Friday, October 31, 2008

MAHATHIR: back with a vengeance.

Back with a vengeance
Mahathir is back in the limelight and could have a big say in next govt
By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief
Dr Mahathir

Dr Mahathir is back in a position of influence after his campaign to topple his successor Abdullah Badawi gained momentum after the BN's poor results in the March polls. The former premier is said to have engineered moves to get Mr Abdullah to step down earlier. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR: With a hit count reaching almost nine million in just one year, it would not be wrong to describe former premier Mahathir Mohamad as Malaysia's most successful blogger.

His blog,, routinely attracts hundreds of comments, and is frequently quoted by the mainstream media. Ironically, he started the blog only because he was blacked out in the media for his harsh criticism of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

Five years to the day since his retirement in 2003, Tun Dr Mahathir's influence seems to be growing steadily as Malaysia readies for a new prime minister by the end of March next year.

His every move is dissected for its significance. When he showed up at International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's Hari Raya open house last week, it stirred much excitement as it was perceived as an endorsement of the minister. This can count for a lot in the upcoming election in Umno, whose members still love him.

Is Dr Mahathir making a political comeback? Not exactly. But there is a strong belief that his influence is on the rise.

Observers suggest that he could have a big say in the next administration after he played a key role in securing the early retirement of Datuk Seri Abdullah, who was blamed for the poor showing of the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the March polls.

Many believe that Dr Mahathir's skilful manoeuvres behind the scenes were instrumental in getting Deputy Premier Najib Razak to persuade Mr Abdullah to retire earlier than his original plan of June 2010. The whiff of resurgent power has sent Umno leaders and the media flocking to Dr Mahathir again, and he is back in the limelight after five years of being out in the cold.

'His views are being reported more widely, precisely because many people think that he will make a comeback,' said political analyst Ong Kian Ming.

Professor Agus Yusoff, from the National University of Malaysia, agreed that this was one perception, but felt that the bigger reason was the weakness of the current leadership.

'His views are being heard now because people are looking for better leadership. They see Dr Mahathir as experienced, and his views relevant,' he said.

Things have come full circle for Dr Mahathir, 82. His star dimmed soon after his retirement when Mr Abdullah won a massive mandate in 2004. But the former premier soon sprang back into limelight after he began to give voice to public misgivings about Mr Abdullah's weak administration.

His attacks gripped Malaysians for months in 2005, but they soon wore thin - until the March election that saw the BN suffer heavy losses. His campaign to topple his successor gained unstoppable momentum, returning him to a position of influence. Dr Mahathir's recent blog entry criticising the reach of vote-buying, or 'money politics', in Umno was debated widely in Umno circles.

His most recent acerbic comments on Datuk Seri Najib's alleged young advisers sparked even more talk.

In a blog entry on Tuesday, he warned Mr Najib not to repeat the mistake of cloistering himself with young advisers as Mr Abdullah had, to the anger of Umno.

Dr Mahathir named consultancy firm Ethos as the Deputy Premier's adviser, and claimed that it also had links to Mr Abdullah's young advisers.

'They (Ethos) are interested in getting a portion of the EPF worth RM300 billion (S$127 billion), to manage its investments, apparently with returns of up to 40 per cent,' he wrote, referring to the retirement fund, Employees Provident Fund.

The management of Ethos was quoted in The Edge business weekly recently about their interest in managing part of EPF investments. Mr Najib has not responded.

Political observers believe that he will not marginalise the former premier, especially after seeing how Dr Mahathir's constant sniping damaged Mr Abdullah's reputation.

'Datuk Najib will certainly prefer to have Dr Mahathir inside as an adviser rather than outside lobbing criticism at him,' said Mr Ong.

This has led some people to predict a return of Mahathirism, suggesting a stronger hand on government than Mr Abdullah's looser style. But Mr Najib's supporters have denied this perception.

'Najib is not a puppet, he will have his own way and will want to make his own mark,' said Prof Agus.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir's every move and word will continue to be watched, and his blog can expect to hit the 10 million mark very soon.

Back with a vengeance
Straits Times, Singapore

‘Boot camp’ judge resigns

A High Court judge who revealed the existence of a boot camp for judges back in 1997 has tendered his resignation and will leave office on Dec 1.

Datuk Ian Chin wrote a letter to the King on July 16 to resign and went on leave on Aug 21.

Chin: Went on leave on Aug 21

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T. Murugiah said this in reply to Tian Chua (PKR - Batu) who asked whether the Government had taken steps to investigate the accusations made by Chin against former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

With Chin’s resignation, there was no need to investigate the matter, said Murugiah.

Earlier, Murugiah told Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir (BN - Jerlun) that the Government did not intend to make representation to the King to put Chin before a tribunal.

On July 15, several MPs, while debating on the Judges Remuneration (Amendment) Bill, criticised Chin in the Dewan Rakyat over his war of words with Dr Mahathir.

Some questioned his revelation, made only after Dr Mahathir had stepped down, and some called for him to be sacked for being “judicially immature”.

It prompted Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to intervene. He asked Karpal Singh to read out Article 127 of the Federal Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Order 36(8) to remind MPs not to debate on judges’ behaviour unless a substantive motion was moved with the consent of 55 MPs.

In June, Chin caused a stir when he claimed that Dr Mahathir had made a thinly veiled threat against judges at the Judges Conference on April 24, 1997.

He claimed Dr Mahathir had threatened to sack judges who failed to deliver judgments to his or the Government’s liking.

Chin had also said that Dr Mahathir was dissatisfied over his unwillingness to award astronomical sums in damages in two libel suits in 1997, and that “errant” judges had been sent to a boot camp in an “attempt to indoctrinate them to hold the view that the Government’s interest was more important than all else”.

Dr Mahathir, in his blog, said the judges were never sent to a boot camp

‘Boot camp’ judge resigns
Malaysia Star, Malaysia

beritadarigunung: Why Mahathir is the target?

Eurocopter purchase: Abdullah gives exact figure for deal

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and DPM Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and DPM Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday provided the exact figure for the Eurocopter deal after he was given a clarification by the Defence Ministry.

The prime minister said the correct figure was RM1.607 billion, and not RM1.7 billion quoted when he announced to the media earlier this week the government's decision to defer the purchase.

"I have been told that the actual amount is RM1.607 billion. I apologise for the mistake," he said after chairing a cabinet committee meeting on palm oil industry competitiveness.

Abdullah questioned why the opposition was making so much fuss about the issue as the deal was not binding in the first place.

"It is really very technical and academic to argue about the price, especially when a decision has been made (to postpone the purchase)."
He said if conditions permitted in the future, negotiations on the purchase would resume.

"When we feel there is money to spare, then we will negotiate the price."

Abdullah, however, declined to say whether the price would differ should fresh negotiations take place.

"Whatever it is, we will still have to negotiate."

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was present, said the opposition was making a meal of the proposed purchase, especially with its contention that the government had not conducted physical and specification inspections on the helicopter.

He said the Eurocopter was a proven helicopter in several developed nations, including France.

"The helicopter has also seen combat in Afghanistan, and our pilots have flown it in exhibitions. They know the performance of the Eurocopter."

According to Najib, before a sale is confirmed, a free delivery inspection is held and that is when the helicopter would be thoroughly examined.

"So, what we have done is nothing unusual. It's not experimental and it's not that it has not been tested."

At the press conference, Abdullah also said the government would embark on an oil palm replanting scheme for trees aged over 25 years.

The government will allocate RM200 million for this scheme to replant trees in some 200,000 hectares.

