Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PENANG MALAYS

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 29, 2012

1. I was in Penang recently, having been invited to give a talk by the Penang Mubarak (Council of Former Elected Representatives). On the way to Tanjung Bungah I was surprised to see the same wooden zinc-roofed shacks, which were there 60 years ago. The difference is that they are stuck between the slender beautiful high-rise flats favoured by Penang. Their ramshackle appearance seems out of place amidst the modern dwellings of the Penangites.

2. Why are the Penang Malays still living in these hovels? Yes, Kuala Lumpur has Malay slumps. But these are mostly built by new urban migrants. The Government has succeeded to rehouse most of the squatters in modern high-rise buildings so that, passing along the main roads, one does not see the slums anymore.

3. But the Penang Malays live in the same old shacks that housed them long ago. And they are an eyesore.

4. New modern flats are being built everywhere in Penang, including on reclaimed land. I would have thought that a resettlement of the Malay squatters would have been one of the objectives of the Governments of Penang. Even the old water-villages along Weld Quay have been tidied up, though they still throw their rubbish in the sea.

5. I was told that the Malay squatters are living on land belonging to rich landlords. They face the threat of expulsion any time. Indeed some of them have already been thrown out to make way for the high-rise flats. I wonder where they are housed now.

6. Someone should make a study of these Penang Malays. What is their source of income? Could it be that the occupants of these shacks are the children of the original occupants? It cannot be. Education and better employment opportunities should have increased their incomes and enable them to afford better accommodation. We see this all over Malaysia. It cannot be that Penang Malays are an exception.

7. Tanjung Bungah, the Cape of Flowers is now highly developed. But the ramshackle sheds which serve as shops still line the road. Apparently some Malays sell food there. But the smelly vegetable “garden” where human excrements were used as fertilizers have disappeared.

8. Penang still promotes itself as the Pearl of the Orient. But the Malay shacks, the water village and the rubbish in the sea belie the claim.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

POLITIK MALAYSIA

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 25, 2012

1. Kita sudah merdeka selama 55 tahun dan telah mengadakan 12 Pilihan Raya Umum. Walaupun parti-parti bukan dari Perikatan atau Barisan Nasional telah berjaya menawan dan mendiri Kerajaan dibeberapa negeri di Semenanjung dan di Sabah, tetapi Perikatan dan Barisan Nasional tidak pernah kalah di peringkat Pusat. Perikatan dan Barisan Nasional terus menjadi Kerajaan diperingkat Pusat, peringkat yang paling berkuasa di Malaysia.

2. Memang pada 1969 Perikatan hampir kalah tetapi kuasa kekal di tangan Perikatan dan akhirnya beberapa parti lawan telah menyertai Perikatan untuk menubuh Barisan Nasional yang terus memerintah.

3. Barisan Nasional menghadapi beberapa masalah dalaman tetapi berjaya mengatasinya dan mengekal kuasanya di Peringkat Pusat. Serpihan dari UMNO yang diusahakan oleh Tengku Razaleigh dan Anwar Ibrahim tidak berjaya mengalahkan Barisan Nasional.

4. Pada 2008 kebencian terhadap pemerintahan Abdullah menyebabkan ramai dari penyokong UMNO dan parti-parti komponen lain mengurangkan sokongan kepada Barisan Nasional sehingga lima buah negeri dapat ditawan oleh parti-parti bukan Barisan Nasional. Di peringkat Pusat majoriti Barisan Nasional menurun sehingga tidak dapat menguasai 2/3 dari kerusi Parlimen. Namun Barisan Nasional masih dapat mendiri Kerajaan di peringkat Pusat.

5. Kemenangan yang berturut-turut sejak merdeka melumpuhkan semangat parti-parti bukan Barisan Nasional. Percubaan oleh Anwar Ibrahim untuk menyeludup masuk ke dalam UMNO supaya dapat merebut kuasa dari dalam juga gagal.

