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Sunday, February 1, 2015

In the spirit of national unity

By SSK

The four-year long American Civil War between the United States and the Confederated States from April 1861 to May 1865 saw about a million dead and wounded from both sides and the involvement of more than three million combatants.

Many think that the war erupted over the issue of slavery. Actually the war erupted because the southern states seceded from the United States and formed their own Confederated States. Hence the war was actually about secession rather than about slavery although slavery, or the banning of it, was one of the reasons for the grouses of the south.

The war in Ireland that started in 1922 was about the same thing. They wanted an independent Irish Republic free from Great Britain. It took a long time and the loss of so many lives before they got it.

And the same is going to happen if Sabah (and/or Sarawak) declares itself a Republic and independent from Malaysia. Isn’t the example of what are still happening in Southern Thailand and the Muslim part of the Philippines proof enough that a separatist movement, especially one that escalates to an armed conflict, eventually has to get settled on the battlefield?

We should be looking at how to improve national unity against the backdrop of the race and religion politics that appears to be plaguing Peninsula Malaysia. While we in East Malaysia are concerned about the danger of race and religion politics spilling over to Sabah and Sarawak, we need to also be very careful about an even bigger danger, the triggering of a separatist movement.

The issue of the right of secession should not be the focus of settling our grievances. We should try to settle it through negotiations. From the statement by the Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, it is clear that even Pakatan Rakyat will not support secession. Hence changing the government, as some are suggesting we should do, will not achieve this.

Once we agree that the focus should be on national unity, then the issue of race and religion politics plus the issue of respecting and honouring the 18/20-Point Memorandums can both be addressed in one swoop.

The national leaders know that these are matters that seriously need addressing, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, and they will certainly be open to seeking an amicable solution to maintain the peace in East Malaysia.

As the third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, a military man, once said: better we jaw-jaw than we war-war -- meaning talking is better than fighting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don’t allow extremists to tear the country apart

By SSK

Umno Supreme Council Member Puad Zarkashi has urged the Home Ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate the masterminds behind Free Malaysia Today, The Malaysian Insider and MalaysiaKini, which he said are fuelling an internal crisis in Umno.

Batu Kawan Umno vice-chairman, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, responded to this by saying, “Ow! Stop tickling me, Puad Zarkashi. No one can split Umno if the party has leaders of quality, particularly those who champion the people.” Khairuddin added that any crisis in Umno could only be because of a weak party leadership.

This public debate between Puad and Khairuddin is just one more of many that have cropped up of late. It appears like the opposition need not do anything any more. All they need to do is to sit back and allow the Umno leaders to slander each other.

There are many issues more important than fighting one other.In Penang,33 Indians were detained on allegations that they were planning to start a riot during the Thaipusam celebrations. 

This is very alarming and is a matter that should not be taken lightly. Any riot in Penang will very quickly spread to the rest of Malaysia and without laws such as the ISA that allow for pre-emptive detention the authorities would be hard-pressed to act until it is too late.

Chinese Muslim preacher Ridhuan Tee is also not helping with his fiery and very inflammatory statements. This just raises the sentiments of the people even further and fuels the hatred that already exists between some Malays and non-Malays. Religion is a very dangerous weapon to use and once conflict is triggered it is very difficult to stop it.

Take the religious conflict in Serbia and Bosnia as one example. That was a conflict that started 500 years ago during the time of the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans and it never went away. It just simmered below the surface for hundreds of years until it exploded with a great loss of life.

If the Umno leaders are so preoccupied with fighting each other they will lose focus of the more important issues. And the more important issue is national reconciliation and tolerance and to not drag Malaysia to the brink of a civil war.

In fact, it may even be time for Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to sit down and discuss how they can mutually work towards promoting national unity. This is something that is greatly needed and should not be neglected for the sake of internal party squabbles or inter-party rivalry.

I am just grateful that the people of Sabah and Sarawak and more level headed than those from West Malaysia and it is right that people like Ridhuan Tee are banned from coming to East Malaysia.

