For my son, when he grows up, this site will be my legacy for him. The decisions his mother and I made for him, to understand them, to learn from them and to lead a life without prejudice and to succeed in it on his own merit.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Moulding an enemy

BTN is hardly an innocent selling toothpaste
Written by CT Wong

Hijacking the mind and feelings of a particular race for the purpose of consolidating power is so openly propagated that a realization of how individuals or groups can be deliberately primed for a malicious political purpose is simply paralyzing.

Anecdotal evidence points to the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) courses being nothing more than doses of racist poison while at the same time, its proponents defend them as “nothing wrong”. Alongside the debate on course content, we need to critically look into what really is indoctrination and whether the method is effective.

Although the misgivings were kept under the lid for years, the BTN participants who are our civil servants and students could clearly sense that something was wrong with the teaching or ‘patriotic education’.

So how to distinguish indoctrination and its concept and practice?

Max Hocutt, the emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Alabama defined indoctrination as this: “ You were indoctrinated if you were told only one side of the story, or told that believing another side would not be an error but an evil.

“You were indoctrinated if no evidence was cited, or if evidence was tendentiously selected while contrary evidence was ignored, suppressed, or distorted by misleading or charged terminology.

“You were indoctrinated if you were made to feel not that the proposition merited belief on its own account but that doubting it would expose you to the disfavour of your fellows, the government, or the deity.

“In short, you were indoctrinated if the appeal was emotional rather than rational, or if your agreement was secured by threat of force or by fraud rather than by citation of fact.”

This means that you are banned from questioning whatever beliefs were being inculcated. Was this what happened with BTN?

Some social scientists go so far as to argue that indoctrination, even if the content is unquestionably moral, yet produces psychological, moral or ethical cripples. Crippling results when the reflective capacities of the persons involved are arrested or inhibited.

However, the real danger of indoctrination lies not so much in the mass manufacture of ‘moral’ robots or moral dwarfs but in the suppression of conscience in times of crises. The indoctrinated individual can easily become a bystander, accomplice or willing executioner in a system with unequal power differentials.

Primal thinking facilitates hostility

When we are in a life-or-death situation, our human brain as an information-processing system operates differently than in normal times. It operates on the level of what Aaron T. Beck in his ‘Prisoners of Hate’ terms “primal thinking”.

These are fundamental cognitive processes whereby the external ambiguous stimuli are rapidly processed as directed towards ‘me’ (self-reference or personalization) and the dichotomous judgment (us or them, friend or enemy) and overgeneralization is made immediately. It also carries a sense that our physical and psychological identity is under threat.

In a kill-or-be killed emergency situation, primal thinking is efficient as a situation is being evaluated rapidly so as to prepare the individual for the fight-or-flight option. Also, schemas or pre-existing stereotypes are also invoked for rapid information processing.

However, primal thinking is often inaccurate as many details are deliberately left out. When such mode of thinking is activated during normal times, it causes cognitive distortions – as what is desired for indoctrination.

Calling the opponent as “anti-Islam” or “anti-Malay” is a typical example of primal thinking. This is a black and white, oversimplistic, overgeneralized dichotomous thinking.

Indoctrination involves the invoking of primal fear that the self-identity which is welded deliberately to race and religion is under threat. The loss of self-identity has the equivalent effect of the loss or death of self. Fear of the loss of self often leads to anger and hostility towards the out-group members.

Selective memory of past wrongs

According to Beck, individuals or groups can be trapped in a prison of primal thinking. Such people surrender their freedom of choice and abdicate their rationality when their image of the Enemy creates a destructive hatred.

He argued that there are certain similarities between interpersonal conflicts and intergroup conflicts in that “…The overreactions of friends, associates, and marital partners to presumed wrongs and offences are paralleled by the hostile responses of people in confrontation with members of different religious, ethnic, or racial groups.”

Also, he argued that “ ...the biased, distorted thinking of a paranoid patient is akin to the thinking of perpetrators embarking on a programme of genocide.”

His proposition explains and predicts that there are basic emotional and cognitive components underlying domestic violence, racial conflicts, genocide and war. Negative, hostile framing of one another are common among them, and they perceive and react to the threat arising from the constructed image instead of seeing the adversary as they actually are.

The image created is that of an Enemy – dangerous, malicious and evil. Also, there are selective memories of past wrongs, real or imagined and the attributions of causes of social problems in a malevolent way.

Emotions, thinking and behaviour are interlinked and mutually interact with each other. Dysfunctional and biased thinking transforms hurt to anger, and anger to hostility and hostility to violence.

The hurt feelings become malignant and vicious when the ‘victims’ mutate into victimisers who seek revenge and retaliation, at all costs and by all means. The self-proclaimed victim becomes the aggressor – be it the road bully that rams into a slow driver for holding up traffic or the invading nation attacking a weaker state for being opposed, or a dominant ethnic group embarking on a ‘cleansing’ of an ethnic minority for “asking too much”.

The path from hurt to hostility is non-linear. It is not inevitable. However, individuals or groups can be deliberately primed for a malicious political purpose.

The image of the Enemy

Humans basically find killing or hurting others repulsive. However, the natural restraint could be overcome by justification rooted in primitive beliefs of absolute right and wrong.

The self-justification isolates and stigmatizes the outgroup as ‘aliens’. An image is constructed around the Enemy as conspiratorial, deceptive, manipulative, dangerous, malevolent, violent and evil. Since the Enemy is evil, a justification is made to punish, expel and eliminate them by any means. The ends justify the means.

The moral codes are suspended. A new moral code is substituted. Hence, the cry for defending one’s race or religion or country carries a new and sinister meaning. The perpetrators of ethnic violence hijacks the mind and the feelings of its own race for their purpose of gaining or consolidating power. The greatest tragedy of Malaysia’s mass killings of May 13 is that the lessons are not learnt, wrongly learnt and wilfully mislearnt.

Systematic, conscious and deliberate efforts are being made to create the Enemy in the public space in some of the mainstream media or government-sponsored programmes. The explicit or implicit eliminationalist ideology is so openly propagated that the normal revulsion against cruelty towards other human beings is alarmingly lacking.

Adaptive evolutionary strategies like the primal thinking that help the human species to survive during kill-or-be killed emergency situations are now seen to be deliberately promoted in the public domain without any moral restraints as if the condoning of genocidal inclinations in mass killings is just as innocent as selling toothpaste. This is a warning for humanity.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bail Out! Bail Out! Bail Out!






The multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone scandal may be big, but it is only the latest in a long line of scandals going back to the early 1980s.

Time magazine quoted Daniel Lian, a Southeast Asia economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore , saying that the country might have lost “as much as US$100 billion since the early 1980s to corruption”.

The scandals listed below are only a small sample of the looting of the country's coffers:

In July of 1983, what was then the biggest banking scandal in world history erupted in Hong Kong , when it was discovered that Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF), a unit of Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd, had lost as much as US$1 billion which had been siphoned off by prominent public figures into private bank accounts.

The story involved murder, suicide and the involvement of officials at the very top of the Malaysian government. Ultimately it involved a bailout by the Malaysian government amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mak Foon Tan, the murderer of Jalil Ibraim, a Bank Bumi assistant manager who was sent to Hong Kong to investigate the disappearance of the money, was given the death sentence, and Malaysian businessman George Tan who had participated in looting most of the funds, was jailed after his Carrian Group collapsed in what was then Hong Kong's biggest bankruptcy, and a handful of others were charged.

No major politician was ever punished in Malaysia despite a white paper prepared by an independent commission that cited cabinet minutes of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad giving an okay to a request to throw more money into the scandal in an effort to contain it.

That was just the first Bank Bumi scandal. The government-owned bank had to be rescued twice more with additional losses of nearly US$600 million in today's dollars.

Ultimately government officials gave up and the bank was absorbed into CIMB Group, currently headed by Nazir Razak, the sitting prime minister's brother.

Bank Negara lost RM20 bil

That scandal, which stretched over several years before its denouement in 1985, set the tone for 24 years of similar scandals related to top Malaysian officials and was the first to prove that in Malaysia, you can not only get away with murder, you can get away with looting the treasury as well.

Perwaja Steel, for instance, lost US$800 million and its boss, Eric Chia, a crony of Mahathir's, was charged with looting the company. He stood trial, but was acquitted without having to put on a defense.

In the mid-1980s, the Co-operative Central Bank, a bank set up to aid the Indian smallholder community, had to be rescued by Bank Negara, the country's central bank, after hundreds of millions of ringgit in loans granted to a flock of Umno and MIC politicians became non-performing.

Some had never been serviced at all. Although the chief executive and general manager were charged with criminal breach of trust, none of the politicians were ever charged.

Before that, the Malaysian government was believed to have lost US$500 million in an attempt at Mahathir's urging to corner the London tin market through a company called Maminco, driving the world price of tin from US$4.50 per tonne to US$7.50.

It then sought to cover up the loss by establishing a US$2 company called Mukawasa from which allocations of new share issues to the government's Employees Provident Fund (EPF) were diverted. Mukawasa expected to sell the shares at a windfall profit to hide the tin speculation.

