Wednesday, March 18, 2009

UMNO Double Standards: Ali Rustam OUT, Khairi & Khir IN

Datuk Kadar Shah was correct in his accusation that UMNO practices double standards.

While Mohd Ali Rustam has been barred from contesting the Deputy President's post, his predecessor Isa Samad was suspended for 6 years. Frankly, it's the same offence, a precedence has been set and Ali Rustam should be suspended for 6 years also. Better, if UMNO were really serious about stamping out money politics, they would sack Ali Rustam and the others like Khairi and Khir, sending the message that UMNO has no place for the power hungry and crooked politicians with low morals.

Instead, for the same offence, Khairi, the son in law of PM Dollah, gets off with a warning. Why? Is it because he is the son in law of the Prime Minister? For that he has a special "get out of jail" immunity pass?

It's absurd and an abomination!

Khairi should be sacked, along with Ali Rustam, and later charged with criminal proceedings by the MACC. Why are they being spared? A bribe is a bribe, call it money politics, vote buying or whatever, it's an offence.

We musn't allow people of such poor moral qualities to lead our people and nation. What example do they set for our children, our young aspiring Malays? It only aims to make them more lazy by way of them thinking of the easier and quicker way to get rich. Not by honest hard work with the gifts that Allah has given us.

However, throughout history, UMNO seems to condone senior party members like Muhammad Taib (Vice President) who was caught with a briefcase full of money in Australia. Now, he is back, contesting for the Deputy President's post like this blemish never existed.

Everyday I pray that our country doesn't allow itself to be further diminshed by these greedy people whose main aim is to enrich themselves and not the nation they are supposed to.

Khairy maintains innocence, Khir Toyo relieved
By Lee Wei Lian

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Umno Youth chief hopeful Khairy Jamaluddin has maintained he is innocent of breaching any campaign rules although he accepted the party’s disciplinary board’s decision to give him a warning.

The Umno Youth deputy chief claimed he is a victim of a political agenda to discredit him and expects more such attacks in the days ahead in te run-up to the party elections on March 25.
”The important thing is that I am still able to contest,” Khairy told The Malaysian Insider, saying he is focused on the upcoming elections.

Asked whether his rivals had initiated the charges, the first term Rembau MP said: “I don’t want to accuse anyone. But there is a political agenda behind it.” The others running for the post are Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Khir Toyo.

Khairy, who is also the son-in-law of outgoing party president and prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was confident the warning would not affect his chances but will take steps to counter any anticipated attacks.

“This is just the beginning,” he said.

Meanwhile, Khir was relieved that he had been cleared of all charges by the disciplinary board which announced its decisions today.

“I want to thank the disciplinary board for the decision,” Khir told The Malaysian Insider but declined comment whether he felt the charges were politically motivated.

“I hope they (Umno delegates) can think of what happened to me,” he said, adding he believed he still has a fair chance of becoming Umno Youth chief.

However, the Umno disciplinary committee’s decisions, including to bar Datuk Seri Ali Rustam from running for the deputy presidency, did not go down well with some members.

Muar Umno division committee member Datuk Kadar Shah Tun Sulaiman said the disciplinary board was not consistent and practised double standards.

“Why was Isa Samad suspended for six years but no such penalties were imposed on those found guilty this time?” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Tan Sri Isa, a former party vice president, was suspended in 2005 for money politics. His suspension has been lifted.

Kadar Shah says that he is giving the disciplinary board seven days to respond to a letter he delivered to them this afternoon about his dissatisfaction with their efforts to root out money politics — failing which he will refer the matter to the Registrar of Societies.

Kadar Shah had threatened on March 5 to file an injunction to stop the Umno general assembly later this month and said that he may still do so if the disciplinary board does not respond to his letter.

There has been a sense of unhappiness among party members over the charges brought against Ali as it is seen to be a political ploy to disqualify him from the race for the deputy presidency.
Ali was widely perceived to be a front runner for the post and today’s decision appears to benefit his rival, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

One Umno member told The Malaysian Insider, “This is a sad day for Umno as Datuk Seri Ali Rustam is someone that you can count on to deliver and is a very down to earth person. Hopefully, he stays the course and fights on within Umno as he is always a party-man.”

