Nik aziz rejects the practice of corruption and money politics in UMNO @ BN


Nik Aziz renews support for stronger PR alliance

Nik Aziz maintains PAS should stay with Pakatan Rakyat.

IPOH, Nov 1 — PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat has maintained that the Islamist party should remain with Pakatan Rakyat (PR), while renewing his disdain for Umno over the Perak imbroglio.

The frail but fiery leader also gave his blessings on the 10 resolutions passed during yesterday’s inaugural PR convention, held here at the Syuen Hotel.

He told a congregation of some 600 delegates from the loose coalition’s three parties — PAS, DAP and PKR — to accept and adopt the resolutions, which mainly stressed on strengthening the newborn alliance.

He rejected the practice of corruption and money politics amongst the Barisan Nasional parties — singling out Umno in particular — and indicated that the PR, with its resounding pledge to weed out corruption, was the better alternative.

“We should sanction these resolutions and we will receive our reward. We are not on this earth to receive money but ‘pahala’ (reward) because money is materialism,” he said.

He added that in death, only the physical body of a person dies while the soul remains.

“As Muslims, whether we are Malay Muslims or Chinese Muslims or any other, we must protect our souls. We feed our bodies rice but it must be ‘halal’ — the rice is for the body while the ‘halal’ is for the soul,” he said, adding that anything bought with “haram” money would make the item “haram” as well.

Nik Aziz took a swipe at Umno’s practice of money politics.

Nik Aziz also explained that in the world belonging to Allah, no two people were the same, whether in physique or beliefs and values.

“I have 10 children and 52 grandchildren, and none of them are the same. After all, if all women and men looked the same, then we would never be able to tell which ones are our wives,” he joked.

As such, Nik Aziz said the differences of opinions and misunderstandings within the PR alliance was normal, for each party and each individual had their own uniqueness.

He called Umno stupid for getting angry with PAS and DAP over the issue of non-Muslims quoting verses from the Quran.

“The verses in the sacred Quran contain the basics of creating unity amongst mankind. Umno is stupid for getting angry just because a non-Muslim is trying to understand the Quran,” he said.

He said the birth of the PR alliance, and programmes like yesterday’s convention, were methods of creating such unity amongst mankind.

“In life, there is a method for everything. When we cook certain dishes, the method lies in the recipe — we cannot use the same ingredient for every dish,” he said.

At a ceramah in Chemor near here later last night, the Kelantan mentri besar continued to lambast Umno for its practices.

He said the Malay-centric party rejected true Islam and instead, practiced a “cacat” or handicapped version of the religion.

“When Islam is ‘cacat’, then Allah is made ‘cacat’, too,” he said to the crowd of over a thousand, who had gathered despite the endless drizzle to listen in rapt attention to the soft-spoken PAS leader.

The Perak imbroglio continues to rile PAS’ spiritual advisor. — file pic
Nik Aziz also chastised Umno for its illegal power grab in Perak, and shook his head at how they had stolen away what was not rightfully given to them.

“They can go as far as to enter the state legislative assembly to drag the Speaker from his seat and then later take his robe too,” he said.

He said the post of mentri besar was one that was given to an individual by the people, which was made possible through the choices given to mankind by Allah Himself.

“How smart, this Umno, to simply steal away the people of Perak as their own,” he said, in sarcasm.

The three parties are to formalise the alliance next month in a national convention under a Common Policy Framework (CPF) being undertaken by a team led by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

All three parties had a similar coalition in the 1999 general elections called the Barisan Alternatif but it broke down two years later when PAS insisted on its Islamic state idea, leading DAP to break away from the partnership.

MI
01/11/09

1Malaysia, Utter rubbish, Bullshit and another political gimmick by Najib for preparation of 13th General election

Malaysia have not even reached “Year Zero” for real nation building to begin. We have to first reach Year Zero when race-based political parties no longer exist in this fair land of ours before we can develop as a nation. Successive Barisan Nasional governments have dreamed up one caper after another to justify their racialist rule and the latest “1Malaysia” is yet another hollow hype.

Everyone can see that the race-based political parties in the Barisan Nasional are the biggest anachronism in a country that claims to aspire to be “1Malaysia”. Where else in the enlightened world community do you find political parties that discriminate against other “races” such as we find in UMNO, MCA and MIC? The floundering of these race-based parties since March 8th 2008 is an indication that the hour of their extinction is nigh…

Can a Chinese Malaysian join UMNO? No! Can a Malay Malaysian join MCA? No! Can a non-Indian join MIC? No! Is this not racial discrimination?

But can a Malay Malaysian enroll in a Chinese-language school? Yes! Can a Chinese Malaysian enroll in a Tamil school? Yes! And there are more than 60,000 non-Chinese in Chinese primary schools of Malaysia today. The Chinese primary school at Fraser’s Hill is almost all Indian! There is no racial discrimination in these schools.

Do you remember the UMNO Minister of Higher Education who told the UMNO general assembly a few years back that as long as he was the minister, he would not allow a single Non-Bumiputra to be admitted to UiTM? That’s blatant racial discrimination in 21st century Malaysia. Has this policy changed at UiTM with 1Malaysia?

Ratify the Convention against Racial Discrimination (CERD)

A simple test of whether or not the latest “1Malaysia” slogan is just another BN caper is for the Government to ratify the International Convention against all forms of Racial Discrimination. For a country that has chaired the UN Human Rights Commission and now espouses a “1Malaysia” slogan, there should be no problem for the government to take this first step on the path to non-racial redemption.

Racism and racial discrimination have been part of Malaysian political, economic, social and cultural realities ever since colonial times. Today, race has been so deeply institutionalised that it is a key factor determining benefits from government development policies, bids for business contracts, education policy, social policy, cultural policy, entry into educational institutions, discounts for purchasing houses and other official policies. Practically every aspect of Malaysian life is permeated by the so-called “Bumiputra policy” based on Malay-centrism. This is unabashedly spelled out by political leaders in the daily mass media in Malaysia.

Racism is an integral part of the Malaysian socio-political system. The ruling coalition is still dominated by racially-defined component parties, the United Malays National Organisation, the Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress. These parties compete for electoral support from their respective “racial” constituencies by pandering to “racial” interests. Invariably, their racist inclinations are exposed at their respective party congresses.

Some opportunistic Opposition parties likewise pander to their constituencies using racialist propaganda to win electoral support and they have also contributed to the vicious circle of racial politics which has characterised Malaysian politics all these years.

UMNO, the ruling party continues to insist that “Malay Unity” and even “Malay Dominance” are essential for National Unity. “Malay dominance” is invariably used interchangeably with “Malay Privileges”, which these ruling Malay elite justify in the Malaysian Federal Constitution.

Would the UMNO leaders continue to use such racist concepts such as “Malay dominance” once we have ratified the CERD? Maybe that explains why Malaysia has up to now not yet ratified this basic international convention.

Consequently, we have witnessed the periodic controversies over the alleged “challenges to Malay Special Privileges” every time sections of Malaysian society call for non-racist solutions to Malaysian problems.

Class Interests in Affirmative Action

The ruling party UMNO prides itself on the supposedly “successful” affirmative action in favour of ‘bumiputras’. This has been the cornerstone of development plans since the New Economic Policy which started in 1971.

Consequently, while this populist “bumiputra” policy has been applied to the benefit of “bumiputras” as a whole, the new Malay ruling elite is strategically placed to reap the full benefits of this racially-based policy. Totally committed to capitalism and to privatisation, this policy has ensured that the Non-Malay local and foreign elite have also gained from the New Economic Policy since 1971. This class cohesion among the Malaysian ruling elite underpins the racialist politics which has characterised Malaysian society since Independence.

Non-discriminatory basis of the Constitution

It is time for Malaysians to reaffirm the non-discriminatory basis of the Federal Constitution and to uphold human rights principles which are strictly anti-racist.

Article 8 (1) of the Malaysian Constitution clearly spells out the principle of equality of all Malaysians while Article 12 (1) allows no discrimination against any citizens on the grounds of religion, race, descent or place of birth.

Article 153 on the special position of Malays was inspired by the affirmative action provisions of the Indian Constitution to protect the minority under-privileged class of harijans. Ours is fundamentally different from those provisions because the ethnic group in whose favour the discrimination operates in Malaysia happens to be the one in political control, the Malays.

At the time of Independence in 1957, four matters in relation to which the special position of Malays were recognised and safeguarded were: land; admission to public services; issuing of permits or licences for operation of certain businesses; scholarships, bursaries or other forms of aid for educational purposes.

The Federal Constitution certainly does not adhere to any notion of “Ketuanan Melayu” (Malay Dominance), which is a totally racist concept.

When the Constitutional (Reid) Commission was considering whether such a provision should be included in the 1957 Constitution, it made the following comments:

“Our recommendations are made on the footing that the Malays should be assured that the present position will continue for a substantial period, but that in due course the present preferences should be reduced and should ultimately cease so that there should be no discrimination between races or communities.” (Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957, Govt Press, para 165, p.72)

The UMNO leaders have often tried to accuse critics of the New Economic Policy of being against Malay special privileges. In fact, they are ignoring the fact that these racially discriminatory policies did not exist in pre-1971 Malaysian society even though Malay special privileges were in existence between 1957 and 1971.

