Nor Mohamed Yackop said the End of an Era in UMNO Politics unless corruption was eradicated and the government stopped rewarding cronies with plush deals,
The stage has been reached when Najib can say all he wants and do what he thinks is appropriate. But in the end, it will be the people who will voice their disapproval through the ballot box. As far as we know, most of the controversies that have happened in the past have not made the people any more sympathetic towards Najib or BN. As they continue to flip-flop, fumble and stumble with their ill-concocted strategies, it won’t be long now before the people completely give up hope on them.
In conclusion, most Malaysians feel that Lilian’s tweet was harmless. In fact, she was over-defensive. It was obviously blown gigantically out of proportion by elements who are against a free democracy. They may have thought they were helping UMNO and will surely get a big reward, but what they did was actually sound the death knell for a once-proud party that used to make Malays feel proud.
As the final lap approaches, Malaysians may feel a tinge of sadness at Najib’s government, so out of sync and so out of touch with reality. All the efforts and public funds spent on promoting 1Malaysia to gain the respect and trust of the people have fallen through and come to nought. In the end, it is not what the Opposition has done that caused all this ill-feeling, but what BN did and didn’t do that made the people lose faith.
Even as Prime Minister Najib Razak faces demands from irate Malay businessmen upset that the days of easy government contracts were fading, his administration has been forced to admit the income gap between the haves and have-nots within a racial community itself including the Malays have widened to a stage that requires adjustment or risk a social blow-up in the not-too-distant future.
A top aide Nor Mohamed Yackop said the next hurdle was to solve income inequality within an ethnic group. According to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, while the Najib administration had successfully “reduced” income disparity between different races in the country, it had yet to deal with the economic gap of different social classes within a race.
“Although we have successfully reduced inter-ethnic inequality… there is disparity within the races itself,” he said during a public talk organised by the Malaysian Student Leaders Summit (MSLS).
But through the decades, experts have forewarned that unless corruption was eradicated and the government stopped rewarding cronies with plush deals, no solution could address the issue. Many point out that the elite Malay contractors would only exert more pressure on the UMNO-led government until they got their share of the pie. In which case, how could the gravy train ever travel down to the other races, or even to the middle and lower income Malays themselves?
A good example is how the Malay Economic Consultative Council publicly chided Najib a week ago for not doing more for Teraju, a recently-launched bumiputra development unit.
“PEMANDU has announced the implementation of 60 of 131 Entry Point Projects from the Economic Transformation Programme Lab while TERAJU has yet to announce anything,” MECC president Rozali Ismail had said.
But was Rozali fighting for the Malay tycoons, of which he is one, or for the everyday bumiputra which not only includes the struggling Makciks and Pakchiks in the rural Malay villages but also the poor Iban, Dayak, Orang Ulu, Bidayah, Kadazan and other groups given the bumiputra designation.
Nor Yackop, who is in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) also said there was still a need for Bumiputera policies and quotas. A point of contention, that many Malaysians do not believe is true.
If Bumiputera policies were properly in place to help everyone compete on the same level playing feel, then why is it that the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak are still very much non-players on the economic landscape. Worse still, Sarawak as the richest state is also the one with the most poor.
Putrajaya has seriously got it all wrong when it comes to reducing the disparity of the poor and rich. And it begins with the fact that wealth distribution has nothing to do with ethnicity.
When will the BN administration ever learn that common things such as wealth cannot be explained by putting in elements of ethnicity into the equation. All human beings are born equal under the sun. The same sun lights up our days and the same moon shines in our night sky. We all breathe the same air and in the equation of the universe; time is the same constant for all.
To a large extent, it is the governments of the wolrd that determine how one human being can succeed versus another by offering the opportunities that present themselves within their respective country. Some governments practise equal opportunity. Some like Malaysia, don’t.
If a government has policies that allow equal opportunity for all, then its citizens will be able to work well and see the rewards of their endeavours. This will assure that wealth is distributed according to the measure of work the individual puts in.
The harder one works, the more one earns. This is a competitive model that any human being can take part in regardless of their background.
Discriminative policies unchanged
Yet, though Najib and his administration speaks of creating a high-income society in Malaysia and to reduce poverty in all states; they refuse to remove policies that favour certain ethnic groups.
Think about, if the system is clean without corruption – without vested groups hijacking deals and keeping the country’s wealth to themselves – money will flow efficiently through the system. The mulitplier effect kicks in smoothly. Wealth gets distributed. Without blockages and leakages, the velocity of money can speed up and this itself drives the economy at a quicker pace.
Nor Yackop’s statement is telling since it shows the government is starting to acknowledge that even among the Malays, there is a wealth disparity that continues to widen. He may not have stated the obvious but it simply means that there are certain members within the Malay community that are only interested in enriching themselves whilst disregarding their own people.
If truly, Najib and his administration want to eliminate wealth disparity; then they will have to remove the privileges that favor a singular ethnic group. They also need to create an environment where the harder one works, the better one earns with equal opportunity for all on all levels of Malaysian society.
It is time we remove the crutches that help a particular ethnic group and allow them to stand on their own two feet. Wealth distribution has nothing to do with ethnicity, instead it’s just about whether one chooses to work hard or remain lazy.