"An incentive of RM1,000 per hectare will also be given to those who want to take part in the scheme."

He said plantation owners and smallholders had been reluctant to replant before due to the high prices for palm oil.

"Now that prices have dipped, the government feels that this is the right time to embark on the scheme."

The committee also decided to implement a five per cent bio-diesel blending exercise using methyl ester and diesel.

Abdullah said the programme would be implemented in stages beginning February. The blended fuel will be used in government vehicles, followed by the industrial and transport sectors.

"We estimate using about 500,000 tonnes a year for this. Since our yearly palm oil production is about 17.8 million tonnes, this should not be a problem."

Abdullah gives exact figure for copter deal
New Straits Times, Malaysia

Is Judicial Reforms about hitting Mahathir?

They are not good at disguising their intention..., some of us. At this minute, there are sections in the society that dont give a damn about the so called judicial reforms. The whole thing is so ugly, blatant and misguided. Whats meant to be honourable is a foul play. Many point at Zaid. Many point at the fact that how come our leadership is so naive........

Focus: Malaysiakini, Strait Times and the Star.

Zaid: Ketuanan Melayu has failed
Oct 31, 08 2:02pm zaid ibrahimbreaking news In an incisive speech, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim does not mince his words in lambasting the shortcomings of the hegemonic policy.

Justice Chin to resign on Dec 1
ian chin ian hn chin judgeupdated 3.09pm But it is not known whether Sabah High Court judge Ian Chin’s decision is linked to the startling revelations he had levelled in June against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

30% bumi equity: Both got it wrong, says PKR MP
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Oct 31, 08 4:04pm PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub had failed to reflect Pakatan Rakyat’s consensus, says one of his opposition colleagues.

DEWAN RAKYAT: Gov't has no plans to bring Justice Ian Chin before ...
New Straits Times, Malaysia - 29 Oct 2008
He's already on leave from Aug 21 to Nov 30," he said when replying questions by Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir (BN-Jerlun) and Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) at the Dewan ...

Read and understand Zaid deep.

The Barisan Nasional government must abandon its reworked concept of the social contract, said Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

He said the Government must now embrace a fresh perspective borne out of discussions and agreements made in good faith with all the communities in this country.

“It is time for us all to practise a more transparent and egalitarian form of democracy and to recognise and respect the rights and dignity of all the citizens of this country,” he said Friday at the 21st LawAsia Conference 2008 here.

Zaid was invited to speak on “Malaysia - A Lost Democracy?” on the second day of the conference.

He said the social contract was restructured unilaterally in the 1980s by a certain segment of the Barisan leadership, which marked the advent of “ketuanan Melayu” or Malay supremacy, that allowed for developments that had resulted in the country’s current state of affairs.

“The non-Malay Barisan component parties were perceived by Umno to be weak and in no position to exert influence.

“Bandied about by Umno ideologues, the social contract took on a different, more racialist tone.

“The essence of its reconstructed meaning was that Malaya is primarily the home of the Malays and that the non-Malays should acknowledge that primacy by showing deference to the Malays and Malay issues.

“Affirmative action and special status became a matter of privilege by reference to race rather than of need and questioning of this new status quo was not to be tolerated,” he said.

He said majoritarianism had become the governing paradigm of governance as the character and nature of rights were defined by Malay interests and the Malays.

He said the institutions of government were such that the Malays were effectively represented and there was no way the interest of the Malays could be taken away other than through their own weakness and folly.

“It was, and still is, impossible to reconcile the principles of equality and civil rights of the people of this country with the primacy of one group over all others,” he said.

Zaid said the country had failed miserably in dealing with complex issues of society by resorting to a political culture of promoting fear and division amongst the people.

“The ketuanan Melayu model has failed and it has resulted in waste of crucial resources, energy and time and has distracted from the real issues confronting the country,” he said.

He said the results of the March 8 elections showed that the Barisan was no longer exclusively speaking for the rakyat.

“Prompting discourse and dialogue is essential as we must learn to talk and listen to one another again,” he said.

He also said goodwill must continue to strive to bring about change so that the trust of all Malaysians could be rebuilt.

“From that trust, we can rebuild the country where we do not live in fear, but in freedom; that the rights of all Malaysians are acknowledged, respected and protected by the system of law that is just and fair,” he said.


Respect the rights of all citizens: Zaid Malaysia Star, Malaysia

Dr M will loom large now, says Zaid

Zaid: Mahathir is back in power with Najib

And listen to Nazri Aziz,


MINISTER in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz yesterday failed to keep a promise to tell members of parliament how much was spent on ex gratia payments to six former judges involved in the 1988 judicial crisis.


KES LIWAT: Anwar hadiri prosiding di Mahkamah.

PENASIHAT Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim diiringi isterinya, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail keluar dari Mahkamah Sesyen, Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur, hari ini selepas menghadiri prosiding tuduhan meliwat bekas pembantunya, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Mahkamah hari ini mendengar hujahan lanjut yang dibentangkan peguam bela Anwar bagi membantah permohonan pihak pendakwa untuk memindahkan perbicaraan ke Mahkamah Tinggi. - Foto Bernama

KES ALTANTUYA: Abdul Razak Baginda bebas!

BEBAS: Abdul Razak Baginda (tengah) tersenyum selepas dibebaskan daripada tuduhan bersubahat membunuh wanita Mongolia, Altantuya Shaariibuu. Manakala gambar bawah, anak perempuan, Rowena Abdul Razak (kiri) dan isteri Mazlinda Makhzan turut bersama Razak di luar Mahkamah Tinggi Shah Alam, hari ini. - Foto AP

CIF Inspektor Azilah Hadri, 32, dan Koperal Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, (menutup kepala) dari Unit Tindakan Khas (UTK) Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman, keluar daripada Mahkamah Tinggi selepas diperintahkan membela diri pada perbicaraan kes bunuh wanita warga Mongolia, Altantuya Shaariibuu di Mahkamah Tinggi Shah Alam di sini, hari ini. Azilah dan Sirul dituduh membunuh Altantuya, 28, di lokasi antara lot 12843 dan Lot 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, dekat Shah Alam, antara jam 10 malam, 19 Oktober dan 1 pagi 20 Oktober 2006 lalu. - Foto Bernama

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mengulas Malaysiakini: Ujian judicial reforms

Kenyataan Abdullah Badawi baru-baru ini bahawa Judicial Reforms adalah prioriti beliau sebelum mengundur diri mengundang pelbagai reaksi. Sejak beliau mengambil alih tugas perdana menteri dari Tun Dr Mahathir, judicial reforms bukan agenda yang disebut-sebut.

Dari Malaysiakini

Oct 30, 08 10:10am
breaking news The Federal Court today threw out an appeal by Munawar A Anees for his sodomy charge be remitted to the High Court so that he can argue his case.

Justice Chin to resign on Dec 1
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Oct 30, 08 12:12pm ian chin ian hn chin judge
breaking news
updated 1.40pm But it is not known whether Sabah High Court judge Ian Chin’s decision is linked to the startling revelations he had levelled in June against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad

2. Hanya selepas Zaid dibawa masuk dalam kabinet barulah satu persatu judicial reforms dicanang, hinggakan ada menteri rasa perlu untuk berkata "itu kabinet belum bincang lagi". Akhirnya Zaid meletak jawatan. Dua sebab dikemukakan oleh pemerhati, pertama Zaid dikritik hebat, kedua kedudukan politik Zaid hancur bila kalah di bahagian sendiri.

