How should we judge a government?

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

Why we should be against censorship: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

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If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist?

MyCen News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Where there is a legal precedent by our country's highest court of justice, what should we do?

As a layman, I always have this notion that regardless of how much we disagree with certain judgments, we have to accept them... unless and until those are overruled by higher courts. But if it is a verdict by the apex court, The Federal Court, then we have to wait until there is a change in the law relating to it.

Therefore, I am puzzled why Roger Tan put it as if Pakatan critics of Perak MB case are inconsistent if they were to use its legal precedent to support a similar situation in Selangor. To my simple mind, it is a clear case of 'Heads they win, Tails we lose' kind of logic.

Excerpt of his article Keep it colour blind:

'I was also troubled that when he passed away, he had not been accorded the appropriate recognition by leaders of our legal profession of his contribution to the administration of justice in this country.

This could be due to some differences with the Sultan’s decision not to call for fresh state elections when Pakatan Rakyat lost the majority control of the Perak state assembly in February, 2009. I had at that time written extensively that the Sultan’s decision was constitutionally correct.

Interestingly, the Federal Court’s judgment which subsequently endorsed the correctness of his royal decision is now being relied upon by his then most vociferous and sometimes insolent critics in Pakatan Rakyat to justify replacement of the embattled Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim without the need for a state assembly sitting or the dissolution of the assembly.'

Rest of his article Keep it colour blind:
which appeared in his column, Legally Speaking by Roger Tan, in The Sunday Star
on August 17, 2014


Thursday, August 21, 2014

A bit on obituary notices

Despite careful consultation with the respective families and attention to detail in drafting the obituary notices, in English and Chinese, for publication in The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh respectively, there were a number of mistakes in the obituary notices of my late mother-in-law.

This is a common problem because of the confusion during funeral wake and the best placed advertisements were usually either prepared before hand or by private secretaries in charge. These well prepared and coordinated advertisements are obvious, especially where the obituary notice and condolence messages are published on the same day.

Delay is often caused by difficulty in confirming the spelling of names, and especially the correct Chinese characters if placed in Chinese newspapers. Here, it depends on the decision whether timely advertisement or perfection is more important.

I think the editors of the advertisement department should have excellent examples with which to help advertisers. This is especially so in terms of layout. Having seen the first draft using an exercise book which was later transcribed onto the computer for easy reference and checking before confirmation of final draft, I think the old fashion way of using a big blank piece of paper (eg. mahjong paper) would have avoided the mistakes relating to layout. The notebook's screen is small and not everybody is comfortable using it, having to scroll up and down to get the big picture.

The Chinese notice in Sin Chew Jit Poh was poor in layout and caused confusion when relating the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

In The Star's notice, only some of the great grandchildren were not placed on the same line as their respective families. It would certainly help if editors could take the initiative to check for obvious errors (eg. based on surnames) and confirm with advertiser before publishing.

The following were mistakes in preparation, nothing to do with the editors. For eg. Dr Lee was annoyed when she found out that her prefix 'Dr' was omitted, whereas her husband's and the next generation's doctors had theirs.

Spelling mistakes: Siew Chin was unhappy to note her sons' 'Yeong' was spelt as 'Yeung' and 'Shaun' spelt as 'Shawn'!

Dorothy's 'Pooi' was spelt as 'Pui' and this was despite her text to god mother-in-law  on the spelling. In this case, it was mother-in-law who mispelt it while the father-in-law failed to spot it, and presumably god mother-in-law assumed it was correct. However, I managed to correct Shane's to 'Yue', which was mispelt by grandma as 'Yu'.

As is common with today's borderless world, with family members living all over the world, out of 7 children, one daughter-in-law in Sydney could not be present; out of 22 grandchildren, only 10 were present; and out of 5 great grandchildren, only 1 was present at the funeral!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Guthrie dawn raid... turned out to be his 'nemesis' 33 years later?

If only Khalid followed instructions to quit as MB...

As someone who is a Pakatan supporter and have been keeping up to date with political events, but without being privy to any insider news, I think Khalid Ibrahim could have saved himself much trouble and embarrassment if only he listened. Could we be blamed if we suspect he is being tacitly supported by Pakatan's opponents since he played the part of being victimised, and turned to political foes for support?

Anybody in his shoes, having been appointed MB (without holding top position in the party) for more than a term, would have been glad and grateful in giving up his position. Surely he understands the party's and the coalition's bigger struggle and should have given in even if he felt victimised or even humiliated when told about the intention for him to be replaced by Anwar, and later, Wan Azizah. Without knowing his real reasons for not following instructions from party leaders, I cannot see how he could be victimised (having enjoyed being MB of Selangor) or humiliated, when most of the so-called insults came only when he behaved recalcitrant and tried all means to create as much havoc as possible to put PKR and Pakatan into confusion and disarray.

