Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am in a sort of Depression...

SO IT'S MAINLY A ROUTINE OF CUT&PASTE FOR CURRENT POSTNGS. This is to record what I feel are significal events to help us, including desi, to see the BIG PICTURE as the world unfolds. Not just unfolding, but changing, rapidly. Yes, the only two constants in life after a human's birth are death and change. I believe this series of C&P started a few days ago is a useful exercise in doing some "catchUP" ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT. Today I'm reprising a Post from an Aussie pressman about the economic landscape of the Other "Lucky Country". It's good for us Malaysians to know what's going on elsewhere -- Globalisation, emember? -- so that we can feel the economic pulses worldwide, and like Boy Scout, always BE PREPARED!

Sunday, October 19, 2008
So China will save us from a recession, right?
On Saturday the Age's China correspondent John Garnaut took us inside the faltering boom:

"On September 1, after eight boom years, the daughter was told to take an extended "rest" without pay. She knew the factory was in trouble. In March Han's 20-year-old son started work, loading the dust-like iron ore "fines" into compactors so that it doesn't all blow away when dropped into the furnaces. On September 27 he was stood down on a fortnightly roster of unpaid leave. "If the factory closes this whole village will have nothing to eat," Han says.

For five years China has been the saviour of the Australian economy. Its massive urbanisation has pumped up the prices of Australian resources and began to fill the economy with cash when it was needed after the housing bubble earlier this decade. Now, with the world rocked by the financial crisis, if China can no longer afford to pay inflated prices for commodities then the Australian economy is in deep trouble."

Also I attempted to sum up how things look at the moment:

"This was the week that fear of a financial meltdown morphed into fear of a global recession.

Believe it not, it’s an improvement. A meltdown of the financial system would have destroyed the needed to recover from a recession...

It has taken massive injections of government funds into formerly private banks in order to shirt back from the brink of a meltdown to do it as well as government guarantees of bank to bank lending and near-global unlimited guarantees of bank deposits.

Australia did its part on Sunday, abandoning an ill-conceived plan to guarantee only the first $20,000 of each Australian bank deposit and declaring that Australian taxpayers would guarantee the overseas borrowings of every Australian bank, building society and credit union without limit, in return for a fee.

Both in Australia and the US the enormous premiums that financial institutions were charging each other just to do normal business have begun to shrink. They have a long way to go until they have shrunk back to where they were, but at least they are no longer inexorably climbing.

A day later the US economist Paul Krugman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. He has specialised in examining the collapse of trust in Japan at the end of the 1990s. There, no matter how low official interest rates fell (and they got close to zero) Japan’s banks wouldn’t part with whatever money they could get and Japan’s citizens were reluctant to borrow from them and deposit with them because they had lost faith in the system itself.

Japan remained in or near recession for a decade, a situation Krugman described as “a scandal, an outrage, a reproach,” and a human disaster which had “subtracted value from Japan and the world on a truly heroic scale.”

Until the US modified its flawed $US700 billion financial system rescue plan this week to make it more like that introduced in the UK, and until the much of rest of Europe and Australia followed suit Krugman was worried that Japan’s lost decade would be repeated worldwide.

The Washington meetings attended by leaders including Australia’s Wayne Swan on the weekend brought forth a shared determination to do whatever is necessary to ensure that financial institutions lend to each other rather than hold on to their money - even if it means taking them over.

As Krugman put it on Australia’s ABC radio within hours of receiving his Nobel Prize, “if you can’t persuade people to lend to each other, then one way or another the government has to take over the function of getting money moving – it has to do whatever is necessary”.

On Wednesday at the National Press Club Kevin Rudd seemed to revel in the turn of events. “What we have seen is the comprehensive failure of extreme capitalism – extreme capitalism which now turns to government to prevent systemic failure, an institution it spent decades deriding,” the Prime Minister said.

What’s at stake is more serious than a game of blame.

It is well accepted that poor people and poor nations usually find it hard to borrow from banks, even for good projects. Economists call this a market failure. What’s concerning them is that that failure would spread to everyone – that after being too generous with funds, investors and financial institutions will no longer lend them out at all. Nothing was more emblematic of the problem than the failure of the fast food giant McDonalds to extend its loan with the Bank of America last month. “If McDonald’s can’t get a loan using one the best business models on earth, who can?,” the critics asked.

In Australia, even after Sunday’s financial rescue package, funding for potentially worthwhile projects has become to find. Funding for potential duds has dried up. Most of the members of the consortium which was to bid against Telstra for the right to build Australia’s fibre-to-node broadband network are reported to have withdrawn. Telstra itself is said to be finding it hard to find the finance. As the ANZ pithily put it in a note to clients, “investment in Australia cannot be expanded if it cannot be cost-effectively funded”.

It had been thought that Australia would escape the recession set to sweep through the industrialised world. The US, the UK, the European Union and Japan are all on the brink of recession and New Zealand has already slipped into it.

Our strong card was our exports. Huge increases in the prices and volumes of our coal and iron ore shipments gave us our second biggest trade surplus on record in August. Coal export prices have jumped 70% in the past three months after jumping 54% in the three months before that. We are earning 30% more from our exports than we were a year ago, and many of the prices are locked well into the future.

But the future beyond that looks awful. When the current contract prices end they will be replaced by new ones much lower. TD Securities is predicting a drop of around 30% in Australia’s terms of trade. The Baltic Exchange Freight Rate Index, usually a good predictor of commodity prices, is down 75% from its peak and is expected to fall further.

“Having ridden the back of the commodities boom over the past 5 years, the sharp reversal in prices now well and truly unfolding spells huge trouble for Auistralia,” says TD Securities.

“The further commodity prices fall, the more problematic is the outlook. Indeed, it is easy to see why the Reserve Bank is embarking on one of the most aggressive interest rate cutting exercises seen in Australia, and the government is willing to spray money around to the embattled household sector.”

The problem isn’t that the Australian economy has begun to turn down. Employment is continuing to grow. It’s that the psychology of employed Australians has begun to change.

For years now Australian households in have been spending more than they earn – behaviour that seems irrational until you consider what’s been happening to their wealth. As the value of Australian’s houses has soared (along with their ability to get access to that value through refinancing) and the value of their share market and superannuation portfolios have also soared it’s felt rational to spend up.

Now the mechanism has been thrown into reverse. Although Australians are still earning just as much as they were, they are now seeing the value of their savings and their houses shrinking. It feels right to pull in their heads.

Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman says this week he had “stores out there where sales are up 5% and 10% and lots of stores that are down 5% and 10%, but the sum total is we are down 4.7%… I can't remember when that last happened”.

Tuesday’s $10.4 billion economic security package was designed to turn things around. There is little doubt that it will, at least during the fortnight in December when around $8 billion of the package hits the accounts of pensioners and family benefit recipients. When the US pumped a similar proportion of its income into cheques paid to families in May it managed to avoid a recession. But it’s a trick that only works for a while.

The government’s thinking - or perhaps it’s a hope – is that by the time the effect fades, perhaps in a few months, Australians will have noticed the sharply lower mortgage rates and feel better about spending anyway.

If that doesn’t happen, the Reserve Bank will cut rates again, and then again. And we may just get another economic stimulus package. Australia is blessed compared to its counterparts in that it has begun the process with a very high interest rate so it can do a lot of cutting until it gets to zero. By contrast the US has an official interest rate of 1.5%. There’s not much more it can do. The Australian government is debt-free and has tens of billions awaiting spending in special funds. It can afford many more stimulus packages than the US.

Some observers think that that was one of the reasons it made its package is so big – to show that it could. The actors in the ABC’s Hollow Men noted that “$10 billion” is a figure that gets attention.

The competing theory is that the government is expecting such an economic downturn that only $10 billion can prevent it. By not making public its forecasts until the release of the Mid-Year Economic Review next month the government is fuelling that suspicion.

"This package is bigger than we have ever seen before," said Professor Bob Gregory of the Australian National University this week. "That must mean that their forecasts are worse than anything we've ever seen before."

An unspoken government aim appears to be maintaining Australia’s high house prices. Yeas ago a Howard government Minister Ross Cameron observed that rising house prices “makes for happy voters.” The authorities’ aim right now is to stop voters getting much more unhappy. The government and the Reserve Bank can’t control share prices, but they can influence house prices by doubling and in some cases tripling the First Home Owners Grant and by slashing interest rates.

Having the Treasury’s Official of Financial Management spend another $4 billion funding the mortgages sold by non-bank lenders is another way of keeping downward pressure on mortgage rates.

We have moved a long way from the days when these sorts of measures would be seen as unwelcome signs of government interference in “the market”. The financial market has been barely functioning, and even now no one is certain that it is back on the road to health.

Avoiding recession will need everything that Mr Rudd and his advisors will come up with.

Posted by Peter Martin at 10/19/2008

Labels: china, commonwealth budgets, financial system, gdp, reserve bank

Are you surprised that police are perceived as the most corrupt?

Desiderata is not at all! Neither are Malaysian businessmen!

Let's hear it from a survey conducted by Transparency International (TI),acccording to a news report from

Msian businessmen say police force most corrupt institution, survey finds
by Maria J.Dass

(Dec 9, 2008): Malaysian business people are highly critical of the government's efforts to fight corruption compared with those in other Asia Pacific countries.

They also rated the police force as the most corrupt institution in the country with a Bribe Payers Index (BPI) of 4 (1:not all corrupt, 5: extremely corrupt), according to Transparency International's (TI) 2008 Bribe Payers Index (BPI) findings released today.

The business community also believes that their own companies are highly involved in corrupt practices in Malaysia and the region, while political parties were singled out as the most corrupt institutions in the Asia Pacific region with a BPI of 3.6.

The outcome of the survey is similar to the results in the Global Corruption Barometer 2007, said Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.

