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Monday, 30 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (46): ANWAR'S SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT?



Today's NST story on Anwar's safety.


2008/06/30
WAN AZIZAH: Anwar will only come out if PM guarantees his safety
By : Joseph Sipalan

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will come out of hiding only if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gives his word that he will be safe.


A file picture of Pak Lah and Anwar shaking hands during one of the UMNO's General Assembly at PWTC.


PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Anwar is also willing to cooperate with the police in their investigations into a recent allegation of sodomy by Anwar on one of his aides.

"If the PM gives his word, I will take it. Anwar wants to have his safety guaranteed and he deserves to be protected. This is a fundamental right," she said at a press conference.

Also signing the joint-statement were DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa.

Video : Syed Hamid guarantees Anwar's safety, says ex-DPM is acting (NST Online)

Comment:

All of a sudden Anwar becomes a safety concern and his wife, Datin Seri Wan Azizah wants assurance from PM for Anwar’s safety. It seems Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid’s guarantee is not good enough, even though he is the Minister of Internal Affairs. Yes, Anwar deserves to be protected and as Wan Azizah says “this is a fundamental right.” However, don’t we think that fundamental right is for every citizen, not for the just few. Anwar ia “up and about” for all these years, even prior to the recent election, not only countrywide, but overeas as well, especially Hongkong and Singapore.

As the minister in-charge of security, Syed Hamid Is duty bound to ensure Anwar’s paramount safety, presumably by employing police officers in plain clothes guarding him wherever and whenever he moves around. In other words Anwar must be protected at all costs, even to the extent of providing him with bullet-proof vehicles and bodyguards. In western countries such as USA, such “safety precaution” for prominent figures (political especially) is already part of the embedded culture and protocol. And Anwar, as a prominent figure, probably needs such culture, especially when he is “not safe walking around anymore.” His personal safety is paramount.

Perhaps, Wan Azizah should consider requesting Defence Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak to reign in the army a well to ensure Anwar’s safety around the clock. Anyway, some analysts are not sure what Syed Hamid means when he says “ex-DPM is acting”. Or Syed Hamid is referring to Anwar’s experience in the previous court case.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (45): TUNGGU SURAT LANTIKAN MENTERI?


Dato'Sri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein: DBP di bawah kementeriannya.

SIAPA KETUA PENGARAH DEWAN BAHASA?
OLEH PENA KEMBARA

Hari ini Ahad, 29 Jun 2008, kerusi Ketua Pengarah Dewan Bahasa dan Putaka (DBP) kosong tidak diisi. Ketua Pengarahnya , Dato’ Dr. Firdaus Hj. Abdullah tidak muncul-muncul di pejabat sejak 3 Mei lalu. Kali terakhir beliau ditemui adalah ketika menghadiri sidang permuafakatan Melayu di Dewan Persada Johor Bahru 2 April. Mengiringi beliau di persidangan Pengarah Komunikasi Koporat DBP, Sallehuddin Abang Shukeran.

Firdaus khabarnya telah diberi lampu hijau untuk melanjutkan perkhidmatannya setahun lagi. Perkhidmatannya tamat tempoh 3 Mei lalu. Isyarat lampu hijau itu datangnya dari pihak berwenang di Putrajaya. Tetapi entah kenapa Firdaus belum menerima surat “sambung tugas” dan ini mungkin menyebabkan beliau “segan” ke pejabatnya di Tingkat 30 di Menara DBP. Kebiasaannya, surat ambung tugas ini dikeluarkan oleh Kementerian Pelajaran. DBP terletak di kementerian ini dan menterinya sekarang ialah Dato’ Sri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein.

Kurang jelas di mana duduknya perkara. Cakap-cakap dalam kalnagan orang Dewan Bahasa memperkuat andaian bahawa telah wujud apa yang disebut elemen percanggahan kepentingan (conflict of interest) antara dua tokoh penting DBP. Mereka kata konflik itu lebih menjurus kepada yang lebih bersifat peribadi. Namun tidak seorang pun yang mahu menjelaskan apa yang dimaksudkan dengan konflik peribadi ini. Hanya bukan rahsia lagi memang telah wujud perbezaan pandangan dan pendapat antara Ketua Pengarah dengan Pengerusi kepada Lembaga Pengelola. Ketua Pengarahnya Firdaus akhir-akhir ini sering dikatakan “tidak sehaluan” dengan Datuk Johan Jaafar, Pengerusi kepada Lembaga, yang khabarnya khidmatnya telah disambung baru-baru ini.

Menara DBP yang baru. Lokainya di belakang bangunan DBP yang lama.

Dato' Johan Jaaffar, Pengerusi Lembaga Pengelola DBP.
Konflik peribadi? Macam tak percaya pula. Sebabnya perhubungan kedua-dua tokoh ini dilihat paling akrab. Kedua-duanya sentiasa bersama dalam setiap mesyuarat Persatuan Penulis Nasional (PENA) yang dipimpin Ketua 1 Dato’ Ahmad Sebi Abu Bakar. Walaupun telah menjadi mantan, Johan adalah Setiausaha Agung Pena sementara Firdaus Pengerusi Tetap. Apabila dua tokoh ini “berhijrah ke DBP, mereka tetap digandingkan, Johan sebagai ahli Lembaga, kemudian sebagai Timbalan Pengerusi dan akhirnya Pengerusi dan Firdaus dilantik Ketua Pengarah pada tahun 2005. Berdasarkan keintiman demikian siapa akan menjangka kedua-duanya sedang berkonflik? Namun kata orang DBP begitulah hakikatnya dua tokoh kurang sehaluan dan kurang serasi. Di manakah silapnya?


Dato' Dr. Firdaus Abdullah: Kehadirannya di DBP ditunggu-tunggu

Jika pendapat dua tokoh yang pernah bertugas di DBP diambil kira, konflik ini barangkali ada kaitannya. Dato’ M. Noor Azam, yang pernah memangku jawatan Timbalan Ketua Pengarah satu ketika dahulu pernah menyebut “Di Dewan Bahasa, sepatutnya Dato’ Firdaus memegang jawatan Pengerusi Lembaga Pengelola sementara Dato’ Johan memegang jawatan Ketua Pengarah. Ini kerana Johan sudah pernah bekerja di Dewan dan tahu elok-belok masalahnya, manakala Dato’ Firdaus tak pernah.” Noor Azam tidak mengulas lebih lanjut.

