Thursday, August 28, 2008

DAP Central Executive Committee, Sarawak loss…

Of the 30 CEC members, 13 were from the combined states of Penang and Perak and their numbers nearly took half of the CEC. It was such a huge disparity and the Party needs to study the effect of this. Sabah and Sarawak were only represented by their State Chairman and State Secretary respectively and our Sarawak State Chairman, Sdr. Wong Ho Leng, who was one of the Vice-Chairman in the national body, lost his bid in the CEC Election. Sarawak only had two candidates for the CEC Election after Sdr. Chiew Chiu Sing and Sdri. Violet Yong withdrew from the race. Maybe, with respect, I would say, Sdr. Chiew Chiu Sing and Sdr. Violet Yong knew that it was difficult to get into the CEC.

As for myself, I submitted my candidate form, but, due to some technical reasons, my name did not appear in the candidate list. I also knew that it would not be easy to get into the CEC and even if I got into the CEC, there would be a lot of adjustments in my political and legal work. I put my name up because I just wanted to test the practicability of the system and my prediction was correct after I found myself not in the candidate list. I was confronted by some party members of my exclusion from the candidate list, but, I had to explain that the flaw had nothing to do with me. In respect of the flaw or weakness of the system, I had privately voiced my concern to some CEC leaders with the hope that the matter could be rectified so as not to affect the moral of party members.

The recent concluded CEC Election, seemed to suggest that the delegates were more inclined to put comrades from West Malaysia into the CEC and in the process had forgot the roles played by DAP Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian politics. I hope CEC, being the central governing body, will take note more seriously the role played by Sabah and Sarawak. This is because both states contributed to about one-third of the MP seats in Parliament, with Sabah 25 seats and Sarawak 31 seats. We need to understand that in each Election, it was Sabah and Sarawak that used to help BN formed the government with two-thirds majority.

In shaky times, the Prime Minister used to visit Sabah and Sarawak just to make sure that everything was alright in both states. The Prime Minister sometimes came here as often as twice a week and this year alone, and although I didn’t count, the Prime Minister could have already came here for about ten times or maybe more. This was especially so, after Datuk Seri Anwar was making headlines with possible cross-over from BN MPs to Pakatan Rakyat.

Probably there is a need to amend the rules for inclusion into CEC by giving automatic right to State Chairmen of Sabah and Sarawak. At the same time, the Party may also need to look into giving to at least two and three CEC seats to Sabah and Sarawak respectively in the CEC so that this could reflect a more balance representation in the CEC from both states. There is also a need to accommodate the dayaks and other indigenous races also with more malay and Indian representation in the CEC in the event that their representation in the CEC drop.

The problem now is what will happen if Sdr. Chong Chieng Jen may not be able to attend the CEC meeting? Moreover, the northern part of the state also needs representation so as to keep the confidence of members in the north intact. I hope members should not only select comrades whom they knew, but, look at the broader scope when selecting CEC members. It seems that comrades were still in the "high" caused by the 8 March success and could have drifted away from in their thoughts about Sabah and Sarawak. With State Election looming over the heads of Sarawakians, it is hoped that DAP at the HQ. level could be able to help plan capture Sarawak.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Permatang Pauh, The Leap Forward!!

Anwar, Prime Minister! Khairy, Deputy Prime Minister?
BN leaders were worried when Anwar in recent months publicly claimed that there were MPs who wanted to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat and their numbers would be enough to form the Pakatan Rakyat government. All quarters in the BN camp had refuted the possibility of a Pakatan Raykat government at Federal level be formed on September 16, 2008 as set by Anwar and many said it was just a psychological war orchestrated by Anwar to cause instability within the BN government.

For Anwar to be Prime Minister, Anwar must be able to command the confidence of Malaysians and the best way to do this is to enter Parliament first. Whether or not the Pakatan Rakyat government at Federal level, the latest by September 16, could be formed after Anwar enters Parliament is for everybody’s guess. It was said that BN MPs would only have the confidence in Anwar’s plan only if Anwar could re-enter Parliament. So, Anwar has to do this for what was expected from him.