”sovereignty belongs without reservation or condition to the nation”.
In the past decade, the civil-military balance has changed dramatically as a result of economic and political liberalisation, reinforced by the developing relations between Turkey and the European Union, which, in 1999, opened Ankara’s long path towards full membership. The disagreement between pro-EU actors and parties, and the military elite crystallised over the adoption of international societal norms, such as cultural pluralism and linguistic rights for ethnic groups, as well as the rejection of the traditional national security state. AKP’s rise to power in 2002 started the process of de-politicisation of the military that was required for Turkey’s accession to the EU. In a Hollywood courtroom drama, you know that the hero, set up by the bad guys, will eventually be cleared – but not before the noose tightens around his neck. Just when it looks like the accumulating evidence has condemned him, a sudden turn of events will prove his innocence and expose those who framed him.
The recent resignations of Turkey’s Chief of General Staff, as well as the Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air force at the protest of the jailing of 250 officers on charges of conspiring against the ruling AKP, revealed the end of the privileged position of the military in Turkish politics. For the first time in Turkish history, top military commanders decided to quit their positions rather than seizing power and deposing the elected government. This unprecedented development symbolises the end of the military’s supremacy and the beginning of a new era, in which Ataturk’s famous motto written on the wall of the Turkish parliament is truly cemented 88 years after the establishment of the r
If Turkey’s ongoing political-military trials ever find their way to the screen, there will be no shortage of such denouements. In a series of bizarre prosecutions, Turkish courts have jailed hundreds of defendants – military officers, journalists, academics and lawyers – for allegedly plotting to topple the country’s democratically elected government.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promotes the trials as evidence of Turkey’s new turn towards democracy and the rule of law. They are also actively supported by news media belonging to the so-called Gülen group – a powerful ally of Erdogan’s government comprising followers of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen. In reality, the trials amount to a grave breach of the rule of law, with the judiciary transformed into a political weapon aimed at opponents of the government and the Gülen movement.
The cases are comical – or would be if they were not really happening in a country of 74 million people whose strategic importance is difficult to overstate. In fact, the prosecutions are riddled with such fantastic claims, imaginary conspiracies, outlandish fabrications, obvious set-ups, and credulity-straining plot twists that a Hollywood screenwriter who included them in a script might well be laughed out of the business.
Consider the “Sledgehammer” case. More than 200 military officers are charged with plotting a coup in 2003 to dislodge the then newly elected government. The prosecutors have what looks like solid evidence: detailed plans, ostensibly authored by the defendants, describing a series of ghastly operations to destabilise the country. The officers proclaim their innocence and assert that the coup documents are fabricated, but who is to believe them, given what the prosecutors, government and major media say?
The trial has already had more than its share of movie-ending moments. Several defendants have shown that they were outside the country and had no access to the computers on which they supposedly authored the plans. Others appear to have misspelled their own names or gotten their titles wrong. Two forensic reports have established that the handwriting on the incriminating CD was forged.
Perhaps most dramatically of all, the coup documents contain much information that could not possibly have been known at the time, including references to companies, NGOs, hospitals, and many other entities that were established years after the plan is supposed to have been hatched.
Imagine the courtroom scene. The defence lawyer points to the key piece of evidence and addresses the prosecutor: “You, sir, claim that this CD containing all the incriminating documents was prepared by my client in 2003. Can you explain how my client could have known the names of officers on a frigate that joined the Navy only in 2005? Or the licence plate on a vehicle that was issued in 2006?” The judge turns towards the prosecutor expectantly. Sweating profusely, the prosecutor has nothing to say. The judge brings down his gavel with a loud thump. The case is dismissed.
Or consider the case of a group of young officers charged with organising a prostitution ring and stealing state secrets. The charges again rest on electronic files, supposedly found in the defendants’ homes. But the police made an elementary error that revealed the set-up: after supposedly receiving an anonymous tip about Ahmet A (a pseudonym), they mistakenly searched Ahmet B’s home – and yet somehow found the incriminating files among B’s possessions. Ahmet B is obviously not Ahmet A, and the only explanation is that the evidence was planted – in the wrong house. Ahmet B was eventually released (after nine months), but the case still goes on.
Similar examples abound in other cases. A prosecutor questions a suspect about a plan to intimidate Christians before the police have actually “discovered” it. A journalist is jailed because his notes for an unfinished manuscript on the Gülen movement are construed as instructions from a terrorist organisation. A senior police officer who has written an exposé detailing Gülenist prosecutors’ misdeeds is jailed after police find illegal recordings of intercepted calls in his office – which he had vacated days earlier.
Vindication comes quickly in Hollywood movies, but not in Turkey, whose courts have so far seemed oblivious to the glaring problems with evidence presented by police and prosecutors. Ludicrous cases proceed, and more people are being dragged into them. The mainstream independent media do not even report the inconsistencies for fear of provoking the government or the Gülen network.These cases will eventually collapse under the weight of their collective absurdity. But the damage done will extend far beyond the suffering of hundreds of innocent individuals who have been locked up under false pretences. The hope that Turkey is finally shedding its authoritarian vestiges and becoming a stable democracy will lie in tatters.