Tokoh seorang lagi, Dato’ Abd. Rahim Bakar, ialah bekas Pengerusi kepada Lembaga Pengarah selama hampir 12 tahun. Menurutnya, Supaya DBP berfungsi efektif jawatan Pengerusi tidak sepatutnya dilantik daripada mereka yang telah pernah bertugas di Dewan Bahasa. Dato’ Rahim tidak menjelaskan secara terperinci. Rahim ialah bekas Menteri Besar Pahang dan bekas Timbalan Menteri Tenaga dalam kabinet Pusat. Barangkali pengalamanya dalam bidang pentadbiran dan politik mengajarnya banyak.

Dato' Abd. Rahim Bakar
Pendapat dua tokoh ini memang ada kaitannya dengan maalah yang sedang dihadapi DBP. Jika dikaitkan pandangan ini dengan cakap-cakap orang dalam, maka bukan tidak mungkin ada “perbalahan antara dua orang penting” ini semakin menjadi “pergolakan”. Seperti kata satu sumber “ada pihak yang cuba mempermainkan pihak yang lain. Dan sumber ini yakin pergolakan ini ibarat retak menunggu belah.”

Dato' M. Noor Azam
Jika cakap-cakap ini boleh dipercayai, maka malanglah DBP kerana sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini ia telah terlalu jauh terpinggir daripada jiwa dan semangat rakyat. Pejuang bahasa dan sastera yang begitu prihatin kepada keadaan dan nasib DBP sejak sekian lama tentunya rasa terpukul dan terpukau dengan pergolakan negatif seperti ini. Kedua-dua tokoh yang diberi tanggungjawab memulihkan kredibiliti dan maruah DBP nampaknya terlalu “sibuk dan dalam kesuntukan” untuk apa yang disebut sebagai memperjuangkan “agenda” sendiri. Sumber dalaman begitu yakin ada pihak yang menggunakan elemen politik untuk mempengaruhi sebarang keputusan yang bersifat pentadbiran. Pun ada pula yang mendakwa salah guna kuasa menjadi elemen utama sehingga timbul perbalahan antar-tokoh ini. Dan pegawai dan kakitangan DBP semakin berasa curiga: Meraka bertanya, siapa sebenarnya mempunyai kuasa ekekutif di DBP dan siapa pula mempunya kuasa penggubal dasar? Adakah tugas eksekutif dan penggubal dasar DBP itu sama orangnya?

Baru sahaja ada pihak yang mahu meletakkan landasan baru kepada perjuangan dan misi DBP telah timbul pula perbakahan dan konflik yang merunsingkan. Orang atasan nampaknya menimbulkan karenah sedangkan anak buah mereka menerima traumanya. Maka akan semakin ramaikah penulis di luar sana yang selama ini mengharapkan kerjasama DBP untuk mendapatkan pembelaan dan “kaih sayang kerajaan “ kini tertanya-tanya lagi: mahu ke mana lagi DBP dibawa?

Kegiatan kebahasaan dan kesusasteraan maih belum juga menampakkan banyak impaknya yang positif. Dalam sesuatu organisasi konflik biaanya timbul antara majikan dan pekerja. Di DBP lain pula ceritanya. Konflik timbul antara dua tokoh penting. Padahal dua tokoh penting ini boleh memberi sumbangan yang bererti kepada fungsi DBP, dalam bidang bahasa, sastera dan penerbitan. Dalam hal ini nampaknya Menteri Pelajaran kenalah berbuat sesuatu demi mempastikan DBP berfungsi seperti sepatutnya sehingga tidak sampai merugikan kakitangannya, penulis-penulisnya dan pengguna-pengguna buku terbitannya. Atau perlukah masalah DBP ini dirujuk kepada Perdana Menteri, jika Menteri Pelajaran tidak dapat merungkainya. Ends.

PITA POLITIK (44): PAS ELDER CRITICISES KHALID AND LIM


Selangor MB, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Saturday June 28, 2008
PAS leader slams Khalid and Guan Eng


PETALING JAYA: A PAS leader has hit out at the leadership styles of Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Terengganu PAS commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ali said he did not want to criticise his Pakatan Rakyat colleagues but felt he had to have his say now that they had “opened a Pandora's box”.

Mustafa said Khalid should behave as a Mentri Besar and not as a chief executive officer of a company when he suspended his special officer Mohd Yahya Mat Sahri.

While he commended Khalid for acting “without fear or favour”, he said a Mentri Besar should refer to his party leadership before taking action.

“In the corporate world, to hire and fire is the absolute authority of the CEO but it is different in state administration.

“As Mentri Besar, he should refer to his colleagues in the state executive council as well as his partners in PKR and other PR leaders before taking action,” Mustafa wrote in his blog Politik Malaysia (padapendapatsaya.blogspot.com).

Meanwhile, he criticised Lim for publicly condemning Kedah Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak for permitting logging in Azizan’s state.


Penang CM Lim Guan Eng

Mustafa said he shared Lim’s sentiments on logging, but the manner in which Lim hit out at Azizan was wrong.(The Star Online)

Comment:
Datuk Mustafa Ali should have known better that both Khalid and Lim are still in their administrative apprenticeship. Both Khalid and Lim are in their learning process. I'm sure they will learn fast tranforming themelves as abled administrators in due time. In this moment of trial and error no one is perfect. But then again, probably Khalid and Lim need guidance from seasoned leaders in the Pakatan Rakyat, especially Mustafa himself.

But most people would agree with Mustafa's comment that an MB or Chief Minister of a state is not a CEO of a company which can "hire and fire" as he so wishes. Anyway, please give Khalid and Lim time to prove their worth to "walk the walk" and not just "talk the talk."

