Datuk Shafie Apdal nabbed in MACC investigation


KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has been arrested, a day before his 60th birthday and after nearly four hours of questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Shafie, who was arrested at 9pm yesterday, is expected to be taken to the Kota Kinabalu High Court to be remanded today. MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki confirmed the arrest.

The Parti Warisan Sabah president arrived at the MACC office at about 5.15pm yesterday, after flying in from Kuala Lumpur, to be questioned over projects implemented during his watch as Rural and Regional Development Minister between 2009 and 2015.

In a white shirt, Shafie Apdal was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib; Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony who was detained earlier and released on bail; and their lawyers Martin Tommy and Loretto Padua.

Before he left for the MACC office, Shafie told reporters at his Taman Gold View home: “We are willing to facilitate and when they called me, I flew back from Kuala Lumpur.

“It’s a process of law and we need to give our cooperation. We are not going to obstruct and I know that MACC is just doing its job.”

He also said that he was saddened by the detention of his two siblings – Hamid and Yusof – in the investigation but reiterated that MACC was just doing its job.

Urging his supporters to remain calm and to continue the party’s work, Shafie and a relative led a short prayer before heading to the MACC office.

Earlier, a crowd of supporters gathered at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport to greet him.

Later, Shafie was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for overnight observation for having high blood pressure, said his lawyer and Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking.

MACC has so far arrested 10 people, including Shafie’s brothers, his nephew Warisan Youth chief Azis Jamman, Peter, Tenom Umno Youth chief Jamawi Jaafar and his Tawau counterpart Ariffin Kassim, Warisan media representative Armarjit Singh, Hamid’s son-in-law Manzur Hussein Awal Khan, a 52-year-old local contractor and a 40-year-old senior civil servant in Putrajaya, over the case.

Hamid, who was warded at Damai Specialist Hospital for health problems since Sunday has been released on MACC bail.

Magistrate Stephanie Sherron Abbie, granted Hamid bail at RM50,000 in two sureties.

MACC prosecuting officer Mohd Faliq Basirudin said Hamid’s remand was supposed to only end today but he was released earlier because the investigation on him was complete.

Stephanie went to Gleneagles Hospital later, for the release of Manzur, 37, who is also warded over health issues.

He was granted bail at RM30,000 in two sureties and ordered to report once a month to the MACC office.

Yusof is still in MACC custody.

 Source: by stephanie leeruben sario The Star





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1MDB business model relied on debt to form capital is not sustainable


PETALING JAYA: 1MDB was unsustainable from the start, relying heavily on financial assistance to stay afloat.

The PAC observed that 1MDB’s capital financing structure and financial performance were both unsatisfactory.

“1MDB relied on debt (bank loans, bonds and sukuk) to form its capital, a chunk of which had been sanctioned or supported by the Government.

“Initially, the debt stood at RM5bil in 2009, and went up to RM42bil, compared to its assets of RM51bil in the financial year ending March 31, 2014, and it spent RM2.4bil to pay off interests.

“In January 2016, its debt was RM50bil, compared to its assets of RM53bil, where 1MDB spent RM3.3bil to pay off interests between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2015,” said the report.

The PAC report also stated that 1MDB had paid RM3.3bil in interests on the loans it took from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015, which 1MDB said had yet to be audited.

“It is obvious that the debt amount and repayment of interest are too high compared to the company’s cash flow,” said the committee.

1MDB had also heavily relied on the refinancing exercise to settle matured debts and take new loans, which were used to settle interests on previous loans, among others.

The PAC report also found that 1MDB began facing an imbalance in cash flow in November 2014, five years after it started operations.

“The management and board of directors relied on the Initial Public Offerings (IPO) of Edra Energy Berhad to generate funds, but the IPO could not be carried out,” said PAC.

In the same month that year, 1MDB announced its first loss of RM665mil, resulting in its inability to pay off its almost matu­ring debts which stood at RM2bil, through its refinancing exercise.

“The company’s business model is overly dependent on loans and this caused a burden on the company as it did not have enough income to sustain operational costs and pay off its loans,” read the report.