"TI believes that while most of the world's wealthiest countries already subscribe to a ban on foreign bribery, under the Organisation for Economic Corporations and Development Anti-bribery Convention, there is little awareness of the convention among the senior business executives interviewed in the BPI."

"Therefore it is crucial that governments go beyond speeches and proclamations, and show greater dedication to combat bribery and corruption in spite of great resistance by self-serving pressure groups whose main interest is to benefit themselves even at the expense of civil society."

"Governments have to ensure that foreign bribery should be stopped at source and make good on commitments to prevent and prosecute such practices."

Ramon said TI-M believes that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill and two other bills to be tabled by the government in this parliamentary session will help improve poor public perception at home and abroad - that Malaysia has a mediocre score and success in fighting corruption.

"It is important that all MPs support the bills and improve them during the second reading and pass them with maximum parliamentary and public support," he said.

The survey was conducted among senior business executives from companies in 26 developed and developing countries, including Malaysia. A minimum 100 executives were interviewed in each country and the enterprises they represent were selected through a stratification process that took into consideration the size of firms, their sector and location.
Belgium and Canada showed good results by sharing the first place with a score of 8.8 out of 10.

AT A GLANCE--------------------
Practices prevalent among companies from their own countries, when operating in their own continent or region

Bribery to high ranking officials to or political parties
Malaysia: 42% of 92 respondents
Asia Pacific: 47% of 763 respondents
Average (26 countries): 41% of 2,292 respondents

Bribery to low level public officials to speed things up
Malaysia: 38% of 94 respondents
Asia Pacific: 45% of 769 respondents
Average: 43% of 2,430 respondents

Use of personal and familiar relationships on public contracting
Malaysia: 44% of 93 respondents
Asia Pacific: 44% of 762 respondents
Average: 42% of 2,401 respondents

Assessment of government action in the fight against corruption in Malaysia (100 respondents)
Very Ineffective – 27%
Ineffective – 46%
Neither – 9%
Effective – 12%
Very Effective – 6%

Sectors in Malaysia perceived to be affected by corruption (1:not all corrupt, 5: extremely corrupt)
Police – 4
Political Parties – 3.8
Registry and Permit Services – 3.6
Parliament/Legislature – 3.3
Customs – 3.3

Updated: 07:38PM Tue, 09 Dec 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A wonderful morn to Thee

Especially to my Muslim friends who have performed the Haj; "SELAMAT HARI RAYA HAJI".

Last night I had a celebration of nostalgia with some close buddies -- and a re-discovered poet=buddy of mind must have "Desi" in mind/kind when he composed this, which I again lived up to my reputation that preceded me across SOUTH of the border bporrowing his intellectualism wit'out an AP!:) I know a buddy won't mind, poets naturally are kind, sort of.

So JOEpsc, Terima Kasih.
Tehtarik and Furong's bestA kambing awaits Thee at Lingam's -- Don't bring thy CJ!

So here's something borrowed from;
Go visit thy neighbour to read more of a fellow poet-asSpirant's hallowed ground.

Saturday, December 06, 2008



Abiding me through thick and thin,
A good companion you have been,
Profoundly you know me for years;
While I have aged but none the wiser,
Still fall like one enchanted lover.

Upon the tinkling of your bell,
Out ring your chants of haunting spell;
My eyes do mist with film of tears,
My mind is lured to somewhere yonder,
Where memories of old grow fonder.

You do inspire a hope and dream,
To slake my lust for days sublime;
A picture from the past you paint,
In it I still hear sound of scream,
Though some are lost in mists of time.

You leave me restlessly to crave,
For something somewhere in time gone by;
And this won’t pass to grant me rest,
But pesters on with every sigh –
Sad yearning beats hard in my chest.

You can’t hold long the days of old,
To let all mysteries be told,
That’s why I’m always back too soon,
When nothing there will make me flee,
A precious solace waits for me.

Events of past do come alive,
Familiar voices do revive;
Soft wind blows from the tranquil deep,
To whistle old songs in the trees;
And loved ones ever make eyes weep,
But soon they’ll fade with passing breeze.

Nostalgia ­­- sentimental longing,
Enduring every whim and fancy,
To heal a heart that’s ailing,
Fill mine with comfort to the brim!

Written by JOEPSC

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A significant speech to share with Media friends, esp...

Bloggers and B2Bs who missed the Forum last Fridae ight -- quite an intimate crowd of 50 made special efforts to enjoy a special TGIF's kind of night -- followed by Kapitalist HiTea-cum-Supper with exquisite mee siam (awe da way from Bangkok?)and hot coffee (bru-ed by Rocky?), and teh tari' (The K did not attend cos Desi forgot to send the invite, maaf ia!:) -- and hear's the highlight keynote:

GreAtings from from YL Chong, Editor, CPI_______________________________________________

Keynote speech by YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
Bloggers Buzz
Written by -
Saturday, 06 December 2008 10:00

How New Media Trumped Old Politics and the Road Ahead

by Yang Berhormat Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
Seri setia state assemblyman / political secretary to Selangor Menteri Besar

5 December 2008


In May 2007, I was invited along with Tony Pua, Jeff Ooi and Soon Li Tsin to speak about blogging in Malaysia. I spoke about the battle between the New Media and Old Politics: how the old politics of divide and rule; command and control is unable to cope with the open nature of new media. The new media, I argued, with a combination of Web 2.0, greater functions and interfacing with mobile devices is becoming more powerful and potent than ever before.


Of course, we have seen how effective NEW MEDIA has become across the globe. While Howard Dean failed in 2004, he paved the way for Barack Obama to make use of the Internet to emerge from being a junior senator with a funny name to the President of the United States. Closer to home, political consultant Douglas Schoen in Power of the Vote revealed how the netroots played an important role in the South Korean Presidential election as far back as 2002.

But we did not expect that it would play such a big role in Malaysia so soon that in less than a year after the function, Tony, Jeff and I all became Yang Berhormats. The 8th of March 2008 illustrated how new media has trumped old politics. It has changed how campaigns, even governments are run radically.

Before this, old politics reigned supreme. Since Independence, the majority OF Malaysians accepted the big tent of the Alliance Party and later Barisan Nasional as the one viable model of government for the country. This was considered ingenuous at that time: the Alliance leaders rejected Dato’ Onn Jaafar’s multiracial Independence of Malaya Party due to the perception that the country’s divided society was not yet ready for a truly malayan party. The Alliance allowed different communal parties to operate within the stratified structure; yet to convince the British administrators it provided for multi-racial co-operation among the elite.

This worked initially because the bulk of society lived separate lives, mixing but not combining – what JS Furnivall famously described as a ‘Plural Society’. This allowed the Alliance and their BN successors to perform feats of dubious duplicity in their discourse.

Their leaders appealed to communal sentiments when they operated at the grassroots level – in gatherings and through the vernacular media – but then spoke of unity and moderation to the wider public. It worked well, playing with our deepest fears and insecurities fostered by the huge inequality across racial lines that we inherited from our former colonial masters, while at the same time telling us that they were the only ones that could preserve our harmonious existence, even if it did not go beyond mere superficialities.

MEANWHILE, the Malaysian establishment maintained the colonial-era legislation that allowed for the muzzling of the press and suppression of public debate on what was called ‘sensitive issues’. Media ownership was narrowed and often in the hands of certain parties. This has contributed to the stagnant and limited nature of our press and public discussion.

This is why we see even the best and brightest of Malaysians believing that the status quo is the only route to power. This is why even the most honourable of politicians end up playing the politics of the lowest common denominator and pandering to age-old prejudices. This is why, they avoid promoting an enlightening and visionary brand of politics. As Tun Musa HItam once said: “a young Malaysian politician has to play the race card to the hilt even if there was not a single chauvinistic bone in his body.”Also, if Malaysians are susceptible to rumours and scare-mongering, it is because they do not have a free and open press to tell them otherwise.

But the emergence of a new media, amongst other factors, has changed the landscape. Here the ‘new media’ needs to be looked into its entirety, meaning not merely blogs and the Internet but also mobile devices and connectivity. Tiny, affordable mobile phones can take pictures, record videos and send out e-mails. The same content can be uploaded on the Internet at Starbucks to be shown on Youtube. This becomes a catalyst to viral communication as acknowledged by Jun E Tan and Zawawi Ibrahim. In fact, the uproar over the 2006 UMNO general assembly has illustrated to us how those used to old politics fail to even understand the most basic technology: the satellite TV. This was apparent when some in the ruling party replied that the racial rhetoric at the assembly was typical, without realising that this was the first time the Malaysian public was exposed to its antics.

Not only was the conference shown live on Astro, but it then provoked an excited debate in the blogosphere. Previously, the government could manipulate or simply silence the fallout over gaffes like this. The mainstream media would downplay, even refuse to report the incident; while the few independent publications had too small an audience and too long a production time to have a major or immediate impact. Now, what used to be idle Mamak shop chatter has now made its way to the Web, for all Malaysians to consume and discuss.

In the same year, a government minister announced plans to require the registration of blogs. This was another gross misunderstanding of new technology. A Malaysian blogger can still host his blog overseas while making the content available in Malaysia. In fact a blogger can reside anywhere in the world and still reach Malaysians. Indeed, it is a technical possibility to prevent content from reaching the public, but this is difficult, messy and imperfect. Furthermore, various ways exist to circumvent Internet censorship - as countries such as China have found out.

By the time the 12th General Elections took place, blogs were a force to be reckoned with in the urban constituencies. I set up a campaign website that solicited donations and showed my campaign videos. Several mainstream journalists contacted me to cover my campaign, but little, if any of their stories ended up being published. Instead, my team organised a “blog for Nik Nazmi day” during the run-up to the election to hype up the campaign as well as launched a Friends of Nik Nazmi page on Facebook. Keadilan sent out SMSes to millions of voters, customised for each constituency to get our message across.