URUS PERBEZAAN PANDANGAN, HORMATI KEPUTUSAN KETUA - ANTARA NAJIB DAN TUN M

NAJIB
Oleh SSK

1. BARU-BARU ini, saya terbaca satu laporan mengenai apa yang dikatakan sebagai `perang' antara bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dengan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

2. Ini berikutan pandangan terbuka dan teguran pedas yang dibuat mantan Perana Menteri terhadap pentadbiran Datuk Najib.

3. Selain disiar dalam media arus perdana, cerita itu juga terpapar menerusi laman sosial. Maka, banyaklah komen termuat. Ada yang positif. Tidak kurang yang negatif.

4. Saya ada membaca komen-komen Menteri Kesejahteraan Bandar, Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan serta tawaran Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim yang mahu menjadi `orang tengah' mendamaikan Dr Mahahtir dan Datuk Najib.

5. Secara peribadi, saya mengenali kedua-dua pemimpin ini. Tun Mahathir saya kenal sejak sebelum saya menjadi Ketua Menteri, manakala Datuk Najib saya rapati sehingga hari ini.


6, Pada pendapat saya, perbezaan pandangan adalah perkara biasa. Ia lumrah dalam politik. Sebabnya, masing-masing mempunyai pendapat sendiri. Bergantung dari sudut mana sesuatu hal itu dilihat.
TUN M

7. Maka dalam hal Tun Mahathir ini, yang pernah mentadbir negara lebih 20 tahun, tidak salah bagi beliau memberi pandangan, apatah lagi dengan statusnya sebagai seorang negarawan. 8. Namun, beliau tidak boleh memaksa orang lain menerima pandangannya. Kerana orang lain juga mungkin mempunyai pandangan berbeza.

8. Dalam politik, yang mustahak bagaima kita mengurus perbezaan pendapat ini. Kita kena bijak mengurusnya. Ini kerana perbezaan pendapat tidak semestinya membawa keburukan dan perbezaan pendapat juga tidak menjanjikan kebaikan.

9. Maka dalam institusi kepartian dan pemerintahan di negara ini, kita kena terima hakikat mengenai sistem ketua -- iaitu Perdana Menteri dalam kerajaan dan Presiden parti dalam institusi politik. Ini hakikat mutlak dan perlu dihormati.

10. Saya kira, Datuk Najib selaku Perdana Menteri dan Presiden Umno sentiasa bersikap terbuka serta mendengar setiap pandangan sebelum membuat sesuatu tindakan atau keputusan. Oleh yang demikian, kita kena hormati keputusannya yang saya cukup yakin untuk kebaikan majoriti.

11. Saya tidak berapa setuju jika ada yang guna istilah `berperang' dalam konteks perbezaan pendapat antara Tun Mahathir dan Datuk Najib. Ini kerana Najib tidak `melawan' sekalipun Tun Mahathir kelihatan seperti menyerang bertubi-tubi.

Monday, January 26, 2015

DENGAR PANDANGAN SEMUA SEBELUM GANTI AKTA KANAK-KANAK 2001: SALLEH

KOTA BELUD: Kerajaan perlu mendengar dan menimbang pandangan semua pihak sebelum menggubal rang undang-undang baharu yang akan menjadikan perbuatan merotan anak sebagai satu kesalahan jenayah, kata Speker Dewan Undangan Negerio Sabah Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Tun Said Keruak.

Beliau berkata ia perlu diberi perhatian berikutan pelbagai reaksi orang ramai, pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan pemimpin politik terhadap cadangan memperkenalkan rang undang-undang baharu, bagi menggantikan Akta Kanak-Kanak 2001.

Katanya, kerajaan harus meneliti pro dan kontra cadangan itu bagi mengelak implikasi dan kesan jangka panjang.

"Yang penting, kerajaan perlu mendengar suara majoriti dengan mengambil kira dari pelbagai aspek, termasuk sudut agama kerana tokoh-tokoh agama sudah pun memberi pandangan terhadap cadangan ini," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian pada perasmian Ceramah Perdana `Motivasi Pembangunan Keluarga Bahagia' oleh Prof Dr Basir Aziz di Dewan Masjid Pekan, di sini hari ini.