The task to enter Parliament, especially, during a by-election was always an uphill task. To win a by-election against the BN was always very difficult and past experience always told us that. The only way for Anwar to do this was to carefully plan a strategy that could boost the confidence of all Malaysians in him. Anwar had no choice, but, to tell all Malaysians that he harboured the intention to form the Pakatan Raykat Government by September 16, 2008 and that there are MPs from BN camp willing to join the Pakatan Rakyat and this was the best strategy. BN camp was caught and uneasiness was felt with the camp.

Recent developments such as the increase of petrol and diesel to nearly 80 sen per litre and the noise by some Sabah politicians including Yong Teck Lee which damaged BN and Pak Lah’s leadership also were factors that contributed to public confidence in Anwar. The plan worked well and Anwar then set his eyes on Permatang Pauh and Anwar must win big. If not for the announcement of a Pakatan Raykat Federal Government, the task of Anwar re-entering Parliament and win big, perhaps may not be easy.

Pak Lah had to a certain extent helped Anwar achieved his goal to re-enter Parliament early in two ways. First, this was when the fuel prices increased, thus, causing much dissatisfaction among Malaysians. Second, Pak Lah did not attack Anwar much in recent months and also during the Permatang Pauh campaign, Pak Lah had left the matter to his deputy, Najib to spearhead the challenge in Permatang Pauh. Why Pak Lah was very quiet? Was there any hidden agenda? Was there a move by Pak Lah to remove Najib and get Anwar to be the PM to replace him?

Khairy Jamalludin also did help Anwar win big. Voters and Malaysians who sympathized with Anwar kept on swelling each day and Khairy should know this. Khairy, by attacking Anwar in and outside Parliament in recent weeks did not damage Anwar’s image, but, in actual fact helped Anwar gained votes. This is because most Malaysians knew the close relationship Khairy had with Anwar and was it not Khairy who got the passport for Anwar to leave for treatment overseas? Was it not the same Khairy who frequented Anwar's house and Anwar's family before Anawar was arrested and charged for sodomy ten years ago? Being so close with Anwar, why Khairy wanted to make a lot of noise against Anwar? Was it not Khairy's strategy to shout and make a lot of noise against Anwar so more Malaysians going to sympathise Anwar each day and by doing so, to get Anwar win big and then team-up with Anwar?

Was it not a plan between Anwar and Khairy to team up to form the Pakatan Rakyat government? If there was, then, Khairy may have both worlds. Khairy, being the son-in-law of the Prime Minister is very influential and powerful in Putrajaya. Anwar can speed up matter by offering Khairy to be the Deputy Prime Minister if Khairy could get the MPs to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat to form the Pakatan Rakyat Federal government. After Anwar, it would the natrual choice of succession line that being number two in the country, Khairy will then find himself the Prime Minister of Malaysia!

On the other hand, if Khairy may not take the offer, Khairy can also wait until his father-in-law steps down and get Najib to appoint him as Deputy. Najib if he becomes PM, may wish to appoint someone close to him, that is, Hishamuddin, whom I was told was related to him, as his Deputy, but, Hishamuddin may be out of the race if Khairy, could enlist the help of his father-in-law to get Najib agree to him as Najib’s Deputy. Like Mahathir, Pak Lah may wish set a term with Najib before handing over the baton to him, that is, to get Najib agree to appoint Khairy as his Deputy. If this may happen, Hishamuddin will be out of the race. Now, we could find Hishamuddin very quiet after the March 8 Election. Why was he so? Was his position been threatened by Khairy now?

Now, can Anwar achieve his goal before the date line? Khairy who graduated and studied politics in UK, is an UMNO political stategist seems to be the the King maker in Malaysian politics who has the exceptional talent to play his cards both ways.
In the end of the drama, stalwarts in DAP and PAS will still have to find themselves contented by playing second fidle in Malaysian politics, in which, I hope would not. Very much now depends on Anwar to pay back the loyalty shown by DAP and PAS towards him and Anwar knows it would be too costly to dump DAP and PAS and to give way to some people from UNMO. In Anwar, we could also see as the only person at this moment that could bring change to the political landscape in the country and also the dream of a two party system in Malaysia. Syabas Anwar!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Polis Raja Di Malaysia!