Mahathir also was behind an attempt by the then governor of Bank Negara, the central bank, to aggressively speculate in the global foreign exchange market. Bank Negara ended up losing an estimated RM20 billion. The governor, Jaffar Hussein, and the head of forex trading, Nor Mohamed Yakcop were forced to resign.

' Malaysia 's Enron scandal

There have been many other political and financial scandals since. In 2005, Bank Islam Malaysia , the country's flagship Islamic bank, reported losses of RM457 million mainly due to provisioning totaling RM774 million as a result of bad loans and investments incurred by its Labuan branch.

Cumulatively, Bank Islam ran up non-performing loans of RM2.2 billion, partly from mismanagement and poor internal controls but also "years of regulatory indifference fueled by the misconceived notion of an untouchable Bank Islam because it was a favourite child of the Malaysian government, being the first and model Islamic bank in the country and region," according to a December 19, 2005 article in Arab News.

"Bank Islam had a reputation in the market for being the spoilt child of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance; and the perception of the bank was more of a Muslim financial fraternity or government development financial institution," the report said.

In 2007, in what was called Malaysia's Enron scandal, the publicly traded Transmile Group Bhd, whose chairman was former MCA president and cabinet minister Ling Liong Sik, was caught having overstated its revenue by RM530 million.

A pretax profit from RM207 million in 2006 was actually a loss of RM126 million, and a pretax profit of RM120 million in 2005 was a loss of RM77 million, causing the government postal company Pos Malaysia & Services Holdings Bhd to warn that its earnings for the 2006 financial year might be affected by the reported overstatement, as the postal group owned 15.3 percent of Transmile.

Bailouts and more bailouts

Over the years 2001 to 2006, the government had to spend billions to rescue seven privatised projects including Kuala Lumpur 's two public transport systems, the perennially ailing Malaysia Airlines, the national sewage system and a variety of others that, in the words of one study, "had been privatised prematurely."

The government also repeatedly bailed out highway construction concessionaires, all of them closely connected to Umno, to the tune of another RM38.5 billion.

In 2008, it was revealed that Rafidah Aziz, who had served as trade and industry minister for 18 years, had been peddling approved permits for duty-free car sales and allegedly lining her pockets.

Two companies which didn't even have showrooms – one of which belonged to the husband of Rafidah's niece – received scores of permits.

Although Rafidah came in for heavy criticism from within Umno, she remained in office until she was defeated in party elections.

In the 1960s, federal prosecutors in the United States who were attempting to jail the late labour boss Jimmy Hoffa for looting the Teamsters Pension Fund of millions of dollars with his cronies were puzzled by the fact that their revelations appeared to have little effect on the union's rank and file.

It was because no matter how much money Hoffa and his cronies stole, there was always money left because the fund was so rich. That appears to be the case with Malaysia .

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who shrunk who?

Honey, I shrunk the Chinese!
Written by Helen Ang

The sharp reduction of Chinese as a population ratio is contrary to natural growth patterns and an anomaly due to institutionalized discrimination. The present Chinese condition requires them to speak better BM to fit in.

No greater love hath man and moms than they lay down their life savings for their children to study overseas and emigrate

Between March 2008 and August 2009, some 50,000 students sailed from our shores, Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay told Parliament last week. The Star speculates that many will not return. Star editor Wong Sai Wan wrote: “… some even admitted that they had already applied for their PR visas”.

They are among 304,358 persons registered with Malaysia’s representative offices abroad over the past 18 months. A review of statistics will help us to interpret this unique Made-in-Malaysia export of roughly 17,000 units of human capital on average a month.

Among the ethnic groups in Malaysia, the Chinese are the largest outflow and also experiencing the biggest change in demography.

In the 80s decade, the Chinese had a negative net migration rate of -10.6 percent. “Between 1980 and 1991, the [Chinese] migration deficit was estimated at 391,801 persons as against a national increase of 777,339 persons,” statistician Tey Nai Peng found in his study.

Chinese annual growth rate also showed a consistent drop, recording only 53 percent between 1990 and 2000 during a period when the national population grew 123 percent.

Tey said in his paper ‘Causes and consequences of demographic change in the Chinese community in Malaysia’ that “the fertility of the Chinese declined from 4.6 children to 2.5 children between 1970 and 1997”. Comparatively, total fertility rate for Malays in 1987 remained a high 4.51.

Changes in the states

It is no longer true that Penang is a Chinese majority state. In 2010, Malays in Penang are projected to be 670,128 persons – outnumbering Chinese at 658,661. Between 1991 and 2000, Penang had an average annual growth rate of 1.8 percent but Penang Chinese only 0.7 percent.

Perak has significant numbers of Chinese but still, Chinese registered a negative growth of -1.0 percent in 1991-2000 whereas the average annual rate of Perak population growth was a positive 0.4 percent.
The Department of Statistics records that in the 1990s, Chinese fell in number in Kelantan, Terengganu and Perlis too. In Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, Chinese were practically stagnant.

In Sabah, Chinese were 23 percent of the population in 1960 but shrunk to 10.1 percent in 2000. “In contrast, recent immigrants and refugees, with a population of 614,824 persons in 2000, form close to a quarter of the total population, or more than twice the size of the long-settled Chinese community,” writes Danny Wong Tze-Ken in his paper ‘The Chinese population in Sabah’.

The situation in Sabah is largely a result of ‘Project M’ giving Indonesians and Muslim Filipinos Malaysian ICs. Overall, the abnormality of a shrinking Chinese population ratio can be traced to government policies that actively discriminate against this community.

Small families, ageing parents

By year 2000, Chinese were mainly concentrated in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. The Klang Valley accounted for 38 percent of all Chinese in the Peninsula. Nine out of 10 Chinese today are found in urban areas, concentrated in the major cities.

In the dozen years between 1980 and 1991 when the Malaysian population increase nationally was 4,634,500 persons, Chinese increase was only 530,400 persons. Or looking at it another way (as indicated in table below), the Chinese are merely doubling in absolute numbers when the population will have quadrupled.

It is conspicuous that among the younger age cohorts, Chinese are an even smaller proportion of the national average. On the other hand, among the elderly [60 years and above], Chinese constitute 5.4 percent of the population, as against the national average of 5 percent.

Among the ethnic groups in Malaysia, Chinese have the highest proportion of the elderly. “It is found that most of the ‘clients’ in nursing homes are the Chinese,” observes researcher Philip Poi Jun Hua in his essay 'Ageing among the Chinese in Malaysia: Some trends and issues'.

This situation affecting the Chinese community, with parents either in nursing homes or ‘home alone’ in Malaysia whilst the children are abroad, has ironically come about due to education as a main contributory factor.

“The Chinese community places great emphasis on education but the escalation in the cost of acquiring an education might have compelled young couples to limit their family size,” surmises Tey.

Because educated Chinese women are in the workforce as well as limiting themselves to only one or two children, Chinese couples have more money to spend on each child’s education.

This is in a way a lose-lose scenario because the couple would then tend to over-protect the single offspring – do recall China’s one-child policy outcome of producing Little Emperors – and the well-educated child is more likely to emigrate.

Self-interest vs community concerns

“All my friends plan to leave Malaysia,” a private student in the offshore campus of a premier Australian university in KL declared to me just a couple of months ago.

These youths have cogently articulated why they intend to vote with their feet. Aside from the various reasons we’re all familiar with, I’d like to introduce here the theory of ‘placelessness’ which Lee Boon Thong links to the Chinese condition.

In his paper ‘Placelessness: A study of residential neighbourhood quality among Chinese communities in Malaysia’, Lee observes that Chinese in cities have subordinated neighbourliness and personal ties to the pursuit of personal advancement.

The move to new urban and suburban residential neighbourhoods – where availability of Chinese food and access to shopping malls are often major considerations – is accompanied by other shifts, among them the increasing “technopolistic grip” [orientation towards digital entertainment] and losing some of their traditions [e.g. ancestral worship], especially if they convert to Christianity or Islam.

These shifts have the effect of loosening bonds to an old hometown – witness Chin Peng’s strong attachment for Sitiawan as a contrary example – because the young generation has become city born and bred.

Lee describes the new society resulting from intense urbanization as one breeding individuals who are more self-centred, more covetous, less considerate and kiasu to boot. “Self-interest overrides almost everything else that concerns the welfare of the community.”

He also says that if the trend persists of residents in emerging neighbourhoods failing to develop ties that bind and a sufficient sense of commonness in community life, then “urban Chinese are at risk in producing a pseudo-progressive society that appears to be outwardly prosperous through its middle-class façade but in effect lacking social coherence and a sense of shared ‘placeness’ for the neighbourhood”.

Commonality as militating factor

Further aggravating this estrangement is a social milieu that is changed, parallel to the pronounced changes in demography. It is projected that while the annual growth of Bumiputera in the next decade (2011-2021) will be 1.98 percent, the corresponding growth of Chinese will be 0.73 percent.

