When party affiliations don’t matter, personal manifestos should – Zeffri Yusof – 30 Dec 2011
MARCH 5 — Thanks to s**t stirring MPs like Zul Noordin and “newly independent minds” like Tan Tee Beng, Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim and Fairus Khairuddin, one can hope that the majority of Malaysian voters have been taught a lesson they won’t soon forget.
For the next time we visit the ballot box, let’s demand some well-in-advance straight answers from our running candidates because it’s evident that we can’t rely on some of them to keep their story straight (hey, some might mistake it for integrity).
It may be naive of me for even suggesting it, but it seems that far too many of our MPs don’t share the basic principles of the political parties they represent.
How else can we explain the fact that BN only needs seven more MPs to cross over to regain its two-thirds majority?
But perhaps I ask too much. What has also been made abundantly clear again earlier this week is that the entire Pakatan Rakyat coalition filled up their candidacy roster in the last general election with whatever they could muster — quality … and in certain cases, ability and decency, be darned.
It’s obvious that for MPs like Zul Noordin, the official position and manifesto of the coalition he happens to represent do not even come into play. I can only imagine how he gleefully decided he was going to run for his own private reasons, rode the popular sentiments at the time, and duly got lucky.
I say lucky because unkind commentators have already said it: letak tunggul kayu pun boleh menang — such was the tsunami of opinion at the time of the 12th general election.
The injustice is compounded when the voting public — his voters — are screwed because we only gain insight into his position on pressing issues of the day much, much later; “after” he gets elected and decides to go all maverick on us (no, not like Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”; besides his B2 licence ride doesn’t qualify).
As disgruntled voters, we can hold out in hope that once all the s**t stirring, frog jumping and trimming of fat is done; the real lean muscle (can I call it the phat?) are the ones left over to continue for the next GE.
Moving forward from this daily unfolding debacle (soon, I hope), I believe it’s only fair that all right-minded MPs, ADUNs and would be candidates-for-office declare, in advance, their principles and personal manifestos to the voting public.
In the age of free blogging resources, Facebook and Twitter — and with 68 per cent of Malaysians using the Internet and over 90 per cent on cellular phones — this shouldn’t prove very hard. Because as voters we deserve to know, damnit.
We want to discern the wheat from the chaff, so that if and when our MPs decide to screw us later, we can turn around and call them out for the liars and chumps that they are.
So here’s a sample voter’s request for MPs and candidates: at the very least, put down clearly where you stand on the following core issues:
1. Secular separation between religion and state; or theocracy with syaria law?
2. Equality of all Malaysians regardless of ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation; or special positions for some?
3. Affirmative action for all underprivileged citizens; or selective affirmative action for a majority?
4. Opinion and stand on Bangsa Malaysia; opinion or stand on “Ketuanan Melayu”.
5. Freedom of religion, including freedom “from” religion, and what you understand by it.
6. View on detention without trial.
7. View on freedom of speech, including a free, independent media.
8. View on the Parliament, executive, judiciary and royalty.
I would argue that knowing a candidate’s stand on all of the above is infinitely more important than whether he or she is BN or PR because what is also equally evident by now is that we do not have clearly delineated teams in our political sphere.
A political coalition is only as good as its common ground and, guess what, denying BN its two-thirds majority is not a long-term common ground. Surprise, surprise — by now none of the component parties in both PR and BN has any more common ground left.
For how else can you explain Umno and PAS disagreeing on Ketuanan Melayu, yet pally pally for enacting firmer syaria laws? Or DAP, PAS and MCA sharing the same opinion on the Allah issue, or Umno in Perak forgetting its past history with the institution of royalty.
So yes, we are going to demand to know our candidate’s principles and their stance on all of those important issues — including their reasons — because, hey, voters also want to know if their candidates have actually put some modicum of thought into what they stand for (or perhaps I am asking for too novel a concept)?
Lest we forget: the people are the boss. We deserve to know whether our candidates are actually representing their party, or just there to party.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
Hi Zeffri :
You mentioned all critical items but listed them as if they were normal options. You do know that these items are not optional. And if Malaysia ever is to be a First World nation or in line with the Human Rights Charter, the MP is question must be able to endorse with intent to grant as an election promise :
1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.
