Featured Sociopolitical Stories

Mysterious Merdeka logo emerges in dailies


Close to a month after Information, Culture and Communication Minister Rais Yatim announced the scrapping of its Merdeka logo, a new one has since emerged in major dailies since last week.

The logo features similar elements but with improved graphics compared to the previous logo which was purely constructed through a combination of readily available fonts on graphic editor Photoshop.

The new logo which appeared on the frontpage of several newspapers such as Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times since last week features the number 55 in blue and yellow with wavy red lines on top of it.

rais yatim wisma berita rtm 060612Aside from that, it also has the 1Malaysia logo as well as the "Merdeka" and "Janji Ditepati" type font.

However, it is unclear whether this new logo is an official version from the information ministry. Rais  (right) could not be reached for comment.

Following the scrapping of the initial Merdeka logo which was published on the information ministry's website, Rais who chairs the committee for the national day celebration had claimed that there never was an official Merdeka logo.

He had said that the celebration this would use just the 1Malaysia logo which had also served as the Merdeka celebration logo for the past three years.

The old logo was scrapped after it received much flak, including from graphic designers who had described the work as mediocre.
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Charge UMNO Youth under Section 114A of the Evidence Act, says Guan Eng

August 21, 2012

Mr. Attorney-General, Charge UMNO Youth under Section 114A of the Evidence Act, says Guan Eng

www.themalaysianinsider.com

The Attorney-General (left) must prosecute UMNO Youth for attempting to stoke racial and religious hatred online to prove he is impartial in enforcing a "presumed-guilty-until-proven-innocent" clause in the controversial Evidence Act — a law that is widely seen to shackle freedom of speech and dissent on the Internet — the DAP's Lim Guan Eng said today.

A controversial anti-Christianity poster that was uploaded on a Facebook page that shares the same name as the political wing's official site but which UMNO Youth says is "unauthorised" has spotlighted the weaknesses in the recently-passed section 114A of the Evidence Act — a clause that, among others, presumes that the named owner of a website is the publisher of the statement.

The poster, which was uploaded last Saturday and taken down the same day, appeared to suggest that votes for Federal Opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will cause Islam to be replaced by Christianity as the country's official religion.

"We call the A-G, since he defend (sic) 114A of the Evidence Act, to prosecute and charge UMNO Youth because of this post," Lim told a news conference in George Town today.

"Because the burden of proof now goes to the accused, not to the prosecution because this is now turned backwards, this is now flipped backwards.It is not an indication of my support for the amendment but just to show, now this thing happened, isn't this a gross injustice?" he said.

An audio clip of the news conference was made available to The Malaysian Insider. Lim, who is also Penang  Chief Minister, said government lawyers must take legal action against UMNO Youth to show they do not practise double standards.

"So if that is the case, UMNO Youth is presumed guilty for making this type of inflammatory statements — they say their web page is hacked and all that — inflammatory statements to create hatred among Christians and Muslims especially during Hari Raya, they are presumed guilty. They must prove themselves innocent.

"So if they do not charge UMNO Youth, this shows there are double standards," he said.

The DAP Secretary-General said unless the prosecutors act on the ruling party's youth wing, it would show section 114A "is intended to clamp down on freedom of the Internet, freedom of information and to muzzle the voices of freedom and dissent and to silence dissent against the Barisan Nasional government."

UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has denied his team was responsible for uploading the poster he described as "offensive". A representative of the wing, Ibdilillah Ishak, filed a police report yesterday asking for an investigation to be carried on the perpetrators.

The controversial poster had read: "Jika anda setuju untuk jadikan KRISTIAN sebagai agama rasmi persekutuan Malaysia, teruskan sokongan anda kepada Pakatan Rakyat. (If you agree to make CHRISTIANITY the official religion of the federation of Malaysia, continue supporting Pakatan Rakyat.) 'God bless you my son'."

Critics and lawmakers from both sides of the political divide are lobbying for the law that could curb Internet freedom to be repealed after it came into force last month.

The amendment to the Evidence Act sparked an uproar in April when it was passed as it introduces a presumption of publication of online content on the publisher or registered owner of a network, and in essence shifts the burden of proof onto the accused.

Khairy (left) and Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah had added their voices to the call to repeal the clause, joining opposition lawmakers already clamouring for the same.

Yesterday, PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar said she awaited "the authorities' speedy action to charge the person held responsible for any posts on the UMNO Youth FB Page", noting that section 114A would be the relevant law.

The Prime Minister had on Twitter last week said his Cabinet would review the law after several organisations ― including the Malaysian Bar ― chose to black out their websites to signal their opposition to the law.

A day later, however, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim announced that the law will stay.

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Pandelela urged not to accept Sarawak CM's gift



Swiss Human Rights group Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has urged Sarawakian Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong Pamg not to accept any rewards from Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, citing concerns of "political manipulation".

"We call on Pandelela not to let herself be politically manipulated and advise her to politely turn down Taib's 'special gift'," read BMF's statement yesterday.

The chief minister had reportedly promised a gift shortly after she had won the bronze medal at the Women's 10-metre diving event on Aug 10, making her the first Malaysian female Olympic medallist.

NONEWithout disclosing the nature of the gift, Taib (right) was quoted saying that he would reward her after he had met her.
Pandelela eportedly arrived at Kuching International Airport earlier today.

"Taib has abused his political power and done more harm to Sarawak's indigenous peoples than any other Malaysian politician.

"He lacks the moral legitimacy to make a special gift to an outstanding Bidayuh champion like Pandelela," BMF said in a statement today, pointing to allegations that Taib had supposedly abused his power by granting logging concessions to his family members, who collectively are also stakeholders in some 400 companies.

BMF has played a major role in highlighting Taib's alleged wrongdoings, including the above allegations.

"It is feared that Taib is planning to abuse Pandelela's Olympic success to boost his own dwindling popularity.

"The only gift Pandelela should accept from Taib is his resignation as chief minister, which would be a relief to the whole of Sarawak." the NGO added.
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Kedah MCA chief denies backing hudud law


Kedah MCA chief Chong Itt Chew has denied a Sinar Harian report which quoted him saying that he was supportive of hudud law.

Chong claimed that in the phone interview with the Malay daily, the issue of hudud law was never raised.

"They never touched about hudud, nothing was ever brought up, I am very disappointed with their report," he said when contacted.

Chong said he had merely responded to former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposal for PAS to join forces with Umno under BN.

"My statement was very clear, any political party that want to join BN will need the clerance of BN top leadership and they must follow the BN constitution and all criteria set by BN," he said.

He reiterated that the party including in Kedah is fiercely against hudud law.

"All the while I have issued so many statements that we are against the implementation of hudud law in Kedah.