6. Yang terpaksa diakui oleh semua pihak, semua rakyat Malaysia dan juga pemerhati asing ialah sehingga kini proses pilihanraya tidak dapat menjatuhkan Barisan Nasional. Majoriti rakyat Malaysia tetap memberi kemenangan kepada Barisan Nasional. Kenapa tidak. Semua terpaksa terima hakikat bahawa Kerajaan-Kerajaan Barisan Nasional telah membawa banyak kemajuan dan nikmat lain kepada rakyat. Barisan Nasional berjaya membawa keamanan dan kesejahteraan kepada Negara Malaysia. Tiap seorang dari rakyat Malaysia dapat mengecapi kehidupan yang lebih mewah dan lebih bahagia di bawah pemerintahan Barisan Nasional. Segala percubaan oleh parti-parti lawan untuk mengurangkan sokongan dan persepsi baik terhadap Barisan Nasional dan pemerintah yang didirikan olehnya tidak berjaya.

7. Memandang kepada sejarah Malaysia merdeka dan keputusan- keputusan pilihanraya, parti lawan tentu kurang yakin mereka akan menang PRU 13 dan mendirikan Kerajaan Pusat. Cara demokrasi tidak boleh menjayakan mereka. Melihat penggulingan Kerajaan di Negara-negara Arab, tentulah terlintas di hati pemimpin-pemimpin parti lawan bahawa cara-cara demonstrasi ganas dan berpanjangan lebih mungkin memberi kejayaan kepada cita-cita mereka.

8. Tetapi mereka perlu menunjuk kepada rakyat, dan lebih utama kepada dunia luar bahawa Kerajaan Barisan Nasional di Malaysia adalah zalim dan menindas rakyat seperti Kerajaan-Kerajaan kuku besi Negara Arab.

9. Maka diciptalah Bersih. Kononnya pilihanraya di Malaysia ditipu oleh Kerajaan Pusat, walau apapun bukti bahawa di Malaysia parti lawan boleh menang dan telah menang berkali-kali jika rakyat menyokong mereka dan sebaliknya di Negara Arab bukan sahaja Kerajaan yang digulingkan tidak pernah kalah tetapi pilihanraya memberi kemenangan 99% kepada pemerintah, masih juga didakwa Pilihan Raya Umum ditipu oleh Kerajaan Malaysia.

10. Kerajaan bertindak untuk meneluskan lagi proses pilihanraya mengikut kehendak parti lawan. Tetapi masih juga dituduh yang Kerajaan menipu.

11. Banyaklah lagi tuduhan kezaliman dan kemungkaran yang dilempar kepada Kerajaan semata-semata untuk memburukkan imej Kerajaan.

12. Tunjuk-tunjuk perasaan Bersih yang besar dan ganas adalah persediaan untuk menolak keputusan PRU 13 jika parti lawan gagal memenanginya. Kekalahan mereka akan dituruti dengan demonstrasi ganas yang tidak berhenti-henti supaya keputusan pilihanraya ditolak dan satu Kerajaan lain didirikan, yang ditunjuk oleh parti lawan. Kemudian mereka akan berusaha untuk mengadakan pilihanraya sekali lagi yang boleh dimanipulasi oleh mereka.

13. Sudah tentu sebelum Kerajaan pilihan rakyat digulingkan, negara akan diserang bertubi-tubi dengan demo ganas dan huru-hara. Perancangan dan perusahaan akan diganggu mungkin dengan mogok di sana sini anjuran parti lawan.

14. Kestabilan negara akan tergugat. Polis dituduh melakukan keganasan supaya mereka tidak dapat kawal huru-hara dan demo dengan cara berkesan.

15. Kuasa-kuasa asing akan mengecam Kerajaan pilihan rakyat kerana kononnya mengguna kekerasan menghalang kebebasan bersuara dan berdemo. Malaysia akan dicap sebagai Police State.

16. Malaysia yang telah memberi banyak nikmat dan kebahagiaan kepada rakyatnya, yang telah diiktiraf sebagai Negara yang termaju di antara negara membangun, Malaysia yang bangun dengan pesatnya akan bertukar menjadi negara yang tidak lagi stabil dan maju, dan tidak lagi memberi kebahagiaan dan rahmat kepada rakyatnya. Mereka tidak percaya dengan demokrasi maka akan hilanglah hak rakyat untuk memilih Kerajaan.