Affirmative Action Must be Transparent and Accountable

After the Tunku was deposed in 1971, the new Malay ruling elite felt that adequate opportunities had not been made available to them, especially in education and that there should be a larger proportion of Malays in the various sectors. Thus, in 1971 and under Emergency conditions, Article 153 was duly amended to introduce the quota system for Malays in institutions of higher learning. Clause (8A) specifically provided for the reservation of places for Bumiputeras in any University, College and other educational institutions.

Nevertheless, the quota system was not intended to be the totally non-transparent and non-accountable and unfair system we know it today:

Firstly, Article (8A) makes it clear that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can only order a reservation of a proportion of such places for the Malays. It would therefore mean that the quota system is applicable only on a faculty basis and more importantly every faculty or institution should reserve places for students of every race. No faculty or institution under this provision could cater for the Malays alone to the exclusion of the other races. The existence of institutions such as UiTM and other junior colleges which have been practicing blatant racial exclusion is actually a wild aberration from Article 8A.

Visu Sinnadurai (”Rights in respect of education under the Malaysian Constitution” in Trindade & Lee edited ‘The Constituion of Malaysia’) has observed:

“Years after the implementation of this racial quota system, there was no trace of any such order being made by His Majesty nor was there evidence of any such order having been gazetted. Such a directive would thus seem to have been made by the officials of the Ministry of Education.”

Thus, it is not clear whether the quota system is made applicable on an institutional basis or on the basis of the total number of places available in a particular course of study of all the universities in the country. To apply the quota system on the total number of places available in any particular university will again be a wrong interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution.

Article 153 (8A) does not authorise the administrators of any university to refuse admission to any student of a particular race. It only allows a proportion of the places to be reserved for Malay students. On such reasoning, the constitutionality of institutions like UiTM, the Asasi Sains in the University of Malaya or Kursus Sains Matriculasi Sidang Akademik of the Universiti Sains Malaysia which cater only for Bumiputra students is doubtful.

From the above, it is clear that the question of the constitutionality of the quota system as it has been practised since 1971 especially in totally Bumiputera institutions has never been tested.

Affirmative Action Not a Carte Blanche for Racial Discrimination

We know what the original intentions of the “Malay Special Privileges” provision in the Merdeka Constitution were, but to maintain that it is a carte blanche for all manner of racial discrimination as we have witnessed since 1971 is a violation of the spirit of the Malaysian Constitution.

International law sets major limits on affirmative action measures. Notably, affirmative action policies must be carefully controlled and not be permitted to undermine the principle of non-discrimination itself nor violate human rights. Holding the equality principle uppermost, the raison detre and reasonableness for differential treatment must be proven.

Another important criterion to ensure successful affirmative action and synonymous with international law is that such special measures should be introduced for a limited duration as was suggested by the Reid Commission in its Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission in 1957.

A consequence of the so-called affirmative action policies up to now is that for the poor of all ethnic communities, including the indigenous peoples in Malaysia, these objectives of wealth redistribution for their benefit have not been met. Worse, the poorest community remains the Orang Asli of Peninsula Malaysia, the Original People of Malaysia who are not even considered “Bumiputra” under the Federal Constitution.

Just 10 years after the NEP was implemented, the 1980 Census showed that more than 80 per cent of al government executive officers were Malay; Malays held 75 per cent of the publicly-funded tertiary education places; and 96 per cent of FELDA settlers were Malay. By 1990, it was widely held by observers that the wealth restructuring policy objective was very much on target if nominee companies listed under “other Malaysians” were analysed. It is also well-known that many of these nominee companies have been formed by the bumiputra elite.

Elite Cohesion in the Barisan Nasional

All the same, these figures showing ownership of equity capital, however distorted, also reveal that the rich Non-Malay elite have done quite well under the NEP. This perhaps accounts for the elite cohesion which has held the Barisan Nasional coalition together for so long. The evidence further shows that the NEP’s “wealth restructuring” has mainly resulted in increased wealth concentration and greater intra-ethnic inequality.

By the mid-Eighties, it was found that the top 40 shareholders in the country owned 63 per cent of the total number of shares in public companies; the top 4.4 per cent of investors in the Amanah Saham Nasional had savings amounting to more than 70 per cent of ASN’s total investments.

By 1990, the realities of the racially discriminatory quota system in education were as follows: An average of 90 per cent of loans for polytechnic certificate courses, 90 per cent of scholarships for Diploma of Education courses, 90 per cent of scholarships/loans for degree courses taken in the country, almost all scholarships/loans for degree courses taken overseas were given to Bumiputeras. Regarding the enrolment of students in residential schools throughout the Eighties, 95 per cent of these were Bumiputera. The enrolment in MARA’s Lower Science College, Maktab Sains MARA was almost 100 per cent Bumiputera throughout the Eighties.

Racial discrimination in the realm of culture is seen not only in education policy but also in the discrimination against Non-Malay cultures and religions in the National Cultural Policy. Non-Muslims face obstacles in their freedom to build places of worship and access to burial grounds, among other complaints.

Policy Proposals for 1Malaysia

Racism and racial discrimination have dominated Malaysian society for far too long. Now that the Malay ruling elite has clearly gained control of the Malaysian economy, it is high time for a new consensus based on non-racial factors such as class, sector or need to justify affirmative action.

It is time for all Malaysians who hunger for peace and freedom to outlaw racism and racial discrimination from Malaysian society once and for all and to build real unity based on adherence to human rights, equality and the interests of the Malaysian masses.

These proposals which I submitted to the World Conference against Racism and Racial Discrimination in Durban, 2001 are still applicable today, an indication that we have not yet reached “Year Zero”:

· Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Political Institutions

1. Political parties formed on the basis of “race” to further the interests of their respective “races” should be outlawed as such practices are inconsistent with international conventions against racism and racial discrimination;

2. Ratify all the international covenants and UN Conventions that have not been ratified by the Malaysian Government to ensure that all legislations in the country abide by international human rights standards;

3. Enact a Race Relations Act and institute an Equal Opportunities Commission to combat racism, racialism, and racial discrimination in all Malaysian institutions;

4. Delineation of constituencies must be based on the principle of “one person, one vote” and there should not be wide discrepancies between the number of voters in different constituencies;

5. Reintroduce elected local government so that problems of housing, health, schools, public order, etc. can be solved in non-racial ways;

6. Ensure that there is no racial discrimination in the Civil and Armed Services and every ethnic community has equal chance of promotion;

7. Establish an Independent Broadcasting Authority which is fair to all ethnic communities in Malaysia;

· Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Economic development

8. Full transparency and accountability to ensure that contracts and shares are not dispensed on a racial basis through nepotism, cronyism or corruption;

9. No bailing out of failed private businesses under the guise of affirmative action;

10. Reduce income disparity between the rich and poor regardless of race, religion, gender, disability or political affiliation;

11. Develop small and medium industries, the backbone of national industrialization without racial discrimination;

12. Support all sectors including pig farmers during times of crisis;

13. Distribute land equally to farmers of all ethnic communities;

14. Replace the racially-based quota system with a means-tested sliding scale mechanism to award deserving entrepreneurs;

· Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Social Development

15. Modernise the 450 or so New Villages in the country which have existed for more than 50 years, in which many of our small and medium industries are located and where basic infrastructure is inadequate;

16. Improve the living conditions (eg. a guaranteed minimum monthly wage) and basic amenities such as housing, education and health facilities of plantation workers;

17. Ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and members of their families;

18. Set up an Equal Opportunities Employment Commission to address all forms of discrimination in the workplace;

19. Gazette all communal lands of the Orang Asli and other indigenous peoples so that they can control their own land resources and choose their own way of life;

20. Enact laws to confirm the rights of urban settlers and obligations of developers to provide fair compensation and alternative housing to urban settlers;

21. Cater to the special needs of women, children, senior citizens and the disabled;

22. Provide more recreational facilities for the youth regardless of race to allow them to develop positive and healthy lifestyles and to encourage tolerance and awareness of cultural diversity and equality;

23. Establish a housing development authority to direct construction of low and medium-cost public housing for the needy irrespective of race;

24. Poverty eradication programmes to benefit the poor of all ethnicity;

· Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Education

25. Special assistance based on NEED by under-privileged sectors and CLASS and NOT on race;

26. Institute a means-tested sliding scale of education grants and loans for all who qualify to enter tertiary institutions regardless of race, religion or gender;

27. Recognise educational certificates, diplomas or degrees based on strictly academic grounds and to be dealt with by the National Accreditation Board and not politicised;

28. Build more schools using the mother tongue of Malaysian minorities as long as there is a demand for them in any catchment of these ethnic communities and provide financial allocations to these fairly;

29. Establish a long-term solution to the crisis of teacher shortage in the Chinese and Tamil schools;

30. Amend the Education Act 1996 to reflect the national education policy as originally stated in the Education Ordinance 1957 ensuring the use, teaching and development of the mother tongue of all Malaysian ethnic communities;

31. Make available compulsory Pupils’ Own language (POL) classes within the normal school curriculum as long as there are five pupils of any ethnic community in any school;

Non-Racial Solutions to Malaysian Cultural Policy

32. Promote knowledge, respect and sensitivity among Malaysians on cultures, religions and ethnicity;

33. Gazette all places of prayer and worship for all ethnic communities in their areas of domicile free from any encumbrances or arbitrary restrictions;

34. Include all works by Malaysians regardless of the language in which they are written in national artistic and literary awards and scholarships;

35. All ethnic Malaysian cultures to be fairly represented in official cultural bodies and the media.

31/10/09

Should a university embody the philosophy of mundur rather than mara?

