Saturday, June 23, 2007


Moving On...

Please continue to:

Thursday, June 21, 2007



Returning from numerous encounters

I have been writing... but mostly elsewhere...I am just back in Labuan several times this year. My time is somewhat divided these days between here and elsewhere. Life has a way of ascertaining for me now, most time, what I need to do is no longer a choice.

The rare choice that I got was to have met Yasmin Ahmad at a forum last night. I had really wanted to see her in person. The most controversial Malaysian film director around. First is not easy to like her nor easy to dislike her...She is the only panelist in all forums that I had been so far, that took a break whilst a forum was still going on. She simply walked down stage and tried to catch up with someone whom she thought would be a good character for her film. She had definitely a mind that ripples stereotype and status quo thinking - which I thought was not necessarily a bad thing. I would have liked to sit and talk with her, but the night was late, and I had to leave for Labuan early the next day. Perhaps, God will let me meet her again...

I had almost not gone to the forum. Lost my way (some friends would know that that was not unusual for me), but somehow the last attempt brought me to the Bar Council building where the forum was held. I was already terribly late...I guess, it was proven that deep intention will be a prayer heard by God. The same gist is reflected in the first hadith of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. in Imam Nawawi's book.

Perhaps I should watch "Muallaf" (this is, however, not a promotion for her film), Yasmin's latest creativity. I should watch her other two renowned films, too. Maybe there is something there to tell me about her life and thinking. I would be asked on why my interest in Yasmin Ahmad...well, one scholar of Islam enjoins that we learn about history - though I never met the scholar, I hope that I am allowed to interpret the meaning of his advice as to include the learning of the history of people, especially people that have made an impact on so many others. Yasmin has sparked much debate about the issues she raised in her films...I think I would like to know her thinking better first rather than judging her.

Hmm...there could be a chance that she'll make a film about Lina Joy...

Friday, February 09, 2007


Unfolding a Transformed Leadership Front?

Unfolding a Transformed Leadership Front?

On September 1, 2006, Fuziah Salleh, Head of the Women Wing of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (keADILan), has presented in her policy speech at the third Women Congress of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, an expectation of a new breed of politicians as the ones rightly to govern the country. The essence of such leadership is in the ability to move from being a “reformasi” leadership to a transformational leadership. To put it simply in general analogy, transformational leadership involves the ability to transform a present status to a totally new one, starkly different, even alien to the old/previous one, likening to a caterpillar transformed into a butterfly.

The suggestion is out rightly Martian to the prevailing political culture in Malaysia. Some have staunchly defended the present political setup as the most fitting in the Malaysian context. They support race-based party politics. They feel that only by maintaining the status quo, all races are appropriately represented. It would be impossibility for a number of Indian politicians to be a wakil rakyat as there are no majority Indian constituencies in Malaysia. That is true for race-based politics. Race-based politics decides on the interests of each race and negotiates its position from the strengths each race has. Policies are also designed according to the interest of race. Each party thinks about their own race first, rather than the interests of all people in Malaysia. Race-based politics denies the importance of other races except in political negotiations. Other races are not thought of as one of them but as something, that does not belong to them. These outsiders are considered petty items and best taken care of by their own kind only. The scramble for limited resources depicts the worst of race-based politics. Corruption in the form of bribery, political appointments, academic development, project distribution, resource allocation, and conflict of interests in positions of power, to mention only a few, are the result of race-based politics.

Race-based politics in Malaysia is already almost thoroughly infested with corruption, injustices, irrevocable wrongs, and individuals with greed dominating their minds and souls and the hunger to dominate others. The lack of human compassion is also there for all to witness. The lack of competence and non-partisan leadership is even overtly in feat.

