Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Response to Tan Sri Muhyiddin's latest allegation

Salleh Said Keruak

Muhyiddin Yassin is still harping on the 1MDB issue and the matter concerning the donation that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak received from the Middle East. Surely Muhyiddin realises by now that those issues are not the instruments that can oust the Prime Minister. If they were then Najib would have been out of office by now and Barisan Nasional would not have performed well in the recent Sarawak state election and the twin by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar.

It appears like Muhyiddin is bankrupt of issues and that is why he needs to keep talking about the same old issue that is no longer of interest to most Malaysians. The fact remains that if the opposition does not harp on this same old issue then they really have nothing else to use.

When is Muhyiddin going to accept the fact that the matter of 1MDB and the donation from the Middle East have already been clarified more than once and is now a matter that is closed? Muhyiddin is trying to create the perception that the matter is still outstanding as a means to distract Malaysians from the fact that the opposition is in a mess and has lost quite a lot of ground.

They insist that the Prime Minister replies to the allegations against him but then when he does they ignore these responses and act as if nothing has been replied. What is wrong with these people and what more do they expect? Why not Muhyiddin focus on his new party and prepare for the next general election, which will determine whether their anti-Najib propaganda has succeeded or not. As it stands now we do not even know whether Muhyiddin can mobilise his forces for the next election and offer a credible challenge to Umno and Barisan Nasional.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Najib’s non-confrontational foreign policy

Salleh Said Keruak

History has shown that most wars occur between neighbours. And if Malaysia were to ever go to war it would be with one of its ASEAN neighbours. And that was the reason why Tunku Abdul Rahman mooted the idea of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was launched almost 50 years ago on 8th August 1967.

Tun Ghazali Shafie -- who served as Malaysia’s Foreign Minister from 1981 to 1984 and played a crucial role in trying to end the conflict in Cambodia -- once said it is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war. In other words, as long as we continue talking we shall not fight. And this is what diplomacy and foreign relations is all about.

Unfortunately, Malaysia has been quite antagonistic and confrontational in its foreign relations back in the 1980s and 1990s and this was not in line with the country’s leading role in ASEAN. In fact, Malaysia also demonstrated the same antagonistic and confrontational stance with the western countries such as the UK, US and Australia.

Under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s watch, however, all this has changed, which even attracted criticism that Najib is too friendly and too accommodating to Singapore. Najib’s keynote address at the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) 2016 biennial conference today probably best describes his foreign policy when he said:

“Malaysians are warm, approachable and collaboration-orientated people; for decades we had a leader who adopted intentionally confrontational foreign policy positions, perhaps for personal popularity. But when I became prime minister, I chose to be different, and make a clear break with past approaches. Because I believe Malaysia’s foreign policy should be about building partnerships that benefit the country and the people.” 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New colonialism in the Internet era

Salleh Said Keruak

To relate the history of colonialism would require a thesis and can never be given justice in a short Blog posting. I shall try, however, to explain in the shortest possible manner why the world and countries like Malaysia face the danger of being colonised and what form of colonisation we are talking about.

In the past, for more than 2,000 years, colonisation has always been through military intervention or occupation. However, the Emergency in Malaya, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, etc., showed that military might was no longer enough. It takes more than guns to dominate a country.

While the US used the military to fight the Korean and Vietnam Wars without much success, the British successfully used the fight to win the hearts and minds of the people. And that is why Malaysia is not a Communist State today, one of the few countries to win the war against Communism.

Malaya was too important to the British and they could not afford to lose this prized colony. Britain was practically bankrupted by WWII and Malaya contributed to two-thirds of the British economy. Without Malaya Britain would have taken a far longer time to recover.

Today, military occupation can no longer be applied. The superpowers need to colonise countries such as Malaysia through economic domination and through what some would crudely call ‘mind control’. You need to dictate public opinion and guide the thinking of the people. And with the popularity of the Internet this becomes possible.

The media -- plus the banks, of course -- is very crucial to what we can consider this new form of colonisation. It is basically colonisation of the mind. It worked 100 years ago when the west first embarked upon controlling a country by determining how its people think. And nowadays all it needs is the media, the social media included, to bring down countries if the right strategy is applied.