Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Umno Veep Victors Will Determine Country’s Political Future, Analysts Say', Malay Mail, 25 September 2013


Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (left),Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (right) hold their nomination papers at the press conference in Putra World Trade Centre, September 20, 2013. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — While 3.4 million Umno members returned Datuk Seri Najib Razak as its leader last Saturday during party nominations, who gets voted into the second echelon will determine the political future of the country.
"The veeps and the Supreme Council are gaining in influence because these are the people who are going to be managing the membership and explain to the grassroots whatever decisions are made by the leadership," Khoo Kay Peng told The Malay Mail Online, referring to Umno's three vice-presidents and the party's powerful 25-man top leadership council.
However, the three incumbent vice-presidents, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal are seen as Najib loyalists.
Challenging them are party veterans Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir – all seen to be representative of Umno's old guard.
Khoo believes that the outcome of the vice-presidential contest will determine whether Najib will be able to continue with the reformist agenda he has laid out over the past few years as prime minister or send the party – and by extension, the government – back to its conservative Malay stance.
In other words, Umno's political present and the country's political future will be very much determined by the winners of this contest.
Just last week, Najib announced over RM31 billion in economic aid, loans and programmes for the dominant Bumiputera community, of which the Malays form a huge chunk, exactly a week before Umno's nomination for party elections was held.
The announcement also came after a barrage of criticism and demands from pro-Umno blogs and organisations over the preceding weeks, urging the 60-year-old son of second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein to reward the Malays and Bumiputeras for their support in the recent national polls.
"Signs are pointing towards Umno potentially focusing on its own support base. They are looking at survival first, and I don't think there is any indication they are going to go in a big way to win back multiracial support," Khoo said.
Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, a political scientist attached with Universiti Sains Malaysia, is of the opinion that Umno will likely hunker down and consolidate its Malay support base but noted that it is to be expected as party members look to maintaining stability in Umno, and in BN as a whole.
He also thinks that the outcome of the vice-presidential race will be definitive of Umno's future direction, but does not believe that Najib was in any way pressured to devote a lot more attention to the Bumiputera community of late.
"I don't think he is being pressured by Umno. This is an agenda he wants to have for the Bumiputeras and Malays," the Penang-based university lecturer told The Malay Mail Online.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia political analyst Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin echoed Sivamurugan's sentiments, saying that the results of the recent general election was impetus enough for Najib to act on his own in "rewarding" the Malays after spending millions of ringgit to woo Chinese and Indian voters.
"The least of the group he wooed and persuaded gave him the mandate to rule. He doesn't need to be pressured to reward this group," Shamsul Amri said via email, referring to the Bumiputera community.
"Najib just demonstrated publicly what a 'fair dinkum' spirit means. He has set the future tone: that he shall continue to reward both those who continue to support or not support him, in varying degrees and quantums," he added.
This year's party polls will be a first for Umno, as some 146,500 delegates will be allowed to take part in direct elections for their top leaders following amendments to the party constitution that opened up voting to a much larger group of members.
Previously, only 2,500 delegates were given the privilege to elect party leaders.
Elections for the Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings are scheduled to take place on October 12 while the vice-presidential and Supreme Council elections are slated for October 19.

'Fungsi Muzium Kena Berubah', Berita Harian, 25 September 2013

'Satu Slot Diyakini Untuk Mukhriz', Sinar Harian, 25 September 2013

'Laluan Berliku Mukhriz', Sinar Harian, 25 September 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

