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Thursday, 19 April 2012

NAJIB TO VISIT SABAH

TODAY, 19 April 2012, is the last day of the Dewan Rakyat sitting. It has been a marathon persidangan especially this week. 
On Monday and Tuesday, Dewan ended 9.30pm. Last night was 11.55pm. Tonight, the Aturan Urusan Mesyuarat (we fondly call it AUM) is HINGGA SELESAI, meaning Dewan will end only after the AUM of the day is completed. 
There are eight bills today, the major ones are amendments on the Election Offences Bill and Universities and University Colleges Bill. 
Next week, the Dewan Negara will begin its three-week session, before ending on May 10.
I have heard so much debates, and craps (more of the latter I think).
My boss will be going back to KK tomorrow. At about the same time, the PM will be there, for a two-day visit as per Bernama report below. Dare I dream that the PM will announce the setting up of the RCI on Illegal Immigrants?...
 
 
KOTA KINABALU, April 18 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to visit Sabah on Friday and Saturday.
According to a statement issued by the Press and Publication Office of the Chief Minister's Department, the prime minister would have a packed itinerary.

Shortly after arrival on Friday afternoon, the prime minister will attend the Malaysian Trust Fund Week 2012 at Likas Sports Complex, here.

He will later leave for Sandakan on the state's east coast to attend the 1Malaysia gathering with the people for the Sandakan and Batu Sapi parliamentary constituencies at Dewan Hakka.

The next day, the prime minister is schedule to go for a walkabout at Taman Mawar and Bandar Kim Fung, Sandakan, before returning to the national capital.
-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

ILLEGALS IN SABAH STILL A FESTERING ISSUE

I LIFTED this article, by KARIM RASLAN of The Star's CERITALAH. I bumped onto him recently. And upon seeing his efforts in trying to understand the illegal immigrants issue especially in Sabah, I thanked him. I also pointed out that it is not easy to understand the issue, especially about how the Sabahans really feel about the Mother of All Problems. "You really have to live here, or at least stay for a month or two before you get to the bottom of the issue," I said. Today, 17 April 2012, his Ceritalah came out. It is an interesting read. Thank you Mr Karim...

In the state known as the Land Below the Wind – a complex patchwork of loyalties, ethnicities and religious affiliations – a long-running problem concerning illegal immigration has once again risen to the fore.