Saw Swee Hock in his 2007 ISEAS paper ‘The Population of Malaysia’ projects that by year 2035, Malaysia will have a population of 41 million, 72.1 percent of them Bumiputera. By then Islam would have stamped a thorough dominance on the physical and moral landscape of the country.

Concomitant to this development is the fact that in the mainstream of all spheres of life and particularly official domains, the predominant speech community will be Malay.

This fait accompli of demography dictates that the minorities have to be adept in the Malay/national language for any meaningful integration to occur. Otherwise, to borrow a turn of phrase from Lee, they will be living in “proximity without propinquity” or in other words, have trouble relating to the majority.

It is thus necessary that next generation Chinese be effectively multilingual and able to ‘code switch’, i.e. use different varieties of language in different social settings. If Chinese are unable create a connectedness especially across ethnic lines, this shortcoming would just be adding another factor to the myriad push factors driving young Chinese away.

The statistics tell a very sobering story. In another short 25 years, Chinese will only be a mere 18.6 percent of the population. They will soon fall below the sustainable threshold for propagating their culture, and their diminishing numbers will only increase the pressure for assimilation – something Chinese are reluctant to do.

Let us recall Lee’s description how “[i]n a sense, ‘placeness’ may be defined in terms of ‘belonging to a residential neighbourhood that demands a reciprocity of identity in terms of behavioural or interactive response. The lack of such may be termed as ‘placelessness’.”

Neighbourhoods today are increasingly Malay, and one of the largest is Shah Alam where the authorities have disallowed the building of a Catholic church, tried to restrict the sale of beer, made it very difficult to own a dog, and residents protested against a proposed Hindu temple.

To extrapolate Lee’s allusion of ‘placeness’ to a wider national context, we can infer that having a poor facility in Bahasa Melayu would only compound the Chinese placelessness in a country that has purpose-built for one race such a locality as Shah Alam, and one that will in future be dotted with more mini Shah Alams.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Segregating the young minds

BTN — Between true education and indoctrination
By Azly Rahman

I agree we must give credit to those working hard to “improve the psychological well-being of the Malays” and for that matter for any race to improve its mental wellness. This is important. This is a noble act. The question is: in doing so, do we want to plant the seeds of cooperation and trust– or racial discrimination and deep hatred? Herein lies the difference between indoctrination and education. Herein lies what the work of Malaysia’s Biro Tata Negara is about.

These days, the idea of Ketuanan Melayu is going bankrupt, sinking with the bahtera merdeka. It works only for Malay robber barons who wish to plunder the nation by silencing the masses and using the ideological state apparatuses at their disposal. In the case of the BTN it is the work of controlling the minds of the youth. The work of BTN should be stopped and should not be allowed anymore in our educational institutions. It is time our universities especially are spared of counter-educational activities, especially when they yearned to be free from the shackles of domination. Look at what has happened and what is still happening to our institutions with the University and University Colleges Act and the Akujanji Pledge.

Over decades, many millions of Malays and non-Malays have not been getting the right information on our nation’s history, political-economy, and race relations. History that is being shoved to us or filter-funneled down the labyrinth of our consciousness is one that is already packaged, biased, and propagandized by our historians that became text-books writers. History need not be “Malay-centric”.

Special rights for all Malaysians should be the goal of distributive and regulative justice of this nation, not the “special rights of a few Malays”. History must be presented as the history of the marginalized, the oppressed, and the dispossessed — of all races. We toil for this nation, as the humanist Paramoedya Ananta Toer would say, by virtue of our existence as “anak semua bangsa … di bumi manusia”. Malaysia is a land of immigrants.

In this regard we can learn from the former British colony called America. Whatever the shortcomings may be, America is a land of immigrants and still evolving. Even a Black man or a woman can become president. This is what America conceives itself to be and this is what Malaysian can learn from. Can a non-Malay become a Prime Minster is he/she is the most ethical of all politicians in the country?

No one particular race should stake claim to Malaysia. That is an idea from the old school of thought, fast being abandoned. Each citizen is born, bred, and brought to school to become a good law-abiding and productive Malaysian citizen is accorded the fullest rights and privileges and will carry his/her responsibility as a good citizen. That is what “surrendering one’s natural rights to the State” means. One must read Rousseau, Locke, Voltaire, and Jefferson to understand this philosophy. A bad government will not honor this — and will fall, or will sink like the bahtera merdeka.

The history of civilizations provides enough examples of devastation and genocide as a consequence of violent claims to the right of this or that land based upon some idea of “imagined communities.” We must teach our children to make history — a history of peace amongst nations. This must be made into a new school of thought: of “new Bumiputeraism” that encompasses all and do not alienate any — because life is too brief for each generation to fight over greed.

The eleventh hour of human existence and our emergence in this world has brought about destruction as a consequence of our inability to mediate differences based on race, color, creed, class, and national origin. Each ethnic group thinks that it is more socially-dominant than the other. Each does not know the basis of its “self”. Each failed to realize its own DNA-make up or gene map.

Life is an existential state of beingness, so must history be conceived as such. Nationalism can evolve into a dangerous concept– that was what happened to Europe at the brink of the two World Wars. It happened in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Indonesia when Suharto fell. I argue that we must live evolvingly in the “historical presence of historical constructions”. The past and the future is in the present.

Back to BTN.

Courses devoid of critical treatment and sensibility and ones that retard student thinking — such as “Kenegaraan” — in our universities are designed to tell our mind to live in an imagined past. BTN is playing this dangerous game of blind nationalism still passing down packaged information that do not take into consideration the complexities of globalization and the promise of multiculturalism. We need to offer courses such as Multiethnic Malaysia that will have students aspire to think like multiculturalists and help this nation evolve better.

The ministry of education higher education combined has hundreds of experts — many overseas trained and have tasted the “spirit of multiculturalism” and the “beauty of intellectual freedom” in their classrooms abroad — who ought to have engineered a paradigm shift to help dismantle indoctrination agencies such as Biro Tata Negara.

But where are the voices in the wilderness of our public universities — those who should be speaking up against ‘Ketuanan Melayu or Ketuanan this or that race’? Why are many of these experts, instead of fighting for radical changes to affect radical-peaceful structural changes, are making big decisions to further advance the cause of racism? One-dimensional thinking prevails — the thinking that does not allow diversity of ideas and failed to develop cross-cultural perspectives. Ideas move nations but indoctrinations remove intelligence. Political masters– however corrupt to the core they are — dictates the work of our academicians.

Whoever writes history and turn that into say, BTN propaganda, controls the future (or at least they think they do). We must question what is taught during the sessions or during any history lesson; fundamentally:

Whose history are we studying?

Is it meaningful to me?

Who wrote this history? Why? Who benefits?

Who gets included and excluded in this history textbooks?

Who’s the hero — who’s the villain?

What I want to see is a stop to the systematic and ongoing stupefication of the Malays and the non-Malays and to let them be free from being run-down emotionally by boot camp facilitators who make a living humiliating people. We have a new generation of best and brightest Malaysians to educate. As an educator I have worked with thousands of them. These are extremely creative individuals who enjoy being challenged at the most respectable and intellectual levels — not through indoctrination methods such as those used in BTN camps. They want to be fed with more questions and not be shoved with BTN-type of answers. We cannot afford to turn term them into docile beings while at the same time we holler the slogan “human capital” or modal insan the world over. It will be a “modularly insane” human condition if we continue to capitalize on human docility.

The Biro Tata Negara as an indoctrinating institution was conceived by “intellectuals” who themselves are trapped in their own cocoon or glass coconut shell of “wrongly-defined” Malay-ness and in a paradigm that teaches a poor understanding of Malaysian history. These intellectuals are running around in our public universities promoting a more sophisticated and pseudo-intellectual version of racism. Inciting racial sentiments in classroom and boot camps is big business nowadays — profits made in the name of patriotism. But who’s monitoring the trainers?

Education is not about insulting one’s intelligence and instilling fear in our children. This is what the creators of BTN need to learn. In short, the indoctrinators need a good education on how not to indoctrinate. “Melayu ‘kan hilang di nusantara … ” if we allow the dumbing down of Malaysians to continue.

Progressive parliamentarians must discuss this serious matter concerning the organization’s deliberate attempt to promote disunity and to further fertilize the seeds of racism, at a time when we need to come together as Malaysians in order to face humanity’s greater problem such as the food, oil, and water crisis that will plague us as human beings — at a time when we must focus on constructing a new republic of virtue that will be founded on transcultural ethics, responsive and reflective politics, and a social-democratic-based economic system that do not tempt and feed human greed of the things they do not need. Our Asian despotic brand of capitalism continues to destroy the very foundation of our existence and our moral fibre. It is greed — big time — that brought down the National Front.

Through the work of the Rakyat, Divine intervention helped speed up the process of removal of Greed disguised as political parties in power. That’s the metaphysical interpretation of March 8, 2008.

We are not running Hitler Youth camps in Malaysia. We must not even come close to setting up one.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

They owe us not

Mahathir squandered RM100 bil, says new book
By Anwar Ibrahim

Malaysia has squandered an estimated RM100 billion on financial scandals under the 22-year rule of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, according to a new book about the former prime minister.