Thursday, 26 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (43): EPIK ALTANTUYA DAN RAJA PETRA

Satu penipuan – Najib ‘Akuan sumpah Raja Petra bertujuan cemar imej politik saya’

Oleh hata wahari

Najib Tun Abdul Razak menjelaskan mengenai kedudukan isterinya, Rosmah Mansor yang dikaitkan dengan kes Altantuya Shaariibuu pada sidang akhbar selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kabinet Khas Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin (PATI) Sabah di bangunan Parlimen, semalam.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



KUALA LUMPUR 25 Jun – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak menyifatkan akuan bersumpah yang mengaitkan isterinya, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor dengan pembunuhan wanita Mongolia, Altantuya Shaariibuu sebagai satu penipuan yang bertujuan mencemarkan imej politik beliau.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, isterinya telah memberi keterangan kepada pihak polis yang membuat siasatan mengenai akuan bersumpah penulis blog Malaysia Today, Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Beliau sendiri bersedia untuk memberi kenyataan kepada polis berhubung siasatan perakuan tersebut yang diumpamakannya sebagai ‘akuan sumpah sampah’.

“Saya mengalu-alukan siasatan polis serta berharap siasatan itu dapat disiapkan dengan cepat.

“Saya percaya semua yang terlibat akan memberi kenyataan kepada pihak berkuasa termasuk Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,” katanya pada sidang akhbar selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kabinet Mengenai Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin (PATI) di bangunan Parlimen di sini hari ini.

Raja Petra, 58, yang pernah mengendalikan laman web menyokong Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, telah memfailkan akuan bersumpah di Mahkamah Tinggi pada 18 Jun lalu yang menamakan tiga individu termasuk Rosmah sebagai orang yang berada di tempat kejadian Altantuya dibunuh pada 2006.

Akuan itu turut menyebut Perdana Menteri menerima laporan daripada perisikan tentera mengenai apa yang didedahkan Raja Petra tentang kes Altantuya.

Bagaimanapun semalam, Abdullah menafikan beliau ada menerima laporan bertulis daripada perisikan tentera mengenai mereka yang terlibat dalam kes pembunuhan itu.

Sambil menjelaskan apa yang dilakukan oleh Raja Petra itu tidak betul, Abdullah menegaskan: “Perbuatan itu tidak boleh diterima.”

Pada Mei lalu, pengendali dan editor laman blog Malaysia Today itu dituduh di bawah Akta Hasutan 1948 di Mahkamah Sesyen di Petaling Jaya kerana menerbitkan artikel berkaitan pembunuhan Altantuya.

Perbicaraan kes bunuh wanita Mongolia itu di Mahkamah Tinggi Shah Alam baru selesai di peringkat pendakwaan Isnin lalu selepas mahkamah bersidang selama 124 hari.

Raja Petra yang merupakan pengendali blog pertama didakwa atas kesalahan hasutan mengaku tidak bersalah selepas pertuduhan dibacakan di hadapan Hakim Nurmala Salim.

Mengikut pertuduhan, Raja Petra didakwa menerbitkan satu artikel bertajuk Let’s Send The Altantuya Murderers to Hell yang mengandungi ayat-ayat menghasut di laman web Malaysia Today.

Raja Petra didakwa di bawah Seksyen 4(1)(c) Akta Hasutan 1948 dan boleh dihukum di bawah Seksyen 4(1) akta yang sama iaitu denda tidak melebihi RM5,000 atau penjara maksimum lima tahun atau kedua-duanya jika disabitkan kesalahan.(Petikan Utuan Online, 26 Jun 08)

Komen:
Perlu komen? Rasa-rasa tak perlu malah tak payah!! Menghabihan boreh jo, kata orang Negeri Sembilan.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (42) ARE WE BEING FAIR?


Tun Mahathir Mohamad: "The struggle is not over!"

2008/06/24

Mahathir’s record: More negatives than positives
By : NORAMTAZ ABDULLAH, Petaling Jaya

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Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is associated with many mega projects in the country


I REFER to P.C.A. Lee's letter on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's record ("Good, bad or plain ugly?-- NST, June 18).

To me, the Petronas Twin Towers, the Sepang F1 Circuit, Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the tolled highways are not projects coming out of brilliant ideas or initiatives. These can only come from those who think and behave as if the country's resources are unlimited and that "money is no problem".

It was during his administration that another "brilliant" idea was mooted which thankfully did not materialise: to build a bridge linking Malaysia and Sumatra. Just imagine the consequence to the country's financial resources and the ballooning budget deficits had the project proceeded.

His yearning for mega projects was indeed insatiable, especially when these become synonymous with his name. He wanted to create his own history, especially for the young generation. After all, those who were born at the time Dr Mahathir became prime minister were adults when he retired.

This generation knows only him as prime minister and this is the memory he wants to perpetuate, even to the extent of dismantling parts of the historical past.

Remember Merdeka Stadium, which was on the verge of being demolished to make way for a commercial project? Had it not been for the public outcry, we would have lost this historical place where our first prime minister read the proclamation of our independence.

The availability of oil money and Petronas under his control had no doubt become the driving force behind his thirst for mega projects, including the heavy industry, as well as for bailing out public and private companies from the fallout of the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis.

The national car project was developed at high social cost to the country and people, when it could have been done differently and at a lower cost and yet still meet our national objectives and aspirations.

Just look at what Thailand did to its automotive industry, which is robust and competitive compared with ours. And we were ahead of Thailand at one time. Perwaja is another disaster that has to be salvaged.

Is the Formula One circuit financially viable and self-financing or still dependent upon the continuing injection of public money or Petronas money?

What did the country get substantively out of the Twin Towers apart from having the tallest building in the world, though not any more now? Was the Twin Towers fully occupied upon completion?

Did our construction industry or contractors gain any technological mileage in terms of expertise and skills when we engaged foreign labour for its construction?

I tried to list down his positive contributions to the country, especially to the ordinary citizens who may remember him in their hearts for a long time. We are not talking of the few hundred families or individuals who were direct beneficiaries of his 23-year administration through negotiated contracts, privatisation deals, business monopolies, exclusive supplies and services, but the millions of ordinary low-income and poor people in the rural and urban areas throughout the country.

Frankly, not much can be documented for their direct well-being and welfare, except the widening disparity of incomes among the major races and within a race and between urban and rural areas during his administration. The gap between the rich and poor is widening.

I only see more and more negatives than positives, as enumerated by P.C.A. Lee, like the thriving corruption, the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary, racial polarisation, wastage of public funds, substandard buildings, schools, roads implemented through direct negotiations and consequently abandoned, but later salvaged by the new administration at tremendous cost to the nation.

