Just how independent is independence?  A funny question to ask when the face of the reality that confines us, is freedom, total freedom, an illusion?  On the contrary.  The sage would say that it is what we call reality  which is the illusion and freedom which is the reality.  We are born free and, through our attachments and desires, we create a ‘reality’ which we then see as a prison.  The sage sees through the prison of ‘reality’ to the freedom that lies within.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has already made history by being the first Malay politician to ever actually win more political support through an explicitly non-racial platform.

It is practically impossible to underestimate how Anwar bucked the trend; he has completely turned our understanding of politics in this country on its head.

History has already made it crystal-clear; Malay politicians who try to unite the country by appealing to a common sense of Malaysian-ness inevitably wind up heading into political oblivion. Dato Onn Ja’afar’s political career went up in flames the moment he founded the first multiracial political party in the country, in spite of it having every conceivable advantage – it was literally the incumbent party of the time because of Onn’s towering status in Malayan politics. And it, of course, foundered completely.

Since then nobody has even tried to unite the Malays as Malaysians. Unite the Malays as Malays, of course; Syed Jaafar Albar famously proclaimed in the 1960s that he was a Malay first and a Malaysian second. Syed Hussein Alatas made an admirable attempt to change Malaysian politics through Gerakan, and we all know how that turned out. Literally every Malay leader who has tried to be Malaysian first ever since has risked being branded as a sell-out, a puppet of the non-Malays and a stooge of Lee Kuan Yew.

The one exception was Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who experienced some brief success with his Bangsa Malaysia idea. This only makes sense, considering Dr Mahathir’s iron-fisted handling of anyone who dared to oppose him; it is thus a pity that he never took this policy beyond mere words.

The moment Dr Mahathir handed over the reins to his successor, Malay politicians were up in arms criticising Bangsa Malaysia as a ‘nebulous’ and untenable concept for daring to acknowledge that the non-Malays have a place in this country too.

Brave enough to dump Ketuanan Melayu

So here we are today: 55 years after independence, the easiest way to tar a Malay politician next to calling him a Jew-lover is to accuse him of saying this country belongs to the Chinese and Indians too. That is simply how Malaysian politics works; to win the support of the Malays, you need to denounce the non-Malays as foreign squatters, who are only here as a matter of privilege rather than right, a privilege revocable at any time.

And what a coincidence it is – that is exactly how the Malaysian government works too. If you’re not an Indonesian who can be counted as a Malay, your application for permanent residency or citizenship can never hope to see the light of day. If you’re not a Malay, you can expect to hear your fair share of racist remarks in a public national school – and not from students, mind you, but teachers.

As a student you can expect a syllabus which teaches you about the meaning of Ketuanan Melayu rather than Bangsa Malaysia. As an employee you can expect a civil service where you’re not welcome unless they need you to fulfil their minuscule quota of non-Malay recruits.

As an entrepreneur you can expect a government – and many government-linked companies – which will not give you any business unless you are a Malay. Half a century after independence, and that’s what 40% of this country has to look forward to.

And since this is how the government works, up-and-coming politicians and political activists realise this is how politics works too. That is why even though you will never hear the typical Malaysian voicing such sentiments, political activists will readily denounce the non-Malays as foreign squatters here at the behest of a social contract which gives them the privilege, not right, to stay and live here.

Since this is how politics and government have worked since time immemorial, we owe Anwar an incredible debt for nearly single-handedly turning all this – everything – completely on its head.

For the past half century, to be a good Malay leader, you have either had to publicly proclaim your support for Ketuanan Melayu – and not the mild ketuanan as in strong leadership, but ketuanan as in ‘blood will run in the streets if our demands are not met’ – or you have had to simply avoid commenting on the issue and just hope you can be all things to all people.

Anwar ran on a platform, not of vague meaningless nice-sounding platitudes, but a platform explicitly against everything Ketuanan Melayu stands for.

Ketuanan Rakyat, not Ketuanan Melayu

This is a man, mind you, who celebrated the end of his ban on active politics by damningKetuanan Melayu and consigning it to the dust heap of history. This is a man who has publicly and repeatedly proclaimed that his commitment is to the sovereignty of the people – Ketuanan Rakyat – rather than the dominance of the Malays.