When the results trickled in on 8th of March, it was clear that the urban voters, especially the younger generation, voted against the BN in a big way. Clearly, the new media played a big role in trumping old politics. Of course, other factors also came into play: a united Opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim, rising costs of living and a weak government. But the new media definitely had a key role, in that it helped bring out voters by the thousands, many of whom were voting for the first time in their lives.

What next?

While we have established that the new media played an important role in trumping old politics, the next question is: “What next?”

Politically, it is clear that new media has changed campaigning in Malaysia. UMNO has also recognised this fact and many of their leaders have entered the blogosphere despite having denigrated it in the past. Khir Toyo, Muhammad Muhammad Taib and Ali Rustam have all started blogs. Even Najib Razak has set up his own website. While this is generally a welcome development, we cannot forget that their sectarian, divisive and backward message remains the same.

We need to realise that while the last General Elections has breathed new life into Malaysian democracy, more needs to be done. More needs to be done for new media to succeed. More needs to be done to end old politics once and for all. More needs to be done for democracy to be entrenched in the Malaysian landscape.

We need to push the envelope, to consolidate the gains we have made and make them a permanent feature in our national life. Those opposed to a multiracial and democratic Malaysia are attempting to turn back the clock with every old trick in the book. Their most potent weapon thus far has been sectarianism.

Racism is still rife, and as the establishment comes undone further due to the discontent on the ground, the racial rhetoric will become more apparent. Samuel Johnson once said patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In Malaysia racism is the last refuge of the politicians. The use of arbitrary force, including the ISA continues unabated as we have seen in the manifestly unjust detentions of Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Teresa Kok.

Ironically, the new media was very much involved in these arrests: Petra is of course the editor of Malaysia Today while Khir Toyo made some accusations against Teresa on his blog that was picked up by Utusan in an attempt to stir up Malay sentiment. Not long before Teresa was arrested, photos that purportedly showed her campaigning against Jawi signboards made its rounds over the Internet. Furthermore, the BN-controlled mainstream media has attempted to exploit what they believe to be divisions in the blogosphere.

But the nature of the new media means that those standing up for democracy can use it to counter the slander and the spin. This was not possible before due to the dominance of the government-controlled media, but ICT and its tools now allow us to get our side of the story out to as many people as possible at the lowest cost available.

In my mind, we can advance our cause through the new media by pursuing the following five points:

1. First, unity is essential. It is important that practitioners of the new media respond with a united voice against the arbitrary use of the law or other, more insidious attempts in order to silence, intimidate or control them. Also, attempts to split the progressive movement in the country along sectarian or even ideological lines must be exposed and resisted. The fact is that there are only two groups in Malaysia today: those who want to change the country for the better, and those who do not want this.

2. On the other hand, however, the netroots must always keep in mind that we have to practice what we preach. We too, must exercise the principles of independence, free speech and critical thinking on our blogs or websites. We must allow views different from ours a free hearing. We too must be willing to accept criticism and the fact that some people will not agree with us no matter what.

The great danger in these times of transition is that we become too frustrated and resort to uncouth or even extreme methods in opposing the old politics. We cannot do that. We cannot allow the reactionary forces in this country to claim the moral high ground on any point. We must ensure that the new media always remains an avenue for free and open discourse. If there is something we disagree with, it is always better and more effective to come up with a proper rebuttal to it rather than censor or deride the holder of those views.

3. There is also a need for us to continue to expand the netroots. The greater Internet penetration, and the more tech-savvy Malaysians are, the easier the process of democratisation becomes. Part of our activism must therefore go to ensuring that access to ICT is expanded across the board in Malaysia. Part of our agenda must ensure that the people in the places with the least access to such technology gets it, and more importantly – they are given the resources to use such innovations critically and well. It is no accident that in Selangor, BN seats only remain in the rural areas.

This is, however, more than just about politics. Giving underprivileged Malaysians access to the Internet, especially young ones, also helps close socio-economic gaps. Knowledge is power. Someone with Internet access in today’s globalised; knowledge-based economy definitely has an edge over someone who does not. Spreading ICT will help to resolve the great inequalities that exist in our society.

The Selangor state government has introduced a wireless service in Shah Alam and hopes to expand it to over 90 percent of urban areas by 2010. Currently there are over 13 million Internet users in malaysia, half of the total population. As Jun-E Tan and Zawawi Ibrahim wrote in Blogging and Democratisation in Malaysia: A New Covil Society in the Making, bloggers are the new thought leaders of the younger generation.

4. New media practitioners should also maintain the highest journalistic ethics and standards. Blogs, regardless of what they were originally created for, are now public documents that are in the public domain. This is especially true for socio-political blogs and websites. Its owners, therefore, must ensure that their writing receives the same duty of care and professionalism that goes into other journalistic mediums.

Take note, the last thing that is being advocated here is for bloggers to ‘watch what they say’. Overcautious self-censorship and the lack of courage will doubtlessly compromise the new media the same way it emasculated its mainstream counterpart. Rather, what is alluded to is the undeniable fact that being ethical, transparent and professional in ones blogging gives one’s writing credibility amongst ones audience that is unbeatable.

5. This may be controversial, but perhaps new media practitioners should explore forming alliances with certain members of the mainstream media. It is true, as alluded to earlier, that most mainstream media outlets in the country have regrettably been reduced to becoming mere tools of the ruling party. We need to acknowledge however, after 8th of March, there has been some shift in the mainstream media in trying to become more credible, perhaps with the exception of Utusan Malaysia.

While during campaigning it was difficult to get my story published in the mainstream media, on 9th of March, I received a call from one of the journalists who told me today she will cover my post-election activities and the editor has promised her it will be published this time around. True enough, it was published immediately the next day

But there are many restrictions that continue to exist, and that many journalists ‘still in the system’ are growing increasingly frustrated with the restrictions imposed on them and desire a free press just as badly as their new media counterparts do. We must never forget that our goal is not to supplant or destroy the traditional media, but to free it from undue political influence and complement it as channels of public opinion. The netroots should therefore reaffirm its commitment to campaign to support mainstream media journalists who continue to uphold the principles of integrity in their reporting.

The Selangor state government has formed a taskforce on the Freedom of Information to look into ways on how the state can get around the OSA to promote a more transparent and accountable government through a freedom of information enactment

Malaysia has already come a long way through the new media. If the latter continues to be fully utilised courageously and shrewdly, then our country can progress further still. But old media will not disappear, and it is crucial that we get the old media to advance our cause. Even now, we see some changes from the mainstream media, but more needs to be done for lasting change to become a reality.

The new media has provided new possibilities and unleashed new forces. The new media has trumped old politics. The new media can be the vanguard for a new Malaysia.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Forum on Friday that Would Rock You Bloggers!

Also would Rock&Roll B2Bs, which is short for Bloggers-to-Be!



Forum and Book Launch on "New Media and Democratization in Malaysia" in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, December 5, 2008

A Forum on "New Media and Democratization in Malaysia" will be held on Friday, December 5, 2008 from 8.00-10.00pm at the KLSCAH auditorium, Kuala Lumpur. The forum will feature as keynote speaker Yang Berhormat NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD, a Selangor State Assemblyman, and Political Secretary to the Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

The occasion will also witness the launch of a book titled “"Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia", and its co-authors Prof. Wan Zawawi Ibrahim, and Sdri Jun-E Tan, will be present to speak about their work. Other speakers include representatives from the organizations collaborating in the programme.

Members of the public are invited to attend the forum which is jointly organized by the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI), SIRD-Gerak Budaya, the National Alliance of Bloggers (All-Blogs) and the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

The Forum was initiated mainly by the CPI YouthSpeak Section which has the objective of promoting discourse through writings and discussion at the CPI website coordinated by Wan Fadzrul and John Lee, and via public forums such as this current one, to encourage the youth of Malaysia to take part actively in the democratization process in the country.


The Final Programme is as follows:

"New Media and Democratization in Malaysia".

*** Date/time of Forum: Friday, December 5, 8.00pm-10.00pm, with Tea to follow

*** Venue: KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall auditorium,
1,Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur

**** (1) Welcome speech by Sdr YL Chong, Editor, CPI

**** (2) Keynote speaker: YB Sdr Nik Nazmi, PKR SA and Political Secretary to Selangor MB

**** (3) Sdr Wan Fadzrul Wan Bahrum, CPI YouthSpeak Coordinator

**** (4) Sdr Yeoh Lee Hin, CPI (Chinese) Web administrator

**** (5) Sdri Jun-E Tan, co-author of "Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia"

**** (6) Prof. Wan Zawawi, co-author of “Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia”

**** (7) Sdr Teh Yee Keong, KLSCAH Representative

***** (8) Sdr Ahirudin Attan aka Rockybru, Interim President, National Alliance of Bloggers

***** Q and A session

NOTE: For further information, please contact

YL Chong: 012-9702285
Helen Ang: 013-2240985

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Life is Bizarre! (2)

Reward for Scoundrels, Punishment for Those Walking the Talk.

Bizarrarity2 from NegaraKu, stolen from;
meanwhile, please be Ms Patience w'ile I hunt for BizzararityWan from NegaraKu that I intimated Yesterday -- when all my troubles seemed so far away:) -- I'd search for hiding shyly like furongknight AnakMerdeka in some archives.

Only the good die young
Posted by Super Admin
Friday, 14 November 2008 09:38

The Special Branch stood by helplessly as Ramlang spoke at ceramah after ceramah to set the record straight on what happened in the Federal Territory mosque the day Saiful swore on the Quran that Anwar had sodomised him.


The Pink Panther

Ariff Shah anticipated he would win the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election by at least 5,000 votes. Anwar Ibrahim’s camp, in turn, was confident they would win, but probably by 10,000 votes or so. This would mean Anwar’s win would be lower than Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s 13,000-vote majority in the 8 March 2008 general election.