To add to the list of negatives is the declining respect for our laws because "you can do wrong things for the right reason". Or you can be spared of your wrongdoings before the law if you can tell the judges what to do. Anything is possible at the right price.

The explosion in the number of awards for honorific titles among Malaysians happened during his premiership, so much so that cynical remarks were made by everyone that if someone throws a stone on the street or at any public function, the chances are that you would hit a Datuk, Datuk Seri or Tan Sri.

The scramble for such titles became paramount, as they provide tremendous mileage in terms of securing preferential treatment of sorts and access to the corridors of power, all which adds a new dimension to Malaysian culture and way of life.

However, we must be fair to Dr Mahathir. Let us hope as time goes on, more and more of his good deeds and not his misdeeds will be revealed. As the saying goes, elephants leave behind their tusks and the tigers their stripes when they die. Human beings leave behind their names. (NST Online)

Comment:
A reader's notes to NST today, analysing Tun Mahathir's achievements as Prime Minister of Malaysia. She says too many negatives than positives. Anyway, this is only one way of seeing things. Let us be fair. After all being human, Tun Mahathir is just anyone else with with strengths and weaknesses. What about other former PMs too?

PITA POLITIK (41): YONG'S NEW POLITICAL BALL GAME?


Dato' Seri Yong Teck Lee claimed: "BN is no more in Sabah..."

Tuesday June 24, 2008
Two Sabah MPs recalled home after 'threats'
By MUGUNTAN VANAR


KOTA KINABALU: The two MPs of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) have been recalled home to Sabah for security reasons, said party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

He claimed that the two MPs – Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun (Sepanggar) and Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui (Tawau) – had been threatened by certain quarters over SAPP’s decision to support a no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister.

The two MPs, who were in Kuala Lumpur to attend the Parliament meeting which began yesterday, were told to return immediately.

“In view of this disturbing turn of events, SAPP has taken extra precautions for the safety of the MPs by calling them back to the party headquarters for consultations on the next course of action, including the safety of their persons, families and the security of their offices,” Yong said.

He said that ever since SAPP announced the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister on June 18, the SAPP had been advised by “friendly parties not to underestimate the risky consequences and likely threats to SAPP and its leaders.” (The Star Online)

Comment:
A new political ball game Dato' Seri Yong Teck Lee is playing? This is just like a "once - upon - a - time cowboy stories of US wild wild west depicting western swashbuckling likings of Buck Jones, Kit Carson, Billy the Kid, or Buffalo Bill' trigger-happy episodes. Let's face realities Dato' Seri, who's buying this political theme. After all there are some who still say that the so-called Gemencheh's political 'misadventure' of the yesteryears was just an isolated case, if someone could still remember what I mean.

Monday, 23 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (40): LET'S CYCLE TO PARLIAMENT


At least for health reason,shouldn't MPs like Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng join the ride, introduced by their four comrades-in-MPs?

Monday June 23, 2008 MYT 11:19:27 AM
PKR MPs cycle to Parliament as mark of protest
By LISA GOH


KUALA LUMPUR: Four Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) MPs - Tian Chua (Batu), Hee Loy Sian (PJ Selatan), N. Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai) and Zulkifli Nordin (Kulim Bandar Baru) - cycled to Parliament Monday as a mark of protest against the recent fuel hike.

Tian Chua said move was also to "appeal to the Cabinet Ministers to understand the difficulty in using bicycles or public transport" in the country. "Changing of lifestyles is not as easy as what the Government claims," he told reporters.

He said that he and the three others had taken about 20 minutes to cycle from Bank Negara to the Dewan Rakyat.

"It's a difficult task because the road transport system here is not designed for bicycle use and cyclists will face problems cruising around town," he said.

Asked if they would cycle to Parliament again, he said the MPs would discuss it further.

"Today, because of the debate on petrol price hike, we rode our bicycles here to make a point," he said.(The Star Online)

Comment:
Another gimmick by four PKR Members of Parliament. For yet another political stunt for public attention! Certainly there would be bystanders along the route - from Bank Negara building to Parliament House - who would say PKR had lots of "fancy" ideas how to promote their party's standing. Wouldn't be more impressive if PKR de-facto leader, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim joins the the morning ride, or even Parlimentarian Nurul Izzah herelf together with Datin. It will be very interesting to see when will PAS and DAP Parliamentarians of the Pakatan Rakyat group will join the ride, holding hands right into the Parliament's porch. After all isn't it a good cause for health?. More so, if BN parlimentarian join the fray and this then will make it more convenient if the protocol road leading to Parliament House would be converted to a strictly cycle lane during peak hours. As for the public any volunteers to cycle the ditance?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (39): WILL OTHER SABAH BN PARTNERS FOLLOW...?


The three leading players in today's Malaysian political theater: Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim.Shouldn't they be together for the sake of Malay unity - politics aside.

Thursday June 19, 2008
Hong Kong deal: SAPP and Anwar

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party’s move for a no-confidence motion on the Prime Minister was a deal that was hatched in Hong Kong and wrapped up in Kuala Lumpur with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee admitted he had met with Anwar on two occasions in the Chinese territory and the federal capital to discuss "the political dynamics affecting the nation and Sabah".

Many quarters have interpreted this to mean the "crossing over of Barisan Nasional MPs" to the opposition as promised by Anwar.

However, the proposed motion has not received widespread support and Yong agreed that the next 48 hours were crucial. At the moment at least two other Sabah Barisan parties - UPKO and PBS - have remained deafeningly silent.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Yong's latest action was due to the fact that "I have not been able to satisfy his personal greed."

Abdullah did not elaborate. However, his aides said that the prime minister would elaborate at a later date. (The Star Online)

Tun Mahathir (left) and Datuk Seri Anwar: Once an unseparable duo, now sharing a common political denominator? After all both left UMNO: Tun Mahathir resigned while Dato' Seri Anwar (you know what happened-lah)

Comment:
As expected SAPP was the first party in Sabah to announce the deal with PKR de-facto leader, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Most likely other component BN parties would join soon. It would not be a surprise if other parties in the ruling coalition would follow suit. With Tun Mahathir out of UMNO together with a few others like Tan Sri Sanusi Joned, the "rakyat" would be kept wondering "whether there will be a torrential downpour of political rain in the coming months with Anwar emerged victorious". If that would be the case someone high in Pemuda UMNO would have to swallow his words for asking Anwar to resign as the de-facto leader of "Pakatan Rakyat" by 16 September.There were reports of Sabah BN forming an independent block to safeguard Sabahan rights, whatever rights that might be.This block would neither join BN nor Pakatan. How about a block for Sarawak? Don't we see further headache for PM

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (38): SEEING AN UPSET TUANKU


Wednesday June 18, 2008
Would the organizer consider Singapore as the possible avenue if Tuanku cancelled the Selangor choice?

