This pictorial takes you to a variety of handbags carried by Rosmah during her many trips and official events. While we cannot comment why many of these photographs were taken while she is seen supplicating in prayer, one thing obvious is that the bags spot the same design and style.
An email which has gone viral among Malaysians claims that the handbags are from the series called the ‘Birkin bag’, named after British actress Jane Birkin. Priced between US$9,000 and US$150,000 each, the ‘Birkin’ bag, distributed by the French high fashion house Hermès, is considered a symbol of wealth and luxury due to its exclusivity and high price




The politics of corruption are always played out here in full daylight
The politics of corruption are always played out here in full daylight. It took one brave and stubborn woman  to stand up against it. Luckily for Ambiga, many other good people joined her in what looked like an unwinnable battle. Even today, many people think corruption in public life cannot be beaten. It’s too well entrenched, too institutionalised.
There’s a simple reason for this:UMNO Empires rarely learn in time, because power tends to dull people’s capacity for critical self-reflection. While ascending to power, empires believe themselves to be invincible. While declining in power, they cling desperately to old myths of remembered glory.
Today, UMNO is morally bankrupt and spiritually broken. The problem is not that we have strayed from our founding principles, but that we are still operating on those principles – delusional notions about manifest destiny, MALAYSIAN exceptionalism, the right to take more than our share of the MALAYSIAN resources by whatever means necessary. As the CRONIES grew in wealth and power, bounty for the chosen came at the cost of misery for the MALAYSIANS who allowed them to run their criminal empire for years without a hiccup. The media turned the spotlight on them on many occasions but swung away when they found no one was prepared to disturb their cosy relationship with the UMNO mafia.
Who should decide what is news? The general public, which is you and me? Or should it be the government? In a democracy the news obviously belongs to the people. In totalitarian countries like Malaysia, the news belongs to the government. In such societies, news is just another word for government propaganda.  the mainstream media in the country covered the anti-corruption and Berseh movement., the implication being that the media had given undue weightage to the anti-Berseh2stir at the expense of other issues.
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Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad said UMNO hasn’t got leadership. My take on that statement is that it is the damnest indictment on Prime Minsiter Najib Tun Razak’s leadership.
UMNO is now reduced to the stature of a beggar – scrounging at the supposed faux pas committed by PAS deputy president Mat Sabu.
What has Mat Sabu actually said that caused so much consternation?Mat Sabu mentioned the name of Mat Indera, the Batu Pahat Malay born in Peserai who led the attack on the police barrack at Bukit Kepong.
The barrack was commanded by an English man representing the colonial government then. I think we are missing the point here. Mat Sabu wasn’t glorifying the communists or communism. He didn’t even say anything about communism. He was asking his audience to take a relook at the treatment of history on the role of Mat Indera.
To Mat Sabu, history has unjustly treated Mat Indera and we, the public, have accepted the official version of history – hook, line and sinker. Was Mat Indera a simple terrorist sans a greater purpose and therefore deserving the description of a villain and terrorist?

Vilifying Mat Indera
It now seems the preferred version of revised history is to see and value Mat Indera as a freedom fighter bent on kicking out the British imperialists. Certainly the people in Mat Indera’s kampung in Batu Pahat refused to accept the vilification of Mat Indera’s memory.
The criminalisation of Mat Indera is part of the indoctrination and propaganda carried out by British imperialism. Mat Indera joins the list of so many other freedom fighters who dared rise up to challenge Britsih hegemony.
Nowadays the Malayan people could no longer accept nor tolerate the infamy enforced on people like Pandak Endut, on Tok Janggut and Mat Kilau and so many others. Mat Indera certainly doesn’t deserve to be dumped into the dustbin of history as just “one of those” terrorists.

Why is UMNO concerned?