"I am strongly against hudud law and I follow our MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek's stance - that is against hudud law," he said.
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Coretan rengkas dari Pahang



Saya berada di Pahang beberapa hari raya ini. disamping beraya, perbualan tetap berkisar pada politik. Kegilaan apa yang melanda Pahang?
Berapa kerusi pembangkang boleh menang? Mereka bertanya saya. Saya kata nanti dahulu. Saya akan tulis artikel khusus untuk Pahang. Kali ini Pahang akan hilang lebih banyak kerusi DUN dan kerusi parlimen. Hampir semua pemimpin MCA akan kecundang. Taruhlah siapa pun.
Pemimpin Umno masih lagi menyandarkan optimism kepada kaji selidik mereka. Tapi bolehkah hasil kajiselidik ini dipercayai? Semua orang tahu, kaji selidik Umno ditambah 30%. Ertinya, kajiselidik Umno hanya 70% tepat. Dalam bahasa mudah, jika kajiselidik Umno kata dia akan menang 100 kerusi parlimen, mereka akan menang 70 kerusi. Itu pun jumlah kerusi yang Umno akan menang kali ini.
Kenapa Najib lambat buat pilihanraya? Ramai orang lupa saya lama menjadi AJK Umno bahagian Pekan dan jadi ketua penerangan Umno bahagian. Najib lambat kerana dia tidak yakin dengan hasil kajian ejensi-ejensi yang diupah kerajaan. Kecuali dia sudah yakin, baharulah dia akan buat pilihanraya. Takkan kita lupa, Najib ini bukan nya orang berani.
Sayang sekali, Najib tidak akan bertemu dengan kaji selidik yang dikemukakan oleh ejensi-ejensi kerajaan yang tepat. Lapuran wanita Umno sudah lama tidak dipercayai oleh presiden Umno. Dia tahu ketua wanita duduk di rumah dan pangkah atas nama nama pengundi sebagai penyokong Umno. Itulah yang terjadi pada Najib dalam tahun 1999. Semua lapuran kata boss ok. Akhirnya boss hampir KO.
Lapuran Pemuda dan Pemudi adalah catatan boy scouts dan pandu puteri. Main masak masak. lapuran mereka macam main main. Jadi bagaimana kepala presiden Umno tak pening.
Umno hendak dapat undi dari mana? Dari kaum Cina undi mereka sudah 80% kepihak pembangkang. Dari golongan muda demikian juga 90% mirip pembangkang. Dan Umno lupa, bahawa sokongan mereka yang memihak kepada pembangkang dalam tahun 2008 diransang oleh keyakinan. Dan sokongan yang berdiri diatas keyakinan sukar digoncang. Sebaliknya, sokongan yang di perolehi dengan cara merasuah dan membayar sogokan amat mudah terbalik. Pemimpin Umno sedar hakikat ini. yang masih bebal dan degil ialah pemimpin bawahan seperti ketua-ketua bahagian.
MCA tidak lagi jadi pilihan utama kaum Cina. Jika orang Cina sudah menolak calon Cina, mengapa orang Melayu yang beragama Islam mahu menyokong mereka? Mereka kan orang kafir? MCA pun kafir harbi. Bukankah Chua Soi Lek terang-terang menentang agama Islam dan Umno bacul bila Soi Lek berkata hanya MCA yang berani menentang hudud?
Orang Umno takkan nak sokong hudud. Kita faham mengapa mereka bersikap demikian. Jika disokong nanti ramai pula anggota cabinet yang tidak ada tangan datang bermesyuarat termasuklah yang terlibat dalam skendel pembelian kapal selam Scorpene dan lain-lain kelengkapan tentera. Ramai ahli cabinet hilang tangan sebab mereka terlibat dalam mengkhianati negara ini dengan menjual IC Malaysia. Ramai pemimpin Umno akan hilang tangan kerana menjual bumi Melayu ini.
Saya sedang memerhati pergolakan Pahang sekarang. MB yang ada mahu disingkirkan. Panglima kanan Najib sedang buat counter balance kepada DSDR Adnan Yaakob. Jika calon-calon half-past six dikekalkan, maka riwayat Umno akan singkat. Berilah rakyat pemimpin Melayu yang berkaliber. Jika tidak boleh, maka ketepi. PR akan ambil alih.
Apa yang Umno ada? Teriakan kosong pembela bansga Melayu, agama dan negara ada lah. Orang lain boleh buat lagi baik dari Umno. PR ada track record untuk menyokong pengistiharan mereka. Umon tak ada.
Rakan-rakan bertanya kepada saya, kenapa masuk DAP? Ini soalan yang berulang kali ditujukan kepada saya. Apalah yang hendak ditaksubkan sangat pada Umno? Tiga presiden Umno yang awal sahaja yang memelihara asas perjuangan orang Melayu. Mulai presiden ke-empat perjuangan Umno sudah berbeza. Kepentingan Melayu yang di perjuangkan ialah kepentingan golongan elit dan Melayu terpilih. Mereka sedikit jumlah nya mengapa kita yang majority mahu tunduk kepada mereka. Jika presiden Umno tidak dengar keluhan orang melayu, kita gantikan mereka.
Ramai pemimpin Umno peringkat cawangan beritahu saya. Rumah pemuzik Alleycats terbakar Najib beri RM100 ribu. Kalau begitu, ayuh kita bakar rumah supaya Najib beri RM200 ribu. Bukankah itu kekuatan Najib? Bayar sana dan bayar sini. Kera dihutan Najib susukan, anak dirumah, Najib biarkan. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com
* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).
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Pandelela urged not to accept Sarawak CM’s gift

August 21, 2012

Comment: I have been supportive of the Bruno Manser Fund's efforts to bring the plight of the Penans and other natives in Sarawak to our attention.

But when it comes to our Olympic Bronze Medalist Pandelela Rinong Pamg, the Fund is selfish to advise her not to accept  the reward for her achievement. I think she should  accept the award for two reasons. First, it is an award from the State, not Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud himself. The Chief Minister made the pledge on behalf of Sarawakians who are naturally proud of her achievement. It is fitting that her own state recognizes this young and humble lass.  Second, she should not be drawn into  politics as she is a sports personality.

Leave her alone. So Rinong, please accept the award from your state and use the money for  your education in the United States or elsewhere where you can be exposed to competitive sports while you earn your degree. Prepare yourself well for RIO2016, and may you win Gold.–Din Merican

Pandelela urged not to accept Sarawak CM's gift

www.malaysiakini.com

Swiss Human Rights group Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has urged Sarawakian Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong Pamg not to accept any rewards from Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, citing concerns of "political manipulation".

"We call on Pandelela not to let herself be politically manipulated and advise her to politely turn down Taib's 'special gift'," read BMF's statement yesterday.

The chief minister had reportedly promised a gift shortly after she had won the bronze medal at the Women's 10-metre diving event on August 10, making her the first Malaysian female Olympic medalist.

Without disclosing the nature of the gift, Taib  was quoted saying that he would reward her after he had met her. Pandelela reportedly arrived at Kuching International Airport earlier today.

"Taib has abused his political power and done more harm to Sarawak's indigenous peoples than any other Malaysian politician.

