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23 July 2014

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Speech by Anwar Ibrahim on the occasion of Sarawak’s 51st Year of Independence on July 22, 2014

A brief history of Sarawak reconstructed

In a leading text on Sarawak history, Steven Runciman, the English expert on Byzantine studies and a contemporary of George Orwell, tells us that in return for successfully waging war on piracy and insurgency among the indigenous peoples, the Sultan of Brunei, the late Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II, ceded amassive tract of land in the southwest area of Brunei to James Brook.

This generous grant was not only a surrender of land as such but a secession of sovereignty and heralded the birth of a dynastic monarchy that we have come to know as The White Rajahs who ruled the “Kingdom of Sarawak” from 1841 to 1946.

Between enemies and heroes

While that aspect of history is familiar to most of us, I am more concerned about the history books clichéd reference to “fighting pirates and insurgentsamong the indigenous peoples”. I believe the time is overdue for a reconstruction of this part of Sarawak history so as to get a balanced discourse.

The question is: what do you mean exactly by ‘pirates’ and ‘insurgents’? The answer depends on whose point of view we are taking. Indeed, if we view itfrom the perspective of the colonial overlord, or even from the ruler’s, they were pirates and rebels to be destroyed. But how about from the point of view of the indigenous peoples?

To my mind, those who might be seen as enemies by the colonial masters and domestic oppressors may well be celebrated as heroes for the native peoples. For example, Iban chief Libau ‘Rentap’ of Kanowit might have been James Brooke’s arch-enemy but to us as Malaysians, and definitely to the people of Sarawak, he remains “the Hero of Bukit Sadok”, no doubt a great Dayak Iban Warrior.

Similarly, Sayyid Mashhur bin Muhammad Al-Shahab, or more popularly known as “Sharif Masahor”, was also public enemy number one for the White Rajah but there is no doubt that he was one of the greatest Melanau warriors inour history. After forging an alliance with Rentap, their history of struggles can no longer be seen as rebellion but one of the earliest heroic struggles for freedom against British colonialism and oppression.

So, today we are here not only to celebrate an occasion or a day but also to commemorate the heroism, sacrifice and invaluable contributions of the people of Sarawak.

The concept of Federalism and Malaysia

Malaysia is a Federation, which is why we have what is called the Federal Constitution. However, when we go through the Federal List, it would soonbegin to dawn on us that our Federation, for all intents and purposes, is more a unitary state.

The concept of federalism entails a division of power between the federalgovernment and the state governments while in a unitary state, power is centralised.

In a true federation, the distribution of power allows all the component states to work as separate units while the overall structure remains intact to allow theNational Government to move the nation forward as a sovereign state recognised in the international community. To maintain cohesiveness as a multi-cultural multi-religious nation, all national policies must be inclusive and sensitive to the fundamental rights of the diverse communities.

Bahasa Malaysia as the national identity

Language identity as a nation cannot be separated from the sovereignty and distinct character that makes one nation distinct from another. In this regard, any proposal to enhance federalism without giving pride of place to Bahasa Malaysia as the national unifying language for all Malaysians is doomed to fail.

Thus, the position of Bahasa Malaysia must not be questioned at all. This is a struggle not just for the champions of the language but a conviction for all of us regardless of our mother tongue. Indeed, Malay is the only language that will bind us linguistically as a nation.

We should be guided by such an overriding principle so as to maintain unity in diversity while preserving national sovereignty as a nation and this can done without an overconcentration of centralised power.

Rather than being fixated on amassing power at the centre, the Federal government must seriously consider a general decentralisation agenda that will add invaluable economic synergies and cultural empowerment to the states regardless whether they are controlled by Pakatan or Barisan Nasional.

To ensure the preservation of the national statehood, essential matters covered in the Federal List such as national defence, internal order and security and raising revenue should never be compromised.

The establishment of the Federation of Malaya – as a consequence to the opposition to the aborted Malayan Union – was, at least in theory precisely to allow for that unity without sacrificing the individual sovereignty of the states.

If we stop to ponder then that there would have been no Malaysia withoutbringing in Sarawak and Sabah, then our appreciation of these two states should grow by leaps and bounds.

Indeed, the wealth of resources they bring are immense but this is not the point Iam making. More important than anything else I am talking about the rich diversity in people, culture and religion that cannot be measured in economic terms that Sarawak and Sabah bring to the very concept of Malaysia as a nation.

Pakatan’s 7-Point Proposal for Sarawak and Sabah

They say that celebrating the Independence Day of Sarawak is a very brave step. Indeed, it is. But I believe the people of Sarawak deserve more and in conjunction with this 51st anniversary, and in line with the true concept of federalism, the following 7-point plan is proposed:

Point 1

1. In recognition of the spirit of the federal compact signed in 1963 known as the Malaysia Agreement, to:

a.