This would be a disaster. Anwar must win by a majority higher than Wan Azizah’s. And a plan was required to achieve this. They needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat. And the plan was like a plot from a spy story and executed with military precision to boot.

An operations centre was set up in a hotel about half an hour from the heart of the Permatang Pauh election campaign. The purpose was to poll the voters’ sentiments, in particular the Malay voters who made up the majority of the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency. What were the issues troubling the voters? What was foremost in their minds?

The thing needling the Malay voters in Permatang Pauh was as to why Anwar did not also swear on the Quran in a mosque that he did not sodomise Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Saiful had done the so and swore than Anwar did sodomise him. Why won’t Anwar do the same and swear that he did not?

The simple-minded Malay voters did not seem to realise that such a ritual is not part of Islamic teachings. One does not use the Quran and God to gain political mileage. Furthermore, if Anwar were to do so smack in the middle of an election campaign, it would be interpreted even more that Anwar is doing so merely to gain more votes. That move could backfire badly and could in fact result in some lost voters rather than help gain more.

Instead of aping Saiful, Anwar had to discredit what the young man had done and prove to the voters that the oath was all a farce and of no substance. And to do that they needed the very imam who had taken Saiful’s oath to confirm so.

Contact was made with the imam, Ramlang Porigi, who was in Kuala Lumpur. The imam was suffering bouts of guilt conscience and he was troubled by the whole episode. He was an unwitting participant in what he considered a character assassination exercise. He did not know at the time they summoned him to the mosque what it was all about. He was appalled when he discovered what they were up to but he was trapped and could not get out of it. How now to rectify the injustice done to Anwar?

The imam was pleased when contact was finally made. Yes he would be very happy to spill the beans and inform the public how they set up the so-called oath-taking ceremony and the flaws in the whole exercise. And he was prepared to take centre-stage and reveal the truth.

Imam Ramlang was scheduled to make an appearance two days before polling day, the most crucial period in the by-election campaign when Umno would go all out in the dash to the finishing line. His family was spirited to safety and Ramlang went underground. Two days before the election they brought him up to Penang in a convoy of cars and superbikes that would spring into action and whisk him away in the event they set up roadblocks and attempt to detain the imam.

The convoy arrived in Penang at 5.00pm without incident. Ramlang was scheduled to make his first appearance at 7.00pm to address a mosque congregation. And when he did, the women in the congregation were reduced to tears and the men surged forward to hug him and shake his hand.

The exercise was a success.

Ramlang was to make his next appearance at a massive rally later that night. All the top opposition leaders plus Anwar himself would be addressing a crowd of 30,000. That would be when Anwar would garner an additional 5,000 votes and secure a majority exceeding his wife’s in the 8 March 2008 general election.

Two imams dressed in robes and turbans were brought to the rally escorted by a full complement of security personnel. They were merely decoys. The crowd surged forward, Special Branch officers amongst them. They strained their necks in trying to get a look at the imams who coolly took their time to stroll through the crowd. Everyone was trying to figure out which of the two imams was Ramlang. Ramlang, meanwhile, was smuggled in through the back, dressed in a tracksuit. Before they realised it Ramlang was on stage addressing the crowd.

As soon as he finished they whisked him away and sent him into hiding. Around midnight word got out that the order from Kuala Lumpur had been given to detain Ramlang. The security boys bundled him into a car and smuggled him out of Penang. The Special Branch scoured the whole of Penang looking for the imam to no avail. Ramlang was safely housed in the neighbouring state far from the long arms of the men in blue from Bukit Aman. His family too had by then disappeared and the Special Branch did not know where to find them.

Security was beefed up when Ramlang made his next appearance on the eve of the by-election. They badly wanted to get their hands on him but not even a fly could penetrate the wall of security men. The Special Branch stood by helplessly as Ramlang spoke at ceramah after ceramah to set the record straight on what happened in the Federal Territory mosque the day Saiful swore on the Quran that Anwar had sodomised him.

Anwar won the Permatang Pauh by-election with a majority higher than the general election just months before that. Ramlang went back to Kuala Lumpur to lead his normal life again, if that was now possible in the aftermath of Anwar’s impressive win that to a large extent could be credited to what the imam revealed to the Permatang Pauh voters.

The government did not dare sack Ramlang. But they did put him in cold storage. A few days ago, when they thought that all had by now calmed down and people had forgotten the whole episode, they sent the imam a show cause letter with a view to terminate his services.

Ramlang has been given two week to justify why he should not be sacked from his government job. He had cost Umno the Permatang Pauh by-election. Anwar won with a higher majority than expected because the imam had revealed the truth. Revealing the truth is not something that a God-fearing imam should do. A good imam is supposed to serve the government, not serve God.

Ramlang does not want to resign even though he is being pressured to do so. If they want him out then they can sack him. He will accept that fate if that is what God has in store for him. All he did was to tell the truth. All he did was to reveal what really happened, which is opposite to what the government-controlled TV stations are saying. He fears God more than he fears man, as what all God-fearing imams should be like.

The government’s move to sack Imam Ramlang Porigi will just make matters worse for Umno. Instead of redeeming itself Umno will just incur the wrath of the people. God-fearing men who tell the truth are punished. Scoundrels are rewarded. That is the message Umno will send to the people.



What's happening in NegaraKu maketh Desi want to spirit away to my 20million

and I will sing wit' my buddies/buds feting on CON BF BRUNCH LUNCH DINNER and SUPPER awe dayz, nightz, lazy afrenoonz too:) ~~~~~~~~


Home on the Range
Written By: Brewster Higley, Music By: Daniel Kelley,
Copyright: Unknown

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
And the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

How often at night when the heavens are bright
With the light from the glittering stars
Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs so free
The breezes so balmy and light
That I would not exchange my home on the range
For all of the cities so bright

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Oh, I love those wild flow'rs in this dear land of ours
The curlew, I love to hear scream
And I love the white rocks and the antelope flocks
That graze on the mountaintops green

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rain or Shine, the Seremabn Vigil Goes On ...

Because Serembanknights are caring -- daring2? -- souls.

Although it rained cats and dogs and wolves last Friday an hour before the scheduled start of the THIRD SEREMBAN ANTI-ISA CANDLELIGHT VIGIL at Dataran Seremban Park, the pom-pom gals led by angelA and the tom-tom boys led by Des, or ws it zorro aweDAway fromKuala Lumpur, were in full swing.

It was a small and intimate gathering of 50 Furongknights -- many came armed with umbrellas as a heavy downfall at 7.00pm prevented a punctual start planned for 8.00PM -- the message from a special Vigil envoy from Kuala Lumpur Sdr Bernrad Khoo aka zorro was that it is not the numbers -- but the spirit of solidarity for fellow Malaysian brothers number 60-plus still victims of ISA langishing at Kamunting camp that lifted the morale and spirits of all those present. At least half of those who braved the rain have now become familiar faces to Desi. "Syabas and keep the candle flame burning, mateys!" and it was a unanimous decision that vvvvvvve shall meet again, same time, same place next Friday, November 21.

Just a quick wrapup of the evening's pretty informal fellowship -- three wakil rakyat (SA from DAP for Nilai, Kepayang and Senawag) were present to give short messages of endorsement for the freedom and human rights crusade the vigils represent. The good thing was "deliveries" were made in all the major languages ofmuhibbah in NegaraKU -- Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin!

A special appearance was made by a PSM spokesman< I'll call him Daudara socialist like Desi:)(minta maaf, I did not get your nama! -- See you againnext week and i'll record:) -- he promoted among the participants a sepcial event his party is progressing, nation-wide Cyclothon IN Suppoer of Six Appeals, including one on the Abolishment of the Internal Security Act. The press members present wer kindly invited to attend a Press Conference on this Cyclothon the following day (November 15, 2008) at the Dataran. (Well, for the record, as I post this, the PC is now over by a few hours ~~ Desi)

Desi usedthis vigil occasion to do some soft PR for the Centre for Policy Initiatives, distributing extarcts from the organisation's website -- -- an article by leading blogger Haris Ibrahim (who was present all the way from Kuantan the previous Friday when surprise Raja Petra Kamarudin and his lovely wife, Marina, graced the occasion after gaining his freedom just several hours before!)

Dear ER here, please surf to the following ***link to read the article about the minor victory in a court of lwat that rendered RPK back into the arena where he rightly belongs -- WIT' THE RAKYAT!


Haris I and Art Harun on RPK's freedom case

Bloggers Buzz
Written by various
Sunday, 09 November 2008 11:43
Two gazes at the hard work by the legal team, the sgnificance and emotions arising from the court case which raised cheers and caused many Malaysians to jump in jubilation last Friday (November , 2008) -- an important crossroads for the Malaysian nation fighting for human rights and justice. It is cause for hope and celebration, but the challenges ahead remain -- THE ANTI-ISA CAMPAIGN MUST GO ON, THE CANDLELIGHT VIGILS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL NEGARAKU SEES THE END OF THE INTERNAL SECURITY ACT. Here the gazing starts with two Bloggers who are in the forefront in the anti-ISA crusade. ~~ YL Chong, Editor, CPI


Gaze 1:

The People’s Parliament
We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers - Emmeline Pankhurst

An ounce of courage, a few good men, and the prayers of the good people of this nation

By Haris Ibrahim

November 7, 2008

A few days ago, in answer to the question, ‘How should a judge endear him / herself to the Bar’ that was posed in cyberspace, I offered this, in response :

‘Treat lawyers with the same courtesy that the judges themselves expect be shown to them, hear impartially and devoid of any bias, and decide according to the law, without fear or favour.

