Thursday, March 31, 2011

POCO POCO Dance Banned in Perak

The fatwa on the Poco Poco dance ban will be enforced by the Perak State Government. Here is a post from a Bruneian of its origin. It was posted in 2009.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Religion and Politics-Allah and Alkitab

Regarding Allah

I have commented in a blog that out of respect to Muslims sensitivities, I do not engage in issues raised by my fellow bloggers in matters concerning Islam.

That will always be my position.

I have openly and strongly voiced my disagreement in the action taken by the Catholic Church, the faith of which I profess, in the Allah issue.

My reasoning is simple. It does matter from when, where and who are using Allah to describe their creator. In Malaysia, Allah is the creator for the Malays and therefore should be be respected and accepted as such.

It would be different if there was no other word to describe my creator in the Malay language, there is, it is Tuhan. It would be illogical in the absence of an alternative translation of God in the Malay language for this to become an issue.

What about Sarawak and Sabah my detractors may ask, "they have been using Allah to describe God in the bible for ages!"

I will deal with that later.

At this point I will declare that from the Allah issue, which has led to the present Alkitab controversy, politics has been the overriding cause for the assent and dissent.

My Church might beg to differ but I will stand by my statement. The church has no business in political affairs and the catalyst was it's intended coverage of the Permatang Pauh by-election by The Herald.

Blame must also be squarely placed on the weak and bungling Pak Lah, for the political motivation as the timing suggests 1) pre GE 12 and 2) pre Permatang Pauh, for all subsequent events.

Why bungling? The circulation of The Herald firmly suggests that it would not impact in any election especially in Permatang Pauh.

It all began in 2007 with trademark flip flop fashion when The Herald were issued show cause letters on the prohibition of the use of Allah and then being allowed, The Star, December 30 2007

As to the circulation of The Herald in the same report

"The paper has a circulation of 12,000 among the Catholic community."

Fast forward 2008 post GE12 disaster and circa Permatang Pauh.

The Home Ministry, warned the Herald of political connotations, after a series of show cause letters had been given to that effect. The Star reported August 13 2008
An official with the Home Ministry’s publication control and al-Quran text division said this was because an editorial on the by-election was a topic under current affairs and politics.

“This clearly goes against the conditions of their permit which should only centre on their religion and religious activities. It will earn the Herald another warning letter and probably, even a suspension,” he said in an interview here yesterday.

The defiance of the Church is adequately supported by the words Father Lawrence Andrew in the same report.

"Its editor, Father Lawrence Andrew, has denied the allegations and said that its next issue would carry an editorial on the Permatang Pauh by-election."

The next day the Christian Federation of Malaysia issue this statement.

Address: 10, Jalan 11/9, Section 11, 46200 Pctaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 79571278, (03) 7957146, Fax: (03) 79571457
Email: cfmsia


The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) regards the three warning letters sent by the Home Affairs Ministry to the publishers of the HERALD as unjustified and an infringement of the right to circulate news within one' own religious community, a right guaranteed by our Federal Constitution (Article 11).
Christians believe that all of life, in its political, economic, social, cultural and religious aspects, come under the sovereignty of God. Therefore, Christians have a duty to educate its members to discern God's will and purpose by writing and publishing articles in church newsletters.
Furthermore, the weekly news contained in the Herald is intended for Catholic Christians who are regular Sunday worshippers, in order to help them to relate their faith to wider concerns, and to pray effectively for God's blessings and guidance in one's life, nation and the world.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) calls upon the Home Affairs Ministry to unconditionally withdraw the "Show-cause" letter and grant the HERALD their renewable publishing permit. Should there be matters for clarification it should be resolved rationally and reasonably through face to face dialogue.

Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing, SJ
Chairman, Christian Fcdration of Malaysia
Dated: 141h August 2008

I have already stated that the Church has no business to be involved in political matters and out of respect to my Church elders I will not comment on that press statement. But one would be advised to scrutinise it closely.

I will only say "cuius regio, eius religio".

This time the flip, we all know what the Permatang Pauh result was, turned to flop with the High Court decision favouring The Herald.

I do not know what the exact line of defence the AG office put forward but the reason for the prohibition of the use of Allah because of proselytisation by Christians or confusing Muslims, is flimsy. In fact it insults Muslims. It implies that Muslims are weak in their faith and gullible.

Here too I must ask my Church to admit that propagation is an intrinsic function in the Catholic faith, a Christian attribute embedded over time, hence it proselytises. Please do so within acceptable boundaries in the Malaysian context and of the law.

I have read somewhere about certain Christian sect going about disguised in Jubah for the purpose of proselytising Malays. This is unacceptable. Clandestine proselytisation is deceitful and abominable deserving condemnation.

If my Church will take cognizance of where the Catholic Church was and yet survived and flourished before it became the Roman Catholic Church, then they will have to admit that they are being politically manipulated knowingly or otherwise in their devil may care action, to legitimise their use of Allah.