Recognise – in the Federal Constitution, text books and official discourses – Sabah and Sarawak as special states that are equal partners to the Peninsula of Malaysia within the Federation of Malaysia; and

b.

Recognise three National Days: August 31 as the Merdeka Day for Malaya and Sabah, July 22 as the Independence Day for Sarawak and September 16 as Malaysia Day – with national celebrations for August 31 and September 16.

 

Point 2

2. In the spirit of true federalism that values unity in diversity while preserving a cohesive nation, to:

a.

Uphold Bahasa Malaysia as the national language unifying all Malaysians regardless of faiths, ethnicity or mother-tongue;

 

b.

Protect the freedom of expression and information in all languages, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, including the use of Allah in the Malay and Iban-language Bibles and other publications; and

c.

Establish a television channel for Borneo

Point 3

3. In full recognition of the injustice in the marginalization and poverty suffered by Sarawak and Sabah despite their rich resources, as a result of corruption, nepotism and cronyism by both the Federal and State Governments, bring about the following economic reforms and developments when Pakatan Rakyat forms the new federal and state governments:

a. Federal-state sharing of petroleum wealth and power in Petronas, with

i.

a director each from Sarawak, Sabah and all other petroleum-producing states on Petronas’ Board;

ii.

the establishment of state-owned second-tiered Oil and Gas company as Petronas’ partners; and

iii.

20% royalty for those states;

b. The abolition of cabotage policy to eliminate the artificial price disparity that burdens the people of Sarawak and Sabah;

c. The construction of a Pan-Borneo highway of comparable quality to those highways in Peninsular Malaysia

d. The supply of electricity and tap water to 90% of households in Sarawak and Sabah

Point 4

4. To correct and prevent the illegal naturalization and enfranchisement of foreigners and the failure in safeguarding the border of Sabah, establish permanent joint Federal-State Commissions in Sarawak and Sabah answerable to both the Federal Parliament and the respective State Assemblies in order to oversee:

a.

The naturalization of foreigners in Sarawak and Sabah;

b.

The trans-migration of other Malaysians into Sabah and Sarawak; and

c.

Border and coastline security in both states

 

Point 5

To ensure protection of the native communities and environment:

a.

Establish State Land Commissions in Sarawak and Sabah, with institutionalized representation from the native communities and answerable to the respective State Assemblies, to administer land especially Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands, undertake surveys, investigate and resolve land disputes; and

b.

Establish elected third-tiered governments at city and division level, with the boundaries of rural divisions taking into account socio-culturalboundaries of native communities where possible, to facilitate participatory decision-making and indigenous autonomy.

 

Point 6

Guided by the spirit of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, support human resource development in Sarawak and Sabah, with no discrimination on the ground of religion, through:

a.

Borneonisation of the state public service in Sarawak and Sabah with transparent and meritocratic recruitment and promotion;

b.

Recruitment of more Borneans into the Administrative and Diplomatic Services and appointment of more Borneans as Ambassadors and High Commissioners; and

c.

More scholarships for both Bornean students in general and Bornean native students in particular.

 

Point 7

7. Establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to commence a study on the health of federalism in Malaysia within the first year of the new Federal Government and complete it within 3 years, to reform and rejuvenate our federal system before GE15 to better serve the nation and all the states and territories.

Conclusion

A federation of states is only as strong as the sum of its parts. The call for real federalism and greater devolution of powers is intended to strengthen these parts and that in turn will strengthen the entire federation. This will augur well for the future of Malaysia.

 

Thank you.

21 July 2014

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Sydney Morning Herald

A boy with cuts all over his body is using every ounce of his strength to cling on to a rubber-gloved medic trying to lay him on a hospital bed.

What the haunting photograph does not capture are the Palestinian boy’s screams at the paramedic: “I want my father, bring me my father!”

Belalmd12_pict

It also fails to show the gaping wound on the left side of his head, the large piece of shrapnel in his neck, and smaller pieces lodged in his chest and abdomen, sustained after being caught in artillery fire from Israel.

The story behind the photograph taken at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital last Thursday – and disseminated across the world – was revealed by a junior doctor Belal Dabour in a piece for the pro-Palestinian masthead The Electronic Intifada.

“At around 3am, about eight or nine casualties arrived at the emergency room all at once. The last to come in were four siblings – two of them little children, both about three years old, with relatively superficial wounds,” he wrote.

“Then came the older of the four siblings, a boy in his early teens. His head and face were covered in blood and he was pressing a rag to his head to staunch the flow. But his focus was on something else: ‘Save my little brother!’ he kept screaming.”

The unnamed boy pictured in the photograph was thrashing about and screaming for his father as the paramedic carried him straight from the emergency unit to intensive care.