No more, no less’


Gaze 2:

RPK's Release: A Tapestry of Thoughts and Emotions

By Art Harun

Saturday, November 8, 2008

After having a "super kow" Nescafe tarik at the Pelita restaurant near the Shah Alam Court, I drove back to my office in Kuala Lumpur for a lunch appointment. RPK was ordered to be released about an hour before. I was elated. I was emotionally drained. I was satisfied.

The scale of what Imtiaz, myself and the battery of lawyers involved in the RPK's habeas corpus application had managed to achieve had however yet to fully sink in. On the Federal Highway, I received calls after calls and text message after text message. News traveled fast in these days and age. Barely 45 minutes after the order was made, for example, an old schoolmate of mine called from Kedah to congratulate me. He said he saw the news on TV.

I was pumped up with adrenalin. I was oblivious to whatever things which were happening around me. The slow Friday crawl on the Federal Highway gave me time to really ponder and reflect at what had just happened in Court that morning. But the main feeling was one of disbelief.

It was when the coffee lady was serving me coffee in my office that the full magnitude of it all began to sink in. The whole office had known of the RPK case was won earlier. In-house e-mails were sent to everyone in the firm as soon as my secretary received the news from me. I took a sip of the hot coffee. The coffee lady stood there, not leaving my office as she would usually do after putting my obligatory mug of coffee on my desk. I looked at her. She smiled.

"Boss, you menang itu Botak punya kes ah?", she asked.

Before I could answer, she followed up, "saya tadak tau Boss buat itu kes. Itu Botak sekarang sudah keluar ah? Itu macam bagus ah..."

The "Botak" was of course RPK. There she was, a coffee lady, who could barely speak Malay or English, whose function in my office was to serve all of us coffee, twice a day, expressing her happiness that the "Botak's" case had been won!

I said, "ya, itu Botak nanti petang mau keluar".

She smiled and walked towards the door. Almost thankful to me. Almost grateful to me for making her day.

At that moment, it all sank in.


The ladies ably led by angelA, to whom Des is co-pilot in coordinating the Seremban Vigils for three sessions now -- were scheduled to perform some LINE-DANCING. In view of the soothing weathing, they decided to leave the danzing to next Friday. Thanks to song-themer Ms SIEW FA, vvvvvvve chorus the night away with our special furongknightly renditions of

* Where have all the flowers gone?

** And I HAVE A DREAM -- Yes, we all have our Malaysian Dream:) I believe I heard somene whisper, Furongknights' rendition on November 14, 2008 ****taped at 9.30PM surpassed the AbbA's, Mama Mia!

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything

If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels

When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
Ill cross the stream - I have a dream
Ill cross the stream - I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
Ill cross the stream - I have a dream
Ill cross the stream - I have a dream

**** ANECDOTE by YL Chong:(

The newshound in me made me detour to two gentlemen under an umbrella at about 9.15PM and this converse followed:

"Salam brudder, selamat datang. You dari PAS atau PKR ke?"
"Tak, mari engok saja..." (rounghly-lah,my recall as the reply was prettyNsoft!)
"I jemput saudara jika nak berucap, ke depan untuk share-lah pandangan anda ..."
"Tak payah-lah, ..." (I believe they were both quite SHY! ala wan anakmerdeka, a fellow furongknight blogger for whom I've reserved a signed kopi of MN V:)I left her my number, she still prefers to remain Cik ANON:) A state of affair which I respect!:)

++++OR mayhaps, I later realised, they came for mistakenly assuming angelA and Des were offering SpecialBrunch!:):)++++ Food4Thought

CHOW! It's adieu for now, not goodbuy:)
Till we meet again next Fridae, 8pm same place.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

THIRD ANTI-ISA Seremban Candlelight Vigil

on Friday November 14, 2008, beginning 8.00pm.

I ***bum-ped into a Furongknight this morning at Temiang and he came up to greAt Des, asked about how angelA was after her arrest at PJ Anti-ISA Candlelight Vigil last week. I smiled and replied that all is well that ends well.

He then asked now that RPK aka Pete has been released from ISA detention, would the Candlelight Vigils in Seremban gon on ... I said with a caital Y and a s-mile seen by my Blogger matey Bernard Khoo aka zorro 40miles away -- YES!:)

Third Consecutive Friday, ie TOMORROW -- Please come. Alone. With family. With friends. To show that wit' PEOPLE'S POWER, VVVVVVVe can do anything!

BECAUSE VVVVVVVe, the people, believe
In the power of united vision and concerted efforts
BECAUSE VVVVVVVe, the people, hope
The spirit moves, hills, valleys and mountains.
BECAUSE VVVVVVVe, the people, care
And will continue to care, and dare



Written by YL Chong
in cahoots with angelA and zorro

Following two successful *Anti-ISA Candlelight Vigils last Friday and the Friday preceding in Seremban, the same group of concerned citizens in the capital city of Negri Sembilan are organising the Third Vigil aimed at gathering a larger crowd than the first Vigil's 150 and the second's 200+.


In Solidarity with All ISA Detainees, numbering 60-plus


Date/Time: Friday, November 14, 2008 at 8.00PM – 10.00PM

Contact: ANGELA OOI 019-3628367
YL Chong 012-9702285 (Ref:


EXCERPT from "Midnight Voices and Other Poems" (see July 7, 2007 Post at by Desiderata-YL Chong + Companion Essay POETRY as a Special Medium of Communication; published April 2007; pages 89 and 90:

In April/ May 2003 at the height of the US-led war on Iraq, my thoughts went back to the ‘60s, when the Vietnam War took a heavy toll on both Americans and Vietnamese, and the rumination inspired the following poem:

Warfront Faraway

The United States and allies have been
Raining missiles on Iraq for eight days now
Targetting a tyrant called Saddam Hussein

Soldiers, civilians have fallen dead
Iraqi more than American or British
But the blood that oozed was commonly red

Peoples across the nations protest
They clamour for a ceasefire
They do not understand, they ask:
"Mr President Bush, Why war?"

I too do not understand
Why they see the warfront far away
At home the destitute, the downtrodden,
Women and children are crying, dying
The citizens face daily war
Against hunger, discrimination, injustice

Who'd pause for these unprotesting victims?
Born of leaders who only see
The War on the far horizon

42. Charity Begins at Home

When the Vietnamese refugees came by the boatloads off Malaysian shores to escape the war in their homeland; some reports, later denied, stated that the authorities even wanted them to be “shot”, later weakly amended to wanting the refugees to “be shoo-ed away”! It’s hypocrisy of the highest order that humans often ignored that sufferings of fellow humans in the neighborhood, but wanted to practise “charity” on war victims like widows and orphans on the warfront faraway. Yes, there was an instance when a homeless local woman had to depend of using a shop’s facilities to have her daily baths, and shared in the food thrown her way by the shop’s patrons, but when the Welfare Department knew of her case, the “generous” charity handed out was an allowance of RM100 a month! But they throw away millions for a fund just for one war victim from far, far away because the latter case enjoyed much fanfare and received VIP treatment.

May these participants be reminded that “Charity begins at home” – and these are some of the sentiments that inspired my writing this “war” poem in the midst of US-led war against Iraq earlier this year. Quite often it is the 15 minutes of media fame that provided the motivation for donors of charity. It’s all so easy to criticise other parties engaged in a war, about the death and carnage wrought on civilians and women and children, but they forget on the homefront, it’s daily warfare too -- on the streets littered with runaway children, or homeless old folks who can’t afford two square meals a day. Armchair critics need reminding that “war” is not just about soldiers engaged in combat in Afghanistan or the West Bank in Palestine, it’s just as real in the neighbourhood for homeless children and youths.

It is appropriate to end this section on war with the soulful lyrics in one stanza from “Where have all the flowers gone?” popularised in the ‘60s by The Brothers Four, so relevant to not just Americans but all thinking citizens worldwide, because in one way or another, the Vietnam war impacted on peoples throughout planet earth:

Where have all the soldiers gone? long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone? long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards ev’ry one
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

JUBILATION -- Read on to find out WHY!

JUBILTATION is seeing the wira championing the cause of civil rights and human justice for all Malaysians FINALLY AMONG US IN PERSON, touching, feeling and linking hands with Serembanknights singing the SONG OF FREEDOM and HOPE from about 9.00pm at the Dataran Seremban Park.

Raja Petra Kamarudin is back in the battle field -- still carrying the torch for some 60-plus ISA detainees held against their will at the Kamuntig camp. Centrally, that was his message, continue to show concern and care for those still held as detainees, some for as long as EIGHT BLARDY LONG YEARS OF THE BEST PART OF THEIR MALAYSIAN LIVES!RPK did not talk about the sad pligt befalling himself; it is for thosee 60+ fellow Malaysians he spent about two months with and who shared his joy of gaining freedom because they know RPK will still lead the fight against the dehumanising ISA.

This is a short Post -- made long by a few recalls of GLAD SOUNDS!:):) -- because Desi feels that the fact that we achieved a minor triumph means we have more battles ahead. Don't sound too joyful yet as there are hills to climb and many hurdles to cross ahead before VVVVVVVe, the Rakyat, reach the peak where People's Power rules supreme, not UMNO supremacy. The ISA is the shield these enemies of the People use to safeguard their Ketuanan Melayu and Robber-barons who hide under the guise of safegiarding the land called NegaraKu when they are the very ones robbing the nation's resources (Petronas oil riches -- where art thou?) and people dry.

Let's take a breather and thanks all your comrades who made up the numers of about 250 last night at the Second Seremban Candlelight Vigil for Anti-ISA war. We won a small battle, there is still the war to be fought -- until the much-abused-by-the-UMNO iblis INTERNAL SECURITY ACT is abolished and that would be the greatest triumph of awe!

May we hear the Gladdest Sound of Awe! When the ISA is buried along with the UMNO-led Government!

The Gladdest Sound....