'Unchallenged Umno Presidency A Nod To Najib’s Leadership, Analysts Say', Malay Mail, 23 September 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Umno’s improved performance in Election 2013 and the party’s apparent lack of suitable replacements had saved Datuk Seri Najib Razak from a presidential ouster last weekend, several political analysts have observed.
Professor Jayum Jawan from Universiti Putra Malaysia said he could not see anyone else capable of toppling Najib from his perch, although he noted the country’s sixth prime minister may not be as dynamic as former Umno presidents Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or even Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, his own father.
“There is nobody else more capable and eligible than Najib,” Jayum told The Malay Mail Online today.
“The problem is there is nobody who is able to challenge both him and Tan Sri Muhyiddin (Yassin). Literally, they have no competition. That’s good for them. Whether it’s good for Umno, it’s not certain. They are the best, for the moment, to lead Umno,” added the lecturer of politics and government.
Najib and Muhyiddin were returned unopposed to their posts of Umno president and deputy president respectively when nominations for the polls closed on Saturday.
Dr Lim Teck Ghee, director of Centre for Policy Initiatives, said that the uncontested top leadership posts in the Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin revealed that the party’s pro-Mahathir faction was not strong enough to mount a challenge, “with Muhyiddin himself unwilling to make a bid for the top position”.
“Najib’s unveiling of the latest Bumiputera socio-economic empowerment plan and his surprisingly strong support of Utusan Malaysia - both seen as pandering to the extremist factions - must have pre-empted and finally discouraged any opposition within Umno to move against him,” he told The Malay Mail Online via email today.
Putrajaya’s new Bumiputera agenda, which Najib announced last weekend, gives the dominant Malay community access to over RM31 billion in aid and contracts.
Lim noted, however, that resistance against Najib may manifest in the contest for the Umno vice-presidency and in the supreme council, where his preferred candidates might lose to “hard-line and ultra-Malay candidates”.
Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, political analyst from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, pointed out that although BN had ceded even more seats to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the 13th general election than in Election 2008, Umno had increased its parliamentary representation from 79 to 88 seats.
“In 1999 GE, Mahathir lost a lot of Umno seats, hence his decision to resign. So whatever clever argument Mahathir would suggest to dethrone Najib, he has a worse record,” Shamsul Amri told The Malay Mail Online.
He added that Najib was not blamed for the ruling coalition’s loss of Chinese support in the May 5 polls that had reduced BN component party MCA’s seat tally to just seven federal seats.
“I think it’s not so much the blame game. More of an appreciation that Najib tried his best to woo the Chinese voters, but he didn’t sing the right song,” said Shamsul Amri.
James Chin, political analyst from Monash University Sunway, said that no one in Umno could match Najib’s popularity.
“Under the new voting, the number of candidates who can fight Najib has actually grown smaller since you need a national profile to fight.
“Only Muhyiddin Yassin was able to do that, but he was unwilling because he was not sure of his numbers,” Chin told The Malay Mail Online via email yesterday.
Some 146,500 delegates will be allowed to directly elect their top leaders in Umno after the party amended its constitution to allow more members to vote, up from the previous 2,500.
BN component party leaders said on Saturday that the unopposed re-election of Najib and Muhyiddin will strengthen the ruling coalition’s and the country’s political leadership.
Sarawak United People’s Party president Tan Sri Peter Chin was quoted by national news agency Bernama yesterday as saying that the continuity of Umno’s leadership will provide stability and boost confidence among both Malaysians and foreigners in the country’s direction.
Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, political scientist at Universiti Sains Malaysia, similarly said that Umno needed to remain united to prevent drawn-out internal conflicts.
“To avoid personalised conflicts, both top positions are important to be retained its status quo in order to put party above any other interest,” he told The Malay Mail Online.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

'Jawatan Penyandang, Menteri Hanya Bonus - Penganalisis', Bernama 22 September 2013


Oleh Mohd Hisham Abdul Rafar dan Nik Nurfaqih Nik Wil

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Sept (Bernama) -- Kelebihan Khairy Jamaluddin sebagai penyandang dan menteri kabinet tidak bermakna jawatan Ketua Pemuda Umno tidak boleh disaingi calon lain.

Penganalisis politik berpendapat setiap calon pastinya mempunyai kelebihan masing-masing dan status Khairy sebagai penyandang jawatan nombor satu sayap parti itu dan Menteri Belia dan Sukan hanya dilihat sebagai bonus.

Mengulas lanjut apakah kelebihan yang dimiliki Khairy itu mampu melonjakkan sokongan perwakilan kepadanya untuk sepenggal lagi, Prof Madya Dr Sivamurugan Pandian berkata yang penting setiap calon bertanding tidak menyempitkan pemikiran dengan sesuatu agenda sahaja.

"Setiap calon perlu memperlihatkan kekuatan masing-masing jika mahu dilihat berkelayakan. Pada saya, Pemuda juga harus memainkan dua peranan berbeza dalam waktu yang sama iaitu mempertahan kedudukan Melayu dan menjadi benteng Barisan Nasional (BN)," katanya kepada Bernama ketika dihubungi hari ini.

Seorang lagi penganalisis politik, Prof Madya Datuk Zainal Abidin Borhan berkata tidak kira siapa yang bakal dipilih perwakilan, agenda Umno untuk mendukung cita-cita kebangsaan Melayu seperti termaktub di dalam Fasal 3 Perlembagaan Umno perlu diperkasakan.

"Inilah asas perjuangan Umno yang kini dilihat semakin tenggelam dan akhirnya menghampakan kebanyakan golongan Melayu. Kita tengok isu-isu yang melibatkan kepentingan Melayu sendiri, siapa yang akan bangkit terlebih dahulu menegakkannya?.

"Daripada segi pemerhatian saya, kebanyakannya digerakkan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO). Mana perginya pemimpin-pemimpin Umno terutamanya Pemuda?" katanya.

Mengulas pemilihan Umno kali ini, Zainal Abidin berkata sistem pemilihan Umno kini lebih terbuka kepada sesiapa sahaja yang layak untuk bertanding.

"Namun mereka yang bertanding harus mempunyai tanggungjawab iaitu menegakkan semula agenda Umno seperti yang termaktub dalam perlembagaan parti agar sesuai dengan keperluan masyarakat di zaman sekarang," katanya.

Pada pemilihan sayap 12 Okt ini, Khairy bakal berhadapan dengan empat individu lain yang menawarkan diri merebut jawatan itu.

Mereka ialah Penolong Setiausaha Pemuda Umno Cawangan Pusat Bandar Taman Chempaka, Pandan, Syed Rosli Syed Harman Jamallulail, Ketua Pemuda Cawangan Bendang Baru, Langkawi, Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah Sanusi, bekas Ketua Pemuda Umno Bahagian Merbok Abd Karim Ali serta Ketua Pemuda Umno Cawangan Bukit Setiawangsa Irwan Ambak Khalid Izhar.