Therefore, a transformation of political leadership is in order. Its main responsibility is to transform the ugly scenery of race-based politics from its roots. It will take a brave and bold action by the transformed leadership to achieve that. The team will have to make tremendous sacrifice, particularly in ensuring another term of office in parliament, for such changes will invite political anger from the infested politicians, who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. Transformational leadership guarantees people’s rights in wealth, education, health, safety, and development. There will be a conscious and spirited effort to ensure the real narrowing of the economic disparity and knowledge gaps among races and among the haves and haves-not. Everyone, regardless of race and ideology will be opportune to develop his/her potential and given due rights. The present political leadership is known to sideline those who maintain a different political outlook on the country’s administration and development although such individuals may be the best element/worker that the country possess. Such is the unjust and prejudiced dealings of the Barisan Nasional government, which often disregard merit in many of its business.

A main issue of transformational leadership is its delineation from business involvement in all its aspects. That means, there should never be conflicts of interest at any time, anywhere as long as one is a wakil rakyat or a minister of the government in power. That implies that family connection becomes an automatic reason to shun business and any connection to government or government-linked projects. It ultimately means that the job of wakil rakyat and ministers are not the promising occupations for aspiring millionaires or billionaires in the country. Only then, will such group of leaders wholly and absolutely give imperative concentration on the fulfilment of the people’s needs. Such hope is highly suspect when money politics rule the political scene. Raja Petra had insinuated that in his writing, “Again money talks, bullshit walks.”

I think Fuziah regards the transformation occurring within the party will be major propulsion to win the trust of the people. It means practising in its totality the talk of new politics. That is a very difficult path, though not impossible, to political victory, judging from the continued lack of freedom in the press and the existence of intimidating and draconian laws, such as the ISA, which thwarts a free flow of alternative opinions writings and voice to the population.

The onset of declining growth has always prompted the ruling Umno-BN to maintain large deficit budgets and giving away bonanzas for everyone. The idea is to deviate even any thoughts of dissent of any kind from the voting sectors, whose support are vital in ensuring the present ruling UMNO-BN’s power to rule the country. Declining growth implies job losses, which results in the pain of unemployment and falling incomes. That is a sure indication that the present government is incompetent to provide the people’s needs and alleviate their difficulties. In reality, the problem of incompetence, of mismanagement of funds, improper delivery of monetary allocation and corruption are the major causes and obstacles to harmony, real physical and human development. Such problems will never be eradicated as long as BN leaders are bent on making decisions and budgets based on what keeps them in power. Power has become a sort of God of the BN regime. Strategically, the people have been deliberately made ignorant of the real state of affairs of the government and country. Public apathy, to me, is an orchestrated phenomenon aimed for the convenient realisation of irresponsible leaders’ self-interests, devoid of what Dr Syed Hussin Ali calls as “kepedulian rakyat.”

Transformational leadership makes correct decisions, NOT politically correct decision. The interests of the people will take precedent over the interest of any race or group. This kind of leadership is the leadership that speaks what resides in the hearts. They are dependable and we feel safe with them. In order for transformational leadership to flourish and becomes an institution, the transformation from within individual leaders, who make up the party leadership, is crucial. There is great hope from such leadership. As for a nation that believes in God, it is the right kind of leadership in achieving the pleasure of the Creator of men and universe.

appeared in Malaysia Today Oct 2, 2006


In reply to V.Vasudevan, NST, OPPOSITION MUST RETHINK BOYCOTTS posted in Malaysia Today, 29 January 2007

My article which appear in Malaysia Today, February 5th, 2007:

In reply to V.Vasudevan, NST, OPPOSITION MUST RETHINK BOYCOTTS posted in Malaysia Today, 29 January 2007

Well, after reading the short “analysis” by V.Vasudevan (New Straits Times), posted on 29th January 2007, I thought I would mend some serious misleading opinion of his (V.Vsudevan).

The decision to boycott Batu Talam by-election was correct. It was a boycott decision independent of future election. It was a move to pressure the SPR to reform. For the opposition, PAS & keADILan, it was going to be a measure of how far the SPR will change to ensure a free and fair election, even without an opposition candidate (but somehow an independent candidate emerged, a mere 22-year old without experience and election machinery to support him. One tended to query the real intention of contesting. One does not enter battle to die like what the Malay says mati katak. It was a foolish decision unless he carried some other agenda not overtly mentioned. I believe that politicians should start saying what they mean, and do what they say).

