Sunday, December 21, 2014

Even Mahathir could not do what he wants Najib to do


To understand the history of Malay disunity, we must first understand the history of the Malay Archipelago. And when I say the Malay Archipelago this will include what is today known as Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and parts of the Philippines.

The Buddhist Srivijaya Empire ruled the Malay Archipelago from the 7th-13th century, followed by the Hindu Majapahit Empire from the 13th-16th century. Hence, for almost 1,000 years, Malaysia was predominantly Buddhist and Hindu until Islam expanded in that region about 700 years ago.

The first Sultan of Malacca was Parameswara, who fled the Majapahit invasion of Singapura and founded the Malacca Sultanate in the 1300s. Due to expanding trade between China and India, Malacca, which was a port halfway between China and India in the Straits of Malacca, grew in importance and wealth. Muslim traders from India as well as from China led by Admiral Cheng Ho, a Muslim, established trade relations with Malacca.

Parameswara eventually converted to Islam and took the name of Sultan Iskandar Shah. The entire population of Malacca followed suit and became Muslims, as in those days subjects followed the example of their feudal lords.

In 1511, the Portuguese invaded Melaka and it is said that this was possible mainly because the Malays were disunited or split. In fact, ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir is very fond of pointing this out in his talks regarding the Malay split and the downfall of the Melaka Sultanate.

In 1641, the Dutch drove the Portuguese out and ruled Malacca for almost 200 years until the 1800s when the British took Malacca from the Dutch and quickly began to extend their influence to the rest of the Malay States using ‘gunboat diplomacy’.

It was not until the Japanese occupation of Malaya from 1941-1945 that the Malays began to have visions of independence. This was partly triggered by the nationalist movement in Indonesia plus the realisation that the British colonialists were not that powerful after all and could be defeated by Asian powers (and Malaya would have remained ‘Asian’ if not because of the atom bomb).

It was only when the British decided to form the Malayan Union in 1946 that Umno was born, not so much to fight for independence but to oppose the Malayan Union. The Islamists in Umno, however, were not too happy with the secular foundation of the party and in 1951 the Islamists left the party to form the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PMIP).

Hence the Malays were clearly split six years before Merdeka in 1957. While Umno under the umbrella of the Alliance Party won mainly urban and non-Malay support, PMIP, now called PAS, made gains in the Malay heartland such as the East Coast states of West Malaysia. Since then the Malays would never become united under one political ideology.

In its history, PAS saw many internal crises between the liberals and the conservatives resulting in breakaway parties such as BERJASA and HAMIM being formed (and this internal crisis is still going on until today). Umno, too, saw many splits that resulted in breakaway parties such as the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP), Parti Negara, Umno Baru, Semangat 46 and Parti Keadilan Nasional being formed.

In short, the history of the Malays has always been a history of disunity. And that, unfortunately, is still true until today. Bapa Merdeka Tunku Abdul Rahman could not avoid it. Tun Dr Mahathir also could not avoid it (in fact it happened twice during the time of Dr Mahathir). And I doubt Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak can be blamed for this as well because the problem is with the Malays who have never seen unity for more than 1,000 years.

And that, if I may be so bold as to suggest, is the real Malay dilemma.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Religion mixed with politics equals violence


All you need to do is to monitor the news from around the world to see how potent the mixture of politics and religion can be. The 30 Years War of 1618-1648 was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. Then there were the 300-year Crusades of 1,000 years ago.

Many tragedies have been perpetuated in the name of religion and it is still going on in many parts of the world even as you read this. I can only describe the situation as a world under siege from religious extremism.

Most Malaysians are not too concerned with all these goings-on mainly because they are happening so far from home. Only when it explodes in our own backyard will it be of concern. And most feel it can never happen in Malaysia.

But that is what everyone initially felt in the many countries that these tragedies are occurring. By the time reality sets in that religious extremism and terrorism have arrived on our doorstep, it is usually too late to do anything about it.

The matter of Hudud, the Allah word issue, and the confiscation of Bibles, hymns, and other Christian literature published in Bahasa Malaysia, appear to be a never-ending problem. Just as one incident is solved another one crops up. It is beginning to look like this is going to be part of the Malaysian ‘culture’ for a long time to come.

Sarawak recently issued a statement saying that it will not allow this conflict to spread to Sarawak, as has Sabah. And this is good because Sarawak and Sabah have always been moderate in matters of religion. Sarawak and Sabah should not be dragged into the conflict facing Peninsula Malaysia.

Sarawak and Sabah have to maintain their stand regarding the issue of Hudud, the Allah word, and Christian publications in the National Language. These two states have always been the model for religious tolerance and this must not be allowed to change.