According to Barry Wain, author of the soon-to-be launched ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times’, direct financial losses amounted to about RM50 billion.

This doubled once the invisible costs, such as unrecorded write-offs, were taken into account. The RM100 billion total loss was equivalent to US$40 billion at then prevailing exchange rates.

Barry, who is a former editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal, says most of the scams, which included a government attempt to manipulate the international tin price and gambling by Bank Negara on global currency markets, occurred in the 1980s.

‘Malaysian Maverick’ is the first independent, full-length study of Mahathir, who retired in 2003 after more than two decades as premier. The book will be published globally next week by Palgrave Macmillan.

Wain writes that the Mahathir administration, which took office in 1981 with the slogan, “clean, efficient, trustworthy”, was almost immediately embroiled in financial scandals that “exploded with startling regularity”.

By the early 1990s, he says, cynics remarked that it had been “a good decade for bad behaviour, or a bad decade for good behaviour”.

Secret military deal with US

The book also reveals that:

Mahathir, despite his nationalistic rants, signed a secret security agreement with the United States in 1984 that gave the Americans access to a jungle warfare training school in Johor and allowed them to set up a small-ship repair facility at Lumut and a plant in Kuala Lumpur to repair C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Mahathir used a secret fund of his ruling Umno to turn the party into a vast conglomerate with investments that spanned almost the entire economy.

Mahathir’s Umno financed its new Putra World Trade Centre headquarters in Kuala Lumpur partly with taxpayers money, by forcing state-owned banks to write off at least RM140 million in interest on Umno loans.

Wain, who is now a writer-in-residence at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, however credits Mahathir with engineering the country’s economic transformation, deepening industrialisation and expanding Malaysia’s middle class.

But Mahathir had undermined state institutions, permitted the spread of corruption and failed to provide for Malaysia’s future leadership, he says.

Related Article:

Do you know that:

Last year, Petronas gained a total pre-tax profit of RM86.8 billion and so far, it has earned about RM600 billion. As the surge of international oil prices, it’s profits will as well substantially grow. But the government has reduced fuel subsidies by a wide margin, turning Malaysia into one of the world’s most expensive oil price oil-producing countries. It makes the people wonder where the huge profit of Petronas has gone?

Former Work Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said in the Parliament last year that the government has compensated a total of RM38.5 billion to 20 highway companies. Also, as the government has stopped building the Scenic Bridge in Johor, it has to compensate RM300 million construction cost to the bridge contractor. Isn’t the spending of such huge amount a waste?

Former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim revealed that the Central Bank has lost RM30 billion in foreign exchange trading in the 1990s. Who was the manipulator behind it? (Second Finance Minister was in charge of Bank Negara’s Forex trading at that time)

Malaysia Airlines was said to have suffered losses every year. But why to spend RM1.55 million to buy three paintings to decorate its chairman’s office? And why to spend RM7,525 per day to recruit a foreign senior general manager?

Proton Holdings bought a 57.75% stake in MV Agusta for €70 million but sold it at €1 (RM4.50) a year later, causing Proton to lose €75.99 million (RM 348 million)?

Other excesses and wastages:

1. The Bank Bumiputra twin scandals in the early 1980s saw US$1 billion (RM3.2 billion in 2008 ringgit)

2. The Maminco attempt to corner the world tin market in the 1980s is believed to have cost some US$500 million. (RM1.6 billion)

3. Betting in foreign exchange futures cost Bank Negara Malaysia RM30 billion in the 1990s.

4. Perwaja Steel resulted in losses of US$800 million (RM2.56 billion). Eric Chia, was charged with corruption for allegedly steering US$20 million (RM64 million) to a Hong Kong-based company

5. Use of RM10 billion public funds in the Valuecap Sdn. Bhd. operation to shore up the stock market

6. Banking scandal of RM700 million losses in Bank Islam

7. The sale of M.V. Agusta by Proton for one Euro making a loss of €75.99 million (RM 348 million)

8. Wang Ehsan from oil royalty on Terengganu RM7.4 billion from 2004 – 2007

9. For the past 10 years since Philharmonic Orchestra was established, this orchestra has swallowed a total of RM500 million

10. In Advisors Fees, Mahathir was paid RM180,000, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (women and social development affairs) RM404,726 and Abdul Hamid Othman (religious) RM549,675 per annum

11. The government has spent a total of RM3.2 billion in teaching Maths and Science in English over the past five years. Out of the amount, the government paid a whopping RM2.21 billion for the purchase of information and computer technology (ICT) equipments which it is unable to give a breakdown.

12. The commission paid for purchase of jets and submarines to two private companies Perimeker Sdn Bhd and IMT Defence Sdn Bhd amounted to RM910 million.

13. RM300 million to compensate Gerbang Perdana for the RM1.1 billion “Crooked Scenic Half-Bridge”

14. RM1.3 billion have been wasted building the white elephant Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities on cancellation of the Malaysia-Singapore scenic bridge

15. RM 100 million on renovation of Parliament building and leaks

16. National Astronaut Programme – RM 40 million

17. National Service Training Programme – yearly an estimate of RM 500 million

18. Eye on Malaysia – RM 30 million and another RM5.7 million of free ticket

19. RM 4.63 billion, ’soft-loan’ to PKFZ

20. RM 2.4 million on indelible ink

21. Samy announced in September 2006 that the government paid compensation amounting to RM 38.5 billion to the highway companies. RM 380 million windfalls for 9 toll concessionaires earned solely from the toll hike in 2008 alone.

22. RM32 million timber export kickbacks involving companies connected to Sarawak Chief Minister and his family.
Bailouts –

23. Two bailouts of Malaysia Airline System RM7.9 billion

24. Putra transport system, which cost RM4.486 billion

25. STAR-LRT bailout costing RM3.256 billion

26. National Sewerage System costing RM192.54 million

27. Seremban-Port Dickson Highway costing RM142 million

28. Kuching Prison costing RM135 million

29. Kajian Makanan dan Gunaan Orang Islam costing RM8.3 million.

30. Le Tour de Langkawi costing RM 3.5 Million

31. Wholesale distribution of tens of millions of shares in Bursa Malaysia under guise of NEP to cronies, children and relatives of BN leaders and Ministers worth billions of ringgits.

32. APs scandal had been going on year-after-year going back for more than three decades, involving a total mind-boggling sum of tens of billions of ringgits

33. Alienation of tens of thousands of hectares of commercial lands and forestry concessions to children and relatives of BN leaders and Ministers worth tens of billions of ringgits

34. Travel around Malaysia and see for yourself how many white elephants like majestic arches, roads paved with fanciful bricks, designer lamp posts, clock towers, Municipal Council buildings that looks more like Istanas, extravagant places of worship, refurbishment of residences of VIPs, abandoned or under-utilised government sports complexes and buildings, etc! Combined they could easily amount to the hundreds of billions of ringgits!

35. Wastages and forward trading of Petronas oil in the 1990s based on the low price of oil then. Since the accounts of Petronas are for the eyes of Prime Minister only, we have absolutely no idea of the amount. Whatever amount, you bet it is COLLOSSAL!

In Time Asia magazine issue on March 15 2004, South East Asian economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore Daniel Lian, figures “that the country may have lost as much as U$$100 billion (RM320 billion) since the early 1980s to corruption.” Mind you, this is only corruption and it does not include wastages!

All the rakyat’s hard earned money down the drain and they have the audacity to raise fuel prices and asking the people to change their lifestyles.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Robots works better. Just obey

Shooting ourselves in the foot
By Antares

Biro Tatanegara (or the National Indoctrination Bureau) was established in 1974 during Tun Razak's tenure. But it took around ten years to evolve into the sinister operation that has been getting a load of negative publicity in recent days.

The fact that BTN is an adjunct of the Prime Minister's Department makes it a convenient mechanism for the systematic dissemination of the official doctrine throughout the rank and file of the civil and diplomatic services. BTN also ensures that the academic bureaucracy adheres to Umno's official doctrine of Ketuanan Melayu and loyalty to the government.

Some who have been processed through the BTN experience and survived with their minds intact and independent report that the BTN's agenda is insidiously racist and deliberately divisive. Unthinking conformity is what the Biro Tatanegara is really all about.

The desire to imprint the rulers' ideology on all subjects is a hallmark of every patriarchal society. After all, the words "pattern" and "paternal" share the same etymology, namely, issuing from the Pater or Father.

And isn't it true that every Father wants his children to be, above all, obedient? The Old Testament - specifically, Genesis - portrays disobedience as the Original Sin.

Fast-forward to the Digital Era where being at the cutting edge requires thinking out of the box, an adventurous and innovative spirit, and a willingness to break the rules.

Where do our BTN graduates stand in the 21st century world of instant communications and nanotech? You can invest billions in an artificial city called Cyberjaya - but, unless you import all the talent, you're not going to find many innovators emerging from local institutes of learning.

In the first place, genuflecting before your social superiors is hardly conducive to nurturing creative genius. Don't forget Tuan is a contraction of Tuhan - and a culture that compels an individual to submit to God will always extend that compulsion to submitting before God's representatives on Earth, namely the Monarchs.

