MoCS to carry out study on Sarawak immigration issues

Posted on June 25, 2019, Tuesday at 12:02 AM News, Sarawak

Siah (centre) speaks during the press conference. With him are Lim and Ting.

KUCHING: The Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) is commissioning a research on immigration issues in Sarawak.

Its founding chairman Francis Paul Siah said the non-governmental organisation is embarking on the project as it views it necessary to conduct a ‘long overdue’ study on immigrants in the state.

“This is a priority project of MoCS for the year as the issues at hand are pressing and serious, and require the utmost attention of Sarawakians.

“We cannot pretend that the 950 Pakistanis, as confirmed recently by the Sarawak Immigration Department director, and possibly another 2,000 Middle Easterners, who are lurking around in our semi-rural districts pose no ‘danger’ to us,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Citing a case involving an Egyptian terror suspect who was arrested in Serian early this year, Siah claimed the suspect had already indoctrinated his Sarawakian wife to be an extremist.

“We have reasons to believe that there are more such migrants, some in the guise of students.

“Sarawakians are vulnerable folks and our homeland is fertile ground for such evil indoctrination,” he said.

He disclosed that initial feedback gathered by MoCS found that many of the migrants are concentrated in Limbang, Mambong, Samarahan, Serian, Betong, Bau, Matang, Julau and possibly Kapit.

“We have also received reports that these migrants have been going in and out of Sarawak and Kalimantan via the lax immigration posts at Tebedu and Serikin,” he said, adding that the state’s border with Brunei is also another popular entry point for ‘aliens.’

Siah said MoCS hopes to complete the study either by this year-end or the first quarter of next year.

Upon completion of the study, he said the findings and recommendations will be submitted to both the state and federal governments.

He said for this project, MoCS will work closely with all political parties, community leaders, civil society, religious organisations and those who care and love the state to preserve the social fabric of Sarawak.

“We welcome genuine immigrants to Sarawak who are here for work or study, but we have to shut our doors to those out to disrupt the strong bonds shared by our culturally rich and socially cohesive community.”

Also present were MoCS Kuching coordinator Michael Lim and committee member Ursula Ting.

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Stop shouting ‘Reformasi’, that era is over


COMMENT | I viewed the video of Anwar Ibrahim’s arrival at the Kuching Indoor Stadium for the Hari Raya/Gawai joint celebration on June 16.

A big crowd was present to welcome the PKR president and I congratulate Sarawak PKR for organizing a successful and meaningful event.

A joint celebration of two festivals among people of different races and religions depicts the true spirit of racial and religious tolerance and harmony of the people of Sarawak. This is the pride of Sarawakians.

As the PKR president entered the hall, a supporter shouted ‘Reformasi’ in an attempt to elicit a chorus from the crowd perhaps. But the response was muted. The chant ended feebly as soon as it started.

Perhaps PKR people are tired of the slogan, which was very popular at the height of the Reformasi era which began in 1998 following Anwar’s sacking as deputy prime minister, his corruption and sodomy trials and his imprisonment.

What is Reformasi about? The main focus was on Anwar and seeking justice for him. Anwar’s supporters, led by the family of the ousted DPM, insisted that a great injustice had befallen their man with trumped-up charges framed to destroy him politically.

Reformasi was a direct confrontation with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had declared that Anwar was corrupt and unfit to be PM. There were also claims that Anwar was about to make his move to oust his boss whom Anwar perceived to be corrupt and dictatorial.

The main issue was about the prime minister enriching his children and cronies at the expense of the rakyat. It was clearly about corruption and cronyism, not the Asian financial crisis at that time, as we understood during the Reformasi years.

While it was true that there were differences between the prime minister and his deputy on how to deal with the crisis, it was also true that Mahathir was getting increasingly uneasy with the growing ambition of his protégé.

For a sitting prime minister who was known to be strong-headed and a no-nonsense leader, it was understandable if Mahathir found his overly ambitious and impatient deputy, more than 20 years his junior, intolerable.

Then, we learnt of the “50 Dalil” book, probably published as a smear campaign against Anwar. The situation got more intense with the sodomy allegations which gave Mahathir the perfect opportunity to make his move against Anwar. The rest is history.

Twenty years later, the Anwar-associated Reformasi era is over. Anwar has paid for the wrongs he was adjudged guilty of with ten agonizing years behind bars. That’s all in the past now. It’s now time to look to the future.

Today, Anwar is firmly back on his feet. His political career has turned full circle. He won Port Dickson with an overwhelming majority, and he is just a heartbeat from the coveted premiership.