“Upon carefully examining the wounds, it appeared that the explosion from the artillery round sent flying small pieces of stone from the walls of his house, and that some of his wounds were caused by these high-velocity projectiles,” Dr Dabour wrote.

The shrapnel in the boy’s neck just missed a major artery, the piece in his chest nearly punctured a lung, and the one in his stomach nearly hit his bowel. But the child was a “lucky” one, Dr Dabour said, because he had seen too many killed.

Just a day earlier, four boys aged between nine and 11 were playing on the beach in Gaza City when Israeli military strikes slaughtered them. They were cousins.

As the Islamic militant group Hamas and Israeli troops prepare to enter day 14 of their latest conflict, the death toll sits at 417 Palestinians and 18 Israelis.

A third of Palestine’s dead were children, the United Nations children’s agency declared on Saturday. About 50 boys and 20 girls between three months and18 years of age had been slain.

“From July 8, until 4am on July 19, at least 73 Palestinian children have been reported killed as a result of air strikes and shelling by Israel aerial, naval and ground forces,” UNICEF’s Catherine Weibel said.

Israel accused Hamas of using the Gaza population as a human shield, firing rockets from civilian areas and infrastructure.

Dr Dabour ended his account by saying he did not find out the youngster’s name as too many people – “some arrived torn to pieces, some beheaded, some disfigured beyond recognition” – arrived to be saved.

“I do not know whether he was reunited with his father, or even what became of the rest of his family,” he wrote. “But there’s one thing that I know for sure, which is that hundreds of children just like him suffered similar or worse injuries, and up to the moment of this writing, nearly 80 children just like him have been killed as Israel’s merciless attack goes on.”

21 July 2014

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World.Mic

Click to enlarge

The news: As Israeli military forces make their way into the Gaza Strip in a major new ground invasion, this infographic from Visualizing Palestine has some perspective on the relative costs each side has paid in this entrenched conflict.

According to their data, 79% of deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from 2000-2008 have been from Israeli military or police actions against residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Just 8% of total deaths during that time period were from Palestinian attacks on Israel. The infographic doesn’t necessarily assign blame to one side or the other, but notes that who was killed by who “first” was determined by whichever side attacked after a day of peace.

In all, since 2000 some 6,792 Palestinians and 1,102 Israelis have paid the ultimate price over the ongoing dispute. Since Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, it’s become even more disproportionate: 3,457 Palestinians and 125 Israelis have died.

Why the huge gap? Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, removing all security forces and civilians. Israeli citizens in the area who refused to vacate were actually removed by unarmed soldiers. Since then, Hamas began emphasizing the political process and strengthened its support among Palestinians, eventually taking control of the entire Gaza Strip from the Palestinian Authority in a violent coup in 2007. So for a time, they were quite busy focusing on the situation within their own territory. The resulting 2008 Gaza War between Hamas and Israel saw nearly 200 Israeli citizens injured and a few killed, during which Israeli counterattacks drew far greater blood from the Palestinian side.

It’s not that Hamas hates Israel any less now that it’s in a position of power. Instead, they’ve had more domestic problems to deal with as they solidified their position in Gaza and fewer opportunities to attack Israel thanks to better security. Hamas’ use of suicide bombings fell dramatically since the Second Intifada in 2005, and the organization began abandoning suicide attacks in 2006. The last such attack in Israel happened in April 2008, when three bombers in Kerem Shalom killed themselves and injured 13 others. Hamas apparently decided the tactic was costly and ineffective. Further factors preventing further bombings also included the construction of security walls and checkpoints which made it harder for extremists to slip into Israeli cities and settlements.

Launching rockets against Israeli cities became the preferred tactic. But from 2011 onwards, Israel’s Iron Dome defense system has ensured that many Palestinian rockets fired towards Israel (which were alreadypretty poorly designed) have simply been shot down or disabled. Despite being more powerful, Hamas now lacks the ability to launch suicide campaigns. Overwhelming Israeli military and intelligence superiority has thwarted even some recent attempts by militants to sneak over the border.

[VIDEO]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MPkic4HNrs

The Israeli capacity to strike back, on the other hand, has only grown. Israeli reprisals against Hamas have grown both bigger in scale and more aggressive since the organization seized power in Gaza. The U.S. has also funneled huge amounts of money into the Israeli military, by some accounts providing 23-25% of its funding. There’s just simply no comparison between the two sides’ military strength and indeed their capacity for inflicting pain on the other anymore.

Why you should care: As Vox’s Max Fisher notes, Israeli military and defense superiority and its increased control over Palestinian territory may have actually helped prevent an agreement. The economic blockade in place since 2007 has sent many Palestinians into poverty, helping Hamas find steady recruits despite a disastrous lack of success in its campaign against Israel. (Paradoxically, extremist groups thrive in terrible socioeconomic conditions even when they’re partially responsible for them.) The expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank furthermore indicates to many Palestinians that agreements can’t be trusted.