Should it even be proud of being and embodiment of that philosophy?. Only a misguided leader will be proud of being a guide to 'defeat and retreat' while the world around 'advances' and moves.

It is the ideology and perpetrators of the ideology of undur itself that's at fault. It is the leaders implementing the retrogressive ideology that are at fault.

It is the systematic indoctrination programme of ketuanan Melayu run over the decades that are advancing this UiTM philosophy of retreat.

It is an overdose of the work of government-sponsored Biro Tata Negara (BTN) that is making the mass retreat and defeat possible. It is the work of Malay-dominated agencies like these that are imprisoning the minds of the Malays. This is an anti-Malay-progress establishment that is using deformed arguments on race and ethnicity to pursue an educational ideology that has gone bankrupt.

Docile Malay intended
This is an anti-Malaysian mode of thinking that is still allowed to shackle the mind of the Malays. The idea is simple: make the Malay mind docile and afraid to think and you will divide and conquer them.

Retrogressive ideologies
In MRSM as well, a predominantly Malay-elite secondary institution for the best and brightest young Malays, similar things have been happening since the 1980s as well. Kursus Kesedaran (Self Awareness Courses) are conducted to instill the questionable idea of Ketuanan Melayu, making the children afraid of "Malaysian boogeymen and boogeywomen" and their own shadows.

Open-mindedness is rarely encouraged and students take control over each others' lives transplanting retrogressive ideologies into each other's head, with the help of ultra-nationalist and anti-multiculturalist teachers.

Even if these children survive the ideological ordeal and experience 'tough love' and go on to get their degrees from top American and British universities, they will still be Malays with a shallow understanding of multiculturalism or become more sophisticated Malays with more complex arguments on Ketuanan Melayu.

They will then design policies to affect the needed sustenance of ideology in order to protect the interests of the few. Neo-feudalistic cybernetic Malays are then new creation of the political-economic ruling class. They run the country and many are now running it down.

To see Malays progress alongside in peace and prosperity with other races, put a stop to all forms of indoctrination held especially by the BTN; an organisation that is of no value to the advancement of the Malays they claim to want to liberate.

It should be taken over by progressive Malaysians and replaced with a systematic effort to promote not only racial understanding through teaching respect and deep reflection on the cultures of the peoples of Malaysia, but also teach conflict resolution and mediation through cross-cultural perspectives. All must question the presence of BTN on campuses. All must reject BTN's programme for indoctrination.

Let us no longer allow any government body of that sort to set foot on our campuses or our schools. As Malaysians we have to demand an end to the further dissemination of racist ideologies.

Open up, not only UiTM and MRSM but also Umno to more cultures. We will have a great celebration of diversity and respect for human dignity in decades to come. I speak as a silent reproduction and capitalised human of both MRSM and UiTM; a product of the human capital revolution of the Mahathir era.

MARA means progress. Malays are now sick of contradictions and doublespeak. They do not wish to Undur. Let us all protest against the stupefication of the Malays. Let us dismantle racist institutions.

Mk
31/10/09

Umno’s penchant for disgraced lawmakers

Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah quit PKR yesterday and was almost immediately welcomed by Selangor Umno, who said it would help him with allocations for the state seat.

This isn't the first time that Umno is so keen to adopt the riff-raff from PKR.

It began in February with PKR assemblymen Jamaludidn Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering) who together with DAP's Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) brought down the Perak Pakatan Rakyat government.

Both PKR lawmakers were facing corruption charges in a court case which has been postponed repeatedly since their defection and one witness has now recanted his evidence.

In August, PKR's Lunas assemblyman Mohd Radzhi Salleh also quit the party but wanted to keep his state executive councillor post after allegations of tweaking his mileage and allowance claims. The Kedah Sultan removed him but he was later cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)

In Badrul's case, he won the seat but was absent from the constituency since Election 2008 due to a medical condition. In resigning from the party, the first-time assemblyman claimed that all allocations for the constituency went through other channels and not through him.

Much will be made of he says in the aftermath of the latest PKR casualty and Umno's keenness to exploit it for its own gains in a state that used to be its political fortresses.

But it is people like Jamaluddin, Osman, Radzhi and Badrul and the stench of corruption and laziness around them that pushed people to vote for the opposition in the March 2008 polls.

Umno's eager embrace of these tainted lawmakers says so much about the value system in the party. It fielded disbarred lawyer Rohaizat Othman in Permatang Pasir and lost, but won Bagan Pinang with disgraced party vice-president Tan Sri Isa Samad.

While Umno has reformed its party election rules to prevent corruption, people in the street will just look at these characters who are now in the party's good books to wonder whether their next vote will help form a clean government.

Thus far, there is no reason to give Umno that vote.

But Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his allies had made the first mistake of fielding these clowns in the last general election. And now Umno is compounding it by supporting them for their friendliness.

It goes without saying that it will be easier for PKR to get rid of such lawmakers ahead of the next general election or face the same problem in the future.

And for all of Umno's talk and bluster, its acceptance of such people reflects Datuk Seri Najib Razak's arduous task of cleaning up his party has yet to get traction.

MI
31/10/09

Greed and Corruption, Malaysian Culture?

On some days, ordinary Malaysians find themselves unable to do business in the ordinary way. They are compelled to pay incentives to get people to do a salaried duty. On other days, ordinary Malaysians are told extraordinary things about corruption in the high echelons of business and politics, especially where the twain meet. Mind-boggling quantums are quoted authoritatively.
The twists in the financial tales are the stuff of textbooks on the art of trickery. But most of all, it is the fantastic living corrupt men so easily elicit from their conduct which sheds them of ordinariness and strips us of our innocence. That's how corruption begins.

"Our temptation is supported by how we see others do it,". "If it looks easy to give or take a bribe, and others have set precedents, we'll do it. Of course corrupt givers and takers know it's wrong."

The thought of Malaysians comfortable with the concept of being corrupt is frightening, especially since the systems - both in public service and the free market - are actually workable. More alarming than the corruption level is the acceptance level. More and more Malaysians are living with it as though it is a natural part of our mind scape. Contributing to this socio-psychological crisis is the marginal relief from official complaints channels, and even less from the media. At the highest levels, top guns scratch each other's backs and get away with it. At the moment, everyone is giving, everyone is taking, that's how things move.

That false sense of safety in numbers has pushed corruption to what some have described as "the grossest levels." Greed, say social commentators, has overcome many a Malaysian. Malaysian leaders never envisaged the extent corruption could go to. "And it has gone out of control, most dangerously so amongst the Malays in positions of power,". "Unchecked, our top leaders will be held hostage by corruption. Eventually, they won't be able to carry out a single executive task without paying incentives."

"There is a momentum gathering against corruption. Already, some corrupt people have fallen with a mighty bang. Some have been told to leave with their tails between their legs. Just as there seems to be more corruption now, it's also true that more people are getting caught."

Not everyone shares that confidence in the system. Some think it will get worse before it gets better, that's if it gets better.

"There are no inhibitions which means they are not shackled by spiritual values,". "It's the way things are done. What's changed over the years are the personalities and the amounts of money involved. People have become greedier."

It is easy to summarise the entire picture into greed as if it were a single omnipresent god. The realities of life and the sheer cost of living force the hand as well. It is well-known that some Malaysian policemen don't like being posted to the Klang Valley because it is expensive. They prefer small towns where they can maintain the family on their salary. In the city, they know they will eventually "take" because that money pays bills and decides whether or not the family will have a car. Malaysian policemen don't have the freedom to take on a second job, unlike office girls, for instance, who sell Amway for legitimate extra income.

The approach to handling society and its problems is conducive for corruption. The more penalties you impose, the more corruption you encourage. drink-driving laws as an example. "First, we have a short campaign, then we have road blocks,". "Now, drinkers have no respect for that law because, apparently they can buy their way out of the problem. What we should be doing is forcefully educating people continuously on drink-driving and on other matters, especially since we still operate nationwide public TV."

But are Malaysians really that rotten? There's a legend in Malaysian politics about vote-buying. Story goes that workers of a political party were given briefcases of cash to distribute to voters but they never took a cent of it for themselves. A work ethic in the thick of a wholly unethical practice. Was that total devotion to a cause, to political ideology? Or just total blindness to what's right and what's wrong?

The ethnic dimension
Race, is what makes us what we are. The Malays have come under particular scrutiny in recent years. Clearly, says a social commentator, corruption amongst the Malays is tied to power. This is a fundamental aspect of the old feudal structure which is really a psychological study of protection and the protector.

More than that, the sweeping changes which came with the New Economic Policy (NEP) completely changed the socio-economic structure. It thrust Malays into positions of power and wealth as a matter of policy. Several things transpired.