Let us keep religion out of politics to ensure that we do not slide down the slippery slope that some states in West Malaysia appear to be heading for. Sarawak and Sabah have taken the lead and we should follow their example in maintaining the solidarity between those of different religious faiths.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Is Umno on self-destruct mode?



Eight years ago back in 2006, certain forces within Umno decided to launch an attack on the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The result was quite dramatic when Umno and Barisan Nasional suffered its worst ever election defeat since 1969 (at that time called the Alliance Party).

No doubt some say the 2008 general election was reflective of the peoples’ desire for change. That may be true to some extent but how do you explain Umno’s and Barisan Nasional’s best ever-election performance just four years before that in 2004 (after the beating it got in 1999)?

Notwithstanding the voter sentiments in 2008, we cannot deny that what further contributed to the 2008 general election fiasco for Umno and Barisan Nasional was the infighting in Umno. This is a fact that even the opposition admits helped turn the tide.

Barisan Nasional did not recover its lost ground in 2013. In fact, the slide was slightly worse. And many predict that in the next general election that must be held by 2018 we may see Barisan Nasional gasping for life if it does not get its act together.

And that is the operative phrase here: ‘if it does not get its act together’. And from what we are currently seeing, Umno and Barisan Nasional still do not understand how to get its act together.

A police report has been made regarding 1MDB and the IGP has promised that the police are going to investigate the matter. That is good because probably once and for all we can get to the bottom of this matter and lay the matter to rest.

We do not know yet what the police are going to uncover. If they do find certain improprieties then I suppose the perpetrators will be bought to book.

But what if the police investigation reveals nothing untoward and gives 1MBD a clean bill of health? Will the critics, in particular those within Umno, accept this in good faith? Or are they going to accuse the police of a cover up (like they are doing regarding the RCI on the Sabah illegal immigrant issue)?

For years they demanded a RCI on the Sabah issue. Then, once that is done, they allege that the RCI covered up many things (some even say that more than half the report is ‘missing’). Hence they still do not accept the findings of the RCI after demanding that one is done.

I fear the same will happen with the police investigation on 1MDB. They demand police action and when the police do act they will say the police did not act in a transparent manner.

The fact that a police report was made means they want the police to act. And if they do not trust the police to act fairly then why make a police report and demand that they do act? That is the crux of the matter.

Maybe the motive is to embarrass the Prime Minister and engineer his ouster. That, too, was what happened in 2006. And we can see the result of that in 2008. Do they now want to risk the same thing repeated in the coming general election?

Even if they successfully oust the Prime Minister it does not mean Umno or Barisan Nasional is going to win back the support of the voters. There are many issues that need to be resolved and unless these are resolved it does not matter who the new Prime Minister is going to be.

And the most important issue of all is that Umno and Barisan Nasional need to address the unhappiness of the voters of Sabah and Sarawak. This is what is going to determine the future of the ruling coalition.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You do not need a passport to be a Malaysian


There appears to be some confusion regarding passports and citizenship. First, some Malaysians think that if you do not have a passport, or your passport is cancelled, then you are no longer a Malaysian citizen. Next, some Malaysians think that it is unlawful for the government to cancel your passport.

You do not need a passport to be a citizen whether in Malaysia or in any other country in the world. A passport is merely a travel document. Millions in Malaysia and billions all over the world are citizens but do not posses a passport.

The passport that you are issued is not your property but the property of the government. That is clearly stated on your passport. Hence a passport is not a right but a privilege. And you can lose this privilege under certain circumstances or if you misuse your passport.

Bankrupts plus directors of companies or owners of businesses who defaulted on their EPF contribution can be barred from leaving the country. And if they still try to leave the country their passports can be impounded. The same goes for those who have evaded paying their income tax and are on the blacklist.

If these people still need to leave the country for special reasons, such as for medical treatment, then they will need a letter of permission before they can leave the country. Sometimes they might even be asked to place a security to ensure they return to the country. If not the immigration will impound their passports at the exit point.

Sometimes this also applies to those facing trial and who are free on bail. The court can ask that the passports of the person on bail be impounded if the court feels that the person is a flight risk or if the prosecution demands it be done.

In the 1970s a friend of mine lost his passport and he was barred from being issued a new one for five years. In the 1970s, the Immigration Department viewed losing your passport as a serious offence and even if you needed to leave the country the Immigration would issue a single-trip passport valid for only one year, but only if you can prove it is important for you to leave the country.

This confusion needs to be cleared up because there are Malaysians who think that once your passport is cancelled or impounded then you are no longer a Malaysian citizen. That is not so or else probably ten million or more Malaysians would not be citizens since they do not posses a passport.

Integriti penting untuk perangi rasuah: Salleh

KOTA KINABALU: Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said Keruak menegaskan pentingnya prinsip integriti diberi perhatian dalam usaha memerangi rasuah di pelbagai peringkat.