17. Negara ini akan menjadi miskin dan Wawasan 2020 tidak akan menjadi kenyataan. Inilah yang akan berlaku kerana parti bukan Barisan Nasional kecewa tidak dapat ke Putrajaya. Jika dengan cara ganas mereka, mereka berjaya merebut kuasa, percayalah demokrasi akan dihapuskan dan nasib yang buruk akan menimpa Negara tercinta ini.

Monday, May 21, 2012

LYNAS

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 20, 2012

1. I was the first to write in my blog about rare earth, about how difficult it was to rid ourselves from activated rare earth when it was no longer needed.

2. Rare earth can be used for many things and in many ways. The rare earth represented by tin tailing, mostly ilmenite, when activated can be used in colour television. Today colour television uses plasma or LED.

3. This posed a problem of getting rid of the activated rare earth left in Malaysia. Finally it was agreed between Mitsubishi Electric and Malaysia that a site in Perak of almost a square kilometre be reserved for burying under concrete the activated “amang”.

4. Although visitors were banned and no human habitation was allowed at the site, I am told that now there is no more danger of radiation and human dwellings have been built there.

5. The Lynas project is not about activating the rare earth to make it radioactive. It is about extraction of the element to be used in making lithium ion batteries and magnets.

6. Lithium ion batteries are extensively used to power electronic products including mobile phones.

7. We carry in our pockets and use mobile phones all the time, putting them against our ears to hear and speak over the air waves. Obviously they are not harmful. This lithium ion battery does not emit harmful radiation.

8. As I understand it, the Lynas plant in Pahang does not involve activating any of the rare earth components to make them radioactive. The process cannot be harmful. As for the waste, it does not give off harmful radiation either. The waste is just ordinary earth which is normally mixed with the small amounts of rare earth. The necessity to export the waste does not arise.

9. Malaysia is endowed with significant quantities of rare earth. In its natural state it is harmless. Tin tailings or “amang” is probably more likely to give off radio waves than rare earth. The mining and extraction of rare earth can bring much wealth to Malaysia. In fact Malaysia should be producing lithium ion batteries for use in electric and hybrid cars. Today these batteries are being produced in Germany and Britain, using rare earth from China and elsewhere.

10. Lithium ion batteries will be much in demand in the future. They are usually rechargeable and can last for many years.

11. It would be a great loss to Malaysia if misguided people prevent us from extracting and using the high clean electrical capacities of rare earth. Just as the lithium ion batteries in the cellular phones is not harmful even when we carry them everywhere in our pockets and put them to our ears, the mining and extracting of rare earth from Malaysian earth will not harm us in any way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

POLICE BRUTALITY – Part 2

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 15, 2012

1. The Bar Council accuses the Malaysian Police of brutality against the Bersih demonstrators. But, then that is to be expected. The Bar Council has never ever tried to be impartial or neutral when it comes to the Government. It is more of an opposition than the opposition parties.

2. But has the Malaysian Police been brutal? It is not the most perfect police force but this country is better served by its police than many other countries.

3. In a force that big there must be a few who may be inclined towards abuses of authority. When outnumbered, as they were during the Bersih demo, despite their being armed, the police must fear bodily harm to themselves. People in a crowd invariably feel daring and would do what they would not do when alone or outnumbered. They also know that the police had been instructed not to use their arms or undue force.

4. But the Bersih demo was actually intended to show police brutality and oppression of the people by the Government. Some of the organisers want to justify to the world their need for extra legal means to overthrow the Government.

5. Nik Aziz, the so-called religious leader of PAS, openly declared that the overthrow of the Government by demonstration is halal – permissible in Islam. He openly admitted that he gave money and urged PAS members to participate in the demonstration.

6. His followers are fanatical about obeying his orders regardless of their being against the accepted teachings of Islam.

7. A quiet and peaceful demo in a stadium would not create the impression of police brutality or Government oppression. And so the organisers insisted on holding their demo at the Dataran Merdeka, the place where the British flag was lowered and the Malaysian flag hauled up to mark Malaysia’s independence.