No one should deny him his ascension as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister. That is a Pakatan Harapan gentleman’s agreement cast in stone and many Malaysians would be devastated if that is not honoured, irrespective of whether they support Anwar or not.

Although some have argued that it was merely a verbal agreement, it must be noted that handing Anwar the premiership was the main pointer which drew the Reformasi-era parties to agree to work with Mahathir and his new Bersatu set-up.

Why is the Reformasi slogan irrelevant and redundant today? Because the man and his regime it was targeted at two decades ago is now back at the helm with the support of his sworn enemies of the past.

The results of GE14 last May 9 effectively ended the Reformasi era. The Barisan Nasional has been defeated and a new government is in place. The strange twist is that the chief target of Reformasi is still the prime minister.

This is Malaysian politics at its best or worst, depending on how we look at it. Nothing is perfect and it must be recognized that Malaysians are not totally happy with some of the new policies put in place by the Harapan government.

Nonetheless, there is general contentment that Harapan, with the support of Malaysians, managed to get rid of the previous BN regime and its kleptocratic leaders. Most would be prepared to give the new government the necessary leeway and more time to make good their promises.

Reformasi has been successful. That is an undeniable fact. Reforms have been put in place although there is still much more to be done.

Today, what is important for Harapan leaders is to acknowledge that the euphoria of GE14 is over. An electoral victory lasts only for five years. There will always be the next election.

There is a lot of hard work ahead and tough decisions to make and Harapan leaders must ensure that they are deserving of the mandate given by the people.

I believe the main concern of Malaysians today is the inability of leaders in a certain Harapan party to work together. Events have turned very ugly of late. The people are worried about the constant infighting and jostling for positions among its leaders.

Greed for power and posts is a cause of the downfall of a party or government, and the fact that the party has been split down the middle should raise the red flag for the Harapan coalition.

We have just said goodbye to 20 years of Reformasi. I hope that Reformasi 2.0 will not dawn on us too quickly.

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FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at sirsiah@gmail.comThe views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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‘Sarawak, What’s Next?’ debate to feature DAP-SUPP-PBK reps on June 22


KUCHING: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Parti Bumi Kenyalang and Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) have welcomed the ‘Sarawak, What’s Next?’ debate slated to take place on June 22 here with SPA even congratulating the host, Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS).

Apart from SUPP and PBK, the other party in the intergroup debate would be the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Based on MoCS’ promotional e-poster, DAP would be represented by DAP Sarawak Youth publicity chief Abdul Aziz Isa, SUPP by its youth chief Michael Tiang and PBK, its president Voon Lee Shan.

Tiang and Voon are trained lawyers while Abdul Aziz is special officer to DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

MoCS chief Francis Siah will be the debate’s moderator, which is scheduled to be held at Grand Continental Hotel.

“Knowing the speakers personally, we feel that it will be a good debate. SPA prays that the debate will be broadcasted through live streaming so that more Sarawakians from outside Kuching urban areas can benefit from the debate,” said SPA chairman Datuk John Lau.

“However, SPA feels that if more heavyweights were involved in the debate, it would be more interesting and exciting. The points raised during such a debate will be pertinent to set the next course of action for Sarawak,” Lau stressed.

Lau also said it would be good if other political parties like PBB, PKR, PRS and PDP were invited for the debate.

“It will be better to involve current sitting assemblymen and current members of parliament from both sides of the House,” Lau suggested.

Tiang said he was looking forward to this event and described it as more of a “roundtable discussion with leaders from different political parties about the future of Sarawak.”

He does not believe that the debate would be heated with Abdul Aziz and Voon as opponents.

“I believe all of us have different ideas and would also share some common aspirations for the future of our homeland,” he said.

“I look forward to hearing other speakers’ ideas and passion for what kind of future Sarawak deserves.”

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Now, I hold a candle for Chua Soi Lek


COMMENT | In his recent book, Dr Chua Soi Lek detailed how his misadventure in a Batu Bahat hotel 12 years ago was secretly filmed by his enemies in MCA.

In politics, your worst enemies are the ones from within, the Brutuses inside your own party, not those you are wary of outside. In Chua’s case, this is most glaring. The former MCA president and health minister was stabbed in the back by his own party people.

If Chua is offended by this opening of an old wound he would rather forget, I apologise. I also understand if others feel that I have been disrespectful of the former minister for writing on this subject.

