Sabarlah pakcik.. moga kepala Dato’ Raja Nong Chik bin Datuk Raja Zainal Abidin yang melastik ball bearing tu pulak pecah kena lenyek lori..aminYes, Khairy, and I can categorically state that you have reduced yourself to the status of an apologist for all of Umno’s crimes against common decency – albeit a very well-dressed one with a posh imported accent
WOMEN, STAY SAFE !from Nong Chik the Rusputin
Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin reiterated his intention to contest the Lembah Pantai Parliament seat during the 13th General Election if he is selected by the Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership.
“I have many times before indicated to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that if I was among the candidates, I wished to contest in Lembah Pantai.
“I know it will be a tough seat to win compared with Putrajaya or Labuan,” he told reporters after attending a Crime Prevention Programme organised by the Universiti Malaya Indian Alumni (PANI-UM) and Lembah Pantai Community and Welfare Centre in Taman Bukit Angkasa, Pantai Dalam here today.
Nong Chi was commenting on reports that he may be contesting either Lembah Pantai, Putrajaya or Labuan.
Asked what was the reason for choosing Lembah Pantai, Nong Chik said he had lived in the area for 25 years and had served the community in various ways.
“I have been involved in solving all kinds of problems in the area, especially those related to the community, all the time unlike some politicians who are only active during the election period.
“So, it is about time I take up the role as the peoples’ representative (wakil rakyat) and serve the people of Lembah Pantai. However, if someone else is chosen by the leadership, I am willing to accept,” he said.
Speaking of the Crime Prevention Programme, Nong Chik said there should be of such programmes organised to create awareness among the people and help the police to fight crime in their respective areas. —
This is fantastic news! Can we please have Shahrizat back to contest the Lembah Pantai seat. We have really missed her. “The way they investigated it is as if they were merely trying to find a reason to let Shahrizat go. What the MACC needs to prove is that there was no influence whatsoever from
… Read more SHAHRIZAT BACK TO CONTEST THE LEMBAH PANTAI SEAT.WHITEWASHING NONG CHIK
Can an election ever throw up the right candidate? Or to put it more moderately, is an election the mechanism best suited to throw up representatives that will strive to work for their constituents and attempt to better their life? Are there in-built into the electoral process, a set of imperatives that help pre-determine one kind of outcome, irrespective of the quality of the candidates? corruption which is gnawing at the vitals of the nation (I know it sounds like a cliché but look around the number of thugs and criminals who are holding political offices and you will know what I am saying) and the electoral system that we have does not ‘consider’ corruption as an issue. Why? Because the voter does not believe that any politician is honest. He takes it as a given and has become fatalist in his approach (so Malays!). So if all politicians are corrupt, the elector casts his vote for a neta who gives them the most (earlier it was who promises them the most). So there is a competition between political parties to up the goodies that they offer to voters – whether it is free color TVs, free power, free medical aid or cheap rise or even thinly disguised cash transfer schemes. With each successive election the battle for offering freebies is becoming more intense. In my opinion elections should be renamed as ‘game of freebies.’ The poor dumb also greedy voter (as all of us are) are taken in by this opium offered to us forgetting in the process that there is nothing known as a ‘free lunch’. Somebody has to fund the cost of the freebies and it is the tax payer (that is you and me that is doing it). Mind you it is not only the income tax payers who are paying for this free lunch but also the poor because there is something known as indirect taxes that you pay while buying any goods/services in the market. And we pay for this in innumerable other ways as well – like the grid collapse in north and east India the other day. So we are all participants ( wily-nily) in this game of freebies that is actually subverting the process of elections and striking at the heart of democracy.
When a poor sport realizes they may be losing, what do they do? More often than not, they figure out a way to cheat. In politics, things are no different. Facing the reality of an ever-diversifying electorate, and their own party’s failure to broaden its horizons,
This is fantastic news! Can we please have Shahrizat back to contest the Lembah Pantai seat. We have really missed her. “The way they investigated it is as if they were merely trying to find a reason to let Shahrizat go. What the MACC needs to prove is that there was no influence whatsoever from … Read more
The word which I think most appropriate to describe the present feeling about Raja Nong Chik,is disesteem. The word captures all the negatives — dishonour, disrespect, held in low opinion of, repulsive, etc.
