Khamis, 24 Oktober 2013

The MACC Failed to Investigat​e 99.3% of Graft Money

Media Statement by Ko Chung Sen, MP of Kampar in Kuala Lumpur on 23rd, October, 2013
The MACC Failed to Investigate 99.3% of Graft Money Despite Spending A Billion Ringgits. 
In my question dated 21st, October, 2013. I asked the Prime Minister to state: (a) the total budget and the number of personnel for the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) for the last 5 years and planned for the next 5 years; and(b)  the number of prosecutions, the number of convictions and the amount of graft money involved.
In his answer to me, the minister in the Department of Prime Minister, YB Senator Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan replied the budget and the number of officers for the MACC in the last five years from 2009 to 2013 were:
Budget (RM)
Number of Filled Posts
The government had agreed to increase the number of personnel in the MACC by 150 posts per year until the total figure of 5000 is achieved with the necessary funding together.
Cases Prosecuted 
Number Convicted (%)
    94   (54%)
  309   (71%)
  388   (75%)
  339   (85%)
2013 (Jan to Jun)
  144   (89%)
1274   (75%)
The YB Senator Datuk Paul Low mentioned there was an increase in the rate of conviction in the last five years.
Over the same period, the total amount of the graft money involved was RM 57,698,540.41 and the total amount recovered in forfeiture was RM 17,083,729.91. These came to 5.9% and 1.7% respectively compared to the budget allocated to fight graft.
From the figures, we have spent nearly a billion ringgits in fighting corruption since Dato Seri Najib Razak took over as the Prime Minister.  Reducing corruption was one of the six national key result areas announced on 28th, January, 2010. This was reiterated in one of the speeches at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco during his visit to USA last month that he will make corruption a thing of the past in Malaysia.
However, despite an increase in the budget and the personnel in the last three years, the total number of cases prosecuted and convicted have actually dropped. For every case prosecuted, on average the MACC is spending RM 581,039.42 to investigate graft money involving RM 34,041.69 and recovered RM 10,096.76. A return of 1.7%.
This is not a problem if we have no corruption at all in Malaysia. However, Malaysia had been found to be one of the most corrupted countries in the world in recent surveys by Earnest& Young (September 2013) and the Wall Street Journal (December 2012). The amount of graft money investigated comes to about RM 11.5 million a year with the recovery of RM 3.41 million a year. Global Financial Integrity (GFI) reporte

The BN Government's proposal to impose the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the lower income groups is a direct result of the BN administration's waste, extravagance and leakages

Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 in Kuala Lumpur 

The Minister in Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Idris Jala has issued a statement yesterday to strongly support the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST ) as a panacea to the persistent deficit and increasing debt which Malaysia suffers today. 

The Association of Chinese Chambers of Commerce has also issued a statement of support on the condition that the income tax rates in the country is concurrently lowered. This condition will sit well with Datuk Idris Jala as he stated that "...if we don’t widen the tax base, there is absolutely no room to cut income taxes further."

Of all the rationale provided by those in support of the immediate implementation of the GST, this must be the most unacceptable one because it means that the Government government will be effectively reducing the tax on the workers who earn enough to pay tax today, while correspondingly increasing the taxes paid by those who don't earn enough to pay taxes. 

Under such policies, the poor would be hit by a double whammy in tax burden. Firstly, the poorer income groups be forced to bear the burden of the reduced income tax of the higher income groups.  On top of that, they will be hit by a regressive tax regime which taxes the poor proportionately more than the rich.  

For example a person who earns RM1,000 will be spending practically the full amount of his monthly earnings without any savings.  This expenditure will be taxed at an assumed 5% GST.  A person earning RM20,000 per month on the other hand, may spend RM12,000 of his income while saving or investing the balance.  He will pay 5% on his RM12,000 expenditure, which works out to RM600.  For the RM600 paid, the wealthier person is effectively paying only 3% tax on his income.  Hence the natural impact of the GST is proportionately higher on the poor than on the rich.

This is diametrically opposite of the current progressive income tax structure which raises the percentage of taxes payable at higher income brackets.

Hence if the Government were to impose the GST, as an excuse to lower income tax rates, then it is effectively abdicating from its obligations and role of social justice and wealth redistribution.  Instead, the GST and reduced income tax rate will only worsen the already worrisome income inequality in the country.

