Friday, April 30, 2021

My April 'ghost-writer'.


From: Owen Jones 
To: Anwar Ibrahim: 

Don’t talk cock. I am a stout defender of you but I am certainly not averse to giving you a piece of my mind if it is needed. First and foremost Anwar Ibrahim - Why were special privileges for Malays written into the Federal Constitution? 
It was simply because the Reid Commission which drafted it believed that the Malays were backward and needed particular attention for them to catch up with the rest. The British had not seen the Malays do hard work as they had seen the Indians and Chinese do.

The fact is Anwar Ibrahim there is racial and religious discrimination even in the most advanced societies. Why do you think the ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘say no to racism’ campaigns are happening? It is because of racial discrimination. But what is worse is that in Malaysia - there is not only racial and religious discrimination but they are official policies. 
If a country has laws that promote racial discrimination that nation is labelled as one that has an APARTHEID policy. The truth is that the Reid Commission had included a moratorium on the ‘special privileges’ - they were to end in 1990. But the CC with a two-third majority in Parliament amended the Constitution to read as “for as long as deemed necessary” so that he and his cronies could continue the rape and plunder of the nation indefinitely. 

Please do not pretend that you do not know this Anwar Ibrahim. 
Yes there is racial discrimination by other communities. But this is at the individual level. It is not policy. But why is it happening? 
Those who studied in the English medium schools never saw their fellow students as anything else. But all this changed when the conniving chameleon Mahathir became PM. English went out and in came a racist brand of education clearly intended to segregate the people. What Mahathir started in the 1970s is what we see today and what most of us including Tommy Thomas have seen. It was so easy for TT to make a comparison because he worked with the crème de la crème in his legal profession and law firm. When he entered the civil service the disparity in standards shocked the life out of him. 

This is what the CC’s racist policies have brought about. Malays in high office and high positions who are there simply because they are Malay. When people are given positions by virtue of ‘special privilege’ and not out of merit for their knowledge, experience and intelligence then we know the nation is in trouble. 

Don’t forget Anwar Ibrahim that you were tried and jailed by an incompetent judiciary that was just acting on the instructions of its political masters. And pray tell me, Anwar Ibrahim, how many Malay lawyers defended you? Yes the bloated civil service is full of unqualified people who are otherwise unemployable outside. The mediocre education with low marks earning high grades has produced Malays holding certs that are not worth the paper they are printed on. Pray tell me Anwar Ibrahim, how many non-Malays are employed in the civil service? How many non-Malays are holding senior positions in the civil service? How many non-Malays are holding senior positions in GLCs? Why are the GLCs all such financial disasters? Why is it that only Malays can lead GLCs and govt depts? How could you expect TT not to talk about the Malays only when there is practically nobody else in the civil service? Isn’t the absence of non-Malays itself damning evidence of the prevailing racial discrimination in this country? TT has stated it as it is. 

The civil service and the GLCs are prime examples of the blind leading the blind or where mediocrity is the order of the day. Don’t try to defend the indefensible Anwar Ibrahim. The fact is that truth is often the most bitter pill. TT is a brave man to stand up for it. So, Anwar Ibrahim please do not lose the respect of non-Malays and right thinking Malays by attempting a puerile cover-up of the truth just to score some political brownie points. Anwar Ibrahim - today you have sown the seed of doubt as to your leadership qualities. Perhaps the MC is right after all - that you have no idea at all about what to do next - apart from theatrics that appeal to the gallery. I am truly disappointed. 

OJ!!

NOTE: 
Posted as received via WhatsApp.

MY TAKE: 
Okay, folks, here's  what I really think. This posting may actually be a Malaysian using a pseudonym of the Guardian's columnist's Owen Jones' pen name.  If only, for the life of me, some one can tell me what CC means, then perhaps I might get a clearer picture. 
As much as it may ruffle more then just a few feathers, mainly by those living in denial or are too young to have followed our "REAL" history, a lot of what this ghost writer writes about Anwar and his then "master" the MahaFiraun I concur, they both had a big hand in altering, amending and skewering the Federal Constitution with a Malay agenda uppermost in their list of priorities. That's a given. But let's not lose sleep over what we, the non-Malays have come to understand the true nature and lip-service of our politicians. We don't need a "mat salleh wannabe" or a poser to tell us what we already know of.  
Thank you. 
  

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Betrayers of the Rakyat - 1st. Anniversary.