Khairy, yang menyifatkan pertandingan lima penjuru selari dengan usaha mentransformasi Umno, berkata: "Semoga kita semua dapat bertanding dalam suasana rukun serta harmoni."

Sementara itu, Pensyarah Fakulti Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Prof Madya Datuk Dr Samsul Adabi Mamat melihat pertandingan lima penjuru melibatkan jawatan Ketua Pemuda itu satu perkembangan yang baik.

"Secara umumnya, ini satu perkembangan sihat untuk menonjolkan calon-calon yang menawarkan diri untuk bertanding dan dapat ditonjolkan di peringkat Pemuda lagi.

"Memang pada pemilihan lepas, agak sukar untuk Khairy menang tetapi dia boleh menang dalam situasi kurang popular pada masa itu. Kali ini dalam situasi yang popular dengan sumbangan yang banyak kepada Umno, kepercayaan Pemuda lebih tinggi kepada beliau," katanya.


Friday, September 20, 2013

'Pengumunan Pertahan Jawatan Bukti Keserasian Gandingan Najib-Muhyiddin', Bernama, 19 September 2013


KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Sept (Bernama) -- Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dan Timbalannya Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Khamis mengumumkan mereka akan mempertahankan jawatan masing-masing pada pemilihan parti bulan depan.

Najib mengumumkan bahawa beliau akan mempertahankan jawatan Presiden yang disandangnya sejak 2009 dalam sidang media selepas merasmikan Persidangan Tahunan Middle Temple 2013 di ibu negara.

Pengumuman Muhyiddin yang menawarkan diri mempertahankan jawatan Timbalan Presiden pula akhirnya menjawab segala spekulasi kononnya beliau akan bersaing bagi jawatan nombor satu dalam parti.

Pensyarah Kolej Undang-Undang, Kerajaan dan Pengajian Antarabangsa, Universiti Utara Malaysia Prof Madya Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed berpendapat keputusan itu pasti disambut baik semua anggota parti, kerana ia mencerminkan perpaduan yang wujud dalam kalangan pemimpin tertinggi dalam UMNO.

Justeru itu, pengumuman itu disifatkan sebagai 'melegakan' kerana UMNO, menurut Ahmad Martadha, tidak boleh dibiarkan berantakan akibat perebutan jawatan seperti yang berlaku pada 1987 ekoran pertandingan antara Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Kesinambungan kepimpinan dalam UMNO perlu, lebih-lebih lagi selepas pilihan raya umum ke-13 dan dalam konteks menghadapi pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Ahmad Martadha menegaskan gandingan Najib-Muhyiddin sangat diperlukan bagi memastikan kestabilan dan kemakmuran negara ketika negara menuju matlamat menjadi negara maju berpendapatan tinggi menjelang 2020.

"UMNO pada masa kini mempunyai kepimpinan yang berwibawa dan ia sangat diperlukan untuk parti itu melakukan pelbagai perubahan menghadapi PRU ke-14 untuk kesinambungan parti," katanya.

Sementara itu, Pensyarah Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan Universiti Sains Malaysia Dr Sivamurugan Pandian melihat bahawa pengumuman itu sebagai 'isyarat' daripada pemimpin parti kepada anggota untuk memelihara keharmonian parti.

Menurutnya, hasrat Najib mempertahankan jawatan Presiden dilihat 'kena pada masanya' kerana ketokohan dan kepimpinan beliau diperlukan untuk terus menerajui parti dan negara.

Ketua Jabatan Pengajian Kenegaraan dan Ketamadunan, Fakulti Ekologi Manusia, Universiti Putra Malaysia Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib pula berkata tindakan Muhyiddin yang menyokong penuh pengumuman Najib mempertahankan jawatan Presiden menunjukkan keserasian gandingan dua tokoh itu.

"Jika mengikut konsep demokrasi, jawatan itu boleh dipertandingkan walaupun ada yang menentang (ia dipertandingkan).

"Tindakan Munyiddin bertanding jawatan nombor dua menunjukkan nilai ketimuran yang diselitkan pada konsep demokrasi (iaitu menghormati ketua) dan ini adalah satu bentuk nilai tambah yang dialu-alukan," katanya.


'Announcement To Defend Post Proof Of Najib-Muhyiddin Compatibility', Bernama, 19 September 2013


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, today announced that they will be defending their respective posts at the Umno election next month.

Najib made the announcement at the press conference after opening the Middle Temple Conference 2013 here Thursday.

Muhyiddin, on the other hand, made his announcement at his residence in Putrajaya, hence silenced all speculations about him going for the number one post in Umno.

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Law, Government and International Studies lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed told Bernama that he felt the two announcements would definitely be lauded by Umno members as they reflected the strong unity among the two top leaders in the party.

He said the announcements were also described as a huge relief as Umno could not afford to be left factionalised due to contest for posts, just like what happened in 1987 when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenged Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Ahmad Martadha also emphasised that the Najib-Muhyiddin team was very much needed to ensure stability and peace in the country towards achieving the status of a high-income nation by 2020.