Meanwhile, the Israeli public’s support for a solution that would grant Palestinian independence, once massive, has plummeted. Fisher says that suicide bombings during the Second Intifada convinced many Israelis that peace with Palestinians was impossible, and this “sense of apathy” has been further encouraged by the other side’s subsequent inability to fight back. Since Israel has incontestably won the physical battle, when shots go off Palestinians are far more likely to be in the line of fire. That’s just the frank reality of the situation.

20 July 2014

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Sambutan Hari Kemerdekaan Sarawak ke-51 bersama Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim

22 Julai 2014| 2.30 – 6.00 petang| Hotel Grand Continental, Kuching

19 July 2014

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PRESS RELEASE
19 July 2014

I declare full support for the call by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for an emergency parliamentary
sitting on the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

We in Pakatan are totally committed to any resolution to categorically condemn the mass murder committed by the perpetrators. In this regard, the Prime Minister must be unequivocal in naming the party or parties responsible, whoever they may be.

We also fully support the demand that the culprits of this crime be brought to justice and that all necessary measures be taken to facilitate a swift, effective and independent investigation.

This is indeed a time of grief and sadness for all Malaysians as it is too for others and we urge all parties to refrain from making statements or remarks that are insensitive to the feelings of the
families and loved ones of the innocent victims.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

19 July 2014

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Al Jazeera

Palestinians as a diverse society are neither reducible to Hamas nor can they be denied the right to resist occupation.

In much of the North American and western European media reporting on the current Israeli carnage of Palestinians, a common refrain is that Hamas has also shot some rockets towards Israel. Given the sophisticated defence system Israel possesses, courtesy of US taxpayers, none of these rockets hit any targets and fortunately no Israeli man, woman, or child has lost any life or limb because of them. This fact has scarcely bothered BBC, CNN, or any other shamelessly pro-Israeli outlet that always seeks to “balance” their reporting on Gaza by mentioning the fact that Hamas has also shot some rockets towards the Jewish state.

In one particularly nefarious example, Diane Sawyer of ABC showed a picture of Palestinians enduring Israeli bombing but told her American audience these were the pictures of Israelis under attack by Hamas rockets.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that Hamas does shoot some rockets towards Israel, and though these rockets scarcely harm anyone does not diminish their intent, which is to hit somewhere or harm someone. So the Hamas operation intends to harm people but they cannot do as they wish for their military wherewithal is not outsourced to the United States.

Thanks to AIPAC and other Israeli lobbies and pro-Israeli billionaires, among them those who encourage US President Barack Obama to nuke Iran on behalf of Israel, Israel enjoys a special relationship with the most deadly military machinery on the planet and partakes in that deadly force at will. Hamas in this regard has lost the bid to its Israeli counterparts and any outside military help they might receive is from countries like Iran that can hardly be compared to that gargantuan deadly machine called the US.

Erratic rockets

Useless as they are, why is Hamas firing these erratic rockets, and why would they not stop them anyway? Why bother? They are hardly any match for the Israeli army. After all, Hamas is David and Israel is Goliath in this contest. Wouldn’t Palestinians be better off without Hamas trying to defend them in Gaza?

Here we need to ask the question in a slightly larger context. Is Hamas not a legitimate Palestinian organisation, with enough grassroots support that itwon a major parliamentary election in Gaza back in 2006? I have known, and I still know, many Palestinians who do not like Hamas, disagree with their ideology, and oppose their ways. But these Palestinians of diverse political opinions are as much part of the Palestinian resistance to occupation and theft of their homeland as Hamas is.

Like any other richly diversified society, Palestinians are composed of followers of many religions, politics, and ideologies. Palestinians are Christian, Muslim, atheists, and agnostic. They are nationalist and/or socialists. They are secularists, Islamists, post-Islamists, and post-secularists. They are feminists, modernists, post-modernists, deconstructionists, and they are nativists at times, cosmopolitan at others, unionists, pacifists, militants, you name it. One of them was a founding figure of a school of critical thinking called post-colonial studies.

By far the most consistent and the most definitive aspect of Palestinian resistance to the occupation and theft of their homeland over the decades has been non-violent civil disobedience. Resistance for Palestinians is definitive of who and what they are. They might be a poet like Mahmoud Darwish, a novelist like Ghassan Kanafani, a film-maker like Michel Khleifi, an artist like Mona Hatoum, a feminist like Lila Abu Lughod – but in doing what they do, whatever they do, they oppose and defy the armed robbery of their homeland.