3. Ungkapan analogi dari Taib Mahmud Sarawak wajar diberi perhatian serius:-

Political and economic reforms should be implemented at a pace that is acceptable and understood by the people, said Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

He said although many quarters were clamouring for change, it should not be done in a way that would jeopardise the country’s stability and unity.

“Change is like the wind. If it blows gently, we enjoy it. But if it blows like a storm, roofs will be blown off and houses could tumble. refer to Taib: Don’t rush into reforms Malaysia Star, Malaysia

UPDATES: on Mukhriz Mahathir

THE scathing criticisms on Khairy Jamaluddin and Mukhriz Mahathir by supporters from opposing camps in the past weeks were just the appetisers.

Now that these two have garnered the required votes to challenge for the Umno Youth Chief leadership, the real battle has begun.

Though a third candidate has qualified - former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo - he doesn't seem to be in the firing line of the other two... continue here Khairy wants debate, Mukhriz says no.

These are interesting too:

Not Time Yet To Abolish 30% Bumiputera Equity In Economy, Says Mukhriz
Bernama, Malaysia - 15 hours ago
Mukhriz, who is also Jerlun Member of Parliament, said there were still many objectives in the New Economic Policy which had not been achieved and efforts ...
Hisham: Don?t fall for those selling 'exam questions'
AsiaOne, Singapore - 20 hours ago
Khairy Jamaluddin and Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo have agreed to take part in the debate while Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has declined. Umno supreme council member ...
Mukhriz: I will debate if it benefits party
New Straits Times, Malaysia - 22 hours ago
JITRA: Jerlun member of parliament Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said he would only participate in a debate with contenders of the Umno Youth chief's post if it ...
Differing views about having debate
New Straits Times, Malaysia - 22 hours ago
Khairy, who is Rembau member of parliament, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who is Umno Youth executive councillor and Jerlun MP, and former Selangor menteri besar ...


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today that Malaysia's effort in judicial reform remains at the forefront of the government's agenda. He said that in April this year, he had announced the establishment of an independent judicial appointments commission and the work on the relevant legislation was progressing well. Continue here,

We may want to look at
Serbia and Canada

From Malaysiakini
New CJ vows action against errant judges
Andrew Ong | Oct 29, 08 6:06pm
zaki azmi 291008The newly-appointed Chief Justice Zaki Azmi’s maiden speech was trained on the 'small number' of errant judges who have tarnished the image of the judiciary.

From Malaysiakini
PM endorses reform minded CJ
Beh Lih Yi | Oct 29, 08 8:08pm
Abdullah says that Zaki was a man who liked reforms and had already made a few suggestions to the premier on how to make the judiciary better.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liow Tiong Lai: I Didn't Say It

MCA vice president Datuk Liow Tiong Lai slammed Utusan Malaysia for distorting his viewpoints on the country's economic development in a bid to ethnicise the issue and stir up controversies.

On the national economic development, he said he stressed company and national competitiveness, and had advocated genuine cooperation among different races in this country instead of overly emphasising the issue of racially divided equity.

"Opening up the economy and enhancing competitiveness instead of talking only about quota restrictions has been the megatrend for future developments. If all races in this country can work together sincerely, then there will not be any need of talking about the equity issue."

During an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily, Liow said the misguiding front page story on Utusan Malaysia was obviously trying to cook up the issue along racial lines when compared to articles on other Malay and English dailies.

"Do we still need to talk about racial issues in Malaysia today? How deplorable it is to see the old mindset of 1970s and 80s still very much alive in our new generation of today! If we still engross ourselves in making racist remarks and arguments, then the country's future will be doomed!"

Liow emphasised that the viewpoint he had offered when asked to respond to the economic development issues raised by deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak earlier, was that Malaysians could not afford to confine themselves within the antiquated mind frame of racial quotas, but should instead enhance their own competitiveness and efficiency.

"What I suggested was the megatrend. The quota in equity should be opened up, but I didn't say it should be abolished right away."

Liow slammed Utusan for the irresponsible, unwise and distortional style of reporting, which has reflected on the newspaper's outdated mentality and lack of progressiveness.

He also believed that other newspapers had carried the story in a more objective and factual approach without attempting to play up the issue.

"Look like all they want to see is chaos."

Utusan Malaysia recently quoted Liow Tiong Lai as having said that MCA suggested that the government abolish the 30% bumiputra equity restrictions on public-listed companies, in its cover story headlined Mansuh Ekuiti Bumiputra (Abolish Bumiputra Equity).

"It is detrimental to the national economy for anyone to continue playing up racial issues. Utusan Malaysia must stop issuing news reports that could trigger racial disharmony." (By KOK SU CHIN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)

source:Liow Tiong Lai: I Didn't Say It
Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia

Taib Mahmud: Jangan besar-besarkan isu BULI.

KUCHING, Oct 29 (Bernama) -- Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has called on all parties not to prolong and blow up the issue of bullying raised by members of smaller components of the coalition.

He said the allegation that bigger component parties were bullying the rest was "a small matter".

"You don't need to ask me questions like this," he told reporters at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.

He was asked to comment on a Malaysiakini report on Saturday which quoted Parti Rakyat Sarawak member Beginda Minda of the Balleh division as saying that Umno at the federal level and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) in Sarawak were too dominant and bullying smaller BN components.

Taib who is Sarawak Chief Minister, is also PBB president.

Former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting was also reported to have said during the party's 55th general assembly recently that Umno seemed far more dominant compared to the other components and wanted the BN leadership to correct the situation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mengimbangi posting dalam MALAYSIAKINI dan TRANUNGKITE mengenai Zulkifli Nordin.

Tindak tanduk Zulkifli Nordin telah menyebabkan beberapa pemimpin PKR mengangkat kening. Anwar memilih untuk membisu kerana tindak tanduk Zulkifli Nordin menyentuh tentang lorong yang pernah dilalui oleh Anwar sendiri waktu ABIM adalah batu lonjatan beliau, iaitu perjuangan Islam. Zulkifli masih memakai kopiah putih, sedangkan Anwar tidak mempamirkan trend itu. Era ABIM galak mengeluarkan senarai barangan di pasaran yang tidak menepati ciri-ciri halal sudah lama Anwar tinggalkan.

Musim panas sudah lama berlalu...... kini adalah musim sejuk yang akan menguji ketahanan pemimpin hingga ke tulang dan tengkorak. Bukan ujian fizikal dengan memakai brace sebelum ke Germany tetapi memaksa pemimpin berfikir sejenak samada benar perjuangan dan iman adalah komoditi perdagangan semata-mata.

Kedua-dua pandangan wajar diberi perhatian, nyata berbeza dan mampu mengusik hati.

Pandangan 1 dari Malaysiakini
Zulkifli must be disciplined' (click to Malaysiakini)
Oct 28, 08 10:43am
‘We have too many with religious hang-ups who make life hard for others because of their false understanding of religion.'
On Zulkifli: We must strengthen Islam
Ahmadhatter: PKR politician Zulkifli Nordin is misguided and suffers from a persecution complex. No one is attacking or undermining Islam.

Sincerity is no guarantee that one is doing the right thing because one can be sincerely wrong, like the nurse who gave the wrong medicine to a patient though she thought it was the right medicine.

Zulkifli must be careful that it is not he who is not pleasing God because of his actions. There is nothing in Islam which prevents people debating about religion, even Islam.

When Mohammed's critics ridiculed him he did not destroy them but allowed them to have their say.

There is no coercion in Islam but Zulkifli has the nerve to criticise Mahathir when Zulkifli himself is not above board. The kind of thinking and actions by Zulkifli is the same reason why religious fanatics arise and do extreme things.

