The Truth Revealed

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dr M speaks up on Rulers and politicians

by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

PETALING JAYA (March 27, 2008): A Concerned Malaysian has expressed his worry over the role being played by Sultans in the appointment of the Mentri Besar.

His Royal Highnesses have clearly refused to take the advice of the Chief Minister i.e. the Prime Minister. Instead, they have chosen on their own a member of the state legislature to head the Government.

We hear a lot of opinions on the propriety of the action by the Sultan. Some say he has the right to do this while others point out that as a constitutional ruler, he could not do this.

The Constitution says that the Ruler or Head of State must choose the elected member who enjoys the support of the majority of members in the legislative body to be the Prime Minister or the Mentri Besar. Subject to this provision, the Ruler it is who chooses and appoints the Prime Minister or Mentri Besar.

The Prime Minister, as Prime Minister, has no role in the choice of the State Mentri Besar or Ketua Menteri. His naming of candidate who should be the Mentri Besar is purely a party matter. Obviously, if the State is captured by the Opposition Party, he cannot name the candidate.

However, if the Ruler chooses someone who does not enjoy majority support, he could be deposed at a sitting of the legislative body through a vote of "no confidence".

After that, another member can be appointed by the Ruler to take his place. But if for some reason, there is no other candidate or the candidate with majority support is considered unsuitable by the Ruler, a new Government cannot be formed. The Ruler may then dissolve the legislative body and a new election may be held.

This new election may lead to the same impasse. The Ruler may not like the member with majority support.

However, it should be noted that this kind of thing had never happened during the premiership of the four previous Prime Ministers. Concerned Malaysians should wonder why.

Is it just that the particular Ruler is being difficult, unwilling to accept the principles of democracy, wanting to return to feudalism and the absolute authority of the monarch?

I do not think so. There must be a reason why the Ruler refuses to accept the candidate named by the party. But the Ruler chooses not to reveal the reasons and indulge in public debates. He merely expresses his displeasure by refusing to do what normally the Rulers would do.

Concerned Malaysians must ask what has the particular candidate done which is so wrong that it incurs the displeasure of the Ruler.

There are lots of talks in the town. Terengganu is blessed with petroleum deposits. It should get 5% of the total earning from oil production. The Federal Government; fearing the previous PAS government might use this money wrongly had withheld payment.

But when the Barisan Nasional (BN) regained Terengganu the money, now called "Wang Ehsan", was lavishly spent by the Federal Government on Terengganu. It is not a small sum. Over these years "Wang Ehsan" totalled several billion.

We know that since the BN regained Terengganu in 2004, all kinds of projects have been developed in Terengganu. This includes The Monsoon Cup, luxury housing for sale to foreigners, Crystal Mosque and theme park, university, etc. Some of these projects are very good but many are totally unnecessary and wasteful.

But what the Terengganu people are saying is that all these mega projects costing billions of Ringgit have been contracted out to people outside Terengganu. Terengganu contractors got practically nothing.

But additionally, they say the contracts all went to one person and they are suspicious that behind this person are members of the first family.The rumours also say that the previous Mentri Besar was responsible for these things happening and of course, they think that he might have benefited financially.

The rumours went on to say that the Prime Minister might have influenced the Mentri Besar into doing wrong things. These are all rumours. It will be quite impossible to prove anything as the perpetrators are skilled in hiding themselves.

This is not good for a Government keen to abolish corruption and be transparent. To clear its name, an investigation should be made.

But the public is leery of investigations by Government agencies and departments. Even Royal Commissions are not highly regarded. The people believe, not true of course, that the Government has been interfering with the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the Police and the Attorney General (A-G)'s Chambers. The say this is borne out by the results of investigations by these agencies.

When a Deputy Minister was accused of accepting money for the release of a detainee, the A-G said there was no case because the detainee said he did not give any money to the Deputy Minister. It is so easy. If you have a case involving someone, all the enforcement agencies need to do is to ask him whether he was involved. If he says "no", then there is no case.