"He lacks the moral legitimacy to make a special gift to an outstanding Bidayuh champion like Pandelela," BMF said in a statement today, pointing to allegations that Taib had supposedly abused his power by granting logging concessions to his family members, who collectively are also stakeholders in some 400 companies.

BMF has played a major role in highlighting Taib's alleged wrongdoings, including the above allegations.

"It is feared that Taib is planning to abuse Pandelela's Olympic success to boost his own dwindling popularity.

"The only gift Pandelela should accept from Taib is his resignation as chief minister, which would be a relief to the whole of Sarawak." the NGO added.


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Will A-G dare charge Umno Youth over provocative Facebook post, asks Guan Eng


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — The Attorney-General must prosecute Umno Youth for attempting to stoke racial and religious hatred online to prove he is impartial in enforcing a "presumed-guilty-until-proven-innocent" clause in the controversial Evidence Act — a law that is widely seen to shackle freedom of speech and dissent on the Internet — the DAP's Lim Guan Eng said today.
A controversial anti-Christianity poster that was uploaded on a Facebook page that shares the same name as the political wing's official site but which Umno Youth says is "unauthorised" has spotlighted the weaknesses in the recently-passed section 114A of the Evidence Act — a clause that, among others, presumes that the named owner of a website is the publisher of the statement.
The poster, which was uploaded last Saturday and taken down the same day, appeared to suggest that votes for federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will cause Islam to be replaced by Christianity as the country's official religion.
"We call the A-G, since he defend (sic) 114A of the Evidence Act, to prosecute and charge Umno Youth because of this post," Lim (picture) told a news conference in George Town today.
"Because the burden of proof now goes to the accused, not to the prosecution because this is now turned backwards, this is now flipped backwards.
"It is not an indication of my support for the amendment but just to show, now this thing happened, isn't this a gross injustice?" he said.
An audio clip of the news conference was made available to The Malaysian Insider.
Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, said government lawyers must take legal action against Umno Youth to show they do not practise double standards.
"So if that is the case, Umno Youth is presumed guilty for making this type of inflammatory statements — they say their web page is hacked and all that — inflammatory statements to create hatred among Christians and Muslims especially during Hari Raya, they are presumed guilty. They must prove themselves innocent.
"So if they do not charge Umno Youth, this shows there are double standards," he said.
The DAP secretary-general said unless the prosecutors act on the ruling party's youth wing, it would show section 114A "is intended to clamp down on freedom of the Internet, freedom of information and to muzzle the voices of freedom and dissent and to silence dissent against the Barisan Nasional government."
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has denied his team was responsible for uploading the poster he described as "offensive". A representative of the wing, Ibdilillah Ishak, filed a police report yesterday asking for an investigation to be carried on the perpetrators.
The controversial poster had read: "Jika anda setuju untuk jadikan KRISTIAN sebagai agama rasmi persekutuan Malaysia, teruskan sokongan anda kepada Pakatan Rakyat. (If you agree to make CHRISTIANITY the official religion of the federation of Malaysia, continue supporting Pakatan Rakyat.) 'God bless you my son'."
Critics and lawmakers from both sides of the political divide are lobbying for the law that could curb Internet freedom to be repealed after it came into force last month.
The amendment to the Evidence Act sparked an uproar in April when it was passed as it introduces a presumption of publication of online content on the publisher or registered owner of a network, and in essence shifts the burden of proof onto the accused.
Khairy and Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah had added their voices to the call to repeal the clause, joining opposition lawmakers already clamouring for the same.
Yesterday, PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar said she awaited "the authorities' speedy action to charge the person held responsible for any posts on the Umno Youth FB Page", noting that section 114A would be the relevant law.
The prime minister had on Twitter last week said his Cabinet would review the law after several organisations ― including the Malaysian Bar ― chose to black out their websites to signal their opposition to the law.
A day later, however, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim announced that the law will stay.
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Tun Dr Mahathir: A Strident Voice for the Third World

August 21, 2012

A Strident Voice for  the Third World

by Barry Wain@www.nst.com.my

ONE indication that Malaysia's place in the world would change drastically under Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad came early, as the United States Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur made a courtesy call on the newly installed Prime Minister. The ambassador cheerfully informed him that, though it was not easy, he was making arrangements for Dr Mahathir to meet with President Ronald Reagan in Washington.

Although an audience with the Leader of the Free World was the imprimatur sought by the head of almost every non-communist government, "I didn't want to have anything to do with America", Dr Mahathir said later. He told his Foreign Ministry to tell the Ambassador that he would not visit the US anytime soon.

It was not so much that Dr Mahathir was anti-American, though a central strand in his international outlook — "I was deliberately against people who wield a big stick" — ensured he would clash often with the US.

It was more a case of Dr Mahathir being sceptical of the West in general, and more than a little miffed by the Ambassador's assumption that Malaysia would do what was expected of it. The failure to acknowledge Malaysia's independent status was a cardinal sin in Dr Mahathir's book, an affront to him, the Malays and the entire nation.

"The big countries take you for granted, sometimes look upon you with disdain", while small countries "appreciate the friendship" more, he said.

With an instinct of sympathy for the underdog, while seeking respect and retaliating against anyone perceived to have given offence, Dr Mahathir repositioned Malaysia, forging a more independent and activist foreign policy.

A small country in a distant corner of the world, Malaysia punched above its weight, acquiring many of the attributes of a middle power.

It was driven hard and almost solo by Dr Mahathir, who refused to modify his abrasive and outspoken style for the sake of diplomatic etiquette. More than any other non-Western political leader of his time, wrote political scientist Johan Saravanamuttu, Dr Mahathir proved to be "the quintessential iconoclast of world politics".

In essence, Dr Mahathir was continuing a nationalistic line in Malaysian foreign policy, which he aggressively improvised and pugnaciously delivered, that could be traced to the 1969 racial riots, when pro-British Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman effectively lost power.

Tunku's rivals who took over set about carving out a distinctive role for the country in international affairs. Confident that Malaysia's political maturity and standing justified a more independent expression in the international arena, the post-1970 leadership sought recognition and acceptance as an equal.

Dr Mahathir, never one to do anything by halves, came close to demanding it. The countries that found it hardest to adjust to the change were those inclined to look back nostalgically to the Tunku years, especially Britain and Australia.

Often correcting course melodramatically, Dr Mahathir used foreign policy to drive the development of Malaysia, always his central objective — encouraging exports, opening new markets, securing foreign investment, acquiring technology and finding opportunities for Malaysian entrepreneurs to invest in developing countries.

Nevertheless, he imposed sanctions on Britain to remind the former colonial master, as well as the traditionally Anglophile Malaysian elite, that the master-servant days were long gone. Extolling "Asian values", he clashed with the Australians, declaring them too deficient in manners and pale of skin to join Asian institutions.

He condemned the US for attempting to impose its system of liberal democracy and neo-liberal economics on ill-prepared developing countries. In looking eastward to Japan, Dr Mahathir found an alternative development model that did not seek to export unwanted values along with its goods and capital.