As a politician Zulkifli has to answer to the people for his conduct as much as to God. As long as people like Zulkifli Nordin are in PKR I will never vote for PKR because his ideas are incompatible with what PKR and PAS stand for.

The best thing PKR can do is to discipline this politician. He is a menace to progress and true Islam. At least Mahathir did not disrupt a Bar Council meeting.

We have too many with religious hang-ups who make life hard for others because of their false understanding of religion.

Pandangan 2 dari Tranungkite
YB Tian Chua Perlekeh YB Zulkifli Nordin (click to tranungkite)
Oleh alisyariati

" Surat khabar "the Star" keluara tanggal 26.10.2008 secara amnya tidak suka tindak tanduk Yb Zulkifli Nordin dalam membina jalanan politik lebih lebih lagi bersifat menonjol dalam mempertahankan ugama Islam.

Sejauh mana Yb Zulkifli Nordin menyuarakan dan mempertahankan Islam menjadi persoalan yang kuarang jelas. Pertama Yb Zulkirli Nordin menwakili parti PKR yang sekular dan berbentuk perabadi Anwar Ibrahim. Kedua sebilangan wakil rakyat PKR tidak "gemar" dan tidak setuju cara Zulkifli Nordin berpolitik cara PAS.

Kita takut Zulkifli Nordin bermimpi disiang hari jaguh waktu ketika air pasang atau bersifat kendiri dalam mempertahan kan Islam dalam jamaah yang bukan berpaksi perjuangan Islam. Segala tindak tanduk zulkifli dicemuh sacara senyap oleh orany yang buka Islam dan orang yang berkuasa dalam PKR yang berugama Islam?.

Saya cukup teruja tulisan sdr. "al-brangi" bertajuk Alahai----lantangnya Zulkifli Nordin". Saya pun terbaca kedua- dua tulisan termasuk mingguan Malaysia dan cacatan Yb Tian Chua dalam Star. Kesimpilan Zulkifli Nordin tidak digemari oleh pehak atasan PKR . Betul apa yang dicacatkan oleh "al-brangi: dalam laman yang sensasi TKO Yb Zulkifli Nordin menwakili parti mana?.....Zulkifli seorang shaja yang mempertahankan Islam?.... Tiada parti yang mempertahankan Islam?.... Duhai Zulkifli Nordin.

Jelas puak PKR tidak gemar cara Zulkifli Nordin melaungkan Islam dalam politik Zulkifli Nordin. Cara anda akan ditertawa dalam hati dan dicemuh secara halus oleh mosuh Islam walau pun dalam PKR. Umno sendiri benci dan menolak Islam . Inikan pula PKR yang jelas parti cukup sekular dan parti bohong dan bersifat BLUFF.

Anda yang lantang dalam isu isu Islam walaupun anda pernah membuka mata kisah trajis murtad satu waktu dulu. Kita takut yang anda laung-laungkan diperlekeh bagaikan anjing menyalak bukit.

Cara yang terbaik masuk sahaja Parti Pas. walaupun anda seorang peguam. Memang petah berhujah, macam-macam hujan anda paparkan agar tindakan anda betul. Tindakan anda betul dalam isu Islam hanya cara dan tapak atau landasan dalam perjuangan sedikit cacat mudah di perlekehkan oleh pehak musuh.

Saya cukup trajis dan teruja membaca paparan Yb Tian Chua naib presiden PKR dalam Star. Anda dimalukan bukan sahaj anda cara anda dan Islam dihentam secara halus termasuk diri anda. Dalam mingguan malaysia bagaikan Zulkifli Nordin insan yang membela Islam?.......sangat mendukacita. Dimana anda berada sekarang ?......

Ayuh kita berkampong dengan kumpulan Islam yang jelas iatu parti PAS. walaupun seribu kelemahan dan jutaan segmen tribulisasi kerarah perjuangan.yang mengikut jejak para ulama yang baik bukan ulama dalam PKR dan UMNO.....

beritadarigunung: saya tidak bercadang untuk mengulas secara mendalam dalam isu ini. Pandangan padu dari pemimpin PKR, Anwar Ibrahim tentu dapat menjernihkan keadaan, atau beliau sibuk dengan kes Liwat di mahkamah?

PBB Never Bullied PRS, Says Abang Johary

KUCHING, Oct 28 (Bernama) -- Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) has denied claims that it had bullied smaller Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties in the state.

Commenting on a statement by Baleh Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) publicity chief Beginda Minda that the party was a bully, PBB deputy president Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the party had never taken advantage of the situation when PRS was going through internal crisis.

Johari said that PBB, as the backbone of the state BN, had in fact offered assistance to prevent serious split in PRS.

"If another party has a problem, we help the party. If we don't, the whole BN coalition will be affected. The question of bullying does not arise," he told reporters after visiting the PPR Taman Sepakat Jaya in Demak Laut.

"Don't just parrot what others say about one party bullying another," he added.

Malaysiakini news portal on Saturday quoted Beginda as saying that Umno at the federal level and PBB in Sarawak were "too dominant" and indeed were "bullies" in their dealings with smaller component parties.

Read here
Dari Malaysiakini
PRS: Umno is a bully, so is PBB
Oct 25, 08 9:09am
A Parti Rakyat Sarawak division leader wants Umno and PBB to stop thinking ‘dominance’ and start thinking of allowing other BN parties to run their own shows. If not, PRS has other options, he warns.
- Proofs of dominance and bullying
- Wake up to political realities

and this too :
Mengulas Malaysiakini: Umno is a bully

Meanwhile, Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) president Tan Sri Dr George Chan also dismissed claims of bullying by PBB.

"Everyone is entitled to his opinion, and no, I have never been bullied," he said, adding that PBB were the dominant party because it had more members.

Meanwhile, PRS president Datuk Seri Dr James Jemut Masing said that Beginda's statement was not the party's stand.

He told the local media that he would impose a gag order on the matter soon.

Sarawak BN has four component parties namely PBB, SUPP, PRS and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).


MENGULAS KUDAKEPANG: Adakan Perhimpunan Agung Umno Disember 2008

Berita dari gunung said...

Banyak benda yang kita takut dalam hidup ini terutama yang "first time".

Untuk Pak Lah ini bukan "first time out". Lama dulu, beliau dibiarkan di luar begitu saja untuk muhasabah diri.

Untuk Mukhriz, Khairy, Muhyiddin dan Najib pula ini adalah untuk "first time in" bagi jawatan baru.

Sebagaimana "first night" juga, dada berdebar. Lagi lama tunggu lagi berserabut.

Memang seperti mana yang diutarakan, tidak ada lojiknya perlu tunggu lama-lama. Untuk apa? Untuk secawan kopi dan sepotong kek?

Bukan isu tak sabar-sabar. Yang wajar disegerakan, usah tunggu-tunggu. Ada banyak benda lain yang wajar diuruskan selain berkempen tak sudah-sudah.

Pakatan Rakyat melanjutkan tempuh berkempen PRU12 melalui proksi mereka; hindraf dan bar council dengan matlamat merebut kuasa.

Tetapi UMNO melanjutkan kempen untuk melemaskan akar umbi dan melemahkan kepercayaan ahli dan rakyat terhadap kewajaran UMNO sebagai tonggak.

The quicker the better..... oh, the first time in, the first time out, and the first night.

happy deepavali...


Ulasan kepada posting Ruhanie Ahmad kudakepang Isnin 27 Oktober 2008 bertajuk ADAKAN PERHIMPUNAN AGUNG UMNO DISEMBER 2008

MENGULAS MALAYSIAKINI: Mukhriz cuma menang sorak?