This is a man who has never wavered from his stand that the philosophy of government assistance based on racial origin, rather than economic status, is fundamentally and morally wrong. This is a man who has repeatedly, wherever he goes, whoever he speaks to, driven home the same point, again and again: ‘Anak Melayu, anak saya. Anak Cina, anak saya. Anak India, anak saya.’

And this is a man who has had everything in the traditional playbook of Malaysian politics thrown at him. He’s been labelled a heretic, a sodomite, a liar, a hypocrite, a traitor willing to sell the Malays and Malaysians out at a moment’s notice. The ruling coalition has done everything in their power to make it known far and wide that this is a man committed to non-racialism; committed to a Malaysia where everyone belongs.

Regardless of whether you think he deserves it, or if he was just lucky, credit is due to Anwar: where so many brave Malay leaders have fallen and failed, he has won an incredible victory. Onn Ja’afar was vilified simply for opening up his political party to Malayans of all creeds and colours; Anwar has gone above and beyond, explicitly declaring that this is a country for all Malaysians, whoever they might be. And he has won a resounding victory.

Broke new frontiers

It would be one thing if he scraped through with a majority of less than 5,000 votes in the recent by-election, but the fact is, it was not even close – not with a landslide majority of 15,000, larger even than the majority his wife won before he explicitly condemnedKetuanan Melayu. Anwar has succeeded where everyone else has failed; he has carved out a broad base of political support, not on a platform of rights or privileges for one community, but a platform of justice, freedom and equality of opportunity for all communities.

Criticise Anwar all you like for his inconsistent and wishy-washy stands on other issues. Criticise his coalition for its internal dissension and strange hypocrisy all you want. You can even say you have no intention of trusting a man who might just stab you in the back the moment he gains power.

The fact of the matter is, you do not have a choice between Anwar and your ideal, committed, consistent, sincere Malaysian leader. Your choice, in the here and now, is between Anwar and a regime built on racism, built on stoking the flames of mistrust and hatred. This regime of hatred has delivered its promise of Ketuanan Melayu; why should we expect things to be any worse under a regime promising Ketuanan Rakyat?

At the worst, it’s the same old garbage under a different government; at best, we might finally have a government and a political system which works for all Malaysians rather than whoever yells the loudest and threatens the most blood.

Making the Malaysian dream a reality

As far as taking power is concerned, this is still a long shot. Anwar may yet turn out to be a flop on delivering if he ever gets the chance to govern. But the simple and stark reality is, as far as we who live in the present are concerned, he is our best and only chance to put a stop to this insanity.

Anwar is not the perfect vessel for uniting the country, but there is a reason he scares the powers that be: he is the first real chance we have ever had to unite the country against the demons of racialism and parochialism. And for now, he is our only chance. He is the only one who can cross ethnic barriers to proclaim a commitment to a Malaysia where Malaysians, not Malays, are sovereign, and actually win more support than before.

I am no huge fan of Anwar, but I recognise what he has done, and how far he has come. I support him, not because I like him as a person, but because I believe in the cause he champions, and because I believe that if there is any person in this country who can make that dream a reality, it is Anwar Ibrahim.

So let’s by all means salute the freedom that the tricolour represents as it unfurls against the immensity of the sky.  And as we do so, let’s also salute that infinitely greater freedom that lies both within us and beyond the vastness of the sky.

its independence from foreign rule.  Colonial rule – the domination of one people by another people – is slavery, and an affront to the concept of civilisation.  But though as a nation we attained political freedom 65 years ago, there are many other freedoms that we have yet to win: freedom from poverty, deprivation, disease and the bane of corruption at all levels of public life.  What price political freedom if it doesn’t include freedom from hunger? Freedom from inequality, injustice and exploitation?In a region where corruption is endemic, Singapore has remained clean. From 1959 when the PAP first formed the government, we have stamped out corruption. The challenge is to keep corruption free. We have to rid our society of greed, corruption and decadence.

Is Anwar Ibrahim an irresponsible rider of the zeitgeist, or is he a leader who has a feel for the law of unintended consequences and has manned himself nobly to face the formidable challenges of the path of bold reform he elected upon 14 years ago that is now poised for execution?

In other words, is he an opportunist thumping the tub with minimal concern for consequences, or is he a visionary leader with a matchless ability to convey high flown speculation in the accents of the street, a place now reverberating with the democratic spirit of the times leveraging on which would afford him the spotlight-grabbing presence of a global leader?

