Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The cost of Malay political disunity | theSundaily

http://m.thesundaily.my/node/287241

The cost of Malay political disunity

Posted on 23 December 2014 - 07:22pm

Azman Ujang

WHEN it comes to calling a spade a spade regarding the woes afflicting the Malays, no one does it better than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Malaysians first began to take notice of the man in 1970 when he came out with his controversial book The Malay Dilemma which was banned by the government under Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Of course when a book is banned, it becomes even more popular and The Malay Dilemma was a "must buy" item for Malaysians visiting Singapore where it sold like hot cakes until the ban was lifted.

He analysed with stark frankness all about the Malays, which in his words, was necessary not only to encourage the Malays to know themselves but also for the non-Malays to understand the Malay reaction to the problems of the day.

"No apologies are offered. What I have written is written with sincerity," he wrote in the first book of its kind against the backdrop of the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur and 11 years before he became prime minister.

The most damning warning he gave in the book is his belief that it's not entirely out of the question that "ultimately, political power might prove the complete downfall of the Malays".

And for 22 years as prime minister, his most popular mantra for his race was "Melayu mudah lupa" (Malays easily forget) and he readily admits that he has failed to change the Malay mindset.

Over the weekend and almost 45 years after The Malay Dilemma was published came another vintage Mahathir outburst. He said because the Malays are now badly split politically, they have become the minority in a country where they are the majority.

And because of their disunity, the Malays are now forced to become beggars for support in the general election. As he put it: "When we become beggars, we no longer have power. The country's success does not guarantee the success of the Malays."

He's talking about Malays having split into three "sects" – Umno, PAS and PKR – that has resulted in the Malay political power base splintering three ways, with each having no more than 50% of support.

This has become even more evident during the last two general elections where the Barisan Nasional led by Umno lost its popular vote for the first time but retained power on account of winning more seats in Parliament based on the Westminster-concept of government.

The BN lost even more seats in last year's general election because in Peninsular Malaysia, its component parties like MCA, Gerakan and MIC were virtually rejected by the races that they used to represent or formed their traditional support base.

What this means is the BN is still in power today thanks to the continued support from just two states – Sabah and Sarawak – with their 56 seats in Parliament.
But what most people, including BN politicians in the peninsula, forget or seem to ignore is that when we talk of Sabah and Sarawak, about 70% are non-Malays or non-Muslims and they are the ones that still form a major part of the BN stronghold.

"It's not impossible the Malays will lose their political power despite being the majority if they continue their political bickerings and disunity. Dr Mahathir has fired his latest salvo because he wants to see the Malays united politically before it's too late," warned prominent Sarawak political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir.

He said the Malay political power is very much at stake with their grip on politics loosening and they only have themselves to blame if they don't come to their senses.

Datuk Dr Ishak Tambi Kechik, a former vice-chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia, told me it's still not too late for Umno and PAS as the two biggest Malay parties to work towards political reconciliation as was the political landscape in the mid-1970's under prime minister Tun Abdul Razak until they split in 1978.

The onus is now on Razak's son, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib, to repeat this political "feat" although on paper it's easier said than done.

"I must thank Dr Mahathir for again giving this warning to the Malays and it's a very strong warning indeed," said Ishak.

Ishak said although PAS's spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat is against such a move, for the sake of Malay political survival, he believes chances of this to happen are there when Nik Aziz's deputy, Datuk Dr Haron Din, the highly respected ulama, takes over the position.

I'm baffled by the way DAP founder Lim Kit Siang has grossly misrepresented and taken completely out of context Mahathir's "Malay becoming beggars" remarks.

Kit Siang, who has been 48 years in active politics and the country's longest serving politician, asked why after 57 years of Umno-led government and six Umno prime ministers, Umno deputy prime ministers and the heavyweight Umno ministers besides the heads of the civil service, police, armed forces and senior heads of departments and university vice-chancellors being Malays, Mahathir is still saying the Malays have lost political power and become beggars in their own land?

The "beggars" dimension that Mahathir talks about does not refer to begging for things other than begging for the support of the non-Malays in the general election per se. This is borne out by fact that the Malay hold on power amid the acute Malay political split, is being kept intact with the support of the non-Malays in Sabah and Sarawak especially.

And Kit Siang has also challenged Mahathir to debate on the "Malays now beggars" claim.

What is there to debate? The former prime minister is just telling the truth and all Malays know it and the sooner they rally behind the clarion call for Malay political unity, the safer is their future.

Definitely, Mahathir won't give Kit Siang the "cheap thrill" of engaging in a debate over what is basically a Malay problem and which Kit Siang should keep out of.

With a potentially huge vote bank among Gen Y, Azman thinks the Malays can no longer take their political power for granted. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

- See more at: http://m.thesundaily.my/node/287241#sthash.W1dsSs4r.dpuf

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Harinder Veriah’s Story

Harinder's husband, the author Martin Jacques, remembers a most extraordinary person

Harinder Kaur Veriah was born in Assunta Hospital, close by Assunta Primary School, on December 31st, 1966. She came from a Punjabi family. From the beginning she faced great adversity. Her father, Karam Singh, a leading lawyer, who was also Malaysia's youngest MP, was held for four years in solitary confinement under the Internal Security Act for leading a march of rubber plantation workers, who were demanding better conditions. Her mother, Harbens Kaur, a primary school teacher, died when Hari, as she was later known, was just six. Karam was a mercurial and inspirational figure but a largely absentee father. Hari, her older brother Kesh and sister Jessie were frequently left to fend for themselves. Money was of little consequence to Karam, he was motivated by a desire for political change: as a result the former was always very scarce. The children came from a materially poor but culturally rich background.

At the age of six, Hari went to Assunta Primary School and then at 12 to Assunta Secondary School, both all-girls schools. When Hari was in her mid-teens, she and her siblings went to live with two of her aunts and uncles after Karam remarried. Her last two years of her schooling were spent in Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan state, in the far north east of Malaysia, whose population was overwhelmingly Malay. Hari was often the only non-Malay girl in her class, an experience she came to greatly value. Hari was a proud Malaysian who counted Malays and Chinese as well as Indians as close friends.

Although several of her friends at Assunta Secondary School later went to the UK for their higher education, this was not an option for Hari. There was no one to provide for her: whatever money she had she had to earn. When it came to a career, given that her father was a lawyer and likewise two of her uncles, law was the obvious choice. She scrapped a living together by doing bits of teaching while in her spare time studying for a London University external degree in law. Once qualified, she began to practise in Kuala Lumpur as a commercial lawyer.

I met Hari a couple of years later, on August 21 1993. I was spending a few days holidaying on Tioman island, off the east coast of Malaysia. I went for an early morning run and as I was returning I noticed, at some distance, this figure walking between a couple of chalets. She stuck in my mind: I can't tell you why. An hour or so later, I joined a group congregating for a jungle trek. Suddenly a voice behind me said: 'Didn't I see you earlier? Weren't you running through the village?' I turned round and before I could muster a word, she said with an impish grin, 'Only a white man would do something as stupid as that.' Then, reeling in the face of her audacity and wit, 'she added, 'Why did you come to Tioman?' 'A friend recommended it', I replied weakly. 'There are much more beautiful islands than this,' she replied.