8. Then of course the police must be provoked so that they would use force against the demonstrators. Video clips showed clearly that the demonstrators, apparently of a signal from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, broke the barriers. Then they equally clearly attacked the police pushing and breaking the windshield and overturning the police car.

9. The video showed a demonstrator kicking a policeman who had fallen down. Later a policeman related how he was beaten on his back with some kind of truncheon. He vomited because of the beatings.

10. Many reporters and media photographers were also attacked and beaten.

11. If the police used force it is because they were provoked, they were beaten up and had to defend themselves and because their colleagues were beaten up.

12. But apart from the alleged police brutality against the demonstrators, what other evidence is there that the Malaysian Government is oppressive and deserving of being overthrown through extra legal means.

13. In elections it is obviously possible for the Opposition to defeat the Government party in both State and Federal Constituencies. Some states have fallen into Opposition hands.

14. It is true that the same party won all the elections at federal levels and formed the Government but the support was not consistent. In 1969 the party almost lost. Although in 2004 the party won 90% of the seats in 2008 the party won with only a small majority.

15. Certainly the ruling party never won with 99% of the votes that happens in dictatorships. Is there freedom of expression and press freedom in Malaysia? Read the vernacular papers, and listen to the racist and provocative speeches at Opposition meetings. The Malaysian press is freer than in most developing countries.

16. Do innocent people get arrested, incarcerated and tortured and disappeared as happens in many authoritarian countries and even in the United States? No, people in Malaysia do not fear arbitrary arrests.

17. Are the leaders of Government highly protected and inaccessible to the public? I was in Egypt for a meeting. Mubarak was supposed to attend. The street and side-streets from his residence to the meeting place were cleared, soldiers lined the streets and snipers were stationed on the roofs of buildings. This has never happened in Malaysia. Leaders move freely among the people with minimal security personnel.

18. There are accusations of corruption by the leaders. But there is no public agitation to charge them in court even after they have retired. I appreciate that it is difficult to get evidence of corruption. I am sure that if there is the people would agitate for action to be taken by the Government against retired leaders.

19. The opposition agitated against the ISA, against detention without trial and the Government did what was demanded of it. Many other allegedly oppressive laws have been amended or abolished.

20. No one can deny that the rapid development and increasing prosperity of the people are all the result of Government policies and actions.

21. There are crimes committed in this country but by and large this country is much safer and secure than most of the developing countries practicing democracy or totalitarian rule.

22. In the 55 years of independence the per capita rose from USD 350 to USD 8000. The cities and towns are provided with all the amenities normally found in developed countries. The people have been given access to education and training so that they can earn better incomes. Unemployment is minimal.

23. Roads and express ways connect the cities, towns and villages. Water, electricity, schools and medical facilities reach the remotest villages.

24. Malaysia with its multi-racial population, speaking different languages, believing in different religions, with different cultures and economic disparities, is a difficult country to rule and even more difficult to develop. But Malaysia has been well administered, maintains the rule of law, is secure and safe and gives the people a good life.

25. The Opposition may think they can do better but they must accept that it is for the people to decide. And this they can do through the General Elections.

26. In Malaysia there is no justification for ignoring the law and seeking the overthrow of the Government by street demonstrations and violence.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

POLICE BRUTALITY

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 11, 2012

1. One of the favourite accusations against the police in the West is “police brutality”. No doubt there is and there will always be police brutality in the West and elsewhere. But the term is used indiscriminately and even when the police apply some permissible force in the course of their work, they are likely to be accused of “police brutality”.

2. The recent Bersih demonstration in which the demonstrators are obviously violent has given rise to the accusation of police brutality. Even the pictorial and video evidence that the police were violently attacked by the demonstrators have not stopped the Bar Council from accusing the police of brutality.

3. There were it is believed some 250,000 demonstrators. i.e 250 times more than the police. They were violent. They broke the barriers set up by City Hall to stop the demonstrators from going into the Merdeka Square. Obviously from the video clips and pictures the demonstrators not only broke the barriers but attacked, literally attacked the police who were tasked to keep the demonstrators from breaking the barriers. They chased police cars, shattered the windscreen and overturned it. They kicked a policeman who had fallen on the ground.