The PAC also said that as a state investment arm, 1MDB should have focused on best practices, and raised examples of weaknesses in its administration.

“For instance, the board of directors was too dependent and often accepted explanations by the management without delving into the details.

“Indeed 1MDB’s experience is a lesson to all government-linked corporations on the importance of effective administration and integrity,” said the committee. – The Star/ANN

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Let there be a better year ahead


It’s not been a year to shout about with a litany of woes plaguing the country and much of the world. But as 2015 comes to an end, it’s time to count of blessings and hope for better times ahead.

IT feels like only days ago that we were wishing everyone a Happy New Year and suddenly it’s time for Merry Christmas. But between Happy and Merry, there has been little joy, has there?

It’s not been a year to look back upon with much fondness.

The ringgit is down, oil prices are down, the economy is down, and many of the people are feeling down, too. And it’s not just in Malaysia. Throughout much of Asia and many countries around the world, it has not been good news.

For us, there was the GST, an all-encompassing tax that has had many people grumbling.

But it brought a hitherto little-known Customs officer to fame. Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy was the face of the tax as the GST director and the man truly believes that this value-added tax is the way to go for the country.

Thus, he worked very hard for it despite the many brickbats. But it was not without its problems. There was the on-off-and-on again prepaid phone card tax problems.

The latest to make the rounds is the supposed GST on tolls. It has been clarified that GST will be charged on the 50sen service charge on Touch ‘N Go top-ups. So, it’s now 53 sen.

Tolls rates may go up soon. And the electricity tariff, too. It’s not going to get lighter on the pocket anytime soon.

Politically, it’s been a problematic year. Almost all parties are in turmoil. The 1MDB controversy and a RM2.6bil donation haunted Umno and saw the Deputy Prime Minister being ousted, only the second time that this has happened in the country. The first deputy prime minister to be ousted was also in the news – he has been sent to jail.

The man who first ousted a deputy, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is also in the news. He wants to oust the current Prime Minister who ousted his deputy. It’s a merry-go-round that’s not so merry. This intense bickering is something that will go down in history.

Talking of history, Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee has been left out of the history books. This man was a true leader. I remember meeting him as a boy when he was the first Chief Minister of Penang. He came over to where the children were, patted them on their heads and told them all to study hard – and he spoke in Tamil! The man was a linguist and one who truly cared for all.

Great man: Wong was the first chief minister of Penang.

The first chief minister of Penang and a member of the Cobbold Commission that first drew up a working Constitution has been ignored in our history books. The reason? They didn’t want too many figures from the peninsula in the books, and wanted to balance the numbers with those in Sabah and Sarawak.

It makes no sense to me. History is history, it’s not a Maths lesson on the law of probabilities. MCA and MIC leaders were there at the birth of the nation and deserve to be recognised. The MCA is now fighting hard to have Wong, who made the declaration of Independence in Penang, recognised as one of the leaders involved in the early years of the nation.

The MIC is also, well … fighting. Why they are fighting is hard to figure out as there are two factions, each claiming to be the rightful leadership.

It’s not just the Barisan Nasional. Things are even stranger on the other side. PKR is working with PAS to ensure the Selangor government is not rocked although PAS leaders are getting friendlier and friendlier with PKR’s arch-enemy Umno. DAP is at loggerheaders with PAS but works with PKR, again to ensure the Selangor government is not shaken.

In Penang, DAP has no time for PAS and PKR leaders are not happy with DAP. It’s a bit confusing. The ongoing rapid development is not helping things either.

Penangites love the island as it is, with as little change as possible. After all, the people are the living heritage of the place. I should know – I am a Penangite myself.

Elsewhere, too, there has been much misery. The two great Penangite sporting Datuks – Nicol David and Lee Chong Wei – have had a forgettable year.

Nicol is no longer the invincible girl she once was and has dropped out of the world No 1 ranking while Chong Wei was embroiled in a doping scandal, and spent the early half of the year serving out a suspension.