In a few short sentences Hari turned my life upside down. The jungle trek started to move off. I fell into animated conversation with her. Who was this woman I had just met and yet with whom I instantly felt enormous intimacy? She was from the other side of the world, from a former colony, now a developing country, from equatorial parts, her skin a beautiful dark brown: I was a pinky white colour, from a cold and wet island 6500 miles away to the north west. She was 26, I was 47. What did we have in common? Everything. In that moment, I knew I had met my soulmate. I fell in love with her in just a few short minutes.

Hari was a life force. She was possessed of great energy and vitality, a magnetism that drew people towards her, a humanity that made people instantly at home with her, a face that danced with emotion and warmth, a beautiful smile that lit up the world, an infectious humour that was irresistible, a kindness that was etched into her being, a wisdom that I had never known before. She already knew so much about life even though she was only in her mid-twenties. In that instant, I entered Hari's gravitational field, never to leave it, even now, as I write, fifteen years after her death. The jungle trek was our beginning. The best thing I have ever done was to trust my emotions and feelings in that moment – and to move heaven and earth to make our relationship work. We both did.

A year later Hari moved to London. She did a masters in law. And then, after much angst and difficulty, she got a job as a lawyer in what is now Hogan Lovells, one of the City's top law firms. It had not been easy. She was dark brown, from a developing country, not a product of privilege, and she had a 2:2 from her London University external degree (which, given her circumstances, was a formidable achievement). She was up against an army of privately educated candidates with firsts and upper seconds from Oxbridge, all with white faces. But once Hari finally managed to get an interview – which had begun to seem impossible – she got the job. As I always thought she would. She was irresistible, possessed of magic.

After two years working in the London office, the firm suggested that, in order to advance her career, she should consider a three-year secondment to the Hong Kong office. She thought it was probably a good idea. And it suited me: I was about to start work on my book, 'When China Rules the World'. By now, Hari was pregnant. In November 1998, when we left for Hong Kong, Ravi, our son, was nine weeks old.

We enjoyed our time in Hong Kong but it was marred by the endemic racism that Hari was to suffer. Before we left, Hong Kong seemed like going to Hari's part of the world: she spoke fluent Cantonese and some Mandarin, it was her time-zone, just over three hours flying time from Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, she had the kind of job that Hong Kong respected. In contrast, I was a self-employed writer, which enjoyed a rather lowly ranking in the Hong Kong pecking order. But soon we found that colour trumped all: Hari was bottom of the pile, I was at the top. She suffered racism in the street, from taxi drivers, in restaurants and, not least, in her workplace. Hari was not one to complain. She was never in denial, the opposite of naïve, she was, on the contrary, worldly wise about such matters. But she always sought to rise above such behaviour, to try and help those of such a mindset to overcome their prejudice.

But what if you are in hospital…

On the night of the millennium, we were out celebrating with friends when Hari had an epileptic fit, only the second of her life. She was taken to the Ruttonjee Hospital and kept in overnight and the following day. That evening I complained to her about the attitude of the doctor that was responsible for her care. Her reply was deeply disturbing. 'I am bottom of the pile here.' What do you mean, Hari, I asked, expecting her to tell me what had been going on. With resignation in a manner most untypical of Hari she said: 'I am Indian and everyone else here is Chinese'. Hari could feel the prejudice. And she could hear it. She understood Cantonese. The staff assumed she couldn't. I needed to get her out of that hospital. But it was late in the evening. I told the nurse on duty that I would be discharging Hari the following morning.

When I was getting ready to leave in the morning, I got a call from the hospital. Hari had had another epileptic fit. I should come to the hospital immediately. I arrived at her bedside just eleven minutes later to be confronted with an appalling scene. Hari was unconscious, the nurses clearly out of their depth, no doctor in sight. Hari died shortly afterwards, a victim of abject negligence resulting from racism.

She was just 33.

Her death became a major issue in Hong Kong. It led to a campaign for anti-racist legislation which was finally rewarded with success in July 2008. I fought a long court case against the Hospital Authority. For ten years they denied any responsibility. At the end of March 2010, just as the case was about to go to trial in the High Court, they raised the white flag and rushed to settle.

Hari was the most extraordinary person I have ever met. She was highly intelligent, destined to go far and, if she had so wished, reach the top of her chosen field. But it was not this that marked her out as so special and so different. It was her humanity, her compassion, her kindness, her empathy for others, her wisdom, and her outlook on life.

She would have been delighted with our Assunta programme. Hari came from great hardship. Some people cannot relate to poverty because they have never known it. Others have known poverty but react to that experience by wanting to distance themselves as much as possible from the poor. In contrast, Hari's experience of poverty ennobled her. She related with ease to those less fortunate than herself, felt an affinity with them, a need to befriend them, a desire to help them.

On Hong Kong Island there was a pedestrian underpass along which people with severe disabilities and without any means would congregate and solicit financial support from passing strangers. One Friday evening I met up with her after work. She asked if I had any change and I gave her what I had. As we walked along the underpass, she would give Ravi, who was then a little over a year old, some money, and he would walk up to one of the people and give it to them. She didn't miss a single person. The look of surprise and delight on their faces was something to behold. It was one of the most heart-warming sights I have ever seen. It was so Hari, forever seeking to reach out to others. What a wonderful attitude to pass on to a toddler.

Read more for Further Reading (scroll to the bottom/end of article)
http://www.harinderveriahtrust.org/what-we-do/harinder-veriahs-story/

Friday, September 26, 2014

Are You Blind? The Embarrassing Truth About Malaysians



*Click on the link 'EC Malaysian' below to view the blogpost*



ECGMA says: Do watch this in its entirety. See how some look upon dogs as some weird creature and how shameful Malaysians in general should be to know the attitudes of some if not majority reaction to the blind and guide dogs!



Published on Aug 28, 2014
This Film depicts the life on how
the blind in Malaysia are ignored and how certain individuals
unnecessarily react to the blind and how the system disallows guide dogs
in public places.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Read/Write/Speak: Passport to success | theSundaily

http://m.thesundaily.my/node/271263

Passport to success
Posted on 8 September 2014 - 07:37pm
Bhavani Krishna Iyer

A YOUNG man I know recently finished an accounting degree at a local private university and has landed himself a handsome job with a big pay in a top accounting firm. The starting salary, when he disclosed what it was, gave me a pleasant surprise.

He thinks what earned him the job was his ability to speak and communicate well in English and I was not surprised. This young man is well spoken and reminds me of the English gentlemen you see in a British play.

In this context, I was extremely happy to see the headline in this daily which read, "English a must pass". The news has it that a new policy is on its way to making English a compulsory subject, besides Bahasa Melayu for students to pass Malaysia's public universities.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the education minister, disclosed this constructive move at an event.

He openly declared his agreement that basic knowledge alone would not suffice for the graduates to be marketable and this is a further boon for Malaysia and the future generation. The ability to communicate and write in English is a definite need for all graduates looking for jobs, whether here or abroad.