The Royal Malaysia Police was given the title, “Di Raja” by the King for their professionalism in fighting communist insurgency and in preserving peace within the country. It was a title the Police Force was entitled to and we should be proud of this. The country and the people in this county and aboard accorded much respect and pride in the Malaysian Police Force. Now things have changed. Instead of Polis Di Raja Malaysia, now it many addressed it as Polis Raja Di Malaysia! That is Police, is King in Malaysia!

I shall tell you why many people say so!

Before, I proceed, I need to say that being and ex-police officer and being having been part of the Force, I should not be seen to be very vocal criticizing the police and should keep my oath to be faithful and be with the Force in whatever situation the Force was facing, but, on the second thought, I see that as an ex-officer and politician, it is also my duty to see the all evils in the Force has to be corrected and where the demand for justice and transparency arises, to expose the weaknesses that the Force faced. This was in the hope that corrective action could be taken by the relevant authorities so that the Force, as trustee of the Nation and the public of our national security and public rights would improve in safeguarding our rights and Nation’s security.

I could not deny that when I was still in the Force, abuses among the police officers did happen, but, not so rampant and high handed as what had happened in the last ten years. The Police Force was still truly “Di Raja!” The abuses were still very much in control, but, to my humble observation, discipline in recent years among officers of almost all ranks deteriorated after a change of policy took place in recent years which allow officers to be promoted or be allowed advanced in rank after few years in service.

Instead, this bred a new Police Force, which could be called, “Polis Raja Di Malaysia” and this new bred police force had diluted the title “Polis Di Raja Malaysia”. Now, we could have inspectors be advanced to chief inspectors just after six years of service and within the next three to four years after such advancement, be promoted to Assistant Superintendent. Likewise, a constable could also get advancement to lance corporal within few years of service and in a short span of service be promoted to sergeant and so on. Many rose up so fast! With such speed in promotions, many could become big headed and acted like they were Rajas and Emperors because with more power at hand, they though they could do what they liked.

When I was still in the service, this did not happen as it took us 14 years to climb the ladder to reach chief inspector. I am not jealous of them being promoted fast, but, the fact that when rank came easy, many of them could not command themselves properly and could not carry their rank politely. Many of these young officers tend to loose respect of their more senior officers in the force, especially, when their seniors were stagnant or stuck with their rank. Many of these seniors did not have the chance to go up but was just waiting for retirement and many were found being “chased-up” by their juniors and found themselves on the same rank with their juniors.

Recently, I met an officer who was my colleague in the Force and while having coffee with him in Green Heights, he admitted that discipline among the young officers deteriorated and these young officers tend to show very little respect of their seniors, especially, to those who were on the same rank with them. This was not so in our time, because, although our seniors never got promoted, but, we still addressed them, “Tuan!”. This was a show of respect of which they also deserved. This is because as a saying says, “They eat more rice and salt than us!” So, there is no reason why we should show less respect to these senior officers although they were not promoted or were on the same rank with us. I was also told that the training of new recruits at this moment is not as tough as in our time and is very much relaxed. I was told by some instructors that these young officers have to be treated as Raja because the instructors fear that reprimand may befall on them once these instructors may one day come under the command of these new bred officers.

The sudden change of policies in the Force could also have affected the discipline of the young members of the Force. Now, police officers could enter the Court, no need to use caps and no need to salute the Court when they walked in. Where their respect to the Court lies? They are Raja and they see the Court not so much powerful than them and the Court could not give them instructions to wear the cap and to require them to salute the Court when they walked in because as far as the use of uniform is concerned the Court has no jurisdiction over the discipline of these police officers.

There seems also no need for present police officers to use their caps when in patrol cars and many could also be seen not wearing at all during road blocks and when on patrol. Many could easily be seen spent time in coffee shops when in uniforms. This was a marked difference from our time.