I have seen with my own eyes and heard enough to state categorically that the Church sympathizes with the opposition since Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sacking and even now condones opposition activity within the confines of the Church.

Yes, it is a constitutional right and declared by the court to be so, albeit creating negative consequences in the aftermath of a pyrrhic victory. Arson and disharmony. It is right for wrong reasons.

Now, here is where Sabah and Sarawak comes into the picture because the ban on The Herald would have a significant impact in these States. In these States, Allah had been the word to describe God in their bibles.

Banning the word would also mean banning bibles. Which would really be an infringement of the Constitution.

Which brings us to the present Al-Kitab issue.

Regarding Alkitab

The present Home Ministry is falling all over it's self in handling matters at hand. Conflicting statements and indecisions seem to be the order of the day.

The bibles should have been released unconditionally as otherwise would be deemed defying an order of the Court.

It has incurred the wrath of Christian adherents especially in Sarawak where the State elections has been called. Federal issues has rarely been factors determining election results in East Malaysia, this now will.

Stamping the bibles arbitrarily is another faux pas. That the Home Ministry took it upon themselves to stamp thousands of bibles without informing the owners and interested parties shows a total lack of courtesy much less professionalism, never mind that it could arguably be against the law.

As for the Christian community, they seem heaven and hell bent and insistent to get things their way, no matter what. Fueling further antagonism. It is unbecoming of any religious fraternity. Instigation can only be the true cause.

The recent police report by them is taking advantage of the upcoming Sarawak State Elections to leverage decisions in their favour. Only politicians do that, opportunistic opposition politicians. It's all a sham and dishonest act.

These opposition politicians are exploiting this situation to the hilt to sway the Christian votes away from the BN in the upcoming elections, no thanks to the incompetence of the Home Ministry.

The most ridiculous is their cry of desecration. What utter rubbish. Yes, it was ill conceived for the Home Ministry to stamp the bibles. Damaging property, sure, but desecration? Its not as though they smeared all the bibles with paint or something more unsavoury.

I call upon my Christian brothers and sisters to stop and sit back for a moment and not let anyone influence you into actions that will further aggravate what is already a combustible situation.

It's a Christian thing to do.

While the High Court decision has gone your way, what a selfless and noble act it would be to give a sincere assurance that Allah will not be used in Christian publications. That the bibles for Sarawak and Sabah. within a given time frame, will not refer to God as Allah.

The flock has always been obedient to the shepherd, surely the flock will accept unhesitatingly such a magnanimous deed for the sake of peace and harmony.

We will not be surrendering our rights. We will be winning admiration and respect.

ON OCTOBER 28, 1965

"Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom"

Priests Do Not Have a Political Mission
General Audience — July 28, 1993

Nevertheless, Jesus never wanted to be involved in a political movement, and fled from every attempt to draw him into earthly questions and affairs.(cf. Jn 6:15).

The 1971 Synod of Bishops especially stressed that the presbyter must abstain from all political activism: "Leadership or active militancy on behalf of any political party is to be excluded by every priest unless, in concrete and exceptional circumstances, this is truly required by the good of the community, and receives the consent of the bishop after consultation with the presbyteral council and, if circumstances call for it, with the episcopal conference" (Ench. Vat., IV, 1197). Thus it is possible to derogate from the common norm, but this can be justified only in truly exceptional circumstances and requires due authorization

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prof Dr Mohd Asri Zainul-End Dirty Politics Updated Mar 28

Dr Mohd Asri Zainul is held in high esteem by many quarters. In this blogpost he is quoted saying,

"Ia adalah amalan jijik dan kotor. Sama ada dalam Umno, PKR, PAS, DAP dan lain-lain, amalan ini hendaklah dihentikan segera. Ia dosa dan jijik; sama ada kerana memfitnah, ataupun mendedah aib peribadi orang."

Benefits in our technological day and age allows us to access information as fast as our broadband allows.

But none so fast as The Malaysian Insider reporting the eminent Prof Dr Mohd Asri Zainul's statement. Yes, I have not come across any MSM picking up the story. Kudos to TMI.

What follows are the usual UMNO/BN bashing in comments section of the TMI report. TMI has again achieved receiving mouth frothing UMNO/BN bashing while praising Dr Mohd Asri.

What this salivating commenters failed or refuse to see was Dr Mohd Asri call on ALL parties to cease and desist dirty politics, as quoted above.

That being said, It was back in 1994 that the DAP greenhorn Lim Guan Eng engaged this kind of political sex scandal against an opponent, former Malacca Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Rahim.

Tan Sri was then sent to the political wilderness by his fellow UMNO party stalwart, Man of the Moment, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

LGE is Chinese and as such will not suffer any sin of fitnah. The DAP had admitted that it was all unsubstantiated and gave this apology.