Having said that, I seriously think that the emphasis on learning English has to take on a new approach right from the schools, with other measures being put in place by our government to make our graduates employable.

To illustrate my point, my son left Malaysia for down south right after his SPM. At that time, he was a complete wash-out when it came to writing. He could not string a sentence despite acing his English papers.

Recently, we were on a holiday, with a deadline looming over him. He spent just some hours for two nights and got the 3,000-word report out effortlessly and this is what five years of tertiary exposure in that country has done for him.

In his university, even engineering students are exposed to non-core subjects called electives involving writing. I remember in his second year my son proudly announced having got an "A" for the paper he wrote on "Love and Relationships" and what has that got to do with engineering, you might ask.

Coming back to where we are, examination-oriented classes with too much focus and emphasis have stifled proficiency. In order for students to be able to write and speak English, there must be opportunities for them to read and listen. Without contextual and subject knowledge, speaking and writing don't come easy.

Seriously, while I congratulate the Education Ministry for the bold move in making English pass compulsory in universities, wouldn't it make sense to apply the same principle in public school examinations? Learning English also needs to detach itself from being an examination subject. Using the language and learning the language are two different things.

A set of linguists, who based their assumptions of language on psychology, made claims that language is nothing but "habit formation". According to them, language is learnt through use, through practice. In their view, "the more one is exposed to the use of language, the better one learns".

Although not new but the Language Experience Approach (LEA) to language learning for mostly adult learners has not been picked up in a big way here.

This approach propagates reading and writing using personal experience and oral language. The differentiation comes in the fact when using this approach, the materials are learner-generated and this helps hold the learner's attention and interest. Another distinct feature is that the teaching and learning are personalised, communicative and creative.

And we should know that, "There are some things that no amount of learning can teach!"

The writer was a language teacher and now teaches part time in public universities, apart from having a full-time job. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Musa Hitam blames Putrajaya for Malay dilemma - The Malaysian Insider

Musa Hitam blames Putrajaya for Malay dilemma

BY LEE SHI-IAN AND MD IZWAN
Published: 31 August 2014

The Malays are suffering from inferiority complex because of Putrajaya's preaching that the community is backward and always in need of assistance, said former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam.

"Putrajaya has mentioned several times that it has a target of increasing the Bumiputera equity ownership in the national economic pie to 30% by 2020.

"But, the government does not take government-linked companies into account when they point out that the present Bumiputera equity ownership is 24%.

"We are deluding ourselves by continuously pointing a finger at the Chinese. There is no such thing as perfection," Musa told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) office in Hampshire Place, Kuala Lumpur.

Musa, who is the WIEF chairman, said the race issue had been played upon numerous times and has had a negative effect on Malaysia.

"Only bankrupt politicians continually use race and religion to win support.

"Do not get me wrong, I am Umno through and through, even if I am may not talk like a mainstream party member.

"We cannot adopt the attitude of 50 years ago. We have to keep progressing and updating ourselves."

Musa said the New Economic Policy introduced by former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was to improve the livelihood of Malays.

"The NEP was to lift the Malay community in Malaysia and to remove their inferiority complex."

He said that there were many Malays who had performed well and now made up the middle class of Malaysia, and that they could rationalise for themselves.

But, he regretted that there was a gap between the current generation and certain leaders in Putrajaya as they appeared to be on different wavelengths.

"Some leaders do not appear to be in sync with the very people whom they have trained."

He recalled an incident with a group of youths over a meal while travelling to Johor for a holiday:

"A group of 30 to 40 Malay youths stopped by the eatery where my wife and I were eating."

"Some of them recognised me and approached us. After exchanging pleasantries, one of the boys asked whether they could share something with me.

"I said go ahead, by all means. The youths told me in a rather apologetic manner that they were anti-government."

He said he told the youths the fact that they disagreed with Putrajaya was born out of the previous administrations, which reflected democracy.

"Many quarters take it for granted that Malay leadership is the most important factor. But, there are many other challenges to that due to the open society we live in.

"I am also saddened and disappointed by some of the comments and remarks made by the present leaders.

"They do not appear to have done their homework and research before saying something.

"More often than not, many of the present leaders talk first and then realise they have made an error later when it is too late to retract their statement."

Musa said the current leadership had shown that they were unable to deal with sensitive issues like religion.

"The Malays seem to be confused about religion. The non-Malays are appalled at what is happening among the leadership in Putrajaya. "

He said politicians want to be seen as belonging, "so nobody speaks about the subject, for fear that they will be viewed as being anti-Islam".

On Christians using "Allah", he said: "Whatever the arguments which have been raised, the simple fact of the matter is that it was decided that only Muslims in the peninsula have ownership of the word 'Allah'."

Musa was amazed and astounded that the issue had been blown all out of proportion.

"If you are confident about your religion, there is no need to worry about Malays getting confused if the word 'Allah' is used by non-Malays."

During his stint as education minister between 1978 and 1981, Musa said Christian representatives approached him.

"At that time, the government was encouraging the use of Bahasa Malaysia by all races, including Christians.

"There were no Malay-language Bibles at that time and the Christians discovered that Indonesia printed such books.

"They sought permission to import the Malay-language Bibles to Malaysia and I approved it with certain conditions.

"The conditions included importing the Bibles for their own use, to be kept in the church and no open selling or distribution of the Bibles outside of churches."

Musa stood by his decision, saying it was right and a correct compromise as the issue had been quietly settled and rationalised.

"If you want everyone to use the national language, then you should not put roadblocks and obstacles."

On Malaysia today, the 80-year-old said he felt quite depressed and down.

"Malaysia is facing the possibility of becoming a failed state as it does not know how to handle success and the intricacies of politics.

"Sure, there are positives… foreigners are impressed with Malaysia and its infrastructure. Perhaps they get the impression that Malaysians are happy and friendly.

"But there are so many wrongs which have become a right, so many extraordinary things which have become ordinary.

"We pride ourselves on being democratic and embracing the Westminster-style of politics.

"Malaysia must learn how to embrace democracy and be prepared to lose," Musa said, referring to the two-thirds majority which Barisan Nasional used to enjoy.

In the 2008 and 2013 general elections, BN watched as DAP, PKR and PAS began to make inroads into its traditional strongholds.

"Democracy also means understanding the role of criticism and being able to accept it."

Musa said the present leaders adopted the attitude of accepting a single compliment and overlooking the criticism which accompanied it.

"Digital democracy has arrived in this world. It is unpredictable, open, kind and can also be cruel."

On the hudud fracas, Musa was disappointed at how Putrajaya handled it.

"I am reasonably confident that across board, the Malay community is disagreeable to the concept of hudud.

"The image portrayed by hudud of body dismemberment is quite scary and horrifying.

"While PAS has attempted to rationalise the issue, nobody else dares to say openly that he is against it.

"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announces Malaysia is not ready for hudud, Umno Youth says who said it is against it?"

Musa cited a solution by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the issue:

" Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave a very simplistic yet logical summary of hudud."

"He said if a Malay was caught stealing, his hands would be cut off. But if a non-Malay was caught for the same offence, he would only spend a couple of years in jail.