Instead of Datuk Idris Jala arguing that "we need to broaden the tax base" because only approximately 15% of the working population pay tax today, the Government should be asking why are the balance of the 85% not earning enough to pay taxes after decades of so-called rapid growth and economic development?  

We must remember that it is not because these 85% do not want to pay tax, but because they don't earn enough to qualify to do so.  It should be noted that the income tax brackets have not been modified for nearly 2 decades and the question is why are the overwhelming majority of Malaysian workers still earning suppressed wages at less than RM2,500 to RM3,000 per month? 

While we agree with Datuk Idris Jala that there are indeed those fail to declare their true income, which results in tax evasion, surely the number of such persons are tiny relative to the 85% who don't qualify to pay taxes today.  Why should the failure of the authorities to enforce tax on these evaders justify the Government's decision to tax all these Malaysians who are struggling to make ends meet with income less than RM2500?

In addition, it should be argued that decades of strong and rapid economic growth boasted by the BN administration should have enrich the Government with annual surpluses and record savings.  Instead, despite the chest-thumping over the Government's ability to manage the economy, we now find ourselves in persistent deficit while the Federal Government debt has ballooned to RM546 billion, without taking into account another RM150 billion of known contingent liabilities.

Hence the cure to the countries financial malaise lies not in taxing the people more, especially taxing those who barely earn enough to meet the rising cost of living.  The panacea lies in the Government's political will to cut wastage, patronage, extravagance and corruption in its expenditure.

Due to the fact that we are fortunately blessed with oil and gas revenues, as well as an enviable economic growth record over the past decades, the Government actually have enough funds in its coffers.  What it has however failed to do, is to ensure that these funds are properly utlised and invested.  Hence until this Government learns and proves to the people that it knows how to manage the rakyat's hard-earned monies in an honest, professional and efficient manner, it will have no right to raise more taxes from the people, especially from the middle-income and the poor.

Tony Pua

Rabu, 23 Oktober 2013

The Attorney-General needs a refresher course on law and the Malaysian Federal Constitution

Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara on Monday, 21 October 2013 in Kuala Lumpur:
The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail in a statement yesterday, once again tried to interpret and justify the decision of the Court of Appeal on the "Allah" controversy, by claiming that the decision applies strictly only on The Herald and no other publications including the Al-Kitab.

The Attorney-General cited the written judgement of one of the Court of Appeal judges, Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, that "the Al-Kitab is the Malay version of the Bible meant for Christians and used in churches, whereas the Herald is an online newspaper accessible to Muslim and non-Muslim readers." 

Therefore according to Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail, the Home Minister's permission for the printing and publication of the Al-Kitab in which the word Allah appears cannot be treated in the same manner with reference to the Herald."

The Attorney-General, of all people should find the above reasoning completely untenable and illogical. Firstly, he is making a non-enforceable distiction between online and printed publications.  Is the Attorney-General now claiming that the Al-Kitab, if published online (where it is readily available), the Bahasa version of the Christian bible will hence be illegal?  Alternatively, if The Herald is published in hard copies and designated only for Christian readers (which it is), then it is perfectly legal?

The above argument is inexplicable because if online versions of any non-Muslim publication contains the use of the term "Allah", will they be deemed a "national security threat" in Malaysia even if they were published in Indonesia or the Middle East, since online versions are borderless?

The more the Attorney-General tries to rationalise between the judgement delivered by the Court of Appeal and the untenable "1 Malaysia 2 Allah" position taken by Najib's Cabinet, the deeper a hole he digs for himself and the Barisan Nasional administration.

The Attorney General further argued "the Court held that the use of the word "Allah" in the Malay version of the Herald to refer to God is not an essential or integral part of the religion of Christianity and therefore does not attract the constitutional guarantee under Article 11 of the federal constitution".

Article 11 of the Federal Constitution states that "Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion" and "each religious group has the right to manage its own affairs".  In addition, Article 3 states that "Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation".  

We'd like to ask Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail, where is it written in the above Articles of the Federal Constitution which qualifies the freedom of religion to only the "essential or integral part of the religion of Christianity"?  Where else in the Constitution does it say that the Court is the competent body to determine what is deemed "essential or integral part of the religion" when it is explicitly stated that "each religious group has the right to manage its own affairs"?