"Right now, Umno has very credible leaders and it is vital for the party in its bid to make various transformation for its survival to face the 14th general election," he said.

Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, from the School of Social Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), said the announcement by the party's top leaders was a "signal" for the members to preserve harmony in the party.

He said Najib's declared intention to defend his party president post was timely as his capability and leadership were needed to steer the party and nation to greater heights.

Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib, from the Faculty of Human Ecology, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said Muhyiddin's action of declaring his full support for Najib in defending his party presidency showed the compatibility of the two leaders.

"Based on the concept of democracy, the post can be contested although some of the members are opposed to a contest for the two top posts.

"Muhyiddin's decision to contest the No. 2 post shows adherence to Eastern values (of respecting the leader) and this is a welcomed added value for the party," he said.


'Shafie Pledges Full Support To Top 2 Contenders', New Straits Times, 20 September 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

'Golongan Dewasa Perlu Pelajari Sifat 'Buta Warna' Kanak-kanak Demi Perpaduan', Bernama, 16 September 2013


KUALA LUMPUR, 16 Sept (Bernama) -- Setiap pagi, Saiful Na'aim Harun akan bertandang ke rumah rakannya, V. Jeganathan sebelum pergi ke sekolah yang terletak kira-kira 500 meter dari rumah.

Itu kisah lima tahun dahulu, namun setelah mereka menginjak usia remaja, persahabatan itu semakin renggang apabila kedua-duanya memasuki sekolah menengah dan lebih selesa berada dalam kumpulan kaum masing-masing.

Realiti itu banyak berlaku pada masa kini, dan menurut Presiden Yayasan 1Malaysia Prof Dr Chandra Muzaffar perkara ini berlaku kerana sifat keremajaan yang menyebabkan seseorang itu lebih sedar tentang identiti apabila mencapai usia sebegitu.

Justeru, Chandra berpendapat adalah penting untuk memastikan interaksi antara kaum dalam diri kanak-kanak bermula seawal usia, iaitu dari peringkat taska dan tadika.

"Itu adalah sebab mengapa kita harus memupuk konsep identiti yang lebih bercirikan Malaysia di kalangan murid-murid di peringkat sekolah rendah supaya di peringkat remaja mereka lebih membuktikan orientasi yang kurang terikat pada identiti kaum masing-masing," katanya kepada Bernama.

Pendapat yang sama turut dikongsi Pemegang Amanah Yayasan 1Malaysia Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye yang menyifatkan kanak-kanak sebagai 'buta warna' kerana tidak melihat kepada warna kulit antara kaum semasa bermain dan lebih terbuka menerima rakan yang berada di persekitaran mereka.

Orang dewasa, katanya, harus mempelajari sifat 'buta warna' daripada kanak-kanak supaya semangat perpaduan antara kaum dan etnik di Malaysia yang mula terjalin sewaktu kecil terus berkekalan.

Bercakap mengenai hubungan antara etnik, Lee menzahirkan rasa kagum dengan penduduk Sabah dan Sarawak yang dapat hidup dalam suasana yang cukup harmonis dan berkeupayaan mencari persamaan dalam perbezaan meskipun mereka terdiri daripada pelbagai etnik.

"Penduduk Sabah dan Sarawak hidup atas konsep saling menghormati masing-masing menerima, memahami dan menghormati budaya, adat resam, agama dan kepercayaan setiap etnik dan hubungan itu dieratkan dengan budaya kahwin campur dan diterima secara terbuka," katanya.

Mengulas mengenai keharmonian itu, Chandra pula berkata ia berlaku dari segi interaksi sosial, iaitu antara lain disebabkan tiada kaum atau etnik yang majoriti di negeri berkenaan.

"Semua kaum adalah minoriti berdasarkan jumlah masing-masing dan dalam persekitaran sedemikian rupa, tolak ansur serta kerjasama lebih mudah berlaku.

"Selain itu, agama juga tidak boleh dikaitkan dengan kaum di Sabah atau Sarawak, bermaksud terdapat sebagai contoh (seorang) Kadazan yang menganuti agama Islam atau Kristian, dan ini mengurangkan sentimen pemisah antara kaum," katanya.

Bagaimanapun, dalam keharmonian itu, Chandra berpendapat sudah wujud polarisasi kaum tempias gelanggang politik kepartian sejak kebelakangan ini yang dapat dilihat pada Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 lalu dan juga Pilihan Raya Negeri.

Katanya adalah penting untuk semua parti politik tidak kira Barisan Nasional atau Pakatan Rakyat mendekati isu-isu politik dan ekonomi dari perspektif yang lebih luas yang tidak terbatas pada kaum tertentu, selain tidak memanipulasi sentimen kaum sehingga menjejaskan perpaduan rakyat.

Bagi memperkasa perpaduan antara kaum, Chandra berkata anak kunci keharmonian dalam masyarakat berbilang kaum dan agama seperti Malaysia terletak pada keadilan yang bersifat menyeluruh dan seimbang.

"Keadilan yang menyeluruh dan seimbang hanya akan wujud sekiranya terdapat persefahaman dan empati antara kaum yang perlu dipupuk melalui keluarga, sistem pendidikan, institusi agama dan budaya serta saluran media," katanya.