I also experience some rude incidence from these young officers. At one time, over a phone while trying to help a brother of a retired senior police officer of a case against him, and despite my politeness, I even had rude remarks, from a young officer whom I found out had just been discharged from the training school some months ago. This officer even questioned my right to seek clarification from him of the case, a thing we usually never did when I was still in the Force.

About the “squat” incident of a woman during a body search in which was also highlighted in the national press, a very senior officer even said that it was a police procedure to order suspects to do the “squat exercise” in search of dangerous drugs. I never heard of this training before! This shows that the police became Raja over the people and no more Polis Di Raja Malaysia!

Two weeks ago, clients of mine were on road show remand and for the first three remand, all ended in being released by the court unconditionally. I came in for the third remand. They were supposed to be remanded for the fourth time in a row, but, when they knew that I was sitting at the counter waiting for the remand application to be registered, the police officers who wanted to remand these clients, waited for more than an hour for me to leave the counter. They discovered that I did not leave and after they could not wait anymore, they had no choice, but to bring my clients back to police stations and released them.

Was not this an abuse of power and an abuse of the processes of the court? Maybe they thought they could be Raja all the time and bypassed counsels all the time when registering the remand. To these police officers who are Raja, beware, as you can’t clothe your power all the time with power of the court because if your abuse of power and unlawful acts could be proved, you could not hide behind the remand and to scott free from possible damages and suits against you in court. Mind you, the court has always been jealous in guarding the liberty of citizens!

This morning to my shock when in the Borneo Post, it was reported that a police officer whom I was told with about only ten years in service even became more daring to show that he was the Raja, by chasing a woman driver, stopped and battered her with the butt of a service revolver. The woman bled profusely.

Now, stop trying to project yourself as Raja, but, keep the flag of “Polis Di Raja Malaysia” high and be proud for the nation, for the people and for your future generations. Being custodians of the Nation's security and custodian of the people's trust, you must be subjected to the command of the King at all times, and you must understand that by the command of the King, the King is Raja over the Police Force, and not the other way round, where you thought you can treat the King's subjects as you like, in which, you should not.

Friday, August 15, 2008


If oil prices still increase......

Petrol price hiked by Rm 2.70!!!!!!!
So Kriss Modenas launched another fuel saver bike.....

After The SUCCESS of .........
Juara ** ...............
COWasaki By Protun

Excavating Graveyards – Pure Greed!

The deads deserve respect and when loved ones dies, all good things and love should be shown by us in memory of him. Of course, the best thing to give him is to find the best resting place that one could afford. We should make his resting place beautiful and a place that could be remembered by his generations. The Bukit Cina Cemetery was a good example where the resting place of the deads of the early Chinese settlers who came from China to Malaya was well taken care of by their generations. It was beautiful and historic place in Melaka on a hill top, but, at one time in 1980s when I was still a serving officer in Negeri Sembilan, there were people for their greed, wanted to take the cemetery land in the name of development! I went all out to help DAP get signatures of people to oppose it! People from all walks of life and all races were against such move to destroy Bukit Cina and we succeed to prevent this!

So, why want the graves and cemeteries if not for greed? Now, it became a profession for some people stealing from the graves. They dug graves in the hope that some valuables could be found. It was also common to find out that the tombs of the deads in dayak cemeteries were also dug and vandalized. Some years ago in Engkilili, a developer also went on to destroy some Chinese graves for a housing project. The graves had been there since the Rajah times and I had to intervene to stop this.

Now, these greedy people go after the muslim cemetery in Kuching. A cemetery which is more than 100 years old at Jalan Keretapi (now, Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Addruce) near to my house was excavated on Tuesday 12 August, 2008 and 44 graves had been dug out by the contractor without the consent and knowledge of the descendants of the deads. Myself and MP for Bandar Kuching, Sdr. Chong Chieng Jen, and some PKR members including YB Dominique Ng were at the cemetery to control the situation from getting worse. I had to rush back from Court after finishing my court cases that morning. When I arrived, I saw an excavator near to the cemetery was on fire. BOMBA and the police had a busy day, but, damage had already been done. The muslim people were truly not happy about this matter and the authorities should be held responsible for the damge. I hope the decendants will file civil suits in court soon and if no counsels willing to act for them, I am willing to offer my services to see justice done. I don't care who they are and how powerful they are. Let the matter goes to court and get the whole world to know!