In sum, is he charlatan or statesman?NONETo be sure, the double-sidedness of this question that dogs Anwar has been the common lot of many a pivotal politician in eras past, with allies and adversaries, contemporaries and successors, journalists and historians, puzzled by what they see as enigmatic, contradictory, and even, hypocritical, strains to their character.

Today, by accepting the invitation to be the fifth speaker in the series called Royal Selangor Club Presidential Luncheon Talks, Anwar has chosen to saunter into a situation where he may well be subjected to sharp and unceremonious questioning from a sellout crowd on the penumbras to his political personality.

The 350 seats to the luncheon were taken up within three days of the posters publicising the event going up at the prestigious club. In contrast, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, the first invitee to the series that begun last January, had 184 takers; Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the second invitee, had 148 takers; Musa Hitam, the third speaker, had 190; and Lim Guan Eng, the fifth, drew 275 diners.

Lim’s draw was the most creditable of the series until Anwar’s because dining rates for his talk were raised from RM50 for club members and RM70 for guests to RM80 and RM100 respectively – a marked increase that, apparently, did not have a diminishing effect on attendance.

The raised rates have been retained for Anwar’s talk which at its draw of 350 diners is a smash because he had asked for a September 6 date, but was told by the club that they needed more time to publicise the event.

In the event, the club did not need the extra time to herald the talk. It could have been held at Anwar’s request early date. Seats were sold out within 72 hours of the posters going up – and that was in the first week of September.

Tough questions expected

However, a brimming house is no guarantee of likeability for what the speaker is going to say and there could be a number of pesky questioners eager to have a go at Anwar who ought not to avail himself of the protection the talk’s moderator offered Najib when he faced a question about his willingness to accept the results of the 13th general election.

The moderator interposed in the question-and-answer session to absolve Najib of the need to reply although the question was perfectly in order because it was on a subject that speaker had threaded in his postprandial remarks.

The protocol on these occasions is that invited speakers should not be asked questions on matters they had not raised in their speech.lingam tape inquiry day 4 170108 mahathirOf course, nobody would expect Anwar to affect the Dr Mahathir Mohamad stance that the latter made famous at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam video controversy in January 2008.

That General Custer-like stand saw Mahathir claim that he was prepared to answer any questions within or outside the terms of reference of the inquiry, a typically pre-emptive position taken by the former prime minister to rock circling detractors back on their heels.

But that bombast fell flat when Mahathir trotted out the excuse of a not sufficiently retentive memory at the inquiry when he was pegged on lacunae in his conduct and that of his aides.

Anwar, an exponent of transparency and accountability in government, cannot rely on comparable subterfuge for his salvation before an audience that is likely to temper admiration with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The reference here to Mahathir is not without relevance, for it was at the Royal Selangor Club where Mahathir was first introduced to Anwar in 1971. It remains to be seen if Anwar would make that first encounter the subject of his talk today; it is a fit subject for dilation.

First impressions can be deceptive or they can be spot-on for a lifetime. By dwelling at length on his first impressions on Mahathir, Anwar can show what has learned over four intervening decades on the nature of fleeting and immediate impressions.

That way he would tell a lot on the moral thrust and empirical substance of his perceptual and analytical ability, which is important because Anwar would, if it comes to that, be Malaysia’s first PM of an avowedly intellectual bent.

“A debate is where truth goes to die.” That was the first line out of the mouth of Dr. R.H. Flutes, head of the Lying Institute of America. Following the first debate between Romney and Obama, I decided to visit him once again. He went on to say:

Dr. R.H. Flutes: “A lie here and there is not a good tactic. Consistent lying is the best course of action because it is seamless… a lie leading to a lie. It is not unlike a well-written piece of music. Fluid. Coherent. And best of all, it makes us feel good.”

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today said that BN under his leadership has delivered real change and exhorted the people not to risk trying the change promised by the Oopposition.

“Under the leadership of BN, I can not only promise but deliver process and change. In the last three years, we have delivered real progress and change in this country,” he told a gathering of some 3,000 Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (KTAR) alumni at an appreciation dinner tonight.

This, he said, was in contrast to the change promised by the opposition which entails uncertainty.

“Change is the best word, every politician in the country and around the world use the clarion call for change… But let me say what we truly want is not change for the sake of change but change for the better – real meaningful change.

NONE“We want real, systematic, organised and planned change and not something that will lead to greater uncertainty,” he told the gathering at KTAR’s main campus in Setapak.