Over the last few days, I had the opportunity to finish reading the memoir of one Shamsiah Fakeh – Memoir Shamsiah Fakeh- Dari AWAS ke Rejimen Ke-10. If you recall, her name re-emerged with some notoriety recently when the Bersih 2.0 marchers on July 9 were said to be influenced by her actions.
Shamsiah was a member of Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) – a left-leaning Malay political party formed in 1945. It was the first political party that openly declared its mission to be that of securing independence for Malaya.
In that sense, PKMM preceded UMNO in its commitment to secure Merdeka for the Malayan people. UMNO leaders at that time scoffed and chided and were dismissive of the manifest desire to gain independence.
They often derided those who wanted independence as fanciful dreamers who couldn’t even manufacture a needle What is then alarming about Mat Sabu’s faux pas is the fear that it may lead to a widespread revision of history.
If it snowballs into a widespread revision of history, then UMNO’s actual role MAY itself be diminished. And it will no longer enjoy an unchallenged and monopolistic place in our nation’s history.
Politically it will also mean that UMNO will find it increasingly difficult to claim absolute legitimacy as the nation’s only political force to have fought for Merdeka. Its own heroes will be brought down to size.
PAS Deputy President Mohamed Sabu likes, with good reason, to think himself a politician of the ordinary Malaysian – a veritable Mat Public, if you like.
His popularity derives from this ordinariness and his confidence in its adequacy to meet the challenges that accrue to his role as aspirant for the mantle of national governance. The moniker, Mat Sabu – by which he is popularly called – promotes this image of him as a politician of the common man.
But ‘ordinariness’ does not mean he is mundane which could beguile one into thinking that Sabu is a merely a politician of likeable personality and limited range. His oratorical skills, for which he is highly regarded by his throng of supporters transcending racial lines, are suited for the stump, but his content is apt to be forgotten though not his delivery which is valued for its comic touches and the timing of its barbs.
However, Sabu is not just an entertaining speaker. He has the ability to immerse himself in a situation that he wants to get a feel of, the better to come up with a sense of what works and what does not.
His election in June as PAS Deputy President, beating the more cerebral incumbent Nasharuddin Mat Isa and the more religiously credentialed Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, must have bolstered Sabu’s confidence that his listening-post where he takes soundings from not only the PAS faithful but also the national electorate is pretty sensitive.
Otherwise he could not possibly have made the No 2 position in his party after three years of underemployment, inhabiting the wilderness that is the lot of opposition luminaries who failed to get elected in the general election of March 2008 and were unsuccessful in their own party’s polls thereafter (Sabu did not get elected in his first try at the deputy presidency in party elections in June 2009).
History furnishes many examples of leaders who have inhabited that romantic stretch called the political wilderness only to return with a bang. It would be a stretch to describe Sabu’s successful try at the deputy presidency last June as a stirring comeback from the wilderness except to say that defeat would have relegated him to the certainty of contesting a difficult-to-win seat in the fast approaching 13th general election at which failure would have ensured his oblivion.
In the event, Sabu’s victory was ballast thrown to a good swimmer caught in unusually stormy waters. That is probably why he has used the few months since his election to the No 2 post in the country’s biggest Islamic party as a platform to vent unconventional views, confident these opinions would resound among opinion makers and in places to which Sabu, as a people’s politico, is wired into.

Frank but injudicious remarks
Sabu’s style does resemble that of late Abdurrahman Wahid, the popular Indonesian leader of the Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), who became president in 1999 by default and finding himself in that unaccustomed position, could not restrain his instinct for plain speaking.
jakarta 141109 gus durThe upshot: ‘Gus Dur’, as Abdurrahman was popularly called, made many frank but injudicious remarks, causing needless offense in several quarters such that leaders of other parties who did not exactly dislike Gus Dur, ganged up in Parliament to jettison him in 2001 when a corruption scandal, to which Abdurrahman was not directly tied, broke out on his watch.
Abdurrahman was sunk just two years after getting into harness, done in by his penchant for injudicious candor than by any suggestion of incompetence.
This was a pity because a presidency that had begun with refreshing dollops of truth-telling came unstuck by an excess of it, underscoring a lesson of Shakespearean tragedy: we are apt to be felled by the distortion of our virtues than by our weaknesses.
Mohamad Sabu is without doubt a breath of fresh air in Malaysian politics but he has to reconcile himself to the conduciveness of the moment upon which effective leadership is dependent: he’s got to pace his purposes to events that predispose the public to support them.
Questions such as who really speeded the British to grant independence to Malaya, like who triggered the May 13, 1969 race riots, are issues that have been glimmering in the distance. These issues await a conducive event or two before they can detonate along the interface between pressing current concerns and the spawning grounds of the past.
Getting way ahead of the detonators places the positions gained with much sweat by the opposition coalition Sabu helps lead at undue risk. The ISA-detained Sabu did pay in sweat for the vantages obtained; he should not now dissipate the gains with folksy imprudence.

Every once in a while the government-controlled or government-associated media engages in a public lynching of individuals who dare to challenge the UMNO-scripted truth about the political system, religion, the monarchy – or just about any subject seen as threatening to UMNO’s political and ideological dominance.