From what I could gather, it was learnt that the graves have to be exhumed to give way for the construction of some high rise buildings on a joint venture basis. This is profits over the bodies of the deads! When these greedy people die one, day how their souls would feel if some one dug their grave! They definitely will send their spirits to haunt their grave diggers! I hope their generations will not find any pain and be sentimental about that!

Do not do what you do not want others do unto you! This is the most important commandment of the Lord if we want harmony and peace in this society!

To the greedy people and the authorities, I have a word of reminder. That is, learn from history. Such exhumation or excavation of the graves and cemeteries could spark riots and civil unrests as what had happened in Java during the Dutch occupation of Indonesia, where a railway line which was built over a muslim cemetery in Java, led to a bitter rebellion against the Dutch rule in Java.

BN government should be cautious of such incidents, but, so far the BN government seemed still sleeping without very little effort done to see a stop to this thing. The dayaks had voiced their unhappiness over the years of their ancestors’ graves being dug and vandalized, but, there had been very little success in arresting the culprits. At the same time, not much effective measures had been taken to ensure that the many cemeteries that the dayaks had were properly regulated as many could be said found of state land. At the same time, some leases of Chinese cemeteries are about to expire soon. What we need is a grant in perpetuity to preserve the souls of the deads.


Speech by YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at The Bankers Club Business Luncheon Forum on Tuesday, 15th July 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen:

On the night of March 8, like many of you I watched in disbelief as the results rolled in. Through the early hours of the morning, we all felt the political ground shift beneath us, whatever our affiliations, whatever our hopes. It gradually became clear that the 12th General Elections had changed the political landscape of the country, and that we had been thrown, not nudged, into a new era. Each of us here will remember the feelings we went through that night, the fears and hopes we felt. But four months later, where are we? Have our hopes materialized, our fears been confirmed?

2. Four months after the momentous election results of March 8, we find ourselves in a perilous impasse, in danger of losing our bearings, and seemingly unable to see a way forward through a situation of unbelievable fluidity. I don't pretend to have a lamp to pierce this fog. Instead, I thought that today we might try to establish a common description of what is going on so that we can have a more fruitful discussion afterwards of what is the way forward. I always prefer the dialogue to the lecture.

3. Thus let me try to achieve a perspective on what happened then, where we are now, and how we can move forward. The perspective I am going to offer is from the trenches of the party political struggle that I have been involved in. As I hope will become clear to you, the present struggle I am involved in for the soul of UMNO is very much a struggle for the future of this nation.

4. From the perspective of the BN and UMNO the result of the polls was the biggest setback in our history. In one stroke four states emerged in Opposition control and we lost our 2/3rds majority in Parliament. I said at the time this put UMNO in a state of Emergency. The Party's losses would seriously hamper our ability to govern:

a) The Federal government was now weakened in its ability to raise funds, coordinate with the States, and implement policies. Barisan lost control of 3 states from which 75% of the GDP originates.

b) With its failure in the Malay heartland states of Kedah and Kelantan, UMNO lost its legitimacy as the natural party of the Malays. Simultaneously MCA and MIC lost their leadership roles over the other major races of this country and Gerakan was more or less wiped out. A political system that had maintained stability for fifty years had been reduced to ruins.

c) With the loss of its 2/3rds majority in Parliament, the government would now face great difficulty passing the kind of inventive and bold measures that we had taken in the past to set up institutions such as Petronas and Felda. As a developing country we need such flexibility and decisiveness. More so amidst the extraordinary global challenges of our time.
Causes of our loss

5. In a speech in Gua Musang a month after March 8, I listed three core reasons for UMNO�s loss of legitimacy and what we must do:

a) Democracy had been suppressed in Umno. Via requirements such as the nominations quota for senior positions the Party prevented the renewal of talent and leadership. We must restore democracy in UMNO, and begin by restoring power to the grassroots to select their leaders at every level up to the President

b) We had failed to articulate a vision and a set of policies that transcends race. While defending its traditional vision Umno must be the party that sponsors Malay leadershp to win the trust of all Malaysians, a national party that promotes the welfare of all.

c) Too many of our leaders had been arrogant and corrupt. People of all races saw us as being high-handed, out of touch and ill mannered. We must recover our humility, our spirit of service and solidarity with the rakyat and among ourselves.