Presenting the entire "out'' cast of the tragic downfall (in order of appearance) of what Malaysians, the gullible and naïve tax-paying rakyat, who only 20 months before a year ago, were made to believe, with hopes dashed, a year today. 

And I had warned years before this day (if you care to go and read my earlier postings from 2007!) of why everyone was especially so forgiving of the numero uno character in this dastardly produced 'play' who I continue to focus and refer to as always, The MahaFiraun. 

It was a most painful day for many a year ago like me, who had tirelessly fought the system ala 'David against Goliath' for years and had taken to the streets like me too, so many many times, I forget now, only to be betrayed by a fork-tongued racist, who cleverly conned every politician of the then PH to appraise him up to the highest position in government again. And to have all their trust sold and their "hopes" betrayed by this same  scheming old man! 

I have never forgiven Anwar and Lim Kit Siang nor their families who fell prey to this lying old man, the MahaFiraun. I noticed the unease and fore-brooding body-language of both Anwar and Kit Siang every time they were in this monster's presence. A hypocrisy of sorts. 

But then, so too were the entire PH politicians and their supporters taken in and pitied this harmless old man with a 'blurred-vision' when he cunningly released the photo of his dear old wife, Siti Hasmah, (honestly, I have nothing against this fine old lady.) seated with her head hung low during an investigation in a police station and bingo!... all hearts was "SOLD"! And that folks, is how the devil works.

But who'd have been bothered to have taken a mere blogger's views, thoughts, warnings and voice in the wilderness, seriously then? Really!
         

P.S.- I don't know who created these posters below, with an apt summary therein but I, for one, tip my hat to this  candid literary critic. Remember thine faces. Thank you, who ever you are!  










 

Monday, February 15, 2021

My February Guest writer - Rahim Hj. Zainun

 

Nafsu and the Malays

Because of nafsu some people became very resourceful - nafsu nak bini  orang (other people's wife), some would seek the help of bomoh siam, nafsu nak cepat kaya, they work around the system, beat the system, and became corrupted. Nafsu nak jadi cantik, they resorted to susok.

Its all "nafsu"

So, what is nafsu? Its quite difficult  to describe nafsu in one word. Goggle says its "lust".

Yes, if we talk about sex. Some says its greed; but then I think greed is a direct result of nafsu. 

To me, nafsu is the strong desire for something - (either material or emotional) - beyond ones means or ability to handle such desire.

For example, a person yearns to own a brand new Mercedes Benz despite ones low monthly income  - thats nafsu; spending way above ones income - its nafsu; having meals more than what is normal - its nafsu.

Having wild, multiple sexual relationship - its nafsu buas. Nafsu made an ustaz 'terlajak' to another nearby opening. 

According to a dear friend, some aunties, while already have a cupboard full of tupperwares, would still insist on buying more whenever they attend a parti tupperware; that too is nafsu. 

As earlier mentioned, nafsu led to greed - nothing seems to be enough; nafsu made people lose their common sense and forget their purpose in life. Nafsu brings out the worst of a person. 

Yes, nafsu is a global thing, but in this write up, I am confining myself to the Malays.

A dear friend shared with me an article on how, in early 1906, nafsu bankrupted my home state, Kedah. It was said that HRH Sultan Kedah at the time, held a three months long wedding celebrations for a few of his children. In doing so, he bankrupted the state when he borrowed heavily from Siam to cover the cost of the said celebrations (amount borrowed: about three million dollars). 

That three million dollars in 1906 is probably worth hundreds of millions of ringgit today. If that is not nafsu, what is it then ?

Its sad; when the English were negotiating with Siam towards Anglo Siamese treaty 1909, Kedah was made to cede a big chunk of her territories to Siam.

It was implied that there was no way Kedah would have a say in that agreement; she had huge debts to settle with Siam.

I have always wondered; the Malays, from a young age, were brought up with Islamic indoctrinations - that nafsu is the mother of all evil, and yet corruptions, abuse of power, drugs and rape cases among the Malays is so wide spread.

The number of ongoing corruption cases, or ongoing investigations gives you the full spectrum of the Malays involved; ministers, deputy ministers, senior politicians, KSUs, heads of departments, DOs, army and police senior officers, right down to the lower district level administrators.

Another friend reasoned out that though Malays were exposed to Islam from the early age, most of such exposures were limited to rituals - how to pray, how to puasa, how to take wudhu etc - very little is done to inculcate the deep understanding and appreciating of why certain things were done in a certain way. 