Why has it come to that? I think the most important factor has been the increasing disconnect between what is desired by the majority and the small elite that’s leading Umno. And that increasing disconnect has also been caused by Umno’s refusal to hold its own elections. Here is why Umno has made the crucial mistake. It thinks by suspending its own elections it can expel the bad feelings; what it does is only postponing the anger and frustrations and disconnect. What it has done is to build up frustration and anger. That will translate into rejection of Umno.
Thomas Paine, the American writer and thinker, wrote “… prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often; because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflexion of not making a rod for themselves.”
Lest the above paragraph makes life miserable for many Umno people, what it means is that if the elected voluntary submit themselves to be judged frequently by their electors, they will be restrained from forming self-interests. The answer to legitimacy therefore is no prolonged suspension of elections but frequent as per provided for by the constitution. Now, if the elected leaders postpone elections indefinitely, that is a strong presumption that those elected have already made a rod for themselves.
Fault Lines travels to the Republican and Democratic Conventions and asks what the spectacle is worth.
WATCH VIDEO CLICK HERE http://suarakeadilanmalaysia.blogspot.com/2012/09/conventions-2012-price-of-party.html
The United States is in the midst of its most expensive election season ever.
It is not what Washington pundits mean when they say that this year’s presidential race will be won or lost on the economy.
Nonetheless, almost $6bn will be spent trying to get Republican and Democratic candidates into office.
Virtually unlimited cash can buy many things – hundreds of hours of television advertising, automated phone calls, a really big party. But who is paying? And what is the price exacted of the country’s democracy?
There are three months left until voting day.
This is fantastic news! Can we please have Shahrizat back to contest the Lembah Pantai seat. We have really missed her. “The way they investigated it is as if they were merely trying to find a reason to let Shahrizat go. What the MACC needs to prove is that there was no influence whatsoever from … Read more
One has to ask is this guy really to serve the people who put him where he is, in the first place or just playing up the emotions with niceties (this does not help put food on the table) ? Real national day also they can’t differentiate when so what do u expect from leaders of such quality. Other countries are moving ahead, we r lagging behind, weren’t we once at par with South Korea and others, look how far they have moved. If not because of our oil and other natural resources, in my opinion, we will be even worse than now. Raja Nong Chik !! Don’t use people money and your powerful position to intimidate the rakyat !! This is way Malaysia need a CHANGE urgently !! This government thinks Malaysia belongs to them and do whatever pleases them.
If there is one thing that I hate to death, it is spam. Getting spam email is one of the most annoying things ever.
Even more annoying are spam SMSes… you know, the ones that tell you about cheap beer at various nightclubs or discounts at popular restaurants.
But recently, the most annoying spam SMSes I have received are from a certain politician and Cabinet minister who goes by the name of Raja Nong Chik.
He wants to return so that he can help Nurul Izzah in her election campaign.
Raja Petra intends to return to Malaysia to join PKR vice-president and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar’s campaign team.
Nurul Izzah is expected to face a tough fight against Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, the Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister.
Recently, Malaysia Today launched a fund-raising drive for Nurul with more than RM35,365.00 collected so far
Since early 2011, Raja Petra has been very critical of Pakatan Rakyat, in particular PKR and Anwar Ibrahim.
His move to join Nurul’s campaign team is thus viewed as quite a surprise although Raja Petra has always expressed support for Nurul even when he was critical of her father, Anwar.
In an immediate response, Immigration Department Director-General Alias Ahmad said there were no problems with Raja Petra’s return, as long as the latter had the necessary travel documents.
“As long as he has Malaysian travel documents, there are no problems for him to come back,” he told FMT.
He added that the blogger’s passport could be renewed by the Malaysian High Commission in Londo
It started when I decided to register to vote slightly less than a year ago. Registration went fine with no glitches (i.e. suddenly finding out I’m registered to vote in Sabah!)
My constituency, according to my IC address, is Lembah Pantai. As we know, the current MP in that area is PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Since I didn’t vote in the last general election, I can’t claim to have played a role in getting her into office.