6. On that occasion I expressed wonder that a month after the Election the leadership remained in denial about the root causes of UMNO's crisis, and hence unable to address those causes. I said Party leaders continued to block discussion and to block my call for an EGM for us to reflect deeply together, as a party, on where we had gone wrong.

7. I did not imagine that four months later, the leadership would be in even deeper denial, and would seem even more determined to prevent any party-wide accounting of what had gone wrong. Over the last months, as have suffered massive price hikes, business confidence has plummeted, billions have been wiped off our stock markets and capital has drained from our economy, the Malaysian public has grown increasingly worried as the leadership crisis continues.

8. In any normal political system, having shown such poor results, this leadership should have resigned with heads bowed. Instead we have now been handed a Transition Plan to take place in 2010, ignoring the party elections to come this December, and treating Party positions as transferable personal property. They forget that party positions are elected by the combined membership of 3 million, not inherited between 2 persons. This display of entitlement, this subversion of democratic process and legality coming after our members have expressed their demand to be heard, gives cause for people to suspect that our current leadership has lost the plot.

Denial is dangerous

9. The election was a political disaster for the Barisan government. Viewed from a historical perspective, it may have raised some hope that democracy would be reinvigorated. The easy dominance of the ruling coalition seemed to have been broken decisively.
10. That dominance had served us well in difficult phases of our history, when we faced challenges of development, modernization and nation building. It enabled us to administer one of the most stable postcolonial governments seen anywhere and to oversee steady, equitable economic development. It gave us the power to restructure our economy to promote growth and equity in a challenging multiracial context. However that same long dominance had made the party complacent and flabby.

11. The Elections showed that the Malaysian public is ahead of its political parties in demanding democratic reform and accountability. Many hoped that this would be an impetus for the BN component parties to reform themselves and for the government to finally fulfill its promises. But they also feared that the new political landscape would cause instability and stunt growth when we could least afford it, in the middle of an economic downturn.

12. Whether the present circumstances become a blessing or a curse to us depends on how the present leadership responds to it. Sadly, four months on this much is clear: our leaders lag behind in adapting to the challenges of the new political landscape, they remain locked in denial and in personal politics.

13. Instead of heeding the message of reform sent by voters and by its own grassroots the leadership has dug in to perpetuate itself with "business as usual" practices. On its present course UMNO is risking not only its own survival but also the future of the nation. The Party leadership needs to realize that we have reached a major decision point. UMNO cannot go back to the way it had been conducting itself. It must return to being the party of the common people, a political party that was also a broad social movement calling on the idealism of millions. At present, we risk destroying the party and plunging the nation into a spiral of decline.

The imperative of reform, the challenges before us:

14. Let me stand back a little from the day-to-day politics that I have been engaged in to give a more general description of our condition, so that we can think together about what might be done.

a) The nation is in a state of crisis that threatens to go well into 2010 if the so-called Transition Plan becomes fait accompli. The BN is decimated, with UMNO remaining the only sizeable party. The Opposition remains a contradictory assortment of parties with little to bind them but the personality of their de facto leader. Notwithstanding the hype of crossovers, they are in no position to take over. UMNO is the party with the history, tradition and maturity to lead the government. For this it must reform successfully.