But there are also those Palestinians who have taken arms and opposed villainy by violence. As part of this resistance, Hamas is integral to the Palestinian national liberation movement, but like any other forms of resistance, Hamas is not definitive to Palestine.

Israeli propaganda machinery

What the Israeli propaganda machinery does is to reduce the entirety of Palestine, the rich and diversified tapestry of Palestinian resistance, to Hamas, then demonise Hamas. The strategy works, especially aided and abetted by major state-sponsored or corporate media like BBC, ABC, or CNN. Execute this strategy, and go on a rampage against Palestinians, maim and murder them with impunity.

Now for the sake of argument: Suppose we wake up tomorrow morning and there is no Hamas to shoot off any useless rockets towards Israel. Then what? The magnificent Israeli benevolence will move into operation and return the stolen Palestine to their rightful owners? Of course not. Suppose Hamas did not even exist since its founding in 1987. Then what? Israel would have by now returned Palestine to its rightful owners? Of course not.

Palestinians are varied and Palestinians are entirely entitled to resist and oppose the occupation and theft of their homeland by any means they deem necessary – whether it is by a beautiful song by Muhammad Assaf, a magnificent poem by Mahmoud Darwish, a film by Elia Suleiman, a novel by Ghassan Kanafani, a book on Palestinian costumes by Widad Kawar, or another on Palestinian cuisine by Rawia Bishara or by the militant Marxist organisation PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), or indeed through the Islamist ideology of Hamas.

One may not agree with Hamas, may not join them, but one cannot reduce the entire tapestry of Palestinian resistance to Hamas, or tell Hamas to disband, for Israelis are about to return Palestine to its rightful owners.

So the bogus proposition that Hamas provokes Israel to attack Gaza is not only narratively false because Israeli military operations in Palestine always predate any Hamas operation, but also because Palestinians in their entirety are neither reducible to Hamas nor can they be denied the right to resist occupation in whatever form they deem necessary. Dividing these forms of resistance into “moderate” and “militant” will also lead nowhere but the pestiferous Washington think tanks.

A film by Annemarie Jacir, an art installation by Emily Jacir, a poem by Rafeef Ziadah or Dana Dajani, or a moving song by Rim Banna is infinitely more radical than any flimsy rocket that Hamas might fire. The Israeli propaganda machinery does not want the world to know these radically defiant forms of Palestinian resistance that have grabbed Zionism by the throat for generations and do not allow it to swallow Palestine. But they magnify Hamas as the face of Palestine.

Military atrocities

In a future free and democratic Palestine, who knows how many votes Hamas would garner in a given election. But we are nowhere near that moment yet – and Israel and its criminal military atrocities are the principle obstacle why we are nowhere near that point. Until then, Palestinians are perfectly entitled to resist the robbery of their homeland by any means they deem necessary, including, but never limited to, Hamas.

Hamas does not provoke Israel to attack Gaza. Palestinians do. The very name of Palestine, the very fact and phenomenon of being a Palestinian, being a witness to the moral bankruptcy of the very idea of Zionism provokes Israel. The mere existence of Palestinians is the denial of Israel and its dominant Zionist ideology. That is the reason that Golda Meir famously said there are no Palestinians, for if there were any Palestinians, she would be a joke. So she had to say there are no Palestinians in order to be an Israeli prime minister.

So anytime you hear an Israeli propagandist mention the word “Hamas”, substitute for it “Palestinians” and the replaced signifier is far closer and truer to what they mean. They want to level that land from one end to another, continue to ethnically cleanse it, and call it Israel, and wash, as one young Israeli put it bluntly, Palestinians into the sea.

Zionism as a murderous machinery of colonial conquest will not stop until the very last inch of Palestine is taken – and yet the Palestinians persist in their homeland, resist occupation, procreate, sing, dance, compose music and poetry, make films, stage drama, organise acts of civil disobedience, mobilise for BDS … and yes, of course, some of them also pick up a few flimsy arms against the most sophisticated armed robbery of a homeland in history.

18 July 2014

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Bloomberg View

There’s nothing funny about Malaysia Airlines losing two Boeing 777s and more than 500 lives in the space of four months. That hasn’t kept the humor mills from churning out dark humor and lighting up cyberspace.

Actor Jason Biggs, for example, got in trouble for tweeting: “Anyone wanna buy my Malaysia Airlines frequent flier miles?” A passenger supposedly among the 298 people aboard Flight 17 that was shot down over eastern Ukraine yesterday uploaded a photo of the doomed plane on Facebook just before takeoff in Amsterdam, captioning it: “Should it disappear, this is what it looks like.”

That reference, by a man reportedly named Cor Pan, was to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, whose disappearance in March continues to provide fodder for satirists, conspiracy theorists and average airplane passengers with a taste for the absurd. On my own Malaysia Air flight last month, I was struck by all the fatalistic quips around me — conversations I overheard and in those with my fellow passengers. One guy deadpanned: “First time I ever bought flight insurance.”

