Tag Archives: Malaysia

Blogger Mahathir

He’s probably the world’s first ex-Prime Minister to become a blogger. This is his blog, which is maintained of course not by him, but someone who is good in this business. Apparently his blog has just reached one million hits! Credit to him, I don’t think there are many bloggers, if any, who can get so many hits in less than a month by just plain blogging (no fancy videos, no flesh flashing pictures etc). Looks like he’s still relevant in Malaysian politics after years of stepping down as a Prime Minister. And he definitely has his agenda behind all this blogging, to bring down the existing PM. Is it in all Malaysian’s best interest that he does this? I doubt it. Mahathir of late is not his usual self. A lot of things he has done in the past when he was Malaysia’s fourth PM has come back to haunt him. In much the same way as Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe who has done some great things when he came into power, remaining in power for too long has corrupted him. Both are now scared of being exposed and punished for what they have done wrong in the past, thus want to cling on to power for longer, albeit in different ways. For Mahathir’s case, he certainly wouldn’t want the opposition to get into power, as that means that Anwar will become PM, and he’s doomed, for what he has done to Anwar back in 1998, sending him to jail on grounds of sodomy.Malaysian politics is getting more and more interesting by the day. Follow it from here, it’s like a best-seller 🙂

If I don’t enter hell, who else?

Raja Petra escorted by police in handcuff

A picture tells a thousand words doesn’t it? Blogger for Malaysia Today, Raja Petra, was charged under Malaysian’s Sedition Act 1948 for the piece he wrote on Altantuya’s murder. For those who don’t know, Altantuya is a Mongolian lady who was murdered and with her body destroyed by C4 explosives. Rumour has it that Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Najib was involved in the murder, but eluded justice through his political power.It is upsetting to see righteous person like Raja Petra being charged and sent to jail for upholding his belief in justice, something which is clearly lacking in Malaysia, for someone he doesn’t really know. He’s a true boddhisattva in my view, in Buddhist’s term. And a true Muslim who is doing his duties for the community, one of which is to oppose all forms of evil, as explained in his article “What is Islam“. Educated people, people with wisdom, don’t really buy into ritual practices that are quite often needless and which are passed on from generations ago. Submission to a greater figure/being like God or Buddha makes sense to me, to keep us humble, to maintain our well being etc. But if one becomes a follower of a religion, by way of practising just the ritual, to hedge against a difficult after life or what have you, then one is really missing the point.Anyway, Raja Petra knows he’s walking a fine line, and is prepared to accept the consequences. Hope we will see reform in Malaysia’s justice system in a not-too-distant future.

RTM1, RTM2 and Malaysia

I’ve known this German guy through project collaboration for about a year. But only yesterday did I get to know that he has worked in Malaysia for two and a half years back in 2002, at Angkasapuri, to train Malaysians on broadcast related work. What I found even more interesting is that he also knew about the recent election results. Impressive, through The Star online. And he has fond memories about working in Malaysia, and life in general, including his three kids. This is good to know, even though expats normally get very good remuneration working overseas.What he saw was a stable, prosperous country with a lot of natural resources and do not suffer from natural disasters. To a certain extent we have to be thankful to whoever who has made Malaysia the country we now have. When compared to other Southeast Asia countries, which he has the priviledge of visiting, Malaysia is definitely right up there. So from an “outsiders” point of view, he was baffled by the election results, and couldn’t quite grasp what the ruling government has done wrong. But what he did see was the attitude of the people working for RTM1 and RTM2. He was surprised to see how poor the quality of the programmes produced by these state-owned organisations. Whether they lack incentives or lack imaginations I don’t know, but they are not news anymore in Malaysia. Everybody knows they are poorly run, and nobody watches these channels. Well, not strictly, I know my dad still tunes in to watch the Mandarin news programme every evening. My German friend also saw people sleeping in the office 🙂 What a shame. I have a friend who used to work as a consultant for government projects, and I think he still has plenty of stories to share. Anyway I look at BBC programmes and I can see many passionate people who enjoy their work, and they keep producing world-class quality programmes. BBC is non-commercial too, so why the huge difference.When asked whether my German friend will consider living in Malaysia again, the answer is he certainly wouldn’t rule that option out. But hopefully by then he will see an even better country.

