100 Days with the YBs


Yup. It’s happening.

28 JUNE 2008
AT
BLOG HOUSE
66 LORONG SETIABISTARI 2
DAMANSARA HEIGHTS.
8.00PM

RM30 Per Kepala (If you are a blogger) and RM35 (Non Blogger)

REGISTER /PAYMENT TO:
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514011899314 (MAYBANK)

LUCKY DRAW AND AUCTION. FOOD AND DRINKS

After that, please send off a quick email tonyyew@gmail.com informing him of the date of deposit and the name(s) of the person(s) registered. If need be, please contact Mr Yew at + 6 012-2138257. On June 28th, 2008, please bring along your bank receipt.

SEE JEW ALL THERE!!

Is my race better, or is yours?


Last week, I came home to find my young housemate sitting in front of the TV, glassy eyed. I had a bad day too. I decided my misery can wait, and listened to her.

This young Malay girl, when she first moved to my place, struck me as rather innocent in the ways of the world, in a way that I found refreshing. Her mother, when she left the young daughter at my place, said, “Jaga anak makcik ya.” That plaintive appeal moved me.

I felt protective about this girl, b, whose family is away in Pahang. So I share what I can with her when the occasion arises.

This time she needed a shoulder and an ear. She said, “I heard from my colleague that my superior doesn’t like me because I’m Malay. And she doesn’t trust anyone who wear a tudung.”

I felt both angry and helpless. B’s complaint is all too familiar. I’ve encountered racism is all manner of appearances since I came to Kuala Lumpur. Ironically, even though my family was of a minority back in my kampung, I’ve never encountered this ugly facade of Malaysia until I came to KL.

Look at us. B is Malay, L (my other housemate) is Chinese and I’m Indian. We co-exist. We cook and eat each other’s stuff. We watch TV together. And it’s barely months since we knew each other.

Yet, all around the condo where I live, I see a lot of House to Let or Room to Let notices with caveats like “Chinese Only”. I understand if it says “Females Only” since not many girls I know would feel comfortable sharing a house with strange male. In the case of B, that would be inviting trouble in the form of “khalwat” raids.

Why did it happen this way? A close friend of mine sometimes makes racist remarks that make my skin crawl. I confront her about it and she says, “I’m a product of my surrounding. They started it first.”

Call me a grass-smoking Spread-the-Love type if you wish (I don’t do weed, btw), but I think my friend’s reactionary manner is also wrong.

What is this about race supremacy? It is crap and really unapplicable in this modern, borderless world. Why this hate? I know that in a big way, NEP, or rather the way it was implemented, is to blame.

The sloganeering political parties shouting racial epithets and dividing themselves along racial lines,  are to blame. We hardly have people who truly fight for the betterment of their people.

Those things died with the likes of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Sambanthan, Tun Dr Ismail perhaps, Tun Tan Siew Sin.

The Malaysian-ness of us started dying out when truly Malaysian Icons like P.Ramlee and Sudirman left us without replacements. And yet, in the absence of true Malaysian-ness, it is not as if the Indians, Malays, Chinese and others grew more powerful racial identity-wise.

The Indians and Chinese (typical of the diaspora) of course lost more of their original ways. This is not bad at all; assimilation and adapting is only natural if you wanna survive and thrive. 

Now, Pakatan Rakyat must ensure that they never again go the race way. Because this will lose them support of the people and a disillusioned rakyat is dangerous.

Umno’s brand of benign autocracy hid a whole world of ills that many other bloggers have written more and more eloquently about. And it is no longer benign.

I don’t care if Tun Dr M wants Pak Lah to go, him from outside Umno and his son from within. The many cracks in Umno only goes to showcase a part without a sound ideology that was kept together since 1988 by the iron will of the old man. They all suck!

Ong Ka Ting and his band of merry fat-wallets can go fly kite. This is the guy who used to negotiate behind closed doors for crumbs and bits from Umno masters. Now he is crying for Hindraf 5′s release. What about the rest of the ISA detainees Mr Ong?

Gerakan, despite its token “multiracial” line, is a Chinese party brought about to check the influence of MCA, way back then. It should amuse you readers that a Gerakan man who was snubbed for an electoral seat in 2004, was fobbed off with a senatorship a couple of months before GE 2008.