And now that the 13th general election is coming up, rumour has it that Umno will be fielding Raja Nong Chik in Lembah Pantai.
Now right after I had registered to vote (at the Election Commission office in Shah Alam), I started receiving the SMSes.
The first one wished me Selamat Hari Raya Aidiladha, signed off with “RAJA NONG CHIK.”
I was quite shocked! I had only just registered a couple of weeks ago and now this Cabinet minister already had my mobile phone number.
I was about to cry “personal data theft!”, but quickly restrained myself. Good thing I did because, apparently, there is no such law against that in Malaysia.
After that, it just went on and on. I started receiving New Year greetings, advice on how to spend my Ramadan and even an invitation for Lailatul Qadar prayers.
Last month, I even received an SMS that had the hash tags #MERDEKA55 and #JANJIDITEPATI! He could be using the same bot service as #YORAIS!
The last straw came last Tuesday. My iPhone blew out the fog-horn ring tone, indicating that an SMS had come in so I quickly checked my phone.
When I noticed it was from Raja Nong Chik, I just got annoyed. But what pushed me to the edge was the content of the SMS itself.
“SLMT HARI LAHIR. Moga terus berjaya. Sama2 kita berdoa di hari lahir anda, agar agama, bangsa & tanahair terus terpelihara. Ikhlas: Raja Nong Chik, Menteri WPKB.” (Happy birthday. May you have continuous success. Let us pray on your birthday that our religion, race and homeland are protected. Sincerely: Raja Nong Chik, FTUW.)
I couldn’t take it anymore and although I knew it was useless, I immediately typed and sent a response to the bot mobile phone number.
“You got it wrong. My birthday is in June.”
Now, every time I’m in Bangsar or its surrounding vicinity, and I see a poster, banner or bunting with Raja Nong Chik’s face on it, I get turned off.
I literally feel sick and this is without even listening to him speak about his policies and promises. So much so that I’m inclined to vote for the other candidate.
I guess his plan to garner votes (that is if he really is going to contest in the Lembah Pantai constituency) is back-firing.
What he needs is someone with a decent enough level of intelligence to advise him on his A&P campaign. It’s really simple actually and I think I’ll SMS him my advice: “Don’t irritate your voters.”
The 13th GE has not even been held but people in the constituency of Lembah Pantai are already posing the question: Who is the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai right now? Is it Raja Nong Chik or Nurul Izzah?
This question on the minds of people not only involve those in Lembah Pantai, but also many others especially in the Klang Valley, as it is a raging hot battleground now that is beginning to witness a war of sorts being waged pre-emptive by Nong Chik.
It is really a ruthless assault by Nong Chik, highly unbecoming of a person of his position, to attempt to brow-beat and cower into submission the hapless Nurul Izzah over the last few months.
Nong Chik has been unabashedly, much to the dismay and dislike of many people in Lembah Pantai, been going on rounds of rampage trying to coerce people into supporting him for the upcoming elections while usurping the rightful role of Nurul Izzah as the Member of Parliament for this constituency.
Nong Chilk and a handful of cronies, sycophants and supporters are on their rounds in Lembah Pantai thinking and behaving as if Barisan Nasional-UMNO is the elected representatives of Lembah Pantai.
This is viewed by people in the constituency of Lembah Pantai with strong hatred and contempt for Nong Chik as they see this as a form of bullying and intimidating tactics by the BN-UMNO people and they also see this as a violation of the rightful role and function of Nurul Izzah as MP for Lembah Pantai.
It looks as if Nong Chik has also abused his power and authority of being minister of federal territories and urban well-being by hijacking the police and other local and federal authorities to use as a way to go about resolving the woes and problems of the people of Lembah Pantai.
In doing so, he has side-stepped and seen to it that Nurul Izzah has hardly any support or help from the police and federal and local authorities in discharging her duties as the MP for Lembah Pantai.
In issues such as water woes, the rising crime rate in Bangsar and Brickfields, clogged drains or rubbish being strewn in the area, Nong Chik has tried to look and paint the picture that he is really on the ground attending to the problems of the people.