Blunt and seemingly fearless, Dr Mahathir targeted the international economic system, which he believed was rigged in favour of the industrialised West that devised it, to the crippling disadvantage of poor countries.

Taking up the cause of all victimised economies, he voiced the criticisms that others dared not utter and became a spokesman for the Third World.Along the way, he added the plight of the Palestinians and other high-profile Islamic causes to his portfolio, making himself a hero to Muslims from Pakistan to Gaza and Bosnia.

With his credibility anchored in a strong economic performance while maintaining harmony in a multi-ethnic, Muslim-majority society, the peripatetic Dr Mahathir rebuked the West and preached global restructuring. Conferring with overseas leaders as naturally as he once made house-calls on sick farmers in Kedah, he put Malaysia on the map and gave most Malaysians a reason to take pride in the country.

In his memoirs, Dr Mahathir summed up his performance colourfully and with obvious satisfaction. "Some say to be a big frog in a small pond is no great achievement, but we have proven that even a little frog in a big pool can thumb its nose at the largest, most powerful toad."

The above excerpt is from the second edition of Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, with new references to A Doctor in the House: The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

 

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Jalan dari Penyegat ke benua Jawi

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Written by A. Ghani Ismail Tuesday, 21 August 2012 16:18

Bloggers Buzz

buzzPrakata oleh CPI

Topik 'Bangsa Jawi' yang diutarakan A. Ghani Ismail di blognya menyentuh beberapa aspek yang jarang mendapat tempat dalam perbincangan umum serta mungkin tidak diketahui khalayak ramai.

Peringatan Ghani bahawa pada suatu masa dahulu penduduk Melayu di Semenanjung pernah mengenalkan diri sebagai 'Orang Jawi' adalah wacana yang menyimpang dari arus perdana.

Menoleh kembali kepada Perjanjian British-Belanda 1824, Ghani merungkai bagaimana gugusan kepulauan Melayu telah dibelah dua. Kuasa-kuasa Eropah tersebut memisahkan sfera pengaruh Nusantara yang kemudiannya bercabang mengikut jalan masing-masing – Indonesia ke arah republik dan Malaysia ke arah Negara Islam.

Hasil daripada babak sejarah penjajahan Barat ini, Indonesia yang mendokong 'kesatuan dalam kelbagaian' lebih keterbukaannya berbanding Malaysia.

Ghani merumuskan bahawa penerimaan komposit yang sedemikian di Indonesia memberi "satu jaminan toleransi, persefahaman dan saling hormat-menghormati yang menjadi asas ketamadunan dan supaya melahirkan satu bangsa/negara berasaskan pelbagai ajaran, adat dan falsafah".

Malangnya di Malaysia, nilai sejagat menjadi kurang terserlah bilamana agama rasmi lebih berupa satu acara kawalan sosial oleh kerajaan dan birokrasi Islam yang berlapik-lapik.

Mengikut huraian Ghani, sebelum Merdeka kebanyakan orang yang sekarang ditakrifkan sebagai Melayu adalah berbangsa Jawi.

Kesinambungan jatidiri Bangsa Jawi ini diwarisi Cik Siti Wan Kembang dan anak angkatnya, Puteri Sa'adong di Kelantan/Patani, yang kebetulan, adalah wilayah Majapahit II.

Majapahit ialah kerajaan Hindu awal di mana "terletak zaman kegemilangan bangsa yang berani mendirikan rumah di pantai dan dilambung ombak".

Pada zaman sekarang pula, orang Melayu sedang cuba dengan sedaya-upaya untuk menyadur budaya setempat dengan ciri-ciri Arab celup walhal sebelum ini,

Islam bukan diterima bulat-bulat oleh mereka yang sekarang ditakrif sebagai 'Melayu'.

Kata Ghani, sebaliknya "pada tahun 1950-an, majoriti menolak agama yang tertakluk pada bahasa dan adat-istiadat Arab ini".

Maksudnya Islam-Arabiya ketika itu – era sebelum Merdeka – masih dipandang asing: "Sekolah Agama [Islam] pada masa itu disebut Sekolah Arab, menandakan ianya bukan institusi pribumi". Dan meskipun bacaan-bacaan dihafalkan untuk bersalat, ianya dibuat tanpa pengertian apa yang dihafalkan itu.

Namun, sedikit demi sedikit, parti Islam PAS beserta kerajaan yang diterajui Umno berjaya menerapkan ethos Arabiya lalu kini tinggal sahaja benteng terakhir untuk melengkapkan penguasaan Arabiya, yakni pelaksanaan undang-undang jenayah Islam hudud.

Dalam konflik Jawi dengan Arab ini, kesudahan menang-kalah boleh diperlihatkan melalui pihak yang mana satukah sudah sama sekali luput daripada kesedaran.

Namun sejarah silam tidak harus dilupakan kerana kita masih berupaya untuk membelajari daripadanya.

**********************************

Jalan dari Penyegat ke benua Jawi

by A. Ghani Ismail

Kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) telah mengambil kuasa melampau ke atas para blogger sehingga kami boleh dipenjarakan pada bila-bila saja melalui pindaan pada Akta Keterangan 1950. Kami tak ada arah melainkan terus menulis dan rela dipenjarakan kerana benar.

BN nampaknya akan tewas pada pilihanraya ini. Akibat gohed-gostan sehubungan Akta Keterangan baru-baru ini, PM Najib dipandang umum sebagai kurang berkuasa. Meskipun Pakatan akan menang, kerana PAS memperjuangkan Negara Islam yang autoritarian, maka sama-sama kita tahu bahawa kemenangan Pakatan tidak merupakan satu solusi kepada masalah sosio-politik yang dihadapi di Malaysia, tambahan dalam suasana tegang yang sedang beransur nyata dalam 'pertembungan tamadun' di antara Barat-Islam dan Barat-Cina yang telah sampai ke mari.

Jika meletus perang, dalam keadaan perpecahan kaum yang telah melanda negara, Malaysia dikira tak mempunyai harapan untuk mengelak kekacauan perkauman dan seterusnya tewas jika diserang.

Oleh yang demikian, penulis menoleh kembali ke arah Bangsa Jawi yang sekarang sedikit sekali diketahui orang Malaysia, khusus oleh orang 'Melayu'.

Diwal

'Diwal' yang disebut dalam karangan Raja Ali Haji, Tuhfatu'l-Nafis, bermakna 'Rumah dewa-dewa' atau kuil pusat seperti yang masih berdiri pada Bukit Betong, Pahang, tanpa berhala-berhalanya.

Sebuah lagi seharusnya berada pada Kuala Pekan, yang juga pusat dagangan pada zaman yang lampau, yakni semasa pedagang Melaka akan memudik Sungai Muar sampai ke Johol dan dari Johol menyambung pelayaran melalui Sungai Serting ke Sungai Bera dan ke Sungai Pahang, seterusnya ke Laut Cina Selatan melalui Kuala Pekan.