However, I have no intention to disparage Chua’s personal character. Rather, I salute him for coming out clean and owning up to his mistake. It takes a man of great courage, honesty and integrity to admit where he has gone wrong, even at the expense of his political career. Today, I sincerely hold a candle for Chua and accord him due respect for his honesty. You are a real man, Dr Chua.

I would not say the same for other politicians and public figures who were also caught with their pants down or for other sexual indiscretions. How many have we witnessed over the past 20 years? I’ve lost count.

None emerged the way we wish they would, as Chua did. What we heard instead – denials and more denials! In this, Chua stood head and shoulders above the rest.

I consider denials by politicians, in cases proven to be true, the worst form of political misbehaviour which we should all strongly abhor. It is self-serving, manipulative and negative. It emphasises the use of power and influence to obtain desired outcomes for the politician’s own gain. Public interest is never considered, but totally ignored.

The outcomes of such political behaviour include conflict and disharmony among leaders and members of the political party involved. One group will be wasting time and resources on damage control, while another will probably be planning more covert stings to finish off their intended target.

The situation is made worse if allegations of sexual misconduct involve leaders of the ruling government, like a senior minister in the cabinet. Again, take the case of Chua as an example. Had he denied involvement, I doubt he would be able to concentrate on his responsibilities as health minister.

So, let us not allow any minister, suspected of involvement in sexual trysts, fool us if he says that he isn’t letting unfounded allegations against him distract him from carrying out his duties. Oh really?

I pose this question: What about the thing called conscience? Does it prick you at all?

Who is the ultimate loser if a minister, who receives a salary from taxpayers’ money, is unable to perform his public duties because he is distracted by his personal issues? The innocent citizen, of course.

Many may not be counting the costs what such denials from the politicians involved have incurred at the public’s expense. The man-hours spent by the police and other authorities in investigating the cases. When the cases are brought before the court, start counting the costs of the work involving the DPPs, judges, lawyers and court staff.

Who is paying for all these? You and I. Spare a thought for this. Are we not idiots and fools to have to pay for the misbehaviour of those holding public office? We deserve better leaders.

My contention is this. If government officials, in both elected and appointed positions, have been publicly reported for sexual misconduct, the only honourable thing for them to do is to go on leave. If they refuse to do this voluntarily, they must be suspended indefinitely until they are proven innocent.

I am not a politician and I am not interested in the intrigues of party and partisan politics. I have no desire to take sides. I have heard and read more than enough of what’s going on in the latest episode enveloping the nation for the past week.

If one party involved has been suspended from his duties as a government official, then the same action must be taken against the other party. Let there be no double standards, please.

Our leaders, whom we have entrusted with the power to rule over us, must always bear one thing in mind. The overall interests of the nation and Malaysians are more important than the political career of a minister whose moral character and integrity are seriously in doubt.

If our badminton star, Lee Chong Wei, is considered one in a million, I would place Chua Soi Lek in the “one in a thousand” category among Malaysian politicians.

Lee united us on the badminton court, while Chua, with his honesty and foresight, saved Malaysians much pain, blushes and costs. Again, I salute you, Dr Chua.

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FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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Dr M, what’s so special about Zakir Naik?


COMMENT | One thing is clear. The more vociferous civil society and others go against controversial preacher Zakir Naik, the fiercer Dr Mahathir Mohamad emerges to defend him.

I have one question for the prime minister. Tell us, what is so special about Zakir Naik? There must be something unique about him, some unknown qualities lacking in our local preachers that Zakir possesses, so much so that our prime minister sees it fit to be on his side all the time.

It seems that none of Zakir’s critics and detractors, including those in Pakatan Harapan, are able to sway Mahathir’s protection of the Islamic cleric.

In the latest Zakir episode, DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh was the first Harapan leader to disagree with Mahathir’s stand, stating that the prime minister has been “misconceived”.

On Monday, the prime minister likened the status of the controversial preacher to Malaysia’s request to Australia to extradite Sirul Azhar Umar, who was convicted of murder.

“Before we accept an extradition request (for Zakir from India), we need to know what will happen to the person who is to be extradited.

“We have a prisoner (Sirul, photo below) who fled to Australia. We asked Australia to send him back, but Australia said he would be hanged if sent back. So Australia has disagreed to do so until now. So we are also entitled to determine if the person we send back would be given fair justice as well,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister is adamant that he is right to continue shielding Zakir from those insisting that he be brought to face the full brunt of the law, including the Indian government.

So, Mahathir is defending a hate preacher, an alleged terrorist, money launderer, snake oil salesman and is determined to see that Zakir gets fair justice in India.