Friday, March 13, 2009

Khir Cries Foul - The Smearer Gets Smeared Himself

Everyone who knows about Khir Toyo, knows that he had his hand in the cookie jar on numerous occassions. Regardless of whether there is proof of it, doesn't matter. There are some politicians that people just know - are dirty.

As Menteri Besar of Selangor, Khir Toyo had approved numerous hillside developments to take place. Even when Mahathir was in power and mandated that the development should stop, after he took a helicopter ride over the Ampang area, the development stopped for a while, but resumed no more than 6 months later.

The result? Catastrophy. Numerous landslides, lives lost, homes lost and people left to deal with the mess. But Khir Toyo would appear suddenly to show sympathy for the people and make all sorts of promises. But, the work will continue eventually.

He made the people of Selangor suffer, today, Selangor is congested, there isn't any proper zoning, and there are condominiums everywhere.

But when you question Khir Toyo or the Municipal councils on this, they say, it's private property and they have no jurisdiction on the developer. So, the people are left in a lurch and have to live with it - helplessly watching their investment be devalued.

Khir Toyo has been accused of all sorts of things, striking deals with the developer is one, surely, there is a kickback somewhere in some form. Who's to know? But we can all guess it's true, because there have been so many inconsistencies with Khir Toyo, it doesn't make sense, unless he is corrupt.

Yes, there is no proof. But it doesn't mean that it isn't true either.

Khir is now getting a taste of his own medicine. Poor Elizabeth Wong was victimised, and Khir made silly statements. Perhaps that now he is being accused of all these wrongdoings, Khir Toyo should not contest as a candidate and resign from UMNO. After all, that was what he implied in the case of Elizabeth Wong. So why shouldn't it apply to Khir?

Khir Toyo talks big, and acts holier than thou. Now, he faces his own smear campaign, so let's see whether he has enough integrity to stand by his own convictions. No? Then he should be rejected.

UMNO has a host of better candidates and of a higher caliber than a failed Menteri Besar who lost Selangor to the opposition - a historical first.

People rejected Barisan and UMNO in Selangor because they were feeling the pinch and getting the short end of the stick because of the corruption that was happening in the state.

UMNO delegates should realise this and reject Khir Toyo. As Youth Chief, you can see the quality of person you are putting before young and aspiring Malays. Let not he be the example that we set for our children.

On the most recent inquisition into Khir's travels. It isn't so much about where he went (as he defends it below), though we're not sure what business he brought from Milan or Paris to Selangor. It sounds more like a lavish holiday. The bigger question is, how did could he spend the taxpayer's money in such great amounts for so few trips? But it isn't surprising that Khir Toyo would abuse state funds.

If you break down the amounts, you will see that it is impossible to rack up those amounts in travel expenses, unless he was living over and beyond the norm.

Again, this questions Khir's integrity and responsibility as a Minister. If he had abused and spent the people's money in that manner, it is quite possible that he could have been irresponsible in a variety of other ways, perhaps ways that aren't so obvious.

Khir should be investigated by the MACC, and they should nail him for every penny he has syphoned from the people of Selangor - who need more police stations, better infrastructure, better roads and so on.

Khir claims plot smearing him before Umno polls

SHAH ALAM, March 13 - Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, who is contesting the Umno Youth chief post, claims there is a secret plot aimed at tarnishing his reputation in the run up to the party polls later this month.

He said the group, masterminded by someone from within Umno, collaborated with the opposition leader to attack him during the State Legislative Assembly sitting which began on Tuesday.

Mohamad Khir said most of the allegations against him such as the issue over the purchase of real property in Mecca in 2007 and the latest, the alleged use of funds belonging to a state government subsidiary company to buy a Range Rover costing RM500,000 for use by his wife, Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik, were only raised in the Assembly sitting.He said: “If all the allegations were true, why attack me in the State Assembly? If there is any wrongdoing, report directly to the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission)”.

Even the total cost of his air tickets for overseas travels from the year 2000 until now had also been raised in the State Assembly sitting, he said.

The former Selangor menteri besar said although the total cost of his air tickets for the overseas trips amounted to RM360,000 for the eight-year period, the trips were made to attract foreign capital to the state amounting to between RM48 and RM50 billion during the period.

Asked on his chances in the Umno election, he said: “I still have a fair chance.” - Bernama

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Khir Toyo Took Selangor Taxpayers For A RM349K Ride

Here is an article carried by The Star today. Commentary will follow soon.