Sultan to PAS: Call off protest or I call off matches
BY WONG CHUN WAI


SHAH ALAM: An upset Sultan of Selangor has threatened to call off future Sultan of Selangor Cup matches between his state and Singapore if the protest by the state PAS Youth against two artistes performing for the event went ahead.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah described the protest over rock queen Ella and dangdut singer Mas Idayu as “hypocritical” and “trivial”.

He said there were more important issues that the party could focus on. (The Star Online)

Comment:
Kelantan politics has finally found its way into Selangor. And everyone knows it will spread to other Pakatan States in due time. Well, Selangor folks! Gone would be the days when you will see more "good entertaiments in the state" as referred to by the Tuanku. And more "goodies" to come may mean more "upsets" from the Tuanku.

Monday, 16 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (37): ANOTHER EPIC COMING UP?


Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and the Wanita Exco


Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim (right) and Tun Mahathir. Will Mahathir join in the by-election campaign?

Monday June 16, 2008
Anwar eyeing Kuala Kangsar


IPOH: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is looking at the possibility of contesting a by-election in Perak, if the court were to rule against Barisan Nasional in the Kuala Kangsar election petition.

Responding to queries on his pending contest in a by-election, the PKR de facto leader said: “I think Perak would be a good idea. We’re waiting for a decision on Kuala Kangsar.”

Anwar said this after speaking at a closed-door convention held by Perak PKR Youth yesterday.

He also said a committee had been set up to look into him contesting in a by-election, adding that it would be done through Pakatan Rakyat.

Dissatisfied voter Ahmad Jamaluddin Abd Majid has filed an election petition to declare the results of the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary constituency null and void after Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz failed to sign two out of three sets of her nomination papers in the last general election.

Rafidah won the seat against Perak PAS deputy commissioner Dr Khairuddin Abd Malik. The case is still pending in court.

On talk that a Barisan Nasional component party was planning to pull out of the coalition, Anwar said: “I think we will monitor this closely. I’m sure you’ll know very soon.”

However, he was tight-lipped when asked if the component party was from Sabah.

Later in GEORGE TOWN, Anwar said those who wished to join the party must accept Pakatan Rakyat’s agenda for a multiracial Malaysia and a guaranteed Constitution.

“We would receive such a move well and we hope that it happens in the shortest time,” he said.

He also said there had been discussions between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan parties but such discussions did not mean the latter were joining them.

“They (Barisan parties) wanted to know how the Pakatan Rakyat parties work together and about the promises for change that we made.

“The discussions do not indicate they are crossing over,” he said.(The Star Online, 16 June 08)

Comment:
If the court decides there will be a by-election in Kuala Kangsar, all eyes will turn to Anwar Ibrahim, the probable candidate of Pakatan Rakyat and Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, the incumbent from BN.Will Kuala Kangsar retain its status quo or go to the Perak ruling Pakatan Rakyat.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (36): AN ACT OF INTERFERENCE?


A matter of succession, the UMNO way?

Why Najib won't challenge Pak Lah:
I want to build Umno
The deputy prime minister and Umno deputy president described himself as a loyal party member who subscribed to an orderly leadership change, as has been the Umno convention.

Najib was responding to a question at Chatham House, home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs here, about the likelihood of his challenging Abdullah for the party presidency following Barisan Nasional's poor results in the March general election.

He said he made his stand not on the basis of courage or cowardice but of "core values".

"I believe what is important is that whatever position you take, it must be a core value personal to you. My father (second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) helped to build the party.

"I am not going to destroy it. I want to continue to build the party."

He had earlier delivered a lecture on "Malaysia in the face of new global challenges". He was on the final day of a four-day working visit to the United Kingdom.

"I am a true party man who believes in the traditional way of leadership transition," he said to an audience of influential individuals in business and public life.The event was held in association with the Asean-UK Business Forum.

He said that as Umno was weakened after the general election, the last thing it needed was a divisive leadership battle.

"What's the point of inheriting a position when you lose in the general election? I don't want to lead the party to defeat."

During the question-and-answer session, he also explained the government's affirmative action policies, which sought a more equitable society and were necessitated by the country's political realities.

He also shared his views on the importance of an education system that promoted creativity and inventiveness.

In his speech earlier, he touched on many issues, including Malaysia's economic growth, Vision 2020, the effects of rising fuel and food prices, the general election, the country's commitment to international trade liberalisation and the country's bilateral ties with the UK.

On Malaysia-UK relations, he believed that much more could be done given the historical ties between the two countries and the strong bonds of friendship among their peoples.

"We must not leave our relationship in a state of benign neglect," he said, referring to the term he used in an address to British businesses in 2005.

He called on the British administration to step up bilateral ties.

He said no British prime minister had visited Malaysia since John Major in 1993.

"I'd like to see the (British) prime minister leading a high-powered delegation (to Malay-sia) to underscore this (longstanding relationship)." (NST Online, 14 June 08)

Comment:
The Star on the same day carries the following story:



To some UMNO members Tun Mahathir Mohamad is not being wise when he urges Dato' Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak to contet the president's post since he (Tun Mahathir) is no more an UMNO member. They say that will be tantamount to political interfering into other people's party. Or is it that Tun Mahathir still loves the party he once led and held so dearly for a couple of decades.

Friday, 13 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (35): WHAT IF MAJORITY WANTS UMNO TO "SLEEP" WITH ITS OLD ENEMY?


The Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu in session in JohorBahru, 4 May 2008 (Photo: A.F.Yassin)

2008/06/13
OPINION: Pas will not 'sleep with the enemy' again

Secret meetings and overtures are purportedly taking place between Pas and Umno for the common ground of Malay unity. But some old wounds are still festering, writes ZUBAIDAH ABU BAKAR.