With the 13 point plan as well to gain the support of Singaporean Indians and Chinese, Singapore would revert to the 14th state again. As for Syariah, it can be applicable upon voluntary submission by Muslims. But that can be applied as an option for adults and not imposed summarily on Muslims, if Singaporean Malays are ever to vote for re-assimilation with Malaysia via plebiscite.
Yes a checklist for MPs and assemblymen would be a good way to introduce who we are voting for. Who’s a racist and unvotable? Who is corrupt and unvotable? Who is nepotistic and unvotable? Who believes in limitless terms and is unvitable? NGO’s or indie bloggers lets get those details to the Rakyat soon ! Would Zeffri like to announce candidacy on the above 3 item ticket? It’s just equality and also in linewith the prevention of the Sin of Asabiya.
AG’s acumen for asinine answers — Martin Jalleh
MARCH 5 — Attorney General (AG) Abdul Gani Patail want us to believe that he is committed to ensuring that the rule of law is upheld in Bolehland. In his address to members of the Judiciary and the Bar entitled “Opening of the Legal Year 2010”, on 16 Jan., he declared:
“(I)t [[[ *** Take a leaf from the real MJ many times superior MJ , appetite for death is endless the millionth MJ would not be enough for It and (I) . . . *** ]]] cannot be over emphasised that the concept of justice is grounded on the basic principles of equality, fairness, and rule of law. The AGC (AG’s Chambers) is committed to promoting the rule of law and ensuring justice be given to all people whatever their race, religion or class.
“AGC in carrying out its duties is well aware of the maxim ‘justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’, and hence the explanations issued by AGC from time to time on cases handled by it so that the public would not have misconceptions of biasness.”
Such purported profound and passionate zeal for the rule of law by the AG turns into mere political BN propaganda when one applies it to his pathetic excuses for not pressing charges against the two reporters of the Al-Islam magazine who had committed a most sacrilegious act against the Catholic community.
Under guise of being Catholics, they participated in a Mass (church service) at the Church of St Anthony in Puduraya to “investigate” what was going on in Catholic Churches and to verify reports that “Muslim teenagers were being converted to Christianity in Kuala Lumpur’s churches every Sunday”.
They even partook of the Holy Communion strictly meant only for Catholics, which adherents of the faith treat with utmost reverence. They spat out the remnants, photographed it and published the picture in an article entitled “Tinjaun Al Islam Dalam Gereja: Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad” in the May 2009 issue of the magazine.
Their act shocked not only Christians but also Muslims in the country. Even Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin found their action “appalling” and “offensive”. He added that the “Islamic virtues of empathy, respect and tolerance were obviously absent in both the journalists and the magazine’s editorial team”.
Catholics K Sudhagaran Stanley and Joachim Xavier had lodged a police report in July last year against the two reporters. On Aug 27 the Catholic Lawyers Society handed a memorandum to the Home Ministry urging it to take action. There was no response. They must have hoped it would eventually be forgotten.
Finally on Feb 24 this year, about six months after the police report was made, and due to what the Dang Wangi police district headquarters called “overwhelming pressure from the general public”, the police revealed that charges against the two have been dropped.
They were investigated under Section 298A (1) of the Penal Code for causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.
Senior investigating officer ASP Ananthan Rajoo, in a letter to the complainants, stated that the police had received orders from the deputy public prosecutor (DPP), to whom the case was referred, to take no further action (NFA).
Gani’s Hype and Hypocrisy
The overwhelming public reaction not only from Catholics but from countless of other Malaysians and even Muslims is that the AG has failed to uphold the rule of law and that what he had pronounced, proclaimed and preached so piously about was mere pretence!
The AG is at fault for the public perception that there are two sets of laws in this country. Reputed lawyer/blogger Art Harun articulated well his disgust over the decision and called it what it really was: “The blatant double standard. The plain hypocrisy of it all. The stupidity.”
Alas, it would be very easy to imagine the speed with which the police and the AG would have sprung into action if two non-Muslim reporters were to enter a mosque disguised as Muslims, partook of the rituals and desecrated something which the congregation considered very sacred.