Dua hari lepas, Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim memberitahu, merotan anak bakal menjadi satu kesalahan jenayah jika rang undang-undang baharu menggantikan Akta Kanak-Kanak 2001 yang dijangka dibentangkan di Dewan Rakyat selewat-lewatnya Julai depan, diluluskan.

Salleh yang juga Timbalan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Sabah berkata kerajaan tidak boleh terburu-buru memperkenalkan akta berkenaan, sebaliknya perlu mendapatkan pandangan menyeluruh terlebih dahulu.

Katanya, sesuatu perundangan yang hendak diperkenalkan perlu menjurus ke arah kebaikan dan dalam konteks ini, ia mestilah ditentukan tidak merencatkan institusi keluarga.

"Membina sebuah keluarga bahagia mempunyai pelbagai cara dan kaedah mengikut amalan institusi keluarga itu sendiri...bagaimana mendisiplinkan anak masing-masing tanpa melampaui had.

"Begitupun, kita menentang keras sebarang bentuk penderaan terhadap anak-anak, termasuk dipukul secara fizikal dan didera secara mental," katanya.

Salleh berkata kes pasangan suami isteri yang merotan anak mereka di Sweden, dan kemudian dipenjarakan pada tahun lalu, boleh dijadikan iktibar oleh kementerian yang berkaitan, termasuk melihat kesan pemisahan sementara antara anak-anak berkenaan dengan ibu bapa mereka.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The local council elections debate

 By SSK

The issue of the third vote or local council elections is being hotly debated by both sides of the political divide and is receiving mixed reactions from both those in government as well as those in the opposition.

Not everyone in Barisan Nasional agrees with the third vote and the same for Pakatan Rakyat as well. And various arguments are being put forward to support their view, the danger of another May 13 being one of them and the more controversial of the reasons given to oppose the elections.

The Penang state government is pushing for local council elections to be held and they even passed it in the Penang Legislative Assembly, which, however, was blocked by the Federal Court.

Local government elections were last held in Malaysia 50 years ago in 1965.

There are, of course, merits to having local council elections, as there are demerits. In a democratic system nothing is perfect, especially in a first-past-the-post system where not necessarily the one with majority support wins.

For example, if six candidates were to run, the candidate with only 20% of the votes would win if the other five all get less that 20% votes each. However, if only two candidates were to run, the entire scenario might change. Hence 20% would not really reflect majority support but the support of the largest minority because 80% of the voters did not support this candidate.

Hence saying that local council elections is to serve democracy is a fallacy when 80% of the people did not vote for you and yet you can still be declared the winner without majority support.

The more important issue here is that even though the state may be pushing for it, whatever the states do must comply with the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. And according to the Constitution there is no provision for the third vote unless Parliament amends the Constitution.

If the state attempts to override the Constitution then Kelantan would legally be able to implement Hudud laws in their state, which currently according to the Constitution they cannot.

Hence let us go back to the Constitution to argue our case for or against.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The opposition opposes for the sake of opposing

By SSK

The opposition wants the government to do away with the ‘lain-lain’ column in the race category on government documents. This is what the opposition has been demanding for some time now, in particular the DAP. They do not want government forms to stipulate the race of the person as they feel it is a racial discrimination policy.

However, this idea is being met with mixed reactions. While some welcome it, others are a bit concerned about it and do not think it is a good idea as it will ‘wipe out’ the ethnicity of that person.

We cannot always have it both ways. And this is the problem with the opposition. They criticise the government and demand that the government do certain things but when the government meets these demands they are still not entirely happy.

Take the price of fuel as one example. The opposition is not happy with the government subsidy on fuel and demands that it be removed as it benefits the rich more than the poor since the rich have more cars and burn more fuel -- hence they benefit more.

At the same time the opposition also protests the high price of fuel and demands that the price be reduced. So the opposition wants subsidies removed and at the same time they want the price of fuel to be reduced.

Now the price of fuel has been reduced, mainly due to world prices, and this is causing financial problems for petrol station operators. And the opposition is also protesting about the financial dilemma being face by the petrol station operators.