The latest case involves Mohamad Sabu and the reason for his lynching relates to a speech he made in Tasek Gelugor on August 21, in which the PAS deputy president touched on the Bukit Kepong incident of February 23, 1950.
In that incident, armed members of the Malayan Communist Party attacked and killed 25 police personnel and some of their family members. In his speech reported by Utusan Malaysia, Mat Sabu allegedly glorified the MCP by claiming that they were the real heroes for fighting against the British and for leading the country’s struggle for independence.
Following the Utusan report, the New Straits Times had four articles, including an entire page by its group managing editor Zainul Arifin, attacking Mohamad Sabu (left) for allegedly “rewriting history for political gain” (NST, Aug 28).
This has since been followed by Utusan‘s Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia,which devoted extraordinary coverage, spreading over six pages, to the excoriation of Mat Sabu.
Mat Sabu even featured in the Prime Minister’s Aidilfitri-cum-Merdeka anniversary speech where Najib Abdul Razak sanctimoniously lambasted anyone who dared to discredit the sacrifices of the country’s forefathers and security forces in the path to independence.
Missing from the Historical Narrative
At the end of his article, the NST’s chief Zainul – who surely must be aware that most people in our country know fully that not only history but also media editorials and pieces, such as his, have been written for political gain – makes the plea for history “to be debated by historians, and not politicians”.
While he makes a valid point that “a relooking at history is important… [and that] some say it is biased and a tool of political dominance”, Zainul will know too that those looking for a debate or a relook will not find it in the pages of his newspaper.
So what is the verdict of professional historians on the communist insurgency and its contribution to the movement for independence from which a real debate and the historical truth can have its starting point?
There is not enough space in this piece to reproduce the various analysis but readers interested in the MCP and its role in the struggle for independence may want to consult the following:
  • CC Chin and Karl Hack, Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party
  • Anthony Short, The Communist Insurrection in Malaya, 1948-1960
  • Richard Clutterbuck, The Long Long War: The Emergency in Malaya 1948-1960
  • Richard Stubbs, Hearts and Minds in Guerrilla Warfare: The Malayan Emergency, 1948-1960
Especially useful is the latest scholarly assessment of the MCP’s role and place in Malayan history which is found in the journal ‘Kajian Malaysia’ (Journal of Malaysian Studies), Vol. 27, No 1 & 2, 2009. It is available online at
In the volume, Richard Mason has an article ‘Re-visiting 1948 Insurgencies and the Cold War in Southeast Asia’ that provides an overview on the almost simultaneous revolt against colonial regimes in Malaya, Indonesia and Indochina. Also, three writers, C.C. Chin, Leon Comber and Abdul Rahman Ismail, provide new insights into the MCP and the tumultuous events and nationalist stirrings of the period.
What is noticeable about the NST media coverage is not only the way the paper has ignored the real scholars who have undertaken the studies of the MCP but also its reliance on the preferred modus operandi to trot out what appear to be court academicians in the guise of Malaysian academic firepower to provide intellectual justification for their public lynching exercise.
One such academician, Prof Emeritus Khoo Kay Kim (right) – who is prominently featured in the NST and other government controlled media – should know better.
Mat Sabu’s Intellectual Honesty
Khoo’s field of specialisation is not the Malayan Communist Party or Chin Peng or recent Malayan political history. Although his PhD was on the topic ‘The Beginnings of Political Extremism in Malaya 1915-1935′, it does not cover the period of the 1940s and 1950s when the struggle for independence took place in earnest and during which time the MCP underwent various metamorphosis and change in ideological direction in its objective to free Malaya from the colonial yoke of the British.
Khoo could have waited for clarification or explanation from Mat Sabu, and for any justification the latter may have provided for his views. That would have been the correct academic etiquette. Or if Khoo was in haste, he could at least have relied on scholars who have done more authoritative work on the MCP and through their studies provided an academic and more truthful historical context and explanation for the Bukit Kepong incident and the communist fighters.
Instead, he was reported to have stated that “Mohamad should not lie to the people when the rakyat today was easily led astray and misinformed” (NST,p.10). Not only has he dismissed Mat Sabu’s account without checking with the victim of the public lynching but he has diverted the issue away from Mat Sabu’s focus on who were Malaya’s freedom fighters to the international origins and orientation of the Malayan Communist Party in the 1920s and 30s!
Readers can view Mat Sabu’s talk at this link. And, check out this link as well. Khoo is no academic innocent or virgin when it comes to press coverage. He must know that the New Straits Times has its knives out for Mat Sabu and other opposition or civil society leaders who stand in the way of UMNO’s agenda.
He must know or at least he should know that there would be no fair trial and that the pursuit of academic facts and intellectual truth is the furthest away from being a concern or priority of the NST.
Mat Sabu is feared by UMNO and its mouthpieces, the NST and Utusan for good reason. He is PAS’s thinking, progressive and committed face – not simply a face but someone who possesses not only the intellectual honesty to raise uncomfortable questions about how our history is being written but also is prepared to take a contrary position to defend his take on historical truth.
In doing so, Mat Sabu puts to shame the academic hangers-on who are quick to bray when called upon by the government.

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