Even the former Attorney General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman has agreed that "the Court of Appeal has made a finding that the name Allah is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity and, by that extension, the word is exclusive to Islam and Muslims."

What it means is that although the decision of the Court of Appeal is specific to the publication of The Herald, the implication of the judgement is applicable to all other publications, printed or otherwise in the country.  Most critically, it will jeopardise the rights of Christians and Sikhs to publish the Al-Kitab and Guru Granth Sahib in Malaysia.

Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail cannot have his cake and eat it too.  Either he agrees with the Court of Appeal judgement which makes the term "Allah" exclusive to Islam, which will impact not only the The Herald but all other publications containing such a word, or he will have to concede that the Court has overstepped its boundaries.  If the Attorney General disagrees that other printed Bahasa publications containing the term "Allah" are illegal, then he must either support the Church's appeal to the Federal Court, or file for a review of the judgement with the Federal Court.

If the Attorney General persists with his stated position which cannot hold any water, then I would strongly suggest that he returns to law school for a refresher course and reread the Malaysian Federal Constitution.

Tony Pua

Ringkasan Bajet Pakatan Rakyat 2014: Fokus Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim

 A. Ramalan Ekonomi Global
1.       Ekonomi global pada 2014 diramalkan akan meningkat berbanding 2013. Ramalan IMF (4.0% vs 3.3%), World Bank (3.0% vs 2.2%) dan OECD (4.0% vs 3.1%).

2.       Namun begitu, realiti ekonomi global yang agak rapuh dan tidak menentu pada ketika ini (seperti yang akan dinyatakan di bawah) boleh membawa risiko untuk  ramalan di atas diubah kepada kadar yang lebih rendah;
                                 i.            Ketidaktentuan dalam penyelesaian permasalahan hutang Negara Amerika Syarikat (debt ceiling, quantitative easing)

                               ii.            Kemelesetan ekonomi dan kadar pengangguran yang tinggi di Eropah yang berterusan disebabkan oleh langkah-langkah penjimatan (austerity measures)

                              iii.            Prestasi ekonomi China yang kurang memberangsangkan serta kelembapan pemulihan ekonomi India

3.       Pakatan Rakyat meramalkan pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia untuk tahun 2014 pada kadar 5.2% (berbanding 2013 pada kadar 4.5% hingga 5%), berdasarkan kepada ramalan peningkatan ekonomi global.
B. Anggaran Defisit
1.       Pakatan Rakyat menganggarkan defisit Negara untuk 2014 pada RM 34 billion bersamaan kadar 3.2% GDP (Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar). Aggaran ini dibuat berdasarkan:
                                 i.            Anggaran pendapatan Negara sebanyak RM 228 billion
                               ii.            Anggaran perbelanjaan Negara sebanyak RM 262 billion dimana pengurangan sebanyak 10% pada perbelanjaan operasi (OPEX) tidak termasuk emolumen
                              iii.            Anggaran KDNK sebanyak RM 1,055 billion berdasarkan unjuran pertumbuhan sebanyak 5.2% untuk 2014

2.       Sejak Pakatan Rakyat menyediakan Belanjawan alternatif, anggaran defisit PR adalah selalunya lebih rendah daripada BN.Defisit sebenar kerajaan BN adalah dianggarkan lebih tinggi dari 3.2% (dianggarkan sebanyak 3.8% hingga 4%) disebabkan kegagalan mereka menangani rasuah dan ketirisan

C. Teras Belanjawan Pakatan Rakyat (PR)
Belanjawan PR kali ini dirangka berdasarkan kepada 3 teras utama:
1.       Pengukuhan Kedudukan Fiskal Negara dan Pemerkasaan Kewangan Awam
2.       Pembangunan Ekonomi yang Seimbang, Inklusif dan Mampan
3.       Peningkatan Kesejahteraan dan Kualiti Hidup Rakyat

