Thursday, April 29, 2010

1. The Edge Financial Daily, an article by Joseph Chin (The Edge, April 22nd) as well as Brunei Times reported a substantial oil producing offshore area in the South China Sea, namely Block L and Block M, were no longer a part of Malaysia.

2. Malaysians and the Malaysian media did not ask how this came about. It would seem that the loss of a huge oil producing area that had apparently belonged to Malaysia is okay.

3. Block L and Block M had been claimed by Malaysia based on historical facts. Accordingly, Petronas entered into a production sharing contract with Murphy Oil to start drilling to produce oil. It is estimated that the reserves amounted to almost 1 billion barrels.

4. Abdullah Badawi negotiated with the Sultan to get back Limbang in Sarawak. In return he agreed to surrender the two blocks to Brunei. No Petronas representatives were present, only foreign office staff and the foreign affairs adviser to the PM.

5. As we all know Abdullah triumphantly announced that he had settled the Limbang claim with Brunei (here). No mention was made of the two blocks.

6. Brunei disclaimed (here) that they had agreed to give up Limbang. The foreign office and Abdullah did not rebut Brunei’s statement.

7. Now it is made clear that the two blocks are no longer a part of Malaysia.

8. Abdullah has caused Malaysia to lose at least US100 billion dollars (about RM320 billion) of Malaysia’s oil in this agreement.

9. Can Wisma Putra please explain why it did not stop Abdullah.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1. Barisan Nasional won the by-election by a majority of 1,725. It is a large constituency of 63,701. Although the BN garnered 24,997 votes, the opposition Pakatan managed to get 23,272 votes. Obviously Pakatan is still a force to reckon with.

2. Foreign observers and their local counterparts commenting on the results of the 2008 General Election asserted that the rejection of the BN was due to the electorate rejecting race-based parties i.e. rejection of racial politics. I had rejected this assumption. It was wishful thinking.

3. I believed that it was disenchantment with the leadership of the Prime Minister of that time that caused the BN to show such poor results. Malaysians still put race before even national interest.

4. The Hulu Selangor by-election has proven that racial politics is still very much alive. It is obvious that while the Malays and Indians had returned to support the BN, the Chinese had supported the opposition.

5. I believe the Government knows why the Chinese fail to support BN despite the steps taken to downgrade the New Economic Policy and other policies deemed to be discriminatory towards the Chinese.

6. On the other hand quite a substantial number of Malays also supported Pakatan.

7. I am sure BN will study the results thoroughly. The result of the 13th General Election less than two years away will depend on the correct analysis and the corrective actions carried out before then.

Monday, April 26, 2010

1. One of the most powerful political weapons is labelling. In one word a label can literally destroy the character of a person. After that anything he says or does would be tainted by the label he carries. He becomes no longer effective, politically.

2. He would be barred even from speaking the truth. The Jews won a great social and political battle when they were able to label anti-Semitism as defamatory. Even when what is said is absolutely true and is meant to correct wrong statements, it would be regarded as defamatory and rejected.

3. In Malaysia today the label that has effectively prevented the truth from being heard is “racism” and “racist”.

4. Fear of these labels has prevented the truth from countering the lies that have been spun and spread.

5. There is no doubt that such a thing as racism exists. It is the extremism which reflects the mindless and belligerent championing of race regardless of the rights and wrongs involved.

6. But to argue in favour of one’s race based entirely on truth and proven facts; to argue in order to correct wrong assumptions and deliberate lies; to defend the truth and to expose lies – these are not manifestations of racism, nor is the speaker a racist.

7. In today’s debate on racial issues in Malaysia the stage has been reached where truth and facts have been suppressed through fear of the racist label.

8. Like the thief who cries thief, the real racists use this label to deny the rights of others to counter their allegations.

9. To warn that unsubstantiated condemnation as racist will stifle fair debate and may lead to the violence of frustration may sound like crying wolf. But the warning bells must be sounded for even in this country racial violence have been known to happen.

10. Openness and free speech are said to be among the virtues of democracy. When a Government denies this, it will be condemned for denying democratic rights. But labeling as racist to prevent truth from being heard, to prevent rationale debate, is no less undemocratic than the censorship exercised by Governments.