Tiga calon Ketua Pemuda Umno telah berjaya melepasi tahap kelayakan untuk pemilihan jawatan Dis/Mac ini iaitu Mukhriz, Khairy dan Khir. Dengan satu pemerhatian bersahaja, kita dapati ketiga nama mereka ini ada satu huruf "i". I ialah aku, saya atau patik [ jika bercakap dengan raja ].

Dari Malaysiakini
Mukhriz only winning the cheers
Mohd Rashidi Hassan | Oct 28, 08 12:12pm mukhriz mahathir and umno
Even though Mukhriz has won in terms of nominations from the divisions, will Khairy's friends cast their votes for Mukhriz so easily? That is a real worry for Mahathir.

2. Mereka ada kemampuan untuk berkata "lihat saya", "pilih saya" dan "saya akan buat itu dan ini". Itulah kaedah yang crude bagaimana pemimpin boleh menonjol dan naik. Kaedah dalam masyarakat primitif lagi hebat, selain boleh menyebut "i", mereka juga perlu kuat, tegap dan boleh berperang serta membunuh musuh tanpa belas kasihan untuk melonjak naik, memikat dan memukau... Yang gagah tentu dapat memikat anakgadisTok Batin atau Bendahara. Dari sudut itu, Khairy adalah perkasa!

3. Dalam setengah masyarakat pula, trofi tengkorak musuh tergantung di tiang seri rumah adalah manifestasi kepada kekuatan dan kehebatan. Senario itu tidak wujud lagi dalam dunia moden yang ada sekarang.

4. Walaubagaimanapun, perkataan lama "giantkiller" masih lagi digunakan. Rahman Bakar diberi title itu waktu menewaskan Hadi Awang. Kita hidup dalam dunia moden tetapi kita masih terus pinjam senario zaman silam. Kita tetap hebat bila menggempur dan membunuh. Memang setitik darah pun tidak tumpah ke bumi, tetapi masa depan mangsa jadi gelap dan imej musuh tercalar.

5. Bush junior telah menggempur Iraq tanpa rasa simpati. Beliau hanya bersedia untuk tunduk bertafakur dan tunjukkan rasa simpati dan sedih bila ada mayat askar Amerika dibawa turun dari kapalterbang. Rating rendah Bush pada peringkat awal pentadbirannya dapat merangkak naik bila bom dan senapang muntah di bumi Iraq. Pemimpin zaman moden masih bersandarkan kaedah lama yang ganas dan brutal. Pemimpin perlu ada ciri-ciri ganas. Dunia akan sunyi dan sepi bila pemimpin hanya ada dalam pattern Mahatma Ghandi dan Mandella.

6. Bila Khairy mengajak Mukhriz berdebat, ramai dapat mengerti dan faham apa tujuannya. Kemudian kita mahu terus bertanya angkara siapakah maka debat Shabery-Anwar perlu diadakan tempuh hari. Hingga hari ini, kita rasa sangsi dengan objektif dan kesan dari debat tersebut.

7. Malaysia belum bersedia dengan pertunjukan laga ayam dalam politik. Sedangkan debat parlimen boleh dibuat secara semborono apatah lagi untuk jawatan Ketua Pemuda. Yang sudah lupa, wajar diingatkan bahawa dalam waktu berkempen PRU12 tempuh hari, Khairy juga pernah diajak berdebat secara terbuka oleh Bad dari Pakatan Rakyat. Malang sekali, Khairy waktu itu menolak mentah-mentah.

8. Kita tidak wajar buat apa-apa keputusan dengan debat sedemikian. Pemimpin tidak perlu bersandarkan dengan debat untuk terus naik. Rakyat dapat menilai seseorang pemimpin secara "wholeness". Komitmen untuk kesejahteraan negara dan rakyat bukan terletak dicelah-celah debat. Khairy telah berada di persada politik negara buat sekian lama dengan protection dari Bapa Mertua dan media perdana telah memberi ruang kepada Khairy selama ini, di mana ada masa-masanya publisiti untuk Khairy jauh melebihi Timbalan Perdana Menteri sendiri. Khairy tidak perlu satu lagi publisiti.

9. Ayam Serama hanya wajar pada musim-musim tertentu. Main Ayam laga tidak wajar untuk budak kosmopolitan seperti Khairy. Debat tidak lebih dari pertandingan ayam serama. Orang Kelantan yang telah beri sokongan padu pada Khairy dalam pencalonan tentu akan faham mitos Ayam Serama.

10. Kita tidak mahu sesiapa hanya menang sorak tetapi kampung tergadai. Batu putih adalah tanda putih mata kepimpinan Abdullah. Kini Shahrir Samad telah merungut kenapa peniaga bumiputera dipinggirkan dalam Koridor Ekonomi Iskandar. Komitmen untuk negara dan bangsa hanya ada pada orang-orang tertentu sahaja. Orang seperti itu adalah istimewa dan bertuahlah rakyat dan negara kelak.

11. Rakyat sudahnya faham siapa pemimpin yang wajar diketengahkan, kecualilah semua perwakilan adalah dari jenis yang boleh dibeli dengan wang ringgit dan janji-janji. Di mana UMNO kini?


Najib condemns those using threats to gain support


Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri najib Tun Razak has condemned those who resort to threats in getting people to support certain candidates for the Umno party elections.

He said such acts were undesirable culture for Umno and should not happen.

“I don’t know who sent such SMSes but the act of sending threats including through SMS is bringing into Umno a bad culture, which should not be done,” he said in response to Umno supreme council member and Johor Baru division chief Datuk Shahrir Samad’s claim that he received SMS threats instructing his division to nominate two candidates vying for top posts.

Najib, who was at the MIC Deepavali open house on Monday, also reminded all members that Umno practises healthy democracy and such actions are not democratic.

Supreme council member Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said Umno should consider roping in the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and other relevant authorities to help curb unhealthy practices during the party elections such as money politics.

He said the leadership needed to act fast to keep in check the culture of threatening others and money politics before this destroys the party.

source:Najib condemns those using threats to gain support Malaysia Star

BERITADARIGUNUNG: Ada dua kaedah yang digunakan bersilih ganti untuk menguruskan pekerja. Pertama ganjaran, kedua ialah reprimand. Kedua-duanya perlu. Dalam political marketing pula, threat berjaya mewujudkan fear. Tun Mahathir sering melakar senario fear untuk mengajak rakyat bersatu dan bekerja keras. Kaedah itu tidak sesuai pada setengah orang tetapi harus diakui, ia berjaya mengukuhkan kepercayaan dan komitmen dalam organisasi tertentu. Soalnya, adakah kaedah ugutan atau threat itu salah dari segi undang-undang?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hong Kong Finds Eggs From China Tainted

Published: October 26, 2008

SHANGHAI — Hong Kong food inspectors have found eggs imported from northeast China to be contaminated with high levels of melamine, the toxic industrial additive at the heart of an adulteration scandal in Chinese milk products.

The findings, reported over the weekend, have raised new concerns that a far wider array of China-produced foods than previously believed could be contaminated with melamine, which has already sickened more than 50,000 children in China and led to at least four deaths.

Scientists in China worry that in addition to being used to adulterate dairy supplies, melamine may have been intentionally added to animal feed in China, according to a report published on Sunday in the South China Morning Post. Tainted chicken and possibly fish and hog feed could result in poisonous meat and seafood, it said.