Among the progress delivered was the country’s ability to defy global trends to record significant growth at 5.4 percent in the last quarter alone as well as the economic and government transformation programmes, said Najib.

“We don’t believe in making promises that we cannot fulfil. I agree that if the (opposition’s manifesto) Buku Jingga is implemented, we will be bankrupt in two years.

“If you add up their promises to abolish PTPTN, to provide free education, to abolish toll and raise household income to RM4,000, to lower vehicle prices and petrol prices and to increase royalty Sabah and Sarawak by 20 percent, just look at the facts,” he said.

Najib stressed that there was no such thing as a “free lunch” and implementing such policies including free education would mean increasing taxes on the people.

“Let us not be taken in to such promises of the sun, moon and galaxy. You can fool some people some of the time but not all the people all the time.

“You are wise people, graduates of KTAR, you are thinking people of the community. You wan a government that can deliver stability, progress and prosperity and this is a government I pledge and will do even better in years to come,” he said.

Najib also noted that KTAR was a testament of MCA’s contribution to the country.

This was the second time the Premier was given a rock star-welcome when he visited KTAR in July this year where he had announced government recognition of some 74 courses offered by the college.

The dinner tonight among others, was to express gratitude for that announcement.

‘Opposition leaders also product of MCA’s college’

Earlier, MCA president Chua Soi Lek, who is also KTAR committee chairperson, boasted that 60 percent of accountants and chartered secretaries were from KTAR and the college is expected to produce nearly 200,000 graduates by next year.

“Unfortunately the opposition has belittled and run down KTAR, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, MCA and BN. They said that this is a testimony to the failure of our education system, they said shame on us.

“But the opposition has contributed nothing to education and are only full of slogans, political spinning and street demonstration. We call it all thunder, lightning but no rain. They have not even built a kindergarten, let alone a college. Shame on you!” he said.

Chua also noted that even prominent faces in the opposition such as Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub had been KTAR students.

He then proceeded to rip Pakatan for its incoherence and asked if they crowd would rather prefer leaders from Pakatan or BN.

“I ask you a simple question, would you have (PAS spiritual leader) Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, (PAS President) Abdul Hadi Awang, (PKR supremo) Anwar Ibrahim, or ‘Ah Jib Gor’,” he said.

Despite the lukewarm reception to a political speech, the crowd responded in the positive for ‘Ah Jib Gor’ – the premier’s nickname among the Chinese community which means ‘Brother Najib’.

Pointing out that the government has contributed RM766 million to KTAR since its inception, Chua urged the alumni to support the premier’s transformation effort.

A ground-breaking report released by Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) estimated the assets of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s family at US$21 billion (RM64 billion).

The wealth of Taib himself has been put at a whopping US$15 billion (RM46 billion), making him Malaysia’s richest man, outstripping tycoon Robert Kuok who has US$12.5 billion.

The report entitled ‘The Taib Timber Mafia: Facts and Figures on Politically Exposed Persons from Sarawak, Malaysia’ was released today in Brussels to coincide with a visit by the Malaysian Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok to the European Commission.

It is the first report that describes in detail the business activities and personal wealth of 20 members of the Taib family in Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States and other countries.

The report aimed to build international pressure against the Sarawak’s first family and provide investigating bodies, journalists, Sarawakians and interested parties with hard evidence on the Taib financial empire.

BMF estimated the combined net worth of 20 Taib family members at close to US$21 billion, spread over 400 companies around the globe – all built through their near complete political and economic control of Sarawak – one of the poorest states in Malaysia – over three decades.

However, the research is restricted to Taib’s family members and does not include the wealth of Taib’s close associates, all of whom have benefited from the powerful chief minister’s patronage during his almost 31 years in power.

Taib holds three key posts

In particular, the family of the longest-serving Chief Minister in Malaysia has established monopolies over the granting of logging and plantation concessions, the export of timber, the maintenance of public roads as well as the production and sale of cement, and a number of other construction materials.

The Taib family’s business outfits, particularly its flagship company Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS), have also benefited from untendered public contracts worth hundreds of millions of US dollars,” said BMF.

CMS is the largest private company in the state with net assets totalling RM2.4 billion in 2010. It has been awarded some of the state’s largest contracts including the RM300 million construction of the state legislative assembly building in Kuching, a contract over the maintenance of all 4,000km-long state roads in Sarawak and a 15-year concession to maintain 643km of federal roads.