Beliau berkata integriti penting bukan saja dalam diri seseorang individu, tetapi juga dalam sesebuah organisasi secara keseluruhan.

"Integriti adalah sifat jati diri yang merangkumi juga keikhlasan, keterbukaan, ketelusan, amanah, benar, berpegang kepada prinsip, tidak mudah dipengaruhi, boleh dipercayai, boleh pegang cakapnya dan lain-lain lagi.

"Integriti merujuk kepada himpunan kualiti unggul yang wujud dalam kalangan individu dan kualiti ini berteraskan kepada prinsip berpegang teguh kepada kejujuran dan amalan bermoral tinggi," katanya.

Beliau bercakap pada Persidangan Anti-Rasuah peringkat negeri Sabah anjuran Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) bertema `Sokongan rakyat nadi perangi rasuah' di sini hari ini.

Salleh yang juga Timbalan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Sabah berkata soal integriti bukan hanya terpakai untuk pemimpin akar-umbi atau peringkat atasan pentadbiran, malah penduduk tempatan juga seharusnya mempraktikkan integriti dalam hidup mereka.

"Contohnya, jika mereka melihat orang yang tidak dikenali atau pendatang asing yang menyusup masuk ke kampung mereka, penduduk terbabit seharusnya segera melaporkan kepada pihak berkuasa, khususnya pasukan keselamatan supaya tindakan susulan dapat dilaksanakan.

"Jika elemen integriti ini diamalkan, sudah tentu kehadiran pendatang asing ke negeri kita mudah untuk dikawal," katanya.

Selain itu, katanya, integriti di kalangan majikan atau organisasi juga penting untuk memerangi gejala rasuah di negeri ini.

Katanya, kerajaan sudah berkali-kali mengingatkan majikan supaya tidak menggaji pendatang tanpa izin, namun masih ada juga majikan yang "tidak mengikut peraturan" mengambil pekerja asing tanpa dokumen sah semata-mata mahu mengaut keuntungan.

"Adakalanya keingkaran mereka boleh memudaratkan keselamatan rakyat di negeri ini. Saya percaya senario ini adalah antara cabaran utama kerajaan terutama SPRM dalam memastikan amalan rasuah dan penyalahgunaan kuasa sentiasa terkawal. Saya melihat peranan SPRM amat besar dan mencabar," katanya.

Salleh yang juga bekas Ketua Menteri menegaskan semua pihak jangan menunding jari kepada kerajaan semata-mata, sebaliknya bersama-sama memberikan kerjasama.

Katanya, masyarakat perlu memandang rasuah sebagai satu jenayah yang keji untuk membendung gejala rasuah.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Kenyataan Kit Siang Petanda Jangka Hayat Pakatan Pembangkang Bakal Berakhir - Salleh

KOTA KINABALU, 9 Dis – Timbalan Pengerusi Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Sabah, Datuk Seri Dr. Salleh Said Keruak menyifatkan kenyataan penasihat DAP, Lim Kit Siang yang meragui pakatan akan terus bertahan sehingga ke PRU ke 14 sebagai satu isyarat yang jelas bahawa pergolakan dalaman antara ketiga-tiga parti tersebut kini berada di tahap kritikal yang bakal mengundangkan kepada perpecahan.

Kata beliau, berdasarkan senario politik pakatan pembangkang sejak kebelakangan ini sememangnya jelas memperlihatkan keretakan yang serius dalam perpaduan dan perhubungan antara ketiga-tiga parti tersebut.

“Bagi saya, perkara ini memang sudah kita jangkakan sejak dari awal lagi di mana pakatan antara ketiga-tiga parti itu tidak akan kekal lama. Jika kita lihat sejarah, perkara yang sama juga berlaku ketika Pas, PKR dan juga DAP membentuk Barisan Alternatif yang akhirnya berpecah.

“Apa yang saya lihat, ketiga-tiga parti itu membentuk pakatan rakyat adalah semata-mata untuk satu matlamat iaitu menjatuhkan BN sebagai pemerintah dan tidak ada perkara lain yang menyatukan mereka selain matlamat itu. Jika dilihat dari sudut ideologi dan pegangan politik ketiga-tiga parti itu jelas sekali amat berbeza sekali seperti langit dan bumi.

“Faktor ideologi politik yang amat berbeza ini bagi saya merupakan satu faktor utama yang menyebabkan kerjasama mereka akan menghadapi masalah dan seterusnya membawa kepada perpecahan, sepertimana yang berlaku ketika mereka membentuk barisan alternatif pada tahun 1999 dulu,” jelas beliau kepada UMNO-Online di sini hari ini.

Tambah Salleh, harapan mereka untuk menjatuhkan BN melalui PRU ke 13 terlalu tinggi namun mereka gagal dan kegagalan ini ternyata telah mengundang rasa kecewa yang amat mendalam terhadap kepimpinan pembangkang khususnya Dap.