While trying to look as the champion of the people in Lembah Pantai, he has actually been doing this by cutting off the access of support of Nurul Izzah from the police, the local and federal authorities.
“Modus operandi” of Nong Chik
This underhanded manner in which he is using as his ‘modus operandi’ for trying to wrest Lembah Pantai back into the BN-UMNO fold is not being realized by people in Lembah Pantai as ploys used by Nong Chik is usually sly and cunning.
He is attempting to pull wool over the people’s eyes and hoodwink them that he cares for them, and has been busy currying favor especially with the Indian segment of Lembah Pantai as they are currently the fence-sitters who he thinks may tip the balance of votes in his favor.
Usually in his entourage that goes around Lembah Pantai are a few notable Indian faces especially Bangsar Baru Residents Association chairman, George Joseph, a noted crony and sycophant of BN who received a datukship for his antics.
Joseph, who was a former Fifa referee and Football Association of Selangor administrator hardly did anything to deserve his datukship as is evidenced by the unflattering state of football in the state but was cozy with the powers-that-be that led to him being given the title of “datuk.”
Nong Chik uses the likes of these kinds of characters to play on the sentiments of residents in Bangsar and Lembah Pantai ever since the ouster of Shahrizat Jalil from Lembah Pantai and the federal cabinet in his bid for the seat of Lembah Pantai to park himself in parliament.
If Shahrizat is best remembered by Lembah Pantai constituents for her sheer arrogance and insensitivities and the corruption of her household in the National Feedlot Corporation fiasco, Nong Chik also comes across as being equally dubious in nature.
Nong Chik and the EPF scandal on low cost housing
When it was disclosed by Nong Chik that Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur or Kuala Lumpur City Hall is offering low cost housing loans to low income earners from a funding of up to RM1.5 billion from the EPF it was viewed with horror and fear by Malaysians fearing over the safety of their retirement funds in the EPF.
This was when Malaysians realized the sly and cunning nature of Nong Chik in seeking to look good to people at whatever cost as the savings stored in the EPF became the scapegoat of Nong Chik and the federal government in their bid to try and fulfill promises of housing the poor.
This is the way and manner of Nong Chik in securing votes for himself and BN, by engaging in risky and bad ploys. It is anyone’s guess what else is on his mind, as now he is hell-bent on trying to evict Nurul Izzah from the post of MP of Lembah Pantai.
Nong Chik will be well advised to first take a good look at his backyard as minister of federal territories and urban well-being as the state of his portfolio has been neglected to the extent urban poverty in the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur has escalated to alarming levels.
It is envisaged that by giving up the bird in the hand for the two birds in the bush, Nong Chik is sizing himself up to get neither.
What is expected to transpire is that Nong Chik is expected to be cut down to size by Nurul Izzah and be put firmly into his place as what happened to Shahrizat.
Nurul Izzah set to govern for many more years to come
Nurul Izzah has become a shining star among the people of Lembah Pantai for her ability to “walk the talk” and go to the ground despite the odds stacked against her by the likes of people from BN-UMNO like Nong Chik and Shahrizat.
Despite her youth, she displays excellent tact and wisdom and people skills like her father, the illustrious Anwar Ibrahim, and is unafraid to roll up her sleeves and go to the ground to assist the people with hard work and industry.
The same cannot be said for Nong Chik as his greatest sweat exuded is to plant a few trees dressed in his trademark glittering orange garb and most of the time be seen sitting at ease and looking pretty in Bangsar and Brickfields garlanded by the Indian crowd.
If Nong Chik hopes and aspire to have any impact or influence on the people of Lembah Pantai he should first learn to do things in a right and proper manner and not resort to cunning and sly tactics to earn the people’s favor.
But what many people in Lembah Pantai is up against him, is for the way he lacks the willingness to subscribe to a democratic code of ethics as his conduct and behavior in trying to go about disregarding the true and rightful elected representative of the people, Nurul Izzah, is viewed with disgust and displeasure.