JUST 100 days ago, the most respected ulama in Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas) said the Islamist party would not rejoin Barisan Nasional.

Pas co-founder Burhanuddin al-Helmy

The assurance by Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the party's 77-year-old spiritual adviser, was made during a press conference at Pas' headquarters in Kota Baru on March 8, soon after it was confirmed that Pas had been returned to power in the state it had held for 18 years.

Nik Aziz, who is Kelantan menteri besar, said Umno had "played out" Pas during the party's BN era, and Pas would not fall into the same trap again. To Nik Aziz and many other Pas leaders, it is a simple case of once bitten, twice shy. Pas learned a bitter lesson when it collaborated with Barisan Nasional and Umno from 1970 to 1978.

It was painful for Pas to see its members split into groups after it left BN; while the faithful stayed on to rebuild the party, some joined Umno and splinter parties like Berjasa and Hamim. A small fraction chose to become inactive in Pas.
The problems began when the then prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein picked Datuk Mohamed Nasir over another Pas candidate to be Kelantan menteri besar after the 1974 general election. This led to a vote of no-confidence in the state assembly against Nasir, triggering protests in his defence and leading to the imposition of emergency rule in Kelantan.


How about Islam as a common denominator for PAS and UMNO to embrase Malay unity?

Pas' recalcitrance led to its expulsion from BN, ending its brief collaboration with Umno. The party lost the state election in 1978 and was only able to wrest it back 12 years later. It has remained in power since.

But there is now fresh talk that Pas might seek to renew old ties with Umno and rejoin BN. Is this possible? (Excerpt from NST ONLINE, 13 June 2008)

Comment:
Simply said there was no way that PAS would rejoin Barisan Nasional after such a painful experience during the PAS short term coalition in BN in the 1990's. On the contrary, Datuk Nik Aziz, now invites individual UMNO members to join PAS and points a direct hint to Tun Mahathir Mohamad, who resigned from UMNO recently. Never mind if Tun Mahathir was exceptionally vocal against PAS when he was leading BN. Or never mind if PAS is now in "comfort zone" with the other political parties under "Pakatan Rakyat".

Datuk Nik Aziz should probably try to reconcile the political and personal differences between Tun Mahathir and Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim and then pursue the final objective of overthrowing the BN government. After all everything is possible in politics. As they use to say, "Today you are my 'true' enemy, and yet tomorrow you will be my 'true friend'. Then, we just can forget the Malay unity or the "ketuanan Melayu" as envisaged by Majlis Permuafakatan Melayu in Johor Bahru, 2-4 May 2008. By the way, any follow-up on the resolutions passed by the Majlis, promptly delivered to the Sultan of Johor?

Thursday, 12 June 2008

PITA POLITIK(34): LAIN DAHULU LAIN SEKARANG?

Mahathir: Apa erti 'ugutan tersorok'?
Abdul Rahim Sabri | Jun 11, 08 3:55pm
dikemaskini Mantan perdana menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad belum bersedia mengulas dakwaan beliau terlibat campur tangan dalam badan kehakiman oleh seorang hakim Mahkamah Tinggi kelmarin.

"Saya tidak akan mengulas (isu itu) sekarang dan akan berbuat demikian dalam waktu yang sesuai," katanya ringkas di blognya hari ini.

"Bagaimanapun, saya ingin tahu apakah yang dimaksudkan oleh (hakim) Ian Chin sebagai 'ugutan terselubung'."

Beliau menggesa hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Sibu, Datuk Ian HC Chin menjelaskan dengan lebih khusus dakwaan-dakwaan serius terhadapnya.

Ian Chin mendedahkan dua insiden mengenai campur tangan pemimpin kerajaan itu 11 tahun lalu.

Pendedahan tersebut dibuat di permulaan perbicaraan petisyen pilihanraya yang didengarnya kelmarin.

Beliau membabitkan Dr Mahathir dan juga bekas ketua hakim negara Tun Eusoff Chin, kedua-duanya dinamakan dalam suruhanjaya diraja siasatan klip video Lingam.

Sehubungan itu, pengerusi DAP Karpal Singh hari ini membuat satu laporan polis berhubung dakwaan ugutan Dr Mahathir di ibu pejabat polis daerah Dang Wangi petang ini.

"Saya mahu laporan ini disiasat dengan terperinci oleh polis kerana dakwaan itu menunjukkan satu kesalahan bawah Seksyen 186 Kanun Keseksaan yang mana melarang halangan terhadap proses keadilan," kata Karpal, juga seorang peguam terkenal, selepas membuat laporan polis.

Seksyen 186 memperuntukkan, sesiapa secara sukarela menghalang penjawat awam menjalankan tugasnya boleh dikenakan hukuman penjara maksimum dua tahun atau denda RM10,000 atau kedua-duanya.

Sementara itu, naib presiden Gerakan, Datuk Dr S Vijayaratnam memuji pendedahan Ian Chin berhubung campur tangan pemimpin kerajaan dalam kes di depannya - satu melibatkan petisyen pilihanraya dan satu lagi kes saman sivil - pada 1997.

"(Pendedahan) ini menjadi satu teladan untuk dicontohi hakim-hakim lain, jika keadaan memerlukannya, dan menunjukkan integriti badan kehakiman," katanya dalam satu kenyataan.

Vijayaratnam berkata, pendedahan hakim itu menjadi penggerak ketelusan, kemandirian dan kebebasan badan kehakiman.

Angkatan Muda PKR (AMK) pula memandang serius dakwaan Ian Chin yang menuduh Dr Mahathir bersedia menggunakan tribunal khas untuk menyingkirkan hakim yang membuat keputusan tidak menyebelahi kerajaaan - susulan keputusan petisyen pilihanraya kerusi Bukit Begunan yang memihak kepada calon bebas Donald Lawan pada 21 April 1997.

Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Sarawak itu dilaporkan berkata mantan perdana menteri membuat ugutan itu di persidangan hakim pada 24 April tahun itu.

"(Pendedahan) ini membuktikan betapa amalan mencengkam kehakiman menjadi tabiat semulajadi Dr Mahathir yang mengakibatkan pelbagai bentuk ketidakadilan telah berlaku," kata ketua AMK Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin dalam kenyataannya.