11. Racism in a multi-racial country should not be tolerated. But to cry “racist” so as to prevent the truth from being heard is as good as to apply censorship. In fact such labelling is much more racist than the alleged racism of the truth being spoken.

Friday, April 23, 2010

1. The recession is not yet over in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe or in the United States. The British pound has devalued much against the Malaysian Ringgit and the Euro has come under strong attacks by the currency traders.

2. Not only are the businesses and banks being bailed out but whole countries (Greece and probably Spain) are being bailed out by the European Union. There seems to be no end to bailing out. They have completely forgotten what they told us in 1997-98.

3. The workers unions are still going on strike and the executives of failed banks and businesses are still demanding to be paid big bonuses. The public screams but there is nothing they can do about it as their money is used to bail out failed companies and banks.

4. It looks like the financial crisis will not be over any time soon.

5. We may feel like applauding. What they did to us in 1997-98 is now hitting them back hard. But unfortunately both America and Europe are big markets for us. If they go down they will drag us down with them.

6. What is certain is that both these continents will not regain their past prosperity. They will recover but not fully. They will be poorer than before the crisis. This is because their former wealth was acquired through abuses of their monetary, financial and banking systems. Since they cannot abuse these systems as freely as before and have to return to doing real business under Government enforced rules and laws they will not be making the big millions they used to i.e. through sub-prime loans, hedge funds, currency trading, leveraging, credit cards etc.

7. The real business of producing and sellling goods and trading will not yield the big money that the financial markets yielded for them. Besides they have lost most of their real industries and they cannot compete with the eastern countries.

8. It will take time for them to accept the new reality i.e. that they are no longer as rich as they were. But accept it they must.

9. I hope we Malaysians appreciate what is happening around the world. If we don’t then we may become very poor and will not recover for a long time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1. Saya lega membaca penafian Dato’ Sri Najib, Perdana Menteri bahawa laporan Malaysia sudah hentikan bekalan “gasoline” kepada Iran kerana projek nuklearnya.

2. Iran bukan musuh Malaysia dan Iran tidak pernah soal dasar dan kegiatan dalaman kita. Justeru itu tidak ada sebab kenapa kita harus soal dasar dalaman Iran.

3. Benar atau tidak Iran sedang mencipta senjata nuklear seperti yang dituduh oleh Amerika Syarikat bukan masalah kita. Ia adalah masalah Amerika Syarikat, sebuah kuasa militari yang terbesar di dunia, yang mempunyai lebih daripada 10,000 senjata nuklear, yang kononnya begitu takut kalau Iran memiliki dua biji bom nuklear di masa hadapan tetapi rela Israel memiliki sekarang lebih daripada 200 senjata nuklear.

4. Benarkah Amerika takut dunia akan menghadapi perang nuklear yang akan di lancar oleh Iran dengan dua biji bomb nuklearnya. Gilakah Iran sehingga sanggup melancar perang nuklear dengan dua biji bomb nuklear dengan tidak menghiraukan kemungkinan Iran dihujani bom dan roket nuklear oleh Amerika Syarikat, Israel dan kuasa besar yang lain.

5. Sebenarnya kempen terhadap program nuklear Iran oleh Amerika Syarikat bertujuan menindas Iran sahaja. Kita tidak harus menyertai kempen ini kerana ia akan merosakkan kepentingan kita. Dagangan kita yang termasuk jualan kereta, konsesi minyak, bekalan minyak, projek perumahan dan lain-lain menguntungkan kita. Kalau kita bermusuh dengan Iran semua ini akan hilang. Amerika Syarikat tidak akan ganti kerugian kita. Lagi pun imej kita dalam dunia, terutama dunia Islam akan tercemar.

6. Sesungguhnya saya amat gembira apabila membaca dalam The Star bahawa laporan Dato Sri Najib menghentikan bekalan gasoline kepada Iran adalah tidak benar. Alhamdulillah.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

1. I wonder who is hijacking “social contract”.

2. In this brave new world people write about things with authority but without knowing anything or doing proper research.

3. True the constitution does not mention “Malay rights” but obviously the mention of the special position of the Malays implies recognition of certain positions and privileges that they hold. The leaders of the time, the Tunku, Tun Razak, Tun Sambanthan and Tun Tan Siew Sin understood the “special position” of the Malays as the indigenous people of Tanah Melayu, the “Malay Land”.