Pahang kelihatan lebih Hindu daripada Hindu-Buddha pada zamannya, satu zaman yang asasnya mungkin memutik pada abad kedua/ketiga Masihi dan berterusan sampai ke zaman Maharaja Perba Jelai pada awal abad ke-19 sebagai sampingan agama Islam.

Islam sudah bertapak kukuh sebagai pemerintah di Johor sejak zaman Tun Habib Abdul Majid menjadi Bendahara pada abad ke-17.

Enam orang raja di Empirituria Johor-Riau-Lingga kemudian terdiri daripada anak-cucu beliau, menjadikan wilayah besar Melayu terang-terang takluk rejim Arabiya-Islam yang kekal-cekal sampai sekarang.

Setelah Lingga terpisah akibat Perjanjian British-Belanda 1824, tempat ajanya diganti oleh Raja Perlis, bererti enam daripada sembilan raja-raja Melayu di Semenanjung masih terdiri daripada keturunan Tun Habib Abdul Majid dan beliau adalah cucu Habib Abdullah al-Aydarus, Aceh.

Raja-Raja keturunan Arab inilah barangkali bertanggungjawab mentakrifkan Bangsa Melayu sebagai bangsa yang semestinya beragama Islam seperti yang tercatat dalam Perlembagaan Malaysia sedangkan sebelum Merdeka kebanyakan orang-orang yang sekarang ditakrifkan sebagai Melayu, adalah berbangsa Jawi.

Pada orang-orang Jawi, acara melafazkan dua kalimat syahadat disebut 'masuk Melayu', manakala khatan pula disebut sebagai 'masuk Jawi'. Oleh yang demikian, anggota Bangsa Jawi kembali menjadi Jawi setelah berkhatan. Jawi punyai ajaran agama tersendiri dan tidak semestinya beragama Islam.

Sekolah Agama [Islam] pada masa itu disebut Sekolah Arab, menandakan ianya bukan institusi pribumi.

Di Aceh terdapat Hikayat Poecut Muhammad yang meriwayatkan kisah adik Sultan berperang dengan seorang Arab yang telah mendirikan kerajaannya berpusat di seberang sungai daripada istana raja. Konfliknya adalah konflik Jawi-Arab.

Tidak syak Islam bukan diterima bulat-bulat oleh mereka yang sekarang ini ditakrif sebagai 'Melayu'. Sebaliknya, pada tahun 1950-an, majoriti menolak agama yang tertakluk pada bahasa dan adat-istiadat Arab ini dan yang dipandang hanya sebagai 'hak raja'.

Apabila 'hak raja' itu didokong bersama oleh kerajaan pusat, tambahan pada kepiminan Dr Mahathir Mohamed yang memperkenalkan undang-undang jenayah Islam, maka resistance terhadap Islam semakin hari semakin lemah dan akhirnya berlaku pada kampung-kampung saja seperti peristiwa Ayah Pin di Ulu Besut.

Diterima baik

Islam diterima baik pada masa ketibaannya. Dibayangkan pada Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai pertembungan Islam dengan Agama Hindu sebagai suatu pertembungan di antara satu agama yang telah kerosakan kerana amalan tantrik dengan agama simple yang mendatang dan didokong oleh diaspora Arab/Farsi/Gujerat.

Manakala kepercayaan Hindu berasaskan avataram yang menjadikan raja atau pemerintah sebagai penjelmaan dewa-dewa, pada Islam yang bahari raja atau pemerintah hanyalah pesuruh Tuhan dan abdiNya.

Kuasa, kata seorang pujangga Inggeris, adalah korup dan kuasa yang mutlak akan korup secara mutlak.

Pada penghujung zamannya, korupsi etika dan budaya Raja-Raja Hindu telah menggila. Adityawarman, pengasas Pagar Ruyung, memasyhurkan dirinya sebagai seorang Bhairawa, yakni Manusia-Tuhan (Dewa) dan proklamir dia telah membunuh sebilangan rakyat, minum darah dan makan daging mereka supaya membuktikan dia adalah bayangan Tuhan dan semua hendaklah takut padanya.

Pada Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai, Raja Perumal-Perumal hendak mamah anak-anak daranya dan dia membunuh abang mereka yang melindungi mereka, kemuncak kegilaan yang barahnya menumbuh kerana mahu menjadi bayangan/penjelmaan Tuhan.

Pada Islam, setinggi-tinggi manusia tetap manusia dan serendah-rendah Tuhan kekal Tuhan. Tidak pada agama Hindu Tantrik. Ini yang menghantui sebilangan ksatriya Hindu, yakni kerana mereka mahu menjadi penjelmaan Tuhan.

Dalam pertemuan dan pertembungan antara Hindu yang korup itu dan Islam yang simple, toleran dan berperikemanusiaan seperti yang kita dapati pada pembawaan Wali Songo dan juga oleh Syeikh Ismail Pulau Besar yang merupakan keturunan Syeikh Abdul Kadir Jilani, ajaran simple yang menyebarkan Islam dengan kelembutan sifat-sifat ketulusan (sidiq), amanah, tabligh dan bijaksana (fatanah), justeru, tidak mungkin dibandingkan dengan ajaran Hindu yang diitakluk oleh nafsu kuasa pada zaman keruntuhannya.

Islam diterima ramai dan dengan kekuasaan terkumpul diaspora Arab yang kaya, agama Arab ini pantas kesebaran. Namun, pada yang umum, Islam hanyalah sebagai agama nominal dan 'hak Raja'.

Di antara mereka yang menjadi misionarinya terdapat yang berjaya mendirikan balatentera dan menewaskan kerajaan-kerajaan Hindu atau Hindu-Buddha, lain daripada pendapat setengah sarjana yang menyimpul bahawa Islam datang hanya dengan cara aman dan sufiyah.

Diaspora Arab telahpun membawa lebih 2,000 orang pedagangnya ke Kanton sebelum kelahiran Nabi Muhammad. Demikian lagi, terdapat lebih kurang jumlah yang sama di Sumatera dan Jawa (Zabaq) menurut penyelidikan sarjana-sarjana tertentu.

Ini bermakna Islam punyai orang-orang Arab kaya yang menjadi penyambutnya di Selatan dan Asia Timur.

Mereka inilah yang memberi sambutan dan biaya kepada mubaligh-mubaligh Islam, khususnya kepada keturunan Nabi daripada Hadramaut yang mendukung misi keluarga mereka.

Anggota keluarga ini telah menuju ke Afrika, Farsi, India dan kepada Kepulauan dan Semenanjung Melayu, membawa dagang, ajaran Islam yang simple dan seterusnya mengambil-alih melalui intrigue atau mendirikan kerajaan-kerajaan, mahupun dengan senjata, sampai ke Manila.

Sejarah pergolakan besar ini yang kita diajar di sekolah dan pada kolej adalah tidak tepat. Kerana itu sikap yang terbina pada masyarakat Muslim di Malaysia pun senget macam kapal yang tetap karam.