"Many Malays had never seen so much money. When they got their hands on it, they went berserk buying yachts and mansions and fancy cars. Others in power positions solicited 'sweeteners' because it was easy.

Privileged and preference for Bumiputeras. Non-Malays then squeezed their way in with front-men, often offering money up-front. Then came the economic boom. Money oozed out of every nook and cranny. Corruption spiraled as the cake grew bigger and stories began circulating about how some Malays were getting greedier.

This phenomenon is not an ethnic flaw. Before the NEP, there were Malays in power positions. Many are remembered as gentlemen with scruples; their honesty spoken of nostalgically these days. In Tunku Abdul Rahman's, the first prime minister's tenure, there were chief ministers like Abu Bakar Baginda and Dr Mohamad Said Mohamad.

"Their reputations hold them as being among the most honest Malay leaders we've ever had. Their personal and professional integrity is almost legendary. They did not display their religion but were God-fearing. They considered the consequences of their actions and decisions. These people who had seen a little power, so did not go overboard when they were in positions of power themselves."

In the late Tunku's time, there were no real middle class, just administrators, peasants and a growing group of school teachers all morally upright and committed to creating a stable nation. A few noble families were in business and government. Education and development have since leveled that playing field. These days, everyone is in the game, including the riff-raff.

Corruption among the Indians and Chinese is merely a pragmatic way of doing things although there appears to be a much greater opprobrium towards corruption.

30/10/09

I Malaysia camp won’t promote unity. 1 MRSM will!, 1 UITM, 1 fully residential schools, 1 Elite schools will! Stop UMNO’s apartheid now!

The 1 Malaysia unity camp attended by the pupils involved in the Kuala Dipang bridge tragedy is similar to the Education Ministry’s Students Integration Plan for Unity (Rimup) camps, director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said. (Camp to promote unity among school children The Star 29/10/2009 at page N6).

But this 1Malaysia unity camp alone is not going to promote unity among school children. Malaysian Indian children in particular just sat for their UPSR and PMR exams. They all have high hopes of gaining admission into Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM), fully residential schools, elite schools and UiTM on an equal opportunity to education basis.

But they are completely excluded from these institutions. All their hopes will be dashed when they are denied entry for example into MRSM purely because they are Indians and not malay muslims. This would cut very deep into their hearts and hurt the minds of these children right from even this very tender age.

They would grow up hating UMNO. This UMNO’s racist and religious extremist policies start even from the play school Permata and government run Kindergardens level and also the governments run Tadika and Taska which are set up in almost all malay muslim neighborhoods and to the exclusion of especially to the poor, underprivileged and working class Indian children.

For almost all of these Indian children it is no play school or kindergarden for them but they go straight to primary school. They have to start off on a lower footing. They cannot afford private kindergardens which may cost RM 200.00 or more per month when they earn only RM 600.00 per month.

In 2008, 725 students scored 7A1s’ in UPSR (Tamil Nesan 23/2/2009 at page 7) but they were all dejected when they were denied entry into MRSM not because they did not qualify but because of One Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak’s racist and religious extremist policies.

P. Uthayakumar.
HRP
29/10/09

EVENT- 1/11/09: Forum Malaysian Indian Political Empowerment- The Way Forward & Book Launching

Forum: Malaysian Indian Political Empowerment- The Way Forward & Book launching by P.Uthayakumar.

Place: Dewan Orang Ramai (PKNS) Taman Sri Putra. Banting, Klang.

Time:- 7.00pm

For more information contact:

Raja- 017 8857619

Karu- 019 3592124

Munusamy- 013 2242483

Please sms to your friends to come for this event.

Thank you.

Valga People Power Makkal Sakthi

S.JAYATHAS

HRP Information Chief

Najib Razak, who masterminded the toppling of the Perak Pakatan State Government

The chaotic Perak state assembly

Law and order has completely broken down in the Perak State Assembly. What we witnessed yesterday was a farce that has brought down the dignity of the State Assembly.

This may be the first occasion in the entire history of parliamentary democracy when two separate Assemblies have met under one roof simultaneously presided over by two Speakers, with two different agendas tabled and debated.

This circus will be the order of the day when parliamentary procedures and principles are ignored, frustrating the will of the people by underhand tactics with the assistance of corrupt politicians.

Anarchy reigned supreme in the Perak State Assembly yesterday.

This is what is to be expected when the majority mandate of Perakians are nullified by three unscrupulous political “frogs” who betrayed their mandate by switching parties and making a mockery of parliamentary democracy.

For this chaotic situation in the Perak State Assembly, the Barisan Nasional must be held accountable. It is they who masterminded the toppling of the Perak Pakatan State Government. It was our Prime Minister who engineered the fall of a duly elected government of the people. For all his talk of democracy and 1Malaysia, he has failed miserably to unite the people or persuade them to share his vision for the nation.

This is not the government the people wanted or elected or supported. This is the government thrust upon them by foul means. They don’t feel themselves as part of this undemocratically foisted government.

Even at this stage, it is never too late to right the grievous wrong to put matters right. The only solution is to dissolve the Perak State Assembly to seek a fresh mandate of the people. If the BN is very confident and is convinced that Perakians are solidly behind the BN, this is the time to put that belief to the test. — Aliran

MI
29/10/09

Press statement on PKR party leadership.

Recent changes to the leadership in Keadilan have caused confusion and consternation among some. I recognise that not everyone will be pleased with decisions made by the party’s leadership and not everyone will appreciate the difficulty we face in seeking to accommodate all views, including those of the divisions and branches which make up the backbone of the party, while striving to guide our party towards achieving its goals.

As our party grows in number and transforms into a national organization we have struggled at times to identify right strategy and mix of leadership that will carry us to the next level. Along the way we have encountered great challenges and have also uncovered promising new talent. Our task remains a work in progress and the announcements made this week are based on consensus and consultation within the party to work towards a better future.

Keadilan was established with a mission to be a unifying force for Malaysians of all races and religions and restore the integrity of the principles enshrined in the Federal Constitution. This mission carries unprecedented import and its pursuit confronts us with unparalled challenges.

Over the years many have poured scorn on our aspirations for a brighter future and have derided our belief in an end to racial politics and rampant corruption. And yet we, with our partners in the Pakatan Rakyat, made historic progress towards restoring democracy, freedom and the Rule of Law. We have done so despite a hostile media and the relentless attacks on us by the institutions of the government and the unlimited resources of the UMNO-led BN coalition.

I acknowledge the setbacks that we have faced since the March elections. Political parties are complex organisms and political coalitions are neither crystallised overnight nor even in a fortnight. The frustrations which have been expressed by some colleagues within the party and by some supporters are valid and I remain open to engaging all parties on the principle of mutual respect, understanding and an unrelenting commitment to the principles of justice and fairness.

The future of the nation does not lie in the hands of any one individual nor does our party nor does this coalition. I continue to ask the ongoing faith and patience of the people in supporting the mission of Keadilan and of Pakatan Rakyat.

WAN AZIZAH WAN ISMAIL
President
Parti Keadilan Rakyat
29/10/09

Malaysia must decide what kind of country it wants to be

During the recent United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York, Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman painted a picture of Malaysia that many like to see — a multi-ethnic mosaic of religions, races and beliefs. “The Malaysian government has introduced the 1 Malaysia concept,” Anifah said. “It aims at fostering appreciation and respect for all races, seeing diversity as a source of strength. It envisages unity that arises from true acceptance instead of mere tolerance.”

Yet, the same day that Anifah extolled the virtues of 1 Malaysia for all, a judge's ruling back home conveyed an image of Malaysia with a two-track justice system that unfairly punishes Muslims.

The chief Syariah judge of Pahang upheld a religious court's verdict to cane a Muslim woman for drinking beer.

There is debate here over whether the state law under which Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was convicted and sentenced violates provisions of federal law. The question underscores the challenge that individual state governments — which have sole authority over Islamic issues — pose to the federal government, and the fairness of a legal system that applies only to Muslims, whose personal offences are tried under Syariah or religious law.

After Kartika, 32, pleaded guilty to drinking, the sentencing judge threatened to jail her for three years if she didn't pay a fine of RM5,000. Kartika paid the fine and came close to being caned in August before an uproar in the media and among rights activists earned her a temporary reprieve. She would be the first Muslim woman to be caned in Malaysia if the sentence is carried out.

Kartika's case is just one example of the increasing harshness of Malaysia's separate justice system for Muslims, who make up about 60 per cent of the population. Last month, a Syariah court sentenced an unmarried couple to caning for trying to have sex in a car. A Syariah court in another state ordered an Indonesian Muslim man to be whipped six times and jailed a year for drinking liquor at a restaurant.

Ten of Malaysia's 13 states impose fines on Muslims who are caught drinking alcohol — though the Quran does not stipulate a punishment for this transgression — while three states have recently ordered caning. Such punishments apply only to Muslims; non-Muslims must abide only by civil laws, so they are free to drink or engage in other behaviour forbidden under Islam.

This dual system of justice amounts to state interference in Muslims' private lives. State efforts to “protect” Muslims from sin include a government attempt to ban Muslims from a rock concert because it was sponsored by a beer company. (The government eventually backed down.)