Published: Thursday March 12, 2009 MYT 3:04:00 PM
Khir Toyo travel costs exceeded RM300,000

SHAH ALAM: The overseas air travel costs for former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo from September 2001 till January 2008 amounted to RM349,134 and involved 21 trips.

Among destinations visited by Khir were London, Bangkok, Beijing, Los Angeles, Dubai, Osaka, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Paris, Perth, Milan, Venice and Amsterdam.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the statistics were from air travel warrants obtained from the Office of the Selangor Mentri Besar.

Costs like hotel, food and drinks and other costs were still being tallied by the Office of the Selangor Mentri Besar, he said in reply to a question by Mohamad Azmin Ali (PKRBukit Antarabangsa) in the State Assembly on Thursday.

Azmin had asked for the costs of the mentri besar's overseas travels from 2000 till now and the name of the travel agent that arranged the trips.

Abdul Khalid said the travel agent was Green Adventure Holidays Sdn Bhd and that the involvement of other agents was still being looked into by the Office of the Selangor Mentri Besar.

In reply to a supplementary question by Mohamd Azmin if there were any family ties between Khir and Green Adventure, Abdul Khalid said his office had no proof of any ties.

He said the state government had now appointed Tourism Selangor Sdn. Bhd to manage travel for the state government. However, to avoid the practice of a monoply the state government welcomed the participation of other travel agents.

Added Abdul Khalid: "Till now, we find that most of the state executive councillors were inclined to buy tickets online especially from AirAsia as this was cheaper than going through travel agents." - Bernama

Monday, March 9, 2009

Down with English! Malay Pride Must Come First!

The fear of our Malay brothers and sisters today is that of their faith in Islam and Malay culture, that, to them, is easily eroded by virtue of teaching math and science in English - in the case of Malay culture. The matter of faith in our religion is a matter for a separate discussion.

Just over the weekend, thousands (reported after the article below) of Malay students, including that of the Opposition (PKR and PAS), staged a massive protest in KL. All in the name of stopping the government's policy of teaching math and science in English. Their reasons: because it will erode our cultural identity, or it will make us respect English more than our own mother tongue.

Goodness gracious. How small minded can some people be?

How on earth can a language erode one's own culture? A language is a means of communication. By virtue that English has been chosen by History to be the standard means of international communication, be it in politics or business, it is therefore important.

Respecting one language over another doesn't make any sense either. This Abu Qassim Nor Azmi, Student Union leader, speaks of this and obviously doesn't know what he is talking about - it sounds idiotic and stupid. I wonder what sort of education he has been receiving. If you watch the video below, you will hear Abu Qassim speak, you will then realise why it is important that English is emphasized in Malaysia. The standards have dropped far below what is needed to be proficient to communicate effectively in this increasingly Globalised world that we live in. The young university scholar speaks like a primary school boy, unable to articulate himself properly and basically speaking in broken English. He seems to say that he has grown accustomed to speaking English, even outside class, however, it appears that he doesn't do it very well.

If my Malay Muslim culture, ingraned into me from birth to adulthood is so easily shaken and eroded by learning a language that would help me communicate effectively in this world, ultimately contributing to the quality of life I will have, then I must be a very weak person.

I would only fear these things if I were of weak character and didn't have any faith in the strength of my principles that are driven by the cultural conditioning that I grew up with.

Culture is more than just a language my brothers and sisters, it is our way of life. And so what if we speak a different language at the workplace? Or even at home? Does that make us less Malay? Less Muslim?

Many of my father's friends who are from a different generation of Malays were brought up with the English language - they are no less Malay than anyone else. Some of them even attended Christian Missionary schools, they were never forced to say the Lord's Prayer, but stood in respect when it was said. Some even know the exact words to the prayer too. They are still devout Muslims who attend Friday prayers and their faith hasn't wayned.

So what is all this protesting for?

Here are some of the facts of how serious the situation is.