Statement by the Democratic Action Party

We, the Democratic Action Party, hereby refer to the Book published by us entitled “Lim Guan Eng – MP in Jail” (“Book”) and to the Poster (“Poster”) campaign which we embarked on relating to the Plaintiff, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Bin Datuk Tamby Chik, and we hereby make the following statements:

(1) We must stress we made the allegations relating to Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Bin Datuk Tamby Chik contained in the Book and Poster as we believed them to be true at the material time based on the statements made by Pendek binti Amhad to Mr Lim Guan Eng and by Noryati Binti Mohamad Yusop and ACP Mok at the High Court, Melaka, in Criminal Trial Nos: 45-2-1995 and 45-3-1995 (Pendakwa Raya v Lim Guan Eng).

(2) However, in view of subsequent events, in particular

a) the retraction of the allegations by Noryati Binti Mohamad Yusop under oath by way of a Statutory Declaration; and

b) the fact that similar allegations made by Time Magazine and Asiaweek have resulted in an apology being given to Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Bin Datuk Tamby Chik;

We now realize that the basis for the allegations we made against Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Bin Datuk Tamby Chik in the Book and Poster no longer exists and in view of this, the said allegations are wholly unfounded.

(3) Accordingly we acknowledge that these unfortunate events have caused all parties concerned, including Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Bin Datuk Tamby Chik and family, great distress and anguish.

(21st October 2003)

Two years in 1992 or earlier, it was the DAP again who raised another sex scandal.

Ending D.P Vijandran's political career as well. Point to note that these tapes were the personal and private property of Mr Vijandran.

DAP, Practioners of Sex Scandal Tactics

So I will call upon all these UMNO/BN bashers to clean their frothing mouths of their scavenging comments at The Malaysian Insider and challenge anyone to now deny that the DAP too were practitioners of sex scandals tactics, bringing down opponents, dirty tactics as described by Dr Mohd Asri.

Update Mar 28 12.13am:

It would seem that LGE is back to his reckless ways

In his address, DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng insisted that only persons of high esteem, not Rahim or MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek, should talk about political moral virtues.
He took a swipe at Najib for suggesting that Umno was not behind the latest sex scandal that had caught fire across the country.
“Rahim is an Umno member and Risda chairman.
“Umno still not involved?” he asked to the avidly responsive crowd

Should the sextape be proven authentic he may have to face the music again.

Datuk Seri Wan Azizah-Divine Intervention

DS Wan Azizah had said that husband DS Anwar Ibrahim was "God Sent"

Well, it is because she had divine intervention.

"All these posters were of Anwar. For me that was a sign from God so I picked Anwar"

“He has overcome many obstacles. Having defeated these obstacles Anwar can be a good prime minister.” -Datuk Seri Wan Azizah

Nothing about Nurul?

"This group is formed to support a future female PM for Malaysia. Nurul Izzah Anwar is a young MP for Lembah Pantai and is learning all the ropes. Certainly an ideal candidate for future PM"

The Malaysian Insider and S(p)inners

Datuk Rocky had posted a grievance regarding The Malaysian Insider reluctance but to me a deliberate act to censor comments by readers of its portal, similarly involving the spinmeister, Mr Martin Jalleh.

Reader MalaysianPotpourri commented on Mr Martin Jalleh's "Of political desperados, dingoes and demons" which did not see the light of day in The Malaysian Insider.

Well Mr Jalleh has come out with another googly (no, not google), "Year of publicity stunts, slogans and spin"

"Malaysia’s FDI plunged 81 per cent, and we were the only Asean country to experience negative FDI flow in 2009" -Martin Jalleh

I have commented twice by way of Intensededebate and Twitter to Mr Jalleh's latest piece of tripe and usual bluster with the Department Statistic Malaysia "Malaysia Summary Of The International Investment Position 2009" for a balanced view as against his super spin.

My comment,

Mr Jalleh,

Who is the bigger spinner? You should be in the Cricket World Cup being one of the worlds best spinner.

Left to be seen if my comment will be posted.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sex, Lies and Videotape Part 4 Usual PKR Response

The opposition especially the PKR will always see conspiracies in every misdeed when it happens to involve their apparatchik. More so for the PKR when it pertains to their de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

They will take every opportunity to blame the Govt, BN and in particular UMNO for any transgression arising.

While in the past Tun Mahathir had been subject to their poison tongue, our present PM Datuk Seri Najib is never spared their relentless insinuations and allegations of conspiracy.

The sextape scandal benefits only the PKR, if it is a fake, and comes at an opportune time seeing its waning fortunes.

To blame Datuk Seri Najib and UMNO for this sordid affair has no foundation or logic.

If they had knowledge of the sextape or were in possession of this sextape, surely they would have made sure that it was authentic.

Checking its authenticity is not that difficult.

If found to be authentic, it would have been an asset for UMNO and the BN.

It would surely have brought the end of Datuk Seri Anwar and the Pakatan Rakyat. That the next GE is due soon would have made it invaluable.

If the tape was found to be fake, would they take an amateurish and monumental risk to expose themselves to discredit and rakyat scorn?

It would be the end of the BN.