Although Malaysia has long prided itself on being a role model of a “moderate” majority-Muslim nation, politicians have taken to brandishing their conservative and punishment-focused Islamic credentials to attract the votes of Muslims drawn to “purer” leaders.

Many Muslims are afraid to challenge the Islamists for fear of being labelled as anti-Islamic or ignorant of Islamic tenets. “This is definitely not the Malaysia I grew up in, which was far more relaxed and tolerant. This has really been a political development over the last decade or so where political parties have used Islam in order to win the Muslim vote,” Datuk Marina Mahathir, a writer and a blogger, told me by e-mail.

And contrary to the 1 Malaysia theme, the politicisation of religion has even led to hostility against non-Muslims. In late August, for example, a group of Muslims paraded the severed head of a cow, the most sacred animal in Hinduism, to protest against the construction of a Hindu temple. A court charged 12 protesters with criminal offences.

Dr Hamidah Marican, executive director of the group Sisters in Islam, whose request for a review of Kartika's sentencing was recently rejected, seeks to challenge the image that Malaysian officials present of a tolerant country. Harsh punishments such as caning, she says, actually violate Islamic principles.

“Islam is compassionate. There are 107 verses in the Quran that talk of forgiveness,” Hamidah said. “Personal sins are between you and God, not for man to judge. Syariah laws are in fact often the result of juristic activity involving human beings, hence they're fallible.”

Malaysia plans to again seek a seat on the UN Human Rights Council next year, but members of the council should know that caning is a humiliating punishment that violates international conventions against torture, to which Malaysia is a signatory.

The Malaysian government must acknowledge that interfering in people's private lives and sentences such as caning are the antithesis of a “moderate” Muslim state.

Malaysia must make clear what kind of country it wants to be. Is it the nation of the splendid Kuala Lumpur skyline, blending the traditions of its mosques and temples with the modernity of the dazzling Petronas Towers?

Or is it a judgmental, moralistic nation that obsesses over the private lives of its citizens?

MI
29/10/09

PKR in dire need to do house cleaning, Should also ask Zul Noordin to quit too

Selangor MB wants Port Klang lawmaker to quit

SHAH ALAM, Oct 29 — PKR continues to wobble with Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim now recommending to the party that its Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah quit his seat for non-performance, raising the possibility of a by-election.

Khalid's political secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said today Badrul Hisham has been evasive and has not made efforts to improve his work despite getting a show-cause letter on Aug 20, 2008.

"Mentri Besar of Selangor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid today had made a recommendation to the Parti Keadilan Rakyat supreme council for Badrul Hisham to resign as assemblyman," he said in a four-paragraph statement today.

Nik Nazmi , who is also the Seri Setia assemblyman, added that Khalid will send a delegation to reiterate the matter to the assemblyman personally.

"The state government cannot tolerate incompetent and irresponsible leaders as they will seriously undermine its efforts to improve the rakyat’s economic and social lives," he said.

Badrul Hisham won the Port Klang state seat in Election 2008 with 12,397 votes against Barisan Nasional's Roselinda Abdul Jamil who got 7,990 votes and independent Nazir Mansor with 580.

Roselinda is the daughter-in-law of former Port Klang assemblyman Datuk Zakaria Md Deros, the infamous Umno warlord who built his Istana Zakaria palace in a low-cost housing area.

Early this month, Khalid had said he would decide on Badrul Hisham's status by the end of October.

Speculation is rife that Badrul Hisham plans to defect to Umno and controversy has plagued the first-term lawmaker since the general election last year due to complaints by voters in his constituency that he was never around and could not be contacted.

Khalid had said previously that the state lawmaker was suffering from a medical condition due to an accident and the state would extend a helping hand to him.

He claimed that Badrul Hisham met with an accident before being elected but his condition had deteriorated due to the stress of being a lawmaker.

Badrul Hisham, however, rejected this explanation and was adamant that he was still a party member serving as Port Klang assemblyman.

MI
29/10/09

1 Malaysia has become the farce of the moment in Perak with its two mentris besars, two state government, two speakers and two sittings

The Perak farce redux

That this Perak State Assembly sitting would be a farce was taken as a given.

After all, the Barisan Nasional-appointed Speaker Datuk R. Ganesan revised the rules that only allowed Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers in five minutes before the assembly apart from bringing in new sergeants-at-arms to ensure peace and order in the state assembly.

And the state assembly building itself bristled with the police armed to the teeth and with a court order to restrain any crowd 50 metres away to ensure public order.

In other words, the men in blue — be it Barisan or the cops — locked down Ipoh for another farcical round of a state assembly sitting, the last being May 7 when Pakatan Speaker V. Sivakumar was dragged out of the speaker's chair and dumped as the Perak Raja Muda, Raja Nazrin Shah, waited patiently to deliver his speech.

Only those who take power illegally would go to such lengths to shore up their legitimacy to rule a state. The last time this was done was when the British locked down Northern Ireland while fighting off the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Yes, Ipoh now shares something in common with Belfast. Doesn't make it right, though.

Of course, the Pakatan side too continued the farce by holding its simultaneous assembly as both sides played musical chairs for the speaker's seat and power over the civil service, which has blatantly shown it sides with Barisan.

How long can we watch this farce continue between a palace-appointed state government and one popularly elected by the people in Election 2008. Do we have to suffer through more lockdowns in Ipoh and strange rules by a speaker whose validity is still questionable?

Events in Ipoh since the Perak putsch in February have clearly scuttled the well-crafted 1 Malaysia mantra spoken almost daily by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He might have won the battle for Perak but retaining it in the next general election seems far-fetched now.

Najib recently launched the 1 Malaysia concept in Ipoh, appealing to all Perak folk to accept the Barisan government which he said was legal according to the law courts. All he needs to really do is to get Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir to advise the Perak Ruler to call for snap elections.

Otherwise, his 1 Malaysia. Rakyat First. Performance Now remains a joke spun off to include 1 Toilet in Terengganu, 1 MCA in Kuala Lumpur and 1 World at the Unesco meeting in Paris.

1 Malaysia has become the farce of the moment in Perak with its two mentris besars, two state government, two speakers and two sittings. And both sides are not making it any better.
28/10/09

Is Zulkifli Noordin an idiot or PKR?

When right is wrong

OCT 28 — I recently went out with a group of friends I haven’t seen since college and one of the best things that happened was also the scariest. You see, these are basically the individuals who are impassioned by their love for a certain religion to the point that they think that everyone should be subject to the religious laws.

We’re talking about the likes of Zulkifli Noordin, but more radical.

What surprised me was that when I asked for leave to go clubbing, which I do rather often on Fridays and Saturdays, it wasn’t enough that I got angry stares, I also got a lecture on how the dance floor could eventually lead to sex.

At the time, my reaction was simple.

That’s the idea.

This, of course, led to another furore about how people who partake in pre-marital sex should be stoned to death.

At this point, I basically cracked by cynically pointing out that the nation couldn’t afford to purchase that much marijuana to implement the law of “stoning” people to death.

Retarded religious right wing

Let’s face facts, folks.

We have retards for right-wing politicians in Malaysia. From the social to religious conservatives, it’s not the fact that they’re not educated. It’s merely the fact that they would rather pretend to be retarded and rhetorical than face cold hard truths that burst their bubble.

Let’s start with the religious right wing, which are currently being the most moronic bunch of all.

Zulkifli Noordin, who will hopefully NOT be running for re-election in the next general election if PKR has any brains at all, started the first day in Parliament by putting forth a motion that alcohol and condoms be prohibited from sale in convenience stores.

Because, as you all can sarcastically see, alcoholics and people who practice safe sex are a similar threat to the nation as thieves, robbers, white-collar criminals and some guy who sold Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara Balik Pulau two Acer laptops for RM86,000.

Seriously, I can’t even look at my friends from Kulim without thinking that they voted for an idiot.

This is, of course, in line with the belief of the Muslim Consumer Association president’s stance on condoms for married couples, who stated on “101 East” that having sex with condoms “has no feeling”.

Then we have PAS in Kelantan which wants to stop promoting people who smoke. Honestly, just how daft are the rules in this state?

If PAS wants to stop smokers it’s easy. For every muktamar or gathering they hold, screen each person for cigarettes and confiscate them.

Besides, isn’t PAS “for all”?

Racial radicals

But of course, how could we discount the racial right wing?

I mean, who else could come up with the absurd to even suggest banning fantasy and superstitious horror movies from television if not the Umno bimbos in pink.

While the male youth of the party go out suggesting discounts on cars and rebates for the first-born, we have the female youth coming out with, of course, the major cause for Malay children to be screwed up.

Harry Potter, "Twilight" and perhaps even Tan Sri P. Ramlee movies, which are also considered fantasy unless Umno somehow believes Laksamana DoReMi to be true.

But then, if they could actually believe the notion that they can wield a keris on stage and protect all 27 million Malaysians with it, they’d probably buy the idea of a magic harmonica that grants wishes too.

Left, right and dead centre

Most Malaysian voters are “swingers”; they switch their votes on a whim depending on who’s more convincing.

This was rather obvious when the party that backed the PR, the Makkal Shakti, switched sides during the Bagan Pinang by-election.