"This is the way to resolve issues, to do research and rationalise, to give explanations. Nowadays, everyone simply jumps on the bandwagon.

"Nobody dares to disagree."

But, he also admired PAS for standing up to what they believed in.

"Unfortunately, nobody listens to PAS and their explanations." – August 31, 2014.

- See more at:http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/musa-hitam-blames-putrajaya-for-malay-dilemma#sthash.5OhhH3VS.dpuf

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/musa-hitam-blames-putrajaya-for-malay-dilemma

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Al Jazeera English: Malaysia receives bodies of MH17 passengers

Al Jazeera English: Malaysia receives bodies of MH17 passengers. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwp5bHsh8

Article: Football Association investigates Cardiff City claims of alleged misconduct by Malky Mackay and Iain Moody

Former manager and head of recruitment accused of sending alleged "sexist, racist and homophobic" text messages; Crystal Palace decide not to offer Mackay manager's job The Football Association is launching an investigation into the conduct of Malky Mackay and Iain Moody over alleged "sexist, rac...

Read more:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/crystal-palace/11047311/Football-Association-investigates-Cardiff-City-claims-of-alleged-misconduct-by-Malky-Mackay-and-Iain-Moody.html

Sent viaFlipboard

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Top 10 richest men in Malaysia [Infographic] | iMoney

Top 10 Richest Men In Malaysia [Infographic]

By Iris Lee . 4 March 2014 . Infographic, Money Management

Mention the names Robert Kuok and Ananda Krishnan and most would know who they are and what they do. They are prime examples of successful Malaysians. However, in the list of Malaysia's richest and most successful people of business, they are just two among many who have made a name for themselves.

Forbes recently released the 50 richest men in Malaysia and it is not difficult to be in awe and even envious of the wealth of these men. In fact, one cannot help but wish to take a leaf from these billionaires and start amassing his or her own fortune.

If you are bent on being just as successful and rich as these men, knowing where the money is may just earn you a spot in Malaysia's billionaire club.

http://www.imoney.my/articles/top-10-richest-men-in-malaysia?utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=top%2010%20richest%20man%20in%20my&utm_content=infographic&utm_campaign=top%2010%20richest%20man%20in%20my&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=iMoneyMY

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Singapore Tycoon Peter Lim Makes MGO For TMC

Details Published on Friday, 08 August 2014 10:05

Singapore billionaire Peter Lim Eng Hock has launched a mandatory general offer for TMC Life Sciences Bhd at 48 sen per share. Pic: The Edge DailySingapore billionaire Peter Lim Eng Hock has launched a mandatory takeover offer (MGO) for TMC Life Sciences Bhd at 48 sen per share after buying over Tan Sri Vincent Tan's equity interest in the medical group.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, TMC announced that it had received a notice of takeover offer from Lim and his wholly-owned investment vehicles, Sasteria (M) Pte Ltd (SAS Malaysia) and Gilberta Investments Ltd (GIL) for the remaining 40.76% of TMC shares he does not own at 48 sen per share for RM156.98 million cash.

The mandatory offer was triggered when SAS Malaysia acquired 213.84 million shares – which represented 26.65% of the issued and paid-up share capital of TMC – at 10 sen each yesterday from Juara Sejati Sdn Bhd, BL Capital Sdn Bhd, Selat Makmur Sdn Bhd, Teras Mewah Sdn Bhd and Inter-Pacific Capital Sdn Bhd, all of which are related to Tan.

As GIL held 261.47 million TMC shares, or 32.59% of the issued and paid-up share capital of TMC, as at July 30, 2014, this brings Lim's total shareholding to 59.24%.

GIL also holds 130.73 million three-year 2011/2014 issued TMC warrants, or 32.59% of its total outstanding warrants, which Lim is also offering to buy at eight sen per offer warrant or RM21.64 million cash.

The offer will remain open for acceptances until 5pm, not less than 21 days from the date of the notice. It is not conditional upon any minimum level of acceptances of the offer shares.

A separate TMC filing showed that Tan had disposed of another 2.07 million shares of TMC on the open market yesterday, paring down his stake in the company to 260.03 million shares.

Meanwhile, in the takeover notice to TMC, Lim said he intends to maintain the listing status of TMC on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia.

"The board will hold an emergency meeting to deliberate the offer and will make an announcement in due course," said TMC, whose flagship hospital is the Topicana Medical Centre.

Lim has extensive interests in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, real estate, automotive, fashion, food and beverage, as well as education.

He was once known as the "Remisier King" in Singapore and was ranked by Forbes as the 10th richest man in Singapore last year with a fortune of US$2.05 billion (RM6.58 billion).

Lim bought a 29.6% stake in TMC in 2010 via GIL when TMC founder Colin Lee Soon Soo sold all his 120.4 million shares in the company to Lim.

Lee's brother, Lee Soon Swee, had also disposed of his 29.2 million shares to the Singapore billionaire.

TMC's net profit nearly tripled to RM2.68 million in the fourth quarter ended May 31, 2014 from RM923,000 in the previous corresponding period.

Revenue was 17.7% higher at RM24.22 million from RM20.57 million a year ago.

TMC closed at 46.5 sen yesterday, up 19.2% from 39 sen two months ago.

– The Edge Daily

http://www.malaysiandigest.com/business/512371-singapore-tycoon-peter-lim-makes-mgo-for-tmc.html

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ayn Rand - Russian Jewish American Philosopher

So accurate her 1957 quote that still resonates the reality of how some countries we know being governed today.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lee Thiam Wah : 99Speedmart Mini Mart Success in a Wheelchair

Posted by Joanne Lee Juan Shien .on April 04, 2013

Lee Thiam Wah : 99Speedmart Mini Mart Success in a Wheelchair

Inspiring: Millionaire 99Speedmart, a handicap, highest education Standard 6 (12 years old), and can't speak English.

We in Malaysia, have seen the branches of99Speedmart Mini Mart all over town, with their green and orange signboards.

But most of you probably didn't know that the owner of this chain mart Lee Thiam Wah(born 1964), sits in a wheelchair.

He owns 200 branches all over Malaysia

Lee has been in a wheelchair since he was a kid.

When Lee was a baby, caught the Polio and lost functions of both his legs.
His father, a construction laborer and mother a hawker worked hard to provide for their 11 kids.

Their finances only allowed them to provide for Lee's education till he was 12 years old.

Bored and in lonely, Lee borrowed books from his neighbours and sold snacks by the road side.

"I needed to help myself. Nobody wanted to hire me as I am physically handicapped "

At 23 years old, Lee had RM5,000 in his possession. It was just enough for a convenience store startup.

This was his platform to learn about the convenient store business.

Lee says "I learned what customers buy. I know all the suppliers and their pricing. And I studied my competitors."

By the end of the 90′s, even though the Asian Economic Crisis had happened, he had 8 mini markets established around Bandar Klang, Selangor.

This success is attributed to Lee's conviction that the mini market business has high potential of growth.

The first Pasar Mini 99 was opened on August 1992

By 1995, 7 other mini marts had already been in operation around Klang town. Using the latest inventory and stock keeping technology.