As we were bombarded with rituals, we forget about values of being a good human being and a good Muslim. Thus, the Kelantanese has no qualm about distructions to their eco system, which led to a near non existence of proper supply of clean water for the last sixty years.

Today, Kedah is sliding down into that direction. 

It surely doesn't help when the political party forming state government in Kedah and Kelantan are fast becoming the political chameleons of the country - interpreting basic islamic principles at their own whimps and fancies, conveniently suiting to their position and environment - what was unislamic yesterday is OK today. 

I too have always wondered; why do petty corruptions are almost non existance in certain advance countries. 

I meant, do you dare to offer "duit kopi", say £50, to a UK cop who caught you speeding? or some of the country's commitment towards eco system and environment related issues. 

Another dear friend cautioned me: do not run down the Malays....well, I do not run down the Malays. Its just that I am so very sick and tired of some Malays who are destroying the Malay society.

From the days of Bank Rakyat scandal early 70s, to Bank Bumi scandal in the 80s to todays scandals in Tabung Haji, Felda and MARA, its all the doing of the Malays - its self inflicting - to the extend that others in the country are making fun of the Malays.

It all boils down to nafsu of wanting to get rich in the shortest time possible that some, have no qualm in selling ones dignity and principle in life. 

Yes, the Chinese are corrupted, and the Indians are equally corrupted as well, but using that fact as a reason will never never justify why the Malays should also be corrupted. 

Ketuanan Melayu is never about the keris but its all about how one conduct himself in public office, and how one respect law and order, and how one control ones nafsu. 

Nafsu made people do the unthinkable, and when nafsu rule, everything can be bought. Its just a matter of how much.


Rahim Hj Zainun

Alumni 2nd College, UM

Thursday, January 28, 2021

My January Guest Writer - Sukhdave Singh


The Burden of Privilege on the Malaysian Economy

Published on January 27, 2021

Sukudhew (Sukhdave) Singh

Former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Malaysia | Former Independent Director, Khazanah Nasional Berhad 

There are three systems of privileges that are operating in Malaysia: race, religion and titles. All of them are intended to confer privileges to certain groups and come with exclusive economic benefits for those who are favored by these systems.

There is no problem with earned or deserved privilege because such privilege is based on a significant contribution to society and the economy. Such privilege is justifiable given the contribution to the greater good. Also, extreme inequality never benefits a society and cannot be justified. Therefore, extending certain privileges that would enable the economically disadvantaged groups in a society to progress and make a better living are also justifiable. What is not justifiable is when the system of privileges is abused, as is clearly the case in Malaysia, and unearned and undeserved privileges are bestowed. There are social and economic costs to any privilege system and the abuse of these systems only increases those costs.

The Privileges of Race and Religion

Let me deal with race and religion first, which by design, have fractured Malaysian society and created a system of privileges that is hard to justify. Let me illustrate with a couple of examples:

When a Malay tycoon can buy a string of houses in Malaysia at discounted prices while middle income non-Malays have to pay full prices to buy their family homes (effectively subsidizing the tycoon), such discriminatory and unwarranted privilege is justified by a system of privileges related to race.

When a Muslim man can walk into a supermarket and demand that it removes the section containing the “non-halal” products consumed by non-Muslims, there is a religious privilege system that is empowering such inconsiderate and uncouth behavior and its associated belief that the customs and practices of one part of society supersede those of the others.

Race and religion have been used to enshrine a privilege system that has created different classes of citizens in the country. Political shenanigans like the large-scale giving of blue ICs to foreigners in Sabah have elevated those foreigners, because of their religion, to enjoy privileges that are denied to other long-standing citizens of the country. When race and religion are the determinants of privilege, merit has a much smaller role in society and in the allocation of economic opportunities.

As it is, the privileges of race and religion have elevated mediocre minds to where they can tell the rest of society what it can and cannot do. The privileges of race and religion have lifted unqualified and incompetent individuals into positions of leadership. The privileges of race and religion have provided opportunities for individuals to enrich themselves through dishonest means, to betray public trust, to loot public funds – all with impunity. The privileges of race and religion have legitimized rent-seeking as an economic activity. The privileges of race and religion have allowed exclusive access to economic resources through institutionalized discrimination. It is primarily to safeguard these privileges that Malaysia has been unwilling to sign up to some very basic international conventions on human rights, including the International Conven­tion on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Inter­national Convention on Eco­nomic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The New Economic Policy was misguided. Instead of focusing on economic need, it decided to focus on race. Had it focused on economic need, it would have achieved superior outcomes in reducing all forms of economic inequality, it would have led to far less distortionary policies, and it would not have entailed the massive waste of taxpayers’ funds. Most important of all, it would have cemented a Malaysian identity where all citizens in need are treated equally. By making the NEP race-based, it has allowed unscrupulous individuals to hijack the benefits to enrich themselves while enacting self-preserving policies that are definitely not in the interest of the Malaysian economy, and may not even be in the interest of those that the NEP was supposed to help.