His return wasn’t remarkable and after some spectacular flops, he is finally picking himself up and could bring us all good news next year.

And never rule Nicol out. That lass has it in her to come back fighting every time she falls.

So, while much of the major news has been bad, it is the little people who have delivered the good news – those who continued feeding the poor even when the authorities wanted to ban them and throw the homeless into “reservations”, those who continue to teach the needy in the streets and in their homes and those who reach out to help regardless of age, race and religion.

And the year also saw the advent of G25, a moderate movement to stem the tide of extremism. Racial ties have not been at their best with some loud-mouthed leaders but the common folk are the ones rallying together.

The education system has again been called into question with several flip-flop decisions on English and the deaths of five orang asli children in Pos Tohoi. But even out of that came heroes who cared for the rural folk, the poor and the indigenous.

These are the people who we can depend on to keep the country intact – the way it was intended to be by our founding fathers.

Let’s hope the new year brings up better tidings, even if it is the common man who has to deliver them.

Why not?  By Dorairaj Nadason  – The writer, who can be reached at raj@thestar.com.my, wishes all readers Salam Maulidur Rasul, Merry Christmas and, yes, a Happy New Year once again.

1MDB probe gains momentum, a sensitive time for PM and Umno


PETALING JAYA: The probe into claims that funds  were channelled into the personal accounts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri
Najib Tun Razak heated up when the task force investigating the matter froze six bank accounts and said it was looking into 17 others.The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) meanwhile revealed documents that it claimed were the basis of its controversial story.

The freeze on the six accounts was issued on Monday, according to a statement issued jointly by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim
Mohamed.

“Several documents over the issue of non-compliance with Bank Negara’s rules and procedures have also been seized,” it read.

“As the investigations are still under way, we appeal to all parties to give their fullest cooperation to complete the probe.”

It is learnt that the 17 accounts belonged to various companies and individuals.

While neither the banks involved nor the holders of the accounts were named, several portals claimed they had received confirmation that three of the accounts belonged to Najib.

Hours after the statement was released, WSJ uploaded nine documents on its claim that US$700mil (RM2.6bil) were channelled into three personal accounts of Najib.

The nine documents comprised three flow charts, three remittance forms, two credit transfer notices and a letter of authorisation by Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, the former chief investment officer of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

However, Najib’s name appeared only in the flow charts. It was not in any of the banking documents in which the last few digits of the account numbers were blanked out.

A banker said it was normal that entire bank account numbers were not made public for fear that the accounts could be hacked.

“What is important is the codes in the documents are correct,” said the banker.

The charts detail funds flowing from SRC International Sdn Bhd, a company that used to be under 1MDB but was subsequently taken over by the Finance Ministry in 2012, into personal accounts supposedly belonging to Najib.

According to the charts, the funds flowed into AmPrivate Banking in AmBank Islamic and the beneficiary, it claimed, was Najib.

Based on one chart, the funds flowed out of SRC International’s account in AmBank Islamic into Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd, also in Ambank
Islamic.

Subsequently, the money was transferred to Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd, whose account is in Affin Bank. From there, the funds were moved to AmPrivate Banking in AmBank Islamic.

There were three accounts under AmPrivate Banking in AmBank Islamic supposedly belonging to Najib. The last few digits of the accounts were blanked out.

The Prime Minister’s name was not to be found in any remittance transfer forms from Affin Bank to AmBank Islamic.

The total amount transferred from Affin Bank to AmBank Islamic was RM42mil and the transactions were done in three tranches.

There were two transactions on Dec 26, 2014 and one on Feb 9, 2015. The reasons for the transfer of funds by Ihsan Perdana to the AmPrivate Banking account were stated as CSR programmes.

Najib’s name is also not visible in the two credit transfer notices from Wells Fargo Bank in the United States to the AmPrivate Banking account under AmBank Islamic.

But a banker said it was normal for the beneficiary’s name to be left out of remittance forms or credit transfer notices.

“The identity of the beneficiary does not need to appear if it is a familiar name. The banks only need the necessary codes and account numbers,” said the banker.