There is, of course, no room for humor after this disaster or the prospect that the money-losing airline might not survive — at least not without a government rescue. This company had already become a macabre punch line, something no business can afford in the Internet and social-media age. It’s one thing to have a perception problem; it’s quite another to have folks around the world swearing never to fly Malaysia Air.

Nor is no margin for mistakes by Malaysia or the airline this time, even though all signs indicate that there is no fault on the part of the carrier. The same can’t be said for the bumbling and opacity that surrounded the unexplained loss of Flight 370. Even if there was no negligence on the part of Malaysia Air this week, the credibility of the probe and the willingness of Prime Minister Najib Razak‘s government to cooperate with outside investigators — tests it failed with Flight 370 — will be enormously important.

As I have written before, the botched response to Flight 370 was a case study in government incompetence and insularity. After six decades in power, Najib’s party isn’t used to being held accountable by voters, never mind foreign reporters demanding answers. Rather than understand that transparency would enhance its credibility, Malaysia’s government chose to blame the international press for impugning the country’s good name.

The world needs to be patient, of course. If Flight 370′s loss was puzzling, even surreal, Flight 17 is just plain tragic. It’s doubtful Najib ever expected to be thrown into the middle of Russian-Ukraine-European politics. Although there are still so many unanswered questions — who exactly did the shooting and why? — it’s depressing to feel like we’re revisiting the Cold War of the early 1980s, when Korean Air Flight 007 was shot down by a Soviet fighter jet.

More frightening is how vulnerable civilian aviation has become. Even if this is the work of pro-Russian rebels, yesterday’s attack comes a month after a deadly assault on a commercial jetliner in Pakistan. One passenger was killed and two flight attendants were injured as at least 12 gunshots hit Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK-756 as it landed in the northwestern city of Peshawar. It was the first known attack of its kind and raises the risk of copycats. The low-tech nature of such assaults — available to anyone with a gripe, a high-powered rifle and decent marksmanship — is reason for the entire world to worry.

The days ahead will be filled with postmortems and assigning blame. That includes aviation experts questioning why Malaysia Air took a route over a war zone being avoided by Qantas, Cathay Pacific and several other carriers. The key is for Malaysian authorities to be open, competent and expeditious as the investigation gains momentum. Anything less probably won’t pass muster.

18 July 2014

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Kenyataan Media

Pihak pejabat  ingin memaklumkan bahawa tweet di bawah bukanlah daripada akaun twitter Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim (@anwaribrahim). Kami kesal dengan tindakan sesetengah pihak yang cuba mengambil kesempatan untuk memburuk-burukkan beliau tanpa mengambil kira perasaan keluarga mangsa dan sensitiviti seluruh rakyat Malaysia.

Pejabat Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia

18 Julai 2014

Twit palsu :

BszecYYCYAAWpNF

Twit sebenar Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim berkenaan #MH17

twit dsai yg btl

 

18 July 2014

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PRESS RELEASE
18 July 2014

We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic news of the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people on board.

Our deepest condolences go to the relatives and loved ones of the passengers and crew who perished in this horrific mid-air disaster. In particular to the families of our 43 Malaysians who have lost their lives, we share their sorrow and bereavement and pray for strength to get through this tragedy.

While it has been reported that the Boeing 777-200ER MAS jetliner was shot down by a surface to air missile over the conflict zone in Ukraine, it has not been established who is responsible.

Regardless of that, we condemn this act of terrorism and urge the international authorities to conduct a full and independent investigation and to bring to justice the perpetrators of this mass murder.

Meanwhile, we call on MAS and our Malaysian authorities to do their utmost in handling the disaster and in particular to be utterly sensitive to the feelings and totally responsive to the needs of the families and loved ones.

This is yet another national tragedy and our moment of deep grief and sorrow.

Anwar Ibrahim
Opposition Leader, Malaysian Parliament
Ketua Umum, Parti Keadilan Rakyat

——-
Kami merasa terkejut dan dukacita dengan perkhabaran tragis tentang nahas Malaysian Airlines MH17 daripada Amsterdam ke Kuala Lumpur yang membawa 298 penumpang.

Ucapan takziah kami buat ahli keluarga para penumpang dan krew penerbangan yang terlibat dalam nahas udara ini. Khusus buat ahli keluarga 43 rakyat Malaysia yang dilaporkan terkorban, kami turut berkongsi kesedihan yang dirasai dan terus berdoa agar mereka tabah untuk menghadapi tragedi ini.

Sementara pesawat Boeing 777-200ER MAS berkenaan dilaporkan telah ditembak dengan peluru berpandu di zon konflik di Ukraine, pihak yang bertanggungjawab masih belum dikenalpasti.