Every right thinking person will easily deduce that Datuk Seri Najib or UMNO has zero involvement.

I am sure most UMNO members and supporters would have been taken by surprise as to the identities of the Datuk T Trio. I was.

By the way, I notice a silence on the part of a very prominent PKR leader.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sex, Lies and Videotape Part 3 Consequences

Question: Why didn't PKR MP Johari Abdul immediately make a police report if he was certain that DSAI was not the person in the sextape? Instead he brought along 5 PKR MPs willingly for a viewing.

DSAI has made a police report. The IGP has given an assurance.

Now it stands to be only be 2 scenarios.

If found to be a fake, the Datuk T Trio will have to face the consequences of the law. Even worse in the eyes of all Muslims they would have committed a great sin, Fitnah.

If proven to be authentic, that would be the beginning of the end of DSAI's political vocation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sex, Lies and Videotape Part 2 The Players

After reading Another Brick in the Wall post, I looked for any justification for the manner in which the Datuk T Trio went about in their exposé

Going by this report it would seem that the trio are consistent in their motives. That is, to prevail upon DSAI (and DS Wan Azizah) to withdraw from politics.

"Several PAS leaders had been forewarned by a group claiming links to Umno about a surprise that would affect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's public image about a month before a video emerged which allegedly shows the opposition leader having sex with an unidentified woman

"PAS sources told The Malaysian Insider that the group wanted leaders from the Pakatan Rakyat PR party to help convince Anwar to quit mainstream politics"

It would explain their lack of ingenious in the exposé, not thinking of the consequences, as opined by the Voice. It also debunks any allegation by Datuk Johari Abdul.

That being said, any transgression of laws in the exposé must be dealt with accordingly. Authentic or fake the sextape maybe, laws cannot be compromised.

The Voice went on to say,

"If they are going to be charged for distributing pornography, they deserve to be in the slammer for being dumb."

Whatever the motive, there is price to pay for being dumb or otherwise, no pun intended.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sex, Lies and Videotape

The denials.

First the scalp.
“They did not reply until today. Take my DNA, take my hair ... my hair is everywhere, except this part,” said Anwar as he smiled and patted the middle part of his scalp.

Now the abdomen.

"I was told the face in the video looked like me However the stomach of the man was much bigger than mine" he said while showing reporters his abdomen.

The alibis.

He was with us! I think you should listen to the statement first before asking such questions,” she snapped.

"He added that he was at home with Dr Wan Azizah their children grandchildren and members of his staff on the night in question.

The police must investigate. The circumstances and manner in which the sextape was exposed raises many questions.

If the sextape was fake who would benefit? The BN? Obviously any fool can tell you that it would have a reverse and adverse effect on the ruling party to contrive such an idiotic maneuver. The BN would never be forgiven. If it is a fake the conclusion can only be an act to discredit the ruling Govt.

The opposition supporters are relating this expose to the present Sodomy II trial. If it is a fake then how can it effect the present trial? It can only have any consequence if it was the real thing! To get rid of DSAI, that is.

But then if it is the real thing why would the BN want to expose it now? It would be more advantageous for the BN to expose said sextape just AFTER calling for a GE and use it in campaigns. Better still call for the next GE immediately. If it was the real thing it would crush the opposition.

It follows that if it was the real thing the source must be from person or persons within the PR to kill off DSAI's political career. Or it might have been in safekeeping by the PR for further action should they "win" the next GE but somebody got hold of it and did not like what was seen, hence its expose.

The police must investigate this sex, lies and videotape for what it actually is. It is imperative that it does so thoroughly and in the most urgent manner. For everyone concerned.

Theme from Mahogany

Now looking back at all we've planned
We let so many dreams
Just slip through our hands
Why must we wait so long
Before we'll see
How sad the answers
To those questions can be

Do you know where you're going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to?
Do you know...?

Do you get
What you're hoping for
When you look behind you
There's no open doors
What are you hoping for?
Do you know...?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Libyan Lies

The awesome might and height of intervention pummels Libya but not to save. To conquer. It's the beginning.
At least 110 Tomahawk missiles fired at Libya: US.

Collateral damage , no problem.

"US admiral Mike Mullen claims no-fly zone is now in place with minimal collateral damage, but the Libyan military claims 48 civilians have been 'martyred' "

Are they targeting Gadaffi? When they say no, you can bet it's yes.

"Part of an administrative building at Muammar Gaddafi's compound at Bab al-Aziziya in Tripoli has been "completely destroyed", an AFP journalist reports
"We are not targeting his residence," United States Vice Admiral Bill Gortney said in response to reports of smoke rising from the area of Gaddafi's palace.

The Arab League in sanctioning the no-fly zone in Libya now regrets its action.

"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians," -Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa

Not the first time the world in general and Arabs in particular had been hoodwinked by the Neocolonialists even after the Iraq debacle thru deceit and lies of WMD, it has the same modus operandi.