1. Proficiency of English in Malaysia is at its worst. It has been going downhill since Anwar Ibrahim was Education Minister, when we came up with the failed Bahasa Baku.
2. Students in Primary school upwards are being taught by young teachers, who themselves are not proficient in the language. My nephews and nieces have often corrected their teacher in matters of pronunciation and grammar.
3. Malaysia used to produce top notch scholars from University Malaya, which in the 60s was highly regarded. Today, our crown jewel has fallen to the rank of over 300. A degree from this university has little value outside Malaysia, for graduates seeking post graduate studies in the West, will need to prove themselves again by retaking certain undergraduate subjects, one of them is English.
4. Malaysia was aiming to be the Cyber centre of South East Asia, and over a decade has passed, with little to prove. Though it has never been said openly, the problem with multinational corporations is that of the quality of human resources available. They have since moved on to form their Outsourcing centres in Philippines and India. Why? Because of proficiency in IT and more specifically for the Philippines, English - spoken and written.

Malaysia with it's vastly Malay language curriculum which is forced upon every ethnic group, has failed to ensure that people are properly educated and proficient in a language that is used to communicate with the rest of the world. English is the official business language of the world. Surely, you won't try educating a Mainland Chinese or a Japanese person in Malay for your convenience of communication.

The government is right in taking these initial measures to restore the standard of English to what it was before.

Take for example the Indians and the Pakistanis, they speak English fluently, so much so, that they can convince most westerners that they can do everything and anything. We all know this. Are they any less Indian or Pakistani? Have they cast out their Caste system? Have they stopped worshipping their Hindu Gods or Allah? No. Have they forgotten their provincial cultures and the crafts that are unique to their cultural heritage? No again.

So my dear brothers and sisters, why so much fear over such matters? Think before you act, do not act in haste and take a step back and see the broader picture.

If you feel that your Cultural heritage is being attacked, remember that culture is instilled into you by your parents, how well they have done it will be evidenced by how you, as an adult choose to live your life. How you, as an individual decide what is important to you. And it certainly has nothing to do with learning how to speak the one language that is understood the world over.

Do not fall prey to the acts and support of some politicians, in this case PAS and PKR. They are simply buying political capital by appearing to support you and your cause.

Malaysia is regressing. This latest protest, in the large numbers that it attracted is one that is of great concern. It appears that the vast number of ignorant people in Malaysia are growing, and they appear to be mostly Malay. It is very sad, very sad for us as Malays.

By this act of ignorance, we only shame ourselves and our culture. Surely it isn't part of our culture to live in our little world where Malay is an effective means of communication among 27 million people.

If the BN and the King doesn't come out to make a strong statement on the matter, and to help the people understand, it will mark the midpoint of Malaysia's regression.

To regain our footing in English proficiency to what it was previously, it will take more than just a couple of generations. May God help our children and help them forgive us for making their future a little more bleak in this competitive world.

Hundreds of Malaysians stage language protest
By Melissa Goh, Channel NewsAsia Malaysia bureau chief
07 March 2009 2238 hrs

Hundreds of Malaysians stage language protest

KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of Malaysians, mostly Muslim Malays, had taken to the streets to protest against the use of English to teach Mathematics and Science in schools.

Police fired water canons and tear gas to disperse the crowd as they marched to the National Palace in downtown Kuala Lumpur despite a police barricade, in an attempt to reach the National Palace.

The protest was led by opposition Islamic party president Abdul Hadi Awang, flanked by national laureate, A Samad Said.

Their aim was to deliver a request to the king to change teaching of Mathematics and Science from English back to Malay language.

The switch in languages made by the government six years ago as part of an effort to lift the standard of spoken and written English among students.

The demonstrators claimed that the move has failed and is leading to an erosion of the Malay cultural identity.

Abu Qassim Nor Azmi, of the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students said: "Now we talk in English when we go to the canteen, and when we go out, we continue to talk in English. This will lead to a crisis of identity, we will repect English more than our own mother tongue."

The police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, but many re-grouped despite heavy rain.

The inspector general of police lashed out at the protestors for being what he called "demo crazy".

More than 120 were later detained for questioning.

The protestors maintained that they are apolitical and their aim is to protect the Malay language which is the national language guaranteed under the federal constitution, but the opposition Pakatan Rakyta alliance is capitalising on the rising public resent towards the UMNO led government.

Mohd Saifullah Zulkifli, an Opposition Youth Leader charged that UMNO is setting a very bad record even though they are supposed to represent the Malays.

Prime Minister designate Najib Razak had appealed to the country's predominantly Malay population not to be overly obsessed in protecting the Malay language.

He assured them the Malay language will always remain the premier official laguage in Malaysia.