Nurul Izzah is expected to triumph and prevail with consummate and relative ease in the upcoming 13th GE against any rival pitted against her because she has earned the respect and admiration of the people and this why there should be no change to the status quo on Lembah Pantai for a good, many more years to come.
WOMEN, STAY SAFE! PAKATAN NOW AIMING FOR MORE SUPPORT FROM WOMEN
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is ramping up its efforts to win over women voters with the formation of an initiative called Agenda Wanita Malaysia (Malaysian Women’s Agenda) this September 13.
This comes on the back of political observers and analysts saying that both the youth and women are the swing voters who will determine who takes Putrajaya, as the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and PR are locked in an almost even tussle for support.
As women make up half of the country’s electorate, the fight for women voters is something the federal opposition is taking very seriously.
Women, stay safe!
Nobody can protect you better than yourself! Trust your instincts and fight back!
It is a sad reflection on our society that women feel unsafe and unprotected not just on deserted roads and car parks, but even in their own homes. Young lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha was attacked and killed by her watchman in what should be the most secure place — her own bedroom! Pallavi’s case has shaken the confidence of the bravest of girls. In the aftermath of the horrific news, a single friend asked in distress, “Does that mean we cannot trust any man?”
I hate to say this, but yes, it does seem like it. Better safe than sorry… or worse. When work and lifestyles dictate that women need to travel alone, live alone and commute alone, how does a woman ensure her own safety?
I think it is important to be prepared for the worst. However dire this may sound, the only way to defend yourself is to take measures against the worst that can happen. Most girls are caught unprepared. Make a note of your most vulnerable moments when you can be overpowered and guard against those.
Trust your womanly instincts about people and situations. Be alert to your surroundings and aware of the first signs of danger. If you feel someone is following you, step into a crowded place. Call a friend or relative to escort you back.
As you get into or out of your car, watch out for anyone lurking around or a single man in the car parked next to yours. Run back to safety if you are suspicious. Always walk confidently, don’t look lost. It is proven that criminals target the lost, scared-looking women. I read advice from a cop that said even if the assailant has a gun, try and get away; there is only 4 in 100 chance that he will be able to get a hit!
Feed in the police control room number or 100 into your speed dial. Also have a friend or relative on speed dial. When in vulnerable spots, keep a pepper spray handy. Spray it into the eyes of an assailant. A perfume bottle or hairspray are good alternatives. Supreme Court lawyer Shilpi Jain urges single women to learn self-defence techniques and apply for licenced pistols, to keep in touch with neighbours and call the police patrol at the first sign of danger. “The law is clear that in self-defence you can attack anybody though you must not harm them more than necessary.”
Politeness could be your undoing. Never open the door to a stranger when alone nor stop to help another in a deserted area. Call the cops instead. When a mechanic or plumber is due home for work, request a neighbour or friend to be present.
Door keys should never be left in obvious places. Once inside, do not leave them next to the main door. This is the mistake Pallavi made. Dress appropriately, as per occasion. Clothes that may seem appropriate inside a bar will look provocative when alone in a deserted area.
Remember we live in a world of sharp contrasts — the haves and the have-nots, the educated and the uneducated, the cultured and the uncultured. To flash wealth or flesh, or to be perceived to be free with your favours, is to tip the balance, and invite trouble!
While reluctant to go into the details of the initiative ahead of the launch, Wanita PKR information chief Ramlah Bee Asiahoo said: “The agenda will focus on the enforcement of law, increasing quality of life, providing opportunity for women to involve themselves in the economy, revamping the educational policy, social harmony and the empowerment of young women.”
Although this sounds very much like political rhetoric, the initiative seems to be more than just talk.
Srikandi PKR chief Siti Aishah Shaik Ismail said they would also head to the ground and host forums as well as ceramahs. “Once Agenda Wanita Malaysia is launched, we will head to the ground starting with rural areas, and then suburban areas and finally target the young working professionals in the cities.
Wong said apart from welfare, Pakatan will concentrate more on policies.
“This is because those in the rural areas require more exposure than those in the suburban areas and cities,” she said.
PR leaders are going to focus on bread-and-butter issues like safety and economy as it is believed that women vote principally on issues and established experience.
PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail recently began an initiative for mothers against crime, a growing issue especially among women in urban areas.
Another issue taking centre-stage the past week is the apparently lenient sentence for two men convicted of statutory rape, which both BN and PR have protested.
PAS Muslimat information chief Aiman Athirah Al-Jundi said the party’s women’s division would go door-to-door, a method that worked very well previously for Wanita Umno as well.
In recent years though, this personal touch has been replaced by mass gatherings where cash handouts are given to underprivileged families but now Agenda Wanita Malaysia is picking up where they dropped off.
“Giving aid is good, but it is very piecemeal and not enough. So apart from welfare, we must concentrate more on policies,” said PKR central committee member Elizabeth Wong.
These policies have to be explained and this is where door-to-door visits can help to drill down the nuts and bolts of these proposed policies.
“We need to step into their houses, sit down and spend some time explaining what we have to offer,” said Aiman.
In the race to win the next general election, it looks like the opposition is willing to do something a little retro — go down to the ground and meet potential voters face to face.Have you ever been tempted to do what you should rightfully be doing? Most probably not! For, the very definition of temptation is wishing to do that which you are not supposed to do! You are tempted to do the very things that you are warned against, eating what you are advised not to, and wondering about places that are declared danger zones! As old as Adam and Eve, temptation is what led the original First Couple to taste the fruit of that one forbidden tree, and commit the Original Sin that led to the Fall of Man! Temptation is very easy to give in to, and near impossible to resist.
The Devil outside may be easier to resist than the Devil within, which makes temptation a natural state of existence for us. Our natural urges are all set to be tempted and lead us astray. We give in to temptation when we rationalize the outcome and convince ourselves that we are doing the right thing by giving in. The body craves pleasure and so, all the wrong things; the mind, which knows better, tries to resist, but then rationalizes the craving and gives way. Curiosity is a huge factor in temptation. Curiosity, which is basically a function of the mind, is aroused by denial or unapproachability.
The mind kicks in and starts wondering about the denial, wishing to discover what would happen if we did exactly what we are warned not to do! When a man hears colleagues rib each other about extra-marital affairs, he starts wondering if he is missing out on something, an experience he may regret not having had? His curiosity and competitive spirit are aroused and he becomes a vulnerable candidate for infidelity. The mind plays tricks on us and we convince ourselves of the reasons we do certain things.
Notice how the day you start a diet also seems to be the day you crave all kinds of unhealthy food! You think of reasons to put off the dieting, or convince yourself that a little indiscipline will not cause much harm! The mind has its reasons that decide whether you give in or not. Temptation is the weapon used by unscrupulous people to control others. When Ravana wanted to abduct Sita, he took on the form of a golden deer that tantalises her. She sends Rama off in hot pursuit and Lakshman after him, thus falling into the hands of the evil Ravana! When Lord Indra wished to test King Kaushika (later Sage Vishwamitra), he sent Menaka, an apsara from his court, to disturb his meditation. Kaushika lived with Menaka for 10 years and they had a daughter — Shakuntala.
His arrested meditation had to continue thousands more years before he became Sage Vishwamitra and managed to overcome all passion and temptation. Temptation by itself is not a sin, though it may pave the path towards sin. To be tempted is normal, a natural state of affairs. Whether you give in to that temptation or not is what determines your character. If ever a married person were to tell me he or she has never felt attracted to a member of the opposite sex; if someone said they have not been ever tempted to cheat or lie, I would find that difficult to believe! We all have our weak moments, and to be tempted is not wrong. So temptation is a good indicator of character. You do not know you are honest unless tempted by dishonesty! How do you know you are faithful unless you are tempted to be unfaithful? The strength of your resistance is a measure of your faith, fidelity, or your honesty!
What fun would a life without temptations be? Temptation is also the stuff seductions and wild imaginings are made of! To be tempted by love and desire, to allow the mind to meander through forbidden pastures before resolving to resist them in the long-term interest, or to give in at times… Can you imagine life without ever being tempted by anything at all? What a pallid, colourless existence that would be! In Oscar Wilde’s words, “I can resist anything except temptation!”
