Sunday, September 19, 2010

A GoOD Read on Globalisation...

Desi likes to read the works of Malaysians resident abroad, for somehow they are not caught up so much with the local politics which can easily colour one's objectivity because of one's partisanship. One such writer is a surgeon based in the US, and today's read is important because of the topic -- GLOBALISATION.

Many leaders here don't even know that we have entered a new millennium ten years ago for they continue to play politics of the 1970s to the 1990s -- prominent are the PERKASA and its many clones, Hindraf and its many offspring, ah,leading the pack of the originals is UMNO ...entrenched in Ketuanan Melayu concept, tongkat economics while the world outside has moved on for three to four decades by leaps and bounds, and they continue to KONSTAN GEAR... God save us from these socalled national leaders, they may have good intentions, as they keep reminding the Rakyat that their policies are for the good of the nation! --- BUT REMEMBER, the path to hell is paved with many good intentions. God save us from such good intenders! Desi always believes that the polititics of the future will largely hinge on the country's economic status, and unless Malaysian leaders wake up from their stupour, neighbours like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietname are going to outstrip us pretty soon in economic stature. Don't even talk about India and China, and there are still oud mouths like Ibrahim Ali playing the Jaguh Kampong dance and they don't realise the whole wide world is laughing at us. Their sandiwara and outOFtime steps are magnified and circulated superfast a hundred times by one of Globalisation's tools, The Internet, so much so even the authorities are baffled as some misguided Minister maketh pronouncements that other media like Facebook are western evils hat should be filtered before they endanger young Malaysians, and people like NameWee should be sut up for their own good. God save us indeed! Amen, YL, Desi

Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #32
September 15th, 2010

By Dr Bakri Musa

Chapter 5: Understanding Globalization

There is no doubt that globalization is an idea whose time has come….[But] the fact that [it] has come…does not mean we should sit by and watch as the predators destroy us.

—Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia

The one dominant force shaping the world today is globalization. That is, the increasing integration of markets, economies, infrastructures, and other institutions into one world standard. As a consequence, there is increasingly free movement of goods, capital, services, and ideas across borders.

Globalization, observes the World Bank, is not just an economic phenomenon. While the accounting of benefits and costs of globalization depends very much on one’s perspective, there is no question that it is a relentless and inevitable tidal wave. And like any tidal wave, one is more likely to survive and even thrive, if prepared. A non-swimmer will be swept away and drowned, but a skillful surfer will exhilaratingly ride the crest.

The choice then is simply whether you should prepare yourself to be a skillful surfer if not at least a passable swimmer, or let yourself be swept by the tidal flow. Stopping the flood is not one of your options.

While many clamor to join this global mainstream, just as many resist. Globalization is enthusiastically embraced by those steeped in the ways of the new economy and modern technology. Its detractors include such “America first” advocates as Pat Buchanan, as well as the Mahathir’s of the Third World. Such bewildering alliances and confluences reflect the complexity of this phenomenon.

One of the reasons for these diverse coalitions is that globalization is perceived differently by the various constituents both in the West and in the developing world. To American factory workers, it means the loss of their jobs to such places as China and Mexico; to their executives, an opportunity to reduce costs of production. Third World leaders view globalization as surrendering their nation’s sovereignty to multinational corporations; those citizens meanwhile look forward to the job opportunities afforded by these foreign companies. Such conflicting perceptions are understandable as there is no consensus what globalization actually means. That notwithstanding, there is at least a general agreement on what globalization is not.

What Globalization Is Not

Globalization does not mean a single all-powerful world government along the line of a vastly expanded United Nations issuing edicts from New York to remote corners of the world. This is a particular paranoia of American right wing groups who are forever on the look out for black UN helicopters ready to take over their country. Similarly, globalization is not another form of regional cooperation in the fashion of a strengthened Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Nor is it a political and economic entity along the lines of the European Union or a common market like Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement).

Globalization will not mean the decline or end of the nation-state, as some exuberant advocates proclaim and some nationalistic leaders like Mahathir fear. As Peter Drucker, the management guru and respected futurist noted, it will be a greatly changed nation-state that will survive globalization. In particular, totalitarian states that have a tight stranglehold on their citizens will have difficulty maintaining their grip. With the free flow of ideas and information across borders, the state’s propaganda machinery would be effectively neutralized. [Author’s updated note: We are certainly seeing this in Malaysia where the government-controlled mainstream media are losing their credibility and the accompanying rise of independent blogs.]

