Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Anwar Ibrahim And Being Anti-Israel

I thought this was an interesting article in the Washington Post, which expresses my sentiments exactly.

Flirting with zealotry in Malaysia

Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of Malaysia's political opposition, has become known over the past decade as one of the foremost advocates of liberal democracy in Muslim countries. His many friends in Washington include prominent members of the neoconservative movement -- such as Paul Wolfowitz, the former World Bank president and U.S. ambassador to Indonesia -- as well as such Democratic grandees as Al Gore.

Lately, Anwar has been getting attention for something else: strident rhetoric about Israel and alleged "Zionist influence" in Malaysia. He recently joined a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur where an Israeli flag was burned. He's made dark insinuations about the "Jewish-controlled" Washington public relations firm Apco Worldwide, which is working for Malaysia's quasi-authoritarian government.

Therein lies a story of the Obama era -- about a beleaguered democrat fighting for political and personal survival with little help from Washington; about the growing global climate of hostility toward Israel; and about the increasing willingness of U.S. friends in places such as Turkey and Malaysia to exploit it.

First, a little about Anwar: While serving as deputy prime minister under Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s, he began pushing for reforms -- only to be arrested, tried and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of homosexual sodomy. Freed after six years, he built a multiethnic democratic opposition movement that shocked the ruling party with its gains in recent elections. It now appears to have a chance at winning the next parliamentary campaign, which would allow Malaysia to join Indonesia and Turkey as full-fledged majority-Muslim democracies.

Not surprisingly, Anwar is being prosecuted again. Once again the charge is consensual sodomy, which to Malaysia's discredit remains a crime punishable by whipping and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Anwar, who is 63 and married with children, denies the charge, and the evidence once again is highly suspect. His 25-year-old accuser has confessed to meeting Prime Minister Najib Razak and talking by phone with the national police chief in the days before the alleged sexual encounter.

Nevertheless the trial is not going well. If it ends in another conviction, Anwar's political career and his opposition coalition could be destroyed, and his life could be at risk: His health is not great. Yet the opposition leader is not getting the kind of support from the United States as during his first prosecution, when then-Vice President Gore spoke up for him. Obama said nothing in public about Anwar when he granted Najib a prized bilateral meeting in Washington in April.

Read the rest of the article on the site.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Urbanscapes 2010

If you're wondering what Urbanscapes is all about, read all about it HERE.

Date: June 26, 2010 (Saturday)
Time: 12.00pm-12.00am
Venue: KLPAC, Sentul

You need tickets to watch the acts but there is a free area too.

I believe there will be voter registration happening, so if you haven't registered to vote (shame on you), I suggest you do so then.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Terrorism Is The Latest Excuse For Having The ISA

The government is at it again.

It has come to the sinking knowledge that it has collectively lost most of its control over the Malaysian public.

Dictatorship governments severely detest the loss of control.

And thus, they resort to their favourite tactic to regain that control - fear-mongering.

For many years, the Internal Security Act or more popularly known as the ISA, has been bandied about to intimidate political opponents and challengers under the guise of 'national security'.

This time, the threat is Islamic terrorism.

Make no mistake - I am not a fan of terrorists by a long shot. For the most part I believe they are ignorant cowards who are manipulated by those smarter than them.

I am all for putting them away behind bars or deporting them if they have genuine intentions of bringing harm to the public.

But not when they are the collective figment of the government's imagination. And believe you me, this imagination has been spinning on overdrive.

It caught my attention when a report claimed that Middle East, African and local undergrads were ‘spreading religious views in campuses’.

In George Town, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said vice-chancellors of all public and private universities and colleges will meet the IGP and Higher Education Ministry officials on the matter.

The meeting would also look into the form of cooperation between police and the universities to curb the unhealthy trend which could affect national security.

“We view Musa’s statement seriously. We don’t want the matter to escalate into a problem which can threaten national security,” he said at a press conference after opening the St George’s Girls’ School International Students’ Conference 2010 at Universiti Sains Malaysia here.

This article, which I obtained from the NST deliberately mentions 'national security' twice for emphasis.

The phrase national security has always been the excuse for maintaining one particular draconian bit of law: the Internal Security Act.

It appears that I am not the only one concerned. Haris Ibrahim of The People's Parliament believes the government has cried wolf (or terrorism, in this case) once too many.

He asks, "The immediate question on my mind is where is all this ‘terrorist smear campaigning’ leading up to? Are we looking at a foundation being laid for an Ops Lalang repeat?"

Unfortunately, that is exactly what I unhappily anticipate.

Monday, 14 June 2010

SABM Kota Bharu Roadshow

Date: June 19, 2010 (Saturday)
Time: 2.00pm-6.30pm (Registration begins at 1.30pm)
Venue: Hotel Juita Premier, 60-64 Jalan Pintu Pong, 15000 Kota Bharu

For more details, check THIS out.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Bankrupt Nation

By Dr Lim Teck Ghee

Readers following the great national debate initiated by Minister Idris Jala in the Prime Minister’s Department on the possibility of the country going bankrupt must be thoroughly confused with the mixed messages from government.

On the one hand, we are told that the country is more prosperous than ever before and that absolute poverty in the country, for example, is almost completely eradicated. We are also told that the country’s economy is in good hands and that the finances of the country are well-managed.

Every few days or so, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to be living in Malaysia and how much foreign investors love us. Just a short while ago, it was trumpeted that our competitiveness had shot up this past year so that we are now ranked number ten in the world – ahead of many advanced economies.

We regularly receive a barrage of statistics and data on not only how well the economy is performing but also how, thanks to the outstanding economic management of the government, we will soon reach dizzier heights of prosperity and affluence.

Read the whole article HERE

When we don't wake up to reality, then reality has a way of waking us up.

For all those Malaysians who believed that we socio-political activists should not rock the boat, may poverty and bankruptcy bode you well.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Making The Right Decision

Elections and voting have never raised such feverish action in Malaysia.

With the heat that Pakatan Rakyat is giving Barisan Nasional, drastic campaigning is required on the part of BN to retain its voters.

Since BN does next to nothing in improving the life of the average Malaysian, the best strategy to win votes is by cheating: buying votes.

And that's how these four Methodist churches in Sibu came under the microscope when they miraculously received special grants on the eve of polling day.

Some feel that it is taxpayer money and should be returned. Others feel that as taxpayers, those Methodists should be entitled to keep that money.

So who does the money rightfully belong to?

Or are those questions to be saved for Judgement Day, when it's time to go to heaven or hell?

Speaking of elections and campaigning, let me leave you with a story:

While walking down the street one day a Malaysia Boleh Minister is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a politician around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I have made up my mind," says the Yang Berhormat, "I want to be in heaven."

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules," says St. Peter. And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and dressed in the finest batik there is. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then indulge themselves on satay, rendang and the most expensive food there is.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises. The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit heaven," he announces.

So, 24 hours pass with the Yang Berhormat joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by.

St. Peter returns saying, "Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The Yang Berhormat reflects for a minute, then he answers, "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I'll be better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the Yang Berhormat. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate satay and rendang, drank sirap bandung, and danced and had a great time.. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning.... Today you voted."