Surely Gani would apply the full force of the law without any doubt, delay or deliberation. The penalty would be severe. The all-too-familiar mob would be braying for their blood. Lock them up, lash them or even lynch them? Non-Muslims would be threatened with a looming May 13 or Feb 13!
The Malaysian Insider (TMI) captured well the contempt for the AG’s decision: “In the eyes of the Catholic Church, the desecration of the communion is an act even worse than the recent firebombing of places of worship.”
“Never before has the exhibition of double standards been so obvious … The irony is this message of hypocrisy comes at a time when the Najib administration is asking for support from non-Muslims.”
In a press conference yesterday Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam asked the AG for the rationale behind his decision: “I appeal to the Attorney General to explain the decision not to take further action on the Al-Islam journalists’ case.”
Pakiam pointed out his fear that “the decision not to prosecute appears to legitimise the actions of the Al-Islam journalists”. He added he believed that the Catholic community will be “satisfied” if the journalists and publisher apologise.
In a faxed response to the press, Gani had the gall to say: “The actions of the two reporters may have hurt the feelings of the people but I was satisfied that they did not intend to offend anyone. It was an act of sheer ignorance… the two journalists did not cause any disturbance when they went undercover…”
The Attorney General of Malaysia who turned psychologist and mind-reader has offered all future potential violators of religious harmony and unity the excuses needed to escape from and evade the rule of law. Just appear real stupid and do all the harm you want undercover so that it won’t disturb anybody, and leave the rest to me!
(Whatever their intentions, they had violated Section 298A (1) of the Penal Code for causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.)
Gani went on probably hoping that the public would be as gullible as he expects of them: “Therefore, in view of the circumstances at that particular time and in the interest of justice, peace and harmony, I decided not to press any charges against them.”
Whose “interest”? Whose “justice”? Umno’s brand of justice? How would peace and harmony be disturbed if charges were pressed against the reporters? It appears there is really no rule of law in this country but the mob rules – even in the discerning and decision making process of the Attorney General!
Gani tried very hard to convince himself: “I have previously decided similarly in other cases where the circumstances were quite similar involving other religions, under those circumstances taking serious action would not be in the interest of justice at that particular time.”
TMI again “hit the nail on the AG’s head” when it commented: “Simply put, this man by his statement has shown himself to be incapable of protecting the interest of Christians and non-Muslims in the country.”
“One can only wonder what justice is for the AG, for his actions in the Al-Islam case show he is ‘not in the interest of justice’ in any time or situation.”
TMI also described Gani’s statement as “outrageous at the very least as he was offering protection to a group of people who have not had the decency to apologise for their actions” and that the AG was “condoning vigilantism”.
God is watching, Gani!
Khairy accepted and defended the AG’s decision, for “the decision may have been reached to ‘balance out’ the tensions caused by the issue revolving the use of the word ‘Allah’”. Six months ago, he had called the act “unacceptable”! The poor Umno Youth leader must be suffering from an unbalanced mind.
Only politicians feel they have to resort to playing the balancing act. The AG is not a politician and he should not play politics. All he should be concerned about is that the scales of justice are balanced and that there should be fairness to all.
The sheer ignorance “plea” concocted by the AG on behalf of the two reporters is really an insult to the intelligence of the public. This is reinforced by the fact that the magazine which they are working for, Al-Islam, is a monthly magazine published by Utusan Karya Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Utusan Group (which is owned by Umno) and which publishes the Utusan Malaysia (UM).
In recent years, the UM has been allowed to go on a spree of spinning falsehood, spouting lies, spewing seditious articles and spreading Umno’s unprecedented racist and religious propaganda with impunity – and immunity granted by the Umno Home Minister. It is very obvious where the reporters of Al-Islam got their audacity from in committing their sacrilegious act!
Khairy was wrong when he said last year that the two journalists failed to consider “the gravity of their own actions”. Gani was wrong when he said they were “sheer “ignorant”. The reporters were right when they knew full well what they were doing and that they could do what they liked, for there would be no consequences – and the AG has confirmed it!
In his maiden speech unveiling 1 Malaysia, People First Performance Now, the Prime Minister said: “We must reach out to the many who may have been disaffected and left confused by political games, deceit and showmanship”.
It is time you stop your games, Gani! God is watching, Gani!