C1. Teras 1: Pengukuhan Kedudukan Fiskal Negara dan Pemerkasaan Kewangan Awam
Pengukuhan kedudukan fiskal Negara adalah amat penting dalam memastikan kesinambungan kedudukan kredit Negara yang kini dihadapi kemungkinan penurunan taraf (sovereign downgrade) akibat penambahan defisit dan hutang negara yang membarah semenjak 2009.
Bajet alternatif 2014 PR adalah suatu usaha untuk memperkenalkan reformasi fiskal yang akan memastikan pencapaian defisit bajet pada kadar 3% GDP pada 2015 dan seterusnya mencapai lebihan bajet (budget surplus) selewat 2018. Reformasi fiskal ini dijangka akan membolehkan Malaysia:
1.       Keluar dari kemelut hutang yang kini melebihi RM 500 billion dan kos pembayaran hutang yang melebihi RM 20 billion setahun
2.       Menjamin ekonomi yang berdaya tahan dan anjal dalam menghadapi persekitaran ekonomi global yang semakin mencabar dan tidak menentu
3.       Beralih dari pertumbuhan ekonomi yang berasaskan pinjaman kepada pertumbuhan ekonomi yang dijanakan oleh aktiviti perbelanjaan kerajaan

A. Bagi menjamin PERBELANJAAN kerajaan yang lebih efisyen dan teratur, PR akan:
1.       Melancarkan program rasionalisasi kos untuk setiap kementerian dan jabatan kerajaan untuk mencapai pengurangan perbelanjaan operasi sebanyak 10%. Ini akan dicapai melalui;
                                 i.            Penangguhan sementara kenaikan elaun menteri kabinet dan ketua-ketua jabatan kerajaan

                               ii.            Pengkajian semula polisi perbelanjaan kerajaan terutama sekali dalam pemberian kontrak dan prokumen peralatan

                              iii.            Memperkemaskan mekanisma subsidi sasaran (targetted subsidy) dan juga pengawalan barangan subsidi seperti diesel, petrol, gula dan tepung bagi mengelakkan salahguna subsidi

2.       Mengkaji semula keutamaan perbelanjaan (spending priority) dengan mengurangkan atau menghapuskan perbelanjaan program-program yang tidak berkesan dan kurang kepentingan sebagai contoh;
                                 i.            Program Khidmat Negara yang dilihat gagal mencapai objektif memupuk kesatuan kaum dan jatidiri di kalangan pelatih-pelatih. Program ini menelan belanja tahunan RM 800 juta yang lebih besar dari perbelanjaan Kementerian Belia dan Sukan (~RM 700 juta) yang juga mempunyai matlamat yang sama. Program ini juga telah menyebabkan sebanyak 22 kematian semenjak penubuhannya dan sebilangan kes pelatih hamil yang bersalin sewaktu di dalam progam, disebabkan perancangan dan perlaksanaan program yang tidak baik. Program ini patut ditangguhkan sehingga satu kajian menyeluruh dibuat oleh Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)

3.       Mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap kesemua kementerian yang terlibat dengan sebarang salahlaku dan pembaziran seperti yang dilaporkan dalam Laporan Tahunan Ketua Audit Negara. PR menganggarkan sekurang-kurangnya RM 20 hingga 30 billion boleh dijimatkan sekiranya kesemua pembaziran dan penyelewengan yang dilaporkan dihentikan. Antara contoh pembaziran besar yang dilaporkan adalah;
                                 i.            RM 2.051 bilion dibelanjakan dari 2010 ke 2012 dari jumlah RM 3.689 bilion peruntukan kepada Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia untuk membayar pengawal tidak bersenjata bagi mengawal sekolah-sekolah dan institusi-institusi pengajian. Walaupun ia berniat baik, namun ketiadaan sistem pemantauan telah mengakibatkan pengawal yang berumur dan tidak disahkan latar belakang, dan juga CCTV yang tidak berfungsi untuk diguna bagi memastikan keselamatan anak-anak kita di sekolah. Pembaziran dianggarkan sebanyak RM 1.6illion

                               ii.            Pengurusan projek Mansuh oleh Kementerian Kerja Raya. Dari 2010 hingga 2012, projek mansuh sebanyak 83 projek dianggarkan berjumlah RM 2.2 billion. Kerugian dianggarkan sebanyak RM 1.1 billion atau 50% daripada nilai asal disebabkan oleh kelemahan pemantauan projek dan kegagalan menuntut balik bayaran daripada kontraktor