For some reason, judges are finding that people accused of murder are not guilty because of insufficient evidence by the police. Yet people who are totally not involved in a case, who were not accused of any misdeeds and who did not appear in court at all and been given a hearing are found guilty and publicly condemned.

The public cannot be blamed for not having faith in Government agencies doing investigations. The public cannot be blamed for suspecting cover-ups by the Government or worse still the Government may be using these enforcement agencies to threaten people.

To clear its good name, the Government should get credible foreign agencies to do the investigation. Of course, they must be given full access to the documents etc.

Now my detractors are going to say I did worse things when I was Prime Minister. Well, if that is so, let us have the foreign agencies investigate me also. I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up. So far they have not found anything.

Not only have I not taken anything that was not due to me while I was Prime Minister but I have given back to the Government and the people everything that I had received as gifts during my tenure of office.

The Government had offered me land in Kedah and Langkawi and I had refused to accept. I have a 5-acre plot in Putrajaya which I paid for even though the Government was offering it to me free.

Unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me. Even other accusations against me, including the dismissal of judges, were not my doing and I do not feel obliged to apologise. Ask the Tribunal to apologise.

The person asking that the Government should apologise for what happened to Tun Salleh Abbas may have forgotten that as President of the Muslim Lawyers Association, he fully supported the action that was taken. He castigated the Bar Council for condemning Tun Hamid Omar over the dismissal of judges. Now he wants to be more correct than correct. I wonder why. - The Sun Online

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ku Li: PM Abdullah is wrong

PETALING JAYA (March 24, 2008): Former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said today Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's statement yesterday that "the appointment of anyone but Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as Terengganu Mentri Besar is unconstitutional" is wrong.

"The Sultan acted within his powers in appointing the person who, in his judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the State Assembly," said Razaleigh.

"Ahmad Said's appointment is effective and he is now the Mentri Besar of Terengganu," he said, adding that the situation in Terengganu is a crisis of government, not of the Constitution.

"Petitions, threats, coercion and declarations of support for the Prime Minister and his candidate have no bearing on the legality of the Sultan of Terengganu's appointment of his own Mentri Besar," said Razaleigh.

"Perhaps we have forgotten what it is like to conduct ourselves with good manners and due respect for the Constitution and the sovereignty of the Ruler," said Razaleigh, adding however that it is up to the properly convened State Assembly to test Ahmad with a vote of confidence in due course.

"After 50 years of independence, I am sure we should be capable of resolving our issues in a efficient and respectful manner."

"The storm in Terengganu is just the latest in a series of crises brought on by an apparent failure to understand how State powers work relative to Federal ones," said Razaleigh, adding that in the recent crisis in Perlis, "the Prime Minister’s actions suggest stunning ineptness in managing fundamental relationships and straightforward functions of government".

"This is alarming because the Barisan Nasional (BN) government now has five Opposition-controlled states to contend with out of the nine in Peninsular Malaysia.

"The mis-handling of chief ministerial appointments in Perlis, and now in Terengganu, mean that our leadership in two other states is now in jeopardy," he added.

Constitutional law expert Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari of the International Islamic University said matters had reached such a stage that there is nothing that can be legally done to force an immediate reversal of the Regency Council's decision to appoint Ahmad at this point. The appointment letter was given to Ahmad yesterday morning.

"The only thing that can be done now is to abide by the Regency Council's decision and wait for the State Assembly to be convened to pass a vote of no confidence. This would put the ball back in the Palace's court to decide afresh," said Abdul Aziz.

He said the Regency Council has the means to get the "best information", as it has the power to call up assemblymen and speak to them in private to gauge personal support.

He cited the 1986 case of Tun Mustapha Datu Harun, whose appointment as Chief Minister of Sabah by the Yang di-Pertua Negri was held to be in mistake.

In that case, the High Court ruled that the pressure applied on the Yang di-Pertua was invalid because the powers of the Head of State to appoint a Mentri Besar are discretionary and subjective, and therefore a Head of State should be allowed to exercise his discretion without pressure.

Abdul Aziz said besides the vote of no confidence move, another way to resolve the matter is for the State Assembly to be dissolved, and fresh elections called.