So what does the opposition want the government to do, subsidise the petrol station operators with taxpayers’ money so that they can make money and not face a financial crisis?

This is what happens when the opposition opposes for the sake of opposing and adopts the mentality of everything that the government does is wrong. And we must also understand that there is no ultimate solution. When we solve one problem we trigger another. So one solution to a problem only creates another problem.

Malaysians lament about the dangerous racial politics that Malaysia is suffering from. At the same time Malaysians do not want detention without trial or the Sedition Act. Instead they want absolute freedom of speech.

But is not unrestricted speech the cause of all this? When people can say what they like this triggers conflict. Hence Malaysians have to decide whether they want absolute and total free speech and run the risk of racial conflict or laws that control what you can and cannot say.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

SABAH CONTOH TERBAIK KEBEBASAN AKHBAR DI MALAYSIA - SALLEH TUN SAID

KOTA KINABALU, 22 Jan (Bernama) -- Sabah mungkin contoh terbaik dalam amalan kebebasan akhbar di negara ini, kata Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Tun Said.
    Beliau menyifatkan perkembangan itu sebagai apa yang dinamakan "pendekatan liberal" oleh kerajaan Malaysia, yang menilai kebebasan akhbar sebagai komponen utama tadbir urus demokratik, terutamanya hak untuk kebebasan memberi pendapat.
    "Setiap hari dalam media Sabah, kita dapati atau dengar pihak pembangkang dan badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) mengkritik parti pemerintah Barisan Nasional (BN) atau kerajaan, dan kadangkala artikel mereka diterbitkan di muka depan (akhbar-akhbar tempatan).
    "Begitu juga, para pemimpin BN negeri juga bebas mematahkan kritikan mereka. Senario ini telah berjalan berdekad lalu. Dengan perkataan lain, media Sabah nampaknya menikmati margin yang begitu luas dalam kebebasan akhbar berbanding amalan media di negeri-negeri lain di negara ini," katanya dalam ceramah 'Prinsip Demokrasi - Hak kepada Kebebasan Memberikan Pendapat' sempena lawatan anggota Institut Akhbar Malaysia di sini hari ini.
    Bagaimanapun, Salleh berkata walaupun peruntukan Artikel 5 hingga 15 Perlembagaan Persekutuan jelas menggariskan hak bagi kebebasan memberikan pendapat, ia adalah salah bagi sesiapa untuk mendakwa bahawa "dia mempunyai hak mutlak untuk berbuat apa sahaja yang dikehendaki atas nama kebebasan".
    Atas alasan itu, Salleh berkata Parlimen Malaysia menyediakan beberapa sekatan terhadap perkara-perkara sensitif yang boleh mengancam keselamatan negara.
    "Saya percaya kebebasan bukan suatu yang mutlak, malah kebebasan memberi pendapat. Kebebasan memberi pendapat tidak boleh diambil secara membuta tuli, tanpa menghiraukan sensiviti agama, etika dan nilai-nilai moral.
    "Di Sabah sahaja, kita mempunyai lebih daripada 32 kumpulan etnik dengan pelbagai budaya, kaum dan agama. Oleh yang demikian, kebebasan memberi pendapat tidak boleh melampaui batas atau melanggar nilai-nilai ini," katanya.
    Oleh itu, beliau berkata demokrasi di sebuah negara seperti Malaysia dengan kepelbagaian masyarakat perlu difahami dalam konteks kebebasan bersyarat.
    Bekas ketua menteri itu berkata kebebasan harus diiringi dengan tanggungjawab sambil berkata "lebih-lebih lagi dalam sebuah negara berbilang kaum seperti Malaysia yang masih mempunyai banyak isu-isu sensitif".
    Beliau berharap media memainkan peranan mereka dengan bertanggungjawab terutama berhubung dengan penyebaran maklumat yang sensitif demi kebaikan rakyat, negeri dan negara seperti yang dibayangkan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dalam konsep 1Malaysia yang mengutamakan perpaduan negara.
    -- BERNAMA