"In the case of Libya, it is necessary to be very careful with the information that reaches us. One day there is talk of 2,000 deaths, and the next day the count is revised to 300. It was also being said from the very start of the crisis that Gaddafi was bombing his own people, but the Russian army, which is observing the situation by satellite, has officially given lie to that information."

"The region could well escape US control. Intervention in Libya would allow Washington to smash this revolutionary movement and stop it spreading to the rest of the Arab world and to Africa."

Apart from the obvious precious resource they can get their hands on, the western sphere of influence has been severely wrecked by the events in Egypt.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Anwar "Take My DNA" Ibrahim - Update 18 March 2011

With greatest respect to blogger Jebat Must Die, I am linking his post with the exact quote of DSAI predating mine. I would like to apologise to JMD for this oversight on my part-Freddie Kevin 18 March 2011

Well he said it, didn't he? Read here

"They have not replied until today. Take my DNA, take my hair. My hair is everywhere, except this part," said Anwar as he smiled and patted the middle part of his head.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ronald Klassen-Director of Communications, PKR Sabah

This post is in a form of a letter to my cousin, Ronald Klassen.

Ronald Klassen
Director of Communications
Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Dear Ronnie,

Making contact after so many years and recalling that first meeting up at that Hokkien mee stall @ Jalan 222, I am sad for you at the recent turn of events.

I remember mentioning that out of respect, I will reserve my comments of your defacto leader Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, me being on the other side of the political spectrum, a BN supporter albeit with no direct political membership.

You were so full of enthusiasm and zest for PKR. Your sincere devotion to the party and its cause were not lost or missed by me.

Especially that sense of pride in you establishing the Friends of Pakatan Rakyat on Facebook and checking on the numbers every now and then!

Flying all over the peninsular, in all that spare time you had when we met up, you were always busy on the line on party matters. Of course you took the calls privately. But you always mentioned from whom they were from.

Especially so when there were important PKR events.

To cut the chase, I remember telling you as well that being a politician, what was important was the Rakyat. As long as you fought for and had their welfare at heart, you will always have their support.

You replied that you and your family are Sabahans and breathe the same Sabah air as all Sabahans and that is your home. That you will always put the Sabahans rights and welfare foremost in all you do.

Having said all this I do really wonder what Azmin Ali has to say in all this. You never hid your admiration for him apart from DSAI of course.

We have our differences but I am sending this letter of support not to spite the PKR but that their loss will be someone else's gain.

God bless you and your family.

Good luck Cuz

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Malaysian Insider-Story-teller Extraordinaire Part 2

The Malaysia Insider had honoured Tun MM as a story teller. I had given The Malaysia Insider an even greater honorific, Story-teller Extraordinaire.

Prominent blogger Jebat Must Die had gone on to blog on TMI's misreporting.

You see, now TMI is both a misreporter and Story-teller Extraordinaire by this boo-boo, a pun is intended here in honour of its reporter, Boo Su-Lyn.

A report (initially) titled "Saiful ran to Rosmah after alleged sodomy, says cop", like my comment, did a Copperfield, poofed into thin air. Hey, I told you it poofed into thin air, so don't try the link.

Fortunately, as TMI is so highly regarded, the proof of that extraordinarily misleading story was picked up all over cyber space and is reproduced here.

After "running" that story and seeing how it might be misinterpreted, I believe that report has been re-boo-ted and titled "Sodomy II: Cop says took Najib, Rosmah’s statements".

Can't help being a pun-ter and that song by Lobo from running thru my mind.

Me and you and a dog named boo
Travelin' and livin' off the land
Me and you and a dog named boo
How I love being a free man

Damage control or damage done?

Congratulations Datuk Lee!

In the process beating nemesis Lin Dan to retain his Yonex All England Open Championship 2011 must be even more satisfying.

Well done Datuk Lee!

In my books Lee Chong Wei ranks as the greatest Malaysian badminton player of my generation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Malaysian Insider-Story-teller Extraordinaire

Thank you, The Malasysian Insider, for a grudging review of Tun Mahathir's Bio.

You should read your own articles (which are many) of the Bio since its launch. The Tun has clearly said, as reported by your good selves, sue him if there is any slander to anyone for eg Tun Salleh Abbas or Dato Seri Anwar.

Until that happens, I have something to say about your story telling.

I can tell you that it was your show; your sham; it's your portal by Martin Jalleh.

Just like your scrimy review, that article was full of bluster and nothing else. I will honestly add that I just had quick glance, knowing what to expect, coming from Mr Jalleh.

I had asked of Mr Jalleh a small piece of his hallowed view and no prizes for anyone's guess as to what happened to my request.

Yes, it David Blained and Copperfielded. Vanished into thin air where Mr Jalleh's article deserves to be.

Inflamed it was as an article intended for the craving opposition minded it received scant attention.

Therefore story telling is a greater attribute to The Malaysia Insider than anyone else.