“MALAYSIA WILL BECOME A FULLY INDEBTED NATION BEFORE THE END OF THE DECADE AT THE CURRENT RATE OF MASSIVE BORROWING AND IRRESPONSIBLE SPENDING BY THE BN GOVERNMENT” DECLARED THE MALAYSIAN INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH (MIER).
Ambiga Sreenevasan got anonymous death threats for her work on the rights of women whose husbands convert to Islam in Muslim-majority Malaysia four years ago. After leading a rally calling for electoral reforms in April, she was accused of treason by a ruling party lawmaker.
The 55-year-old former Malaysian Bar Council president, who received the International Women of Courage Award from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009, hasn’t stopped challenging the government’s human rights policies.
“They underestimate right-thinking Malaysians,” she said in an interview. “We don’t like bullying.”
While Prime Minister Najib Razak, who must call elections by early 2013, has agreed to some of the demands of Ambiga’s Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, for fairer voting procedures such as the use of indelible ink, his government has declared the civil society group illegal and she has become the focus of personal attacks. Opposition leaders have championed Bersih’s campaign and called the attacks racist.
“She is seen as somebody who’s a professional, has the aspirations of the middle class, believes in things like human rights and good governance,” said James Chin, a professor of political science at the Malaysian campus of Australia’s Monash University outside Kuala Lumpur. “She symbolizes that: Somebody who holds the Malaysian authorities accountable for their actions.”
The mother of two believes her “demonization” has intensified because government supporters want to undermine the credibility of the non-partisan campaign for free and fair elections.
As an Indian, Hindu and woman, “I’m a minority in every sense of the word and I think they thought it would be easy to do,” she said.
In the 2008 elections, Najib’s multiparty, multiethnic National Front coalition had its worst showing in five decades of unbroken rule as urban Malays as well as Chinese and Indian minorities supported opposition parties pledging policies that don’t discriminate in favor of the Malay-Muslim majority.
Harassment of Ambiga since the April demonstration has included traders setting up outside her home and serving free beef burgers and Malay army veterans stretching and shaking their buttocks near her house.
Ruling party lawmaker Mohamad Aziz withdrew his June 26 comment about Ambiga’s possible treason – a crime which carries the death penalty – two days later following complaints from the ruling coalition’s ethnic Indian party leaders.
“Her rather calm and methodical responses to many of the different challenges and the personal attacks,” havegiven a sense of pride to the Indian Malaysian community, according to Bridget Welsh, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Singapore Management University. “By allowing the people who attacked her to gowithout prosecution or condemnation — this has actually had an electoral impact.”
Indians account for about 7 percent of Malaysia’s population of 29 million. Najib’s approval ratings dropped to 69 percent in June from 72 percent in May among the ethnic Indian community, possibly due to dissatisfaction over statements toward Ambiga, according to a Merdeka Center for Opinion Research survey released July 26.
Mohamad Aziz’s comments were personal and didn’t reflect the National Front’s stand, the coalition said June 27. Najib said two days later that statements that hurt the feelings of other races shouldn’t be made.
Besides the use of indelible ink, the next election will allow Malaysians living overseas to vote as part of “unprecedented measures” to strengthen the electoral process, a government spokesman said.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in an interview that Ambiga led “unreasonable” attacks against the government when she was heading the bar council.
“She seems to have some grudge against the government,” said Mahathir, who resigned in 2003 after 22 years in power. “I think this country has done much better than any other developing country and yet to her it’s wrong, it’s all wrong.”
Ambiga insists she is non-partisan and will not enter politics “so when you say something, it’s not because of politics and not because of which party I belong to, but because it is right, because it’s the law.”
Bersih, which last month won a court order overturning the government’s declaration it is an illegal organization, will continue to push for greater transparency in the voting system, saying the changes announced by the government aren’t substantial enough or haven’t yet been implemented.
After receiving death threats including a detailed one by e-mail on June 30, Ambiga now travels with bodyguards, but she doesn’t believe that Malaysia, which saw racial clashes and the suspension of parliament when the ruling party lost support in 1969 elections, will experience political violence.