What is bewildering is that Mahathir even went to the extent of stating that Zakir would not get a fair trial in India. How does he know that and why is he so sure that Zakir will not get justice? I dread to think of the damage inflicted on our bilateral ties with India when our prime minister makes such an assumption of the justice system in a friendly nation.

Assuming a scenario, if President Xi Jinping refuses to extradite Jho Low (photo) to Malaysia because the Chinese leader holds the opinion that Low would not get a fair trial in Malaysia, how would we, Malaysians, feel? How would Mahathir react to such an affront from China?

This defence of Zakir by the Malaysian government is getting out of hand and out of line. It is getting more and more confusing and mind-boggling for Malaysians. We are not sure what is happening and what is on Mahathir’s mind in dealing with Zakir. I believe even senior Harapan leaders are left scratching their heads in disbelief over Mahathir’s fierce defence of the hate preacher.

Do we, Malaysians, owe Zakir so big a favour that our prime minister has to ‘protect’ him every time India wants him extradited to face criminal charges? Why is Mahathir worried whether Zakir will get a fair trial in India?

Many of us are able to distinguish the fundamental differences in the Sirul and Zakir cases. One is a convicted murderer, while the other has yet to stand trial. It’s unbelievable that our honourable and learned prime minister is unable to notice such glaring differences.

Is Mahathir only playing dumb? If so, he is walking on a tight rope as it proves that he is prepared to do anything to defend and protect Zakir, even to the extent of making a fool of himself. If the prime minister is genuinely misconceived, then his judgment on Zakir must be clouded by something that is inconceivable to most of us.

I have often written about the major differences between Sarawakians and Malayans and how we perceive and do things. This Zakir Naik issue is another case in point.

Sarawakians are delighted that the controversial preacher has been barred from entering our homeland, while Malaya is defending Zakir as if he is a long-awaited messiah. We, in Sarawak, don’t see eye-to-eye with Malayans on many issues. In this case, we don’t care two hoots what Putrajaya or Mahathir think of Zakir, but we disagree with the prime minister’s stand.

I have been critical of my chief minister, Abang Johari Openg, on some of his policies, but on this Zakir ban, the CM has my unequivocal support and that of the majority of Sarawakians.

A Sarawak friend wrote to me: “Dr M is worried Zakir will not get a fair trial in India! But Malaysia has an extradition treaty with India. So the rule of law doesn’t apply here? Sad to say, our PM fails the measure of consistency of thoughts and actions.”

Dr Mahathir, please listen to our voices of reason. You are the only one with the power to handle Zakir and put him exactly where he belongs. Please do the only right thing – deport the hate preacher and say good riddance to bad rubbish.

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FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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Don’t hold Mat Sabu’s poor English against him


COMMENT | I am a ‘banana’. If that is a nickname for a Chinese who is unable to speak or read Mandarin, then I am one. I’m not proud of my limitations in handling the lingo, so a banana I am.

I can manage speaking Mandarin, but reading is a problem. That’s a little consolation for my bruised ego. However, I have only myself to blame for not picking up Mandarin at an early age.

Actually, a ‘banana’, which is yellow on the outside, but white inside, is a term for an Asian person living in a Western country who has lost touch with the cultural identity of his or her parents, according to Wikipedia.

I wouldn’t consider that a racist nick. Locally, we have accepted that in reference to the Chinese. I wouldn’t go into the nicknames for other races here, but in America, other cultures also earned their own nicknames such as Indians as ‘apples’ and blacks as ‘Oreo cookies’.

So what’s in a nickname? Let’s accept whatever nicknames in jest and in good faith and have a chuckle over them. That will do us good. I can accept I am a ‘banana’.

That brings me to Wee Ka Siong’s dig at Mohamad Sabu’s poor English when the defence minister spoke at the 18th IISS Asia Security Summit Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore on June 1.

The MCA president is both right and wrong. Firstly, if I were the president of a party, I would refrain from taking potshots at a fellow politician’s poor command of a language which is not his mother tongue. That would not be gentlemanly of me to do so. It borders on a personal attack and should be avoided.

Then again, others in Pakatan Harapan have also criticised former DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (above) for his poor command of English when he addressed the UN some years ago.

This is what opposing politicians do – pick on each other’s faults and weaknesses. So, I wouldn’t want to speak too unkindly of Wee on his criticism of Mat Sabu too. He is, after all, a politician. It’s his job to find fault with the opposing side, as most politicians do.

