What an interesting chap this Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam is turning out to be. Every day there is a new revelation about his ways in a cozy world of what he confidently calls a ‘banana republic’. Does he eye this ‘banana republic’ as a delightful dessert? Does he savor every spoon of nepotism and corruption that is fed to him by a doting crowd at the expense of the susceptible ‘mango people’? “Of course not”, the coterie and the sycophants croon in perfect harmony and at a pitch that would make Lucianno Pavarotti beam down on each and every one of them with absolute pleasure. In fact, some more have asked us to take Mohd Ali Rustam’s comments lightly, brushing it off like a speck of fine dust. Even under the harshest of circumstances when Najib was ridiculed by the foreign press and attacked by the opposition, nobody from the UMNO bolted out earnestly in his defense. Naturally with Mohd Ali Rustam , it’s a different matter altogether. The party will do anything and everything to defend the Mohd Ali Rustam Loyalty supersedes everything else.

Whilst choosing a glass to replace broken pieces on my door, amongst other options I settled for a transparent, clear glass which gave visual access to the other side. I could see through and through. Now, no surprises await as I can see all as they approach the door. This transparency eased my insecurity and upped my foreboding instincts. Likewise, through a series of bold legislation and public interest initiatives it is now easy to poke into your neighbours’ affairs. I’ve been told under the right to Information Act, civil society’s transparent glass, you can access personal accounts of public servants and their enterprises and count their zeros. I wonder whether this facility is extended in the private domain? Like one of my staff members has put forth a demand for a tidy sum to tide over a domestic financial crisis. But I have my doubts. I think he needs the funds to pay off gambling debts. Can I through an institutional/legal decree check his bank accounts, cash flow statements and keep tabs on all his income and expenses? And here I have my own interests at heart. I also know that being his employer puts me in a more authoritative position where I could demand his books of accounts but I’m afraid to invite his wrath or affect his self esteem which would compel him to quit. He is a good worker with an effective and efficient track record. I’m confused about the course to adopt. All around there are demands being made by the curious on the cushioned to reveal their status and silver, so I’m getting inspired to go ahead and ask him for full personal disclosure. If he reacts adversely then maybe I can ask Arvind Kejriwal to intervene.
While the whole of UMNO seem to be conducting themselves in unbecoming behavior, this one healthy being sticks out like a sore thumb. I feel so sorry for you, my dear Datuk Saifuddin.
Datuk Saiffidin sometime back and found that he is a very simple man with a great mind and intelligence.He will be an asset to anyone.He listens.When he told me something and I ( i am nobody) suggested something else,he agreed.This shows that he listens to reason.I have high regards of him.I wish him good luck and all the best.Just recently, a most revered politician from UMNO was flayed for not “embracing his party’s stand and claims”. Embrace a claim? The upstart who had the gall to tell his own boss off is so typical of those blinded by ambition. Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, the Deputy Higher Education Minister, in my humble opinion, is the ONLY credible person left in UMNO. He is the one who has to save UMNO now and then from the red-hot blushes stemming from their stupid antics and diabolical behavior!How to change when the UMNO warlords and Mahathir is looking over your shoulders? How to change when even the UMNO President and PM is afraid to change and tell the warlords off? It’s like the warlords saying,” now the next multi-billion ringgit contract goes to me” and you’d better do it, or else…..! UMNO is corrupted to the core and there’s nothing anyone in UMNO can do anything about it. Look at Sharizat, brazenly and unashamedly talking as if she owns UMNO and the Malays. Yes, there’s nothing you can do about it, Saifuddin. And The trouble with Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah is that he thinks he is serving the rakyat or voters. He forgot that it was his party that selected him to contest the election and it was his party that appointed him a deputy minister. Hence his loyalty is supposed to be to the party and not to the rakyat or voters.

You cannot win the election on your party ticket and then demonstrate independence. That is the mark of a loose cannon. Loose cannons are those who break ranks, do not toe the party line, oppose the party stand, agree with the ‘other side’, and so on. You will be viewed as a traitor, a Trojan horse, a mole, a Benedict Arnold, a Brutus, etc. They will say you have been bought, have sold out, are planning to jump to the other side, and much more.

Barisan Nasional, in particular Umno, is very intolerant and very uncompromising with those who do not toe the party line. What you say may be true. Your cause may be noble. You may even be having the rakyat’s interest in mind. But that is not going to save you from the wrath of your party. The overriding factor would be whether what you say and do is complementary or uncomplimentary to the party. That will be the deciding factor.