b) Meanwhile, UMNO appears trapped with a weakened leadership that seems to lurch from crisis to crisis. The Party's democratic processes have so atrophied that it is now neither able to hold its leadership accountable nor to renew that leadership. Any organisation, be it a corporation or a sepak takraw team or the United Nations, that finds itself in this condition is in deep trouble. The root of this crisis is of course that democracy has withered in UMNO. Democratic practices within the party have been subverted one by one over the years so that now a small group holds enormous power over millions of dis-empowered members. The top down nature of power within Umno ensures the long survival and indeed the recycling of "warlords". These same people are rewarded with government positions, which they use to fortify their party positions. Only a genuine movement from the grassroots can retrieve the Party now. I have tried to lead such a movement by going all over the country to meet local leaders and ordinary party members to discuss the situation with them.

c) Our key institutions are at breaking point. These include the judiciary, the police, sectors of the civil service and our schools and universities. They have been on a downward slide for a while. It is time we acknowledge this challenge openly. Under a more authoritarian government it might have been possible to carry on with weak institutions, and indeed that same authoritarianism is what sapped those institutions in the first place. In our new context, those weaknesses just show up relentlessly. Put together institutional weakness, weak leadership and increasingly powerful public opinion, and the result is a crippling loss of confidence in our key institutions. Many of the embarrassments and policy reversals that you read about weekly are the result of such institutional weakness. These problems cannot be hidden anymore. We are in danger of going into a decline from which we shall not emerge for a very long time.

d) After fifty years of independence our Constitution has not yet been established as a living document among the people. To the extent it plays a role in public debate, it is used partially, rhetorically and without understanding of its intent. The very principle of constitutionality and rule of law has eroded, so that even in political parties such as Umno, there is little understanding of what it means to be a constitutionally governed organisation. The implications of this are great, not least in the matters of race and religion that are our constant challenge. If we are to emerge as a confident, united people not swayed by racial or religious rabble-rousing, we must look at ways to ensure that our leaders and our people internalise the principles of the Constitution.

e) Our politics remain a politics of personalities rather than of issues and ideas. Of patronage rather than results. When personality dominated politics degenerates you see the destruction of reputations, intrigues, spy scandals, succession plans and whatnot as stratagems to resolve leadership contests, rather than the Constitutional and democratically provided avenue of seeking an elected mandate. When group dominated by personality politics comes under challenge, the leaders dig in, call for "unity" - meaning they are not to be challenged -- and hold the country hostage to their career plans.

f) Our economic policy remains haphazard, driven by whims and special interest projects rather than by a cohesive design geared to shape areas of distinct national competitive advantage. The stillborn "Corridor" projects do not seem to have been thought out as part of a cohesive national economic strategy. Like so much we have done recently, they seem ad hoc and uncoordinated in their selection of specialisations. The term economic corridor now inspires skepticism rather than confidence. Meanwhile, the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), which used to coordinate and plan our economic strategy, has been largely bypassed under this administration. We need to staff the EPU with talented professionals again, not political appointees.

15. There is one thing each of the problems I have just described has in common: each represents a deficit in norms and institutions. Each of them demands that we renew our commitment to rigorous policy process, to the law and the rule of law. Each is a call to reform.
Ladies and Gentlemen:

16. I would love to get your ideas on my own thoughts on such ideas as the reform or Educational and Medical financing, the improvement of our cities, a renewed emphasis on rural development, and how we can return economic development initiative to the states, together with the funds to undertake those initiatives. We can talk about decentralizing economic growth, eradicating rural poverty and returning investor confidence.17. We can talk about these during question time if anyone is interested.

18. But recent events confirm we are now in such a deep political crisis that I want to use my remaining time to press a single point: the need to prepare ourselves to retrieve the basic understandings, discipline and practices that constitute a nation.

19. We must reform and strengthen core institutions: the judiciary, security services, the schools and the civil service. These form the core institutional capability of a country. Without this in place we are in danger of taking one step forward only to take two steps back. Right now we are looking at the frightening possibility of seeing those backward steps happen before our eyes.

20. This emphasis on institutional reform applies to UMNO as much as to organizations such as the Judiciary and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU). In each case we will have to work hard to:

a) re-clarify the norms, and attach clear sanctions and goals to them.

b) The law must be enforced rigorously and impartially, with the checks and balances between institutions restored

c) Lead, educate and train people to internalise these norms and practices. This requires a deep reform of our declining Education system, and it means we need to look at how we train our civil servants.

d) Meanwhile, we should look at improving the way our political institutions reflect law-governed democratic practice. The constitutions of the political parties should be made to adhere without exception to the Societies Act. Unlawful restrictions in party constitutions should be challenged and removed.

e) We need to arrest the decline in the quality of people seeking employment in these key institutions.