                              iii.            Kementerian Pengangkutan telah membelanjakan hampir RM 1.42 bilion dari jumlah peruntukan RM 1.47 bilion untuk menambahbaik Lapangan Terbang  Antarabangsa Kota Kinabalu. Walaupun lebih 96% peruntukan telah digunapakai, namun projek yang dimulakan pada tahun 1996 ini masih belum siap: balai ketibaan dan bilik air-bilik air didapati tidak memuaskan, dan 599 lubang telah dijumpai di landasan kapal terbang yang belum dibaiki sejak 2010. Anggaran kerugian yang dilaporkan setakat ini adalah sekitar RM 120 juta. Kemungkinan besar projek ini akan menelan belanja yang lebih besar untuk disiapkan.

B. Bagi menjana PENDAPATAN kerajaan yang lebih saksama dan adil, PR akan:
1.       Menangguhkan implementasi GST (yang dilihat akan lebih membebankan golongan berpendapatan rendah dan sederhana) sehingga:
                                 i.            Pendapatan minima isirumah mencapai suatu tahap yang dikira sesuai untuk menyerap sebarang kesan terhadap kuasa beli akibat GS

                               ii.            Pelebaran ‘band’ cukai pendapatan terutamanya golongan menengah untuk mengelakkan kemasukan mereka ke ‘band’ cukai yang lebih tinggi dalam tempoh yang singkat. Lebih banyak perelepasan cukai juga harus diberikan kepada golongan menengah

                              iii.            Kajian menyeluruh mengenai trade-off cukai korporat/peribadi dengan GST dilakukan dan diperjelaskan kepada rakyat untuk mengelakkan rakyat dibebani dengan pertambahan cukai akibat GST sekiranya cukai korporat/peribadi dikekalkan pada kadar yang sama

2.       Memperkenalkan sistem cukai yang lebih saksama;

                                 i.            Mengembalikan cukai RPGT (real property gains tax) pada tahap sebelum 2007, iaitu cukai berperingkat pada kadar 30% bagi tahun pertama, sehingga cukai terendah 5% bagi perjualan pada tahun kelima. Ini bertujuan untuk mengekang kegiatan spekulasi hartanah yang berlebihan

D. Aspek-aspek lain bajet PR 2014
1. PR percaya bahawa peningkatan penyambungan (connectivity) samada dari segi perhubungan seperti Internet, mahupun perhubungan fisikal seperti lebuhraya adalah amat perlu untuk memastikan pertumbuhan ekonomi yang lebih seimbang, mampan dan inklusif. Untuk mencapai keseimbangan dari segi pembangunan rakyat luar bandar/bandar, Sabah & Sarawak;
                                 i.            Lebuhraya Pan-Borneo yang menyambungkan bandar-bandar di Sabah & Sarawak akan di naiktaraf dan pembinaannya akan disegerakan seawal 2014. Lokasi-lokasi kemalangan akan dikenalpasti untuk diperbaiki dan penyelengaraan yang berkala juga akan dilakukan.

                               ii.            Pengkajian semula polisi kabotaj untuk Sabah dan Sarawak. Polisi yang lebih baik akan berupaya untuk menurunkan harga kargo dan barang-barang yang masuk/ keluar dari Sabah dan Sarawak, seterusnya menyumbang pada pertumbuhan ekonomi

                              iii.            Penjurusan kepada perbekalan air dan elektrik 100% untuk kawasan luar bandar & bandar terutamanya Sabah & Sarawak. Ini akan memastikan bekalan air bersih dan elektrik menerusi penggunaan teknoloji solar, windfarms dan microhydro

2.       PR amat menghargai sumbangan wanita untuk pembangunan Negara.  Kaum wanita akan diberikan insentif berikut untuk menggalakkan mereka untuk terus menyumbang kepada ekonomi Negara:
                                 i.            Peruntukan sebanyak RM 1,200 setahun bagi setiap ibu bekerja untuk membiayai caj perkhidmatan penjagaan kanak-kanak di bawah 12 tahun