The growth rate for these stores were at 8% per annum.

He gained industry knowledge through experience while running and growing his company.

He developed an acute sense to how his business should be run. Marketing and advertising, location choices, administrations etc.

This resulted in an established and well known brand among Klang-ites.

From this experience, Lee created his own concept of how a modern, Malaysianized mini mart should be operated. A Malaysianized one stop center for all your house hold needs.

Here after 99Speedmart Sdn. Bhd (Ptl Ltd) was established, to open up franchising possibilities all over Malaysia.

The concept of 99Speedmart is to offer customers a quick, easy and comfortable grocery shopping experience without the hassle, parking and queing that comes with hypermarkets

To improve the bond with his vendors, Lee settles his payments with his suppliers instantly, as soon as the goods arrive.

This method creates more trust between his outlets and the suppliers

Lee broke the status quo. Where it was normal and expected for the disabled to depend on government funding, Lee went out and made his money himself.

In the beginning, Lee had to have his siblings help him with loading goods and arranging them on the shelves.

"Of course i had to work harder than everyone else. I can't speak English, I'm in a wheelchair, and my formal education ended when I was 12″ … "But by working hard, it's automatic for knowledge and self confidance to increase" says Lee Thiam Wah

Lee on Forbes.com Magazine

http://onlinerooster.empowernetwork.com/blog/lee-thiam-wah-99speedmart-mini-mart-success-in-a-wheelchair

Malaysia's King of Mini-Marts - Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/global/2010/0315/entrepreneurs-malaysia-speedsmart-handicaps-king-of-mini-marts.html

Noelle Lim

3/05/2010 @ 10:40AM

There's a Chinese belief that sons born in a Year of the Dragon are highly desirable because Dragons are powerful people who will lead extraordinary lives. This could explain wheelchair-bound Lee Thiam Wah, born in Dragon year 1964. In Klang, the bustling port city of Peninsular Malaysia, he's called the King of Mini-Marts.

Streets there are replete with bold green-and-orange 99 Speedmart signs. For now Klang is where Lee has most of his 175 stores, which bring in better than $150 million annually and employ 2,000 people. This is a drop in the ocean compared with what hypermarkets and convenience stores like 7-Eleven do in Malaysia alone, but he is giving them a run for the money in this cutthroat business.

As a baby Lee was struck with polio and lost the use of his legs. His father, a construction worker, and his mother, who was a hawker, worked day and night to fend for 11 children. Six years of primary school was all they could afford for young Thiam Wah. To keep busy he read books borrowed from neighbors and sold snacks in a roadside stall. "I have to help myself. Nobody would hire me due to my physical limitation," he says matter-of-factly. He did enjoy prodding from his paternal grandmother, who said to him in the old Chinese way of affirmation: "If you don't work hard, what will you amount to?"

He saved $5,000 by age 23, enough to start a grocery. Thus began his retail education. He says, "I learned what customers buy. I know all the suppliers and their pricing. And I studied my competitors thoroughly."

In 1992 Lee sold the business, and now with $88,000, he opened a mini-mart. He says, "I wanted the challenge of running a bigger business. If you don't have scale you can't compete with Chinese medicine halls on pricing, and you can't compete with hypermarkets in terms of range." In 1999 he changed the name of the store to 99 Speedmart.

Where closely held 99 Speedmart cannot undercut on price, it sells in smaller sizes. For fast-moving necessities Lee stocks for each price point–the closest comparison would be discount stores in the West like Aldi, where only products with the highest turnover are sold. Lee recalls, "For the first mini-mart we sacrificed margins on some products to sell at the lowest price and to gain market share. This built our reputation. The purchasing side of the business is very important, and I spend most of my time overseeing it."

To get good discounts he makes things easy for suppliers. Big stores are notorious for dragging out payments. At 99 Speedmart, vendors can usually complete the process of negotiating price, getting the current order and collecting payment for an earlier order within 30 minutes. They appreciate Lee's square dealings. "We've not lost sleep because we found him to be very honest, and he has a strong trade reputation," says the national sales manager for a global food and beverage company that he didn't want named.

Lee has always funded his operation from sales and not from bank debt, but the 1997 Asian financial crisis hit hard. To overcome, Lee stocked cheaper goods and shaved already razor-thin margins. Lee says the recent economic slowdown has been but a minor bump.

In fact, 99 Speedmart is now moving well beyond Klang, though it still largely targets lower-income and migrant worker groups. The plan is to open 40 to 50 outlets this year in high-density neighborhoods and to boost sales by 25%. In two years Lee may expand farther outside Selangor and Kuala Lumpur to neighboring states like Perak. He can't afford to rest: 7-Eleven's Malaysian franchisor is planning to open 2,000 stores nationwide in three years, half to be run by franchisees.

Lee pulled back from early franchising and owns all but one of the 99 Speedmarts. He watches the balance sheet by renting all his properties, however, save for two warehouses occupying a total of 5 acres.

This entrepreneur has become his country's most notable example of how a physical handicap can be overcome in business.

Malaysia has grown more accommodating of the disabled through various regulations and benefits, but except for a small state allowance, Lee has made his own way. During the early years he relied on relatives to help carrying and weighing heavy items. He sees vendors when they visit or speaks by phone. "I don't mull over the fact that I'm in a wheelchair, that I can't speak English and that I only went to school for six years," he says. "You have to be self-reliant. Sure, you have to work harder than anyone else, but the knowledge you gained will build up your self-esteem. Being of use to customers makes me feel grateful and gives me a sense of purpose."

If those he does business with even know of his condition, Lee expects no special consideration. "As far as suppliers are concerned, it's business as usual for them," he says.

Wife Ng Lee Tieng, 15 years his junior, is his sounding board in business and in life. They met when she joined the company as a purchasing assistant, attracting him with her vivacious personality. He quips that she knew how to take care of things. Now she is also the mother of their two children.

In the Tiger year of 2010, Dragon people are fine, according to CLSA Hong Kong's Feng Shui Index, an annual zodiac-inspired market outlook. It says "All signs point to steady inflows throughout the year, while patience and perseverance will bring unexpected satisfaction from work. Applying your renowned willpower will see you safely through any Tiger troubles." Based on Lee Thiam Wah's record so far, this is one horoscope that's likely to hold true.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tous Le Jours Bakery

It's Korean!

Letter to my non-Bumi daughter - The Malaysian Insider

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/abdar-rahman-koya/article/letter-to-my-non-bumi-daughter

The Malaysian Insider

OPINION

Letter to my non-Bumi daughter

ABDAR RAHMAN KOYA

Published: 14 June 2014 | Updated: 14 June 2014 8:22 AM

Dear Salma,

I still remember your first week in kindergarten. We were standing outside your classroom, looking at your extra sharp nose standing out among all the others. I know how it feels to have a generously endowed nose among those who hardly have.

You had then asked me, "Why are all my friends small-eyed? Their eyes are so small."  We told you, "Don't say that in front of others, especially that aunty you always meet outside." But we couldn't stop laughing. You must have been very confused.

Then one day, as I fetched you from kindy, your teacher asked me, "May I know what your race is? We are doing this class activity and I am not sure what to put her race as."