China is struggling to cope with a milk scandal that has devastated its fast-growing dairy industry and led to a global recall of foods that were made using Chinese dairy products, including pizza, biscuits, yogurt and other goods.

The Chinese government, which first reported melamine-tainted dairy products in mid-September, has vowed to strengthen food safety measures and severely punish those involved in adulterating food.

The government accused rogue dairy producers and middlemen of intentionally spiking dairy supplies with melamine to save money, using the chemical as a cheap filler that can artificially inflate protein readings.

In September, Beijing ordered a huge recall of dairy products and arrested dozens of people suspected of illegally adulterating food with melamine, which is used to produce plastic and fertilizer. But the government has not been clear about whether it has been testing a wider variety of food products for contamination by melamine, which can cause kidney stones and other ailments.

There were also indications over the weekend that the contamination might have reached far more children in China than reported. Health officials said Saturday that a broad survey of homes in Beijing had found that nearly a quarter of the 300,000 families with children younger than 3, about 74,000 families, had a child who had been fed melamine-tainted milk.

At a news conference after an Asian-European economic summit meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao pledged to strengthen food safety to meet international standards.

He also said the government was partly to blame for the dairy scandal because of “lax supervision.”

The milk scandal surfaced in September, slightly more than a year after tainted pet food was exported to the United States, sickening cats and dogs and touching off global criticism of China’s food safety controls.

Beijing responded defiantly to some critics of its record, but late last year it also announced a lengthy crackdown on shoddy and unsafe food producers and ordered the closing of thousands of slaughterhouses and food factories.

During that time, several Chinese melamine suppliers admitted in newspaper interviews to selling melamine to animal feed operations and fish feed providers in China. The government, however, never reported finding melamine-tainted fish or animal feed in China’s food supply.

The discovery of contaminated eggs in Hong Kong was announced Saturday by the Center for Food Safety, a Hong Kong government agency, which said the eggs were imported from a farm in the city of Dalian, in northeastern China. The center reported that the melamine level was almost double the legal limit for food sold in Hong Kong.

source: Hong Kong Finds Eggs From China Tainted
New York Times, United States

HAPPY DEEPAVALI in cyber space.


From The Star online
Happy Deepavali

We wish all our Hindu readers from near and far Happy Deepavali. As there is no publication of The Star on Monday, stay with us for breaking news and updates.

From Rocky Bru
To all Malaysians wherever you are,
Happy Deepavali.

From Malaysiakini
A Happy Deepavali from Malaysiakini
Oct 27, 08 5:05am
Malaysiakini wishes all our readers a Happy Deepavali. As we celebrate this Hindu festival of lights, let us hope that good will prevail over evil, and light will prevail over darkness.

Updating Blog Postings on Mukhriz Mahathir - 27 Oktober 2008

1. Mukhriz declines public debate
by umnoparoijaya
Sebagaimana yang kita ketahui Dato Mukhriz dengan suara lantangnya berani mengutarakan apa sahaja isu yang difikirkan baik dalam memperkasakan Umno dan orang Melayu, bagaimana kita dibangunkan dari tidur bila beliau meminta Dato Seri ...

Respon Debat Pemuda Umno Tak Sekata - Malaysiakini.
Dalam ulasan pada pendirian Datuk Mukhriz tak setuju debat terbuka...Ketua Pemuda UMNO Pahang, Datuk Khairuddin Yaakob berkata debat antara calon-calon Ketua Pemuda boleh diadakan secara tertutup khusus untuk para perwakilan sahaja. ...

Signs of Najib suppporting Mahathir emerging (ref. malaysiakini)
by vchi
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — In what will be seen as an endorsement of Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s candidacy by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Pekan Umno Youth today nominated the son of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to contest the party wing’s number one ...

Saingan 3 Penjuru Ketua Pemuda : Mukhriz 66, Khairy 47, Khir 43
by .
3.30 pm - Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir mendapatkan pencalonan pertamanya hari ini dari bahagian Pekan, Pahang yang turut mencalonkan ahli Parlimen Muar, Razali Ibrahim bagi jawatan naib ketua. Dengan itu, Mukhriz mendapat 66 pencalonan dan ...

Mukhriz declines public debate
by mnn
Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir does not want to be drawn into a public debate with Khairy Jamaluddin and other candidates vying for the Umno Youth chief post. Go to Source.

Tambun Calonkan Mukhriz!
Perwakilan Tambun telah bersidang pada hari Sabtu lepas, dan telah mencalonkan Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir dan Datuk Razali Ibrahim dan mendapat laungan hebat sokongan dari para perwakilan. Barisan AJK yang baru juga dilihat dibarisi oleh ...

Three Stoges bertemu di gelanggang
by manzaidi
Walaupun ramai yang mengidam hendak tengok pertandingan satu lawan satu antara Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir dengan Khairy Jamaluddin, tetapi Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo tetap bersemangat hendak menjadi orang ketiga. ...

Interview Agendadaily dengan Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir
by mafiapg
MUKHRIZ : Saya pernah menyentuh perkara ini, kita seolah-olah menghadapi masalah mengurus kejayaan, maksud saya ialah bagi orang muda khususnya, di mana kita dilahirkan dalam keadaan yang agak senang berbanding dengan mak bapak nenek ...

Khairy Jamaluddin - Terus Bersinar Atau Malap ?
by Idham
Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir kelihatan cukup berhati-hati dalam membina kerjaya politiknya. Beliau jelas muncul melalui proses evolusi dan bukannya revolusi seperti Khairy. Mukhriz kelihatan cukup bersederhana, di awalnya lebih dikenali ...

Sebulat Suara
BAgi pencalonan Dato Mukhriz, Satu kebanggaan kepada Peggerakkan Pemuda UMNO BAhagian Kubang Pasu apabila sebulat suara menyokong pencalonan Dato Mukhriz sebagai Ketua Pemuda UMNO Malaysia.. Bagi aku itu satu bonus buat Dato apabila ...

. Selepas Najib, Mukriz pula?
by nobisha
Tentunya saya tidak terkejut, sekiranya selepas ini Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir pula menjadi mangsa serangan "personality assassination." Dia mendapat pencalonan tertinggi untuk Ketua Pemuda UMNO Malaysia; maka orang yang busuk hati akan ...

Malaysian Media Council: Double handcuffs or media freedom?

DANIEL CHANDRANAYAGAM , Ocktober 25th 2008

A small portrait of the translator

Amidst a number of recent journalistic blunders, Malaysia’s Home Minister, Syed Hamid Albar, announced that the government has full intention of establishing a national media policy, together with a regulatory body over Malaysian media. Syed Hamid said that that a policy is currently being drafted and also that the foundations of a National Media Council is being established.

Syed Hamid’s announcement is notwithstanding long-held objections by journalists, activists and civil society groups.

The government has not been precise on why a National Media Council and policy should be implemented. The purpose for setting up a Media Council in 2001, according to the then Information Parliamentary Secretary, Zainuddin Maidin, was so that journalists remain sensitive to the political and social scenarios, and to enable chief editors to contend with bigger problems.

Meanwhile, the opposition in 2001 wanted an “independent high-powered Media Council” to promote free and responsible press, with powers to expose all instances of irresponsible foreign and local reporting.

Going on this premise, Malaysia might possibly need a media policy and a regulatory body, as there has been allegations of several alleged breaches of journalistic ethics this year alone, including non-verification of facts and alleged hate journalism.

Bloggers, including former premier, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, are less than convinced. According to the Malaysia Update blog, Dr Mahathir said:

“It is not necessary. It is up to the media. If you deal in a lot of rumour and speculation, then you will not sell newspapers.”