4. What are the police supposed to do?? Allow the hooligans to do what they like?? Accept being kicked by the hooligans?? Accept having their patrol cars being smashed and overturned??

5. Obviously they must try to stop this hooliganism. They had a need to use force. They cannot just stand by and do nothing or allow themselves to be beaten up or allow public property to be damaged. To prevent this violence they need to use force.

6. In other countries they would not just threaten but would probably shoot their assailants. As far as can be ascertained they did not use their side arms. They must have restrained themselves.

7. I would like to see what members of the Bar Council would do if people kick them, smash their cars’ windscreen and overturn them. They would be running to report to the police. When the police are assaulted who do they run to?

8. We owe much to the Malaysian police. It is not a perfect force but we do feel safe and secure when they are around. How would we like to do away with the police altogether? How would we fare if the police are not allowed to use force against their assailants?

9. Next time let’s have members of the Bar Council to keep law and order during violent demos and riots. I am sure Bersih 4.0 will be free of violence as the demonstrators would not be stopped from breaking rules and laws.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

BERSIH 3 Pt 2

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 08, 2012

1. Some who condemned my piece on Bersih 3 say that the ruling party abused the authority of the Government to ensure its success. They ask why rural constituencies have more seats for less voters. Why the gerrymandering.

2. This is because since the days of the British the urban areas tend to dominate politics and to be better served by the Government. To balance this, the poorly serviced rural areas have to be given higher representation in the legislature.

3. This is not new. It is common practice in the United States the state of New Jersey with less than five million people gets the same number of Senate seats (two) as California with more than forty million people. In most democratic countries some leverage is given to constituencies which for a variety of reasons are less developed.

4. As to the use of Government authority in elections; this is never clear-cut. There is no clear line when authority is exceeded.

5. When a party in power uses Government to implement policies, plans or strategies so as to ensure support by the people, can we say it is abuse of Government authority. On the other hand when the opposition loudly proclaims that they would do things which would gain them public support, are they not making use of Government authority for their popularity?

6. The opposition says that it would increase subsidies for fuel and fertilizer, replace PTPTN with free higher education and raise petroleum royalty to 20% to the states instead of 5%, isn’t it also making use of Government authority to win support of the voters?

7. Indeed whereas the incumbent has to be cautious as it knows the financial capacity of the Government, the Opposition has no such constrains. If it wins it can have all kinds of excuses for not keeping promises.

8. Abuse of Government authority is not confined only to the ruling party. The Opposition is also bent on abusing Government authority.

9. There may be areas for improving the conduct of Malaysian elections. But the fact remains that in Malaysia the Opposition can and have indeed defeated the Government party. If the Opposition fails to win at federal level, it is simply because the people chose not to support them with the required majority.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

BERSIH 3

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 04, 2012

1. Sunday’s Bersih 3 demonstration is no doubt the biggest and the most violent in the series. It is likely that future Bersih will be even bigger and more violent.

2. The stated objective is to demand that elections be cleaner and fairer. But is this the real objective? I think not. Malaysian elections have been more clean than those in the authoritarian countries where results have always been obviously fixed. There would always be 99.9% of the votes going to the Government party or the President. If at all the opposition were to win, it would get at best 10% of the seats contested. After that the opposition would be prevented from taking their places in the legislature.

3. But in Malaysia there has never been an election, whether at State or Federal levels when the opposition had not won a substantial number of seats. In fact whole states may be lost to the opposition. And no matter how the Government party tried, it just could not wrest Kelantan from the opposition.

4. At different elections throughout Independence different states were won by the opposition. Kelantan voted for the opposition in 1964 and 1969. In 1974 when PAS joined the Barisan Nasional, Kelantan was won by BN but continued to remain under PAS. It was lost to the BN only in 1978 but reverted to the opposition in subsequent elections.

5. Penang went to the opposition in 1969. In that election Perak and Selangor could not form Governments as neither the opposition nor the Government party had a clear majority.

6. Sabah was also lost to the opposition in one of the elections.

7. The worst result for the Government Party i.e. the party controlling the Federal Government was in 2008 when BN lost five States and one federal territory.