After the elections disaster, there was barely any Gerakan reps standing. So one Senator Kohilan Pillay from Selayang makes it to the Cabinet. Heh Heh! There is only two other Gerakan reps in Cabinet (if I’m not mistaken) and only one (tan Lien Hoe) is elected.

DAP has its own old guard who persist in this Chinese-rights thing under the guise of socialistic aims. I’m not fooled. Plus of course the dynastic politics that makes them quite unqualified to call the Umno kettle black.

MIC? I dunno what to say. Samy Vellu has no shame and no sense of accountability. I think he should just fade away quietly. MIC itself should just die. All this rebranding business is just stupid, needless and irrelevant in the face of today’s realities.

I salute the guy who lodged a police report against Samy regarding Maika Holdings. However, in these times when every Ahmad, Ah Loy and Arumugam lodges a report at the slightest provocation, would it matter? There are dozens of reports against Karpal (plus a bullet).

And so I wonder, why aren’t there many more reports against Samy and Maika? After all, there must be many many people affected.

Why ah?

Why don’t we the rakyat, send these corrupt relics to hell in a mengkuang basket?

Between National Security and Public Order, We Malaysians Get Trampled


I know, I know, I sound like a cross between a  “tree-hugging hippie crap” my friend IZ used to describe, and an American ACLU-type.

But that’s the nice thing about free flow of information. You get to read what other people think. The Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago resulted in so much exchange of ideas that it had a profound effect on society as a whole.

Why? Because knowledge was suddenly available to many, and inventors were followed up by innovators, improvement upon improvement took place and the modern age was ushered in with modern conveniences and in many ways, modern thought.

Modern norms brought out women to work and today, women are an integral part of any nation’s economy. Even in the societies largely “protective” of its womenfolk.

Civilisation is a dynamic thing. It has to go on. Hey, it is part of mankind’s evolution as a race. For civilisation to move forward, it has to have ideas. Ideas have to be communicated. Communication has to be free if an idea is to bloom all the way to fruition.

Discourse has to be free. Just think…if Isaac Newton was strung up the nearest apple tree for heresy when he propounded his theory about universal gravitation…where would we be today?

The point of my meandering writing so far is, when you curb free speech, society as a whole will suffer. We Malaysians would do well to remember that.

In the wake of 9-11, many countries fearful of the Twin Towers’ scale of horrifying terror acts, have instituted tough preventive laws and measures to ensure this senseless carnage doesn’t happen again.

This has led to many instances of injustice as we all have seen, from the shameful Guantanamo Bay chronicles to the enaction of tough laws like POTA in India, Prevention of Terrorism Act in Britain among others.

To be fair, India has been a target of terror attacks too long for its government to just sit back and watch, while Britain had its own terror bombings and attacks thanks to the friendly folks from IRA.

Malaysia and Singapore however, have been content to rely on the colonial relics that are the Internal Security Act and Seditions Act to take care of these fears. In Malaysia’s case it has been used more to curb any deviation from government-instituted normal behaviour than to incarcerate actual terrorist types.

Which is why over the years we Malaysians have seen such a motley crew of characters as guests in that government-run retreat that is Kamunting, under ISA, which allows for detention without trial.

 For instance we had Hilmy Mohd Noor who was ISA-ed because he wanted to renounce Islam. We had the current Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as imprisoned under Sedition Act for not knowing the difference between “imprisoned” and “detained”.

There were the Jemaah Islamiah member, Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (now who calls their own group “militant”, this name is a no-brainer lemme tell you).

There is alleged Al-Qaeda middleman BSA Tahir, apparently still inside. Not to mention the Hindraf Five, the current posterboys of government persecution. For a more comprehensive list, go here.

You see, I’m sure there are existing laws to charge people who have flouted our laws in court and punish them with sentences if found guilty.

But both the Mahathir and Abdullah administrations have found it more expedient to incarcerate people without the benefit of a trial.

Abdullah could have set so many things right when he had his overwhelming mandate in the 2004 elections. But he did little things of significance. His omissions more than actions have led to the rising disenchantment among the electorate.