Story telling is one thing, doing it the right way is another.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Roots of the Arab Revolts and Premature Celebrations-Prof James Petras

The revolts in North Africa and Middle East is being adopted as raison d'etre for social and political overhaul in Malaysia by interest groups and personalities, not least by Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Dato Seri Anwar exhorts regime change, a change of Govt.

Exploiting tumultuous events in these Arabic states, the foundation for his speech, he warned

"..but even as the point of no return has been reached for the Middle East, we ask ourselves how these events may now impact the supposedly ‘older’ democracies in Southeast Asia.
Regimes that have gone past their expiry dates but continue to paint a facade of peace, security and even prosperity through the use of an elaborate propaganda machine are only delaying their final reckoning."-Anwar Ibrahim, Fifth Asian Renaissance Seminar on February 26

Here, I have to mention the recent conspicuously ill timed diatribe by His Ex-cellency Malott, coming out of the blues it was, coincident to events in Arab states facing unrest.

The fire and brimstone from Dato Seri Anwar is indeed enlightening but will not perpetuate any reformasi that once made him a cause celebre. Or doi moi, made infamous by Malott the meddler's former deputy big boss, Al Gore.

Paradoxically and presently, the wife of the big boss at that time, now Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, does not share the meddler's view.

What are the underlying causes fermenting these troubled regions?

Professor James Petras provides an erudite perspective root cause of the Arabic revolts.

Roots of the Arab Revolts and Premature Celebrations

James Petras

Most accounts of the Arab revolts from Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Yemen, Jordan,Bahrain, Iraq and elsewhere have focused on the most immediate causes: political dictatorships, unemployment, repression and the wounding and killing of protestors. They have given most attention to the “middle class”, young, educated activists, their communication via the internet, (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 16, 2011) and, in the case of Israel and its Zionists conspiracy theorists, “the hidden hand” of Islamic extremists (Daily Alert Feb. 25, 2011).

What is lacking is any attempt to provide a framework for the revolt which takes account of the large scale, long and medium term socio-economic structures as well as the immediate ‘detonators’ of political action. The scope and depth of the popular uprisings, as well as the diverse political and social forces which have entered into the conflicts, preclude any explanations which look at one dimension of the struggles. The best approach involves a ‘funnel framework’ in which, at the wide end (the long term, large-scale structures), stands the nature of the economic, class and political system; the middle-term is defined by the dynamic cumulative effects of these structures on changes in political, social and economic relations; the short-term causes, which precipitate the sociopolitical-psychological responses, or social consciousness leading to political action.

The Nature of the Arab Economies
With the exception of Jordan, most of the Arab economies where the revolts are taking place are based on ‘rents’ from oil, gas, minerals and tourism, which provide most of the export earnings and state revenues(Financial Times, Feb. 22, 2011, p.14).These economic sectors are,in effect, export enclaves employing a tiny fraction of the labor force and define a highly specialized economy (World Bank Annual Report 2009). These export sectors do not have links to a diversified productive domestic economy: oil is exported and finished manufactured goods as well as financial and high tech services are all imported and controlled by foreign multinationals and ex-pats linked to the ruling class (Economic and Political Weekly, Feb. 12, 2011,p. 11). Tourism reinforces ‘rental’ income, as the sector, which provides ‘foreign exchange’ and tax revenues to the class – clan state. The latter relies on state-subsidized foreign capital and local politically connected ‘real estate’ developers for investment and imported foreign construction laborers.

Rent-based income may generate great wealth, especially as energy prices soar, but the funds accrue to a class of “rentiers” who have no vocation or inclination for deepening and extending the process of economic development and innovation. The rentiers “specialize” in financial speculation, overseas investments via private equity firms, extravagant consumption of high-end luxury goods and billion-dollar and billion-euro secret private accounts in overseas banks.

The rentier economy provides few jobs in modern productive activity; the high end is controlled by extended family-clan members and foreign financial corporations via ex-pat experts; technical and low-end employment is taken up by contract foreign labor, at income levels and working conditions below what the skilled local labor force is willing to accept.

The enclave rentier economy results in a clan-based ruling class which ‘confounds' public and private ownership: what’s ‘state’ is actually absolutist monarchs and their extended families at the top and their client tribal leader, political entourage and technocrats in the middle.

These are “closed ruling classes”. Entry is confined to select members of the clan or family dynasties and a small number of “entrepreneurial” individuals who might accumulate wealth servicing the ruling clan-class. The ‘inner circle’ lives off of rental income, secures payoffs from partnerships in real estate where they provide no skills, but only official permits,land grants, import licenses and tax holidays.

Beyond pillaging the public treasury, the ruling clan-class promotes ‘free trade’, i.e.importing cheap finished products, thus undermining any indigenous domestic start-ups in the ‘productive’ manufacturing, agricultural or technical sector.

As a result there is no entrepreneurial national capitalist or ‘middle class’. What passes for a middle class are largely public sector employees (teachers, health professionals, functionaries, firemen, police officials, military officers) who depend on their salaries, which, in turn, depend on their subservience to absolutist power. They have no chance of advancing to the higher echelons or of opening economic opportunities for their educated offspring.