It is wishful thinking (and I hope I will be proven wrong) to expect Al-Islam to apologise, after all, the people behind it come from a superior race, have a religion they believe is superior to all else and are protected by Executive Supremacy! May Allah (oops, I can’t use this word), may God have mercy on our beloved country!
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
Martin Jalleh :
Khairy this, Khairy that . . . what are you, some kind of Nepotist/Embedded-Political-Family supporter? NO RELATIVES, no PARALLEL POST HOLDERS to form BLOCS with. Remember, if every PM’s son, is an MP by the 222nd election or far less, if entire families hold MP posts, democracy would have ended. So don’t support them.
My poor Malaysia — Karim Raslan
MARCH 6 – 2010 — Manila is an exhausting and ugly city. After a week of meetings and far too many encounters with politicians (strange how they never listen to us?), I was itching to get away from the capital.
On the recommendation of some friends, I headed south to the island of Bohol, which is located in the Visayas, the belt of islands anchored by Cebu and sandwiched between Luzon — to the north — and Mindanao — to the south.
I’d been told that Bohol, more than Boracay, (the country’s party-island) was a Bali-in-the-making. Bohol, according to my sources, had Boracay-like sandy beaches. However, at the same time, it also had culture, history and a beautiful countryside.
So, tired of being stuck in endless traffic jams along EDSA, Manila’s equivalent of Jalan Tun Razak and the Federal Highway rolled into one, I headed off.
However, modern technology means that we never really leave our “world” behind and with my Blackberry blinking perpetually; updates from Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta followed me across Bohol’s gorgeous landscape.
Of the two, the news from Malaysia where three women were caned for illicit sex was by far the most disturbing.
The canings have serious implications for Malaysia. We have crossed an invisible line. We no longer belong with Turkey and Indonesia as progressive Muslim nations. For better or for worse, we have chosen to join the more conservative spectrum.
Indeed, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has long argued that we are an Islamic state. The recent canings strengthen this position — though I disagree with such a definition.
Moreover, we have chosen to dramatically insert the state — with all its inadequacies and prejudices — into the world of private morality. In doing so, the boundary between the public and personal has been erased forever.
So, what is happening? Well, the Malay/Muslim community is once again being consolidated and united around Umno. Inevitably, this will have tremendous long-term repercussions for the community and indeed the country.
Why? Well, because the very real diversity and differences within the Malay community will no longer be tolerated. We are to be homogenous, loyal and unquestioning subjects.
Independence of thought and action is dangerous and unwise. Anyone who chooses not conform had better be prepared for the consequences.
This is ironic given the fact that we’re simultaneously being exhorted to be innovative and creative in order to take Malaysia to a higher economic level.
The push to control the community absolutely will leave the Malays as the ultimate losers. The best and the brightest will flee for higher paying jobs elsewhere. Meanwhile, everyone else will readjust (or rather, stagnate) to the new reality — namely that obtaining power and money depends on your closeness to Umno, thereby heightening the lobbying and the politicking.
At the same time it’s worth bearing in mind that morality laws are a double-edged sword. Today’s accuser could end up tomorrow’s victim. It’s arguable that justice without mercy is merely revenge. The second trial of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is a powerful reminder to people of the dangers of challenging established authority.
Needless to say, the news was pretty depressing. Still, since I was in Bohol, I tried enjoying myself while doing my best to forget the bigotry and narrowness that has been making life in Kuala Lumpur more difficult.
Whilst Bohol’s charms couldn’t entirely shake off the gloom, the island and its history reminded me of the arbitrariness of life in Southeast Asia.
As one of the first points of contact between the Spanish and the locals back in 1565, Bohol was probably a Muslim enclave. The Spanish, however, were thorough conquerors, also spreading Catholicism in their wake.
Interestingly though, the conquistadors quickly realised that they would only be able to convert the local people if they learnt the local languages. This they promptly did, spreading Christianity through a mixture of Tagalog or Bisayan, depending on the locality.
What this did in turn was not dissimilar to the acculturation process that took place in Java in the 15th and 16th-Centuries when Islam was spread by the famous Wali Songo. These nine famous Muslim preachers used Javanese in their sermons, adapting their message to local customs and practices.