I honestly agree with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, that the media plays a big role in determining an election, particularly the more credible and independent online media which highlights every single drama taking place within the ranks of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

It’s a good thing because for once the rakyat no longer cares for propaganda pieces from either side. I mean, reading recent comments in an article on The Malaysian Insider which basically branded Zulkifli Noordin an idiot made me weep tears of joy.

With the 1 Malaysia tagline being “People First, Performance Now”, I think it is worthwhile that the people stick it to our politicians, a very basic point that perhaps our leaders on both sides have misinterpreted.

By the definition of “performance”, we do not mean “wayang kulit”, “cerekarama”, soap operas or even badly-written political dramas and ill-conceived fights and internal spats over issues that make Kimora’s "Life in The Fab Lane on E!" seems relevant.

If people wanted that, they’d be buying DVDs of “The West Wing”.

MI
28/10/09

Budget 2010 – What would Malaysians want?

THE government has asked for feedback for Budget 2010. Hence, I give below what I believe most Malaysians would like to see in Budget 2010 that is to be released tomorrow.

The overall economic scenario will be taken into account in preparing the budget proposals. It is now clear that the world economy is not sliding further but that the green shoots of recovery can already be seen. The Malaysian economy is also slowly picking up.

We would now need therefore to step up the pace of economic growth, employment and better income distribution. But with the rising budget deficits we have severe constraints.

Thus, the budget strategy should be to stimulate the private consumption and investment and not depend unduely on the public sector or government to lift and push the economy forward.

Therefore, there should be even more liberalisation of socio-economic policies and administrative procedures for government approvals to be more speedily given. This goal should now be more easily acceptable by the government, as most of the earlier socio-economic restructuring targets have been achieved through the many success stories of the government-linked companies (GLCs).

Thus personal income tax and corporate tax could be marginally reduced to give the right economic expansionary signals and to raise the incentives to increase short-term consumption on goods and services and the long-term investment on Infrastructure.

To compensate for the loss of revenue due to the lowering of income and corporate taxes, the much delayed value added tax (VAT) which is an indirect tax could be introduced. Thus only those who but goods that bear a VAT need to pay the tax. The present sales tax could be incorporated in the new VAT.

The VAT could be carefully designed to apply more heavily on the goods and services consumed by the more wealthy. Basic needs that are necessary for the low income groups can be exempted from the VAT.

The budget should definitely reflect the prime minister’s call for 1Malaysia and its realisation through the national key result areas (NKRA) as follows.

1 Reducing crime can be achieved by providing more human and financial resources to the police, immigration and the MACC.

Expenditure incurred in residential areas to hire private security guards could be made tax exempt.

The more responsible larger companies can be allowed to employ their own auxiliary police to protect their private property and equipment. This would relieve the police to do more sophisticated and less routine police work

2 Fighting corruption will contribute to greater efficiency and saving of public expenditures. The MACC budget will have to be substantially raised according to international norms to make it more effective in catching the bigger fish and not mainly the small fry. Savings could be made in other less priority areas such as lavish ceremonies and functions.

3Widening access to quality education is vital to raise our national competitiveness, our meritocracy and upgrading our human resources.

The private sector school and university system has to be given tax incentives like the manufacturing and any other industries. We need more and better qualified graduates who will help Malaysia break out of our present middle income trap!

4Raising living standards of the poor is paramount in building 1Malaysia and national unity. The poorest states like Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan and Terengganu will need more budget allocations over and above the inadequate present capitation and road grants.

It is time to introduce a basic minimum wage. This would also help to reduce the embarrassingly high number of immigrant labour that causes wasteful social problems

The budget should regard poverty as both a rural as well as an urban phenomenon by providing more facilities like housing, transport and basic amenities like water and electricity etc to many areas that don’t have these basic needs. Budget 2010 has to show that we care for all the poor, regardless of race, religion and geography.

5Improving infrastructure in the rural areas need not be at the expense of the urban areas. The balance in government facilities has to be improved between rural and urban communities. However, there are now serious pockets of poverty in the urban areas that have to be addressed. Otherwise we will undermine national unity and inadvertently lay the grounds for social unrest as in the case of Kampung Medan.


6Improving public transport. There should be a National Master Plan initiated by the budget to ensure a holistic multimodular transport system in the country. The wastage in resources due to the inefficient public transport system is horrendous and must be reduced soon – even with more subsidies for public transport users.

Finally, this budget can be very challenging as we have, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said in Parliament, to balance the large and growing deficit with the goal to ensure a steady economic recovery.

More deficit means more debt and the risk of inflationary pressure if not now, then certainly in the near future.

Let’s hope that the Budget 2010 proposals will show the rakyat that the government means real business in implementing the laudable 1Malaysia policy. We would all like to be able to make good judgments on the budget tomorrow!

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
Chairman ASLI – Centre of Public Policy Studies
Sun
27/10/09

The Growing Discrimination Against Minorities In Malaysia

Crisis of religious freedom in Malaysia.

Over the past years, the Malaysian government has been emphasizing that Malaysia is a moderate Muslim country which should become a role model for other Muslim countries in promoting harmony, progress and economic development.

The relationship between Islam and religious minority groups in Malaysia has worsened over the last few years.

For secular and progressive Muslims, Malaysia still believe in the superiority of Islam over other religions. It is impossible to create a tolerant environment if one group feels more superior to others.

For progressive Muslims, the best model of civilized Islam was during the golden era of classical Islam — especially in Baghdad and Cordoba — where religious harmony and tolerance existed.

Here comes the irony: For many Muslims in Malaysia, the role model of civilized Islam is not Baghdad or Cordoba, but “the pious first generation” or, what is known as “al-salaf al-salih”, from which the ideology of Salafism takes its roots.

The later generation of Muslims, including those who lived in Baghdad and Cordoba during the golden era, are thought to have somewhat deviated from Islam. It is common knowledge that many Muslims are against philosophy and speculative thinking, one of the most significant symbols of the Islamic golden era.

A clear definition of Islam is needed here in order to decide which position the Malaysian government takes. It seems the absence of conceptual ground and a lack of commitment to its implementation have created many contradictions.

On one hand, Malaysia’s leaders wish to make their country modern, progressive and tolerant — but on the other hand, they have failed to secure civil liberty and religious rights for their citizens.

26/10/09

BN government protects those in power and makes sure they are exempted from punishment.

PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah has vowed to soon bring forward a key witness to provide information on the ‘Lingam tape’ scandal.

This is to rebut a claim by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that it has been unable to locate witnesses to further its investigation into the high-profile case involving senior lawyer VK Lingam.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby today, Sivarasa said he and other PKR leaders are “personally in contact with this key witness”.

"We are shocked to learn that MACC - with all the resources at its disposal - has not been able to locate any witness and is unable to prosecute this blatant act of corruption,” said the Subang MP.

“MACC has failed to act despite clear evidence (that) this lawyer paid for (a) trip to New Zealand for the former Number 1 judge (Eusoff Chin). (So) we propose to bring this witness in a short while to Parliament to show that we can do what the MACC is not able to do.”

However, he refused to divulge details, saying: “We will let you know...we will do our part and show (the witness). We will have a press conference with the witness.”

Last week, the government said it would not prosecute Lingam, who was featured in sensational video footage, appearing to be broker the appointment of judges.

But Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz told Parliament on Wednesday that no legal action will be taken because an official probe has failed to turn up sufficient evidence or proper testimony.

In the final days of proceedings before a royal commission of inquiry, Lingam’s former secretary LG Jayanthi had testified that he had instructed her in December 1994 to make certain arrangements for a holiday for him and his family, together with Eusoff and his family, to New Zealand.

Her evidence contradicted the testimonies of Lingam and Eusoff, who had denied that the holiday had been pre-planned and claimed that they had met by chance in New Zealand.

Jayanthi said she was told to contact Holiday Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd in Jalan Sultan Ismail to arrange for the tickets, since Lingam had earlier made general arrangements with the company.

She said Lingam instructed her to confirm the travel itineraries and ticket reservations, and that she had complied.

‘Back-door deals’

Klang member of parliament Charles Santiago said the decision to let off Lingam goes against the government’s promise to wipe out corruption.

Malaysians are fully aware of the political game that has been crafted against the “backdrop of backdoor-deals and cosy arrangements to let Lingam off the hook”, he said.

Santiago (right) said the decision is appalling, especially in light of the death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock who was questioned as a witness by the MACC in mid-May.

“Teoh was under investigation for the alleged misappropriation of RM2,400 by his boss while the royal commission of inquiry findings revealed that Lingam had brokered the selection of judges,” said Santiago.

“This clearly shows that the government protects those in power and makes sure they are exempted from punishment. In short the government is in cahoots with the police, MACC and attorney-general's chambers. This is outrageous and a travesty of justice.”

The DAP parliamentarian also said he supports the Bar Council’s decision to continue with its investigation of Lingam.

Mk
26/10/09

Minorities in Malaysia, what they want?

Everyone, minorities included, is obliged to speak up to improve the country.

We believe that the same arguments can be applied to minorities in Malaysia. What we need to do now is to accept that everyone, Muslim or not, is part and parcel of the fabric of the Malaysian society.