The concentration of economic, social and political power in a closed clan-class controlled system leads to an enormous concentration of wealth. Given the social distance between rulers and ruled, the wealth generated by high commodity prices produces a highly distorted image of per-capital “wealth”; adding billionaires and millionaires on top of a mass of low-income and underemployed youth provides a deceptively high average income (Washington Blog, 2/24/11).

Rentier Rule: By Arms and Handouts
To compensate for these great disparities in society and to protect the position of the parasitical rentier ruling class, the latter pursues alliances with, multi-billion dollar arms corporations, and military protection from the dominant (USA) imperial power. The rulers engage in “neo-colonization by invitation”, offering land for military bases and airfields, ports for naval operations, collusion in financing proxy mercenaries against anti-imperial adversaries and submission to Zionist hegemony in the region (despite occasional inconsequential criticisms).

In the middle term, rule by force is complemented by paternalistic handouts to the rural poor and tribal clans; food subsidies for the urban poor; and dead-end make-work employment for the educated unemployed (Financial Times, 2/25/11, p. 1). Both costly arms purchases and paternalistic subsidies reflect the lack of any capacity for productive investments. Billions are spent on arms rather than diversifying the economy. Hundreds of millions are spent on one-shot paternalistic handouts, rather than long-term investments generating productive employment.

The ‘glue’ holding this system together is the combination of modern pillage of public wealth and natural energy resources and the use of traditional clan and neo-colonial recruits and mercenary contractors to control and repress the population. US modern armaments are at the service of anachronistic absolutist monarchies and dictatorships, based on the principles of 18th century dynastic rule.

The introduction and extension of the most up-to-date communication systems and ultramodern architecture shopping centers cater to an elite strata of luxury consumers and provides a stark contrast to the vast majority of unemployed educated youth, excluded from the top and pressured from below by low-paid overseas contract workers.

Neo-Liberal Destabilization
The rentier class-clans are pressured by the international financial institutions and local bankers to ‘reform’ their economies: ‘open’ the domestic market and public enterprises to foreign investors and reduce deficits resulting from the global crises by introducing neo-liberal reforms (Economic and Political Weekly, 2/12/11, p. 11).

As a result of “economic reforms” food subsidies for the poor have been lowered or eliminated and state employment has been reduced, closing off one of the few opportunities for educated youth. Taxes on consumers and salaried/wage workers are increased while the real estate developers, financial speculators and importers receive tax exonerations. De-regulation has exacerbated massive corruption, not only among the rentier ruling class-clan, but also by their immediate business entourage.

The paternalistic ‘bonds’ tying the lower and middle class to the ruling class have been eroded by foreign-induced neo-liberal “reforms”, which combine ‘modern’ foreign exploitation with the existing “traditional” forms of domestic private pillage. The class-clan regimes no longer can rely on the clan, tribal, clerical and clientelistic loyalties to isolate urban trade unions, student, small business and low paid public sector movements.

The Street against the Palace
The ‘immediate causes’ of the Arab revolts are centered in the huge demographic-class contradictions of the clan-class ruled rentier economy. The ruling oligarchy rules over a mass of unemployed and underemployed young workers; the latter involves between 50% to 65% of the population under 25 years of age (Washington Blog, 2/24/11). The dynamic “modern” rentier economy does not incorporate the newly educated young into modern employment; it relegates them into the low-paid unprotected “informal economy” of the street as venders, transport and contract workers and in personal services. The ultra- modern oil, gas, real estate, tourism and shopping-mall sectors are dependent on the political and military support of backward traditional clerical, tribal and clan leaders, who are subsidized but never ‘incorporated’ into the sphere of modern production. The modern urban industrial working class with small, independent trade unions is banned. Middle class civic associations are either under state control or confined to petitioning the absolutist state.

The ‘underdevelopment’ of social organizations, linked to social classes engaged in modern productive activity, means that the pivot of social and political action is the street.Unemployed and underemployed part-time youth engaged in the informal sector are found in the plazas, at kiosks, cafes, street corner society, and markets, moving around and about and outside the centers of absolutist administrative power. The urban mass does not occupy strategic positions in the economic system; but it is available for mass mobilizations capable of paralyzing the streets and plazas through which goods and services are transported out and profits are realized. Equally important, mass movements launched by the unemployed youth provide an opportunity for oppressed professionals, public sector employees, small business people and the self-employed to engage in protests without being subject to reprisals at their place of employment – dispelling the “fear factor” of losing one’s job.

The political and social confrontation revolves around the opposite poles: clientelistic oligarchies and de clasé masses (the Arab Street). The former depends directly on the state (military/police apparatus) and the latter on amorphous local, informal, face-to-face improvised organizations. The exception is the minority of university students who move via the internet. Organized industrial trade unions come into the struggle late and largely focus on sectoral economic demands, with some exceptions - especially in public enterprises, controlled by cronies of the oligarchs, where workers demand changes in management.