The report claimed that the Sarawak state government enjoys total autonomy as to the use of the state’s forest resources and state lands, while Taib has abused his triple positions as Chief Minister, state Finance Minister, and Planning and Resources Minister, to award his family members vast timber concessions, palm oil concessions, state contracts and directorships in Sarawak’s largest companies.

“In 2009, his three ministries controlled 49.6 percent of the state’s operating expenditure of RM1.19 billion and 80 percent of the state’s development expenditure of RM3.08 billion, with the other 10 ministers sharing the rest.”

As Sarawak’s Planning and Resources Minister, the report explained, Taib has ultimate control over the granting of logging concessions in Sarawak that are worth several billion US dollars.

“Already in the late 1980s, family members and clients loyal to Taib were estimated to control over 1.6 million hectares of timber concessions in Sarawak which constitute more than 10 percent of the total land mass of Sarawak”.

All in the family

The report also zoomed in on Taib’s modus operandi as to how these assets were transferred overseas to countries such as Canada (Sakto group of companies), US (Sakti Corporation and related companies), Australia (Sitehost Pty Ltd), UK (Ridgeford Properties), Hong Kong (Richfold Investment Ltd) and to a number of offshore finance centres, in particular the British Virgin Islands.

“While the above-mentioned companies officially name Taib family members as their shareholders or directors, it is believed that many other companies are held through nominees.”

Individuals profiled in the extensive 45-page report include Taib’s brother Onn Mahmud, who is second richest family member with an estimated net worth of US$2 billion, while Taib’s eldest son, Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, a major player in the Sarawak construction, property and energy business, is ranked third at US$1.5 billion.

Next in line are Taib’s Canada-based socialite daughter Jamilah Taib Murray (US$1 billion), Taib’s brother and timber entrepreneur Tufail Mahmud (US$600 million), sister Raziah Mahmud (US$500 million), daughter Hanifah (US$400 million) and son Sulaiman (US$300 million).

Meanwhile, timber conglomerate Ta Ann founder and Sarawak Energy chairperson Hamed Sepawi, a first cousin of the Chief Minister, has an estimated wealth of US$175 million.

Faced with mounting criticism, Taib had last year took to the Internet to defend his family’s wealth.

NONEIn particular, Taib explained that his daughter Jamilah’s (right) business was initially funded from his income as a Federal Minister, which his daughter through her business acumen expanded into a global empire.

“Well, my children make money, yes, quite big. I don’t know whether what they said 100 million is correct… in Canada,” he said in a four-minute video posted on YouTube a month before the Sarawak state election last year.

“But it all started (when) I gave money to my daughter. I was resigning from the Federal Government. I got gratuity, I gave some money to her to start a new business, it thrived.

“It is a property development company. When our town was still small, they had foresight to buy pieces of land and sell them quickly,” he said.

BMF compares Taib’s family with the clans of former Indonesian President Suharto and former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos – the two families had embezzled between US$15 billion and US$35 billion, and between US$20 billion and US$90 billion respectively.

“We believe our research is showing merely the tip of the iceberg as many (Taib) family assets are likely to be hidden overseas or in offshore districts where information is virtually impossible to obtain,” said the report.

“BMF is therefore calling on anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering authorities worldwide to investigate the Taib family’s business activities.”

Former Commercial Crime Investigation Department Director Ramli Yusof has cried foul over the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) for dismissing his report as “benda lama (old story)“.

Speaking to Malaysiakini today, Ramli said that there is no time limit as to when a criminal or graft case can be probed and that MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdul (right) was making excuses.

Ramli was previously acquitted of five graft charges which he claimed was trumped up, because his team were probing alleged links between then Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and an underworld don.

“Is the MACC willing to investigate their own officer? Is (the inertia) because Mohd Shukri plays badminton with Musa? Is he also covering up for Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail? Maybe the MACC is trying to protect its officers who had made fools of themselves for charging me,” he said.

In 2007, Ramli’s men were were suspended and charged in Johor for allegedly recording false evidence. They were acquitted and later reinstated and promoted.

On the other hand, Ramli (left) faced a series of charges which included allegations that he was worth RM27 million. The series of events have been dubbed as the Cop-gate Affair.

Along with former Kuala Lumpur CID Chief Mat Zain Ibrahim, Ramli has been campaigning for a tribunalagainst Abdul Gani and Musa over a series of allegations.