This weak leader might as well be the catalyst of destruction for UMNO and indeed the so-called multiracial coalition that is Barisan Nasional.

Which may be good news for Malaysians and indeed Bumiputeras, who hope for a better tomorrow. However, it is imperative that we, the rakyat,  keep a sharp lookout. Let us not forget that some of the election pledges of Pakatan Rakyat coalition looks like a drunkard’s promise. Let’s keep them on a tighter leash.

Otherwise, three years down the line you will think of this line…

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.

You Give Them Mandate…Then You Bend Over


For 50 years, (ok, maybe more since the first elections was held in 1955), Malaysians have been returning the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to power with this two-third majority. Even in 1969. Until March 8, 2008 that is.

What most Malaysians have done is basically give carte blanche to a government that increasingly thought our job is to elect them and no one else, and then shut up for the next four years.

Because we gave them the two-third majority, the BN government saw it fit to repeatedly rape the Federal Constitution; the sacred covenant of the people of this country.

Not one, not even 10, but a staggering 650 amendments have been made 42 times over the 50 years since Merdeka. So much so, scholar Dr Shad Salim Faruqi stated beyond doubt that the spirit of the original document has long been diluted.

How was that possible? Your two-third majority, dear Malaysians. Most of the MPs you elected sold you out, just to toe the party line.

These legislators have put party first, pocket second (or is it the other way around) and you, the elecorate, last. How does constitutional amendments and passing of laws affect your life, you ask.

For one, since the 90s, a Malaysian accused lost the right to be tried by a jury of his/her peers. Parliament did away with it. So, your fate as an accused rests solely with the judge.

Get a judge like “Irrelevant” Augustine Paul, and man…you are screwed. Ask Anwar Ibrahim, he learnt first hand. I must tell you though that Anwar’s was not a capital case so he would not have had a jury trial anyway.

Jury trial for capital cases was the norm in Malaysia until it was abolished on 1 Jan1995.

 The Official Secrets Act was an effectively used instrument to shut the more vocal of you people. This has ranged from an NST journo in the 80s to Ezam (formerly of PKR) in the 90s and blogger Nathaniel Tan of Jelas.net just last year.

All the toll concession agreements came under OSA, so you cannot question why you have to pay more toll every year.

Some reading on Human Rights in Malaysia, just to refresh your memory and to remind you voters NEVER EVER give any political party/coalition an absolute majority.

Your mandate gave among others, the power to Dr M to detain Lim Guan Eng on a technicality, under the Printing Presses and Publications Act, mostly because he championed the cause of an underaged Malay girl who was the victim of Lolita-loving Rahim Thamby Chik. Rahim should have gone to jail for screwing a minor but Lim Guan Eng did for publishing a pamphlet saying he did.

We still don’t know the exact nature and the details of the AP scandal. We still don’t know how much crony companies have kapak-ed us Malaysians. You know why? All those sweetheart deals you cannot read, they are OSA-ed.,

Any questioning of people in power gets the individual in trouble. They beat, black-eye, torture, intimidate people into silence. They used to regularly seize the

All because you and I have given the same gahmen mandate again and again. Umno folks thought ruling Malaysia was their birthright.

You have, on March 8, told them “No Such Thing”.

I’m telling you why you shouldn’t support them unequivocally.

Think.

Don’t ever write away your rights as citizens again.

PAS Supporters Club?


First I’ve heard of of such a thing. Is it because non-Muslims can’t become members of Parti Agama Islam Se Malaysia?

Whatever it is, to my wee knowledge of my surroundings, this is the first such reported incident of an entire MIC branch “crossing over” to the other side.

But then the March 8 Elections Tsunami (I’m using this cliche for the first time here) aftermath has yielded some really strange stories.

This I guess, is just another slap in the face for Samy Vellu, who until now still doesn’t get it that MIC lost so badly because of him.

What is more important is the MIC grassroot mindset that “voting PAS will mean you will be forced to convert to Islam, and kena sunat (get circumcised), is changing.

I will choose to see it as a herald of times to come when people of all racial and religious backgrounds get the assistance they need, without their colour and faith being brought into question.

Bukit Gantang MP Roslan Shaharom is making the right noises so far.

 Don’t assume that without (MIC president Datuk Seri S.) Samy Vellu and the MIC, your welfare will be neglected.