He added that the media should be self-regulating.

A commenter on Malaysia Today, the website of detained blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, said:

“No point having national media council if the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the broadcast restriction using Multimedia Commission is not lifted. Contrary to TDM [Tun Dr Mahathir], it still won't be self regulation if all these laws are in place. Of course, TDM may not think so because he does not subscribe to the view that these provisions stifle the press as they are still able to criticise him when he was in power.

“Anyway, the point of having the media commission is not to punish people like Malaysiakini, but rather [to] ensure objective reporting of [the] like[s] [of] NST [New Straits Times] and Utusan Melayu. It should definitely not be a place to seek remedy for defamation because that would be duplicating the function of the court.”

In fact, Home Minister Syed Hamid has been non-committal about the abolition of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA), which requires anyone seeking to publish or print to obtain a licence from government. According to Malaysiakini, more than 900 journalists had signed a petition for the repeal of the licensing provisions under the PPPA.

Blogger, Masterwordsmith, had a ten-point response on her blog. She questions the need to “waste government resources/taxpayers' money by creating a media council as another regulatory authority over the print media”.

Mastwordsmith also asks why nothing has been done about the short story written by Chamil Wariya in the Malay language newspaper, Mingguan Malaysia, which allegedly incites the public towards violence against a Member of Parliament. Chamil Wariya, is the president of the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), which is said to be assisting in the formulation of the proposed Media Council and Policy.

Blogger Kean-Jin Lim, a Malaysian working in Finland, stated, in response to Syed Hamid’s citing the UK as having a press council:

“Min[i]ster used UK as example in this case. They told us before we should not learn from Western world. Now, they gave you example from Western world. Selective choice isn’t it? We see many complaints made to several commissions we already have; however, the outcome so far?”

It also appears that most new media are unaware of the ‘new media policy’. Blogger and now politician, Jeff Ooi, stated at a forum on Blogging and Defamation that most of the online press he had spoken to only found out about this development through the press. Ooi added at the forum that having a media council would be like being “double hand-cuffed”.

It should be noted that a survey conducted by Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and Merdeka Center on media independence, 35% of the respondents said the government should play the most important role in improving media independence in Malaysia. Furthermore, the media is seen by some members of the public as important. For example, PJ Moorthy, ends his post on the issue on his blog, on this note:

“Perhaps, then if the proposed National Media Council actually did cover the blogosphere, then maybe… these personal opinion maestros of the blogs might just succumb to authority. As it is, the likes of [anonymous] bloggers will continue to mesmerize their readers with imagined fowls and miraged post men with their fairy tales!

This writer believes that these personal pages (otherwise known as Blogs) remain….oh so personal and should not be looked at as THE SOURCE for news.”

However, the idea for a Media Council has been mooted for many years. Only time will tell when it will be established and how effective it will be in its role of regulating media in Malaysia.

USA elections: Impact on Southeast Asia

Ashwini Devare, Contributor, Singapore

The fine sand is accelerating through the hourglass as the U.S. presidential race enters into the homestretch. With both candidates locked in a dead heat, the drama and ballyhoo in the world's largest economy has the rest of the world in a state of heightened anticipation.

Against the backdrop of what is being termed as the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the denouement of the race is of utmost significance. Irrespective of the theory of decoupling, what transpires in the United States will have far-reaching implications for the rest of the world, including Southeast Asia.

With a population of about 560 million, Southeast Asia is a kaleidoscope of cultures and ethnicities, encompassing communist Vietnam to capitalist Singapore. Over the past few years, the region has emerged as a vibrant and dynamic hub, bursting with trade and business activity.

As of 2006, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had a combined gross domestic product of over US$1,100 billion and a total trade of about US$1,400 billion. With the emergence of ASEAN as an important political and economic body on the world stage, there are many expectations and much optimism about furthering the U.S.-ASEAN relationship and taking it to the next level.

This is something that U.S. President George W. Bush has failed to do during his eight-year term, says Professor T. J Pempel, professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley. Bush bungled Asia, he says. "The United States under George Bush has seen a decline and demise in its importance in Asia," Pempel argues. "Under Bush's reign, the relationship with Southeast Asia was marginalized as U.S. foreign policy became driven by Iraq, Afghanistan and dominated by ideology. It is the excessive militarization of U.S. foreign policy that has hurt relations."

Over the last four decades, the United States has enjoyed a long, undisputable economic and military position in Asia. During the Cold War, Asia was the arc of stability for its sphere of influence and a bulwark against communism which the United States reinforced through a series of strategic and regional alliances. Security became the paramount geopolitical interest for it under its Cold War containment policy.

It was in 1967, at the height of the Cold War when the Vietnam War was raging, that ASEAN was conceived and founded. The emergence of a pro-western grouping in Southeast Asia was a welcome development for the United States which extended its full support to the newly formed entity.

Following the end of the Cold War in 1991, the U.S.-Southeast Asian economic relationship blossomed as the tiger economies across the region boomed. Relatively free from military conflict, Southeast Asia saw an extraordinary transformation through the 1970s and 1980s on the back of market reforms and export-led growth.

Early fissures began to appear in the relationship during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 to 1998 when the United States was perceived as insensitive in its perception and handling of the crisis. Post 9/11, the its preoccupation with fighting terrorism resulted in a reduced focus on Southeast Asia. U.S.-ASEAN relations took a dip when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice skipped the ASEAN Regional Forum three years ago. While Myanmar remains an occasional flashpoint that attracts U.S. attention, by and large it has became more remote and removed from the region.

Professor Pempel says this so-called indifference has actually been a blessing in disguise for Southeast Asia. Far from suffering from a lack of U.S. attention, the region has in fact thrived, with new bilateral and multilateral alliances sprouting right in its own backyard.

Southeast Asia has proactively courted economic giants China and India, accelerating trade and business ties with both. ASEAN has concluded a plethora of free trade agreements, including those with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, and the region is becoming more interlinked than ever before.

Experts also point to the fact that the United States is no longer part of many of the important regional groupings in Asia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization which includes China and Russia was started in 2001 and does not include it; ASEAN+3 includes the 10 Southeast Asian nations plus Japan, China and Korea. The East Asia Summit is another regional forum which began in 2005 and includes ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Experts say the U.S. disinterest in Southeast Asia has paved the way for the other economic juggernaut to spread its footprint across the region. Dr. Kesavapany, Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore says: "It is not so much the decline of USA as the relative rise of China in economic and soft power terms, as well as the astute Chinese diplomacy and its charm offensive in Southeast Asia. The United States also suffered from negative international Muslim sentiments arising from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq."

But Dr. Kesavapany adds it is also up to ASEAN to enhance ties with the United States. "There is a long queue of countries and regions wanting the attention of the new U.S. Administration which hopefully will not be distracted by new crises, such as any with N. Korea, Iran or Russia. Southeast Asia is not a front-burner issue for the USA. ASEAN should also creatively and proactively suggest some areas where USA and ASEAN can cooperate closely -- in energy or climate change, for example."

The U.S. diminishing interest in Southeast Asia coincides with its falling status in the region. According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey published by the Washington, DC-based think tank in which over 47 countries are surveyed, anti-Americanism is as extensive as it has been for the past five years. The report shows that the U.S. image has taken a battering in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia. In Indonesia, for example, the report points out positive opinions of Americans have fallen from 65% in 2002 to 42% last year.