Talented and inspired brainiacs like Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple Computers), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), and Mark Zuckerberg (originator of Facebook) aren't the type who can handle too much protocol - unless you're referring to computer protocols.

Indeed, a distinguishing feature of cybernetic wizards is their disdain for red-tape and formality. Imagine the fun the pioneers of IT had naming everything from scratch. How did they come up with "mouse" for the device with which you navigate the screen? Or a name like Yahoo! for an all-purpose portal?

Let's say you're the Sultan of Selangor and you're accustomed to being addressed formally as Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj.

So what happens when the Sultan becomes IT savvy and buys himself a Macbook? He's going to be using email and you can't possibly have such an unwieldy name in your email address. He could shorten it to or perhaps even - and in so doing he would be dispensing with cumbersome formality. In all probability, he would write in normal language when sending emails to his buddies, instead of adhering to traditional court language. Indeed, if he were to try his hand at internet chat, he'd probably want to conceal his royal status with a funky nick like "nicerichboy" or "hrh1."

This is what happens when human consciousness shifts from analog to digital mode. Traditionalists may scorn the way kids today have murdered language by coming up with SMS terms like :-) or LOL or 2moro or CU. But you have to admit there's a certain appeal in adopting newfangled computer symbols like @ or signing off with an ASCII heart, thus: <3 - and, as these new memes spread like some species of computer virus, the near-lightspeed movement of binary codes and pixels across the planet's fiber-optic highways swiftly creates a far more egalitarian social template than any theory of human evolution could ever have predicted.

That's why I always ROTFLMAO whenever I hear potato-headed politicians like the education and communications ministers urging Malaysians to be "more innovative" and to prepare themselves for the rapid shift to "a knowledge-based economy." You guys wouldn't recognize a creative genius even if one snuck up and poked you playfully in the butt.

I bet you didn't realize a lot of creative geniuses look just like that troublemaker Namewee @ Wee Meng Chee whose citizenship you once wanted to revoke because he "insulted" the national anthem (as though a song could possibly be offended by some 23-year-old rapper doing an off-the-wall cover version of it).

Well, if that's what you really want, you're really gonna regret it when you finally get it, Messrs Muhyiddin and Rais. Do you know why? Because no creative genius will give a fuck how much you paid for your silk ties nor will they be too impressed by all the guff that issues from your political mouths.

Keep the population dumb and conformist with your goddam BTN, if you wish to enjoy your VVIP status and your ridiculous robber baron perks. But don't you dare lament the fact that Malaysia has been left way behind every other country.

Up till now you've had it good siphoning off our collective wealth with all the natural resources the land has produced - and things got even sexier when oil was found off our coast. However, some say the oil reserves will be depleted within a few years - and then how are you going to maintain your extravagant lifestyle? Revert to piracy and slave-trading?

Friday, November 27, 2009

A regime in silent hate

‘BTN taught me the Chinese are the Jews of Asia’
By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — I am one of the privileged few to have attended a local public university and learned the meaning of hate, thanks to the ever popular Biro Tata Negara.

All undergraduates were forced to attend this programme or else they would not be eligible for graduation.

The BTN under the Prime Minister’s Department brought in “intellectual” speakers who were supposed to enlighten the students about the meaning of being a Malaysian but instead it felt more like a communist propaganda camp brainwashing those attending about the importance of “Ketuanan Melayu”.

The camp would usually take place during the weekends. Students would have to register early in the morning and the programme would last the whole day.

The organisers were always on their guard, asking participants to show their student identification cards each time they entered the hall, fearing the presence of outsiders.

In the hall, students were asked to turn off their mobile phones.

During the lectures, questions were planted among the audience and the students were advised not to ask any other questions.

One speaker began with the history of Malaysia and how much the country had gone through, always emphasising the May 13 riots.

He stressed the point of how much the Malays had sacrificed and how the community should be united especially from outside threat — the Chinese community.

He said that the Chinese community were “the Jews of Asia” and were just itching to take over when Malays were disunited and broken.

The speaker also revealed a greater Chinese conspiracy where the Chinese Malaysians were working together with Singapore to topple the Malay government.

“Do you want to become like the Malays in Singapore?” he asked.

He also went so far as to criticise Malay girls for dating boys from other races.

He added that they should not be cheap and embarrass their families.

Once, a student told the speaker that as Muslims, we should also respect other races who are also Muslims.

“All Muslims are Malays so it does not matter if they are Chinese or Indians. If they are Muslims then they are Malays,” the speaker replied.

This is why I was relieved when I learned that the Selangor government had moved to ban its civil servants, employees of state subsidiaries and students at state-owned education institutions from attending any BTN courses with immediate effect.

However I believe racism in varsities does not end at BTN because classrooms have also become victims of ignorant scholars.

My friend was verbally abused during his sociology class when he did not agree with the points made by his lecturer.

“You must be DKK,” the lecturer told him.

“What is DKK?” he asked.

“You must be darah keturunan keling (descendents of Indians),” the lecturer said, pointing to his dark skin.

My Saudi friend was also shocked by the comments made by his lecturer in his Islamic civilisation class.

“We should save our Orang Asli from the Chinese people. They are like the Palestinians and the Chinese are Israel. We must fight the Jews,” the lecturer told his students.

The lecturer even failed one of his students in his oral exam when he quoted a Western scholar in his presentation.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves. You are a Muslim and should only use Islamic scholars,” he scolded the student.

I was personally saddened when my Islamic law lecturer compared Christianity to Head & Shoulder’s 3 in 1 shampoo in referring to the religion’s Holy Trinity.

I feel that racism has been institutionalised in our country and that BTN is only the tip of the iceberg.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended BTN yesterday and claimed that it was not racist but is line with the 1 Malaysia concept.

I have to humbly disagree and would like to suggest maybe the ministers should bring their overseas children home and let them have a taste of what BTN is.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dont think, we will do it for you

Create radical social futurists, dismantle Biro Tata Negara -- that threat to national unity


If in our universities, thinking means thinking about what the state dictates and students are being punished for speaking out on issues that concern their role as future inheritors of their society, we have got a national problem.
Azly Rahman

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. – Plato

I once taught Thinking Skills, Foreign Policy, and Ethics. My approach towards Teaching Thinking was about increasing the capacity of the mind to explore newer perspectives, make critical judgment, and envision a scenario of a society of peace and justice, based on the principles of multiculturalism.

I value such an experience and have grown with it. We need to create and nurture a culture of thinking in a world that is increasingly hostile to radical and ethical ideas.

In my teaching, the approach combines universal ethical values, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and futuristics. I think there is value in such an approach.

If we can radicalise student thinking, teach them to stand for their rights, give them choices in thinking, have them articulate great ideas in their own words, we can make them better graduates.

We can train them to become good ethical revolutioners that will remove oppressive and corrupt leaders and redesign a society that will continue to rejuvenate itself.

We can teach them to punish polluters – especially corporations that dump poison into our rivers or puff deadly smoke into our environment. We can teach them to demand the resignation of corrupt leaders – or even have an entire cabinet resign. We can create socially-conscious futurists out of our children.

Futurists conjure scenarios of societies they want to have – build from the ruins of one that has crumbled out of the need for greed and economic speed. Radical futurists conjure newer social order reconstructed out of the ruins of the ones ruled by leaders addicted to raw power; power employed to rape the environment and humanity these leaders are entrusted to "govern".

But first we must have the teachers/lecturers prepare for all these as well. We have many bright and young academics eager to explore newer perspectives in politics, economic and cultural aspects of our world. Can they do these in a cognitively-controlled environment? How do we help them?

Critical thinking is not 'criticising'

It seems that there is a deeper meaning to "critical thinking" than just "criticising" something or anything.

It is a process of the personal evolution of metacognition (beyond cognition itself); to understand one's own thinking process and to govern it with the tools one acquires through interacting with the environment and processing information that will become meaningful through the complex neural connections made in the brain.

There has to be a good repertoire of knowledge in one's brain/mind/consciousness in order to understand the "dialectical and dialogical" aspect of thinking.

Our education system must encourage this development through the love of reading – the exploration of good and great books taught by teachers who love books and have the passion to challenge students to think and think. Thinking must be encouraged; students must live their daily lives in classrooms without fear of being punished or ridiculed for thinking critically and creatively.

Our classrooms must encourage dialogue and debates even if the subject matter is sensitive, difficult, painful, and intellectually challenging. We must have good teachers to groom students to become brave thinkers and communicators of ideas. These teachers/professors themselves must embody the virtues of radical thinking and become beacons of hope for newer thinkers, much like what Socrates was to the Athenians in 5th Century B. C.

Radical thinkers must be celebrated and honored, not imprisoned and shamed. Only a shameless government doing shameful acts would jail good, ethical, socially-conscious thinkers who speak truth to power.

If in our universities, thinking means thinking about what the state dictates and students are being punished for speaking out on issues that concern their role as future inheritors of their society, we have got a national problem.