Saturday November 8, 2008
Court orders Raja Petra's release from ISA detention

**** Use your creative mind to "imagine" the jubilation!
even as you chorus-ed John Lennon's peace message last night:)-- Desi***

Court frees Raja Petra

Going home: Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and his wife Marina Lee Abdullah leaving the Shah Alam High Court after his release from detention under the ISA Friday. - GLENN GUAN/The Star

Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin, editor of popular news portal Malaysia Today, was freed after the High Court here allowed his application for a writ of habeas corpus seeking his release.

High Court judge Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad found his two-year detention order under the Internal Security Act unlawful.

The Bar Council welcomed the decision, saying “it gives us hope that the judiciary will act with courage, integrity and independence when the liberty of an individual is threatened by the arbitrary use of power under the ISA”.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz said the Government may appeal against the court decision.


An earlier Gladdest Sound...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ah, the gladdest sound for a long time

Once I was familiar wit the refrain -- The most beautiful sound I ever heard, Maria, Maria, Maria...

Today I read the gladdest sound for a long, long w'ile yet in NegaraKu, so do I tell Y&A Sabrina Down Under "See, there is some HOPE nyet?" And to another Y&A Theels in the UK "Come home to Malaysia, we need you!" and to yet another Younger Malaysian working abroad in Sri Lanka, "Sdr Imran, don't run, balik kampung, ada Harapan lagi!"

From theSUN,(unlike you cheapskates, I pay RM0.30 for the daily kopi!:( -- page 1 October 19, 2007

RM2.5m for

'The award of exemplary damages is
necessary to show the abhorrence of
the court of the gross abuse of an awesome
power under the Internal Security Act."
~~ Judge Mohd Hishamudin

The successful litigant was former ISA detainee Abdul Malek Hussin,
who suffered a 57-day police detention in 1988 which was declared "unlawful".

Abdul Malek, who is also Chairman of the Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections, told the press he felt vindicated by the judgement, adding that the findings of the court were more reasons why the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) should be set up.

After a tea-break, Desi came back to see the following summary of RPK's latest posting (thanks madmonk!:):

RE: Raja Petra's Narration of Ali Rustam's Speech at PPP Annual State Convention) ,2007

Main message: by UMNO Malacca Menteri Besar Ali Rustam to PPP delegates

"UMNO does not need support from BN component parties. UMNO is un-sinkable (unlike the Titanic). Even God can't sink UMNO.

Chinese and Indians can go back to China and India respectively. PPP can leave BN anytime or immediately. PPP will not get any seat in Malacca."

DESIDERATA: I've written at least two articles headed akin to ARROGANCE OF POWER related to this Chief Minister who could tell off a component party leader to fly kite", so what would he tell Opposition supporters like me? "Ship out, izzit?"

I surfed to the ORI at, and RPK -- whether in rumour or humour and in serious mode, go ask the Prince!as sometimes he is like Desi, with a sense of weird humour and rumour and some DDC!:) --he ended the said article quoted by madmonk with --teasing thee withjest last two paras, cun?


"There is much speculation on who will be Najib’s Deputy when he takes over as Prime Minister. This question has been satisfactorily answered on 15 October 2007. Ali Rustam made it clear that he and not the Prime Minister makes the decisions. As far as Ali Rustam is concerned the Prime Minister pengecut, the Perak Menteri Besar is kaki bodek while the Pahang Menteri Besar is gila who does crazy things. Yes, that leaves only him remaining as the most suitable candidate to become the next Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Hmm.....should I seriously consider migrating?"


Pondering over the ending remark, I now withdraw my AP(knot-of-RM20k-generating-kind:(peal to twain-shalt-meet penangpearls, Theels and Sabrina, and Imranto return to NegaraKu. Perhaps not. mGf, You make up thy own mind. I waver a lot nowadays.See you, or mayhaps knot.


UPDATEd @4.55pm:

From cometh some records which show the siting judge was indeed a special breed. He is our guiding light in this present tunnel of dark justice overhanging the Judiciary.

"SYABAS!" is in order to Yang Arif Mohd Hishamudin:

Mohd Hishamudin
Mohd Yunus

Turning point in the judiciary?
Kim Quek

5:16pm, Thu: Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus' judgment to release the two Internal Security Act detainees is the first courageous judicial act to defend the constitution against excesses of the executive in a long, long time.

Ever since the former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas was sacked for resisting interference from the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1987, the entire judiciary has been completely cowed by the executive, so much so that it has become a rubber stamp to the will of the executive, particularly in cases of conflict between the ruling power and its opponents.

This notoriety of our judiciary reached a zenith during the infamous trials of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, when the shameful and despicable conduct of the courts brought universal condemnation and ridicule.

Within this oppressive environment, Justice Hishamudin's courage and integrity deserves our admiration and congratulations. Through his act, he has opened a small window to let in fresh air to our suffocated judiciary. It is hoped that this small stream of fresh air will eventually grow to a gush of strong wind to restore our judiciary to what it should be, a true defender of the constitution, as indicated by our new chief justice.

In our moment of elation, let us be vigilant to see that Justice Hishamudin is not victimised in any way for his courageous act. And if that should happen, let the whole nation stand up to defend him.

On a more sombre note, this incident demonstrates how utterly low our judiciary has sunk to. The balance of facts and law in this habeas corpus case is so overwhelmingly tilted in favour of the applicant that in any democracy, the judgment would have been a foregone conclusion.

But in Malaysia, it is a surprise to the nation and possibly a shock to the executive, as this kind of judicial event has never happened in most people's memory.

Not only that, it is celebrated as a historical event.


30 May 2001 will be remembered in Malaysian history as a day when the people's long suppressed hopes for justice were rekindled by a learned, honest and courageous judge whose refusal to accept the Internal Security Act (ISA) struck at the very heart of repressive law and oppressive rule in this country.
On 30 May 2001, Justice Dato' Mohd Hishamuddin Mohd Yunus, in the Shah Alam High Court, ruled that the detention of two Parti Keadilan Nasional leaders, N Gobalakrishnan and Abdul Ghani Haroon, under ISA was unlawful. Justice Mohd Hishamuddin ordered the Police to release them immediately.

In making his ruling, Justice Mohd Hishamuddin added that the detentions had been carried out in bad faith, violated the detainees'constitutional rights, and ignored their procedural rights.

Justice Mohd Hishamuddin also ordered the Police not to re-arrest Gobalakrishnan and Abdul Ghani for at least twenty-four hours. This was an unprecedented order given past Police practice of immediately re-arresting the rare ISA victim who was freed by the Courts.

Justice Mohd Hishamuddin even told Parliament that `it is high time' to reconsider the relevance of ISA so as to prevent and minimize abuses of law by the authorities.

The Malaysian people will see in Justice Mohd Hishamuddin's ruling the beginning of the end to an unfortunate tradition of judicial reluctance to challenge the use of draconian legislation and brutal force by a regime that has increasingly set aside the rule of law.

Together with all Malaysians who are concerned with Justice, Freedom and the Rule of Law in this country, Aliran salutes both Judge and Judgment for this historic defence of the Constitution, civil liberties and human rights.

Until the full written judgment is available, Aliran reproduces, below, excerpts from the oral judgment delivered by Justice Mohd Hishamuddin to permit Malaysian citizens to appreciate some of the legal and political issues involved:

On why the further incarceration of the detainees was in breach of the Constitution: `The affidavits by the respondents are vague in nature and inadequate. The grounds for arrest must be clearly stated in the affidavit and it cannot simply parrot the provisions in the Constitution. There must be some reasonable amount of particulars (on the grounds of arrest) to be fair to the detainee who believes he is innocent.'

On how the Police ignored procedures: `The Inspector General of Police and director of Special Branch have prematurely made up their minds to detain them for the 30 days well beyond that stated in the ISA. The IGP and director of SB have ignored procedural rights.'

On the Police's denial of visits by families or legal counsel: `Not allowing access to one another is cruel, inhuman and oppressive, not only to the detainees but also to their family members. What harm would the visits of the family members bring? The visits can be closely monitored. This court does not understand such reasoning. It is a blatant and gross violation of the detainees' constitutional rights. It is unlawful to deny them (their rights).'

On habeas corpus: `There were no affidavits filed by applicants because for 40 days they were denied access to their lawyers. If applicants truly believe that they were framed and their detention was unjust, it is their right to file habeas corpus as guaranteed under Section 5(2) (of the Constitution).'

Aliran calls upon all Malaysians concerned with Justice, Freedom and the Rule of Law to take inspiration from Justice Mohd Hishamuddin's ruling to continue the struggle to protect civil liberties and human rights – and particularly to erase the dark shadow of ISA upon our society.

- Aliran Executive Committee
Thursday May 31

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dedicated to Awe de Furogknights at Inaugural Anti-ISA Vigil

This is a light-hearted take-away (ta-pau) in lieu of knot accepting Des' tehtarik offers by all these awesome/full VIVACIOUS, VICTORIOUS and VVINSOME vigilantes at the special gathering in my hometown to show SOLIDARITY WITH RAJA PETRA KAMARUDIN and ALL ISA DETAINEES.

"Des" instead of the usual Desi (Yes, I also don't mind accepting free teh-si at the chinoserie kopitiam!:) because my new found Seremban leadknight "V"igil ante-ISA Angela, the sixth Agent before Bond, James Bond, hitting you in the face so-ON in Quantum of Solace... says "si" rimes wit' an unfortunate Chinese sound meaning "die-lah"... and a Furongnitie doesn't argue with a fella bird chirping down at THE DATARAN SEREMBAN PARK lust night.