Saifuddin, of course, will not be the first person to fall because he felt he was defending his principles. Others before him have suffered this same fate and many more after him will also suffer the same in time to come. Politics is not about principles. Politics is about attaining power. And how can you attain power if you do not close ranks and all sing the same tune?

If you are more concerned about the rakyat and about serving the rakyat then you should not be in politics. Politics is the wrong arena for all this. You should form an NGO or become an NGI (non-governmental individual) and fight outside the political arena. Then you can express your independent views without worrying about rubbing anyone the wrong way.

I can’t understand why people join Umno, or remain in Umno, and then say that they wish to represent the rakyat and speak up for the rakyat. Do they not know that the two are not compatible? It is like joining a gang of bank robbers with the excuse that you are trying to reduce crime. What a ridiculous excuse. How can the problem become the solution?

Saifuddin realises that you need to be the solution rather than the problem if you want to solve the problems facing Malaysia. Most people who talk about finding solutions into solving Malaysia’s problem are actually contributing to the problem. It is like what the Umno leaders said last week: Malaysian politics is too race and religion driven.

That is absolutely true. I, for one, will agree with this. In fact, I have been saying this myself for a long time. But for the Umno leaders to say this when Umno is the one doing all this sounds very weird. They are the problem. And they have the gall to speak about the problem as if someone else is the one guilty of this.

Many readers who posted comments in Malaysia Today were quite spot on when they said that the problem facing Malaysia is a problem regarding the mentality of society at large. And they have also correctly pointed out that the cause to all this is our education system. Hence we need to reform Malaysia’s education system and to do this we need a progressive and liberal education minister and deputy minister.

Hence, also, much of what Saifuddin says is very true. But then what Saifuddin says, although may be very true, is not in the interest of his party. So I doubt he would be allowed to continue to say the things he is saying. And that would mean his party might have to get rid of him and replace him with someone who is more compliant, obedient, and less of a loose cannon.

This would be good for Umno, no doubt, because then they would be able to control their people. But that will not be good for the country. We need to see a reformation of the education system. That is very, very crucial. And to see that we need a reform minded minister/deputy minister in charge. If we have someone who is more concerned about toeing the party line and serving his/her party’s interest, then Malaysia is doomed.

Umno is the problem. Yet it is offering itself as the solution. How can it be the solution when it cannot even tolerate a minister who is mildly independent? Yes, I would classify Saifuddin as mildly independent. He is not even 10% of what I would like him to be. He is not saying even 10% of what I am saying.

Najib and Umno have to understand one thing. If we want to see changes then we must respect freedom of expression and freedom of association. Malaysia’s current education system does not allow this. This has to change. And we need ministers and deputy ministers who dare call a spade a spade.

Saifuddin is almost there. He is not quite there yet. He is merely playing around the fringes and not even getting to the core yet. But even that Umno cannot tolerate. So how can we expect to see reforms?

Speak without fear or favour is an empty slogan. Umno says it, no doubt, just to impress us and to make us vote for them. But until they allow their own people to contradict the party, Umno has a long way to go to convince us that they are what the country needs.

My fear is that there will be too much pressure put on the party to drop Saifuddin. My other fear is that Saifuddin will be so vilified that he might just throw in the towel and leave Umno to join the opposition.

I do not want Saifuddin to resign and join the opposition. We need him in Umno. We need him in Umno and heading the education ministry so that he can push for reforms. We do not want yes-men in the government. That will only make things worse. We need people within Umno who are committed to reforms and who dare stand up to tell their party and their party leaders that what they are doing is wrong and what they should do to put things right.

I have always said this and I am going to say it again. It is no use preaching in the mosque, church or temple. Those people who go to the ‘House of God’ have already been ‘saved’. You need to tour the back lanes, alleys and brothels to reach out to the drug addicts and prostitutes. They are the ones who need saving, not those who go to the mosque, church or temple.

In that same spirit, it is no use having all the reform minded people in the opposition and the scumbags and slime-balls in Umno. We need some ‘saints’ in Umno as well so that they can try to ‘turn’ the ‘devils’ in Umno. Only then will we see changes in Malaysia.

And that is how I view Saifuddin — a saint walking amongst a bunch of devils trying to do ‘God’s work’.

My appeal to Najib is not only to retain Saifuddin but also to promote him to a full minister. And then give him a free hand to reform Malaysia’s education system. Then maybe, still maybe, we will be able to see changes in 20-30 years to come. Yes, even then it is going to take 20-30 years.