I was aware of the famous 'Dawn Raid'  in 1981, a proud event which resulted in Malaysia gaining control of a British company, Guthrie, by surprise, and in which Khalid Ibrahim played a vital role. He was made CEO of the company and when he was dismissed, he was given option to purchase substantial number of shares in it. Who would have thought that what was meant to be a golden handshake turned out to be his biggest mistake and seems to be the main cause of his downfall. It is debatable what could have been: could he have sold the shares and made a tidy profit at the time? I think it was likely, because such share options were usually below prevailing market price. But at the time, I am sure he was more interested in holding the shares and enjoyed being a substantial shareholder. With his money and stature then, he could have easily controlled a lesser company. The main problem was that he borrowed (from Bank Islam) to take up the share option, and presumably badly hit by economic downturn which caused share prices to drop across the board. Put simply, the share price of Guthrie must have gone below his take up price or the interest on the loan had accummulated to such an extent that he could not service the loan and when the bank force sold the shares, he ended up owing tens of millions.

Isn't it ironic that what made him famous in 1981 is turning out to be his 'nemesis' years later?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Karma at work? Legal precedent favouring Pakatan this time, with help from two PAS ADUNs...

but will it be acceptable to His Royal Highness?

Showing ‘loss of confidence’ of the MB & legal consequences
By Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar

A press conference by the leader of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) claims that a majority of the members of the State Legislative Assembly (30 out of 56) have declared that they no longer have confidence in the existing MB, Tan Sri Khalid. They have expressed their support for the PR.

If this is indeed the position, what happens now?

This question has been answered by our highest Federal court in the Perak Assembly case (Nizar v Zambry). The Court established the following.

First, there is no need to have a vote of no-confidence in the State Assembly itself. This loss of confidence can be established by other extraneous sources - “provided they are properly established”. This includes representations made by members of the Assembly that the MB no longer enjoys the support of the majority.

If such representations give the other party (in this case the PR political alliance) a clear majority in the Assembly, then, said the Court, this “clearly pointed to the loss of confidence of the majority of members of the legislative assembly in the leadership of the … CM”.

It was then incumbent upon the MB to tender the resignation of the Executive Council which includes the MB.

If the MB refuses to do so, the ExCo members are ‘deemed to have vacated their respective offices’.

The upshot of this decision is that PR can now present to His Highness the Sultan the representations by the majority of the members of the legislative assembly as to the loss of confidence of the MB to the Sultan.

The Sultan has no discretion in the matter but to act according to the judgment of the Federal Court; and direct the MB to tender the resignation of the ExCo. Any refusal would go against the express mandatory provision of the State Constitution: Article 53(6) which is identical to the provision in the Perak State Constitution.

Otherwise, said the Federal Court, “it would lead to political uncertainty in the state. The appellant (MB) cannot continue to govern after having lost the support of the majority. To allow him to do so would be going against the basic principle of democracy”.

The Sultan will then appoint as the MB the person nominated by the majority.

A final note: in the Nizar v Zambry case the Federal Court referred to the “political alliance called Pakatan Rakyat (PR)” – which contradicts assertions made to the contrary that such an alliance has no existence.

14 August 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kim Quek to PAS: Think before you jump

To PAS: Think before you jump

By Kim Quek

By a strange twist of fate, PAS is poised to play a role opposite of what it did in the unconstitutional power grab in Perak in 2009. Then, PAS was the victim; now, it is the potential culprit.

In 2009, PAS Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin was unconstitutionally ousted through an Umno conspiracy with the co-operation of the Palace.

Today, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is attempting to kick ruling coalition Pakatan Rakyat out of the state government with what he alleged as the support of PAS.

If he succeeds, that would mean Selangor will be run by a PAS-Umno coalition.

And that would further mean that PAS would have committed two grand betrayals.

First, it betrays its coalition partners PKR and DAP and the political ideals shared by all the three partners.

Second, it betrays the Selangor electorate who had given Pakatan Rakyat whopping support, giving the latter more than two third majorities in the assembly. That support was intended for the PKR-PAS-DAP coalition, and certainly not meant for PAS-Umno coalition.

A PAS-Umno coalition in Selangor would further mean that the Malaysian political landscape would be reshaped throughout the country as Umno/BN (with PAS as a member or an ally) vs Pakatan (PKR + DAP).

From PAS’ point of view, as a political party, it will have to consider whether such a reconfiguration will result in the party winning more parliamentary and state seats throughout the nation, and what its position and influence will be in the family of BN.

As for the Malaysian electorate, the question to be asked is: will they ever forgive PAS for these grand betrayals?

PAS Central Committee will meet on Aug 17 to make supposedly its final decision as to where it stands on the current Selangor crisis. Whatever decision it makes, it will be another major landmark of Malaysian politics.

Kim Quek