21. The reform of our basic institutions requires credible, committed leadership. For a while now we have had leaders more fascinated with the flashy hardware of modernity than attentive to the invisible infrastructure effective, trusted national institutions.
22. As we ensure we are doing the basic things right, we can be confident that we can once more invent the strategies and institutions to enable us to thrive in a world economy that has been completely transformed in the years since we first dared to raid its centres of power and deal our own terms with its corporate behemoths.

23. The mold is broken, the vessel split. There is no returning to the political scenario pre March 8. This is the frightening and also exhilarating thing about where we stand. We could be standing at the edge of long-term instability and decay. Or we could be on the very edge of an opportunity to re-establish ourselves as democratic, united and confident country ready once more to make our own destiny among the nations. We are in unusual times, calling for unusual effort and boldness in doing the right thing. I ask you all to join me in doing everything you can to make sure that the second scenario comes true for us all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Deprivation of Padi Fertilizer Subsidies

Recently I received a complaint letter from the people of Kampung Koran Empaneg that the Agriculture Department in Serian could not grant them the annual padi fertilizer subsidies because this was withdrawn by the Serian District Officer upon the instruction of Datuk Michael Manyin on reason that the kampong people of the said kampong was said to have supported the Opposition. If this was correct, then this was a political discrimination against the rakyat.

I was told that this was an annual subsidy given by the government to all kampong people in the Serian District, but, why these poor kampong people had to suffer because of this? I wrote a letter to the Serian Agriculture Officer, who later on phoned and gave me assurance that the subsidies will be released soon. I shall monitor this matter, but, the damage had already been done, because, this time they will go all out to help the Opposition win the next election. They told me that they had suffered far too long and felt cheated in the hands of the BN and no BN people had bothered to reseal the road that led to their kampong for the past many years.

BN government and the people in authority may need to be cautious in any discrimination implementation of policies and exercise of power. These subsidies may not be much, but, it meant a lot to the poor people in the kampong. If they are not happy, this may escalate into serious security problem. Now, rice is very expensive and coupled with the recent increase in petrol and diesel, people in the kampong hardly earn enough to eat and by depriving these subsidies, I am afraid that this could bring many serious security problem in Serian District. There will be an increase in crime and people may go to the streets to show their anger when subsidies are not forthcoming! I hope the Serian Agriculture Officer will see this problem be solved soon before it would be too late with kampong people assembling with banners and making noises infront of his office.

Such discrimination should be stopped and the BN government should not forget what had happened to Tambunan in Sabah many years ago when the Sabah BN government withdrew all development projects in Tambunan just before the election. It caused the downfall of the state government.

The Lunas by-election some years ago should also be fresh in our mind. It was said that many roads in the Lunas constituency had been neglected by the BN government, but, when a stiff challenge was made by PKR and the Opposition, PKR won the by-election because one of the issues was the neglect by the BN government of the infrastructures in the constituency.

Likewise in Batu Lintang, when just before an election in 2004, the authorities when trying to please the voters of Batu Lintang resealed the roads of the housing estate where my house was, but, the resealing of the said road stopped just infront of my house. They skipped the resealing of the road, but, chose to continue, the resealing of the end part of the road only, thus, leaving the unsealed part of the road an uneven gap. Maybe, the BN people just wanted to teach me a lesson because I was an Opposition man. I just kept quiet and did not complain, but, the motorists grumbled! This was because not only was this discriminatory, but, they disliked the bumpy road and potholes on the road which the authorities had refused to repair and reseal. I guess their grumble was later on turned into votes for me in Batu Lintang and this was how Batu Lintang fell to the DAP in May 2006 state election! My votes in that area and in Sg. Maong increased tremendously.

BN government can go on to discriminate people, but, people are no more stupid!