Sementara itu, Pensyarah Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Dr Sivamurugan Pandian berkata nilai utama yang perlu ada dalam diri setiap rakyat adalah kesederhanaan supaya isu yang boleh menggugat perpaduan dapat ditangani secara berhemah.

"Kita tidak boleh terlalu sensitif atau bersifat radikal jika dijentik dengan perkara yang menyentuh perkauman, sebaliknya perlu bersifat matang kerana keharmonian yang kita nikmati bukan berlaku dalam masa setahun dua, sebaliknya mengambil masa yang sangat lama dan merupakan (hasil) perjuangan tokoh terdahulu," katanya.


'Colour Blind' For Unity Sake, Bernama, 16 September 2013

By Siti Salwa Shaari
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 (Bernama) -- Every morning Saiful Na'aim Harun would drop by at V. Jeganathan's house, located about 500 metres away, on his way to school.

That was five years ago and as they got older, the two friends drifted apart and their relationship became strained when they entered secondary school, where they became more comfortable to be among their own race.

This is a reality which is common among our children and according to 1Malaysia Foundation chairman Professor Dr Chandra Muzaffar, this happens because children became more aware of their identity when they became teenagers.

Hence, he said it was important to ensure racial interaction among children when they were still in nurseries and kindergartens.

"That is why we have to instil the concept of a more Malaysian identity among primary school children so that when they become teenagers, they will not be orientated to their own race," he told Bernama.

A trustee of the 1Malaysia Foundation, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who concurred with Chandra on the matter, said children were colour blind as they did not look at the colour of their friends' skin when they play.

Adults, he said, should learn to be colour blind to maintain unity among the people of races and ethnics in the country.

On relations among the ethnic groups, Lee said he was amazed with the Sabah and Sarawak people who were able to live in harmony despite the various ethnics found in the two states.

"The people of Sabah and Sarawak live based on the concept of mutual respect' for each others culture, tradition, religion and belief and the relationship is strengthened with inter-marriages among them.

Elaborating on harmonious living, Chandra said it happened through social interaction because there was no majority race or ethnic in the two states.

"All the races are a minority and in such an environment, toleration and cooperation can happen easily.

"Apart from that, religion also cannot be linked to race in Sabah or Sarawak, because there are also Kadazans who are Muslims and there are also those who are Christians," he added.

However, Chandra said racial polarisation was showing with the development in partisan politics.

Hence, he expressed the need for all political parties to handle political and economic issues from a wider perspective and not confined to certain races, as well as to not manipulate racial sentiment that could jeopardise racial unity.

He said the key to racial and religious harmony in Malaysia was justice which had to be comprehensive and balanced.

"That can be achieved if there is understanding and empathy among the races which have to be instilled through family, education system, religious institution and culture, as well as the media," he added.

Meanwhile, a lecturer at the Centre of Social Science Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, said the value which all Malaysians had to possess was moderation so that issues that could jeopardize unity could be tackled wisely.

"We cannot be over-sensitive or be radical, but to be mature because the harmony that we are enjoying now does not happen in one or two years, but takes a very long time and the result of the struggle by previous fighters," he added.


Monday, September 02, 2013

'Lucutkan Taraf Kerakyatan', Utusan Malaysia, 2 September 2013

'Hasrat Palanivel Terus Jadi Presiden Selepas 2016 Dapat Reaksi Berbelah Bagi', Bernama, 1 September 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 Sept (Bernama) -- Hasrat Datuk Seri G. Palanivel untuk terus memegang jawatan presiden MIC selepas tamat tempoh penggal pada 2016 telah menerima reaksi berbelah bagi daripada pemimpin dan penganalisis politik.

Pengarah Strategik MIC S. Vell Paari berkata sekiranya terus mendapatkan mandat besar daripada pengerusi cawangan dan ahli, maka beliau perlu memegang amanah itu sebagai presiden bagi memperkasakan parti itu.

"Sekiranya majoriti pengerusi cawangan mahu beliau meneruskan kepimpinan, maka beliau mempunyai hak untuk berbuat demikian demi parti. Palanivel perlu mematuhi kehendak pengerusi cawangan kerana telah diberi mandat," katanya kepada Bernama ketika dihubungi di sini hari Ahad.

Memetik contoh, Vell Paari berkata bekas perdana menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad mengumumkan peletakan jawatan pada Perhimpunan Agung Umno pada 2002.

"Pada 2002, Tun Dr Mahathir dipujuk untuk meneruskan kepimpinannya selama 18 bulan dalam proses peralihan kuasa yang berakhir pada Oktober 2003. Ini adalah situasi sama dengan Palanivel," katanya.

Terdahulu, selepas dilantik Presiden MIC kelapan tanpa bertanding, Palanivel mengumumkan bahawa beliau mungkin memegang jawatan itu selepas tempoh penggal berakhir pada 2016, selepas menerima 96 peratus sokongan pengerusi cawangan pada hari penamaan calon presiden hari ini.

Berkongsi pandangan sama, penganalisis politik Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani berkata Palanivel boleh berbuat demikian sekiranya mempunyai mandat dan sokongan parti.