I am very pessimistic that the Malaysian economy will ever be unshackled from the fetters of the NEP. It has proved to be too profitable for those who have hijacked its benefits and a large deluded sector of our society continues to be fed the narrative of “us against them,” that has been the foundation of such policies. This means that the economic distortions created by these policies will continue to undermine the Malaysian economy at a time when the global competitiveness of the Malaysian economy is being challenged as it never has been before. It is a burden of privilege that the Malaysian economy can ill-afford.

The privileges of Titles

I have nothing against titles and I do believe that a well-managed system of awards can help better society and the economy by recognizing and highlighting individuals with outstanding character that have done great service to the society and country. It provides a beacon for the rest of society by highlighting the behaviors and values we want to encourage. Regrettably, this is not the case with Malaysia’s system of titles. There are certainly deserving individuals who have served the country and continue to do so even today and I personally know a few of them. However, they are just a few drops in a bucket full of title holders for whom no one can tell why they carry the titles they do.

It is the consequences of profligate and undeserved privileges of titles that worry me, certainly due to the effect on the economy, but also in terms of the type of society we have become. Let me mention a few personal experiences:

I recall when I was a deputy governor at the Central Bank, people who did not know me will often call me “Datuk”, implying a safe assumption that anyone in my position must have that title. When I went to meetings in Putrajaya, some staff there will invariably refer to me as “Datuk.” At first, I tried to correct them but after a while I gave up and so I was often a “Datuk” without the title ever having been conferred upon me.

On other occasions, someone will call me “Datuk”, and when I told them that I was not, the consistent response was to try to console me with words like: “Don’t worry. Your time will come. I am sure that your contributions to the nation will be recognized.” They seemed to be embarrassed for me. Nobody ever asked me if I wanted a title in the first place. It was just assumed that I did, and the fact that I did not have one, was a matter of embarrassment.

I also recall experiences at dinners and functions where someone will introduce themselves in this way: “Good evening, I am X,” and then leaning closer as if sharing a secret, “That is, Datuk/Dato/etc. X.” I presume that these individuals were trying to impress me with their modesty by not announcing their titles out loud, but yet not too modestly in still wanting me to know that they had a title.

So, in Malaysia, the definition of success is the type and number of titles attached to your name rather than the real effort you have put into achieving professional and economic success. Even an unsuccessful business person with a title can be seen as successful. Successful businessmen/women and professionals are unsatisfied unless that success is complemented with a title. The likes of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs will be nothing in Malaysia unless they have a "Tan Sri" attached to their name. It has perpetuated and exacerbated the high level of hypocrisy that we see in our society. For example, individuals who have no problem accepting a title, or have put great effort and expense into obtaining one, then make a great public show of not using that title in a false display of modesty. Individuals who claim to be religious and to be “man of god” show no hesitation in embellishing their names with “earthly” titles. It has led to sycophantic behavior among the population with frequent chanting of “Datuk, Dato Seri, Tan Sri, etc.” at any function or event. More insidiously, it has created a culture of subservience and unquestioning obedience to people with titles, even when witnessing their misdeeds and criminal acts.

From a broader societal and economic perspective, it is worth asking if these titles incentivize individuals to great achievements and whether they are a recognition of such achievements. My sense is that they are neither. Let me illustrate with a few examples.

Why should civil servants with guaranteed incomes and lifetime employment, and guaranteed pensions upon retirement, need to be rewarded with titles? What outstanding service beyond the call of duty is being recognized? Why are politicians showered with titles when they are clearly failing in their responsibilities to the rakyat that elected them? Why should businessmen who have done nothing but enrich themselves be given titles? What societal achievement of theirs is being recognized? Why do academics have titles? Have they published academic work that has brought global renown? Have they produced outstanding students that are the pride of the nation? What is exactly the merit that is being recognized? Does anyone know? So, when there are so many individuals walking around with titles and no one can say why they got them, how can such a system be the basis of recognizing and inspiring great achievement?