KAMPUNG Putaton is deep in the heart of Penampang, some 10km from Kota Kinabalu. I’m waiting in the village’s community hall – just opposite the home of Upko chief and Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Tan Sri Bernard Dompok’s father – along with a few hundred deeply-tanned cocoa smallholders.
This is Kadazan country: it’s sleepy and bucolic with small hills, streams, bamboo groves, fruit orchards and houses on incredibly tall stilts.
Of course, over the years the rustic atmosphere has changed as apartment blocks, housing developments and shophouses have started nibbling at the edge of this rural idyll.
Dompok is expected to arrive at any moment to officiate at the annual meeting of the Penampang Cocoa Planters Association. There’s a rush as he steps out of his car and walks into the hall. He is surrounded by his supporters.
The meeting begins with an impassioned rendition of the national anthem Negaraku, after which it’s an informal affair.
During the speeches, Dompok and the local state assemblyman Donald Mojuntin break into Kadazan, cracking jokes in between the more serious parts of their speeches.
Later, over lunch with the minister, I find myself popping milk chocolate-coated al­­monds into my mouth (we’re at a cocoa promotion event, after all). However, the creamy hot chocolate drink after the meal wasn’t enough for this coffee addict.
With the 13th general election around the corner, the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut communities (collectively dubbed KDM) have become an increasingly important part of the ruling Barisan Nasional’s Parlia­mentary calculations.
Currently, 22 of Sabah’s 26 parliamentary seats are held by Barisan – an integral part of the coalition’s East Malaysian “fixed deposit”.
Of these, six are majority KDM in composition and seven either majority Chinese or mixed with non-Muslim majorities.
Indeed, Sabah is a complex patchwork of loyalties, ethnicities and religious affiliations.
However, a long-running issue concerning illegal immigration has once again risen to the fore.
The KDM and Chinese communities have been questioning the dramatic rise in the number of Muslim Sabahans over past decades – an increase that has altered the power equation in the Land Below the Wind.
The issue strikes at the core of what it means to be Malaysian, not to mention the intrinsic value of our citizenship.
It also raises other questions: can we be Malaysian and Christian? Can we be Malaysian and Kadazan? What is our collective identity?
While nothing has been announced officially, Barisan is broadly in agreement about the need for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on alleged illegal immigrants in Sabah.
Nonetheless, the terms of reference on any potential RCI remain unclear. As a consequence, many in the KDM communities are waiting anxiously to see when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will make an announcement on this issue.
As one observer explained: “This has become the mother of all problems in Sabah. The KDM communities want the RCI. They want to know what’s been happening over the years. It’s all about transparency, integrity and sincerity.”
However, there’s no doubt that a full-on inquiry might well unearth extremely compromising material on what’s been happening under previous administrations and there’s a degree of uncertainty in Barisan circles.
As one Umno insider said: “The RCI can’t be an excuse for a witch hunt.”
Dompok has himself been among the most straight-forward on the issue – much as he’s been on matters of religious freedom.
He told me during lunch: “It’s important that the announcement on the RCI should come before the dissolution of Parliament. The RCI mustn’t be seen as window dressing. The people appointed should be seen as credible.
“I’ve put my political life on the chopping block. If this isn’t resolved, my position in the Cabinet will be untenable. Besides, the act of not proceeding with the RCI will say a lot about the Government’s attitude to the KDM communities.”
At the same time, he’s more than aware of both the sensitivities and the complexities of the issue, of how the issue of illegal immigration is often tangled with that of undocumented citizenship.
In a separate speech to the Upko party congress last month Dompok had said: “We must welcome registration of Malaysian citizens who have not received identification documents.
“I would like to emphasise that we are talking about bona fide Malaysians. I am talking about people in mixed marriages whose children have yet to obtain their birth certificates.
“I will support all efforts by the Government in registering Malaysians and for them to get the necessary documents that they are entitled to as Malaysians.”
Listening to Dompok over lunch, I’m suddenly reminded of the vigour and enthusiasm with which the assembled crowd had sung the Negaraku earlier.
As I leave the Dewan, I can’t help wondering whether the KDM communities are just ano­ther embattled minority pushed increasingly into the periphery? Will the RCI serve to re­­verse this sense of alienation, or only increase it?
Whatever the case, political developments in Sabah will have implications for Malaysia as a whole. THE STAR

Monday, 16 April 2012

SOME SAY....

THE BN component parties have been given till end of this April to submit their potential candidates for the impending GE13, said to be just around the corner. 
And, as usually is the case, there will be opinions about the possible outcome. This I lifted from RPK. Read it with a pinch of salt.
I have worked in Semenanjung since 2004 till now. And of course, I keep in touch with Sabah. A simple sharing from my point of view will be uploaded here later. But for now, this will do....bikin panas panas diorang bilang