"Beliau (Palanivel) boleh berhujah bahawa parti itu mahu beliau kekal. Selain itu, beliau tidak mempunyai alasan kukuh kerana telah berjanji dengan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak untuk berundur pada 2016," kata dekan Sekolah Pengajian Antarabangsa, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

Mohd Azizuddin berkata sekiranya mana-mana pemimpin mahu menggantikannya maka mereka perlu mencabar beliau kerana ini adalah sebahagian daripada proses demokrasi dan dibenarkan mengikut perlembagaan MIC.

"Ini tidak akan mengugat Barisan Nasional (BN) kerana BN terdiri daripada gabungan 13 parti. Jika satu ada masalah, BN masih mempunyai 12 parti untuk menyokong kecuali wujud pertikaian sesama mereka. Hari ini, BN masih kuat," katanya. Timbalan dekan Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Prof Madya Dr Sivamurugan Pandian berkata butiran kompromi antara Palanivel dan timbalannya Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam tidak didedahkan kepada umum.

"Kita tidak tahu butiran perjanjian dan sebahagian besarnya bergantung pada semua pihak yang terbabit dalam pemilihan presiden. Sekiranya tahu butiran itu, maka baru sahaja boleh menyatakan sama ada hasrat Palanivel itu bercanggah dengan perjanjian atau menjejas pihak tertentu atau BN," katanya.

Bagaimanapun, naib presiden MCA Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai berpendapat sebaliknya dengan berkata Palanivel perlu berpegang kepada janjinya untuk berundur pada 2016.

"Tiada siapa boleh menghalang beliau (Palanivel) daripada bertanding jawatan utama parti itu sekali lagi. Tetapi beliau perlu menunaikan janjinya atau rakyat akan hilang kepercayaan terhadapnya," katanya.

Sambil mengucapkan tahniah kepada Palanivel atas pemilihannya, Lim berkata hasratnya itu tidak memberi kesan kepada BN secara keseluruhan kerana isu pemilihan presiden semata-mata diputuskan oleh ahli-ahli parti. Ketua Penerangan Parti Progesif Penduduk (PPP) Datuk A. Chandrakumanan berkata orang ramai tidak perlu terburu-buru membuat andaian terhadap kenyataan Palanivel itu.

"Walaupun telah menerima sokongan padu, Palanivel perlu tegas dan mempunyai prinsip sendiri dengan keputusannya untuk berundur pada 2016 dan jika tidak masyarakat itu tidak akan mempercayainya sebagai pemimpin," katanya.

Chandrakumanan menegaskan keputusan mengejut itu tidak akan mengugat BN kerana isu itu adalah soal dalaman parti.

Naib Presiden Umno Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi pula berharap Palanivel akan berpegang kepada janjinya untuk melepaskan jawatan presiden MIC selepas satu penggal.

Beliau berkata walaupun Palanivel menang tanpa bertanding dengan sokongan padu, adalah lebih elok jika beliau mengotakan janjinya.

"Pencalonan tinggi yang beliau perolehi adalah hasil formula kompromi yang dicapai...eloklah beliau tunaikan janji-janji beliau untuk melepaskan jawatannya kepada Dr Subramaniam selepas ini,", katanya.

Beliau berkata demikan ketika ditemui di rumah terbuka Aidilfitri Setiausaha Kerja Umno Datuk AB Rauf Yusoh di sini.

Dalam pada itu, Ahmad Zahid turut mengucapkan tahniah kepada Palanivel atas kemenangannya dan berharap kaedah berkompromi antara pemimpin parti itu dapat diteruskan.

"Ini ialah satu perpaduan yang harus mereka caknakan bagi mengekalkan kestabilan MIC," katanya.


'Tindakan Kibar Bendera 'Sang Saka Malaya' Cabar Kedaulatan Negara', Bernama, 1 September 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 Sept (Bernama) -- Tindakan kumpulan tertentu mengibarkan bendera digelar 'Sang Saka Malaya' dan bukannya Jalur Gemilang pada malam sambutan ulang tahun kemerdekaan negara di ibu negara, Jumaat lepas, disifatkan sebagai mencabar kedaulatan negara, kata pakar sejarah Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam.

Ramlah yang juga Pengarah Pusat Kajian Institusi Raja Malaysia (PKIRM) Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) berkata ini melibatkan soal kemerdekaan, perjuangan yang dibuat orang terdahulu untuk memastikan negara tercinta bebas daripada penjajahan.

"Ini soal negara, bukan soal politik, bagi saya, kumpulan tertentu itu telah mencabar kedaulatan negara.

"Walaupun Malaysia mengamalkan sistem demokrasi, tetapi kita bercakap mengenai negara, tidak melibatkan politik," katanya kepada Bernama hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika diminta mengulas mengenai tindakan kumpulan tertentu yang mengibarkan bendera itu pada malam sambutan Hari Kemerdekaan ke-56, di Dataran Merdeka, Jumaat lepas.

Tindakan kumpulan itu mencetuskan kemarahan seorang lelaki yang merampas bendera berkenaan lalu menggumpalnya sambil memberitahu itu bukan bendera Malaysia dan insiden itu mula dimuat turun di laman sosial.

