedy skills!

Kudos too to Lim Kit Siang and his merry band of DAP-per brothers and sisters. Kit - who should have been made a Tun a long time ago - has toiled on the thankless opposition bench for decades. A lesser man would have packed it in a long time ago, but his fire burns as bright as ever.

There's just one more reward left for Kit - to see him as a member of the cabinet. That looks like a real possibility on this historic day, though he'll have to hang around until the next election for that to happen. Heck, after 30 or so years, what's another four or five?

A shout out too to other opposition stalwarts such as Karpal Singh and Tan Seng Giaw, Kit's equally determined and long-suffering brothers-in-arms.

A word too for PAS. They kept their end of the bargain - trouncing the BN in Kelantan and put up a strong fight in Terengganu - as well as leading the charge and winning in Kedah, and denying the BN valuable seats elsewhere in the country.

But most of all, this one is for the scores of thousands who took to the streets for Bersih and Hindraf. They showed that there is really no reason to fear anything. They led the way in this brave attempt by Malaysians to take back their country.

When a massive structure has been in place for decades, it cannot - and frankly should not - be brought down in one attempt. The nuts and bolts holding things in place are deeply embedded, and the first order of business is to remove the outer shell first.

The BN's outer shell has been removed. Now, the opposition parties have to start working on infiltrating the core. And if you really examine today's results, the BN core may not be too formidable at all.

More than 50 of the BN's 135-odd seats came from East Malaysia. In fact, these are the seats that the ruling coalition relied on to retain power. The opposition parties must now focus their efforts on making major inroads into Sabah and Sarawak.

In West Malaysia, it is Johor and Pahang that have provided the firewall for the BN. And these are the states the opposition needs to start working on earnestly. Take away these four big states in East and West Malaysia, and suddenly the BN is a pretty spent force.

But the opposition parties too need to be careful and deliberate in the way they move forward. This win will mean nothing four years down the road if they don't do things carefully.

One of the most important things to remember will be that the foundation of this nation remains the Malays and Malay culture. As go the Malays, so goes the nation. It is important that this fact is remembered and always kept in mind when the three opposition parties negotiate their way forward from here.

It is particularly important that the DAP should reassure the Malays that they are not just a Chinese party at heart. And it is not just words that will do the trick. Deeds are important.

The state that all eyes will be on is probably going to be Perak. Kedah and Kelantan will naturally have Malay first ministers, while Penang naturally lends itself to a Chinese No 1. But Perak is a trickier proposition, and it would be advisable for the DAP, despite winning the most state seats, to make way for a Malay menteri besar, preferably from the PKR.

Also tricky, if only for symbolic reasons, is the post of opposition leader. Since PKR won the largest number of seats, they have a claim to appoint the opposition leader. But here again, magnanimity and the spirit of ‘Malaysianess’, I suggest that the PKR should step aside and support Kit to continue as the opposition leader. Any other choice will come across as being distasteful and lacking class.

Finally, a word for Umno. It would be foolish to write them off as a spent force. They'll still be running this country, and if they are smart enough, they'll retool, haul themselves into the 21st century and remain a potent force.

If they don't resort to any hanky-panky in the coming days, they'll deserve praise for respecting the country's democratic system despite all the ills that have diseased this grand old party.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A new dawn for the nation

Time to rid of politics of race

"The people have voted decisively for a new era where the government must be truly inclusive and recognise that all Malaysians, regardless of race, culture or religion are a nation of one.

"We have enough Malay leaders, we have enough Chinese leaders, and we have enough Indian leaders in the opposition fighting against corruption and poor governance. You can't have that (communalism) anymore. It's not relevant anymore."

"Tomorrow, we start to build a brighter future hand-in-hand, shoulder to shoulder. This is a new dawn for Malaysia".

These are the words of Anwar Ibrahim,the man who has charted a new course for Malaysia.He has steered the nation away from communalism onto a course of multi-racialism.

Yes,we have enough leaders from all races and together let us start to build a brighter future hand in hand,shoulder to shoulder and above all whole-heartedly for the future of our children. We have to build the future where our future generations will be able to share in the common brotherhood of the nation. The task is arduous but it has to begin someday, why not it be today?