“Kegagalan mereka untuk menumbangkan BN ini sebenarnya telah memberikan kesan yang kuat kepada pakatan itu sendiri. Ditambah pula dengan isu MB Selangor yang tercetus dari sikap Anwar dan PKR yang pandai-pandai sendiri seperti isu Langkah Kajang juga telah menyebabkan timbulnya konflik yang semakin parah antara ketiga-tiga parti tersebut khususnya antara Pas dan Dap.

“Dan kemelut pemilihan MB Selangor inilah sebenarnya kemuncak kepada kemelut dan konflik dalaman pakatan pembangkang apabila antara ketiga-tiga parti itu sudah hilang kepercayaan khususnya Dap dan Pas yang saling bertelagah dan salah menyalah antara satu sama lain.

“Ia juga sebenarnya telah membuka tembelang kelemahan dan ketidakmampuan Anwar untuk mengetuai pakatan pembangkang yang telah menyebabkan hilangnya kepercayaan kepimpinan Dap dan Pas terhadap beliau,” jelas lagi.

Beliau seterusnya berkata bahawa pakatan pembangkang bukanlah satu pakatan yang boleh diharapkan untuk mentadbir negara dengan lebih baik daripada kerajaan yang sedia ada pada hari ini.

“Mereka ini berpolitik hanya untuk kepentingan peribadi dan untuk kepentingan agenda parti masing-masing, dan bukannya untuk rakyat. Perkara ini terbukti dengan segala konflik dan perpecahan dalaman yang semakin kritikal hari ini yang bagi saya, mungkin tidak akan dapat diselamatkan.

“Jadi rakyat di negara ini harus melihat perkara ini dengan fikiran yang rasional dan bukan berdasarkan sentimen dan emosi bahawa pakatan pembangkang bukanlah satu gabungan parti yang mampu memerintah dan mampu membawa negara untuk ke tahap yang lebih baik dari apa yang ada hari ini,” akhirnya.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


KOTA KINABALU, -- Sabah Umno Deputy Liaison Chief Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has expressed 'full support' for the state cabinet's call to the relevant authorities to take drastic action against the culprits behind the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah..

He said the remarks made by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman of the state cabinet's stand on the matter was reflective of the Sabah government's sincerity and seriousness in resolving the longstanding problems.

"Now is the time to move forward on meaningful reform of our approaches and policies to tackle the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah once and for all.

"In this respect, I fully support the state cabinet's stand on this issue. Of course, we cannot solve this problem overnight...but at least it gives us a glimpse of hope to end the illegal immigrants' saga. What is important now is for us to be united in realising this noble cause," he said in a statement, here today.

Salleh, who is also State Legislative Assembly Speaker was commenting on Musa's statement with regard to the state cabinet's stand following the release of the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

The RCI report titled, 'Commission of Inquiry on Immigrants in Sabah' was revealed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, yesterday.

Ali was quoted as saying that the government had agreed to set a Permanent Committee to deal with the matter of illegal immigrants in Sabah as recommended by the RCI on the issue, and the committee would be jointly chaired by the Chief Minister of Sabah and the Home Minister, and would report to the Federal Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister.

He said a Working Committee chaired by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan would also be formed.

Ali was also quoted as stressing that the RCI investigation did not find the issuance of the ICs purportedly under 'Projek IC' to be politically motivated and instead found that the unlawful issuance of blue identity cards (IC) to illegal immigrants in the state was financially motivated.

In welcoming the release of the findings, Salleh said the RCI report had shed some light on some irresponsible individuals who were involved in the illegal issuance of IC for monetary gains and hoped the authorites would bring these culprits to justice.

"Certainly, our government do not condone any individual who breaches the immigration rules or goes against the law," he said, adding the people of Sabah should accept the findingsof the RCI, which is based on evidence, with open heart, and called on the people to not politicise the "Project IC" issue for poltical gains.

Salleh said the government was committed to finding solutions to the perennial problems associated with the influx of the illegal immigrants for the good of the people, the state and the country.

"Let us move forward to the future carrying with us the best from the past...let us work together for the sake of our future generation," he said.

He thanked the Federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who fulfilled its promise to establish the RCI and release its findings.

The RCI panel consists of independence people - respected retired civil servants and judge, and is not part of the government and does not answerable to the government.

The RCI formed on Aug 11, 2012 was chaired by former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong.

Others on the committee were former vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Prof Datuk Seri Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon, former Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Tan Sri Henry Chin Poy Wu, former Sabah State Secretary Datuk K.Y Mustafa and former Sabah Chief Minister and former Sabah Attorney-General, Tan Sri Herman J. Luping.