The United States cannot afford to neglect one of the world's most dynamic areas. The new administration will have to revisit its policy toward Asia and resurrecting its image will certainly have to be top priority. Which candidate will have better synergy with this part of the world is a question on the minds of many Asians these days, as the presidential blitzkrieg roars to the finish line. Both candidates have a connection with Asia.

Senator McCain was a naval pilot during the Vietnam War who spent five years imprisoned in Hanoi. As a senator he consistently pushed for improved relations between the United States and Vietnam. Both McCain and Obama have pledged to reinvigorate alliances in Asia and with ASEAN.

Some believe if Senator Obama becomes president, he will be more sensitive to Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. The importance of Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world and the biggest in Southeast Asia, cannot be eschewed and there is a view that Senator Obama is better positioned to appreciate its diversity.

An archipelago made up of over 17,000 islands stretching across some 5,000 kilometers, Indonesia is a country most Americans have little knowledge of and if not for Obama, would have continued to escape its radar completely. By dint of an old childhood connection, he shone a spotlight on the country during the campaign.

As a young boy, the democratic presidential nominee spent a few years in Jakarta attending local schools. This childhood connection was undoubtedly brief, but it still remains an irrevocable piece of his early life. An Indonesian stepfather, Indonesian half-sister and the fact that his white American mother went on to study anthropology, focusing on the traditional artisan culture of Indonesia, is what gave the Obama factor an exotic appeal in the early days of the campaign, when Obamamania engulfed the United States like a huge tidal wave.

In fact, Obama has said his early exposure to multiethnic cultures and societies such as Indonesia and Hawaii played a key role in shaping his political and social outlook in the years to come.

The current global financial maelstrom has sucked Southeast Asia right in, arguably mitigating the decoupling theory. The destinies of the United States and ASEAN countries remain closely intertwined, whether they like it or not.

It remains one of ASEAN's biggest export markets and the largest foreign investor in the region. It cannot afford to turn its back to Southeast Asia, a region uniquely complex and diverse.

Politics is taking center stage in Thailand and Malaysia, Vietnam is battling double-digit inflation, and Myanmar is a hotbed of unpredictability. Thailand's southern provinces remain highly inflammable and Indonesia is vulnerable to terror elements as is the Philippines. Singapore is on the brink of a technical recession with exports in August falling the most in 20 months. Slowing economic growth and high inflation are a lethal combination, the spectre of which could haunt many as the economic malaise continues to spread.

At this very critical juncture, having a U.S. president who is committed to Southeast Asia is not merely wishful thinking, but a sine qua non.

SOURCE: USA elections: Impact on Southeast Asia
Jakarta Post, Indonesia

MAHATHIR uses blog to needle Malaysian government

Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia, at his office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sept. 30. (Palani Mohan for the International Herald Tribune)

Ex-leader uses blog to needle Malaysian government

In a vast office at the top of one of the world's tallest buildings, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sits at a broad, glass-topped desk, scribbling his thoughts on a pad of unlined paper.

For 22 years Mahathir was the most powerful person in this land, and his thoughts were commands as he reshaped the country in his own grand image.

But he has become an irritant and a spoiler five years after stepping down, turning against his handpicked successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and he has fallen victim to the press controls he perfected as prime minister.

It is mainly a system of self-censorship in an atmosphere of pressure and intimidation that produces an obedient press and has seen the closure or banning of many publications.

"Where is the press freedom?" he exclaimed two years ago, apparently surprised to be suddenly ignored. "Broadcast what I have to say! What I say is not even accurately published in the press!"

Earlier this year, like many other inconvenient critics, he joined what seems to be a political wave of the future, creating his own acerbic blog - - an online journal where he vents in both English and Malay several times a week.

Around the region, bloggers like him are becoming a fifth estate, challenging the government's monopoly on information in Singapore, evading censors in Vietnam and influencing events in places like Thailand, Cambodia and China.

In March, political experts say, Malaysia's bloggers helped tip the balance, contributing to the biggest upset the governing party, the United Malays National Organization, had suffered since independence in 1957. For the first time in decades, it fell below two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, and it lost control of 5 of 13 states.

Two months after that, in May, Mahathir went digital, cutting and thrusting with elan.

"It is time the so-called intellectuals realize they were being duped by the Master of Spin," he wrote on Aug. 21, referring to his bitter enemy, Anwar Ibrahim, who was his deputy prime minister and now leads the opposition.

"The pious Muslim, who is also the bosom pal of Paul Wolfowitz, the neo-con Jew, the killer of Muslims," he said, referring to the former U.S. deputy secretary of defense.

Blogging on Sept. 3, he offered a sort of mission statement.

Many people are with him as he harasses the government, he asserted. "But they are not prepared to say it openly. That was why I started my blog. About six million had visited my blog site and tens of thousands have commented and supported me."

In case anyone doubts this, he posts the comments, by the dozens and hundreds, page after page, day after day. It turns out he has a lot of fans out there.

"Amazingly brilliant!" reads one comment. "I can't stop laughing... you made my day Sir!"

"HAHAHAHA :) ...This is your BEST posting so far, my dear Tun!!" reads another, referring to Mahathir by an honorific.

"Dearest Tun," reads another, "You are sooooo right.. spot on.. bulls eye.."

And just to clear up any possible misunderstanding, another writes: "You, sir, are the most brilliant politician Malaysia has ever been blessed with."

In the upheaval of the March election, several bloggers, following an opposite trajectory from that of Mahathir, used their online popularity to win seats in the national or state parliaments.

The most prominent was Jeff Ooi, 52, a former advertising copywriter who was one of Malaysia's first political bloggers, in 2003, at

"The government doesn't have a clue how to handle bloggers," he said in an interview. "If I were a dictator I would be despairing. What do you do against this?"

The government's assault on Ooi - "very hostile," he said - included threats of imprisonment without trial, attacks in the government-friendly press and defamation lawsuits, which are popular among leaders in Southeast Asia.

But that only seemed to make him a hero, and when he decided to run for Parliament with the opposition Democratic Action Party, he already had a big head start.

"As a person that has consistently faced threats as a blogger, I had a kind of iconism and imagery that this is someone you can trust, someone the government fears, someone you need to put into Parliament," he said.

But he said it is much harder to blog from the inside. "The trade-off is that I have to write with measured words," he said. "I am no longer my old self. I thought I had to take it to a higher level, and a lot of readers are getting disappointed. It isn't the same blogger that they used to know."

Earlier this year, Ooi said, he attended a public forum with Mahathir, and he claims that he is the one who persuaded the old war horse to get blogging.

"I threw him a challenge," Ooi said. "A blogger shares a few prerequisites. One, he is strongly opinionated. Two, he could be controversial. And, thirdly, he is an agent provocateur on issues.

"I thought Mahathir fulfilled all three."

The result, Ooi said, was "a miracle, he scored about 10 million visitors within months."

Now, a convert to free speech, Mahathir is using his blog to champion the most recent victim of government censorship, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the country's highest-profile blogger, who posts his slash-and-burn commentary on his site, The site has been blocked, but readers are redirected to another address, which continues to be updated.

The government has fallen back on the kind of tactics that Ooi said it threatened against him, charging Raja Petra with sedition and locking him up for two years without trial for comments he has posted.

Mahathir, the country's former strongman, sounded almost like Che Guevara when he said in his blog that the arrest showed "a degree of oppressive arrogance worthy of a totalitarian state."

Furthermore, locking people up is futile, he said in an interview in his sky-high office. There is no way the government can arrest all the bloggers, even if it wants to.

At least, he said, "I hope so. Otherwise I'll be in, too."

SOURCE: Ex-leader uses blog to needle Malaysian government
International Herald Tribune, France