Higher order thinking

The essence of higher order thinking skills is the "WHY" question and the "WHAT IF" and "WHY NOT THIS" ... these brings our students to critique dominant paradigm and allow them to conjure newer perspectives, much like what radical social futurists would do.

What is the culture of critical thinking in our Malaysian classrooms these days? Is it enabling the culture of thinking or retarding it?

Critical thinking is also not about running in the streets screaming for this or that change; it is a process of intellectual embodiment and the democratisation of one's personal understanding of the intellectual basis of change.

It is a process of constructing a "republic of virtue" in which each citizen is a philosopher-ruler in his/her own right. Each individual perhaps like the notion held by the Buddhist, is "aware" of the surrounding, mastering his/her own environment, aware of cause and effects of beingness, to identify oppressive signs and symbols that govern him/her and others, to destroy structures that are shacking, to essentially be able to look at his/her life like a crystal-ball.

Is this idea of creating world-wise radical intellectual and movers and shakers possible in our Malaysian educational system?

This is the greatest challenge of this century, for our nation especially. If we wish to remove the Internal Security Act, radically revise the Universities and University Colleges Act, and remove all Acts that are anathema to a healthy thinking culture, we must rethink how we think.

We owe a good education system to our children – a system that will teach children to systematically revolt against systems.

I therefore call upon the banning of all activities of Biro Tata Negara in order to save our children from being reproduced as more sophisticated racists. BTN is actually a dangerous threat -- even to the slogan of OneMalaysia.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Close down Biro Tata Negara if Najib is serious, sincere and genuine about the 1Malaysia concept
Lim Kit Siang

When he became Prime Minister seven months ago, Datuk Seri Najib Razak came out with the slogan of 1Malaysia.

It was an admission of the failure of 52-year nation-building to create a Malaysian citizenry forged by a common Malaysian consciousness and identity, transcending their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences.

The Biro Tata Negara (BTN) is one important factor for this failure in Malaysian nation-building.

In Parliament in March this year, I read out an indignant email from a recent participant in BTN course, on how BTN operated as the propaganda arm of UMNO, pumping communal poison instead of spreading the message of national unity.

The complaints against the BTN included:

Their purpose is to convey THEIR Message to us but I think they are absolutely wrong. It made us more irritable towards BN government and make us more stronger to vote opposition.

Here are their messages:

Kontrak sosial about Kerakyatan and Hak Istimewa Orang Melayu Effects : Non Malay should appreciate and cannot expect more. They use Malay toleransi us and also “Terhutang Budi terhadap mereka” The country is not safe after 308. The government is not strong enough to maintain the safety. The oppositions is creating chaos in the country. They give a lot of examples. If we continues like this, it might explode another 513 or war in Malaysia like in Iraq. They shows us the pictures and videos of Iraq. Therefore we need to vote BN for the peace

To protect Islam and Malay special rights Malays have to bersepadu for Ketuanan Melayu Indians and Chinese contribute nothing to this country. It is the non Malays who wants to join the pakatan that time and we beg for that. Throughout the course they only emphasize on Malay’s contribution and say nothing on Non Malay.

Their perpaduan means Ketuanan Malay and never sama rata because they said this is according to Kontrak Sosial. They conducted every facts on Chinese Malay and Indian and not mentioning Malaysian. they claim oppositions is a spy from America and going to attack Malaysia soon.

It is most shocking that the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin could defend such communal poison in BTN courses as fostering “nationalism in line with 1Malaysia concept and instilling patriotism”, when responding to the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government’s decision to bar its civil servants and students from state-owned institutions from the BTN’s racist “political indoctrination” and “brainwashing”.

Seven Selangor Pakatan Rakyat legislators have spoken up against the BTN courses for promoting hatred among the races, which is contrary to its original purpose as well as the Constitution.

Seri Setia Selangor State Assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, speaking from his own experience, said they were told that PKR members were Jewish agents, that DAP was a Singapore party, while PAS was labelled a deviant movement.

Batu Caves Selangor State Assemblyman Amirudin Shari said a big part of the programme had nothing to do with nation building or education but was an Umno and BN race-based programme where participants are indoctrinated with propaganda about “Ketuanan Melayu”.

If Najib is serious, sincere and genuine about the 1Malaysia concept, the first thing he must do is to close down the BTN as it is the biggest obstacle to 1Malaysia nation-building.

The BTN is the litmus test whether Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan is just empty rhetoric or whether he is really prepared to “walk the talk” of creating a united, harmonious and progressive Malaysia.

The BTN courses have been shrouded in great secrecy. Not only are participants not allowed their mobile phones and other electronic media gadgets, lectures and course notes are also not allowed to be taken away after the indoctrination.

Is the Cabinet prepared to order a full public inquiry into running of the BTN so that Malaysians can know the truth about the BTN courses and how it deviated from its original purpose to foster nationalism to become a great obstacle to national unity by pumping communal poison and promoting racial ill-will and hatred?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Keepers of secrets

Bukit Antarabangsa, Official secret Act and our Maharajah
by drrafick

1. At about 500pm, I receive a flash on my Blackberry that it was reported in The Malay Mail today, that the Selangor State Government has in its possession, the reports that contain studies on the cause of the Dec 6, 2008 landslide, the risk assessment report of the area as well as a report that contains detailed mapping of high risk landslide spots. Apparently State Legal Advisor (SLA) is now evaluating whether the MB has the power to declassify under Section 2C of the Official Secret Act 1972 (revised 1996) (ACT88).

2. As a resident of BA who has been fighting to get a copy of this report since Dec 2008, I don’t mind waiting for a few more days for the SLA to give his opinion. My own personal assessment after reading Section 2C of the ACT 88 and its related Schedule under Section 2A, it is quite clear that the MB has the rights. In fact it is quite clearly spelled that the JKR Minister has the right to declassify it as well. The way I see, they just don’t have the balls to do it

3. It was really disheartening to note that the State Executives was not aware that it has a copy of the said report in its possession since Sept 09. Dato Shaziman Abu Mansor only mentioned it in the Parliament after being asked about it and he said the ministry has given MPAJ a copy. MPAJ officers were unsure what to do with it and chose to keep it quiet. It did not inform the Public that it has a copy. Neither did it inform the State Government.

4. I am very disappointed the way things are managed between the Federal and the State Government. In these instances, the Federal officers due to their ignorant and blind loyalty to the BN MP and Minister did not want to release the document to the State. The unhealthy and immature politics by the BN Minister really sickens me.

5. Federal officers must understand their role and responsibilities which is guided by the General Orders. They must know that the Minister is not the Maharajah of the Ministry. The KSU and the DG has wide and deep powers. They should have exercised their powers without fear of the Minister. There is a clear separation of powers between the Minister and the KSU/DG. The way I see it, they are not able to use their powers because of their ignorance and lack of spine in doing the right thing. Based on my observation, these government servants are more concern of their own “rice bowl”.

6. Whatever the case maybe, if the State Government released the report in the coming days, they will appear to be the hero of the people in Bukit Antarabangsa. The report serves two purposes. The first it will provide the directly affected residents of the landslide a closure in the sense that they will know triggers the slide that led to their lost of properties and family members. They may want to use it for legal suits against the necessary culprits. Certainly MPAJ is immune from prosecution but the state must look at whether there has been failure on the part of any of the office bearers in MPAJ which contribute to the landslide. Those who had failed need to be dealt with accordingly.

7. The second and most important use of the report is for the residents to evaluate the safety of their surrounding environment. This is important for people like me where we can take the necessary measures to improve the safety around our areas. Unfortunately, politicians do not see it the way, we the residents do. The worst part even their supporters who lived in Bukit Antarabangsa in clear and present danger also cannot do the right thing. They continue to support their man despite not providing the assurances that their children and home is safe from any landslide. I do not understand this blind loyalty.

Latest Update:
The Selangor State government has agreed to declasify theBA landslide tragedy report using Section 2C of the ACT88. I have just received a copy of the summary report. Download here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Know People........

Getting Away with Murder in Malaysia
Written by Our Correspondent

It's best to be connected to the ruling national coalition
See also: Malaysian Aide's July Death 'Probably Homicide'

On July 16, according to the testimony of a Thai pathologist, Teoh Beng Hock, a 29-year-old aide to an opposition politician, was probably beaten during a marathon questioning session, sodomized, strangled unconscious, dragged to a window of the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission in Kuala Lumpur and thrown to his death.

The country's law enforcement establishment maintains that Teoh committed suicide by leaping from the MACC building after the inquiry was concluded into irregularities in his boss's accounts. But it is far from the first "suicide" in custody and what happened to Teoh happens all too frequently when the luckless collide with the powerful in Malaysia. His real killers are unlikely ever to be identified. As many as 350 people have died in custody since 1990. The privileged are rarely brought to trial.

The most infamous recent case before Teoh's is that of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28 year-old Mongolian translator who was murdered in 2006 by two bodyguards of then-Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Altantuya had been jilted by Najib's best friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, and was demanding money from him.