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The world is big enough for all of us". There is no need to fight each other as there is plenty for for all.

Martin luther king once said,"I have a dream, a dream that one day the sons of slaves and the sons of their masters would sit down together as equal".The Americans are closer to realisng that dream with possibly Barrack Obama in the White House.

Let's all share a common dream that our children will one day be able to proudly call themselves not as Malay,Chinese or Indian but Malaysians.Let's strive to make that Malaysian dream a reality.

Dr.Chris Anthony

Jubilant Anwar hails new dawn for M'sia

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz Malaysiakini Mar 9, 08 5:21pm

PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim described the victory of the opposition parties in five states and its breach of Barisan Nasional's two-thirds majority in Parliament as "a defining moment" in the nation's history.

"The people have voted decisively for a new era where the government must be truly inclusive and recognise that all Malaysians, regardless of race, culture or religion are a nation of one," he told a packed press conference at his residence in Kuala Lumpur last night.

"The people have expressed in no uncertain terms that they want accountability, transparency and the rule of law," he said.

"Tomorrow, we start to build a brighter future hand-in-hand, shoulder to shoulder. This is a new dawn for Malaysia," he added.

Flanked by PKR deputy-president Dr Syed Husin Ali and party information chief Tian Chua, Anwar said among the first items on the agenda is to get down to the business of forming the state governments together with DAP and PAS.

This includes the issue of who will be chosen to lead as the respective chief minister or menteris besar of the various states now under the opposition parties, he said.

"Unless the party has an absolute majority, we will have to consult with our partners," he added.

Asked about whether PKR and its allies would hold any victory celebrations or rallies in the coming days, Anwar said its leaders and those of PAS and DAP have decided this would not be advisable "in light of the shock among Umno and BN members".

Up to BN to decide on Pak Lah

On what he thought of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's future given BN's dismal performance, Anwar said the fate of both Abdullah and his deputy Najib Razak was up to BN to decide internally.

However, he said a large part of the reason for BN component parties' defeats is because of arrogance and the policies of Umno.

On his own plans given the expiry on April 15 of his five-year ban from official politics, Anwar said this was among the things he has to deliberate on in due time.

"Whether (or not) I will choose to run in May, I have to decide a bit later. Forming a state government is not a small matter," he said.

Asked how he feels, Anwar expressed a sense of vindication after a large portion of the people expressed their preference for the opposition parties.

"I feel vindicated, not by the court of law of 'correct, correct, correct,' but by Malaysians at large," he said in reference to the words uttered by senior lawyer VK Lingam in the 'Lingam tape.'

Anwar also said he was glad his wife PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had emerged triumphant in her parliamentary constituency of Permatang Pauh in Penang.

Opposition now a credible alternative

A jubilant Anwar said the opposition now had to prove it was a credible alternative to the coalition which has completely dominated Malaysian politics for half a century.

PKR won 31 seats for the biggest opposition presence in the new 222-seat parliament, from just one in the outgoing parliament.

Meanwhile, DAP won 28 and the Islamic party PAS, 23.

Anwar said the results exploded Malaysia's race-based political structure, under which parties have traditionally represented individual ethnic groups.

"The opposition that has been voted in is a truly multi-racial party. It is a fantastic setup," he said.

The biggest triumph of the 12th general election, he said further, was the feeling that Malaysians had overcome communal considerations, voted less on racial grounds but on issues of good governance.

Political comeback

He also dismissed worries regarding the lack of experience in governing among the opposition parties as well as fears that opposition victories would usher in a period of instability and conflicts.

"We have enough Malay leaders, we have enough Chinese leaders, and we have enough Indian leaders in the opposition fighting against corruption and poor governance. You can't have that (communalism) anymore. It's not relevant anymore," he said.

He also dodged questions on the many accusations cast against him by various quarters in the days leading up to the general election pertaining to his actions while heading the ministries of education, finance, and as deputy prime minister.

"You have these allegations, you have to substantiate that. I don't want to dwell on that. Not in victory. I will deal with it (such questions), if necessary at the appropriate time," he added.

The stunning election results yesterday has cemented Anwar's political comeback after being sacked and jailed a decade ago.