8. At the Federal level although the Government party never lost, but its majority was not constant. In 1969 it virtually lost, winning with an unworkable majority. In other elections the margin were sometimes above two-thirds and sometimes below two-thirds. In 2008 it won such a slim majority that there was real possibility that it would fall because a significant number of BN members of Parliament were expected to switch to the opposition.

9. The lack of consistency and absence of any pattern in the results of the elections showed that the elections were not fixed or manipulated. There were the usual accusations of foul play from both the Government party and the opposition and some of these went to the courts. The courts also did not show special favour for the Government party through their decision. There was no proven case of Government manipulation or hanky-panky in any of the cases.

10. All indicators point to reasonably fair conduct of the elections by the Election Commission. The Government could not rig or influence the EC.

11. Compare this with the advanced democracies and it would be very clear that the results are quite similar to them. The margins are never extreme one way or another.

12. It is absolutely certain that in the 13th General Election the opposition would win a fair number of seats in the State and Federal elections. Almost certainly Kelantan would go to PAS. There would be great difficulty for BN to win back the States it had lost.

13. So why the demonstrations and the demands for the elections to be clean and fair? Well should the opposition lose in the States or at the Federal levels, then one can safely assume that the opposition will claim that the Government had not conducted the elections fairly, that the Government cheated.

14. There would then be more demonstrations, perhaps bigger and more violent. Demands would be made for new elections to be held, or for the Election Commission to be disbanded and a new Commission set up.

15. Seeing how repeated anti-Government demonstrations have brought down Governments in the Arab countries, Nik Aziz of PAS now declares that over-throwing the Government through demonstration is ‘halal’. Obviously PAS is already contemplating Bersih-type violent demonstrations as a way of seizing power if it loses the 13th General Elections. The country will then suffer from violent demonstrations frequently. This will affect business and growth. Already Nik Aziz considers the present Government as oppressive and dictatorial and it is right to overthrow it.

16. The attention of the world would be sought and the Western Press would be co-opted to paint as black a picture as possible of the people’s opposition to the democratically elected Government. The support of foreign Governments and NGOs would come in as we see in the Arab countries. Their agenda would be different but they would see opportunities for pushing their regime change, for putting their candidate in power as Prime Minister.

17. This possibility is not far-fetched. The average Malaysian always think what happens in other countries will not happen here. But the Bersih 3 demonstration shows it can happen here. We know that almost every demonstration in Malaysia has been organised by Anwar. Now he is teaming up with Nik Aziz. Both see much to be gained by seizing power through unconstitutional means.

18. And when they are in power we can kiss goodbye to peace, stability and economic growth in this beloved country.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

MINIMUM WAGE

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 02, 2012

1. The workers of Malaysia must be happy over the RM900 per month minimum pay. It will give them a higher standard of living.

2. But the minimum wage would I think, cause a domino effect. Those now receiving RM900 per month would not be happy with the idea of their juniors getting the same wages as themselves. To preserve the salary structure their wages must be raised also. And of course if their wages go up those above them would also demand an increase so that their seniority would be properly compensated.

3. So the increase in minimum wage would result in increases in the wages of all categories of workers and employees. Costs of everything must certainly go up.

4. So will the overtime pay. It would be double of the RM 900 per month base salary and quadruple for work after the usual working hours. Considering the number of weekends and holidays in Malaysia, the salary bill would be substantially increased.

5. This increase should not worry the Government. But it should worry the private sector. Already Malaysia’s wages and salaries are higher than all the Asean countries excepting Singapore. It is certainly higher than China. This might deter both domestic and foreign investors.

6. If investments do not come in, the number of new jobs created would be diminished. This might increase unemployment.

7. Unless Government revenue increase substantially the increased salary bill would have to be met by reducing development budget. This will have other unwelcome side effects.

8. I am sure the Government financial experts have already taken into consideration all these things when they advised the Cabinet. It is just that I worry. Some rating agencies have been talking about down-grading this country. I hope they are not serious. Malaysia has always managed its finances well. I am sure that productivity would increase to compensate for the higher wages and overall costs.

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