The intention to reform must be met with actions as proof of serious attempts to free SPR from the clutches of BN.

Najib’s comment on the decision to continue the process of election even when there would be flood on polling day was clearly a deliberate and arrogant interference in the administration of the SPR. Only the SPR was qualified to make any decision on any issue related to the election process.

Objectively, under a non-independent SPR and non-levelling playing field, we know that votes alone do not represent the understanding of the people regarding the politics of the country because the ability to ferry voters actually decides the number of votes.
Did the Batu Talam people really vote on the basis that they accepted the BN’s policies?
It was thoroughly unjustified to say that the by-election was a successful mid-term review of the BN administration.

The ugly smudges on the record of BN’s administration is clear from the following: the report Sham Democracy( ), the toll hike, the petrol price hike, the PM’ lavish spending, the Altantuya’s murder case, the summoning of citizens who blew the whistle on corruption under OSA, the wastage on the 2nd Johore bridge, the dismal administration of the control of floods in Johore and other areas, the continued imprisonment of the ISA detainees –detention without cause, the almost 100% increase in cost of the MRR2 highway, the endless report of misconduct and election irregularities, the endless delay of the IPCMC, the apathy in calls for the freedom of press and information, the shameless monopolisation of media, and the list goes on and on…

In the Batu Talam by-election, the high percentage wining figure quoted is seen as not the reflection of the people’s rejection of the boycott because admittedly, the opposition only failed to reach a wider audience of voters (that is a different topic altogether) NOT failing in delivering the right decision and principle behind the boycott.

BN likes to harp on its development. The scale of development in Malaysia is NOT a measure of BN’s ability to govern the country. The physical aspect of development can be achieved simply even by an NGO – probably it will do a much better job than BN!
The ability to empathise, to sacrifice, to instil good values in people, to make safe all the streets from crimes, to provide free education and health care, providing suitable accommodation for each citizen and for leaders to live simply would be a more holistic indicator of a ruling government’s success.

Whither the BN government which is neither deaf nor blind to the people’s plight?

Rozaini M. R.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Civil Disobedience & Civil Obedience

"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty" : Howard Zinn

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The secret policeman's fall

The secret policeman's fall

In post-communist Romania, the government is making real progress towards transparency and openness.

Monica Macovei
October 26, 2006 04:31 PM

As Hungary's prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany found out when a recorded admission that his government was lying incited riots, openness in government doesn't come easily in Eastern Europe's new democracies. Like Hungary, post-communist Romania has struggled to increase transparency and honesty in what was once one of the world's most closed societies. As we struggled, continued secrecy allowed an explosion of corruption and abuse of office.

But there has, at last, been real movement towards openness - progress recognized by the European Union when it gave Romania the green light to join the European Union at the beginning of 2007. Aside from achieving what the EU now deems a "functioning market economy", key political and legal changes, which I have overseen as minister of justice, range from increased transparency and control in the funding of political parties to a shakeup of the judiciary.

Judicial reforms are, in turn, helping to root out corruption. Indictments have been issued against former and current cabinet ministers, members of parliament, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, police and customs officers, and other public officials, as well as directors of private companies. In addition, new standardised forms have been introduced for declarations of assets and financial interests by anyone who holds an official position in government, parliament, public and local administration, and the judicial system. The new declarations are the most detailed in Europe, and, more importantly, they are published.

Romania's progress is confirmed in a report released earlier this month showing that citizens' access to government information in Eastern Europe is now equal to that in established democracies. Indeed, the report, Transparency and Silence, conducted by the Open Society Justice Initiative, indicates that in some ways the new democracies have something to teach the old: certain government agencies in Romania were more responsive to citizen requests for information than comparable agencies in France and Spain.

Specifically, 60% of the requests filed in Romania met, compared to 31% in France and 24% in Spain. Other countries that performed well include Peru and Mexico, both of which adopted freedom of information laws in 2002, shortly after Romania.

But getting access to sensitive information in transitional democracies is not always easier, as I know from my previous work as a human rights lawyer with the Romanian Helsinki Committee. Often we had to go to court to force disclosure of information, using Romania's 2001 Freedom of Information Act.