No one can deny the proliferation of titles in our country, and if they were indeed all based on merit, we are truly blessed to have so many meritorious people among us. We should be one of the top performing economies in the world and our society should be the envy of the world. But we are not the top performing economy and our society is not the envy of the world.

What the proliferation of titles has done is to create a caste-like system of social and economic hierarchy. If you do not believe that, just attend any official function and listen to the speaker rattle of a long hierarchy of titles of attendees, and only at the bottom of the ladder will come “tuan-tuan dan puan-puan” or “ladies and gentlemen.” It is a system that has a clearly defined hierarchy and differentiation based on your title and where you got it from. You may joke about the large number of people in Malaysia with titles, but jokes aside, what it also means is that we have a large vested interest group with a strong interest in defending and perpetuating the system. As with any caste system, the underlying rational is always economic. It is not the only reason (ego and status are also part of it), but it is the key reason. People primarily want titles because of the economic benefits that are presumed to flow from them. This has had the sad outcome of making us a superficial society. Instead of seeking fame through real accomplishments, many are fixated with getting a title, and hoping to achieve fame and fortune through that.

It is a common perception in Malaysia that there are two sets of rules in the country: there is a harsher set that applies to ordinary citizens and a more lenient set that applies to people with titles. If this was not apparent before, numerous incidents during the current pandemic should have made this fact very clear. Titles have also created a sense of entitlement and over-inflated egos. The social media is rife with examples of people with titles behaving in an uncouth and brutish manner in their dealings with ordinary people. It is the same sense of entitlement that makes some think that they can take what is not rightfully theirs. Reflect on the major corporate, political and financial scandals in our country. More likely than not, a person with a title, or often a group of people with titles, were at the heart of these scandals and breaches of public trust. Is it any wonder then that even with so many people with titles among us we are still climbing the rankings of global corruption charts?

The caste-system of titles has, in my view, worked against creating a dynamic competitive economy and has added to the inequality of economic benefits and opportunities that exist in our society.

The Burden of Privilege on the Economy is Heavy

It is unsustainable when a large class of people demand privileged access to the resources of an economy. The largest burden always falls on those who are excluded from these privileges. Great societies have fallen into decay when the excesses of the privileged class behaving in an opportunistic manner created an unbearable burden on the economy and intolerable misery on ordinary citizens. Only last week I was reading about the decline of some Mayan cities. In these civilizations, the size of the ruling class and elites swelled in size with each generation to the extent that the elite become increasingly parasitic as they hogged an ever-increasing share of resources. While the kings and nobles were busy enriching themselves, competing with each other, the peasants and lower classes had to work harder and harder to provide for the ever-increasing demands of the elite while they themselves suffered from hunger and deprivation. The consequent depopulation of the cities was further motivated by the environmental degradation (deforestation, erosion and soil exhaustion) that resulted from the increasing demands of the privileged class.

To Malaysians, this story should have some ring of familiarity. Today, we are similarly seeing our large class of “nobles” fighting among themselves for a share of the slower-growing wealth of the country. The ordinary citizens are bystanders watching this spectacle even as their lives become harder. Talk about GDP growth is meaningless if the fruits of that growth are captured by the privileged class while the rest of the population see their standards of living stagnate, experiencing very little of the benefits of that growth. Like the Mayans, we are also seeing environmental degradation all around us to feed the rapacious appetite of our “nobles.” We are seeing an ongoing “depopulation” in the form of a brain drain of those unwilling to waste their talents in a system where the odds are stacked against them and when there are better opportunities outside the country. We cheer when Malaysians who have made other countries their homes are recognized for their achievements, but feel no shame and do not weep for similar talent at home that is being wasted away because our privilege systems deny them opportunities. Over the long term, a sustained “depopulation” by talent fleeing the country will have only one outcome – the rise of mediocrity leading to a mediocre society and mediocre economic outcomes.

Unearned privilege based on race, religion and titles has transformed our society in a negative manner. It has corroded our value systems (with widening divergence between what we profess and what we practice). It has legitimized rent-seeking. It has given the loudest voice to mediocrity. It has calcified economic inequality. It has weakened us economically; indeed, it has exacted a heavy toll on the Malaysian economy. This is nowhere more evident than when those in power start comparing Malaysia not to countries that are better than us but to those that are worse than us. We are no longer providing a vision of progress but rather trying to explain away our under-achievement. It is an open admission that the Malaysian economy has a problem and that it is not advancing competitively.

The question now is whether Malaysia can overcome its addiction to privilege and reset the economy on the right path? I doubt it, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.