God help Malaysia because we certainly do need plenty of help.

While the commander-in-chief has not had the gumption to face off his equal in the opposition, here we have Datuk Saifuddin going to opposition-led Penang, and charming everyone there with nothing more than his usual dose of honesty, clarity and sincerity. While the whole of UMNO seem to be conducting themselves in unbecoming behavior, this one healthy being sticks out like a sore thumb. I feel so sorry for you, my dear Datuk Saifuddin.

Now and then, you see some headlines in the news that just put you off reading any further. You wonder where all those stupidity came from. Then, when it’s time for Datuk Saifuddin to say his piece, you reassure yourself that all is not lost with Malaysia. In their ravings, his detractors from his own party debase the original struggle of UMNO and what they once stood for. They insult and scorn
what they do not understand, what they know by instinct and the UMNO we now know, is instinctively corrupted to the core! Save for Datuk Saifuddin, of course. He is the silver lining in those clouds carried along by the wind that never bring rain; and his detractors within his own party are like trees without fruit at the end of autumn, twice dead when uprooted.

Over and beyond other truths which people discover, there is a light that is total Truth. This light can neither be dimmed nor divided. You are or you are not with the light. This light does not give knowledge directly but affects the person who acts, lives and walks in the light. Those walking in this light walk in faith and find themselves free from obstacles. So, they are not afraid to speak the truth, the truth as it should be, like our good Datuk here. This faith opens for us a global vision of human reality. Those who walk in darkness dwell in a sectarianism that prevents them embracing others as universal brothers and sisters. The UMNO we know now manifests a deep alienation for logic and truth, and of course, love for their fellow Malaysians. If they are reinventing themselves as “tuans”, then what are the rest of us to them?

I, for one, thought that politicians in power, including those in UMNO, were public servants. Servants, mind you, not masters. Only in Malaysia, public servants behave as if they are public masters. They expect others to pick up their tabs, launder “dirty linen”, shouldering yokes that eat into their flesh, taking the best of the rakyat’s harvests for themselves; the list goes on. Medieval, no? Yet, these clowns
are telling us that we are marching towards 2020, the year we become a developed nation. I could die laughing but it’s tears I shed.

Isn’t a public servant elected on the premise that he is accountable to his electorate, their progress and development? How is it some of our public servants consider their electorate as their “thing”, to use and neglect according to their fancy? To force the way their electorate should think? That they should be “grateful”? Oh, I forgot, these public servants think themselves “tuans”.

By telling the wiser Datuk off, is the upstart saying that we must always support the people in charge, no matter the circumstances? Even when they are accusing some really good people of doing poor Soros’ bidding and helping him set up a puppet regime in Malaysia? I feel really embarrassed to have such news leaving our shores. What must others think of us? Perhaps, the tempurung might be able to shield us from the scorching scorn people from outside Malaysia can pour on us? Insane comedy, alright!

I believe people like the good Datuk know that the Truth forms free people. He also knows that we cannot blindly accept another’s stand without evaluating for ourselves, according to the criterion of the larger good. It’s our responsibility to think for ourselves and however much we criticize what must be criticized, does not make us lesser Malaysians. And however much Datuk Saifuddin is at odds with the present leadership of UMNO, does not make him love UMNO less, or their original stuggle for a better Malaysia. Even if people like the good Datuk are marginalized for their courage in upholding the Truth, they wouldn’t be responsible for the demise of the diseased community. The latter is already in a self-destructive mode. It’s a pity that the majority in UMNO “loves” blindly and sentimentally. Rather, they should love effectively, in a way that can liberate and transform their brothers and sisters from a complacency that can be debilitating.

Progressive people like our good Datuk have emerged from what some would refer to as feudalistic politics. (Hi, Nat!)They are aware that the Malaysian identity has evolved, developed even; situating itself within the realities of the Malaysian context. There has been a constant effort on the part of progressive Malaysians to express what being Malaysian means in the language of our day. We should make good use of this time given to us to advance and to change for the better. Having said that, however, I don’t see many progressive specimens in the powers-that-be. In fact, I see the danger in hanging on to dim-wits or half-wits that sudah lupa that we are now in the 21 st century. These wrinkled prunes are not helping their brothers or sisters to face their true destiny; to realize themselves through their own efforts and to discover they are helpless if they do not first, acknowledge their other brothers and sisters and act with them. These dim-wits and half-wits do not have the wisdom in them (or is it courage) to tell their brothers and sisters the Truth as it is. Instead they make bogeymen out of the Jews, Christians and whatnots. These dim-wits and half-wits are entrenched in the power of delusion, entertaining the likes of themselves with sterile arguments and failed doctrines.