For example, even when we won a case regarding access to the records of wiretaps authorised by the general prosecutor, the prosecutor simply ignored the court order. We filed a civil action against the prosecutor, and the judge imposed a fine for every day the information was withheld. But it was only when we caught the media's attention that the data - detailing the number of wiretaps authorised over the previous 10 years, against whom, and for how long - were released. With its publication, Romania began to move away from its Securitate-dominated past.

Now, inside government, I realise that sharing information with the public is sometimes hard. But when painful reforms are necessary, there is no alternative. We could not have achieved the economic and political reforms that qualified us for EU membership if we had not subjected policymaking to public scrutiny and accepted the increased public participation in decision-making that inevitably accompanies such openness.

Indeed, this has become a sine qua non of democratic government throughout the world. When the United States adopted its Freedom of Information Act in 1966, it joined the exclusive company of Sweden and Finland. Today, roughly 65 countries have such laws.

In Romania, those who fought for a freedom of information law have made full use of it. As part of the Justice Initiative study, those who request information from Romania's government were willingly supplied with the kind of information that would have been unthinkable to release just a few short years ago. The Romanian Defense Ministry, for example, disclosed the number of armed forces personnel who died in 2003, as well as the causes of death (including 13 suicides, two shootings, and two combat deaths in Afghanistan).

Likewise, the Bucharest court was asked for the number of judges disciplined since the beginning of 2000, including grounds for any sanctions applied. The Court transferred the request to the Superior Council of Magistrates, which provided a full response: a four-page list of all sanctioned judges, with details of the reasons and penalties. Such information is both a product and a motor of continuing reform.

It has not always been comfortable for those in government, and there is still a tug-of-war over sensitive documents. But, in the former communist bloc, the benefits brought by transparency have been undeniable. At the same time, Romania's experience demonstrates that official secrecy remains a threat to the core values of democratic governance, and that only constant vigilance, in both established and young democracies, can prevent its encroachment.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2006.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


For the Love of a Leader

For the Love of a Leader

To love a leader is to die for his/her cause; a cause that one believes in.
To love a leader is to sacrifice for his/her cause; a cause that one believes in.
To love a leader is to be able to say what should be said to a leader, who still loves you as you are.
To love a leader is to be able to be told by him/her where you got it wrong; where a wrong is based on deliberation, not because one is different from the leader in any way.
To love a leader is to be able to approach him and be approached in return for assistance; assisting in the best manner and ability.
To love a leader is not wanting something in return and be expected to receive anything in return.
To love a leader is to be able to say no and be rejected, too; rejections that are reasonable, not based on narrow centred categories.
To love a leader is to believe in him/her when he/she takes risks; swimming or sinking together; for the rewards out of another life is immense, surpassing ALL the world has to offer.
To love a leader who loves you is a duty; love is earned like almost everything else.
To love a leader is giving access to him/her; the accessibility is reciprocal.
To love a leader is to examine all that is said about him/her before concluding one’s assessment.
A leader loved is a leader who is fair and firm and consistent in his/her principles regardless of how his/her position is affected.
A leader is loved for his/her ethics, amicableness.
A leader is loved for the hopes he/she exuberates, even in times of despair.
A leader who is loved is usually respected by his/her enemies, who in time become familiar with the leader.

Love can be a very sticky and at the same time slippery thing. Once love exists, there will be no stopping of the unrelenting existence of massive dynamic energy (ies) that drives every thinkable visionary item to reality.
A leader loved by God is a leader loved by all humans and creatures.
The key to a successful nation is the love of a leader.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Menjawab Laporan 'GRO asing hanya untuk pegawai dagang luar negara'

Menjawab laporan ‘GRO asing hanya untuk pegawai dagang luar negara’
(re posting 9 October, 2006:Acceptabe Logic? ‘GRO asing hanya untuk pegawai dagang luar negara’)