                               ii.            Peruntukan sebanyak RM 3 billion setahun kepada Skim Caruman Wanita Nasional (SCWN), iaitu suatu bentuk jaringan keselamatan sosial komprehensif bagi isteri terutamanya suri-suri rumah. Kerajaan PR akan menyumbang RM600 setahun tanpa mengira tahap sumbangan suami (suami mencarum bagi pihak isteri pada kadar minimum RM 120 hingga RM1,200 setahun) dan SCWN ini boleh dikeluarkan apabila berlaku kematian pasangan, perceraian, hilang upaya kekal dan hilang kekal pendapatan

                            iii.            Mengekalkan polisi untuk meningkatkan pimpinan wanita hingga pada tahap sekurang-kurangnya 30% pada tahun 2017. Pimpinan wanita di Parlimen, pengurusan korporat dan kepimpinan nasional dalam sektor awam dan swasta akan menjadi tumpuan utama.

Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia
Ketua Umum Parti Keadilan Rakyat
21 Oktober 2013

Jumaat, 18 Oktober 2013

The "1 Malaysia, 2 Allah" system proposed by the Najib Cabinet is not just untenable, it showed that even the Government cannot agree with the Court of Appeal over the "Allah" controversy.

Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara on Friday, 18 October 2013 in Kuala Lumpur:
 According to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Joseph Kurup, the cabinet meeting on Wednesday decided that the term 'Allah' can be used by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak in their worship, including in the Malay-language bible al-Kitab.

If the above report is true, then the Najib administration has just created the most untenable situation in the country where we are supposed to be "1 Malaysia" but now have 2 sets of laws governing the same religion in East and West Malaysia.  The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is supposed to be the "champion" of moderation has made a complete mockery of Article 3 in the Federal Constitution which enshrines the freedom of religion.

In Sabah and Sarawak, Christians may pray to Allah but those who are in West Malaysia whose native tongue is Bahasa Melayu are not allowed to make reference to Allah.  What then happens when East Malaysians come over the West Malaysia for work or travel - can they pray to "Allah"?

However what is most significant in the Government announcement of continued freedom to use "Allah" in East Malaysia is an endorsement that the judgement of the Court of Appeal is flawed and misguided.

The Court has found "Allah" not integral to the Church and hence they "find no reason why the respondent is so adamant to use the name ‘Allah’ in their weekly publication."  By allowing the continued use of "Allah" in East Malaysia, the Government is in fact conceding that "Allah" is integral to Christianity. This is unless the Government wants to argue that "Allah" is integral for Sabahans and Sarawakians, but is not integral for Christians in West Malaysia.  Such a move to split the country will certainly create widespread "confusion", and should instead be banned.

By conceding that Sabahans and Sarawakians should be allowed to continue the use of "Allah" for their worship also makes a mockery of the Court of Appeal judgement which said that "the welfare of an individual or group must yield to that of the community".  In this case, if the Government saying that in actual fact, "the community"  wants to retain "Allah" worship against these fews who are urging for the total ban of the term for non-Muslims.

In addition, given that the Government is seeking to limit the "ban" ruling to only "The Herald" newsletter, does it mean that The Church can produce new newsletters for their Bahasa Melayu congregation under a different publication name?

Based on the above, since the Government does not agree with rationale given by the Court of Appeal, whose judgement by extension means all use of the term "Allah" by non-Muslims are banned. In that case, we would like to call upon the Government, via the Attorney-General file for a revision of the judgements and for a new hearing to be held.  More importantly, after the Church files its follow-up appeal to the Federal Court, the Attorney-General chambers should not contest the appeal.

The "Allah" ban by the Court of Appeal, as well as the ludicrous proposal to split the Christian community in Malaysia into two, have made the country a laughing stock internationally.  It is time for the Prime Minister to rescue his own reputation as a moderate Muslim and share his position via a nationwide address to sooth both sides of the divide.

Tony Pua

Lim Kit Siang on Johore as a key battlegrou​nd for the vision of a Malaysian Dream

Media Statement by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 14th October 2013:

Johore a key battle ground for the vision of a Malaysian Dream as a unifying factor for all Malaysians and an antidote to the revival of extremist and intolerant racist politics in five months after 13GE

Johore is a key battleground for the vision of a Malaysian Dream as a unifying factor for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region and antidote to the revival of extremist and intolerant racist politics in the five months after the 13th general elections on May 5, 2013.