Rentetan itu, kami mengecam sekeras-kerasnya tindakan keganasan seumpama ini dan menggesa pihak berwajib antarabangsa untuk mengendalikan siasatan bebas dan memyeluruh serta membawa anasir yanh bertanggungjawab ke atas insiden ini.

Dalam masa yang sama, kami menyeru agar MAS dan pihak berkuasa Malaysia dapat melakukan yang terbaik dalam mengendalikan bencana ini demi menjaga sensitiviti serta responsif sepenuhnya ke atas keperluan keluarga mangsa yang terlibat.

Nyata sekali, ini sebuah lagi tragedi nasional yang mengundang kesedihan kita seluruhnya.

Anwar Ibrahim
Ketua Pembangkang, Parlimen Malaysia
Ketua Umum, Parti Keadilan Rakyat

17 July 2014

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

Shah Alam. 16/7/2014

17 July 2014

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

Speech by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Economic Agenda Forum & Iftar on July 16, 2014 at the Mentri Besar Selangor’s Official Residence

Versi Bahasa Melayu

English Version

17 July 2014

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

Speech by Anwar Ibrahim at the Economic Agenda Forum & Iftar on July 16, 2014 at the Menteri Besar Selangor’s Official Residence

Introduction
In the run up to the last general elections, the rakyat were treated to a barrage of proposed economic reforms that looked good on paper and even more impressive through media campaigns which cost millions of ringgit of the tax payers’ money. All kinds of promises and pledges were made.

However, among the first actions taken by the government immediately after the general elections was to raise the price of petrol and sugar. Since then, it’s been one after another round of price increases while the promised reforms turned out to be mere sound bites.

In our case, despite winning the popular vote of 52%, we were denied our legitimate right to rule. But our conviction for change has not dissipated, our hope still very much alive and our will still firm and resolute.

Today, let me share with you our road map to a new economic agenda for Malaysia as we go forward towards 2018.

Rising cost of living, mounting household debt
The problem of inflation causes hardship to the people. When the rate of growth in monthly incomes for the working people lags behind the rate of inflation, hardship follows.

Many are finding it hard to make ends meet. Many have to look for other sources of income. Even more have to resort to borrowing. Household debt builds up. At 86.6% percent of the GDP, our household debt is one of the highest in the world.There is indeed a clear and present danger of the rising tide of household debt inundating us.

Widening gap between rich and poor
The gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger. At a high Gini coefficient of around 0.46, the top 20% of households own more than half of the Gross National Income while the bottom 40% own less than one sixth.

Just two days ago, the nation was presented with a set of numbers that purported to show how well we are doing in terms of our overall economy: as compared to last year, it seems, our growth is more robust, foreign investment is doing well, we are more competitive at the international level and the process towards a high income economy is on track.

But let us set the record straight.

Foreign owned debt and overheating
Our GDP for 2013 stood at USD 312.44 billion or close to RM 1trillion (RM 999.8bn). According to BNM, as at November, 2013, almost 45% of our local sovereign bond market is foreign held.

Our economy is exhibiting classic signs of overheating, including credit growth that is racing ahead of GDP growth and incomes and a currency that has seen sustained appreciation notwithstanding recent volatility.

Govt debt to GDP ratio is at 54.8%, inching closer to the 55% ceiling, household debt is at an all time high of around 86.6% GDP and corporate debt is approaching 96% of GDP.

The reality is that many workers may have jobs and incomes today but may lose them all in a year or two or even a few months. We do not have a comprehensive social safety net. This breeds unrest and an overall lack of economic confidence.

We saw how such a situation blew up in the face of unbridled American free market capitalism in the wake of the 2007 sub-prime crisis. We have witnessed the riots in Greece and Spain and other European cities essentially as a result of the hardship of workers losing their jobs. And do not forget that it happened in spite of a better social safety net than ours.

KIDEX
Detractors have said that we should not complain about highway projects such as KIDEX if we want better transport. But they are missing the point. KIDEX is not the best answer to the people’s need for good and cheap public transport. There is moral culpability here in both the Federal and State governments when in the face of a rising chorus of opposition from the people, they choose not to hear but instead ride roughshod over their pleas.

To further promote a pro-Rakyat administration, we will fix a time line for government bodies that own highway concessions to transfer them to the government so that tolls will be abolished.
There must be public consultation on major development projects before giving concessions or conditional approvals or exercising powers under the Land Acquisition Act.

There must be transparency in the process and documents should be allowed for public viewing.
There must be a proper balance between development needs and the intrinsic needs of the people. For example, failure to respect Native Customary Rights would only stir conflict and lead to injustice as we have witnessed in several major instances in Sarawak. Nevertheless, we laud the recent landmark court decisions in favour of the people.