Prinsip Rukunegara yang pertama, Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan, bagi saya memanggil semua rakyat Malaysia untuk menghayati nilai agama masing-masing. Dalam beberapa perkara tiada pertembungan nilai di antara agama-agama. Suatu kebaikan yang jarang sekali diambil kira dalam masyarakat berbilang agama, jauh sekali untuk dipraktikkan oleh dasar yang memuja pembangunan material dan keinginan insan. Dasar ini meletakkan kepentingan mengekalkan kekuasaan dengan apa cara sekalipun, walaupun melawan arus nilai keagamaan yang dianuti di kalangan rakyat. Tersirat di sebalik kekuasaan, segala kemudahan dan autoriti wewenang untuk membuat keputusan-keputusan agar membukitkan segala yang terlarat untuk dikumpul sebagai khazanah dunia.

Tiada agama yang menganjurkan pemuasan nafsu secara rambang. Di era dunia yang dilanda oleh pelbagai penyakit sosial dan fizikal, khususnya AIDS, dasar yang membasmi punca yang akan mengakibatkan segala penyakit tersebut adalah yang diutamakan. Di kalangan mereka, ramai yang berasal dari negara barat, yang telah menyedari hakikat tersebut, memilih menetapkan bahawa pergaulan bebas dan rambang adalah suatu perbuatan yang amat tidak bertanggungjawab terhadap diri, keluarga dan masyarakat. Ada juga yang sudah berpendapat bahawa abstinence adalah suatu alternatif yang mulia bagi memelihara kemaslahatan umat manusia.

Apabila seorang tetamu hadir di rumah kita, wajarlah mereka dilayan dengan mesra dan baik. Sedayanya kita memenuhi keperluan mereka sebagai musafir. Hubungan tersebut berbentuk dua hala. Seorang tetamu akan berterima kasih dan menjaga nama baik dan tatasusila tuan rumah, yang mempunyai adab-adab yang tertentu dalam kehidupannya di rumah sendiri. Begitulah persefahaman yang wajar wujud antara rakyat Malaysia dan para pegawai dagang dari luar negara, saling memahami, hormat-menghormati sebagai dasar hubungan yang sihat dan selesa. Persefahaman yang sedemikian boleh diwujudkan tanpa langsung menjejaskan ekonomi dan kesejahteraan penduduk Labuan.

Pergaulan bebas dan seks rambang adalah menyimpang jauh dari penghayatan nilai dan susila rakyat Malaysia, termasuk Labuan. Satu pemerhatian terhadap pertambahan pesat pusat-pusat hiburan dan rumah-rumah urut menghasilkan kebimbangan rakyat Labuan.

Adakah benar GRO yang ramai-ramai didatangkan itu HANYA melayan tenaga kerja dari negara asing? Adakah kajian mengenai GRO di Labuan boleh menafikan sebarang kaitan dengan perdagangan wanita yang tidak halal (women trafficking)? Adakah para pekerja di pusat-pusat hiburan tersebut dibenarkan untuk menyatakan dengan jelas dan benar tentang situasi di pusat-pusat tersebut?

Ibu bapa yang waras dan menyayangi anak-anak perempuan mereka sentiasa menginginkan yang terbaik buat anak-anak mereka. Kepimpinan yang sensitif dan bertanggungjawab akan menganggap mereka seperti anak-anak mereka sendiri yang memerlukan perlindungan. Begitulah hendaknya juga anggapan rakyat yang ihsan terhadap semua anak-anak perempuan di mana saja mereka berada, tidak kira dari mana asal-usul mereka. Maka jika demikian, adakah kita akan membenarkan anak-anak kita untuk berkarier dalam arena yang cenderung untuk mencabul kehormatan mereka pada bila-bila masa?

Janganlah nanti pulau Labuan dilanda musibah kerana memakmurkan apa yang tidak disenangi oleh nilai-nilai agama rakyat Malaysia.

Negara Malaysia wajar memperincikan prinsip Rukunegara yang yang pertama itu dengan menggesa rakyat Malaysia meneliti semula apa yang terkandung di dalam kitab masing-masing bagi menjalani kehidupan yang selamat di dunia ini.

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