Globalization will definitely result in major changes in the power relations between and within nations. This can be disorientating to those comfortable with or dependent on the status quo.

Globalization does not mean a decrease in international regulations and rules. This would disappoint those advocates for a minimalist government, On the contrary, in many cases there will be increased rules with respect to human and labor rights, pollution and environmental laws, and international crimes, as the various national agencies will get increasingly coordinated with those across their borders. Thus polluters in Indonesia for example, will face the wrath of not only their countrymen but also neighboring countries. Environmental groups like Greenpeace are now forging global alliances that transcend national and political boundaries.

Lastly, to those who fear that the universe would be turned into a dull monotonous cultural landscape filled with the Madonnas, Michael Jacksons, and other icons and artifacts of the McWorld, globalization will not mean cultural homogenization. The fear of globalization being just another form of Western hegemony or neocolonialism is simply delusional. On the contrary, globalization provides a much-needed leveling of the playing field and gives small fringe cultural groups hitherto isolated in their remote villages or ashram an avenue to expand its influence worldwide.

It is significant that through globalization, the 13th Century Persian poet Jallaludin Al-Rumi is now the most widely read in America. Similarly Sufism, which once was relegated to the margins of Islam and presented to the world only at exotic cultural festivals, is now fast becoming chic in the West. The public library in my small California town now carries at least a dozen books on the subject. And they are always being signed out! The Internet enables Sufism to reach a much wider audience globally.

As more nations adopt and benefit from globalization, the present cultural, economic, and other dominations of the West would gradually be eroded. For example, once China becomes prosperous, it too will contribute its share of talent onto the world stage to challenge the supremacy now enjoyed by Americans. Further, once China has the market power comparable to America, manufacturers and marketers will cater to the Chinese tastes and market. And then by sheer momentum, that taste or trend will become universal. The reason America now enjoys supremacy (at least in popular consumer taste) is purely the consequence of it being the largest and most lucrative market. Producers and manufacturers everywhere cater to it. Thus by sheer mass dynamics, the American taste and style become universal.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

from a letter worth a pound in gold...


Wednesday, 30 June 2010 Super Admin
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It is nothing less than astounding to now realize that an authority such as the MACC, who would have been expected to have done everything in their power to investigate the very serious allegations made against the Prime Minister, his wife and his brother, to now forfeit that opportunity on tenuous and exasperatingly flimsy grounds knowing full well that much preparation has gone into organizing this interview and to then pull out at the very last moment contrary to the false perceptions created by them up till now.

Americk Sidhu

I refer to the press release by the MACC this afternoon to the effect that they will not be sending their officers to London to interview my client P.Balasubramaniam (Bala), as promised.

The excuses (they do not qualify as reasons), given are as follows:

1. That the MACC will instead submit questions to which my client will give his answers in affidavit form.

2. That the A.G's chambers had provided advice along these lines to the MACC.

3. That precedence has been established in the Eric Chia case to the effect that a witnesses statement recorded overseas is inadmissible in a Malaysian Court.

4. That even if an affidavit was sworn by Bala it would not hold much weight in court if he was not available to testify.

These statements appear to be full of contradictions, misguided assumptions and ill-devised excuses used to decline the invitation to interview Bala which has been so vehemently pursued by the MACC in the past.

The recording of a witnesses statement can take place anywhere in the world as this statement forms part of the investigations conducted by the MACC for the purposes of a potential prosecution and is not intended to be used as evidence in a Court of Law. If this were the case, then the statement recorded from Saiful in the ongoing Sodomy II trial of Anwar Ibrahim would have been willingly tendered by the prosecution as part of their case instead of being guarded jealously and hidden from view. So this is really no excuse for not recording a statement from Bala. It would never be tendered in court unless it is used to discredit the oral evidence of a witness if that evidence contradicts a previously recorded statement. This process is called impeachment. That is why a statement is first recorded.

The MACC have assumed that Bala will not turn up in Court to testify.

Why have they assumed this?

Bala is ever prepared to testify against those personalities who have caused him and his family untold misery for the past 2 years. Was it not Bala who surfaced to tell his story as soon as he was able? Has he ever shirked from his duty as a law abiding citizen to assist the authorities in whatever way he could without compromising his own safety? All Bala asks is that the authorities concerned ensure that his well being is preserved if he is required to testify. Nothing more nothing less.