“We will take care of you because any problem affecting the Indian community, will affect members of other communities too,” said Roslan.- The Star

This would be a bonus for the Indians in the constituency, because I doubt many received any help at all in the past.

Let’s hope for more people in politics to come and not just bridge the racial/religious divide, but one day make this divide non-existent.

It is a hope. It is my right to be romantic and hope for a nicer future for Malaysia. And I’m not alone.

Sabah: Fixed Deposit, Small Returns


 The Land Below the Wind i.e Sabah , has for a sizable part of its existence in Malaysia, been the Land Below the Radar for the Barisan Nasional coalition. They’ve shut up all these while because the power base has for the large part remained with Umno.

Read more about Sabah, rich in natural resources, but with the highest number of people living below poverty line,  in this exhaustively researched Wikipedia entry.

I’ve said before in this blog that after the GE 2008, BN owes its hold on federal power (however tenuous) thanks to Sabah and Sarawak, and the Cabinet appointments must reflect this fact, for equitable representation if not sheer gratitude.

The BN coalition won 24 out of 25 Parliament seats, and 58 out of 60 State seats in Sabah. That is almost carte blanche. If these 24 seats went to the PAS/PKR/DAP alliance, the difference would have been razor thin. Can you imagine a ruling the country with BN: Opposition ratio like 116:106? And that is just Sabah.

You would think that a state that had supported Barisan for a long time would be taken care of. But no. The announcement of the Cabinet by Pak Lah last week was highly anticipated, but delivered little in terms of Sabah representation.

And the Sabahans are tired of keeping quiet about it. Read this report from last week.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has reportedly described Sabah as a “fixed deposit” for BN.

Sabah Umno Assistant Secretary Masidi Manjun said yesterday,

“We (Sabah) have been dubbed Barisan’s fixed deposit (bastion). At the moment, we feel that we are not getting enough interest from our fixed deposit. 

“If the interest is not good, people will put it elsewhere,” said Masidi, adding that many people in the state were disappointed with the current representation.

Thinly veiled threat, that. Although Pak Lah named the same number of cabinet ministers as he did in 2004 (three), he upped the number of deputy ministers from two to four.Three of the deputy minister have since quit, including Ghapur Salleh, who left his Natural Resources and Environment posting yesterday.

Some say it is a sign that the Sabah representation in the federal government needs a re-look. What I’ve been reading indicates so much more needs attention in this country

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang talked about the worrying hardcore poverty levels in January this year and asked what Pak Lah was going to do about it.

Mat Tyson said after he was named to the Rural Development portfolio that he was going to tour the country to hear people’s woes. Maybe he should start in Sabah.

The population boom in Sabah is explosive. I could choose to think that Sabahans breed like rabbits. But that would make me an idiot. There is a more sinister reason, as was suggested in this Daily Express story.

Richard Leete of UNDP has some interesting charts to show you the demographical shift as well as other statistics in Sabah. At least 23 % of Sabah’s 3.3 million population lives below poverty line, in 2004. This is 8% down from the 1990 statistics. Eight percent in 14 years. Four more years have passed since than. How much do you think, the poverty levels would have fallen by now?

Maybe the situation wouldn’t be so bad without the “New Sabahans” that got bumiputera status because some Peninsular-based political behemoth wanted supremacy over the Kadazandusuns in Sabah? Read this story and weep. 

There are people in the Peninsular Malaysia who have lived here for more than 50 years, but are still just penduduk tetap. There are lots of people in Sabah who barely even speak Bahasa, and have been here less than 10 years, but are part of the voting population.

Go figure!

Clean Cabinet?


Dah empat tahun baru nak cerita pasal hindarkan rasuah. Sounds such a buang tabiat statement.

Oops…I’m wrong. He started four years ago pledging to wipe out corruption. That verve petered out less than a year later.

Pak Lah, if you are serious about that statement, why did you take in Mat Tyson?

Ku Nan, who is the new UMNO sec gen, was a well known proxy with so many directorships under his belt when Dr M published his crony list in the 90s.

I could go on….but tak payah lah. The public has said what it thought of BN governance. Much of what I would say here would be like flogging a dead horse.