Konon Islam tersebar kerana kekeramatan mubalighnya dan bukan kerana kebijaksanaan dan pengalaman mereka mengatur langkah beroleh kekayaan dan kuasa, termasuk perang.

Majoriti menolak

Majoriti orang Melayu sebelum Merdeka menolak ajaran dan undang-undang agama seperti yang diamalkan sekarang. Mereka hanya menurutinya secara zahir supaya menghormati 'hak Raja'. Ajaran dan undang-undang Islam disifatkan sebagai 'hak raja' atau 'hak kerajaan'.

'Hak raja' ini terhapus di Sumatera melalui Revolusi Sosial yang mencetus berikutan proklamir kemerdekaan Indonesia pada 17 Ogos 1945, membawa kepada penghapusan Raja-Raja yang tidak mendokong Republik pimpinan Sukarno dan Hatta.

Semua Raja-Raja 'Melayu' yang memilih untuk bekerjasama dengan Belanda dibunuh, mengakhirkan zaman kebenggeluan agama dan ideologi yang masih menjadi satu masalah pada bangsa Melayu di Malaysia.

Thawalib (kolej-kolej Islam) berubah haluan dan dengan rela menerima tanggapan dan arah Sosialisme dan Nasionalisme.

Jiwa bebas yang melahir pada revolusi sosial itu menghidupkan kembali keterbukaan Jawi dan di Indonesia pemikiran Barat seterusnya menular, satu perkembangan yang memperkayakan pemikiran masyarakatnya, satu perkembangan yang akhirnya membolehkan bangsanya menerima reformasi dan demokrasi ala Barat.

Dipengaruhi revolusi sosial di Sumatera, kebanyakan orang-orang Melayu di Malaya pada masa itu mengenalkan diri sebagai 'Orang Jawi'. Pada mereka, bila seseorang bersyahadah dalam Bahasa Arab, dia dikata "masuk Melayu", tetapi bila dia berkhatan dia kembali "masuk Jawi" – satu protes umum terhadap Islam-Arabiya yang semua orang menghafalkan bacaan-bacaan untuk bersalat tanpa mengerti apa yang dihafalkan itu.

Malangnya 'Jawi' tidak ditakrifkan.

Kata sebilangan pemerhati Inggeris dan Belanda, 'Jawi' bermaksud 'campuran'. Pada orang Arab di Mekah/Medinah, semua bangsa-bangsa di Gugusan Kepulauan Melayu adalah "Jawi".

Sekarang kita hanya ketahui aksara Arab-Melayu sebagai [tulisan] Jawi manakala Bangsa Jawi sudah sama sekali luput daripada kesedaran.

Jawi

Pada orang Jawi perkataan "Jawi" berasal daripada pohon Jawi-Jawi atau Jejawi yang disebut di Semenanjung sebagai pohon beringin (waringin) seperti pada Beringin Songsang. Ini boleh ditemui pada buku Negarakertagama.

Pada Negarakertagama juga akan didapati catatan sehubungan Candi Jawi (di Jawa Timur) yang didirikan oleh Kertanegara, Raja Singhasari yang terakhir. Beliau bersama anak menantunya, Wijaya, adalah wira-wira yang berjaya menewaskan balatentera Kublai Khan yang datang menyerang Singhasari pada hujung abad ke-13. Wijaya kemudian mengasaskan Majapahit.

Keutuhan dan kebesaran bangsa-bangsa 'Melayu' di Gugusan Kepulauan dan Semenanjung Indonesia tidak dan belum pernah menjangkau lebih daripada yang dicapaikan oleh Kertanegara dan Wijaya serta, kemudiannya, Patih Gajah Mada.

Pada telapak mereka itulah terletak zaman kegemilangan bangsa yang berani mendirikan rumah di pantai dan dilambung ombak, bukan pada zaman yang berseloka panjang dalam bahasa Arabu dan berdoa sampai dua kilometer bila dihadiri raja.

Kegemilangan itu mendakap kegemilangan budaya dan tamaddun yang terbayang di Semenanjung pada keperibadian, budaya dan pemerintahan Cik Siti Wan Kembang atau Udruga Wijaya Malasingha dan anak angkatnya, Puteri Sa'adong.

Kelantan/Patani, kebetulan, adalah wilayah Majapahit II, ditaburi Bangsa Jawi, bukan Bangsa Melayu yang bersyahadah dalam bahasa Arabu dan mesti beragama Islam-Arab.

Berapa keratkah manusia Melayu yang benar-benar memahami agama Islam yang mereka menuruti dengan ketaatan dan keasyikan yang sungguh luarbiasa itu?

Kata Prof. Emeritus Isahak Haron daripada UPSI, 90 peratus tak faham apa yang mereka membaca dalam salat! Masya Allah al-gerunahum alfi pantang ditegurusi wal larangu! (To what destiny can the blind lead the mute?) Pegangan Bangsa Jawi adalah pada Beringin Songsang saja, yakni satu simbol umum semua 'agama langit'.

Beringin Songsang adalah satu fahaman universal yang dirujuk padanya dalam Bhagavad-gita 15:1. Krishna berkata: Terdapat pohon Ara (Ashwatha/Banyan) yang akarnya menjalar ke atas dan dahan-dahannya ke bawah manakala daun-daunnya adalah zabur-zabur Veda. Sesiapa yang mengenali pohon ini kenalilah ia Veda-Veda.

Ashwatha adalah pohon Ara. Seperti yang telah menjadi kebiasaan pada benua Jawi, setiap sesuatu ajaran yang mendatang akan diubahsuaikan supaya seiring dengan citarasa sendiri. Maka pohon Ara itu pun dipindah kepada pohon Beringin (Waringin). Seterusnya, ajaran Hindu dicantum di antara Siwa dan Vishnu, kemudian dengan ajaran Buddha seperti yang terdapat pada candi-candi binaan Kertanegara.

Perkembangan inilah yang akhirnya melahirkan karangan Tantular yang mengandungi kata-kata hikmat yang menjadi inspirasi falsafah negara Indonesia, Bineka Tunggal Eka, yakni 'kesatuan dalam kelbagaian', atau komposit – satu jaminan toleransi, persefahaman dan saling hormat-menghormati yang menjadi asas ketamadunan dan supaya melahirkan satu bangsa/negara berasaskan pelbagai ajaran, adat dan falsafah.

Bangsa 'campuran' itulah yang dikenali sebagai Bangsa Jawi sampailah ianya diketepikan oleh perlembagaan dan kerajaan Malaya/Malaysia merdeka.

Beringin Songsang adalah satu simbol yang menerangkan dengan mudah hakikat 'agama langit'. Sebagai simbol agama langit, Beringin Songsang adalah universal dan keterangan yang barangkali sepaling mendalam mengenainya kelihatan pada Pythagoras, seorang pendokong ajaran Nabi Idris (Hermes) dari bangsa Yunani yang lebih dulu daripada Gautama Buddha (600 SM).