Beliau turut mempertikaikan kelembapan peguam negara menyiasat Dr Mahathir dan lima tokoh lain, termasuk dua bekas ketua hakim negara, susulan laporan suruhanjaya diraja siasatan klip video VK Lingam.

"Melihat kepada kes terbaru yang didedahkan oleh Ian Chin ini, tidak ada sebab peguam negara untuk terus duduk diam tanpa mengambil sebarang tindakan untuk mendakwa pihak-pihak berkenaan khususnya Dr Mahathir," tambah Shamsul Iskandar, juga seorang pengamal undang-undang.

AMK, katanya, telah membuat 15 aduan polis berhubung laporan suruhanjaya diraja itu tetapi tiada sebarang tindakan daripada peguam negara. (Petikan Malaysiakini)

Komen:
Nyatanya, satu demi satu apa yang dilakukan bekas PM Tun Mahathir Mohamad ketika tempoh pemerintahannya dahulu mulai disoroti umum. Ada sahaja yang tak kena dan "yang kena" selama dua dekad kepimpinannya.

"Itu biasa," ulas seorang pemimpin veteran UMNO di Melaka sewaktu ditemu bual baru-baru ini.

Masih teringat kata-kata mantan Timbalan Perdana Menteri , Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba dua bulan sebelum beliau meninggal dunia. Ketika berbual di kediamannya di Bangsar Tun Ghafar secara serius berkata," Yang penting bagi saya ialah survival orang Melayu, bukan UMNO."

Kurang jelas apakah sebenarnya yang tergerak dalam hatinya ketika itu. ulasannya dikaitkan dengan pendiriannya terhadap UMNO setelah beliau tidak lagi aktif dalam pertubuhan itu setelah jawatan timbalan presiden parti diambil alih oleh Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Tidak pula dinyatakan pendiriannya untuk keluar parti seperti yang dilakukan Tun Mahathir. Tentunya menarik untuk mendengsr komen Allahyarham Tun Ghafar berhubung tindakan Tun Mahathir keluar parti baru-baru ini.

Begitulah, kita "mengatas-namakan rakyat" kini berdepan dengan pendekatan nostalgik yang kebanyakannya negatif dengan membuat banyak "tafsiran" tentang apa yang berlaku pada masa lampau. Lazimnya, jasa-jasa baik dan positif tidak lagi dipedulikan hanya tinggal dalam lipatan sejarah, manakala segala sesuatu yang kurang enak dan negatif akan "dipergonjengkan" dengan sinis dan gurauan paling sadis - satu konotasi jelek dalam politik.

Masihkah kita ingat apa yang diterima Perdana Menteri pertama al-Marhum Tunku Abd. Rahman Putra al-Haj setelah beliau tidak lagi berkuasa? Masihkah kita ingat bagaimana Allahyarham Tun Hussein melepaskan jawatan presiden UMNO dan kemudian jawatan Perdan Menteri? Dan kita tentunya masih belum lupa bagaimana Tun Mahathir melepaskan jawatan Perdana Menterinya kira-kira lima tahun dahulu. Kecuali allahyarham Tun Razak, Perdana Menteri Kedua, yang meninggal dunia ketika masih dalam perkhidmatan, ketiga-tiga bekas perdana menteri ini bukan sahaja telah melepaskan jawatan sebagai pemimpin kerajaan dan parti tetapi juga telah keluar daripada UMNO sendiri.

Dalam kalangan maantan timbalan perdana menteri, kecuali Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim yang dipecat daripada UMNO, Tun Musa Hitam dan Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba tidak keluar parti. Mereka terus berada dalam UMNO.

Tetapi umumnya rata-rata maklum mengapa Tunku dan Tun Hussein keluar parti, tetapi belum ramai yang masih belum mengerti "di sebalik apakah gerangan" Tun Mahathir keluar parti. Benarkah hanya kerana faktor Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, yang dikatakan bertanggungjawab terhadap prestasi buruk BN dalam Piliahanraya lalu, sehingga membuatkan Tun Mahathir meninggalkan UMNO? Seperti kata ahli veteran UMNO dari Melaka tadi, "Alasan itu terlalu lemah dan terlalu amat tidak meyakinkan." Barangkali aada sesuatu yang lebih mendesak yang kita tidak pasti apa sehingga Tun Mahathir bertindak demikian. Katanya sambil meminjam kata-kata Inggeris Amerika, "I don' buy it. Mereka yang faham sejarah politik negara ini akan faham maksud saya,"

Saturday, 7 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (33): AWARDING SERVICES WITHOUT FAVOUR!!