Bala could quite easily have gone into forced exile with RM5 million in his pocket and his life would have been a lot easier. Instead he has come forward to expose the misdeeds perpetrated upon him by a host of unsavoury characters who stretch all the way to the personalities holding the highest positions in government and their immediate family members.

If the MACC requires signed depositions from Bala to wrap up their investigations, may I suggest they consult the documents available all over cyberspace in the form of Bala’s 1st SD released in July 2008 and the 3 parts of his Q&A released in November 2009. These documents exhaustively detail all issues involved in this conspiracy and have been available for a long time now. If this is all the MACC required, why suggest that their investigations could not proceed without the cooperation of Bala? Why did Nazri inform Parliament that the MACC were emasculated in continuing with their investigations because Bala could not be found?

Bala was available at all times and the MACC knew this. We have documents to prove we had informed them of our willingness to cooperate as far back as December last year. Why is everyone becoming so coy at the eleventh hour?

It is nothing less than astounding to now realize that an authority such as the MACC, who would have been expected to have done everything in their power to investigate the very serious allegations made against the Prime Minister, his wife and his brother, to now forfeit that opportunity on tenuous and exasperatingly flimsy grounds knowing full well that much preparation has gone into organizing this interview and to then pull out at the very last moment contrary to the false perceptions created by them up till now.

This turn of events has certainly destroyed what little credibility the MACC had left and has confirmed the suspicions held by most right thinking members of society that they are a body existing solely to protect the interests of the powers that be and to ensure that any opposition to the government is dealt with by harsh, brash, unnecessary and lopsided vehemence with the sole purpose of destroying any legitimate questioning of the excesses of the ruling regime so that power is perpetuated in the hands of their masters.

As far as I am concerned, and I know I speak for the team of lawyers representing Bala in this matter, that we will all be in London at the Holiday Villas, Bayswater at 10 am on the 5th July awaiting the arrival of the 3 MACC officers who are supposed to interview Bala as arranged and as promised.

Let me add that whatever advice the MACC may have received from the Attorney General's chambers is highly suspect and devoid of any legal basis, but instead smacks of a hastily assembled concoction of very weak excuses designed to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation for those who are obviously in control and who are able to hijack the machinations of the State and to manipulate the system to suit their own illegitimate agendas.

And if there are still any reservations as to whether the MACC were indeed genuinely planning on interviewing Bala in London then that misconception has now been destroyed by the fact that they had, up till now, not bothered to book the conference room at the Holiday Villas, Bayswater even though they had assured us they would handle the booking. They had never intended to interview Bala and have spent the past few weeks scrambling around for an excuse not to. The only problem is the excuse is ludicrous and everyone knows that.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Asia Declaration on Internet Governance

2010 Asia Declaration on Internet Governance Print E-mail
Non Governmental Organisations
Friday, 25 June 2010 19:07

The Centre for Policy Initiatives
endorses this declaration

2010 Asia Declaration on Internet Governance
"[The IGF is] multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic, and transparent."

- 2005 Tunis Agenda

"[We call for] a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society...full respect and upholding of universal human rights including freedom of opinion and expression; and "The universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms"

- 2003 Declaration of Principles of World Summit on Information Society.

On the occasion of the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Roundtable in Hong Kong on June 15-16, 2010, we, civil society representatives from eight Southeast Asian countries, call on the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and its Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) to fully uphold these aforementioned commitments and principles, as mandated by the United Nations Secretary-General.

We applaud the work of the first APrIGF towards building multi-stakeholder discussion on internet governance. In this vein of inclusive dialogue, we offer the following perspectives and recommendations to the MAG meeting in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on June 28-29, as well as for the fifth annual IGF meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania on September 14-17, 2010.

Key Observations of the APrIGF

In response to the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Roundtable in Hong Kong on June 15-16, 2010, we, netizens, journalists, bloggers, IT practitioners and nongovernmental representatives from across Southeast Asia, offer the following observations from the Roundtable:

1. Critical issues of internet governance in Asia should guide future discussions on internet governance policy:


Open access to information is the right of every individual, a right that servers as a fundamental venue for one's knowledge- and capacity-building. Access to information ultimately helps foster creativity and innovation, thus promoting sustainable human and economic development.