However, as of September 27, de facto Law Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz claimed that the matter won’t be probed because no report had been lodged with the relevant authorities.

NFA: False Report

Ramli denied that this was the case. He said that he had lodged a Police report against a MACC officer named Sok One Esen for allegedly lodging a false police report against him which led to him being charged.

Sok One’s report relates to Ramli’s alleged abuse of power in using a police light aircraft for personal reasons. However, the Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court was shown evidence that Ramli was not in Sabah at the material time.

Another witness during the trial, the Kampung Tanjung Labian Tunk headman, also provided a testimony that contradicted Sok One’s report, which alleged that Ramli had instructed the villagers to vacate their land for a commercial project.

The headman testified that his village still remained as it was, while the Cessna pilots also corroborated with Ramli’s alibi.

At the end of the trial, Judge Supang Lian acquitted Ramli without his defence called. The judge also remarked that Musa was an unreliable witness.

Ramli alleged that his report against Sok One had been deemed no further action (NFA) by the Attorney-General’s chambers.

He added he had also lodged reports against the Police disciplinary board and Musa and these were marked NFA (No Further Action) as well.

“In one of the reports, there is reference made in the (alleged mob links),” he said, adding that it was not true for the Nazri to say that there were no reports lodged over the matter.

And then I asked, “And you have no reservations about the idea of lying to millions and millions of Americans and the morality of deception?”

And at that moment I have to be honest with you, the doctor upon hearing my statement began to laugh so hard he doubled up in his chair. It must have been over a minute before he composed himself.

And then he said: “We are a nation of sugar freaks. Give us something that satisfies us for a few minutes at a time and we will forgive and forget everything. We have virtually forgotten about the Iraq War. The thousands upon thousands who died. The chaos. The instability in the region. Over 2 trillion of our dollars down the drain. Our young men and women killed, wounded. Where is the outrage? Most Americans don’t even know what happened or care. And why don’t they care? Good lies. Constant lying. Consistent lying. A lie that flows into a lie that flows into a lie.”

Q: “What did you think of the recent Romney Obama debate?”

Dr. R.H. Flutes: “Wonderful lying on Romney’s part. Seamless lying. Except that Big Bird comment.”

Q: “Why point to that moment?”

Dr. R.H. Flutes: “Because that was the only true thing he said all night. And that became the story. The truth stuck out among all the lies. I’ll say it again — our motto at the institute is, ‘Lie from beginning to end.’ It is engraved over our entryway.?

Q: “But the Big Bird story did not go anywhere. It just became a joke.”

Dr. R.H. Flutes: “Fortunately. And none of the media picked up on his real feelings about PBS. He got close to opening up Pandora’s Box, and that truth could have gotten him in real trouble.”

Q: “Can you explain, doctor?”

Dr. R.H. Flutes: “Romney doesn’t care about Sesame Street. He doesn’t care about Big Bird. The 400 million dollars it cost the government is pocket change. He wants to get rid of PBS because it is the only news service that is not beholden to any corporations. From time to time, all networks run into conflicts with sponsors. That’s just a fact of life. Not PBS. No conservative wants a Frontline documentary exposing this or that. It’s just not worth it. Why take any chance? There’s no upside for big business.”

Q: “I see.”

Umno, we want the identity of the donors immediately. If not, then we can confirm that this money is “duit haram”.The fact remains that huge money has been deposited into someone or some party’s account. If this is not corruption, what do you call it?Registrar of Societies (ROS), where are you? Nazri, in trying to exonerate Musa Aman, pointed the finger at Sabah Umno. Nazri, but we are missing the point here. Whether the case was for Musa or Umno, what difference does it make? You’re still smuggling cash, right?Should there be a change in government, one of the first things the new government should do is to disband the MACC and get rid of all the top brass. It has hardly any credibility left.

How else can you explain its record in tackling corruption in Malaysia?

How can you not find an element of corruption where a guy was caught red-handed with RM40 million in cash but you want to leave no stone unturned in a case involving RM2,500 to the point of a man losing his life?

If they are not cooperating with the authorities in Hong Kong and Switzerland, then it is not only an obstruction of justice but also abetting in whatever illegal crap that is going on.

And if it is legitimate money, why the need to smuggle it? So what this shows is not only is Musa corrupted, Umno is also confirmed to be corrupt and was caught red-handed smuggling/laundering money.