No wan died, off course, but many were doing TGIF's fellow shipping/sheeping-with
'TigerBirs smuggled from SUC? with our honoured guest Marina Lee Abdullah, the sparkling Pete's partner in representing him in absentia up to about 90% (Pete still holds the 10% AWOL in Kamunting ... Keep wellA!:)

Okay, start from the BEGINNING:


Desi was with brudder Kopi at LINGAM's CH, Paul Street, awaiting "no-show" guests to my offer of endless rounds of tehtari":(

I then arrived with Kopi at DSP at about 7.20PM; trained as a newshound, I had nver been "late" for any assignment except once -- I'll tell ye about that incident in detail from the head when you buy Desi brewed coffee at Lingam's (which earns Angela's SIRIM_seal of AP two days ago!:) and delicious kambing, after which you won't be going anywear.

Seated comfortably at a squareish walled pot holding a palm tree, I was watching the huge screen overlooking the Traffic lights selling, atop BN gomen propaganda-ganda wang anda, that Solace-y movie ...but I digress (to nudecomers to Blogsworld, it's a pitch I use to seduce 'em joining the Bwagon -- "digression" is one privilege a Blogger cab abuse to Hi- or Lo- heavens, who the hell careth?!)

After 5 minutes, this early bird spied another black bird taking a prime location at the next walled palm-tree pot. In bloggerspirit, I walked up to him, intro myself as YL-Desi (whispered so Angela and her cohorts at the SUC could not hear us:( and this CONverse followeth:

D: Hey brudder, dari mana u? PKR member ke?

B: Oh, I dari Port Dickson, siar-siar saja (This is my best recall, K! Please don't ask me to put up Errata...)

D: Bagusni, u datang jauh untuk support kandlelite virgil ... (Yes, I pronounced it with an "r" sound to Bahasa-Malaysia-sise da word so brudder and I can understand each other vely de wella...a li'l like "dalam kandungan sihat" greAting:)

B: Apa tu VIRgil? I ke sini strol saja. Makan angin (yes, there was a slight wind blowing'..) Habis kerja relaks sikit-sikit di park ini. (No, he didknot say Park-tou!--Des:)

D: (hiding his disAP that this brother did not come for the candlelight, but still, we enjoy the same moon and starlight).

Okay, nanti mari-lah jumpa rakan-rakan sama tuju perjuangan anti-ISA ... Khas sokong brudder Raja Petra wira negara kita.

(Des salam-ed him and without AP, extended B to join the kapitalistik crowd at SUC on be1/2 of agent oh-oh-ONE.:)

___________________________ ACT 2 ____________________________

A young gentleman skipped into my second lieutenant's and my fool view, and before 60seconds had passed, I thought I knew him for at least a week now. Yes, it's Angela's
sonny boy KENNY, who said he was following SunTzu's script by being the frontliner trooper to ensure the coast/park is clear and has enough space for us to light up a few hundred candles, blowing' in the Furong wind.

Kenny reported that the KL gangz escorting Marina and family, headed by Zorro, that inimitable cross between Banderos, so hand&legsome, and Sherlock, wit' piedpiper polutant in his rightcapitalistic hand, and the leftist one directing traffic to the square... This convoy from KL sined in at about 7.45PM. (See, I do time-keeping besides being a bookie at Midnight!:)

I told my buddie we would be happy to have soemthin' like 50-to-60 peeps, but the troopers began marching in after din-ning from 7.45PM, from Tampin, Port Dickson, and a wholesale family awe da way from SEPANG (dear buddy, Cut&Pasta, from a comment in da steal of the night:)

****Sukhihotu Uncle,
I am the man talking to you in Seremban last night.

By demon

I owe thee a kopi of that Midnight Voizes, just guft me your contact addie, I promise I wouldKNOT share wit' the SpecialBrunch!:(

Anyways, after 30 minutes, I counted and the final tally was 150. I would roster the names hear but I forgot the last one I exchanged greAtings with -- 149 I know, but even if ONE was amiss, it's bad manners, my late Mum told me, and as I said earlier, "...a Furongnitie doesn't argue with a fella bird chirping down at THE DATARAN SEREMBAN PARK lust night."


____________________________ ACT 3 _________________________

When I logged on again at 1.28AM, I am happy to read a comment from Mark&Co (are these guys/gals LAWYERS? Pretty and useful in these challenging times as I told Angela should the SB make any Midnight Calls, like hardworking doctors of the medical kind...:)

So reprising:

"1 comment(s):

O dear, Desiderata,
We arrived just about 8pm last night and were taken in absolute by the atmosphere and the warmed of everyone.

The rush from KL didn't help at all coz we were looking forward for the teh-tarik and meeting you in person.
Alas, perhaps next time?
Anyway, the gang had dinner only after 10pm but no ones complaining.

Well, its a good start for Seremban ya? surely, full credits must be for our energetic Angela.
Think we'll catch you this Sunday at PJ vigil then.

Good nite


By Mark&Co, at 12:45 AM "

Desi's heart was lofted and his age is now 365 younger to hear from AP gang -- I guess these are Y&As -- like "Sam KK and" Co who were early birds I tried to recruit for YouthSpeak assignments at and because they also were stalking Des&Co when we dis-missed or dis-mistered, as we are awe geat parctitioners of gender equality in Peyton Plavesque Seremban, which explains Angela's role!:) -- they warm my heART, bringing down the BP, which also maketh one younger. Believe me, Zorro is going from 51-to-50 as opposed Y&A johnleemk (whose nama came up in a con I had with one SEPANGknight****) going 17-to-71! because of mixing with these young'uns!:) That apostrophe stands for "g" as in G-string, and don't visualise girls by the PD beach! It's guitar s......! What were you Y&As thonking of ZorroDesi&Co?

Back from Digression, the night Vigil formally was called to order when Puan Marina was called on to update us on her beloved hubby, RPK, whom we always call Pete. There were Wakil Rakyat from DAP. PAS and PKR -- I don't know if there were annie from BN components, Angela assured Des she included all major political parties in her INVITES list; I hear the SB crashed the partee...starting at SUC at 6.00PM; maybe they heard about the capitalistic dishes served dare!:)

Wella, I menjemput-by-sweetpersuade YB Kamarul Baharin, PKR NS chairman and MP for Teluk Kemang to lend his tenor voice to help Des's pre-midnight voiz in leading those present in reciting an ODE TO SEPTEMBER, composed exactly 30days before. The poet-aSspirant practised memorisation of the verses; but the more he tried the worse it became, so we all chorused the lines by candlelight plus moonlight plus starlight.

Just an extract hear!

"We shall remember it's the kind of September ten years ago
Reformasi with thy comrades we sang our ode to freedom
In this season of goodwill
Among brothers and sisters above colour, creed and race
We will light the candle of peace
and seek the final release
From oppression of all human kind
Until everyone other chained by the Cruel one
Is release to the bosomy kiss of the Malaysian sun
and the embrace of tender September wind and showers
of blessing of love, charity and release
from all worldly bonds

Because you taught us to see the face of cruelty of Masters
of abuse, oppression and indulgence
Will one day be overcome by what is inherently Right
So well fought for by one dear to all we call Pete
One day soon, we will again celebrate

Till then, take care
Have faith, believe

On that hopeful note, stay the course
It's just adieu and not goodbye
Fighting alongside Marina to raise the bar
For freedom,justice and humanity
Above age and gender, colour, race and creed
There's no barrier too high
In our little hands lies NegaraKu's destiny
GOoD Night, GoOD health, GOD bless Thee.


PS: For another takeaway of fond memories, help thyself via brudder Bernard Khoo aka zorro-unmasked's tapau-rite



___________________________________ ACT 4 __________________________

This ACT was compulsorily added with a little help from my friend, blogging at:

About the First Lady of Anti-ISA!

"It’s impossible not to like her. She’s so down-to-earth, friendly and approachable. There are no airs about her. She doesn’t have any illusions of grandeur, having been thrust into the limelight these days. It’s incredible to note how she welcomes everyone with so much gratitude in her face. People stop in their tracks when they realize she’s present. She does not show tiredness and irritation as friends and strangers greet her throughout the vigil. People want to shake her hand, they want a picture taken with her, they want to say hello or just stand near her.

I watched her tonight as I did on the other two occasions; it struck me that she is very much like any First Lady displaying grace, charm, poise and energy. She holds her head up high. She pays attention to what people are saying. She doesn’t take for granted the support she receives..."

GOoDnight2:):) @2.29AM

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Speech of Dato’ Syed Ahmad Idid at BUM2008

Thursday, 01 May 2008 16:00

Speech of Dato’ Syed Ahmad Idid at BUM (Bloggers Universe Malaysia) 2008 held at the Lake View Club, Subang Jaya on 1st May, (Labour Day) 2008. (in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day)

With compliments from Dato’ Syed Ahmad Idid (Former Judge of High Courts for Borneo & Malaya. An Invited Guest at BUM 2008.)

Dear Mr Chairperson, Fellow panellists and Bloggers of all shapes and sizes, colours and antecedents, whether you blog and turn MPs or you were VIPs now turn bloggers. I am neither.

I am asked to say that “bloggers are smart people with forward thinking views”. I agree in a majority of cases and I heartily congratulate you.

I am glad we have several professionals in the house and that none of the doctors “is a person who kills your ills and kills you by the bills”. Luckily you call this an event. If it is a conference then you can have the confusion of the speakers multiplied by the number present.

Thank you for this invitation to meet bloggers and to speak at such a significant event. I was informed that this meeting is open to those in the Government and the Opposition and is meant to be a happy hunting ground for both.

I had been afraid that I was to come in pyjamas because some time in March a company, claiming to be “Asia’s first and leading” in blog advertising, had assembled about 300 young male and female bloggers of Malaysia and Singapore for fun and games…in pyjamas! Thankfully we are not in that grouping.

Oon Yeoh of the Star has commented (on 24th April) that “socio-political activists, retrenched editors and Opposition politicians used to be the only people who did political blogging. These days Barisan National Politicians are falling over themselves trying to get into the act. A former BN Menteri Besar, a current BN Chief Minister and a current BN Federal Minister have started blogging”.