"Under the Federal and State Constitutions, a ruler may dissolve the State Assembly, and this is a situation where this can be used, and the people should be allowed once and for all to decide who governs the state", he said.

Meanwhile, he said Ahmad has time to negotiate support for himself as Mentri Besar by negotiating support from 17 assemblymen for a simple majority, before the State Assembly, which according to the Terengganu State Constitution, must convene within 120 days of dissolution.

"He can try to persuade his Umno colleagues to join him, and approach the eight PAS assemblymen, to give him a legal platform for the Regency Council to appoint him," said Abdul Aziz.

Twenty-three of the 24 Terengganu assemblyman had pledged support for Idris as Mentri Besar.

Asked whether Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, which gives the federal government the power to declare an emergency in a state, could be used in Terengganu, as was used in Sabah in 1966 to remove Stephen Kalong Ningkan as Chief Minister, Abdul Aziz called it a politically disadvantageous act.

"Use of Article 150 would be politically and economically disadvantageous. Times have changed," he said.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has said Ahmad's status, and whether he breached party discipline by accepting the appointment as Mentri Besar, would be decided by the Umno Supreme Council in its meeting on Thursday (March 27). - THE SUN

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Below is the new Cabinet line-up announced by the Prime Minister at noon today which was broadcasted live nationwide. The names are followed in brackets by their party, state and parliament seat.

The Prime Minister after announcing the cabinet line-up.

Prime Minister: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

Deputy Prime Minister: Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak

1. Prime Minister's Department

i. Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok (UPKO Sabah Penampang)
ii. Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi: (Umno Perak Bagan Datuk)
iii. (Sen) Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim: Justice & Judiciary Reforms (Umno Kelantan Ex-Kota Baru)
iv. (Sen) Datuk Amirsham Aziz: Economic Planning Unit (Maybank CEO)
v. Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz: Parliament (Umno Perak Padang Rengas)

Deputy Ministers
i. Datuk Johari Baharum (Umno Kedah Kubang Pasu)
ii. (Sen) Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim (Umno Kedah Ex-Baling)
iii. S. K. Devamany (MIC Pahang Cameron Highlands)
iv. Datuk Hasan Malek (Umno Negri Sembilan Kuala Pilah)

2. Ministry of Agriculture & Agro-Based Industry
Minister: Datuk Mustapa Mohamed (Umno Kelantan Jeli)
Deputy: Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim (PBB Sarawak Batang Lupar)

3. Ministry of Unity, Arts & Culture
Minister: Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal (Umno Sabah Semporna)
Deputy: Teng Boon Soon (MCA Johor Tebrau)

4. Ministry of Defence
Minister: Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak (Umno Pahang Pekan)
Deputy: Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop (Umno Malacca Masjid Tanah)

5. Ministry of Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs
Minister: Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad (Umno Johor Johor Baru)
Deputy: Jelaing Mersat (SPDP Sarawak Saratok)

6. Ministry of Education
Minister: Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein (Umno Johor Sembrong)
Deputy: Datuk Wee Ka Siong (MCA Johor Air Hitam)
Deputy: Datuk Razali Ismail (Umno Terengganu Kuala Terengganu)

7. Ministry of Energy, Water & Communications
Minister: Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor (Umno Negri Sembilan Tampin)
Deputy: Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum (PRS Sarawak Julau)

8. Ministry of Entrepreneur & Co-operative Development
Minister: Datuk Noh Omar (Selangor Umno Tanjung Karang)
Deputy: Saifuddin Abdullah (Umno Pahang Temerloh)

9. Ministry of Federal Territories
Minister: Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique (Umno FT Setiawangsa )
Deputy: Datuk M. Saravanan (MIC Perak Tapah)

10. Ministry of Finance
Minister: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Umno Penang Kepala Batas)
2nd Minister: Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop (Umno Penang Tasek Gelugor)
Deputy: Datuk Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah (Umno Perak Tambun)
Deputy: Datuk Kong Cho Ha (MCA Perak Lumut)

11. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Minister: Datuk Seri Rais Yatim (Umno Negri Sembilan Jelebu)
Deputy: Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar (Umno Pahang Jerantut)

12. Ministry of Health
Minister: Datuk Liow Tiong Lai (MCA Pahang Bentong)
Deputy: Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Umno Johor Mersing)

13. Ministry of Higher Education
Minister: Datuk Khaled Nordin (Umno Johor Pasir Gudang)
Deputy: Hou Kok Chung (MCA Johor Kluang)
Deputy: Datuk Idris Harun (Umno Malacca Tanjung Batu)

14. Ministry of Housing & Local Government
Minister: Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (MCA Perak Tanjung Malim)
Deputy: Datuk Robert Lau (SUPP Sarawak Sibu)
Deputy: Datuk Hamzah Zainudin (Umno Perak Larut)

15. Ministry of Human Resources
Minister: Datuk S. Subramaniam (MIC Johor Segamat)
Deputy: Datuk Noraini Ahmad (Umno Johor Parit Sulong)

16. Ministry of Information
Minister: Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (Umno Terengganu Kemaman)
Deputy: Datuk Tan Lian Hoe (Gerakan Perak Grik)

17. Ministry of Internal Security & Home Affairs
Minister: Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Umno Johor Kota Tinggi)
Deputy: Datuk Chor Chee Heung (MCA Kedah Alor Star)
Deputy: (Sen) Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh (Umno Terengganu)

18. Ministry of International Trade & Industry
Minister: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Umno Johor Pagoh)
Deputy: Datuk Liew Vui Keong (LDP Sabah Sandakan)
Deputy: Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan (SPDP Baram Sarawak )

19. Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment
Minister: Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas (PBB Sarawak Betong)
Deputy: Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Umno Sabah Kalabakan)

20. Ministry of Plantation Industries & Commodities
Minister: Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui (SUPP Sarawak Miri)
Deputy: (Sen) A. Kohilan Pillay (Gerakan Selangor)

21. Ministry of Rural & Regional Development
Minister: (Sen) Tan Sri Muhammad Mohd Taib (Umno Selangor)
Deputy: Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (PBRS Sabah Pensiangan)
Deputy: Joseph Entulu (PRS Sarawak Selangau)

22. Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovations
Minister: Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili (PBS Sabah Kota Marudu)
Deputy: Datuk Fadillah Yusof (PBB Sarawak Petra Jaya)

23. Ministry of Tourism
Minister: Datuk Azalina Othman Said (Umno Johor Senggarang)
Deputy: Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib (PBB Sarawak Kota Samarahan)

24. Ministry of Transport
Minister: Datuk Ong Tee Keat (MCA Selangor Pandan)
Deputy: Datuk Anifah Aman (Umno Sabah Kimanis)

25. Ministry of Women, Family & Community Development
Minister: Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen (MCA Pahang Raub)
Deputy: Senator Noriah Kasnon (Umno Selangor)

26. Ministry of Works
Minister: Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed (Umno Selangor Sepang)
Deputy: Datuk Yong Khoon Seng (SUPP Sarawak Stampin)

27. Ministry of Youth & Sports
Minister: Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Umno Pahang Bera)
Deputy: Wee Jeck Seng (MCA Johor Tanjung Piai)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pro-Malay Malaise

The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2008

"We live side by side, not together." That's how one Malaysian described the fallout from decades of race-based affirmative action policies to me last week. Malaysians, she said, are fed up.

It shows. In federal and state elections here Saturday, voters of all ethnicities turned to opposition parties in larger numbers than ever before -- a rebuke to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and his National Front coalition's pro-Malay platform. Opposition parties won 82 of 222 seats in the national parliament, up from only 19. The biggest gainer, the People's Justice Party, emphasized equality of opportunity for all ethnic groups.

This represents a huge shift in thinking for Malaysians, and a welcome and overdue one at that. While around 60% of the country is Malay, another one-third are Chinese and Indians, with other ethnic groups making up the rest. But since the introduction of the New Economic Policy in 1970s, Malaysia hasn't been governed for the whole of its citizenry; it's been governed mostly for Malays.