This is money laudering, and the bagman was caught red-handed in Hong Kong. Why didn’t the ROS investigate and raid Umno offices in Sabah? Why did it only go after Suaram when it didn’t have any real evidence at all?

The general election is near, so expect more such illegal funds coming back from foreign shores.
Now that it was admitted by Nazri that Umno Sabah did accept the money, it is now either Umno Sabah or Musa Aman who should be charged with corruption. It depends on who gave the order to bring in the money.Honest and trustworthy organisations with integrity would transfer the money electronically, not carry it by hand surreptitiously into Malaysia in a suitcase.

Come on, do you really think that we are that stupid? Who in their right mind would walk around with that much cash in his suitcase unless it was illegal in some way and it needed to be hidden from someone or some authority.

That such people with this kind of mentality are running a state government is almost unbelievable.

It makes me sick to see these things happen, and yet they hound Suaram for receiving RM250,000 from foreign donors.
The issue is who paid RM40 million to Sabah CM Musa Aman or Umno, and why. Musa is innocent, just as former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik was incapable of cheating the cabinet in Putrajaya. After all, even an unrepentant sinner would not be able to cheat a stick of furniture.The Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) took no further action not because there was no crime, but because their Malaysian counterparts were covering up the case.Why did the funds go to Umno Sabah? Does it contravene the Money Laundering Act?to get the Hong Kong ICAC to come here and investigate the Malaysian MACC and all Umno-BN politicians. Umno is corrupt to the core.But could we ask where the money came from? It certainly could not have been from the bottom of Victoria Harbour or the swamp in hongkok.

If the money is for Umno, can the relevant authorities check how much such funds Umno has received? The rakyat need answers.: Whichever way you look at it, this is mega-corruption. And how very easily the Umno government through Minister in the PM’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz excused Musa Aman. This is only the tip of the corruption iceberg.This is Umnoland and all forms of corruption are accepted as long as the amounts are in millions and they – Umnoputras and Umnoputeris – are free to do with impunity.not surprised that MACC stopped short of investigation. MACC is used by the powers-that-be brazenly to legitimise their ill-gotten millions/billions gains but unleashed tenaciously like a pitbull on the opposition, even on a minuscule sum of RM2,500.

TBH (Teoh Beng Hock) has not died in vain in exposing the inequitable and sorry state of the MACC. The rakyat are not stupid, they have eyes and they can see.
The poor rakyat get a mere RM500 through BR1M – indeed, this is an ‘eyewash’ so they can steal millions and billions from the state coffers.

Dr. R.H. Flutes: “Romney doesn’t want to get rid of Big Bird. He just wants Big Bird sold by Kellogs. And what he’s really saying is, I want PBS News to have commercials. That’s the firewall to protect his corporate America.”

And then he smiled.

Dr. R.H. Flutes: “Truth is a pesky thing. Think about it. One truthful moment in 90 minutes, and it was all over the airwaves. Fortunately that unspoken truth wasn’t deciphered.”

Without such restrictions we would have not freedom but anarchy and chaos.  Freedom means the freedom to choose between two or more things, or courses of action.  But if there is no moral compass to direct us, to tell us what is deemed to be right and what is wrong, there is no more choice left.  And without choice there is no freedom, there is only the tyranny of ‘chance desires’.  As Ivan Karamazov said: If everything is permissible, then nothing is permissible.

It is not just our own country, or society, or family, which obliges us to act within the limits set by laws and ethical and moral codes.  In an increasingly interdependent world – both environmentally and economically – our destinies are linked with the actions of others, as their destinies are linked to what we do.

No man is an island, said John Donne.  The poet foresaw what is called the ‘butterfly effect’: if a butterfly flutters its wings in Japan, it will create an earthquake on the other side of the globe.

Even sceptics about man-made climate change will concede that the destruction of a South American rainforest, say, can have unforeseeable repercussions on, for example, monsoon rains in India, or the melting of the polar icecaps.  Similarly, an economic crisis in one part of the world can affect far distant lives and livelihoods.

We are bound together by our common humanity and by the planet we share.  We are bound by Kant’s moral imperative: choose to act so that each of your actions could be made into a universal principle.  If I choose to exploit the Earth’s resources without restraint, then I must accept that all others will do the same, with the result that soon there’ll be no more resources for anyone to exploit.  Our freedom is always a paradox, bound in as it is by the freedom of others.