Ramlah turut mempersoalkan matlamat kumpulan itu yang mengibarkan bendera digelar 'Sang Saka Malaya' itu.

"Mana kiblat mereka? Adakah mereka belot kepada negara? Mereka mendaulatkan sesuatu yang tidak pernah diterima pada satu masa dahulu," katanya.

'Sang Saka Malaya' itu, merupakan bendera merah putih dengan 12 bintang kuning disusun tiga baris empat jalur dilaporkan bendera milik sebuah persatuan di negara ini pada era 1940-an.

Mengulas mengenai penglibatan Sasterawan Negara Datuk A. Samad Said, Ramlah berkata tokoh itu sepatutnya sensitif dengan perjuangan orang terdahulu daripada beliau (A. Samad), yang berusaha memperoleh kemerdekaan untuk negara.

Ramlah yang berasa sedih dengan penglibatan tokoh itu berkata sebagai seorang yang matang dan tokoh yang dihormati, beliau perlu menghormati negara yang telah berjasa kepada beliau.

"Kerajaan mengiktiraf beliau dan kerajaan itu adalah kerajaan yang memimpin negara sekarang," katanya.

Menurut klip video itu, A. Samad dikatakan sedang mendeklamasikan sebuah sajak dengan bendera 'Sang Saka Malaya' berada berhampiran dengannya ketika seorang lelaki merampas beberapa bendera itu.

Sehubungan itu, Ramlah mahu kerajaan mengambil tindakan tegas terutama yang membabitkan soal perlanggaran kenegaraan yang menyebabkan insiden seperti itu berleluasa.

Dalam pada itu, Ramlah mengucapkan tahniah kepada lelaki berkenaan yang berani merampas bendera itu.

Beberapa penganalisis politik pula berpendapat pihak berkuasa seharusnya mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap pihak yang cuba mencetuskan api kemarahan di kalangan rakyat pelbagai kaum di negara ini termasuk mereka yang mengibarkan bendera Sang Saka Malaya itu.

Timbalan Dekan Pusat Pengajian Sains Kemasyarakatan Universiti Sains Malaysia Prof Madya Dr Sivamurugan Pandian berkata usaha menukar bendara negara telah bermula sejak tahun lalu lagi dan seperti tiada kesudahannya, insiden sama berulang semula pada malam sambutan ulang tahun kemerdekaan negara Jumaat lepas.

"Pihak berkuasa perlu lebih tegas dan berani untuk mengambil tindakan serta menghukum pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab itu kerana jika tidak ia seperti kita mengiktiraf bendera Sang Saka Malaya itu," katanya.

Beliau berkata mereka yang memahami sejarah negara serta peri pentingnya kedaulatan itu dipertahankan, tidak akan melakukan tindakan sedemikian kerana bendera merupakan nilai dan simbol negara.

Mengenai tindakan berani lelaki dalam klip video itu, Sivamurugan berkata: "Tindakan lelaki dalam klip video itu patut dijadikan contoh dan iktibar oleh semua pihak kerana beliau berani bertindak walaupun seorang diri".

Nada sama turut dilontar Pensyarah Kanan Fakulti Komunikasi Pengajian Media Universiti Teknologi Mara Prof Madya Dr Ismail Sualman yang berkata tindakan berani pihak tertentu cuba mengibarkan bendera lain selain Jalur Gemilang jelas menunjukkan kurangnya penguatkuasaan daripada pihak berkuasa.

"Apabila bendera itu dipaparkan pada malam itu....pihak berkuasa macam tak ambil tindakan, tiada yang ambil perhatian sehingga ada pihak ambil kesempatan," katanya.

Beliau menegaskan usaha menukar Jalur Gemilang merupakan tindakan tidak berakal kerana tiada mana-mana negera di dunia ini yang menukar bendera masin-masing kerana ia simbol kedaulatan sesebuah negara.

"Pemimpin boleh bertukar dari semasa ke semasa...tapi bukan bendera. Tak ada lagi negara di dunia ini tukar simbol kedaulatan mereka," katanya.

Presiden Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia (IRIMM) Amir Amsaa Alla Pitchay berkata tindakan tegas perlu dikenakan kepada mereka yang tidak putus-putus mempersendakan Jalur Gemilang bagi memberi pengajaran kepada yang lain.

"Mengibarkan bendera yang bukan Jalur Gemilang tidak sepatutnya berlaku...mereka perlu menyanjung bendera kedaulatan kita bukan dengan mengambil kesempatan ketika Merdeka dengan mengibarkan bendera lain.

"Kerajaan tidak seharusnya duduk diam lagi...satu tindakan tegas perlu diambil kepada sesiapa sahaja yang tidak menghormati bendera kita...jangan biar ia merebak," katanya.

Beliau turut memuji keberanian pemuda yang merampas bendera yang digelar 'Sang Saka Malaya' itu daripada tangan individu-individu dan lantang mempertahankan Jalur Gemilang.