Konsep ini terdapat pada Veda sebagai Ashwatha atau pohon ara atau bodhi, dan Veda boleh jadi sudah dikarang pada 1,800 SM (ada yang letaknya pada 2,500 SM). Ertinya kitab dan ajaran itu boleh jadi sama tua dengan Nabi Ibrahim atau paling tidak ianya lebih tua daripada Nabi Musa (antara 1800 SM dan 1500 SM).

Tarikh yang diberi di atas tak akan disetujui ramai peminat agama-agama yang terlibat. Tujuan penulis hanyalah sekadar menyatakan Beringin Songsang merupakan konsep tua dan yang membawa pendokongnya kepada idea dan budaya universal berbanding dengan Islam meskipun ianya ada pada budaya Islam juga.

Buku The Inverted Tree karangan Sri Aurobindo, filasuf nasionalis/universalis India, boleh dimuat-turun melalui Internet, dengan percuma.

Ajarannya tidak hadapi sebarang masalah bahasa, seperti Islam yang terpenjara oleh bahasa Arab sehingga lemas kita melihat sebilangan Melayu berlumba-lumba untuk menunjukkan kehandalan mereka menghafal ayat-ayat al-Qur'an al-Karim dan juga al-Hadith sedangkan mereka tidak mengerti sepatah haram.

Itu tipu diri, a social idiotization, sedangkan agama itu adalah agama raja atau kerajaan dan lebih menjadi satu acara kawalan sosial dan bukan satu ideologi yang kemas mahupun yang terang.

Islam kini perlu dihadapi sebagai dokongan parti PAS dan mencabar kita supaya membuat kesimpulan bahawa Pakatan, kerana ada PAS di dalamnya, tidak menjadi satu solusi masalah politik dan sosial yang dihadapi di Malaysia.

Kini, setelah beduk diketuk untuk menandakan Maha Perang mungkin berlaku dan seluruh kawasan lautan Cina Selatan kata Republik Rakyat Cina dia yang punya, maka mahu tak mahu kita perlu akui Malaysia berpecah-belah dan bangsa Melayu telah berkecaian, yakni Malaysia terdedah dan mudah ditakluk semula.

Adakah apa-apa pada kita yang boleh menjamin perpaduan dan kekuatan? Islam? Melayu?

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BR1M : Usah Terpedaya Dakyah Pembangkang - Muhyiddin

MUAR, 28 Jan -- Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin meminta Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tampil memberi penjelasan tentang komitmennya untuk mempertahankan Israel ketika ditemuramah oleh akhbar Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Timbalan Perdana Menteri bertanyakan sama ada kenyataan Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) itu bermakna beliau (Anwar) mementingkan Israel dan menidakkan hak rakyat Palestin yang ditindas oleh rejim Yahudi itu. "Adakah dia (Anwar) lebih mengutamakan Yahudi dan Israel daripada Palestin? Adakah ini pendirian sebenar Pakatan Rakyat, sedangkan kerajaan tidak mengadakan hubungan diplomatik dengan Israel," katanya selepas mengunjungi Kampung Kebun Baru, Jementah hari ini. Muhyiddin, yang juga Timbalan Presiden UMNO, berkata masyarakat Palestin ketika ini dianggap sebagai rakyat terbuang, tanpa mempunyai tempat tinggal dan pada masa sama berhadapan dengan kezaliman tentera Israel. Muhyiddin ditanya tentang kenyataan pemimpin pembangkang itu ketika ditemuramah oleh WSJ semalam, di mana Anwar secara terbuka menyatakan ia akan mempertahankan keselamatan Israel. "Barisan Nasional berasa amat kecewa (dengan kenyataan Anwar itu)," katanya. Kerajaan, kata beliau, turut berasa amat kecewa dengan proses damai Israel dan Palestin yang telah berlangsung lama tetapi sehingga kini gagal mencapai objektifnya untuk mewujudkan perdamaian di antara kedua-dua pihak. Muhyiddin turut ditanya tentang pemberian RM500 menerusi Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) dan berharap mereka yang masih belum ...

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Malaysia needs a credible plan to deal with Debt and Federal Budget Deficit

August 21, 2012

Malaysia needs a credible plan to deal with Debt and Federal Budget Deficit

by Lee Wei Lian@www.themalaysianinsider.com

Malaysia has yet to present a convincing plan to tackle the twin fiscal threats of its federal budget deficit and federal debt even though strains on its credit profile are increasing said Fitch Ratings in a report yesterday.

Fitch also said that data clearly shows public sector-linked activity has been a key driver of GDP growth for the last four quarters alongside robust private sector activity.

It said that the ratio of federal government debt to GDP reached 51.8 per cent at end-2011 despite strong GDP growth but barring a further deterioration in the global economy, the Malaysian government should be able to meet its 2012 deficit target of 4.7 per cent of GDP.

"Looking beyond this year, however, the Malaysian authorities have yet to outline a credible near-term plan to reduce the fiscal deficit to three per cent of GDP, and the debt/GDP ratio to 50 per cent, by 2015, in line with their official targets," said Fitch.

The ratings agency noted that Malaysia's public finances already compare poorly with its similarly rated peers in both the 'A' and 'BBB' range medians and added that improving the nation's fiscal position will be challenging without significant reform to address the cost of fuel subsidies, broaden the fiscal revenue base, or reduce dependence on energy-linked revenues.

"Without such reforms, our base case is that the debt/GDP ratio will continue to rise until 2016," said Fitch. "The federal debt ceiling of 55 per cent of GDP, which was increased from 45 per cent in July 2009 to accommodate fiscal stimulus, suggests that the room for fiscal slippage may be limited without further alteration to the debt ceiling. If this were to happen, it would apply additional negative pressure on Malaysia's credit profile."

It said, however, that Malaysia still possessed several strengths such as a track record of macroeconomic stability, a strong net external credit position, and funding flexibility.

Malaysia reported a surprisingly strong second-quarter economic growth of 5.4 per cent despite weakening exports largely due to the buffer of ongoing construction projects and increased spending attributed to civil servant salary hikes and government cash handouts said economists.

They added that the difference in performance between the domestic and export sectors could point to uneven growth in the months ahead and lead to a two-speed economy

While the Najib administration's efforts to help tide the country over the rocky global economic environment with a longer term goal of transforming the country in a high income nation by spending more on salary hikes and kick-starting large infrastructure projects has helped boost GDP growth, analysts have noted that its debt has outgrown revenue since 2007.

Figures from the Federal Treasury's Economic Reports show that the federal government's domestic debt almost doubled in the space of less than five years — from RM247 billion in 2007 to an estimated RM421 billion in 2011 — far outpacing its revenues which only grew 31 per cent, or from RM140 billion to RM183 billion, during the same period.

While the Najib administration has vowed not to let federal government obligations exceed 55 per cent of the country's GDP, there is increasing worry that when government-backed loans or "contingent liabilities" are taken into account, the government's total debt exposure has already risen to about 65 per cent of GDP last year.

