Bananachinese’s Weblog

February 10, 2010

Rebuilding trust in Barisan Nasional

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Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government should remember to move cautiously to rebuild trust if they care for 1Malaysia and Vision 2020 to succeed.

With some 2,000 nationwide activities, over 2,000 projects and 100 programmes, the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) by Najib’s administration declares that it ‘focuses on generating positive outcomes which are based on what the rakyat wants and needs (“People First”) by ensuring fast delivery of results (“Performance Now”) to contribute to 1Malaysia and Vision 2020.’

I admit it makes a great work plan to improve efficiency for the government bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, in the enthusiasm to produce the visible public goodies to fulfill the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) identified to spearhead the government’s transformation, Najib’s administration forgot to care and manage the intense public distrust for the Barisan Nasional political entity.

Poor communication and unprogressive comments by Barisan Nasional leaders dismissed, rather than effectively minister to concerns on issues like security concerns of missing fighter jet engines or acts of terrorism that fed on religiosity and attacking places of worship.

Emotive polemics that were not backed by reason were given the leeway to intervene in the democratic pillar of legislation’s process to dispense justice.

These contributed to heighten the suspicion of voters that indeed, Barisan has not learnt or understand a cause of its poor results in the 2008’s General Elections.

Literate Malaysians are served generous servings of unthinking and autocratic decrees from Najib’s cabinet ministers in replying to issues of Constitutional rights in religion and right to information.

Apologetic acknowledgement of the problems without legislative follow through over headlined issues by Barisan’s large stable of politicians contributed to make the people more bewildered, agitated rather than informed.

Why are the lawmakers unable to perform their duty to effectively resolve the citizens’ fears and insecurities?

Perhaps, our Yang Berhormats’ media communications were not meant for the everyday rakyat’s consumption.

Maybe their messages are a form of instructions for their underlings, not the rakyat because the rakyat could not compute the logic of what they are trying to say.

I do not envy Rais Yatim on the load he has to bear for 1Malaysia on his national duty as the Information, Communications and Culture Minister.

I can empathise with Rais Yatim’s patriotic concern on dangers of Twitter, Facebook and internet culture affecting the Malaysian identity and culture.

But his choice of words failed to convince minds and more unfortunately, entrenched him as a Twitter celebrity for the wrong reasons amongst twitterers.

Perhaps it is a result of a clash between the old and young lifestyles and changed aspirations.

It is commendable that Malaysia political parties recognized the perils of modernity and have taken the trouble to invest and keep up their messaging through combined force of new and established media forms since its lesser electoral win in 2008.

However, fervent Barisan Nasional propagandists and their cyberspace avatars have diluted the message of BN’s love, caring and sharing vision for 1Malaysians.

News articles and web postings populate the internet with more emotive religiosity, racism, magnifying distrust and plays on the illusion of Malays or Chinese or Indians under siege by the rest of the other Malaysians.

To be fair, it is not justifiable to rebuke only the members or fans for they must be severely limited in their training and the scope by Barisan Nasional’s political ideology of race nationalism.

UMNO fights for Malay nationalism and bumiputeraism.

MCA usually retreats to negotiate behind closed doors for its Chinese ‘rights’.

MIC is seen to beg for its Indian ‘rights’.

Did you notice how the words ‘fights’, ‘retreats’ and ‘beg’ invoke unintended responses in young and the undecided voters’ brains?

And so, in the interest of political sustenance, relevancy and lifelong learning, it is not a bad option for Barisan leaders to go back to the drawing board, to understand that fundamental constructive approach to communication based on clear political ideology.

Oh, by the way, I applaud the Federal Court’s recent courage to uphold justice to protect landowners from losing their lands to forgers.

After nine years of waiting under the shadow of the Adorna Properties principle, many landowners could finally be assured that their property rights is once again secure in law.

This is one good way to start again into the new economy.

By: Ho Aoi Ling

The writer was a former Senior Research Executive with MCA think tank, INSAP. She can be contacted at: thelivingwall@gmail.com

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January 17, 2010

Dreaming of a high income economy? Legislate 1Malaysia now

Malaysia now has to deal with legal complexities which were never there before in 1963 but now affecting our livestyles because of economic progress.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia concept was supposed to unite all races, specifically, bring Sabah and Sarawak closer to Peninsula Malaysia as 1Malaysia.

The people welcome the overarching concept of unity in diversity, a 1Malaysia happy family, happily connected to each other, to and fro the Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsula – to work, to play, to live in peace.

It got Air Asia Berhad flying 1Malaysia back and forth more busily than a bee. LRTs, Monorails, KTM Komuter and Rapid KL buses are moving more and more 1Malaysians back and forth kampungs to towns and cities daily.

This pot has melted so that now we cannot easily distinguish easily who is a Peninsula Malay/Chinese/Indian or a Sabahan, a Sarawakian or even an Indonesian anymore.