The funds from Well Fargo amounted to US$681mil and were transferred in two tranches, on March 21 and March 25, 2013, according to the documents.

The transaction order came from Tanore Finance Corp in British Virgin Island. The funds were transferred to AmPrivate Banking account in AmBank                                                Islamic under the Swift Output Code of Single Customer Credit Transfer.

“A Single Customer Credit Transfer means the account is held by an individual,” said the banker. – The Star

Sensitive time for PM and Umno

DATUK Seri Najib Tun Razak has been out and about every day since the start of the fasting month.

He has been seen at a number of Ramadan bazaars, he has been the VIP guest at various buka puasa functions and he has joined the congregation for evening prayers after the breaking of fast.

The fasting month is a test for all Muslims and even more so for the Prime Minister given the issues surrounding him.

The 1MDB issue has snowballed into a political monster for his administration and he is fighting what could be the biggest battle of his political career.

Allegations in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that billions of ringgit went into what is believed to be his personal bank account are still reverberating among the financial and political circles.

Najib has responded to the report, calling it wild allegations and insisting that he has never taken funds for personal gain. It was not quite the explanation or answer that people were expecting and it has raised more questions than provided answers.

But many in Umno are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt even though they are unsure what to make of it.

Najib has a lot of support in his party and up until the recent allegations, he was said to have won over some 75% of the 191 Umno division heads.

They want to rally around him but they need clear answers in order to defend him.

Najib has made it very clear that he intends to sue WSJ and his lawyers are preparing a case to be filed soon against Dow Jones, the publisher of WSJ, in the United States. That is the way to go to clear his name.

The pressure mounted yesterday when four of the country’s top regulators and law enforcers issued a joint statement, saying that the special task force probing 1MDB had frozen six bank accounts related to the case.

The affected bank accounts were not identified but the signatories comprised the Attorney-General, Bank Negara Governor, Inspector-General of Police and the MACC chief.

It was unprecedented and it was a sign that the investigations had become more serious and complicated. The snowball has grown bigger.

Najib’s deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has added to the pressure. He had asked the authorities to look into the WSJ allegations and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has joined in.

Their move confirms the political divide in the party that the Umno crowd has been talking about.

Umno politicians also noticed that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been rather restrained after months of relentless attacks and it could mean two things.

One, he feels that he has achieved his desired objective – he has got Najib up against the wall.

Two, Dr Mahathir might have realised that in his determination to remove the head of the house, the entire house may come down too.

His campaign against Pak Lah contributed to the 2008 political tsunami and his attacks against Najib has damaged Umno even more.

A group of Umno supreme council members met Najib at his official residence on Sunday night. It was very hush-hush and none of those who attended picked up or returned the calls of reporters, let alone spoke about what transpired.

The speculation is that the meeting was probably not about declaring support for the boss, otherwise they would not be so secretive.

The group was there to seek answers about what Najib plans to do and where he intends to go from here. This is a very sensitive time for Umno and especially for Muhyiddin. He played a leading role in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s exit and he is again in the spotlight.

It is doubly sensitive for Muhyiddin this time around because he is an interested party.

Muhyiddin is being extra cautious because he understands the powers of incumbency and is aware of what the Prime Minister could do to those who are not with him.

Moreover, Najib’s tentacles in the party go back a long way and whoever wants to take him on has to consider the repercussions from his hardcore supporters.


By Joceline  Tan Analysis The Star

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Umno lawyers preparing lawsuit against WSJ

Call to probe how WSJ obtained private banking documents

Opposition Members of Parliament call for snap polls
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Barking up the wrong tree !!


Malaysia’s problem isn’t Bahasa Malaysia but English, and it is incredible that so many of us have refused to acknowledge this or even want to address it.

Barking at wrong tree_EducationTHERE have been so many silly remarks and statements by some Malaysian politicians and one-man show non-governmental organisations that it is becoming impossible to keep track of their comedy acts.

There is a saying: “There are people who are only good at making the news but cannot make a difference to the wellbeing of society.”