On efficiency of government services

The article on “A storm in a songkok” reminded me of a discussion with my English friend about the efficiency of government services, and whether it is really such a good idea to have a very efficient government. From the point of view of the consumers of the services, it is all very good as it saves them time, and quite often time means money, particularly for those services which are business related. However for most countries, the government is also a big employer. For a developing country like Malaysia, there are still many poor people who can barely make ends meet. Naturally people tend to look to the government for help, in the form of benefits, subsidies, employment, government projects etc. A good government will strive to bring people out of poverty, and reduce the wealth gap between the rich and the poor, as happiness of the unenlighted is often relative.Okay let us focus on wealth distribution in the form of employments provided by the government. If the government departments becomes very efficient, normally it means that less jobs will be required to provide the same services. Imagine that a lot of work can now be done using a computerised system, which is very common nowadays. So the point is there is also a good side to having a not-too-efficient government. At least for Malaysia, where there are still many poor people. So to hear that there is a possibility that the federal government might reduce funding to state governments that have fallen to the opposition coalition, which had happened before to Kelantan and Terengganu, is concerning. I know it is a cheap shot by the ruling government to try and regain these states by such means, but you can never under estimate how low these people can go. The state government may have no choice but to reduce the operational cost should this really happens, and show that states run by the opposition coalition are very efficient, but it is important that the opposition coalition make sure that they work very hard to get as much funding from the federal government first. On how we can squeeze money from the crooks I haven’t a clue. Perhaps by shouting very loud in the parliament? 🙂 And make more people aware of the importance of the funding? But whatever we think can help we should definitely try.

Democracy, is it too late for Malaysians?

It was a defining moment for most Malaysians last weekend. Even though 10,000 miles away, I was equally excited over the General Election and wouldn’t mind confining myself in front of C’s laptop refreshing the website every other minute to check out on the results of the election.I was a little sceptical at first over the outcome of the election. When C said that there will be more votes for the opposition this time round, I dismissed by saying that the ruling coalition will get no less than 65% majority in the Parliament. How wrong was I and for a rare occassion, I don’t mind being wrong. I am so proud of my fellow Malaysians that my eyes were almost filled with tears.The election committee had done everything in their power, whether legal or illegal to ensure that the ruling coalition always gets an upper hand when it comes to the General Election. The constituencies were drawn in such a way that the ruling coalition always get more seats in the Parliament. For a contrast, there are only about 6,000 voters in Putrajaya (which is a fairly newly created constituency ‘for the ruling coalition’) and Seputeh which is an opposition stronghold has a whopping 70,000 voters (estimates). How they draw the lines, I can never discern, but how Malaysians had put up with such blatant abuse of power, was more mysterious.The government had done everything in their power to suppress the media, be it tv, newspapers or radio. We could only hear of any negative news against the government if you know of any insider who had first hand knowledge. I had the opportunity to hear a first hand account from an ISA detainee who, for miraculous reasons, was not broken down having spent two years in ISA detention. I also had the privilege of attending several seminars about human rights abuse in Malaysia.I wished I could have done more for the people. I wished there was something that I could play a part in. But it was difficult not to feel that everything was too late and what could a small number of people did. But this General Election has shown that all is but too late. I would be more than surprised if the opposition had not won more than 50% of the votes of Malaysians in this General Election. If it wasn’t for the unjustifiable division of constituencies that favour the ruling coalition, we might well see a new government in 50 years of independence. This is only real democracy.I hope that the opposition will grab this chance and shine as I don’t know if they would have to wait another 50 years to have the second chance. Although not being able to form the federal government, they have done very well to secure 5 states to form the state governments.Although most people seem to think that the current PM is to take responsibility for the upset in this General Election and the current state of affairs in Malaysia. I still however think that he is a much better PM than Dr M. It is hardly convincing that his son is one of the 50 richest men in Malaysia and some of his cronies are the most successful businessmen in Malaysia with no lack of billionaires amongst them. At the same time, I am still unconvinced that Najib can ever be a PM given the extremely racist remark he made in 1987 during the Lalang Operation. But as we all know, with money comes power when it comes to Malaysian politics. I should only pray that more and more Malaysians will raise their awareness on such fundamental issues and take them to heart. It concerns their very own welfare and their home soil.