I told her "Indian". But you never bothered to ask me about it.

I went home that day, thinking of the day I registered your birth at the National Registration Department. The officer had then asked me what to put your race as. People don't ask that in other countries. If your parents are Indian, then surely you must be Indian.

Maybe the clerk was expecting me to ask that you be registered as Malay. Just like your cousins' parents did. Just like many of our non-Malay Muslim friends did.

Some are so dark, but are Malay. Some still visit their relatives in India, but are Malay. There is also one or two who didn't want to go to the NRD to register their newborn baby.

Instead, they delegated their Malay friends to do it for them, worried that their non-Malay look would lessen their child's chance of being registered as Malay.

So fearful they are of what would happen to them as non-Malays. I know that some had repeatedly performed the pilgrimage in Mecca, yet came back without a clue about God's signs. But Malcolm X had only to go once to Mecca to transform his whole perspective on race and equality.

I, too, am Malay by definition of Article 160. I was born in Malaysia and am Muslim – and a Shafi'ite Muslim at that – just like the other Malays.

I habitually speak the Malay language with an accent that could put even a curry-phobic, petai-munching Malay to shame. And I conform – well, more or less – to Malay customs.

I even like belacan and all the fishy lauk. My only giveaway is that I love mutton so much, and don't watch Malay movies (but, then again, neither do many of my brown friends).

Salma, I know all this is confusing to you. "So what?" you might even ask. But you are in Malaysia.  You need to know all this nonsense about race. It's tied to your future, they will tell you.

Next year, you will be going to Sekolah Rendah. I can't afford private school for you (you see, I work at The Malaysian Insider). At school, there will be pressure to conform.

I went through all that. In my limited understanding then, I had tried to explain to my Malay friends that I am not Malay, yet am still Muslim.

They were confused. "How can you be 'Islam' but not 'Melayu'?" They would have none of such nonsense from me. In the end, I just accepted becoming a Malay.

Last year, when your twin brothers were born, I had to make that trip again. The officer told me, "So saya letak Melayu ya, sebab emak diorang Melayu kan."

That is the kind of response that many non-Malay Muslim parents could only dream of. Oh, the lengths some of them would go to, to get such recognition on their children's birth certs!

And who could blame them? After all, it comes with a lot of perks. Special privileges, specially allocated shares, university education, scholarships.

At the NRD, I remembered that your race was registered as Indian. So for your brothers, I asked them to follow your race. How could I not? Would I want them growing up as Malay and you as Indian? How would I explain to all of you this confusion?

I don't mind what you grow up as, but you are in Malaysia, the land of races. It is where God's justice is put to test, and where an atheist's argument can hold some water: if God exists, how could He be so cruel as to make me be born a non-Malay without privileges?

I don't want to be part of this ugly system. I am against special treatment because of one's race or religion, which is why I make no apology for hating Zionism, never mind all the arguments by the silly gentiles to show that it is not racism or apartheid. 

I believe in the Quran, which states that mankind is only a single nation (2:213), but whom God created in various colours, who speak various languages to show His Signs (30:22) and whom God created into nations and tribes so that we know one other (49:13).

So is it right for me, as a Muslim, to reap the benefits of this godless system? How can I allow you to get a scholarship when I know it could be at the cost of some poor, bright non-Muslim student whose middle-class parents had to refinance their home so that they could be sent to private colleges or overseas?

What about those not in the middle class? Sing all the NegaraKu and fly all the Jalur Gemilang they like, but their lives are screwed.

Some of our relatives could not believe it when they found out that I registered you as Indian. "She will have so many difficulties one day." I don't care. But I do understand them.

Just last month, one of your cousins who had all As in his SPM was denied entry into a public university. All because 18 years ago, his parents failed to get him registered as Malay.

Some people patronisingly repeat this story to me, as if to remind me of my folly, of me destroying your future by refusing to lie that you are Malay.

Even my non-Muslim friends are surprised. For all their loathing not being treated fairly, I suspect they, too, given half a chance, would be eager to reap the special privileges.

Dear Salma, I don't regret what I have done. I hope one day you will be grateful that your father had not started your life on a lie.

I hope one day you will be successful, or less successful (however you define it), because of your own hard work, and not because of an unjust system recognising your racial status as superior.  You have God with you. He sees the truth, but waits.

I may be a little selfish for doing this. But this much I admit: I don't want to one day stand before God to be questioned why I, despite being Muslim, had agreed to be part of this unjust system.

I could have been more practical and pragmatic and not allowed you to experience a bumpy life. "So what? Just make her Malay. You got nothing to lose and all to gain."

Well, thanks, but no thanks. You can take all the privileges and all the quotas.

So you see, my dearest Salma, it is not my intention to make life difficult for you. I am sure you will one day work hard to be a good human being.

Indeed, I am sure you will work harder, and you owe your success to no one but your faith in God.

Meantime, I hope you can learn a thing or two from your small-eyed friends. But don't abandon the mutton curry. That is a legacy you won't want to part with. – June 14, 2014.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Indian business group chides Francis Yeoh over ‘crony capitalism’ issue

https://my.news.yahoo.com/indian-business-group-chides-francis-yeoh-over-crony-091915699.html?.tsrc=samsungwn&.sep=table

Yahoo News

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Indian business group chides Francis Yeoh over 'crony capitalism' issueThe Malaysian Insider – 6 hours ago

YTL Corporation's Tan Sri Francis Yeoh (pic) should not forget that he has become a rich man with the help of the Barisan Nasional government, an Indian business group said today, in an obvious rebuke to the business tycoon's recent remarks about crony capitalism in the country.

The Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) secretary-general Datuk M. Davendran also challenged Yeoh to reject stakes in the Johor power plant, the Bestari.net school wireless plan and other government projects to prove that he has not benefitted from Putrajaya's sweetheart deals.

Instead, Davendran pointed out that Yeoh had a history of benefitting from the government dating back to the 1990s when YTL Power International was given a contract to build an Independent Power Producer (IPP) during the administration of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"Yeoh had clearly contradicted himself gravely on the matter of crony capitalism as he had obviously built his wealth with government help.

"Those who live in  glass houses should not throw stones and Tan Sri Francis Yeoh should be smart enough to know this," Davendran said.

"If Yeoh was sincere about dispelling the notion that he was a party to sweetheart deals from the government, he should reject the stake in the 4A power plant deal involving Tenaga Nasional and the Sultan of Johor as well as the Bestari.net project, too" he added.

Not stopping there, Davendran also called on Yeoh to provide details of government projects and the gains from such projects over the past 25 years.

This he added, was necessary to proof Yeoh's assertion that 80% of his business was done abroad, in suggesting that there was minimal presence of his businesses in Malaysia given his unhappiness over the government's dealings with the private sector.

Yeoh got embroiled in controversy recently following a news report that he alleged inaccurately portrayed what he told an audience at a talk at government agency Pemandu.

Francis was quoted as lamenting the culture of crony capitalism in Malaysia and added that cronyism and the current penchant for racial and religious rhetoric was holding back Malaysia on the global stage.