4. For this recognition by the non-Malay leaders, something had to be done to reciprocate their acceptance. The Tunku agreed to waive the conditions for becoming citizens so that one million non-Malays could become citizens with all the citizenship rights, ignoring the required qualifying conditions.

5. The Malays did not fight against the Malayan Union only to give up all that they had gained. But their leaders were realistic enough to have a quid pro quo arrangement. Does anyone seriously think that the Malay leaders would reduce their majority from 80% in the 1955 elections to less than 60% after the gift of citizenship to unqualified citizens? Only the weak minded would think so.

6. Social contracts are almost never written contracts with everyone signing at the bottom. It is usually an understanding based on trust. It is a measure of Malay trust of the non-Malays that they were prepared to give up what they had gained in the fight against the Malayan Union in order to accommodate even those whose loyalty to the country was not proven.

7. The Malays hate turmoil. They prefer accommodation. Had they been like some other indigenous people, they would have insisted on their rights even if they had to be violent and to wait a longer period.

8. We should appreciate the wisdom of the leaders of the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians who laid the foundation of inter-racial cooperation for their beloved country. Far too many colonies of the West gained independence only to experience turmoil and instability and actual regression. The colonial powers had predicted that Malaysia with its multiracial population and numerous ethnic disparities and differences would also fail. But we haven’t. And we haven’t because our founding fathers understood the situation and devised wise solutions.

9. In making use of the provision for the “special positions” of the Malays, the post-1969 leaders came up with affirmative actions. These are undoubtedly “crutches” and crutches should be discarded as soon as strength is gained. Only the selfish would advocate throwing away the crutches of others simply because they have already made good use of their own.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

1. I am disgusted to learn that Tony Blair is being paid one million dollars to come to Malaysia to give a talk to businessmen.

2. Currently the press in Britain is reporting on the unusual wealth of this less than three terms Prime Minister. He has a staff of 130, lives in a grand mansion and is a millionaire.

3. When we read of how British Members of Parliament spent millions of pounds of Government money to refurbish and decorate their city apartments and their own residences we can understand how a Prime Minister like Tony Blair can get so rich after serving less than three terms.

4. Twice Blair presented himself as a candidate for President of the European Union and twice he was rejected as unsuitable.

5. Enquiries have been held in England over the lies he told Parliament and the British people in order to go to war with Iraq. Caught lying he was unfazed or unashamed, claiming that his objective was to remove Saddam Hussein. For this he was prepared to kill 500,000 Iraqi children, another 300,000 Iraqi men, women and children and reduce to rubble historic Baghdad and other Iraqi cities and towns.

Monday, April 12, 2010

1. Saya sekarang berada di Albania, sebuah negara Islam yang dahulu menjadi sebahagian daripada Empayar Othmaniah. Setelah merdeka ia diserang dan dijajah oleh Itali. Pada penghujung perang dunia ke-2, Albania sekali lagi bebas tapi dikuasai oleh pemerintahan kuku besi puak kiri.

2. Pemerintah ini diketuai oleh seorang diktator, Enver Hoxha, yang menolak agama Islam sehingga sanggup mengharamkan Allah, Nauzubillah.

3. Rakyat tidak dibenar menganuti Islam atau apa-apa agama.

4. Akhirnya pemerintahan puak kiri ini jatuh dan diganti dengan pemerintahan pro-demokrasi pimpinan Sali Berisha.

5. Saya ke Albania buat kali pertama pada tahun 1993. Terdapat kemiskinan di mana-mana sahaja. Muka penduduk muram belaka. Tirana, ibu kota, tidak menunjukkan aktiviti ekonomi. Tidak ada kedai selain kedai kopi di tepi jalan. Tidak ada kenderaan. Bangunan-bangunan ternampak tua dan uzur. Ada beberapa masjid lama yang uzur dan sunyi sepi. Tidak ada sesiapa yang menunaikan solat Jumaat atau solat waktu di situ.

6. Kali ini saya sampai di Tirana pada hari Jumaat. Program saya termasuk solat Jumaat di masjid yang tertua, Masjid Ethem Beu, di tengah Bandar Tirana.

7. Alangkah terkejutnya saya apabila saya sampai ke masjid dan melihat jemaah melimpah sehingga ke tepi jalan besar jauh dari masjid. Saya amat gembira kerana Islam sudah kembali ke Negara ini. Alhamdulillah.