Well, in Malaysia, there are certainly many of them.

Last week, Johor state assemblyman Datuk Dr Shahruddin Salleh suggested that students who fail to master the national language be stripped of their citizen­ship. Yes, revoke, lucut, tarik balik, batal!

The Barisan Nasional representative for Jorak alleged that many students were not able to master the language, and this was even prevalent among the Malays. He didn’t say how many. Like one, 10, 20, hundreds or thousands, but was quoted as saying “many”.

“Even my own neighbour, whose father and mother are Malays, but because their child goes to international school, the child is unable to converse in Malay,” he said, adding that students were now more interested in mastering English and do not take the learning of Malay seriously.

The situation was prevalent in the vernacular schools, he added, because the use of Mandarin and Tamil made the students weak in the Malay language, which was further compounded by the fact that many of the teachers there are also not well-versed in Malay.

We’d like to think that Dr Shahruddin has a sense of humour but, seriously, what does he really mean when he said students who do not master the Malay language should be stripped of their citizenship?

How does one define mastery at the school level? Is it by the grades they score at the public examinations, like the UPSR, PMR or SPM? We know that these are just examination grades. A student can score a distinction or even fail miserably, but that in itself does not reflect his language proficiency in the real world.

To take an extreme example, some foreign workers who are in the country for just a few months can speak like a Malay, but do you think they will be able to pass the BM paper at SPM level? Or that they should therefore be accorded citizenship because they have mastered our national language?

We are not sure if Dr Shahruddin is having a bad patch with his neighbours because I do not think that his neighbours, who would have read his remarks by now, would be amused.

The reality is that there are many Malay households where English is prominently used because of a variety of reasons.

The children of diplomats, for example, because they are schooled in international schools, will definitely be more comfortable in English.

What about the children of politicians, especially those who send their children for better education overseas and then make a lot of noise about our local education system?

The assemblyman may want to project his nationalistic credentials ahead of his party general assembly, and he has conveniently used his whip at English and, of course, vernacular schools, the current flavour of the month.

There are enough statistics to show that many of our students and teachers are struggling with English in schools, especially those in the rural areas. Just Google.

The Malaysian Employers Federation secretary Datuk Shamsudin Bardan reportedly said that a survey a few years ago among its members found that 60% of them identified low English proficiency as the main problem with young recruits.

A similar survey in September last year by online recruitment agency

JobStreet.com found that 55% of senior managers and companies considered poor command of the English language among graduates to be the main reason for their difficulty in finding employment.

Sabah Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun had said that 70% of Malaysian graduates are having a hard time finding jobs in the private sector due to poor command of English.

Citing his past work experience with a multinational company in peninsular Malaysia, Masidi said 70% of those interviewed did not make it through to the second round as they could not converse well in English.

Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh had said that about two-thirds of English Language teachers in the country have been classified as “incapable” or “unfit” to teach the subject in schools. These teachers, he said, have been sent for courses to improve their proficiency in the language.

It has also been reported that about 70% of the 60,000 English Language teachers who sat for the English Language Cambridge Placement Test performed poorly.

Granted that there are students who fare badly in Bahasa Malaysia, but we do not think the numbers are big. Instead of making such a generalisation, we expect the Jorak assemblyman to back up his claim with more substantial findings and figures.

Neither has he been able to support this pathetic claim that “the use of Mandarin and Tamil by teachers in vernacular schools is another reason for students being weak in Malay, adding that the teachers are also not well-versed in Malay.”

Our real problem isn’t Bahasa Malaysia but English. It is incredible that so many of us have refused to acknowledge this problem or even want to address it, lacking the political will, unfortunately.

There is no point in deceiving ourselves by allowing our children to easily pass the English tests in schools and in public examinations.

There may be a huge number of students scoring distinctions in English at the SPM level but their real ability is revealed when they enter tertiary education and, later, the working world.

The MEF’s Shamsudin told a news portal in April that there are those with As and Bs in English at the SPM level who cannot even hold a conversation in English.