Although numerous witnesses and evidence connected Najib to the affair, he was never questioned or put on the witness stand, nor was his chief of staff, Musa Safri, who Baginda said in a cautioned statement he approached about getting Altantuya from ceasing her harrassment. His two bodyguards were convicted of the murder although one, in his confession, said the two men were to be paid RM100,000 to kill her. The court never asked who would pay the money. The confession wasn't allowed in court. Baginda was acquitted without having to put on a defense and promptly left the country and Najib was eventually named Prime Minister.

Such questionable cases go back to at least the early 1980s when Sultan Mahmud Iskandar of Johor was dubbed the "killer king" by the British tabloids after he shot a trespasser to death on his property. He also reportedly assaulted and killed a golf caddy who was said to have laughed when the sultan missed a golf stroke and he maimed the caddy's brother. He later was alleged to have assaulted and injured a hockey coach, kicking off a constitutional crisis that led to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's removal of legal immunity from prosecution for all of Malaysia's nine sultans, although Iskandar was never either arrested or jailed.

There are plenty more. In 1988 an attractive young woman named Mustakizah Jaafar, who owned a video rental business in Malacca, was found hacked to death by unknown assailants. Mustakizah reportedly was pregnant at the time of her death. She was believed to be having an affair with Megat Junid Megat Ayob, the onetime UMNO deputy home affairs minister, who died in January 2008 of cancer.

No one was ever charged with Mutakizah's murder. The widespread gossip about Megat Junid's connection with Mustakizah didn't do his political career any harm. He was ultimately named Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister in 1997 although he lost his parliamentary seat two years later and retired from politics.

In 2002 the decomposed body of Haslezah Ishak, the attractive young second wife of Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa, second in line to the throne of Perak, whom he had met in a karaoke lounge, was found under a bridge, clad in a bra and jeans. Four men, including a palace aide, a bomoh or witch doctor, a fisherman and a carpenter were arrested and jailed for the murder. No one was ever arrested or questioned for hiring them to kill her although suspicion fell on the prince's wife, Rajah Mahani, who had been publicly consulting witch doctors over her suspicion that Haslezah had put a spell on her husband.

In 2003, another attractive young woman, Norita Shamsudin, was found murdered in an apartment in a Kuala Lumpur suburb. A night club guest relations officer, Norita had been rumored to be having an affair with Shahidan Kassim, then chief minister of the state of Perlis. Although another individual was arrested and charged with the murder, he was later declared not guilty and no one else was ever charged. According to local news reports, the inspector general of police, Mohd Bakri Omar, classified the case under Malaysia's Official Secrets Act and no details were ever released.

Earlier this year, authorities finally completed an inquest into the 2007 death of beautiful ethnic Indian actress Sujatha Krishnan, who also worked part-time as a secretary to S.Vell Paari, chief executive officer of Maika Holdings and the son of S. Samy Vellu, the head of the Malaysian Indian Congress, a component of the ruling national coalition. Sujatha died in a hospital in a Kuala Lumpur suburb of Klang three days after she had been rushed in for treatment. Her body was cremated almost immediately after her death. The coroner ruled she had died after poisoning herself by drinking poison. The family vainly requested an investigation into her death.

For those at the bottom end of Malaysia's power spectrum, life can be considerably tougher if suspicion falls on them. According to the reform organization Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET), a distressing number of suspects have died in custody. "Relying merely on data provided by the government, it has been disclosed that there have been 150 deaths from 1990 until 2004 (10.7 per year), 108 deaths between 2000 and 2006 (18 per year), and, 85 deaths between 2003 and 2007 (21.25 per year)," the organization said.

According to a 2003 report by the Asian Human Rights Commission – the same year Norita was killed ‑ statistics released in Malaysia's parliament in October of that year by the Home Ministry, showed 23 people died in police custody between 2002 and July 2003. Of those, 16 died in 2002 although according to the report, other figures indicated that 18 had died in custody in the first nine months of 2002 alone. Parliament was told in October 2002 that a total of 34 persons had died in police custody since 2000 ‑ six in 2000, 10 in 2001 and 18 from January to September 2002.

According to the report, then-Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung denied that methods of torture used to obtain information from suspects led to their deaths. He claimed that the majority of deaths were the result of attempts to escape from police custody. Typical seemed to be the case of Hasrizal Hamzah, who had been detained on suspicion of murder in October of 2003. According to a senior assistant police commissioner, Harizal confessed to the murder and then, as he was being moved to a new location, supposedly shoved the accompanying policeman aside despite being handcuffed, and leapt over a balcony to his death.

Earlier this year, the Indian community was enraged by the death of a 22-year-old named Kugan Ananthan who was detained on Jan. 15 on suspicion of stealing luxury cars. He reportedly collapsed during questioning and died on Jan. 20 from "acute pulmonary edema," or fluid in the lungs. However, after his body was released to his family, an autopsy found that he had suffered from internal bleeding in his heart, left lung, spleen, kidneys and scalp area. The soles of his feet had been beaten and the back of his neck and spine area were bleeding. His back was covered with contusions, beating marks and bruises. He had sustained more than 10 serious burn marks, probably as the result of being burned by a heated v-shaped iron bar. He had also been starved during the entire time he was being tortured, allegedly by as many as seven police officers, his family charged.

"There is a clear lack of supervision, medical care and concern for the general well-being and rights of suspects while under police remand," the Human Rights Commission said in its 2003 report. It does not appear that anything has changed. The odds are that the cases involving both Kugan and Teoh will end up the same way scores of others have.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Exonerating Oneself

We Blame the Chinese for Everything that is Wrong with Us

That’s right. The Chinese is the best excuse for average Malay to hide their failures and shortcomings. In fact, we do not have to think about success because should we fail in anything we can blame the Chinese.

For instance, we always see potential Malay businesses going belly up. We see soya sauce factory, shoe factory, linen factory, chili sauce factory owned by Malays having to be shut down. When asked the reason that is floated is that they are being sabotaged by Chinese suppliers who refuse to supply them the materials they need to continue production.

I recalled in the early days of Harakah, UMNO did everything to stop all printers in Kuala Lumpur not to print Harakah. UMNO’s hope is that when there is no printer willing to do so, then HArakah will have to shut down completely.

So, what the Harakah people did was they carried with them a stack of cash and went looking for printers who are willing to do it. And they found a printing company owned by a Chinaman somewhere in Kepong. His business was not doing that well apparently.

So, the Harakah people went to his office and put the stack of cash on his desk. And told the Chinese printer that if he prints copies of Harakah, and willing to face all obstacles, they will ensure that the Chinaman be paid in cash before the printing of every issue of Harakah.

The Chinaman who owned the printing shop immediately agreed and the rest is history. According to my Harakah sources, the Chinaman is now a millionaire and has sold the printing company to a Malay consortium. Apparently, Harakah rescued him from the brink of bankruptcy and in turn made him a millionaire.

So, my point being, even in the most dire and dangerous circumstance, there will be a Chinese supplier willing to supply anything we want. The case of Harakah proves that there is no such thing as a Chinese Supplier conspiracy to sabotage Malay businesses.

The Real Story Behind The Closing Down of Malay Businesses

These Malay businesses are always behind on their payments despite getting their line of credit extended frequently. Since Chinese suppliers are not Santa Clauses, they have a limit to how much credit they can give.

And MOST MALAY business do not understand the value of operating business with cash as opposed to credit. It’s different with Chinese businesses where they will make sure that they repay their debts fast before thinking of expanding or doing anything else.

So, when the Chinese suppliers refuse to supply the Malay unless they make some payments on their outstanding debt, the Malay businesses usually simply collapse like a deck of cards. Bear in mind that Malays who venture into small and medium businesses are mostly UMNO supporters or members because they get easy access to government loans and financial support.

With their UMNO tradition of blaming the Chinese for everything that is wrong with this country, they started spreading false rumors about Chinese suppliers sabotaging their businesses because they are Malays.

I know of a Malay lady somewhere in Teluk Intan who runs a clothing store and the store has been operating for the last 20 years. Every month she will come down to KL near Jalan Hang Tuah to get her supply of clothes and every time the suppliers there do not mind extending her a line of credit. Why? Because she is always prompt on her payments. That lady proves there is no malice in the hearts of Chinese suppliers.

Why would Chinese Suppliers Sabotage Their Clients?

Most Malays are simple minded. They believe this crap the moment they hear it. They forgot that is more Malays owns business, more Malays would need supplies from the Chinese suppliers. The more Malays going into business, the more business the Chinese suppliers will be.

In fact, if there is a lot of Malay businessmen, the Chinese supplier might even convert into Islam so that people will continue getting their supplies especially those who are supplying food products.

It doesn’t make sense. The Chinese in this country will not go anywhere. They are interested to make money, not because they want to be rich so much, but to send their children to get quality educations overseas and some retirement funds. I always wonder why many Chinese families that I know had amssed a lot of wealth during their working years, but they retire into a very average life. It turns out that most of their wealth had gone to sending their children to Australia, Britain, America for quality tertiary education.

UMNO is Using The Same Excuse Too

See, when UMNO fails, the first thing they do is to blame the Chinese. They say that the Chinese will take over the country. They say that the Chinese will destroy the DEB and the Malays. They say that PAS has been used by the Chinese.