Ketua Umno bahagian Cheras Datuk Syed Ali Al-Habshee berkata tindakan berani pemuda itu membuktikan ada rakyat Malaysia yang berani mempertahankan bendera negara walaupun sedar berhadapan dengan sebilangan kumpulan tidak bertanggungjawab di kawasan itu.

Katanya tindakan itu adalah mesej kepada pihak tertentu supaya tidak sewenang-wenangnnya mempermainkan bendera kebanggaan rakyat dan negara.

Beliau meminta Kementerian Dalam Negeri menjalankan siasatan dan menangkap individu yang mengibarkan bendera "Sang Saka Malaya" itu serta melucutkan taraf kewarganegaraan mereka.

Sementara itu Setiausaha Agung Gagasan Pendidikan Melayu Malaysia (Gagasan) Syed Anuar Syed Mohamad meminta kerajaan mempertimbangkan supaya menarik kembali gelaran tokoh Sasterawan Negara yang diberikan kepada A. Samad.

Katanya tindakan A. Samad itu boleh mencemarkan bidang kesusasteraan negara termasuk hasil karyanya sendiri yang turut berunsurkan patriotisme.

"Kerajaan yang bagi tokoh Sasterawan Negara ini tetapi beliau (A.Samad Said) tidak sudah-sudah mempertikaikan apa yang dibuat oleh kerajaan. Sepatutnya beliau kena menjadi model yang perlu diikuti, ini tidak," katanya.

Tindakan mengibarkan 'Sang Saka Malaya' pernah berlaku semasa ambang Merdeka di ibu negara tahun lepas.

Ekoran itu, lebih 400 laporan polis dibuat berhubung insiden tahun lepas itu dan beberapa orang disiasat mengikut Akta Hasutan tetapi tiada seorang pun didakwa setakat ini.


'Palanivel's Intention To Extend Term Beyond 2016 Receives Mixed Reaction', Bernama, 1 September 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri G.Palanivel's intention to continue to hold the post of president even after his term ends in 2016, has received mixed reaction from leaders and political analysts. MIC strategic director S.Vell Paari said if Palanivel continued to receive huge support from the branch chairmen and members, then he had to follow the mandate to remain as president to strengthen the party. "If the majority (of branch chairmen) want him to continue, he has the right to do so for the sake of the party. Palanivel has to follow the wishes of the branch chairmen as he has been given the mandate by them," he told Bernama when contacted Sunday. Vell Paari cited an example of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who surprisingly announced his resignation at the Umno General Assembly in 2002. "In 2002, Tun Mahathir was persuaded to stay on for a further 18 months in a carefully planned handover that ended in October 2003. It's a similar situation with Palanivel," he added.

Earlier, after being elected as the eighth MIC president unopposed, Palanivel, who is also natural resources and environment minister, announced he might continue to hold the president post even after his term ends in 2016, after receiving overwhelming support from the branch chairmen. Echoing similar sentiments, political analyst Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said Palanivel could do that if he had the mandate and support of the party. "He (Palanivel) can argue that the party still wants him to stay. Other than that, he has no concrete argument because he has made a promise to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to step down by 2016," said the dean of the School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia. Mohd Azizuddin noted that if any other leader wanted to succeed him, they should make a bid and challenge him, "as this is part of democracy and allowed under the MIC constitution". "This will not jeopardise Barisan Nasional (BN) because BN is a coalition of 13 parties. If one is in trouble, BN still has 12 more to support it unless they are fighting with each other. Today, BN is still strong," he said. Universiti Sains Malaysia's School of Social Sciences senior lecturer, Assoc Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian noted that the details of the compromise between Palanivel and his deputy Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam were not revealed to the public. "We do not know the details, and largely it depends on all parties involved in having the agreement on presidency election. Only then we can decide whether it would jeopardise the agreement or certain parties or BN," he said. However, MCA vice-president Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai felt otherwise, that Palanivel should keep his word and step down in 2016. "No one can stop him (Palanivel) from contesting the party's top post again. But, he must fulfil his promise or people will lose trust in him," he said. Congratulating Palanivel for being elected as the eighth MIC president, Lim said this decision would not affect BN as a whole, because the issue would be be solely decided by the party members. People's Progressive Party (PPP) national information chief, Datuk A.Chandrakumanan said people should not "jump the gun" by quickly judging Palanivel on his statement. "Palanivel must be firm and have his own principles with his decision to step down in 2016 even though he has received overwhelming support from the branch chairmen and members, or else the community will not believe in him as a leader," he said. Chandrakumanan stressed that this sudden decision would not affect BN as a whole as it was MIC's internal matter. Meanwhile, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi hoped that Palanivel would keep his promise to relinquish the top MIC post after one term. He said although Palanivel received a high number of nominations, enabling him to win the post uncontested, it would be better for him to keep his promise. "The high number of nominations he received was the result of the formula of compromise reached. "Since that is the case, it'll be good for him to hand over the MIC presidency to (party deputy president) Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam after this (when his term ends in 2016)," he said when met at the Aidilfitri open house of Umno executive secretary Datuk AB Rauf Yusoh, here, tonight. Ahmad Zahid, however, congratulated Palanivel on his victory and hoped the compromise among the MIC leaders would continue for unity to prevail to ensure the party's stability. -- BERNAMA

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