“Which is why we were excited when the government decided to teach Mathematics and Science in English (PPSMI), as we felt this could boost their command of English. Unfortunately, it was cancelled after seven years when we should have allowed it to continue for 14 to 15 years to see the results.

“The inability to converse and understand English (among young school-leavers) is a constant complaint among our members,” said Shamsudin. The MEF has 4,800 direct members and 21 affiliated trade associations.

In the end, it will be the rural students who will suffer the most. These are the very people that our elected representatives claim to represent and fight for their rights and interests.

Do we need to check how many of our Honourable Members are sending their children to private and international schools even as they wax eloquence about the importance of the national schools?

Actually, we should all be concerned about proficiency in English, an issue that has also been recently taken up by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who can see the value of the English language without undermining the stature of the national language.

As Dr Mahathir rightly pointed out, the rich go to private schools while the poor go to national schools at home, adding that “I must confess that although my children all went to national schools, my grandchildren all go to private schools in the country and abroad. They do speak the national language but their kind of schooling widens the gap between races as well as between the rich and the poor.”

Well, it looks like the only thing that we have fared consistently well in is the comic relief provided by some of our politicians. And we can be sure the curtains will never come down on these comedians as they continue to seek out non-issues to put themselves in the spotlight.

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

By Wong Chun Wai on the beat focus

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.

 

Malaysian Chinese National-type Schools

Bark-Up-The-Wrong-Tree_Bad relationship

DON’T bark up the wrong tree. That is the message many would like to convey to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim who has opposed the approval for building new Chinese national-type schools (SJKC).

The deputy minister was quoted as saying, “As long as approval is given, the relationship between the different races shall be further deteriorate, and shall be like throwing a spanner into the works of nurturing national harmony.”

This is clearly a statement made without having researched the functions of SJKCs in fostering mutual understanding between the races. For the record, Chinese national-type primary schools (SRJK) have more non-Chinese students than boarding schools and religious schools have non-Malay students.

There are at present approximately 80,000 Malay students in the so-called “unity-harming” SJKCs. Thus, I humbly ask Datuk Razali if the opinions of parents of these Malay students have been sought.

These parents appear to be sending their children to Chinese national-type schools not to “de-Malaysian-ise” them but to Malaysian-ise them.

In Malaysia, it common knowledge that most Malays are fluent in just two languages, namely English and Bahasa Malaysia while, most Chinese and Indians know at least three languages. Knowing one more language certainly gives children a cutting edge.

There is also, at present, growing pessimism over the way education in national schools is handled. Teaching science and mathematics in English which reverted to the teaching science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia as well as the ever-changing format of national level examinations are just a few areas of concern.

There is also the perception that certain races are favoured by the national school system. It is due to this perception that many, who want a level-playing field, choose the Chinese national-type school system.

Furthermore, perhaps China’s emergence as a world political and economic power has persuaded pragmatic Malay and Indian parents to try to get their children to learn Mandarin, the second most widely spoken language in the world after English.

How exactly do Chinese national-type schools affect national unity?

Children in Chinese schools still sing Negaraku. Bahasa Malaysia is still being taught there. There is no difference in syllabus taught in national schools. In fact, all children in Chinese schools are taught to love and respect Malaysia.

So Datuk Razali, I humbly ask just what are the problems which affect national unity?

SJKCs schools have been around for decades, so why is the question of unity being brought up?

In my opinion, educators who use words like “pendatang” and tell students to “balik Cina” and “balik India’ are the real threats racial harmony.

I believe that racial harmony has actually been disrupted due to political figures who’ve made use of race as propaganda to score political points and win votes. The exaggeration of petty issues and the manipulation of these issues via social media have made these politicians heroes in the eyes of supporters. However, what it has really done is instil hatred among the races.

If, and it’s a big if, Chinese national-type schools do contribute to disharmony, the better option would be for the Education Ministry to form a special taskforce, and conduct periodic audits of the schools and their syllabuses. That would be better than denying parents an option with regard where they wish to educate their children.