Hasan Ali said that his support for SELCAT is part of his quest to defend the rights of the Malays because Teng Chang Kim is Chinese. He forgets that for the last 2 elections, the Malays in Kapar voted Teng Chang Kim overwhelmingly. Teng has one of the highest majority in the Selangor DUN because he gets votes not just from Chinese and Indians, but also Malays.

UMNO’s actions is tantamount to the long list of failed Malay businessmen who do not know how to control their business’s finances. So, in order to hide their failures, they blame the Chinese for everything.

In fact, they’re the biggest losers of them all and they will fail in whatever the do. We talk about Dr Mahathir bin Muhammad Iskandar Kutty, being the most successful UMNO Prime Minister. Maybe, it’s because Dr Mahathir is not a Malay?

Tulang Besi

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Invisible Dominos

How does corruption affect us? Let me count the ways
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Most Malaysians don’t think twice about the level of corruption in this country. Some even welcome it. How many times have you illegally parked your car or dashed through a red light and paid the policeman a bribe of RM50 or RM100 to save paying a RM300 fine if you are issued a summons?

And that is cheap, mind you. In the police lockup, we have to pay the policemen RM100 for a three-minute local phone call and RM10 for a stick of cigarette. So that comes to RM200 per packet. I paid RM200 for one night’s ‘protection’. For RM200 I was placed in a ‘special’ lockup where a detainee awaiting trial for murder took me under his wing so that the others could not get at me. He even threw in a cigarette as part of the ‘package’. And it costs RM250,000 for a drug dealer to escape the gallows.

My wife, who in 2001 was detained overnight in the women’s section of the police lockup, the same night I was arrested, spoke to one Indonesian woman who was on her second drug dealing arrest. The first time she and her husband were arrested they had to pay RM500,000 for both of them to get released. They were trying to arrange another RM500,000 to get out of this second arrest. So that came to RM1 million for two arrests. Imagine how much they must be making dealing in drugs. More importantly, imagine how much the police are making each time they get arrested.

I spoke to many of my Chinese businessmen friends and they admitted that it is easier to do business when corruption is involved. This saves time since you can bypass the normal requirements and get your applications approved much faster by just bribing the government officers. Sometimes, when you are not ‘eligible’, you can become eligible by paying bribes. So bribes actually help when faced with certain obstacles -- and there are definitely many 'obstacles' when dealing with governments in third world countries like Malaysia.

When corruption does not affect you directly you are not too concerned about it. It is like crime. As long as the robbers do not break into your home to rob you and rape your wife or daughter then who bothers too much about the high level of crime? It is when it is you that is hit that you become outraged about the high crime rate and the low level of police enforcement and lack of effort to combat crime.

Is it not those who suffer or suffered from cancer, or have lost a loved one to cancer, who gets involved in anti-cancer movements or associations? How many of us who never had to face cancer would want to donate generously to the anti-cancer effort? We never bother about something that does not affect us. And the same goes for other things as well, such as corruption and whatnot.

But corruption does affect us, contrary to what many may be thinking. Sometimes it affects us directly. Most times, indirectly.

An average of ten people die each day on Malaysian roads. Many more are seriously injured or maimed, sometimes resulting in them no longer being able to work and earn a living. The main reason for this is that Malaysians do not know how to drive.

Now, let there not be any confusion over this statement. Malaysians may have a valid driving licence. But Malaysians do not know how to drive. Do you know that in some European countries you can exchange your Singapore driving licence for a driving licence of your host country? But they will not accept a Malaysian driving licence. Malaysian driving licences tak laku (have no value).

I know someone, now deceased, who had a driving licence but could not even reverse her car out of the driveway. How in heaven’s name did she pass her driving test and get a licence if she can’t even reverse her car? And for sure she can’t drive.

Well, she told me. The driving school has two schemes. One is the ‘guaranteed to pass your driving test’ scheme -- which means you will pass your driving test and get a driving licence even if you can’t drive. The other scheme involves you taking the driving test and passing it all on your own.

The trouble with this legitimate scheme, though, is that even if you know how to drive they will still fail you as ‘punishment’ for refusing to participate in the ‘guaranteed to pass’ scheme. So it is better to pay, even if you can drive, and especially if you can’t, to be assured off a driving licence.

So, about ten people a day die on Malaysian roads because most of them have a driving licence but do not know how to drive. And those who die could be you, a family member, an office colleague, or a close friend. In short, that person who died in the traffic accident could be someone you know or someone close to you.

Therefore, corruption does affect you when you lose someone because of corruption -- or if it is you who dies. If this person were forced to learn how to drive properly before being given a licence then maybe he or she would still be alive today. I have personally lost scores of friends and relatives due to traffic accidents over the last 50 years or so. Sometimes it is their fault. The sad part is when the accident is someone else’s fault and you are a victim of reckless or inconsiderate drivers who have absolutely no road sense whatsoever.

I have also lost people dear to me due to poor medical facilities. There are not enough hospital beds in the intensive care unit or not enough dialysis machines or whatever, which results in poor medical facilities. And these people had to die because of this.

It is not that Malaysia does not have enough money to improve its medical facilities. It is that Malaysia spends the money for the wrong reasons -- and spends too much on top of that because there are kickbacks and commissions involved in every project and procurement. So medical facilities take a back seat and many of us have lost friends, colleagues and relatives because they were denied prompt or proper medical treatment.

If the money had not been wasted and had instead been spent for the right purposes -- medical and education being the two most important -- then Malaysia would be a much better place. As it is, our medical and educational facilities are below the so-called first world infrastructure that we are so proud of.

We have the best weapons. We have fantastic bridges, buildings and roads. Heck, we even have submarines now. But we are extremely lacking when it comes to medical and educational facilities. And health and education are far more important than all those white elephants and monuments that swallow billions but bring no income to the country, as would most white elephants and monuments.

Cars cost a lot in Malaysia. That, again, is due to corruption. If the government allowed a free-for-all in the car industry then cars would cost much cheaper than they do now. But they can’t allow a free-for-all. They can’t because cronies of those who walk in the corridors of power are making a lot of money from the car import permits and whatnot. So Malaysians have to pay double what they should actually be paying for their cars. But their salaries are not double what they should be.

So you end up a slave of your car instead of the car being your slave. You work for your car when your car should instead be working for you. And because of the sorry state of public transport you have no choice but to own a car. You just can’t get around without a car like you can in so many other countries.

After paying for your car what do you have left at the end of the day? Most times, because of your car, you can’t afford a decent home. Malaysians are actually very poor. The cost of living is so high while the salaries are very low. And corruption keeps Malaysians poor.

So perish the thought if you thought corruption does not affect you. It does, in more ways than you realise. And only naïve people would believe that corruption does not personally affect them or is actually beneficial to business. Malaysians are paying a heavy price for corruption. And the worse thing is we do not even realise we are paying.

Malaysians pay billions in all forms of taxes. But a lot of this money does not come back to us. It gets flushed down the toilet. Billions are lost -- RM30 billion by some estimates. And this is our money. Imagine if we had to pay only RM0.30 for a litre of petrol or RM1.80 for a packet of cigarette or RM50,000 for a Honda Civic. Would you not have more money left in your pocket? Nowadays, your money is finished by the tenth day of the month and you have to wait another 20 days for your next paycheque.

Don’t even start talking about saving money for a rainy day. This is just not possible. Corruption has taken away all your money whereas considering how rich this country is we should not even be asked to pay taxes or, even if we are, it could be a very minimum level that hardly hurts us.

For decades, the opposition has been fighting for the government to set a fair minimum wage appropriate to the cost of living. But the government does not agree to the RM900 per month minimum wage proposal.

In fact, even RM900 is still too low. Countries like the UK have announced that the minimum wage will now be adjusted to about RM35 per hour. That is what some Malaysians earn in a day. Yet the price of cigarettes in the UK is almost the same as in Malaysia. And so goes for many other things as well -- while cars are half the price or less compared to Malaysia.

No, Malaysians are poor. You earn so much less and have to pay so much more. Then corruption takes away what little you have left. And Malaysians still believe that corruption does not affect them directly.

And that is why I am of the opinion that PAS is not focused. They should be addressing the core issues. And the core issue here is corruption and how it affects us. Banning beer or sexy singers from appearing on stage does not offer Malaysians a better life. Even if beer and sexy singers are banned Malaysians will still remain poor. And we will remain poor because our money is being plundered and our low salaries and high taxes do not allow us a decent life.

Prophet Muhammad declared war on riba’ (usury). Riba’ basically means making money from no effort of your own. And, according to Sheikh Imran Hossein, there are 80 levels of riba’, corruption being one of them (since corruption involves making money in a dishonest manner and from no effort of your own).

But PAS does not declare war on corruption. PAS declares war on beer and sexy women. PAS does not understand that corruption and poverty is the real enemy. Poverty enslaves us. Corruption makes us even poorer.

PAS should take up the Prophet’s real fight, the fight against corruption and poverty. And poverty is the breeding ground of corruption. When you are broke one week after receiving your salary you need to resort to corruption to survive.