Opposition parties captured 5 states in Malaysia

This is monumental. The oppositions managed to capture even Perak from the ruling party Barisan Nasional (BN), on top of Penang, Kelantan, Kedah, and Selangor! It was close, 30 vs 29 seats to the Opposition coalition. As for Selangor, it’s almost like a landslide victory. This is major. You only need to look at the majority votes won by some of the opposition candidates. This election truly marks a new dawn for the political landscape of Malaysia. Every Malaysians should rejoice about this, for a stronger oppositon coalition is going to benefit all Malaysians (maybe less so monetary-wise for some crooks from BN). Let’s face it, even the Malays realise that the government is doing a bad job, and voted against the ruling party. And some of them even urge Chinese and Indians to vote for Democratic Action Party (DAP), a chinese-led opposition party. This is remarkable, don’t you think, although this is how it should be all along, all races in Malaysia living harmoniously. Often it is the ruling party and the national media, controlled by the ruling party, that are trying to paint a picture of potential racial divide to the people. Many people are no fool anymore. Look at the election results.This is just the beginning of a new Malaysia. All these could come to nothing if we do not make use of this opportunity given by the citizens of Malaysia. First of all, as promised by the politicians, we need to make sure that basic problems faced by the citizens are tackled – crime, inflation, among others. Corruptions are more deep rooted problem. It will take some time, but it can be done when there is a transparent government, a civil society, and an unshackled and independent media. So let’s make sure that we all are working towards this “ideals” given the opportunity!

DAP’s rally at SS2

Looking at the crowds, the support given to Ms Fong Po Kuan, and the speech given by her, slowly and clearly in Cantonese and English to reach all audience, I got a bit emotional. Malaysia really need someone like her, and we Malaysians should be thankful for having such a passionate fellow Malaysian who is willing to get her sleeves up and do the dirty work for the citizens.Election is today, Malaysia time…

Fong Po Kuan

It’s going to be the general election in Malaysia next week, 8th March 2008. This I believe is going to be a close election, I explained to my colleague. But not close in the sense that there is going to be a formidable opposition coalition that can win the election from the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN), which my Zimbabwean colleague initially thought. What Malaysians can realistically ask for is just to stop BN from taking more than two-thirds majority of the seats in parliament, which will hopefully put more pressure on BN and stop them from getting ill-advised motions passed without contest. This I believe is an achievable feat in this coming election, as there really are a lot of resentments coming from all races in Malaysia, including the Malays. But at the end of the day it’s going to depend on the voters.So to hear that Fong Po Kuan decides to quit contesting in the coming election after the Prime Minister announced the date of the general election three weeks ago was really a major disappointment for me, to say the least. The disappoinment comes not just from the fact that it will be a major blow to the opposition party. But it is the lost of another bright talent who had dedicated years of her life fighting for what must have been seen as a lost cause by many people. It does stirred me into thinking that there is probably really no hope to all these, and there will only be sad ends to those who put themselves forward to fight for a better country. I was truly disturbed. But the saga (Po Kuan decided to contest again at Batu Gajah last week after careful consideration, fortunately!) reveals that my heart is still with Malaysia, although I now reside in the UK. Malaysians still mean a lot to me, and Malaysia can certainly be a much better country, if the political scene can be a bit more, or perhaps a lot more, healthy.I know voters are wiser than before. But let’s hope that they make the right decision, especially this election, which I think will be monumental to the future of Malaysia.

Year of Rat

Helped my dad to clean and tidy the house this morning. It is Chinese New Year tomorrow. I think it is a tradition to clean the house, wear new clothes to welcome the new year. While we were tidying and storing stuff into what used to be a dog hut, my dad found a rat hiding in a paper box which is carrying a fire extinguisher. Dad then used a large plastic bag, wrapped the whole box in it, waited for the rat to emerge from the box and then killed it using a wooden stick. Actually not quite, my dad has to also step on it once to finally finish it off. I feel bad, although I did suggest my dad to let the rat go. In fact I’m the one to pass my dad the wooden stick when I was asked to find one! Guess my dad still has too much authority over me.I remember saying to myself that “Ratatouille” is one of the best animation movies around after watching it on my flight back to Malaysia. And I think Disney movies are great, which I haven’t really appreciated until now, as they have the magical power to make people, especially kids, love and appreciate animals, due to the animations that make animals look so cute and adorable. However here I am ended up helping my dad killed one of these little animals. Shame on me.To make matter worse, I found out later on in the afternoon that it’s the year of Rat this coming year. What a bizarre experience, to have killed a rat on the eve of year of Rat. Damn, I really don’t like what that has just happened today!