Eye of the Tiger by by mike chong yew chuan

Mike Chong Yew Chuan is Press Secretary to Minister in the Prime
Minister’s Department YB Datuk Dr. Ir. Wee Ka Siong. He is also
currently MCA National Youth BN Youth Affairs Bureau Deputy Chairman.

Would DAP join BN to ensure Chinese representation in the Malaysian government?


The DAP is open to suggestions on the need for Chinese representation in the government and will respond to them later, advisor Lim Kit Siang said here Thursday.DAP_Lims_Karpal

“There seems to be a lot of suggestions and proposals. We (will) give them time to come out with suggestions. We will wait and see,” Lim told a press conference when asked to comment on calls for the DAP to join Barisan Nasional (BN) to ensure Chinese representation in the government.

Former information minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin yesterday said this would obviously be difficult for DAP and BN and their supporters, but needs to be done in the interest of harmony and political stability in the country.

MCA central executive committee member Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan in an interview with Sin Chew Daily yesterday said the DAP can represent the Chinese community’s interest at federal government level.

In 13th general election (GE13), BN won 133 parliamentary seats out of the 222 at stake to again form the government with a simple majority, while Pakatan Rakyat took 89 seats.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who took his oath of office as Prime Minister before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Monday is short of Chinese candidates for his new Cabinet.

This is because BN component the MCA, which only won seven of the 37 parliamentary seats contested has decided to forgo Cabinet representation.

Meanwhile, Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn said the party will not follow the MCA by rejecting all government posts.

Gerakan won only one parliamentary seat and three state seats. It had contested in 11 parliamentary and 31 state seats nationwide.

— BERNAMA

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This is what the Malaysian Chinese want


Malaysian Chinese

The Utusan Malaysia headline of May 7 posed an interesting and pertinent question of what more do the Chinese in Malaysia want. It is a pity that Utusan is unable to see that what the Chinese want is, in fact, what the educated urban Malaysian voter wants, regardless of race or religion. There are three important characteristics lacking in the Barisan of today.Utusan_Apa lagi Cina mahu_Din1

Intelligent, courageous leadership

The Chinese comprise only 30 per cent of Malaysian voters, yet Pakatan Rakyat won 51 per cent of the total votes cast. By saying that the election result was because of the Chinese voters, the Barisan Nasional leadership demonstrates an inability to objectively face reality.

Barisan’s acceptance of Zulkifli Nordin as its direct Shah Alam candidate similarly shows a lack of intelligence and courage. Here is a lawyer who does not feel that dialogue and discussion can resolve matters, having forcefully disrupted a Law Society seminar a few years ago. He has vowed loyalty to, and then turned on, his previous political parties (PAS and PKR). He has publicly belittled an ancient religion with a million Malaysian followers.

UMNO making way for Ibrahim Ali to contest the Pasir Mas constituency is similarly bad judgement, showing its acceptance and approval of a crude man who prides himself with using vulgar words in public interviews.

Principled means acting in accordance with morality and showing recognition of right and wrong.

Principled means acting in accordance with morality and showing recognition of right and wrong.

To give them such special honour and credit shows a lack of intelligent reasoning and an inability to stand up against the loud extremist faction of the party.

Attributing the election outcome to a “Chinese tsunami” is illogical in the face of concrete facts and data. PAS won an additional seven state seats in Selangor, all in Malay majority areas.

Lim Kit Siang could not have achieved a majority of over 14,000 votes in Gelang Patah without good support from Malays who form 35 per cent of the electorate there.

Similarly the UMNO-backed PERKASA extremists were conclusively rejected in Pasir Mas (96 per cent Malay) and in Shah Alam where Malays make up 70 per cent of the electorate.

To blindly spin the 2013 election outcome to suit its raced-based founding philosophy of 1947shows up a political party that wants to be stubbornly unwise. Unless UMNO’s leadership can find the courage to face facts, the party may become redundant and obsolete for the educated 21st century voter.

Respect for and recognition of rights

Academic studies have consistently shown that increased income brings more happiness and satisfaction only up to a certain point. When a society progresses out of poverty into middle class, increasing income does not increase satisfaction proportionately. It is the psychological aspects of living that produces a better quality of life.