8. Kemudian saya berjumpa beberapa penuntut Albania yang telah menuntut di Universiti Islam Antarabangsa, Malaysia. Kita bermesra dan mereka nyatakan perasaan hutang budi mereka kepada Malaysia. Mungkin juga UIA memainkan sedikit peranan dalam memperkenalkan semula Islam di Albania, wallahu’alam. Kalau pun tidak, saya bersyukur dengan kembalinya Albania ke pangkuan Islam. Alhamdulillah, segala puji bagi Allah subhanawata’ala.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

1. I think it was the President of the Bar Council who pointed out that the law provides for a judge to accuse a person with contempt of his court and to punish him.

2. I am not disputing this legal provision. But we know of the cynical reference to some laws being an ass. In fact many lawyers would claim that the ISA which provides for detention without trial as bad law, and many have urged that the law be removed from the statute books. The reason cited is that without a hearing in a court of law, the executive has assumed the role of prosecutor, judge and executioner. In todays society this is a denial of justice.

3. But the same people, who strongly object to the Internal Security Act, support the law providing for contempt of court in which the aggrieved judge becomes the prosecutor, the judge and the executioner.

4. Clearly we are seeing double standards in the implementation of justice.

5. To say that the judge knows best as to the culpability of the accused person is to once again breach the principles of justice. A judge should not know and prejudge a case. He should be quite ignorant of the case coming before him and he should allow himself to decide simply based on the evidence put before him, the words of the witnesses and the pleadings of the prosecutor and the counsel for the accused person. If a judge is also a witness to the case then he would be bias and cannot possibly do justice to the case.

6. There is certainly a need for a law against contempt of the court but it should follow the same procedures as applicable to all other cases including being heard by other than the aggrieved judge. The charge should be made properly. There should be no arbitrary arrest before a charge is made. The accused person should be given his right to hear the charge and to state his defences before a judge who is not personally involved.

7. Court procedures would take time but in the case of Matthias Chang, there was really no hurry as he was in fact given one week to pay the fine or be jailed. In fact when he turned up on the stipulated day the judge was not available and he was told to come back the next day.

8. Yet when he willingly went back the next day to surrender, he was told that his arrest would be made in the car park. I suppose this is again standard procedure but it would amount to additional punishment because it would humiliate him.

9. At the time of writing this in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, I am told he is unconscious because he had chosen to protest by fasting against the injustice of the way the law was used by the judge. The Government may not be moved by his act but if it does not than it would compare very badly indeed against the British Raj which responded humanely to the fast by Ghandi.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

1. One of the principles in law which is believed to ensure that justice is done is that disputes must be settled by a third party.

2. No one should be the prosecutor, the judge and the executioner. In fact the aggrieved party should never be the prosecutor and the judge. Obviously the aggrieved party would be biased in favour of himself.

3. Matthias Chang is now in jail. His crime, if we can call it a crime, is that of allegedly showing contempt of court i.e. not showing the right respect of the judge. Because the judge feels he or she has not been shown respect, then the judge has punished him by sentencing him to a fine or jail. Matthias has refused to pay the fine because it would amount to admission of guilt.

4. It would seem that what was regarded as contempt on the part of the court was Matthias’ expression of lack of confidence in the judge who for some reason seemed to Matthias to be biased. Matthias had said he was going to appeal to a higher court over the behaviour of the judge towards him and his lawyers.

5. Is a person, feeling aggrieved over his treatment by a judge not allowed to say that he is not happy with the judge and wishes to appeal to a higher authority?

6. Is an aggrieved person not allowed to claim that a judge is biased? In several recent cases an accused person has demanded that the judge recuse himself for being biased. Indeed we hear of an accused person demanding that the prosecutors be changed because of allegedly being bias. And in fact the persons concerned, who were only doing the work they had officially been tasked with, were not allowed to carry out their usual work.

7. I write this with trepidation because I too can be charged with contempt. But I feel there is a miscarriage of justice here, even if the law seems to uphold the process.

8. If a judge feels that a litigant or an accused person has been in contempt of his court, then the judge should get a third party, and another court to determine whether indeed there is a case for contempt or not and to determine the punishment.
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