Bohol was so strange and yet so familiar. I was constantly being reminded of places elsewhere in Southeast Asia that I’ve visited over the past decades. There were parts that had echoes of Terengganu, Sabah, Ambon, Bangka and even Pagan in Myanmar.
As I drove across Bohol, stopping off at beaches and the rolling chocolate-coloured hills in the centre of the island (a set of bizarre and uniformly dome-shaped formations that rolled on for miles and miles), I found myself forgetting the dispiriting news from Kuala Lumpur.
Indeed, I became quite intrigued by the island’s churches instead. They were large, daunting stone structures, laid out by Jesuits in the 1600’s and 1700’s. The buildings had impressive thick walls, baroque altar-pieces and lavish painted ceilings.
They had survived earthquakes and fires, standing tall among the humble atap homes of their parishioners, a stern and forbidding symbol of Catholicism’s might, not to mention the power of the Spanish monarchs.
Indeed, as I watched the local Bohol people go about their religious practices I was reminded of similar crowds I’d seen years before in Kelantan, in Padang, Quiapo and
Penampang. Indeed, I was most struck by the similarity in terms of intensity and passion that I’d seen at the historic Sultan Ampel mosque in Surabaya, or the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon.
We were all Southeast Asians — history’s pawns. Here, in a land little different from my own — a land studded with coconut palms, bamboo groves, mango trees and watered by frequent rainstorms, another faith — almost by accident — had taken hold and become dominant, whereas on the Malay Peninsula we had become Muslims.
Once converted, we have now become the most assiduous of believers. Tragically, we are in danger of losing our openness. Instead, we are all-too eager to condemn and attack. Somehow, somewhere along the way, we forgot our rich, syncretic, and much more accepting, tolerant past. Malaysia, my poor Malaysia. — mysinchew
written by AgreeToDisagree
(Note : these were the glory days of open commentary on Malaysian Insider, when the writers would participate with the commentators instead of being all proud and distant or not allowing comments at all! One can identify the kindred spitrit from the authoritarianists by the way the deal with the ‘rabble’ and hidden behind the internet, distance is simply inexcusable . . . ) This is not an Islamic (circa 1511 AD onwards) or Hindu (circa 300s BC–1279AD) region. This is a region of Nusantaran Animism (circa 300 BC and earlier, possibly far back as 20,0000 BC) when the first Negrito or Khmer Malays arrived from larger land masses of Australia or the sub-continent of Indo-China to begin the first proto-Malay societies. Nusantaran Animism nominally covers Southern Thailand, Malay archipelago, Sumatra, Java, Sarawak, Sabah, Borneo, Celebes, Phillipines Archipelago and nominally all the way up to aboriginal areas of Taiwan. The Keris and the Bomoh are a testament to the presence and stand for the height of Nusantaran Cultures, the traditional and true culture of the Animist peoples of this region.
written by Dayak Sarawak, March 06, 2010
I quite agree. The “Arabization” of Malaysia, oh My Malaysia.
It is unfortunate that some Malaysians have imported the Middle Eastern religious conflict into Malaysia. I often wonder why should we have to adopt the belief and culture of a region so alien to most of us and like the Taliban in Afghanistan would rather destroy our own very rich cultures and traditions. Over the centuries, trade brought a colorful mix of Chinese, Hindu, European, Thai, Burmese and other influence to our land. Our two closest neighbors and close relatives, Philippines and Indonesia too experienced the same though the period of Dutch rule is a dark period of Indonesian history. The region is culturally rich as epitomized by the biggest Buddhist monument in the world, the Borobudur and the Angkor Wat one of the largest Hindu complexes in the world. Surely the culture and civilization of our forefathers (and mothers) must be sophisticated enough to build these monuments. Personally, I don’t want to be an Arab. It is not that I don’t like them but I rather build on the values and traditions of my ancestors (could have come from Yunan for all I care) and live peacefully in my South East Asia. When I visit Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia or Thailand, I will respect their places of worship. (Note : Dayaks are the proto-Malays alongside others ‘Orang Asli’ groups – they however are not 1st Class citizens like the Indians and Chinese face apartheid policy in Malaysia – even though the Orang Asli have been here since 20,000BC or even earlier . . . )
1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.
Vote only for non-racists who believe in FULL EQUALITY.