“If enough people want change, there’s very little anyone can do to stop it,” she said. “Malaysians are generally peace- loving — we are nowhere near what was happening in the Middle East, Tunisia and Egypt. We are at the right point in time for positive change, and if we are going to bring change, we only want to do it by clean and fair elections.”
The lawyer intends to step down from Bersih after Malaysia’s next election to focus on her work at her firm specializing in commercial, intellectual property and industrial law. Personal interests like cricket and the arts have also been set aside, she said.
“My claim to fame was sharing the stage with Jit Murad about 37 years ago,” she said, referring to the comedian and actor who co-founded Malaysia’s Instant Cafe Theatre Company.
Ambiga also has some unfinished work from her previous campaign which first brought her death threats: Women’s rights.
Malaysia has a civil court system inherited from its former British colonial rulers as well as separate Islamic courts governing marriage, inheritance and other family matters for Muslims.
“The courts have abdicated their responsibility over a lot of family law issues in these situations involving both the Shariah courts and civil courts,” she said, citing cases where husbands have converted to Islam and unilaterally converted their children too, leaving wives in limbo.
While the government in 2008 proposed legislation requiring individuals wishing to convert to first inform family members and address custody issues, the process stalled at Malaysia’s council of Malay rulers, who have constitutional responsibility for Islamic affairs.
“This should be first in line for resolution,” Ambiga said. “The ordinary Malaysian is beginning to realize that it is not acceptable to play up religion and race in politics. There is a real maturing.”
TAKING US FOR A RIDE AS USUAL….
Amid much fireworks and fanfare, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak kicked off a two-month long ‘fly the Jalur Gemilang’ campaign at Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, also better known as ‘Little India’.
Among the promises he said the government had delivered were unity, peace, and transformation from an agrarian economy to a industrial nation, and now aspiring to be a high-income nation.
UNITY?….now we are more polarized because Najib has not muzzled Perkasa and Utusan says it is ok to spin against the opposition! The unity preached by BN is either cosmetic or manufactured. A glaring unity index is the uniform politicians are given free whilst Tees are supplied together with crash-helmets if you stand in two rows to give a rousing cheer to the VIPs. Have you heard this one:
PEACE? More housing estates are setting up their own security; more people are mugged in malls; snatch thievery is a daily occurrence; opposition ceremahs are marred with thuggery. From2003 1850 have died in police custody. Bersih2 and 3 were marred with police brutality.
TRANSFORMATION FROM AN AGRARIAN ECONOMY TO AN INDUSTRIAL NATION? This is capital bullshit. Native lands are taken for plantations; Felda settlers are exploited and duped! Money is freely given to buy votes.
…..NOW ASPIRING TO BE A HIGH-INCOME NATION? Dang, sweet dreams are made of this! LAST YEAR WAS THE 14TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR OUR GOVERNMENT OVERSPENT! Just read on:
What is a deficit?
When the government spends more than it earns, it incurs a deficit. The government spent RM229 billion in 20114. However, it earned only RM183 billion. So, it incurred a deficit of RM46 billion. A deficit, in plain language, is overspending.
Our government has overspent in every single year since 1998. 2011 was the 14th consecutive year our government overspent. The total overspend from 1998 to 2011 is RM344 billion. The overspend alone totals RM12,000 for each and every one of us – from babies to adults to senior citizens5. Do you think you got your money’s worth?
Not only has the government been overspending, it has also been extremely sloppy in adhering to its own Budget. For example, the government, when presenting Budget 2011 in October 2010, said it would spend RM211 billion in 2011. It ended up spending RM229 billion!
The overspend alone totals RM12,000 for each and every one of us – from babies to adults to senior citizens5. Do you think you got your money’s worth?
Not only has the government been overspending, it has also been extremely sloppy in adhering to its own Budget. For example, the government, when presenting Budget 2011 in October 2010, said it would spend RM211 billion in 2011. It ended up spending RM229 billion! This anomaly is not peculiar to only 2011. We found that the government has consistently exceeded its stated Budget for every single year since 1997 – a period of 15 years. It might be longer. We stopped looking after 1997. The reasons for spending more than budgeted are never adequately explained.