We also have Mr Lim Kit Siang and Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders holding their own blogs and “speaking” to whoever wish to engage with them.

In the spirit of blogging, I shall save time by not addressing anyone like Tun, Tan Sri, Datuk and so on. In that way, I do not disappoint anyone that I may miss out. I must however do justice today by noting that I am among seasoned journalists[2] or SOBs [3]. I will just note them in my Paper here (in the session “Fostering Civil Society – Various Voices”: Ahiruddin Atan @ rockybru, Prof Dr Azmi Sharom (of University of Malaya), Dr Lim Teck Ghee (Director of Centre for Policy Initiatives) and Ms Jacqueline Ann Surin (Journalist). Then the next session (“The Fifth Estate (Bloggers) as Agency for Change”) will have YB Jeff Ooi (now MP), YB William Leong (Lawyer MP), Haris Ibrahim (Human Rights Advocate), R Nadeswaran @ Citizen-Nades plus a special (mystery YM Raja Petra Kamarudin) guest.

Without any further introduction, let us dash into the topic “Fostering Civil Society – Various Voices”[4]. From what you have placed before us, you accept that we are not yet a Civil Society. And BUM 2008 want us to inch our way or drive there or surf the net until we can improve our society which earns the description of “Civil Society”.

At this juncture, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me point out that “Civil Society” itself has two meanings at least…firstly that such society comprises of voluntary civic and social organisations as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state. Those interested can refer to Adam Ferguson and Georg Wilhem Friedrick Hegel[5] and some writings by Malaysians. Believe me when I say that “civil society actors have obtained remarkable amount of political power without anyone directly electing or appointing them”.[6] In this respect, just about any organisation outside of Government or GLC[7] can be within the Civil Society.

The second meaning is that Civil Society is the “Third Sector” as distinct from the Government and the Business.

But be warned: “A regime in which only civil society existed would be a regime of anarchy”…hence the requirement for Law & Order or Governmental regulations whereby the conduct of the population is maintained for the greatest good of the majority.

The growth of civil society has been one of the most significant trends in international development.[8].

I managed to peep into Greece…they have a Civil Society Index Diamond[9]. But after research, they found that their situation is not balanced … the four dimensions are the structure, environment, values and impact.

I think what the BUM 2008 organisers have in mind when they put “Civil Society” in the topic is one where our Society or population conducts itself in a civil manner! Hence the two definitions that I had dealt with do not apply except that you know that bloggers come within the description of “Civil Society”.

That being the case, it is now time that we seriously think, weigh and consider the blogs that we have and what these blogs can do for our country.

First the BUM 2008 Chairman Mr Y L Chong (or Desi) appeared in the daily under the title “Change mindset on blogging”. U-en Ng writing a letter to the newspaper said that “Blogs (are) merely a medium of communication” (25/4/08). The executive director of the Centre for Independent Journalism, V Gayathry, cautioned that “leaders should look into the content, the messages and not the blogs”. This is where differences emerge – blogging can empower each of us to have our own website and we can express our thoughts, deliver ideas and share our experiences. Generally bloggers try to be honest in their postings but then again some can be biased or offer unfair comments (and a few can even be downright liars!) So we must start with ourselves…if we can offer the truth and convince our readers and those whom our blogs can reach, we can have a fresh start to getting them to act in the best interests of the community.

If any blogger, just because he/she sees himself or herself as being free to write anything vile or vicious or seditious takes the opportunity and brings out bad vibes, then that blogger is not a credit to our happy bloghood[10] and ought not to operate in the blogosphere[11]. Having said that, bloggers appear to be free to move about and help our community to achieve “Civil Society” status.

Bloggers should be aware of their limitations in respect of copyright, trademark, defamation[12], Official Secrets Act and Sedition. (You might want to read “Blogging – Are you exposing yourself to legal liabilities?” by Sabrina Mohamed Hasshim (2007) 2 CLJ i.)[13] and some 12 Dos and Don’ts for Blogging and Copyright Law. I have provided the organisers a copy in case some of you might want to read at leisure.

Now comes the crunch.

Since you have asked me to deal with “Fostering Civil Society…” I take it that you want suggestions as to what bloggers can or must do to achieve such a noble objective. And I think what you meant was “Civic Society”. (Civic with a “c” and not “l”.)

We must be quite relieved that the situation in Malaysia is unlike in the Philippines, some countries in South America and Africa (Zimbabwe included) and recently in Sri Lanka. You can recall that President Musharaf, upon taking office, allowed the increase in radio/TV stations and newspapers. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi allowed more discussions and publications among Malaysians and did not fetter the printing of news and complaints. Result? Both in Pakistan and Malaysia, the Press (and naturally the Alternative Media or the Blogs) heavily criticised the Government leading to their current political situations.

The PM admitted that the BN lost the online war. “We did not think it was important. It was a serious misjudgement”. (at the Invest Malaysia Conference). But compare the Singapore Prime Minister’s cautious stance: “….laws would be relaxed but only carefully…” Some observers believe that the Malaysia-style digital coup is not possible in the island republic.

What I wish to stress here is that the Blogs can be used and/or misused. And I am happy that for this event, we want to know how Blogs can foster Civic Society. (And so I shall not touch the politics or politicians…may they behave themselves in and out of Parliament or the State Legislature, especially those who smoke cigars).

There are many and various problems we confront daily. As a result we are not yet a civic society. The challenge is for bloggers who are present here today and members outside to wield your power (of persuasion) and your authority (via your expertise and knowledge) to reach more Malaysians, get them to be active in their community and interact in order to identify non-civic problems and those situations which cause our country to be less civic!

First and foremost let us examine each of us. How civic-minded are we? How do we treat our neighbours? How do we conduct ourselves and driving on the roads? The accident rate is excessive for a nation of “sopan santun”. And our buses run Off the Roads into ravines? Is it because the tolls are too high and too many? Is there hanky-panky in the licensing of bad drivers? Or we paid too much for low-quality roads? This is a fertile ground for bloggers to delve into and raise the issues in the blogosphere and then get more citizens to be concerned.

Safety and security: do citizens have to be fully responsible for our own – at home, in offices, outside, while travelling? Or do the Authorities and Police have a bounden duty to perform? Here the bloggers can investigate the misconception (eg what are taxes for?), areas of responsibility and duties and bring to bear to all concerned so that a good system can set in and a proper standard of safety and security can be maintained…for the sake of our families and children (and their future).

The Poor….how can our rich country still have very (or hard core) poor in our midst? There are cries that in many areas, where money is collected, a lot of cash have slipped away or mismanaged. From my rough calculation, if every sen (or now every 5-sen) is honestly collected, we can build a luxury kampong every few months. We can provide the poor with houses complete with water and electricity and organise an industry in which they can work in. Poverty is then eradicated. Some bloggers can go into this area and figure out the “leaks” and put your corks to safeguard the cash.

Remember also the women and children.

New Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek has said that “bloggers are important” And he wished he could see bloggers[14]. He added that “everybody wants to know what’s happening in the country”. This naturally is one clear path on which bloggers walk on. Here then is testimony that bloggers can do your part in fostering civic society.

The services by local and city councils can and must be monitored. Their work impacts on how our daily lives are geared and whether we pay more for less or do we get value in the process. The activities in the respective constituencies and areas help in the development of civic consciousness which in turn fosters the civic society that this event BUM 2008 desires. So some bloggers will need to dig deep into the various aspects and write (and be read by as many) in order to gain the involvement of the residents.

I need not list here the various aspects as we can discuss these and come to come conclusion in due course. But write you must and get readers to be interested. In the billions and billions[15] of words posted by millions and millions of bloggers world-wide, one outstanding element helps spread the importance and impact and that is “the connection” or links that each blog can garner to reach the wider audience…

Cleanliness and health. In these areas of concern, bloggers can find out the respective facilities that exist and those that are lacking and bring to the attention of those given the duty to take care. Are the medicines genuine? Is there any shortage of medical staff and doctors? What can be done? Bloggers (or other citizens) ought not to just complain but should suggest solutions. Are the aged and the disabled being adequately taken care of? If not, why not? The standard of civic conscience and civic conduct is measured by the care we give to the parents and grand-parents, the infirm, and the disadvantaged.

When we reach a certain standard in this aspect, we can say we have achieved Civic Society quality.

I hope these broad areas will open your eyes to more details and minor issues of concern.

All in all, when all of us conduct ourselves well in the world arena and within our community, we can truly claim that our Civic Society is of international status and we can justly be proud. To bloggers who help in this direction, I say “Heartiest Congratulations” and “Thank you”.

By Dato’ Syed Ahmad Idid


[1] Former Judge of High Courts for Borneo & Malaya. An Invited Guest at BUM 2008.

[2] “Bloggers can be journalists and journalists can be bloggers. See Apple v Does.

[3] Successful and Outstanding Bloggers.

[4] There are differing definitions, interpretations and meanings to “Civil Society”.

[5] A German Philosopher.

[6] Wikipedia.

[7] Government Linked Corporations.

[8] The World Bank.

[9] Do you know that our Malay dictionary describes this as “bentuk ketupat”.

[10] Collection of local blogs.

[11] Collective Community of all blogs.

[12] Remember the lawyer who wrote the judgment for the Judge and put high liability?

[13] I am grateful to Encik Hamid Ibrahim (you all know him in CLJ) for bringing this to my attention.

[14] Bloggers…where are you? Why did you not invite the Menteri to this event?

[15] Do you wonder where those words (you write, you delete?) go to? One pessimist thinks these billions are being collected by an unseen (and misunderstood force) and kept in the stratosphere and will in due course cover and blanket the earth in darkness. BB Bloggers beware!