Call it affirmative action gone wild. When the NEP was launched, its goals were twofold: to eradicate poverty "irrespective of race" and to restructure the economy away from race-based economic roles for the various ethnic groups. For a country escaping the legacies of colonial British rule, recovering from violent, anti-Chinese race riots and facing extreme poverty among Malays, those goals are easy to understand. Social stability through government-directed outcomes seemed the best balm political leaders could deliver at the time.

The NEP was supposed to last only two decades. In any case, surely Malaysia's elites didn't envision the scope of the pro-bumiputra, or indigenous Malay, bent that evolved. Consider just a few of the discriminatory policies that are now on the books. On the corporate front, foreign and domestic non-manufacturing firms have to take on bumi partners who hold at least 30% of the share capital. Firms that want to list on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange are required to reserve 30% of their equity for bumi shareholders. Bumis get preferential housing loans and easier access to business licenses and government contracts. Department stores and supermarkets have to reserve 30% of their shelf space for bumi products -- regardless of consumer preferences. Little wonder Wal-Mart isn't here.

Then there's the education system. Before the NEP, Malaysia's public schools were mostly racially integrated. Now they're largely segregated, as Chinese and Indian parents opt to send their children to schools where they feel they won't be discriminated against or exposed to Islamic teachings. More than 80% of government scholarships to study abroad go to Malays. Business leaders tell me they have a hard time sourcing good local talent, across a range of industries -- largely because they're required to have 30% bumiputras on their staff.

These policies have, if anything, become more entrenched over time. While the original NEP called for Malays to get 30% of the country's wealth -- whatever that means -- subsequent economic plans inserted vague language calling for more "wealth creation" for bumiputras. As for encouraging racial tolerance, that hope was put to bed in 2006, when the party conference of the United Malays National Organization was broadcast live and Malay representatives said they'd defend pro-Malay policies to "the last drop of blood." After the prime minister concluded his remarks, shouts of "Long live the Malays!" filled the chamber. Needless to say, the 2007 conference wasn't televised.

This bumi bonanza has slowed investment in Malaysia, and the ruling coalition knows it, even if officials won't say so publicly. At a time when foreign investment has poured into Vietnam, China and India, Malaysia has seen a much smaller sliver of that pie. It's fallen from America's 10th largest trading partner to its 16th largest in little over a year. Malaysia has lost automobile plants to Thailand and electronics plants to China. Motorola, a major electronics employer, threatened to pull out of Penang late last year but decided to stay when the local government awarded the company a major contract. (On Saturday, voters there voted in the opposition Democratic Action Party.)

In this weekend's election, ethnic Chinese swung heavily to the opposition Democratic Action Party, as the victory in Penang showed. Ethnic Indians, too, plumped largely for opposition candidates. But the Malay swing vote -- the core of the National Front coalition -- contributed to the surge. The first indication of the swing came in the capital, where the daughter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim beat the National Front candidate. (Mr. Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, was barred from running.) Then opposition parties took the states of Kelantan and Kedah -- an unprecedented victory in a rural Malay-dominated belt.

It's never easy to shed affirmative action policies; as the American experience shows, once preferential treatment is given to a specific ethnic group, it's a hard habit to break. But if Saturday's opposition gains show anything, it's that even Malays are starting to figure out that pro-Malay policies are hurting the country. That is, at least, a start.

Ms. Kissel is editor of The Wall Street Journal Asia's editorial page.

Write to Mary Kissel at

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Group hands Pak Lah special gift

A group of disgruntled young Malaysians today symbolically handed a 'gift' to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to express theirdisappointment with his administration.

Full report at

Anak nelayan boleh jadi MB

Sementara itu, Awang Adek berkata, beliau terharu akan dipilih sebagai menteri besar Kelantan jika BN menang dalam pilihanraya umum kelak.

"Saya telah merasai kesusahan dan kerana itu saya akan membantu orang susah, orang yang tiada rumah.

"Percayalah, saya berjanji akan membantu rakyat Kelantan menjadi rakyat yang berjaya," katanya.