Fitch earlier warned that the country is now on par with more heavily indebted 'A' range sovereigns, such as crisis-hit Italy, on some measures like debt-to-revenue ratio and a lack of progress on fiscal reforms and may lead to a ratings downgrade which could push up the country's borrowing costs.

 


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Reasons why outstanding Indians opt for private sector


KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — A complicated application process and a long waiting period for job offers in the public sector are among reasons why outstanding Indian students opt for the private sector.  
The co-ordinator of the Special Implementation Taskforce (SITF) of the Cabinet Committee on the Indian Community in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam (picture), said the issue was also the reason for the lack of participation by the Indian community in the professional group of the public sector.
"A lot of Indians who joined the public sector hold positions at the lower level, such as technicians and administrative assistants.
"The outstanding students will not wait long for a job, with the private sector racing at the same time to get them," he told Bernama and Bernama TV in an exclusive interview today. 
A former Cuepacs president, he said when these students began work in the private sector with high salaries, it was difficult for them to switch to the public sector upon receiving job offers, due to the lower pay.
Siva Subramaniam said on average only 2.5 per cent of public sector employees in every ministry comprised Indians, but this would change with the various measures being and to be implemented by the government.
"The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been concerned of late over this matter and will offer 1,000 public sector jobs to Indians.
"We have a lot of candidates from among the Indian community, but there are also problems such as the poor command of Bahasa Melayu and English, which is an impediment to entering the civil service," he added.
Siva Subramaniam said job offers to Indians in the public sector also depended on factors such as academic qualifications, passing interviews, to ensure they serve the government with distinction, and not just to fill quotas.
The SITF, he said, was also studying the issue of promotions in the public sector for Indians, particularly in the teaching service.
"We have received a memorandum from Indian teachers who said their opportunities for promotion to principals as well as senior assistants were very slim, and we are looking into how to overcome this," he added. — Bernama
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Overhyping the South China Sea Issue

August 21, 2012

Overhyping the South China Sea Issue

by Ben Ahmad Hamzah@www.nst.com.my

CHINA has been accused of stoking tensions in the South China Sea.  It has been bashed over the Scarborough Shoal stand-off, now in its fifth month, and over the establishment of a military garrison and formation of Sansha city on Woody Island.

The hype over Sansha city and the military garrison is unnecessary. The city was formalised in 2007. The People's Liberation Army has occupied the Paracels archipelago since 1974.

Many have accused China of being the hidden hand during the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Phnom Penh. When the Ministers failed to issue a joint communique, the blame was put on China. By now, I believe China has become immune to the occasional labeling of a regional bully by the Western media.

No one denies that China has been assertive in the South China Sea since it fought South Vietnamese troops for the control of the Paracels, including Woody Island, on January 19, 1974. In April 1988, it fought a brief naval war with Vietnam and in 1995, it occupied Mischief Reef.

Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines have garrisoned their territories in the South China Sea. Taiwan has the biggest military garrison on Itu Aba. Brunei is the only claimant that does not occupy any feature.

What actually happened at Scarborough in April this year? On April 10, Manila sent its largest warship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar (former United States Coast Guard Cutter USS Hamilton) to arrest Chinese fishermen at the Scarborough Shoal for "breaching Philippine sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction" — a euphemism for illegal entry, illegal fishing and poaching.

Two Chinese civilian vessels from the Bureau of Fisheries Administration rushed to the scene just in time to stop the seizure of eight fishing vessels; the catch was, however, impounded.

Of course, this was not the first arrest of Chinese fishing vessels for illegal fishing and poaching in the area. For example, in July 1997, the Philippine navy arrested 21 Chinese fishermen for illegal entry in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal.

The fishermen were arraigned before the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo in Zambales district, which administers the Scarborough Shoal. Judge Elioboro Ubiadas dismissed the case on the ground that the accused were apprehended "in a place over which there is yet agreement between the Chinese and the Philippine governments".

In his opinion, there could be no legal basis to conclude, "the accused entered the Philippine territory illegally".

This decision is likely to dent Manila's claim. Historically, the Scarborough Shoal has always been outside the 1898 Treaty limit of the Philippines, a point that Manila does not deny.

A presidential decree in 2009 elevating the status of the Scarborough Shoal as a Regime of Islands under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Treaty was protested by many states, including China. The shoal is not part of the Philippine baseline system.

Manila has based its claim of the Scarborough Shoal on "effective occupation and effective jurisdiction since independence". Manila has discounted proximity as the basis of its claim.

On April 18, the Department of Foreign Affairs admitted that its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Monsiloc) is not premised on proximity or "the fact that the rocks are within its 200 nautical miles or continental shelf under UNCLOS".

The debacle at Phnom Penh could have been averted. I am confident by November, when ASEAN heads meet for the summit, acceptable diplomatic language can be found for their communique.

ASEAN must not allow the indecisiveness over a phrase to undermine the peaceful process that the grouping has assiduously developed over the years with China. The Code of Conduct (COC) negotiation should not become hostage to some inflexible internal politics.

ASEAN has more pressing larger geo-strategic issues to worry about. Driven by strategic considerations and the prospects for maritime resources, all claimants have been expanding their military and enforcement capabilities in the disputed South China Sea.

Buoyed by nationalist sentiments, some claimants have sought outside help. The presence of external forces could destabilise the military power equilibrium in the region.

Without some confidence building mechanisms like the proposed COC, incidents-at-sea agreements or joint development projects between the claimants, the maritime security situation in the South China Sea may take a turn for the worse.

There lies the real danger. States bordering the South China Sea must seek fresh solutions to their divergent interests. Neighbours should solve their territorial disputes by themselves.


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Musa: Sabah’s oil royalty review open for discussion


PAPAR, Aug 21 — Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman believes that the state's five per cent petroleum royalty review issue is open for amicable discussions with the federal government.    
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was a caring leader who was always prepared to listen to the people and their needs. 
Musa (picture), who also is state finance minister, said the good relationship between the state and federal government also benefited Sabahans through large allocations which helped to propel the state forward.   
"Therefore, I believe this issue (petroleum royalty) is open for discussion and what's important is that we scrutinise the matter and reach the best decision for the mutual benefit of all concerned," he said.
He was speaking to reporters after the Papar Umno Aidilfitri open house hosted by the constituency's member of parliament, Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, Kawang assemblyman Datuk Ghulam Haidar Khan and Pantai Manis assemblyman Datuk Rahim Ismail, at the Papar Community Hall, here today.  
Last night, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud was quoted as saying the state government would discuss the need to review the five per cent petroleum royalty paid to Sarawak, with the federal government.  
Admitting that state government and opposition leaders in the state have reached a consensus on the issue, Taib said both parties needed to meet and discuss the matter. 
Early this month, Najib announced that a special committee would be set up to study the petroleum royalty payments involving the eastern states of Peninsula Malaysia in a fair and transparent manner.   
The committee was given six months to study the issue before submitting its proposals to the federal government. — Bernama
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