In East Malaysia, it is not about ABU (anything but Umno). It is ABS (anything but Semenanjung). And they hold 25% of the total number of Parliament seats. Hence, whether it is Umno, PKR, DAP or PAS, they are all still Semenanjung parties even if they field local candidates.
That problem needs to be addressed.
Pahang and Johor are Kubu Umno (Umno’s fortress). Umno was formed in Johor and the Prime Minister-in-waiting is from Johor so the Johor people are very proud of that fact. And the Prime Minister comes from Pahang so the Pahang people are very proud of that fact as well. It is all based on sentiments and not about good governance.
There are currently about 12.5-13 million registered votes. Four million eligible voters did not register to vote. About 8.5-9 million Malaysians would most likely come out to vote this time around. That means about eight million eligible Malaysian voters would not be voting, almost half the number of eligible voters.
BN would probably garner 4-4.2 million votes against PR’s 4.3-4.5 million. Against that backdrop, NS is a possible sixth state for PR (assuming they hold on to the four they current have and win back Perak). And it is also possible that PR can retain the 82 Parliament seats it won in 2008 and add another 10-20 to this. Hence, BN will still form the next federal government with a majority of 20-30 Parliament seats.
Now, if 20 Parliamentarians from Sabah and Sarawak cross over, that would be another story altogether. That would mean PR would form the next federal government. The bottom line would be, as I have said so many times before, the future rests in the hands of the East Malaysians. But can the East Malaysians deliver PR the next federal government?
Actually, that all depends on PR. If PR can stop treating the East Malaysians like second-class citizens and treat them more like equals, then there is still hope. Or else the East Malaysians would not bother to exchange one colonial master for another. That is the whole crux of the matter. READ HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

Monday, 2 April 2012

SUU KYI WINS

YEAH... one of my favourite personalities, Aung San Suu Kyi who was released from years of house arrest recently, took to the street and now lead her party to victory. Yes, it does not shake the existing government but, the point has been driven home. This amazing lady will change the country, in her own way. And that, to me, is an inspiration....


SUU KYI HAILS VICTORY OF THE PEOPLE
YANGON: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi hailed a “victory of the people” after her National League for Democracy (NLD) party declared she had won a seat in parliament for the first time.
“It’s usual that NLD members and supporters are happy at this moment,” she said in a statement.
“But words, behaviour and actions that can harm and sadden other parties and people must be avoided completely. I would like all NLD members to ensure that the victory of the people is a dignified victory,” she added.
If confirmed, the win would mark a dramatic reversal in the political fortunes of the veteran activist, who was locked up by the former junta for most of the past 22 years. Official results were expected within a week.
Observers says Myanmar’s quasi-civilian government needs Suu Kyi to take a place in parliament to bolster the legitimacy of its political system and spur an easing of Western sanctions against the regime.
But even if her party were to win all 44 seats it contested in Sunday’s by-elections, it would not tip the balance of power in a parliament dominated by the military and its political allies.
Meanwhile, a US lawmaker who has drafted sanctions against Myanmar said that it was premature to ease pressure despite by-elections forecast to see Suu Kyi enter parliament.
Representative Joe Crowley, a member of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party from New York, saluted the “incredible perseverance and courage” of Aung San Suu Kyi but said it was “important to keep things in perspective.”
“Far too many political prisoners are still locked behind bars, violence continues against ethnic minorities and the military dominates not only the composition but the structure of the government,” he said.
“Now is not the time for the international community to rush toward lifting pressure on Burma,” said Crowley, referring to Myanmar by its former name.
President Barack Obama’s administration has been seeking to encourage reforms in Myanmar. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a visit to Istanbul, said the United States was “committed to supporting these reform efforts.”
But most of the two decades of sanctions on Myanmar are under the purview of the Congress, which has long shown sympathy to Myanmar’s dissidents. Some other lawmakers, however, have been open to discussing easing some sanctions.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Senate Republican who has also spearheaded sanctions legislation on Myanmar, was cautious about the election.
“While much remains to be done in Burma, Suu Kyi’s apparent election to parliament, like that of the apparent election of large numbers of her NLD colleagues, is an important step forward for the country,” he said.
The by-elections were the latest reform effort by President Thein Sein, a nominal civilian leader whose government has surprised even many critics by freeing hundreds of prisoners and seeking cease-fires with ethnic rebels.
Aung Din, a former political prisoner and executive director of the US Campaign for Burma, said that Western nations should wait to see how Suu Kyi and other NLD supporters are treated in parliament.
“The United States and EU should not reward the regime simply because the NLD has some seats in the parliament,” he said. - AFP