He also allegedly said that the bulk of YTL's business was now in Singapore, the United Kingdom and Australia – jurisdictions where there was meritocracy and rule of law and where a businessman did not have to kow-tow to the prime minister.

He later clarified that during the presentation he attempted to dispel the notion that crony capitalism was rife in Malaysia.

He also denied that YTL received the IPP concession because he was a crony of Dr Mahathir. – June 13, 2014.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I want her to be like Mukhriz, but she chose to be like Marina, Dyana’s mum tells Dr Mahathir - The Malaysian Insider

BY HASBULLAH AWANG CHIK
MAY 20, 2014
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 20, 2014 05:53 PM

The mother of Teluk Intan DAP candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud today responded to former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had suggested that she had not done enough to impress on her daughter of Umno's struggle for the country and the Malay race.

Umno member Yammy Samad said she had tried to raise Dyana like Dr Mahathir's son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahatir but she ended up like the former prime minister's strong-willed daughter, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

"I tried to raise her like Mukhriz, but she ended up like Marina. I give all my children the freedom to chose what is right and wrong. Dyana is old enough to think about this," she told The Malaysian Insider today.

Commenting on Dyana's candidacy yesterday, Dr Mahathir had said Umno members should impress upon their children about the party's struggle.

"As parents, Umno members should tell their children about Umno, its history and what it has done (for country and people), otherwise when they grow up, they will do as they please," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Dyana's family members are staunch Umno supporters and Dr Mahathir said he was disappointed with her for contesting on a DAP ticket.

He said he would not have minded if she had come from a "pro-opposition family as from young, she would have been taught to hate Umno"

Dr Mahathir was previously reported as saying that he was disappointed with Dyana as her family members are staunch Umno supporters.

Yammy, however, said Dyana had a right to decide her own future, even if she chose to pick a husband who is not a Malay.

"I leave her to choose. She is free to choose her own husband, what more a political party.

"If she wants to get married, it's up to her. If she wants to get married to a Malay, Chinese or an Indian. If I force her, and if it ends up in failure, then what is the point?" she said.

She said there was nothing her daughter needed to be afraid of by joining the DAP as it was not a "Chinese-only" party.

Dyana, she added, was born a Muslim and will continue to uphold her religion till the end.

"Why would she go far away from Islam. My daughter was born a Muslim. She will be a Muslim forever. There is no reason why she would leave her faith. In DAP, not everyone is Chinese. All are from different religions," she said.

When asked if her daughter would be championing for the Malays through DAP, Yammy answered, "God willing".

Elaborating on the Malay support for Dyana, Yammy said the people in the area prefer to convey their support quietly through SMS or emails.

"They are quietly supporting through emails and by sending thousands of text messages. I am scared that my phone is going to explode," Yammy added. – May 20, 2014.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/i-want-her-to-be-like-mukhriz-but-she-chose-to-be-like-marina-dyanas-mum-te

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cardiff City FC - Who has the last laugh?

ECGMA says: He who laughs last laughs best!

How Winning the Premier League Doesn't Guarantee the Most Money
By Sean Martin 
May 15, 2014 18:09 GMT 3    

Since the introduction of Sky Sports in 1991, football has increasingly become all about the money. Every passing year, Sky Sports usually battles with a passing competitor, such as Setanta Sports, or following its demise, ESPN, until that too perished, and ends up paying that little bit more to secure the rights to show the world's most watched league.

However, BT Sport has arrived and it looks like it means business. Its desire to show England's top league has pushed BskyB to the brink. In the end, a compromise was reached and they both got their fair share of games to televise.

No matter how much joy either broadcaster, or a plethora of channels around the world, got from securing the television rights, the real winners are neither the broadcasters nor the fans, but the football teams.

The broadcasting rights for this season and the next two were sold for slightly over £3bn (€3.6bn, $5bn) according to the BBC - almost double the previous television package, with the majority of that being pumped into the teams come the end of the term. The sharing formular determined by how many games are aired and the final standing of teams on the Premier League table.

Manchester United, who last year finished on top of the table, received £60.8m from broadcasting rights in the 2012/13 campaign. Thanks to the massive increase in television revenue, this season's bottom club Cardiff raked in £62.1m.

A lot has been said about the Red Devil's season and how dire it has been, but the board will be sleeping easy after the club revealed its third quarter results, which shows a massive jump in TV revenue. It rose by £28.4m despite finishing six places lower on the table.

Out of the teams to have competed in the past two Premier League seasons, Liverpool recorded the biggest increase as television rights generated £97.5m for the Merseyside club, £0.9m more than eventual league winners Manchester City.

Liverpool earned more than the blue club from Manchester by virtue of having more games televised as it won the affection of neutrals following its attacking style of play.

There is a lesson to be learnt for the teams. Play football that the viewers want to watch and the money will follow.

Stoke, typically branded boring to watch, finished closer to Liverpool on the table than did Cardiff, but because it only had seven games aired, it received only £13m more than the team from Wales.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/how-winning-premier-league-doesnt-guarantee-most-money-1448769

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Australia commits up to $90 million to MH370 search

http://finance.ninemsn.com.au/newsbusiness/aappr/8844414/australia-commits-up-to-84-million-to-mh370-search

Australia has been leading the hunt for the plane which was carrying 239 people when it disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

It is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean but despite a massive air and sea search, including underwater using a US navy submersible, no sign of any wreckage has yet been found.

"The government will provide up to $89.9 million over two years from 2013-14 as part of Australia's commitment to the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370," the papers stated.

Some $27.9 million would be given to the defence department to pay for its activities up to June 30, 2014 in looking for the Boeing aircraft, while another Aus$2 million would be spent on the Joint Agency Coordination Centre established to liaise with key stakeholders.

"Further funding of up to $60 million over two years from 2013-14 will be provided to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for Australia's contribution to the next phase of the search," the papers said.

Australia has been coordinating the search for the plane -- thought to have gone down in its search and rescue zone -- in consultation with China, from where two-thirds of the passengers came, and Malaysia.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed Australia will do all it can to find the jet which mysteriously diverted from its course, saying he owed it to the families of those onboard to discover what happened.

While the aerial and sea surface searches have been scaled down, Australia is now working on the next phase which will involve using sophisticated equipment to scan the unmapped ocean bed some 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) below the surface.

Negotiations are underway to engage contractors to do this work which Abbott has previously said could cost Aus$60 million.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lim Chin Siong was wrongfully detained

Lim Chin Siong was wrongfully detained

 
Lim Chin Siong was wrongfully detained
May 08
09:35 2014
By Dr. Thum Ping Tjin
Lim Chin Siong co-founded the People's Action Party (PAP) in 1954 with Lee Kuan Yew. His intellect, leadership, and legendary oratory skills enabled him to organise the trade union movement and provide the organisational base for the PAP. He effectively championed the cause of the unemployed and the exploited workers of Singapore, and was wildly popular, winning the Bukit Timah constituency in the 1955 elections with an outright majority at the young age of 22. David Marshall recalled that Lee Kuan Yew introduced Lim Chin Siong to him as the person who would be Singapore's next leader.