Prescription for going forward

Inclusive growth
We will pursue a growth strategy coupled with equality of opportunity, supported by three policy pillars:

1. Sustained growth to create productive jobs for a wide section of the population;
2. Social inclusion to equalize access to opportunity; and
3. Social safety nets to mitigate vulnerability and risks and prevent extreme poverty.

Labour market reforms
To address the time bomb of the rising household debt, we must raise the incomes of the labouring poor through a mix of measures centering on labour market reforms, allowing legitimate unions to rise, changing the public-private sector mix in the provision of social goods and services, improvements in the quality of education and good governance.

We are locked in at the low value-added, high volume and low wage stage of the value-added chain in manufacturing and services. The dependence on migrant workers discourages entrepreneurs to shift to more capital and knowledge-intensive methods of production. This has to stop.

A minimum wage that provides for a decent living standard for the workers must be enforced. During the transition, assistance in the form of financial grants and productivity boosting measures may have to be given to small firms that have difficulty in implementing the minimum wage.

GST a weapon of injustice
Regressive tax measures such as GST are morally wrong. The greatest negative impact of the GST is not that it will be taxing all consumers as such but in doing so, the greatest burden of the rise in prices will fall on the middle 40%. On the other hand, the top 20% of income earners will experience the least impact as a proportion of their income.

Without effective creation of employment opportunities that improve both productivity and take-home incomes, the bottom 40% will struggle to graduate to the middle, and the heavily-squeezed middle will struggle to foot the new tax bill.

Crony capitalism and subsidy rationalisation
Subsidy rationalisation is not morally wrong in itself, but if subsidies are cut whilst cronies are awarded with overvalued highway concessions, allowed to monopolise key industries, or given fat contracts without competitive tender – then it is unjust and oppressive.

Why should the poor and the middle class have to tighten their belts while the rich loosen theirs? Occcasional BR1M payments are not enough to help families escape the low-income trap. It only perpetuates the rakyat in a state of economic vulnerability and dependency on government handouts.

In our strategy, however, this injustice and oppression will be removed for we will maintain subsidies for the poor and ensure that those for the rich and powerful will be withdrawn.

Promote inclusive growth
To promote inclusive growth, sectors currently under crony domination need to be opened up. This should be a managed process that allows new entrepreneurs to introduce greater competition while being fair to the employees of existing industries.

Secondly, emphasis should be given to opportunities for low-income households to take up job opportunities. Re-skilling programmes can be further implemented. There should be better guarantee of employee rights and women, in particular, should not be penalised in terms of wages.

Thirdly, collective bargaining should be protected. Government, employers and employees all have to work together to reduce inequality at a pace acceptable to all. Fair and transparent dialogue within a clear framework is the basis for this.

Fourthly, to support inclusive growth,BNM should introduce a counter-cyclical monetary policy that would reduce volatility and increase the ability of poor households to accumulate productive assets.

Social justice agenda

Health care
In our social justice agenda, our humane economy will place priorty on better and more accessible health care. We see the mushrooming of private hospitals particularly in the urban areas while the needs of the poor are often neglected.

Privatization of health care must be stopped. Instead there should be good and better state provision of health care services. A universal health care program encompassing all aspects such as public access, palliative and curative medicine and the infrastructure development of public hospitals and clinics must be introduced.

Housing for the poor
In the case of housing, a National Housing Development Board should be set up. Build affordable houses for workers and even executives in the industrial and services sub-sectors. Given the scarcity of land in many urban areas, this board should consider constructing affordable houses and to provide free transport to the central business districts.

Democratisation of access to education
The mushrooming of private schools and international schools catering mostly only to the rich is a trend that runs counter to the democratization of access to quality education. It is contrary to the basic principles of social mobility. There must be funding for educational institutions at all levels and for academic, technical and vocational streams in order to expand access to Malaysians of all walks of life. Free and quality education is a fundamental liberty.

Strengthening domestic economic resilience
We need to implement more small-scale public infrastructural projects that can be outsourced to small time contractors. Their technical and financial capacities can be enhanced. Such small-scale projects have a larger multiplier effect as they are less dependent on imports for their supplies of inputs.

Women and youth
There is a need for support systems to retain women in the work force and greater efforts to increase their participation. This includes better, possibly subsidised childcare and elderly care services, flexible work arrangements, and family friendly employment policies.

The youth make up about 60 per cent of the total unemployed, with those in the 20-24 age group being the largest proportion at 40%. What we need urgently are social programmes and skills training for their empowerment to reduce their sense of marginalisation and alienation.

Conclusion
In the coming years, we will enhance our pro-rakyat approach as outlined above while pursuing the best practices in governance with specific growth oriented and pro-rakyat steps to be introduced at all levels.

Thank you.

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