In fact, the Vision of a Malaysian Dream was given expression in the Battle of Gelang Patah in the 13th General Elections, as a direct response to irresponsible and reckless campaign by UMNO politicians, led by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, to racialise the Gelang Patah contest in particular and the 13th general election in general.

But Gelang Patah was a major failure for Mahathir, particularly his irresponsible and reckless campaign to racialise the Gelang Patah battle between former Mentri Besar Datuk Ghani Othman and myself by falsely and mischievously alleging that I had wanted to create a “racial confrontation” and that I was seeking to incite the Chinese to hate the Malays.

In fact, far from trying to racialise the electoral battle, it was in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream as a rallying point of unity for all races in the country  that was behind my high-risk decision to leave the Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat, where I had won with a majority of over 21,000 votes in the 2008 GE, to contest in the Barisan Nasional fortress of Gelang Patah which BN had won with some 9,000-vote majority in the 2008 GE and a humoungous 31,688-vote majority in the 2004 GE.

There was no surety that I could win in Gelang Patah. In fact, there was a lot of concern that I would lose as I had seemed to have bitten more than I could chew, especially with top UMNO campaigners like Tun Mahathir and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin calling on the voters to make Gelang Patah my “graveyard”.

There was not an ounce of truth in Mahathir’s allegations, but it was most significant that Mahathir’s allegations and lies failed to make any impression on the voters, particularly the Malay voters, as I could not have won Gelang Patah with a majority of over 14,000 votes without the support of the Malay voters.

In the past five months, UMNO leaders led by Mahathir are back on their irresponsible and reckless campaign trail, with their preposterous allegations and lies that the 13th General Election was proof that the Chinese in Malaysia were out to oust the political power of the Malays and to dominate Malaysian politics.
This is why there is a need for  Malaysians to embrace the Vision of a Malaysian Dream as an antidote to the revival of extremist and intolerant brand of racist politics, totally antithetical to the Bangsa Malaysia concept in Vision 2020 conceived by Mahathir himself  more than two decades ago or the 1Malaysia Policy of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

As the state which had wrought the greatest changes in the 13th General Election, ending Umno and MCA’s hitherto unchallenged stranglehold  on Johore as a “fixed deposit state” and with Pakatan Rakyat winning the most number of increased State Assembly seats – from 6 in 2008 to 18 in 2009, one seat short of denying Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in the Johore State Assembly – Johore will be a key battleground for the Vision of Malaysian Dream.

This is most appropriate as  it was in Johore 62 years ago that the great Johore Malay leader and founding UMNO President Datuk Onn Jaffar proved he was  far ahead of his times when he made the historic call for the opening up of Umno to non-Malay members and to change Umno to mean United Malayans National Organisation.

This will be the greatest challenge for the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat leaders, MPs and State Assembly members in Johore in the next few years, how to get the people of Johore to play a leading role in the country in the fulfillment of the Malaysian Dream, viz:

Firstly, to get all voters of DAP and Pakatan Rakyat to be advocates of the Malaysian Dream to build a Malaysia for all Malaysians and not a Malay Malaysia, Chinese Malaysia, Indian Malaysia, Kadazan Malaysia or Iban Malaysia; and

Secondly, to spread the message of the Malaysian Dream to non-DAP and Pakatan Rakyat areas to enlist the support of more Malaysians to the Vision of a Malaysian Dream to call for the end of politics of race, corruption, cronyism and abuses of power.

As Johore DAP State Secretary, Tan Chen Choon (Assemblyman for Jementah) said to  the press yesterday, 15 DAP elected representatives in Johore (four DAP MPs and 11 State Assembly members) who met in Simpang Rengam on Saturday night have reached a consensus on building a more united, cohesive and purposive political force in Johore – that internal party problems should be resolved through  internal party channels.

With this consensus by the DAP Johore leadership, the stage is set for the great challenge of the DAP Johore as well as DAP Pakatan Rakyat – to transform Johore as the key battle ground in the country for the vision of a Malaysian Dream as an antidote to the revival of extremist and intolerant racist politics in the past five months.

                                                  Lim Kit Siang

DAP Malaysia
Ibu Pejabat Kebangsaan
Jalan Yew, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel. +60392005000 Fax. +60392007000