However, his promising political career was destroyed when he detained without trial by Lim Yew Hock's government from 1956 to 1959, then again by Lee Kuan Yew's government from 1963 to 1969.

For over five decades, the official government narrative of Singapore's history has justified Lim Chin Siong's detention by asserting that he was a communist who advocated violence and subversion.

One of the most concrete charges made against Lim Chin Siong was that he allegedly instigated riots on 25 and 26 October 1956. At a PAP-organised rally at Beauty World on 25 October to protest the government arrests of Chinese middle school students and civil society leaders, Lim supposedly worked up the restless crowd by urging them to "pah mata!" (beat the police). For this, he was arrested and detained without trial on 27 October. In the Legislative Assembly, then-Minister for Education Chew Swee Kee said:

It is significant to note that the Member for Bukit Timah (Lim Chin Siong) at that meeting said that instead of shouting "Merdeka" the people should now shout, "Pah Mata", which means "Beat the Police". Is there any doubt whatsoever as to who sparked off the riots?

Chew alleged that the crowd then drifted down Bukit Timah Road and clashed with police outside Chinese High School, sparking off the riot. This specific charge has since been repeated as fact.
Lim denied the charge all his life. The final occasion where he was recorded making such a denial was in the interview that he gave to Melanie Chew, published in her Leaders of Singapore (1996). Lim Chin Siong died in February of that year.

However, the question of whether Lim Chin Siong had indeed provoked the crowds to beat up the police can finally be settled conclusively. A transcript of Lim's speech, recorded and translated into English by the Singapore Police, has been unearthed in the National Archives of the UK. Far from urging violence, Lim used humour to defuse the tension in the audience, and reminded them that the police were also employees and did not deserve their anger.
 
Background: State-sanctioned violence and repression in Singapore
After the Malayan Emergency was declared in 1948, Singapore was turned into a virtual police state where most forms of legitimate political activity were banned, where people could be searched, detained, and tortured for no reason, and the state routinely used repression and violence as tools of governance.

Preparing for decolonisation, in 1955 the British introduced a constitution which gave Singapore partial self-government. The new Chief Minister, David Marshall, revoked the Emergency Regulations and replaced them with the new but similar Preservation of Public Security Ordinance (PPSO). However, Marshall strove to ensure that the Ordinance was applied fairly. When some labour activists were arrested in June 1955, the labour unions erupted in protests. Marshall pledged they would be brought to trial or released as soon as possible, and he was as good as his word. All but one was soon released. The last was tried in open court and found guilty of possessing proscribed documents.

This was a massive change from the previous eight years. Freed from fear of arbitrary violence and arrest, civil society activity took off, and Singapore politics became dynamic and vibrant. This alarmed the British. Since they had great difficulty finding evidence that the anti-colonial activities were illegal, they assumed anything which opposed them was subversive.

Marshall resigned in June 1956, when the British rejected his demand for complete internal self-government. Lim Yew Hock, who succeeded him as Chief Minister, was less principled. The British also put pressure on Lim Yew Hock, telling him that if he wanted progress on Singapore's independence, he had to bring Singapore's civil society under control.
 
The October 1956 riots
Lim Yew Hock and Special Branch formulated plans to dissolve various organisations which had been very active in anti-colonial activity. On 18 September 1956, the Chief Minister used the PPSO to dissolve several organisations and detained seven people, mostly from Chinese middle schools. This was greeted with massive public anger as a step backward from the freedoms enjoyed under Marshall, and an attack on the freedom of the people of Singapore. To the shock of Lim and the British, public anger was so strong that a Civil Rights Convention was quickly formed, bringing together not only a broad swath of organisations that transcended ideology, class, and ethnicity. Left and right-wing groups, Malay, Chinese, and Indian organisations, and white and blue collar trade unions all came together. Inadvertently, Lim Yew Hock was on the verge of creating a genuinely multiracial anti-colonial national front with himself as the common enemy.

To nip this in the bud, Lim sanctioned more and more rounds of arrests. Public anger mounted. By late October 1956, Singapore was a simmering cauldron of anger.

Meanwhile, the opposition PAP had been holding meetings to protest the detentions. At a meeting on 25 October 1956, at which Lee Kuan Yew, Toh Chin Chye and Devan Nair were present, Lim Chin Siong gave the speech as shown in the transcripts attached below. He reminded the audience that their target was Lim Yew Hock and the colonial masters of Singapore, not the police, who were only employees. The official transcript made by the police recorded:

"With regard to police… they are all wage-earners and they are all here to attend this meeting to oppose Lim Yew Hock. (Loudest cheers of the meeting so far) We gladly welcome them, and the more of them that attend will make us even stronger. (crowd cheers wildly) A lot of people don't want to shout Merdeka! They want to shout "pah mata". This is wrong. We want to ask them to cooperate with us because they are also wage-earners and so that in the time of crisis they will take their guns and run away. (Laughter and cheers)"

However, public anger was too strong. That same night, police and protestors clashed outside Chinese High School, and a riot broke out. It raged into the early morning. That morning, the police launched tear gas into Chinese High and Chung Cheng High Schools to clear out student protestors conducting a sit-in, and riots broke out again. This continued through the day.
 
Detention without trial
Lim Chin Siong was detained on 27 October. His speech formed a major part of the government's explanation for the detention. In a cabinet meeting, the Council of Ministers resolved to bring Lim Chin Siong to trial if sufficient evidence could be found to convict him. However, he was never brought to trial, which suggests that Lim was innocent of the charges.

When Chew Swee Kee made his allegation in the Legislative Assembly, Lee Kuan Yew did not refute it. Subsequent accounts of the events, including John Drysdale's Singapore: Struggle For Success; and Dennis Bloodworth's The Tiger and the Trojan Horse, and most recently, Men in White by Sonny Yap, Richard Lim, and Leong Weng Kam (2009) all include the assertion that Lim's speech incited the audience to violence.

The text of Lim's speech has been unearthed from the Singapore Special Branch files recently declassified by the National Archives of the UK. We now know that the government deliberately misrepresented Lim Chin Siong's speech. The Special Branch files show that Lim was framed. After the PAP came into power, it did not provide the opportunity for Lim to clear his name either.

Likewise, recent academic work (see here) has also proven that Lim's later arrest and detention in 1963 was politically motivated. The Singapore government has never had any evidence that Lim was part of a communist conspiracy. Nor has any evidence been produced for hundreds of other political detainees who were detained under the PPSO and its successor, the Internal Security Act. Declassified Special Branch files reveal that they were merely engaged in legitimate political activities to bring freedom and independence to Singapore. Most were arrested simply because Special Branch was unable to tell the difference between peaceful constitutional anti-colonial struggle and communist subversion. In November 1956 alone, 163 people were preventatively detained – in other words, there was no evidence against them, but they were arrested just in case they were communist.

It remains an open question if any of the detentions over the last sixty years were justified. The Internal Security Act remains in operation today. To ensure that this Act has been used appropriately and responsibly, an open Commission of Inquiry into the detentions of Singapore's political detainees is needed to set the facts straight once and for all. Only by learning the truth of our own collective past can we learn and grow as a nation.