We are not free even in terms of our bodies.  Biology is destiny, geneticists tell us.  Our DNA determines what our physical attributes and aptitudes will be: the colour of our eyes, and whether or not we can ever become Olympic athletes. Does physiological determinism leave no place for free will?

We are part matter, part mind.  Matter must regulate itself by its own laws, leaving the mind free  to explore the farthest reaches of thought.  In his novel, Necessary Doubt, Colin Wilson writes about a scientist who invents a drug which suppresses all automatic bodily functions – such as breathing, and the beating of the heart, and the circulation of blood – so that all physical determinism is excluded and the mind is liberated to exercise its free will to the fullest.  To his horror, the scientist discovers that when automatic bodily functions have to be willed by the mind, the mind becomes the body’s captive and has no freedom for abstract or philosophical thought.

So, in the face of the reality that confines us, is freedom, total freedom, an illusion?  On the contrary.  The sage would say that it is what we call reality  which is the illusion and freedom which is the reality.  We are born free and, through our attachments and desires, we create a ‘reality’ which we then see as a prison.  The sage sees through the prison of ‘reality’ to the freedom that lies within.

So let’s by all means salute the freedom that the tricolour represents as it unfurls against the immensity of the sky.  And as we do so, let’s also salute that infinitely greater freedom that lies both within us and beyond the vastness of the sky.

“Ultimately, ethics is about doing the right thing; not taking that which isn’t yours; not inflating expenses that you are not entitled to; not manipulating facts and figures with the intention to mislead; not compromising on quality of services and products to maximise profits; and not lying and misrepresenting the truth to look good.”–Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor


DOHA: The wife of the Malaysian Prime Minister, Rosmah Mansor, yesterday urged women to take a more active role in their institutions and organisations in order to strengthen business ethics.

She said women could play an important role in strengthening ethics in business because their nature of being mothers and nurturers required that they imbued trust in the relationship they built and developed.

“As mothers, we have a responsibility and opportunity to imbue the right values and inculcate morally sound behaviour in our children. These are values and behaviours which will make them ethical people.Further, our roles that include multi-tasking between the home and the workplace demands that we deliver promises to the people who depend and count on us,” she said in a keynote address titled “Role of Women in Strengthening Business Ethics” at the Qatari Businesswomen Association’s programme at the Inside Investor Forum Asia 2012, here.

The two-day forum from Monday, organised by the international media group and consultancy, Inside Investor, is a high-level business event which brings together heads of state, investors and top-level company executives from the ASEAN and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to identify investment opportunities in the two regions.

Rosmah said women should extend these qualities in ensuring that the companies they worked for delivered on their promises and upheld governance and ethics at all levels of the organisation at all times.

She said the rising participation of women in the global workforce also provided an opportunity for women to play a bigger role in strengthening business ethics.

“There are many reports that predict the 21st Century as the century for women. We see rising involvement of women in boardrooms and executive positions globally.

“In March 2012, Business Insider revealed that women hold 21% of senior management positions globally. This study shows that women are in an advantageous position to strengthen ethics in business,” she said.

Rosmah said that in Malaysia, the government was also encouraging companies to increase the number of women on their governing boards to at least 30% by 2015 and, currently, on-the-job training programmes – most of it focused on strengthening ethics in business – were being held to prepare these women for board positions.

Rosmah said business ethics was important to the company, the consumer as well as the employees and stakeholders, and for the healthy growth of an economy.

“Ultimately, ethics is about doing the right thing; not taking that which isn’t yours; not inflating expenses that you are not entitled to; not manipulating facts and figures with the intention to mislead; not compromising on quality of services and products to maximise profits; and not lying and misrepresenting the truth to look good,” she said.

Those who did not follow ethical rules might have short-term success, but would fail in the market in the long run, she added.

Rosmah said Qatari and Malaysian businesswomen associations could develop a common platform for debates and deliberations on business ethics for insights, learning and sharing experiences.

“We could organise joint programmes regularly that mutually serve both the Gulf and ASEAN. These could include educational and business programmes as well as exchange of talents that will strengthen business ethics in both regions,” she said.

Meanwhile, in a separate event, Rosmah received the “Honour for Charitable Commitment and Philanthropy” award in appreciation of her dedication and commitment to charity work.

The award was presented by the Vice-Chairwoman of the Qatari Businesswomen Association, Aisha Al-Fardan.

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