We have, in the likes of Datuk Saifuddin, progressive Malaysian leaders, who act in solidarity with fellow Malaysians. They are aware that their duty is not just to govern the nation alone, but to be an advocate before the Truth; to promote the Truth, encourage love among fellow Malaysians and to establish peaceful relationships. They are the leaven sorely needed for a better Malaysia.

They are not like those upstarts who “mengigau” to be in the company of the best of society, in pursuit of money and power till they isolate themselves from their duty to their electorate. In spite of propounding reforms, I for one, don’t see the shadow of a change. In fact, I see how, with each passing day, the powers-that-be are playing God with our lives by disregarding the conscience and the rights of the common Malaysian. It is said that the real sin is to lose hope but I don’t have any more hope in the present powers-that-be. I just don’t.

God bless, especially progressive Malaysians wanting a better Malaysia, for all.

Content by Barisan Nasional cybertroopers and across social media platforms will determine the ruling coalition’s success in the next general elections, says UMNO supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

The popular Deputy Minister of Higher Education said Barisan Nasional had learned an important lesson from its worst electoral performance in Election 2008 due to its failure to conquer the cyber-world which was then dominated by parties that eventually formed Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

“We were not there (cyber world) in 2008… we handicap. We lost at that time, because of that we lost young voters.But now Barisan Nasional is prepared, we have a team of bloggers and new media known as “BN cybertroopers”, the difference now is the content of the media,” the Temerloh MP told The Malaysian Insider in an exclusive interview.

Barisan Nasional lost its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament and lost four states PR before Perak fell back into its fold in 2009. Part of the defeat was attributed to Barisan Nasional snubbing social media websites in 2008 when a growing number of voters were internet-savvy.

Saifuddin, who often comes out with views which differ from other UMNO leaders, explained that the Barisan Nasional and UMNO’s top leadership are now seen to be active in social websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

“We look at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, he’s very active with the new media as general elections draw near, compared to previous Barisan Nasional leaders.It can be said that the majority of leaders now are active in using the new media,” said the Deputy Higher Education Minister.

He stressed that Barisan Nasional and PR’s new media unit are equally matched in strength, and they only differed in the contents of their blogs and websites.

“We are equally strong…but the contents will determine voters’ choice.If they (voters) feel our content is good, they choose us; but if PR is good, they choose PR,” he said, adding that Barisan Nasional is now starting to realise that the great influence of social media would determine polls result.

Saifuddin said that 90 per cent of the youth learn about the country’s political developments from the new media, in reference to a study by a Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia (UiTM) political science lecturer.

According to the study by Prof Dr Shaharuddin Badaruddin, 60 per cent obtain information from alternative media, 25 per cent from the mainstream media such as television, and only 15 per cent obtain political information through newspapers.

This proves that the contents of alternative media, which are more convincing and more “persuasive” in nature, will enable political parties to win votes and support, Saifuddin said.

With young voters and middle-class voters making up 30 per cent of the electoral roll, they are likely to determine the victory of political parties that contest in the general elections.

He said that with the changes and access to social media, the “rural” and “urban” terms are merely physical differences.

“Rural and urban are just physical differences, but there’s no ‘rural’ term for social media…the difference is only the speed and access to internet facilities only.”

Saifuddin said the demands made by middle-class voters are getting more and more complicated.“Key issues such as basic infrastructure is no longer the main issue for them, because of that Fardhu Ain. The issues that they raised are fardhu Kifayah issues, every ruler will give basic facilities to the people, but how many are prepared to give media freedom, give attention to basic human rights and clean and fair elections.”

He said that various schemes announced by Najib during the tabling of the Budget 2013 such as the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia and book vouchers are not adequate to gain the support of this group.

“They receive the government handouts, but they want more than that because they think such actions would be carried out by any party in power. Their demands are more towards basic human rights, freedom of speech and so on.”

Saifuddin saw Najib’s reforms in matters of freedom of speech, right to peaceful assembly and the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) would potentially draw support from this group of voters.

“The transformation carried out by Najib does not normally come from UNNO leaders.But he is more progressive and is a reformist.”

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