Openness is key to a democratic and open society. Restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression online, such as state censorship which blocks Internet intermediaries, is one of the threats to open societies. Intimidation and state censorship facilitate self-censorship, a hazardous social phenomenon that further undermines democracy and openness.


The internet is for everyone; it is a public good. Yet a Digital Divide between those countries and communities with internet access and those without persists, and has not been sufficiently addressed in discussions on internet governance. Proceedings at the APrIGF indicated a higher priority must be placed on addressing not only the global digital divide, but also regional and national ones. While Singapore enjoys high Internet access rates (70% penetration), countries like Burma and Cambodia are at the other end of the spectrum (0.22% and 0.51% penetration, respectively), ranked the lowest of 200 countries studied in the World Bank.

Internet access is fundamental for progress. Various factors, such as political, economic and social development, poverty levels, and technological infrastructure affect whether and how often people can access the internet. Internationally coordinated efforts must be made to address domestic policies that contribute to the digital divide in Southeast Asia and find solutions to bridge the gap.

Cyber Security

Definition of cyber security must include elements that address right to privacy and civil and political freedom.

An individual’s right over his/her own privacy, including personal data and information, must not be sacrificed. Information technology, such as IPv6, ZigBee, RFID, when used without transparent and accountable oversight, could pose threats to individual rights.

Today's information society connects personal IT devices directly to the outside world, no longer storing personal data on a single server. Given the involvement of the government and businesses (especially state-owned enterprises) in running such technologies, surveillance and identity theft remain a constant threat against Internet users.

In this regard, any national security policy must not deviate from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international human rights covenants to which states are parties.

2. Opportunities exist to continue to improve the IGF Process:

Awareness of the IGF in Southeast Asia and at the ASEAN level is presently lacking. Furthermore, Asia-Pacific-wide representation of civil society at the APrIGF Roundtable was incomplete. There exists a need not only to develop awareness about the IGF, but also to provide learning materials to make the IGF accessible to all. Greater access to the IGF would help make it more inclusive with various stakeholders, including those from the least developed nations and marginalized and vulnerable groups in Asia-Pacific.

During the APrIGF Roundtable, an open dialogue and two-way exchange of information and ideas was not fully facilitated. Open space to discuss and articulate criticism and suggest solutions must be guaranteed in all IGF events. Such an effort provides practical benefit to Internet users, both present and future, when the outcome of the APrIGF Roundtable is developed into a roadmap. Clarifying and planning the roles of local, national, regional and international multi-stakeholders, will help promote and protect transparent and democratic Internet governance and hence information society in the region.

Requests to the IGF

The first APrIGF presented a valuable opportunity to analyze both the issues upon which the IGF focuses and the process by which it is governed. With respect to these priority issues and opportunities for improved processes, we therefore recommend the following:

1. Immediately address as an urgent global internet governance issue the increasing implementation of law that suppress and restrict freedom of expression and access to information, especially within developing countries;

2. Fully integrate the universal human rights agenda into IGF program and engage systematically and regularly with the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, in particular the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the UN Human Rights Council;

3. Ensure that the IGF policy proposals and recommendations are in line with international human rights principles and standards;

4. Strengthen the IGF's multilateralism and openness in the upcoming fifth annual IGF meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania in September and future national and sub-regional level IGF meetings in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific;

5. Extend the mandate of IGF for another five years;

6. Conduct wider outreach to civil society actors in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific and allocate financial resources to encourage and support their participation in the fifth annual meeting and subsequent global IGFs, and organize national and sub-regional level IGFs;

7. Ensure active remote participation in the annual meeting and subsequent IGFs, utilizing digital technologies such as live-streaming webcast, video conference, twitter and other social media tools;

8. Guarantee that technical discussions during IGFs fully accommodates new constituents and stakeholders and incorporate an assessment of policy implications on the rights of Internet users and society;

9. Develop a plan of action in order to facilitate follow-up and monitoring of IGF outcomes; and

10. Conduct an impact study by an independent organization to assess the effectiveness of IGF, in accordance with the principles set out in the 2005 Tunis Agenda and the 2003 Declaration of Principles of the WSIS.

Hereby signed by

Yap Swee Seng

Executive Director

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development


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Sean Ang

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