Saturday June 7, 2008
Three new Tuns head awards list
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s squash queen Nicol David has been honoured by the Yang diPertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin in conjunction with his birthday today by being the first person to receive the Darjah Bakti (DB).
Nicol, 24, who is the women’s World No 1, is the first recipient of the award, which was established on June 26, 1975. It is limited to 10 recipients who have made significant contributions in arts, science and humanity on national and international levels.
Leading the honours list of 1,862 people were Chief Justice Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Mohamad, former Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and Gerakan adviser Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik who were bestowed the Seri Setia Mahkota Malaysia (SSM) which carries the title Tun.
Former International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, 64, is the sole recipient of the Panglima Mangku Negara, which carries the title Tan Sri.
Thirty others have been bestowed the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM), which also carries the title Tan Sri.
They are Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, International Trade and Industry Ministry secretary-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Mamat, Treasury secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, Director-General of the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob.
Deputy Secretary-General (Cabinet) in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mazidah Abdul Majid, Grand Imam of Masjid Negara Datuk Syaikh Ismail Muhamad, former Syariah Judiciary Department director-general and Syariah Court judge Datuk Sheikh Ghazali Abdul Rahman, Chief Judge of Malaya Datuk Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Malaysian Qualifications Agency chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Rais Abdul Karim, Universiti Sains Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.
President and CEO of Lejadi Holdings Sdn Bhd Datuk Dr Lim Ewe Jin, RAM Holdings Bhd deputy executive chairman Datuk C. Rajandram, Public Bank managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Tay Ah Lek, Malaysia Airlines chairman Datuk Dr Munir Majid, Tradewinds Corporation Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas.
Historian and Suhakam commissioner Prof Datuk Dr Khoo Kay Kim, former RTM orchestra conductor Datuk Ahmad Othman Merican, chief executive and managing director of Gadang Holdings Bhd Datuk Kok Onn, Tomei Consolidated Bhd Group executive chairman Datuk Ng Teck Fong, Tenggara Oil Bhd chairman Datuk Dr Kamal Salih, Khazanah Nasional Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mokhtar.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Datuk Murphy Pakiam, World Assembly of God Fellowship vice-chairman and senior pastor of Calvary Church Datuk Prince Guneratnam, Melati Ehsan Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Yap Suan Chee, former Air Force chief Air Vice Marshal (Rtd) Datuk Sulaiman Sujak, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Ismail Omar.
Businessman Datuk Chua Ma Yu, Institute of Strategic and International Studies chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan and Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Seri Annuar Musa.
Fifty-one people receive the Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN), which carries the Datuk title, and another two were conferred the Panglima Setia Di Raja (PSD), which also carries the Datuk title.
Among the PJN recipients are Sikh Union of Malaysia president Dr Jasbir Singh, former Johor exco member Freddie Long, MCA Sabak Bernam division chief Kee Ah Kau, MCA Bagan Serai division chief Yew Tuan Chew, Penang MIC deputy chairman chief P. Subbaiyah and Hulu Rajang MP Billy Abit Joo.
Others who also received the PJN include BOH Plantations chairman Tristan Beauchamp Russell, Help International Corporation chief executive Dr Paul Chan Tuck Hoong, Kumpulan WSA Capital Corporation managing director Dr Wan Mohamed Wan Embong, Rehda president Ng Seing Liong. Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab, New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Group deputy chairman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan and NSTP Group editor-in-chief Datuk Hishamuddin Aun.
The Johan Mangku Negara (JMN) is awarded to 21 people, Johan Setia Mahkota (91), Johan Setia Di Raja (1), Kesatria Mangku Negara (306), Kesatria Setia Di Raja (9), Ahli Mangku Negara (559), Pingat Pangkuan Negara (764) and Bentara Setia Di Raja (23). – Bernama.
Comment:
Congratulations to all recipients of the various awards. Except for BN affiliated figures in UMNO, MCA and Gerakan, and those in the civil services, we do not see anyone from the opposition-led states. We mst assume that prominent figures and high profiles in those states have never not been up to mark to be bestowed such royal high awards.
Dato’ Seri Rafidah and Dato’ Seri Annuar Musa are awarded the title Tan Sri. And so is Dato’ Seri Chan Khoon Choy and Dato’ Amirsham A. Aziz, the former Bank Negara CEO, now a minister in the prime Minister’s Department. Tan Sri Lee Keng Yeik, the former Gerakan chief is bestowed the title of Tun together with Dato’ Seri Ahmad Sarji and Dato’ Seri Abd. Hamid Mohammad. Our guess is, these high profile figures must have been serving the Rakyat diligently without fear or favour and actively involved throughout most of their lives in national politics. High profiles like Dato’ Seri Abd. Hadi Awang or Dato’ Nik Aziz and the likes are local stuff, falling far below the national par. What more if we were to consider profiles like Mr. Lim Kit Siang and Mr. Karpal Singh, who have been on the national limelight since early 1970’s.
Probably with the new political landscape, someone may wish in not so a distant future, high profiles in both political opposites would be given the same consideration. After all, they are also on equal footings when it comes to “serving the rakyat.”. Ah, well! So it seems.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

PITA POLITIK (32): EDUCATION BACK TO SQUARE ONE?


Dato' Sri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein: What happens now?

2008/06/03

USE OF ENGLISH: Ministry is to blame for the decline
By : IBRAHIM ZAKARIA, Kuantan

AS a concerned citizen, parent and teacher, I find it disturbing that within a span of 30 years, English proficiency among our students has deteriorated to such an extent that intelligent young graduates are having trouble getting their ideas across in that language. Even our local lawyers lack proficiency in English.

I have been teaching English in secondary schools and tuition centres for 41 years in Kuantan. Most of my Form 5 and Form 6 students can neither speak nor write proper English. Almost every sentence has to be corrected.

But, surprisingly, some of them score distinctions or strong credits in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination. The same answers would most likely have earned them an E or F during my era. There is quality in English question papers but the passing mark has been manipulated in such a way that even undeserving students can manage to score an A.

Various reasons have been given for the decline in English but so far nobody has honestly pointed out that the root cause is the shortsightedness of the Education Ministry.

Had our policymakers thought over the education policy with their heads instead of their hearts, they would have enhanced the national language without diluting the English language. They should have used English to teach Science and Mathematics from the very beginning.

In fact, they should also have considered teaching Civics, Arts and Physical Education in English to check the erosion of the language.

Our leaders lacked the political will to implement such a scheme for fear of jeopardising their political careers at a time when the flame of nationalism was raging furiously.

I salute Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his courage in reintroducing English as the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics before he stepped down as prime minister. He knew that a generation of Malaysians had paid for the sins of the policymakers.

Parents and teachers have expressed their concern over reports that the Education Ministry may be thinking of reverting to teaching Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia. Don't our leaders ever learn from past mistakes?

Lee Kuan Yew would never have let matters come to such a sorry pass. Singapore's English standards are way above ours where English in schools is concerned.

I pray that the education minister will act swiftly to contain the rot. I hope he will take measures to produce students who can cope with the pressures and competition of this fast-changing world and be able to keep abreast of discoveries through the English language, even to the extent of bringing back English schools.

This move will not only strengthen our children's command of English but also do away with a system that favours the elite in the form of private and international schools. (NST Online, 3 June 2008)

Comment:
..and so the Education Ministry is to blame for the low proficiency of English among students in schools. Is it fair? say some analysts. Another blame game? Passing the buck to the helpless minister-in-charge? Please bear in mind that our education policy is always undergoing cometic changes every now and then and at every possible turn. No thanks to our political and government leaders who always assume that "they are doing what is best for the people (students)." They (the leaders) think they are responsible to chart the students' future. Once again students' future is at stake, considering the inability of some of our leaders to formulate sound and solid changes to our long-standing education policy. Shouldn't we go back to the Razak report, or any other subsequent reports, thereafter?
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