The performance has even revived talk of the charismatic 60-year-old as a future prime minister, after the lost decade that followed his 1998 fall from grace when he was convicted on sex and corruption charges.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Election 2008 : Let's do our duty

Defining moments for the nation

It is a day away when Malaysians will go to the polls. After 50 years we have finally reached the crossroads and the moment has come for us to decide whether we want to continue navigating the same course or make a change for what we believe will mark the dawn of a new era in Malaysian history.

There is no doubt that the since independence BN government had given tremendous development and progress. Many of us owe the government for our successes in life. Unfortunately the opportunities that were available to us then are not there anymore for our children.

Unfair and discriminatory policies have deprived our children the opportunities to excel in their own country. At the same time, the government, is also directly or indirectly the cause of the numerous problems that plague the nation today. These are due to the uninterrupted rule with absolute power of the BN government over 50 years.

History has shown that any government if given absolute power for too long tends to becomes arrogant and corrupt. It tends to breed nepotism, cronyism, favoritism and finally it loses touch with the masses. Its leaders become surrounded by powerful ‘yes men’ who would glorify the leader for whatever he does, even if it is wrong and disastrous.

A system that has been in power for too long needs a jolt of their conscience to bring them back to reality that the people at the grassroots are not pleased with their performance. It needs a better check and balance system in the form of a strong and effective opposition in parliament.

Over the last 10 days or so we have witnessed the vigorous campaigns of the various political parties and their candidates, each claiming to be the best. Each claim they have the best plans and strategies to bring the nation and the people to greater heights. Most of them have promised the heavens; bringing down oil prices, high minimum wages, allowance for housewives, equal rights for all, free education, even free houses for the poor and so on. Some of these promises are too good to be true. In fact some of them are so ridiculous and are an insult to our intelligence and integrity.

During this campaign period we have noticed a sudden change in the attitude of our YB’s; have become so people-friendly, going visiting house to house, providing cash and other forms of aid and even attending funerals and so on. They virtually go down on their knees to beg for votes from the very people whom they ignored over the past 4 years in power. How we wish we had elections every year.

Many of us would have already decided on whom to vote but there is still a large number who depend on the ongoing political ceramahs to make up their minds. Well the politicians can say and do what they want but the final decision is with us, the voters. We should not be taken away by these empty promises and humble acts which are just political gimmicks to win votes. Instead we must be mature enough to analyse the good and bad of what they had pledged and after evaluating their merits and practicality, come up with a clear mind on whom to vote.

This election is not so much about peace, prosperity and security, which we all already enjoy, thanks to the BN government. It is also not so much about business and physical development which we have in abundance, thanks again to the BN government.

Rather the 12th General Election it is more so about electing a government:

1.With a better check and balance so that it will use its powers wisely and solely for the benefit of the people, a government that respects and committed to human rights and empathizes with and strive to uplift the well-being of the all marginalized citizens regardless of race and religion.

2. That will not bulldoze its policies against the wishes of the people without prior proper and adequate consultation and debate.

3. That will treat parliament as the rightful place to make policies

4. That will respect the independence of the civil service, judiciary and police.

5. That will be transparent and accountable to the people in all its dealings that expends huge amount of the taxpayer’s money.

6. Will respect the sanctity of the Federal Constitution and abide by the provisions therein

This election is primarily about stopping the BN government of 50 years from abusing the absolute power it had been entrusted all these years. From a humble beginning it has become an aggressive giant ready to crush anyone whore dares to cross its path.

As we step into the polling booths on March 8, let us cast aside all the promises made by the political candidates, and walk in with a clear mind on the choice of the candidate and party. There may be many temptations to change our minds at the final hours before casting our votes. We must not allow these monetary rewards sway our decisions at the last moment.

Rather let our wisdom, intellect and love for the nation alone decide on that important act of where to place the “X” in the ballot papers. It may take us just a single minute to do that but that that solitary minute in total secrecy would be the defining moment that is going to determine the destiny of our nation.

Casting out vote is our constitutional right and we must take great pains to fulfill that responsibility of ours with full patriotism and diligence. Let’s not be complacent but go out in full force to fulfill our national duty on March 8.

Happy voting and Hidup Malaysia.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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