As a result of the social particularities of the rentier states, the uprisings do not take the form of class struggles between wage labor and industrial capitalists. They emerge as mass political revolts against the oligarchical state. Street-based social movements demonstrate their capacity to delegitimize state authority, paralyze the economy, and can lead up to the ousting of the ruling autocrats. But it is the nature of mass street movements to fill the squares with relative ease, but also to be dispersed when the symbols of oppression are ousted. Street-based movements lack the organization and leadership to project, let alone impose a new political or social order. Their power is found in their ability to pressure existing elites and institutions, not to replace the state and economy. Hence the surprising ease with which the US, Israeli and EU backed Egyptian military were able to seize power and protect the entire rentier state and economic structure while sustaining their ties with their imperial mentors.

Converging Conditions and the “Demonstration Effect”
The spread of the Arab revolts across North Africa, the Middle East and Gulf States is, in the first instance, a product of similar historical and social conditions: rentier states ruled by family-clan oligarchs dependent on “rents” from capital intensive oil and energy exports, which confine the vast majority of youth to marginal informal ‘street-based’ economic activities.

The “power of example” or the “demonstration effect” can only be understood by recognizing the same socio-political conditions in each country. Street power – mass urban movements – presumes the street as the economic locus of the principal actors and the takeover of the plazas as the place to exert political power and project social demands. No doubt the partial successes in Egypt and Tunisia did detonate the movements elsewhere. But they did so only in countries with the same historical legacy, the same social polarities between rentier – clan rulers and marginal street labor and especially where the rulers were deeply integrated and subordinated to imperial economic and military networks.

Rentier rulers govern via their ties to the US and EU military and financial institutions. They modernize their affluent enclaves and marginalize recently educated youth, who are confined to low paid jobs, especially in the insecure informal sector, centered in the streets of the capital cities. Neo-liberal privatizations, reductions in public subsidies (for food, unemployment subsidies, cooking oil, gas, transport, health, and education) shattered the paternalistic ties through which the rulers contained the discontent of the young and poor, as well as clerical elites and tribal chiefs. The confluence of classes and masses, modern and traditional, was a direct result of a process of neo-liberalization from above and exclusion from below. The neo-liberal “reformers” promise that the ‘market’ would substitute well-paying jobs for the loss of state paternalistic subsidies was false. The neo-liberal polices reinforced the concentration of wealth while weakening state controls over the masses.

The world capitalist economic crises led Europe and the US to tighten their immigration controls, eliminating one of the escape valves of the regimes – the massive flight of unemployed educated youth seeking jobs abroad. Out-migration was no longer an option; the choices narrowed to struggle or suffer. Studies show that those who emigrate tend to be the most ambitious, better educated (within their class) and greatest risk takers. Now, confined to their home country, with few illusions of overseas opportunities, they are forced to struggle for individual mobility at home through collective social and political action.

Equally important among the political youth, is the fact that the US, as guarantor of the rentier regimes, is seen as a declining imperial power: challenged economically in the world market by China; facing defeat as an occupying colonial ruler in Iraq and Afghanistan; and humiliated as a subservient and mendacious servant of an increasingly discredited Israel via its Zionist agents in the Obama regime and Congress. All of these elements of US imperial decay and discredit, encourage the pro-democracy movements to move forward against the US clients and lessen their fears that the US military would intervene and face a third military front. The mass movements view their oligarchies as “third tier” regimes: rentier states under US hegemony, which, in turn, is under Israeli – Zionist tutelage. With 130 countries in the UN General Assembly and the entire Security Council, minus the US, condemning Israeli colonial expansion; with Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and the forthcoming new regimes in Yemen and Bahrain promising democratic foreign policies, the mass movements realize that all of Israel’s modern arms and 680,000 soldiers are of no avail in the face of its total diplomatic isolation, its loss of regional rentier clients, and the utter discredit of its bombastic militarist rulers and their Zionist agents in the US diplomatic corps (Financial Times 2/24/11, p. 7).

The very socio-economic structures and political conditions which detonated the pro-democracy mass movements, the unemployed and underemployed youth organized from “the street”, now present the greatest challenge: can the amorphous and diverse mass becomes an organized social and political force which can take state power, democratize the regime and, at the same time, create a new productive economy to provide stable well- paying employment, so far lacking in the rentier economy? The political outcome to date is indeterminate: democrats and socialists compete with clerical, monarchist, and neoliberal forces bankrolled by the U.S.

It is premature to celebrate a popular democratic revolution….

From this treatise the starkly contrasting socio-economic and political situation between these Arabic regions and Malaysia is abundantly apparent. It sufficiently evinces to nullify any notion that demonstrations can or is likely to occur in Malaysia in the present given other indiscussed factors as primary causes for discontent.

The Arabic experience is sypmtomatic and confined uniquely within those regions. To suggest that these turmoils could be imported is naive. To desire it is akin to wishing tropical rain in deserts.