We have to move away from the emotional debates on issues like race and religion.

Why is it that, every time we talk about Islam, we must discuss apostasy?

Why is it that when we talk about Hinduism, it is as if Hindus are trying to destroy the country?

Why is it that when we talk about Malaysian Chinese, it is as if they are trying to rob the country’s wealth from the Malays?

Why is it that when we talk about Malaysian Christians, it is as if all Muslims must always be suspicious of them?

The two of us are of different race and religion. But we are proud to say that Malaysia is our country and we both equally love this country. Rather than debating our religions – in our case, Islam and Christianity – we believe it is better to use the values derived from these great religions to find ways to improve the country.

The common set of values includes principles of justice and integrity that should be strongly emphasised and equally translated into policies in the interest of all Malaysians.

As Muslim and Christian respectively, there is a plethora of ways in which we can agree on to create a better, developed and more matured Malaysia.

One of the best ways of demonstrating justice is to ensure equal opportunity for all. Eradication of poverty irrespective of race should not just be rhetoric.

Instead, this principle should be strictly implemented through corresponding plans and policies. Only then can we satisfy our consciences on respecting human dignity at its very core.

Fifty years after independence, it is time we grow up. Racial and religious politics still permeate our ’kedai kopi’ talk and even some intellectual discourse. We inherit a historical baggage of compromise and conflict based on ethnicity.

As a result, Malaysia is trapped in a vicious cycle she is struggling to get out of, at both political and community levels. We both believe that if this continues, it will cripple any hope of developing into a truly harmonious society in the long run.
New views and ideals have begun to emerge amongst the young. New visions for the future of our country have been shared. Inheriting prejudice is not a part of this.

Malaysia is not a country for just one group of people. You can see the diversity of our population as soon as you venture outside your own house. You experience the richness of the varied cultures through friendships, food and fashion throughout your day.

This is not my country or your country. This is our country. No one community should be made to feel unwelcome in a country of their own. In taking ownership of Malaysia, minorities have an equal responsibility to shape and craft a nation that all our children and grandchildren will be proud to inherit. Together with their neighbours in the majority community, they must play an important participatory role in contributing to the country’s welfare as a whole.

As concerned citizens, if minorities express displeasure at weaknesses in Malaysia it is only because they want the country to improve. Muslim or non-Muslim, we all belong to the same country that is Malaysia. It is time that we remove the old shackles of debates along racial and religious lines.

It is time that we recognise minority groups as equal Malaysians. It is time to realise that each person is himself endowed with special rights – that of being Malaysian. Justice, fairness, liberty and equality: these are what minority Muslims are calling for not only in Britain, but around the world.

These are also what minority non-Muslims in Malaysia are calling for, and they should be given no reason to expect otherwise.

While Muslims in Britain are working hard to be treated as equals, Muslims in Malaysia must lead the way and prove to the world that Islam is a religion of fairness. Muslims must be the first to treat others as equals. In Britain, the minority Muslims are speaking up because they love Britain as their country.

When the minority non-Muslims in Malaysia speak up, that too is because they love this country.
25/10/09

Business opportunities for Malaysian?

Is there any business opportunities for Indians that the government offers, specifically for Indians including loans to start own businesses.

“Lack of publicity” has caused Indians to be unaware of the business opportunities. Therefore it is the task of MIC and other BN component parties to ensure that Business opportunities available to all Malaysians.

“It is because of the little exposure from political parties who are not creating awareness of the opportunities. The best way is to create a web site portal just to highlight the business opportunities available in Malaysia. That would one of the best suited idea for any lay man in Malaysia.

It can be either Small Businesses, Agro-Farming, fisheries etc. Please create awareness so that Indians understand what can be done in order to grasp the opportunities.

The government should identify the problems relating to why people are not aware of the opportunities. If the govt. could identify the issues pertaining to the above then people would understand what the govt. is trying to do for the people.

Politicians in Malaysia are like penguins, they just follow whatever their cronies request them to do. They should not only listen to their cronies but also to the people. Listen to the need of the people. Listen to their heart and try to reach them.

Don’t just play politics, it will be waste of time and money if politicians spend their money to be well-known but on the other hand the people’s voices are not heard.

Build the nation with one voice and not just by propagating cheap publicity.

mi1
25/10/09

What Malaysians want in Budget 2010?

Petrol Prices to be reduced, toll price to be maintained... if possible, reduced.

Churches and temples in every residential area, equivalent to the number of mosques in the area. Please budget for that...

Allhouses to be sold at 10-15% discount for all races who are poor, not only for 1 race who could be rich too...

Trade licenses to be given to all people of 1 Malaysia rather than just only 1 group of people.

The government to provide better quality Malaysian cars at standard GLOBAL pricing.

All AP system to be removed, so that we get good imported cars at the right price.

All traffic summons to be RM 50 or less so that Malaysians don't have to end up bribing the police, but rather pay the fine.

Budget spend into housing trust fund, for low income earner.

Budget spend into building more community centers in every garden.

Budget spend into building a safer and healthy environment for children and adults.

Budget spend into reseach and implementing health care system for low income earner.

Budget spend into improving current education system, curricullum to build personality and train to think.

Budget spend into improving planning on road work structure.

Budget spend into benefiting low income earner or long-term unemployment to start seeking education.

25/10/09

Money down the drain in Budget 2010

By all accounts, Datuk Seri Najib Razak tabled a solid Budget 2010, one that attempts to cut the deficit while ensuring all sectors get their due.

There were some nice touches — particularly for students and expatriates, their families, farmers, office workers, and a few others. Even heroes have their allowances raised five times. No one was left out.

Even the corrupt will get their due, when the prime minister announced with the formation of 14 Special Corruption Sessions Courts and four special Corruption Appeal High Courts.

Currently, there are only two special courts in Kuala Lumpur and two more in Shah Alam, according to Najib, who said the anti-graft measures are part of the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs).

Najib, who is also finance minister, said efforts to enhance the image of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would be carried out. These include organising international conferences on combating corruption, awareness campaigns through the mass media, as well as promoting better public relations.

This is really where money is going down the drain, Mr Prime Minister.

The MACC’s image is now dirtier than drain water, after Teoh Beng Hock’s death and the probe into suspected abuse of funds in the Selangor government. Even before the MACC came into being, its predecessor the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) never had great success in the courts or its investigations.

Two names come to mind. Tan Sri Eric Chia and Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam. Both acquitted despite the claims by former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of taking on the Herculean task of cleaning up the Stygian stables of corruption.

The MACC has not done much in this regard. And creating more courts or boosting the image of the anti-graft body will not bear any fruit.

All the MACC has to do is seriously investigate cases like the suspect wealth and opulence shown by the likes of former Selangor mentri besar Datuk Seri Khir Toyo, with his travels and mansion. Look into past cases of abuse like the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) or simply pore through Auditor-General’s annual reports.

As for the government, the easiest method is to be more transparent in its purchases and contracts, rather than the usual method of having closed tenders or negotiated contracts. The Penang state government has had success with this since the Pakatan Rakyat government took over in March 2008.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was commended for the action by Transparency International in their annual report this year. Of course, the DAP secretary-general can still do better as time goes by. Perhaps by not wasting money on an anti-ISA billboard.

If he says the state’s resources are limited, he should spend it wisely rather than using it to proclaim a stance that will not benefit the people of Penang. Especially something no different than the countless billboards proclaiming 1 Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.

All we see are the billboards. Not much by way of “people first” or “performance now”.

And if Najib’s idea is to set up more courts for offenders, then he is putting the cart before the horse. The idea is to prevent corruption, to eliminate it even before it gets to the courts.

Not spend money on further improving confidence and public perception on such efforts or, as he puts it, measures that “will ensure that the country is better ranked in the Corruption Perception Index.

Because the easiest and cheapest way to do that, is just to be transparent.

MI

25/10/09

Malaysian hails the most respected political legend in Malaysia


Nik Aziz crafts an ultimatum for PAS

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Even in a season where reform has become the most hackneyed word in the politician’s lexicon, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s gambit in calling for an extraordinary general meeting for PAS has perhaps gone the furthest in defining the Malaysian political spectrum.

By proposing an EGM the PAS spiritual leader is effectively calling for fresh polls to weed out “problematic leaders”, his euphemism for the conservative spine of the party whom he feels are not totally committed to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.

Ultimately, he is pushing for PAS to be clear once-and-for-all about its agenda and where it stands.

In doing so, the Kelantan Mentri Besar is pushing forward a proposal which is more substantive than the festival of rhetoric at the recent Umno general assembly.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak spoke of inclusiveness. Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin urged the Malays to end their siege mentality.

But neither leader’s speeches are likely to change what their party’s rank and file think about the concept of Ketuanan Melayu, or Malay Supremacy, or even money politics, the party’s euphemism for vote-buying.

It will not be plain sailing though for Nik Aziz in his campaign for an EGM.

Party leaders have been cautious in their response to the proposal.

They have pointed out that it would be up to the Majlis Syura Ulama or the Religious Scholars Consultative Council to decide whether it is necessary to hold a special muktamar.

The party’s powerful Syura council is led by Nik Aziz (picture) and most members of the central committee are also part of the council.