Whatever the radiation scientists claim, the people of Bentong (45 per cent Malay, 44 per cent Chinese) will ask why a factory run by an Australian company is unsuitable for Australia or Damansara Heights but can be located in their backyard.

In 2008, Health Minister Liow won Bentong by over 12,000 votes. This year he retained Bentong with less than 400 votes against a political novice who is a green activist. The urban electorate, Chinese or Malay, seeks respect and recognition of their right to a safe living environment.

MCA contested in 37 parliamentary seats and managed to win seven in GE13.

MCA contested in 37 parliamentary seats and managed to win seven in GE13.

In Penang, the 1 Malaysia Charity organisation hosted numerous concerts and dinners in support of Barisan candidates. At their functions, T-shirts, beer, hawker food and lucky draw gifts were given free.

Initially there was merriment and wonder at this new campaigning style; this then became anger and disgust when even cash incentives were handed out. The electorate felt they were treated with disrespect, as if their rights, dignity and vote were up for sale.

Numerous development issues had plagued the Penang DAP government in the months leading up to the election, and the increased majority they subsequently obtained can only be explained by the strong rejection what the other side represents. Money cannot buy happiness, and similarly, the urban electorate set out to show that money cannot buy their vote in Penang.

The urban electorate in Malaysia is obviously better off economically compared to the rural dwellers. They have reached a stage when extra economic incentives can no longer easily win their approval.

Instead they asked for respect, and an acknowledgement of their right to an inclusive, peaceful existence in the country. They seek recognition as a legitimate electorate with the right to choose the governing party. Blaming and insulting them for voting against the Barisan will only guarantee the DAP and Pakatan a brighter future.

Competent and efficient institutions

There is no doubt that relative to those who were once our equivalent, we Malaysians have fallen behind. The Singapore dollar which was equivalent to the ringgit in the 1970’s is today 2.5 times higher. Malaysia beat South Korea and Japan in the 1972 Olympic football qualifying rounds; today we are nowhere near these 2 World Cup Finals participating countries.

Malaysians have fallen behind in economy, education and sports.Malaysians have fallen behind in economy, education and sports.

Universiti Malaya had topped the list of universities passing the United States medical qualifying examination in 1969, ahead of Melbourne and Singapore University. In 2011, Universiti Malaya was ranked 401 out of the 500 universities in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The educated, smart-phone holding, internet-surfing, urban voter is aware of world-wide trends and wants to experience the best that life can offer. When the governing party is unable to develop the country to its full potential, its popularity will drop.

As demonstrated by the Noble prize winning Dr Ivan Pavlov, animals respond to incentives, and man is no exception. A system that promotes those who agree with and pamper those in power while sidelining those working hard to pursue competency will breed inefficient malfunctioning institutions. Even those not under their direct employment will be affected by these incompetent institutions.

Malaysians want a competent and efficient institutions.

Malaysians want a competent and efficient institutions.

When the police force is politicised and crime rate increases, more money will have to be spent on personal and household security. Even Datuk Nazir Razak admitted that he had hesitated coming back to Malaysia because of concerns about his children’s education. When the middle class spends on private education or healthcare, votes for the governing party will drop.

Conclusion

The Chinese now make up only 25 per cent of Malaysia’s population and to be named as the cause of major developments in the country is to be hurtful to this minority and insulting to the majority. On the other hand, government statistics show that Malaysia’s urban population has increased from 62 per cent in 2000 to 71 per cent in 2010.

No amount of rhetorical whitewashing can hide the fact that the poor performance of Barisan in the 2013 election is due to its failure to win the heart and mind of the urban voter. The faster it faces reality and move away from its obsolete race-based mindset, the better its prospects for the next electoral battle.

Malaysian Chineseby Ong Hean Teik

* Dr Ong Hean Teik is a consultant cardiologist in Penang. He reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Reblogged from Din Merican: the Malaysian DJ Blogger

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