Multicultural 1Malaysians living in harmony, each assured of their right to practice religions as appropriate as safeguarded by customs and customary rights agreed upon since 1963.

And then it happen, with a High Court ruling on 31 Dec 2009 which ruled that the Herald can use the word ‘Allah’ in its Bahasa edition.

News reported of hurt feelings of Muslims of Peninsula Malaysia, with anecdotal evidences like, “My friends all never use Allah in their prayers.”

Is that the situation with our Sabah or Sarawak friends?

UPKO President, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok testified it has been customary for Sabah and Sarawak Christians using word Allah in their prayers.

“With the greatest of respect to those who may feel uncomfortable with me mentioning this, the Christian community, not unlike the Christians in Indonesia and the Arab world, has been using this word for a long time. And it will be a herculean task for the government, if indeed it wants, to enforce the prohibition of the word in Christian worship.”

We read news of groups representing rights of Muslims of Peninsula Malaysia appealing to the Agong and Sultans to protect their rights to exclusive use ‘Allah’.

Aren’t the states of Peninsula Malaysia already doing it?
The State enactments have been protecting Muslim rights for a very long time already.

Malaysia has the Federal Law and State Laws and we live them, yes?

But then we hear politicians Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom (PM’s office) and Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun (Justice of Peace, Deputy President of Sabah Kadazandusun Culture Association) advising non-Muslims who are using the term ‘Allah’ to stop doing so in the name of preserving peace and to placate hurt feelings.

Why are lawmakers asking rakyat of the states of Sabah and Sarawak (who has been assured of their customary practices in 1963) to give up their customary rights?

It also begs the question, is it legal to ask Sabah and Sarawak Malaysians working in Peninsula Malaysia, who are exercising the customary usage of “Allah” in their prayers, to relinguish their right in religion when in Peninsula?

We remember the guarantees which Sabah and Sarawak asked for, from the Cobbold Report which recorded:

“The non-Muslim communities are most insistent that there should be complete religious freedom as to worship, education, and propagation, in the Borneo territories.

We recommend the insertion in the State Constitution of a specific provision to this effect.

“There remain the provisions in the existing Federal Constitution of Malaya that Islam is the national religion and that certain public expenditure may be incurred for Islamic purposes. All Muslim communities would welcome the provision that Islam should be the national religion of the Federation. But even with guarantees of freedom of religion for the Borneo States, we have met with strong resistance from many non-Muslim communities to the idea that these Federal provisions should apply to the Borneo territories. We consider that this is a matter for the peoples of the Borneo territories (which have a non-Muslim majority) to decide for themselves at a later stage when fully elected representative bodies have been constituted. We recommend therefore that the Federal provisions should not be extended to the Borneo territories in the meantime.” “

Malaysia laws needs serious attention and ministration by its legislators to conduct regular maintenance and fine tuning the health and position of the laws of Malaysia.

Our Yang Berhormats cannot continue to dodge the effects of modernity or to abdicate its duty to provide a legislative framework that works to protect personal and business rights.

Legislation, not rhetoric is crucial to the Malaysia aspiration to transform herself into a high income economy.

Back up the legislation as an unflinching assurance to foreign investors that their investments will be safeguarded by the Laws of Malaysia if they take their business to Malaysia.

Legislate for 1Malaysia transformation now.

By: Ho Aoi Ling
The writer was a former Senior Research Executive with MCA think tank, INSAP.

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Reference links:

http://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/storydetails.php/Daring-speech-by-Tan-Sri-Bernard-Dompok/3346-2-1
http://www.theedgemalaysia.com/political-news/157199-jamil-khir-other-church-leaders-should-adopt-same-approach.html

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/49845-four-reasons-for-controversial-allah-ruling

May 11, 2009

Scandalously entertaining melee in Perak State Assembly

Hee Yit Foong was very entertaining… as were all the highly energetic Yang Berhormats. Finally all the deeply buried talents rised to public scrutiny. Syabas to the hardworking YB actors/actresses.

Chanced upon a very miniscule paragraph from The Starsomeone from Barisan Nasional expertly id the source of the problem (gasp! shock!)

Sunday May 10, 2009

Pandemonium could have been avoided

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said the pandemonium at the Perak state assembly on Thursday could have been avoided had the standing orders been upheld.

“I was shocked to learn of some (people) acting violently and some being dragged out physically. This has tainted the process of parliamentary democracy.

“If we want to play polemics and party politics, I hope we will respect the standing orders and assembly etiquette, be it in Parliament or the state assembly,” he said after launching a calligraphy exhibition at Wisma Kebudayaan SGM in Bukit Bintang.

Oh! One question before I sign off: That was a mighty huge thumb drive you have there, Ms Hee. How many gigabytes does it store, pray tell?

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