It is clear from ground reports that there is tension between the young progressive elements and the conservative school.

Despite some voices of disapproval, Nik Aziz said yesterday he remained firm about the party having an EGM which insiders see as a way of deposing PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for leaders warmer towards a full-fledged opposition pact.

Abdul Hadi and his conservative allies triumphed in the last party polls over the so-called “Erdogan” faction, which is more partial to the PR coalition.

Nik Aziz’s call for an EGM is seen as a last ditch all-out attempt to bring PAS closer to the pact rather than a more detached relationship with its allies PKR and DAP.

His protege Datuk Husam Musa lost his bid to take the deputy presidency from incumbent Nasharuddin Mat Isa, who with senior leader Datuk Mustafa Ali, is seen as representing the conservative spine in PAS.

Nik Aziz however favours Husam and his faction known as “Erdogan”, named after the Turkish PM who took his Islamist party to success in Turkey and is seen as close to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

While PAS has championed its “PAS for All” slogan, conservative elements still talk about banning beer sales and other punitive laws. Nik Aziz has blasted these leaders and has asked why Hadi has not stamped out such talk and quashed efforts to get closer to Umno.

Nik Aziz is virulently opposed to any form of cooperation with Umno as the Islamist party was part of Barisan Nasional formed in 1974 but quit later due to a clash of wills that led to PAS losing Kelantan in 1978.

His EGM gambit will have wide ranging implications on PR and the growth of the two-coalition system.

MI
25/10/09

Kg Buah Pala villagers to get new homes in 2 years

GEORGE TOWN: Former Kampung Buah Pala villagers can move into their new double-storey houses in about two years, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said a fast-track construction would begin once the building plans for the project was approved in a week or two.

“The former villagers can be rest assured that the houses will be delivered to them as promised by the state government.

“The residents will not only own the houses, they will also have title deeds,” he told reporters Saturday after attending a Deepavali open house hosted by former Kampung Buah Pala villager M. Santha who now lives in a rented house in Taman Brown, Gelugor.

Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy said 15 of the 24 families have accepted the houses that was offered by developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd under an ex-gratia deal.

He said the building plans for the houses were being amended to tailor to the residents’ requirements.

“A piece of land has also been set aside for the construction of a temple near the houses.

“This is indeed a historical moment for Kampung Buah Pala folk since the state government has succeeded in securing a good compensation deal for them,” he said.

On Oct 21, Lim had said that no development project would be approved in the former village unless those who signed the ex-gratia deal were given the houses.

He said the building plans for the condominium project submitted to the Penang Municipal Council must include the double-storey terrace houses, failing that the plans would not be approved.

Kampung Buah Pala protem committee chairman R. Karunakaran said it was still not too late for the remaining nine families who had not signed up for the houses to see Dr Ramasamy.

He said the 15 villagers were grateful to the state leaders for their keeping to their word.

“Otherwise it would have been impossible for us, who are mostly retirees, to own the houses which are worth around RM450,000 each.

“For all of us, this is the best Deepavali gift ever,” he said.

Star
24/10/09

Indians considered as problematic community in Malaysia

There is growing tendency to view Indians as a problematic community in the country afflicted with all kinds of political, economic and social ills. A community waiting to be rescued from the clutches of evil by political parties, the government and other welfare-orientated organisations.

Of course, there is growing amnesia on the part of many to disregard the immense contribution of this particular community in making Malaysia what it is. Brought from India as semi-slaves in the beginning of the last century, they cleared the forest, hills and other physical impediments so that modern infrastructure could be built.

Plantations would not have been the mainstay of the Malaysian economy until the 1960s and 1970s had it not been for the contribution - sweat and blood - of Indian labourers. Thousands perished in building this country to what it is today. After more than hundred years of their existence, Indians remain poor, neglected, patronised and marginalised in a country that was build by them and others.

More than this, they have been subjected to worst forms of discrimination, shunned and pushed to the edge of the mainstream society. Paradoxically, they are considered a burden to the nation.

Impossible dream

Given the viciousness of racial politics perpetrated by the present ruling regime, Indians by themselves stand no chance to compete and struggle to better themselves. Lacking the historical experience of capital accumulation like the Chinese and unable to obtain governmental assistance like Malays, Indians are basically afloat in a quagmire without the benefit of an alternative leadership.

A leadership that will provide the community with a new political vision, a vision that will take them from the present doldrums so that one day they could emerge proud and dignified. The racial game of Malay hegemony has caused irreparable damage to the human existence of Indians, particularly those who belong to the working class category.

Racial ideology and the everyday practices of racism have virtually made it impossible for Indians to lead decent lives in the country. Denial of decent jobs, licenses, contracts and others have prevented Indians from emerging as a dynamic group. Today, working class Indians can only aspire to become coolies in the private sector, drivers for the rich, security guards, office boys, errand boys, sweepers and others.

Upward mobility in the Malaysian racist society is an impossible dream for thousands and thousands of Indians in the working class categories both in plantations and in urban areas.

No human being would want to put up with injustice and discrimination for long. Indians are no exception, there is a definite limit to where they can be pushed and bullied. They want no special preference, but existence free from injustice, discrimination and cruelty.

Indians have no hostility towards other races, but would want the latter to respect their nationality rights and vice versa. However, they would not want to put up with present situation of extreme racism for too long. Too much time has been wasted in depending on certain political parties within the government for their salvation.

Inalienable rights

There is growing realisation that an independent political course has to be charted for their future in this country. In the near foreseeable future, Indians will have no choice but to fight for their rights and for their rightful place in the Malaysian society. Whether there are political parties in the opposition that will provide Indians with this new vision, leadership and sense of purpose is difficult to gauge at the moment. If the opposition is genuinely interested in taking up the cause of Indians, then a serious attempt should be made to address their nationality rights.

What is particularly significant today is for the emergence of an alternative leadership for Indians, a leadership that will have to be led by Indians with vision to resurrect the status of the community.

A leadership that will take up the struggle of Indians so that they would emerge as a significant national group in the country fully endowed with their inalienable rights as citizens, free from discrimination, enjoying full rights like other citizens, right to their mother-tongue education, full access to jobs, education and others.

In short, an alternative organisation for Indians should start by championing the nationality rights which among other things will seek to dismantle the sources of present racism and injustice in the country.

24/10/09

What is the point of conducting Royal Commission in Lingam's case, if it is a waste of public fund and travesty of justice

t could hardly believe my eyes upon reading that Lingam's tape scandal is closed.This is another unfinished high profile case. This is yet another indication of incompetence of our law enforcers - MACC, police, and judiciary.

In fact at the onset of the exposure of the scandal I had the gut feeling that this episode will just come to pass without any solid actions taken against the culprit.

The commission was formed only after much protest from the public.

No, it was not immediately set up. There were so many obstacles invented by the government. It questioned the authenticity of the recordings and so forth that was really ridiculous.

Nevertheless, the inquiry finally got underway. There was so much doubt on the credibility of the panellists.

In this aspect the public was proven wrong because the final report came up with a bold conclusion implicating the likes of a former prime minister, a tycoon and of course VK Lingam himself.

Hope was high then that justice can at last be done to those who lost the cases unfairly under those rogue judges and lawyers. Hope of the public that ACA, as it was known then, would prosecute those implicated was high too.

All these high hopes have eventually come to nought today when it was announced the case is closed for good.

My advice to the government is this - if it cannot act effectively on the findings of an inquiry or royal commision, please do not start one.

The aim of starting an inquiry is to rectify or take actions against culprits based on the finding. It is a shame that I have to remind the authority of its aim.

This is not the first time that the authority failed to act decisively and effectively on the recommendation of inquiries or commissions. What about the inquiry into Kugan's death? Oh yes, after so much outcry from the public, only one poor policeman was charged.

With all the failures to act on recommendations by those inquiries, would the public have confidence in the government to act in on the ongoing Teoh and PKFZ case?

No. I don't believe they will.

MK
24/10/09

How will Indians benefit from 2010 budget?

The current prime minister in his recent statement has admitted that Malaysian Indians have contributed immensely to the development of the country. He also admitted that special attention needs to be given to the Malaysian Indians to bring them in line with the mainstream development of the nation.

In the 2009 Budget, the then Prime Minister Datuk Ahmad Badawi initiated an action plan focusing on first ensuring the wellbeing of Malaysians, development of quality human capital and strengthening the nation's resilience.

However Badawi's plan was only lip service to appease the nation without any real action to enhance the nation. There has been continued suppression on Article 5, 8, 10 & 13 of the constitution against the public, particularly against the Malaysian Indians.

The current prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak, has taken several approaches to appease the Malaysian Indians yet this all could be another political charade to hoodwink the nation on their effort to uplift the Malaysian Indians.

If Najib is genuinely concerned about addressing the grievances of the Malaysian Indians, then he should announce measures taken to uplift the Malaysian Indian from the systematic marginalisation and discrimination that they have faced over the last 52 years.

The failure by the Prime Minister to highlight this issue will only lend credence to the typical hypocrisy that have been practiced by the UMNO-led government for the last 52 years.

P Waythamoorthy is chairman of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)

MK
24/10/09
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Malaysian Indian Ethnic Cleansing by UMNO led government

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