Wee’s statement that Mat Sabu had embarrassed the country with his poor command of English is not totally out of line to me. On the international stage, we expect our leaders to be respected and held in high esteem. The ability to speak well and hold the audience’s attention is necessary. That means possessing a good command of the language, which is English in the international arena.

Of course, it would be ideal to have good English speakers like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim or Najib Razak, but that would be expecting too much from all Malaysian leaders.

The irony is that Mat Sabu is a known orator. He is a good public speaker. He is serious when he talks about policies and ideologies and extremely witty in throwing punch lines. In humour, he is like no other.

Not everyone is blessed with oratory skills. This is something recognised by all who have to speak regularly at public events, especially politicians. So don’t make a fool of yourself by trying too hard on the stage. Learn from Mat Sabu or Anwar or Lim Kit Siang.

Put Wee and Mat Sabu in a head-to-head debate in Bahasa Malaysia and there is no doubt as to who will emerge the winner. But Wee deserves credit too, as he is also versatile in Bahasa.

Mat Sabu has my utmost respect. His poor English aside, he is a no-nonsense politician, honest and humble. I don’t think he is egotistical in any way, even as a minister. He is still the same Mat Sabu, as those close to him will tell you.

I have yet to hear anyone saying anything negative about the defence minister. The most important thing is that ministers must not be corrupt or abuse their power. If Mat Sabu is able to stay clear on that, what is poor English?

It would be too much to expect Mat Sabu to know the proper usage of adjectives, nouns, verbs and tenses in his off-the-cuff remarks. He has said that he doesn’t even have a college degree.

Thus, I think it is not right to hold Mat Sabu’s poor command of the language against him. His actions, moving on the straight path, staying away from the temptations of dirty dealings and making the right calls, are more important.

I will judge Mat Sabu on that, certainly not on his poor English.


FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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With a new IGP, let there be ‘aman’ in Bukit Aman


COMMENT | The appointment of Abdul Hamid Bador as the new inspector-general of police could possibly be the best thing to happen to the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) in a long while.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad was right to choose an experienced officer of calibre and a man of integrity and honour to head the police force. It seems that the prime minister has made better choices outside that of his cabinet.

Let’s leave aside the appointment of Latheefa Koya as the new MACC chief for now and allow her time to ride over the storm over her surprised appointment and settle in her new job.

Hamid Bador brings a bout of fresh air to Bukit Aman (the hill of peace). We have not witnessed much peace in the hill over the years but only gloomy, dark incidents.

Who could ever forget the black eye sustained by Anwar Ibrahim after he was brutally set upon by none other than the serving IGP in 1998? That is one clear example of little or no “aman” in Bukit Aman.

Then, what about the cases of death in police custody, where a number of these took place in Bukit Aman cells. And the C4 explosives obtained by rogue cops direct from the Bukit Aman armoury to blow up an innocent Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu?

Where is the peace that is supposed to tie in with the hill of peace? Public perception of Bukit Aman is not what the IGP and his officers stationed there would want to remember.

Malaysians will surely hope that IGP Hamid would be able to bring back public respect to PDRM. The police force is one of the most important public institutions – one which the public have to deal with on a regular basis. Hence, what the law enforcement agency does (or failed to do) has a bearing on our everyday life.

This fact has to be drummed into every police officer regularly and, even more so, into every new recruit. They must all realise that the nature of their work comes into direct contact with the public. Like it or not, they have to be imbued with a very public-oriented perception and if they do not possess a caring attitude, then they are not fit to wear the police uniform.

If there is “aman” in Bukit Aman, that peace would, in turn, surely be transferred onto the public. A happy and spirited police officer will be able to discharge his duties more efficiently and responsibly. Bringing that “aman” to Bukit Aman now rests squarely on the shoulders of Hamid.

General satisfaction with Hamid

Within a few weeks of his appointment as IGP, there is general satisfaction on the performance of Hamid. He has managed to persuade his men to accept the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), acknowledging that there is corruption in the force and armed with the desire to protect his “good men”.

We believe the new chief meant what he said. His statement: “If there are 500 dirty cops, there are 125,000 more good cops. I believe my men are good. They are good men so we have to set a good example from the top. I will set a good example from the top” is highly-spirited and resonates with public sentiments.

We also applaud his warning to his men to sever ties with criminals before it is too late for them to repent and his ticking off OCPDs for collecting funds for Hari Raya.

I want to believe in Hamid and that he is genuinely serious about eradicating corruption in the police force. I guess I have no choice but to trust him.

Malaysians have enough of tolerating police nonsense but we are also mindful that the majority of policemen are good, caring folks. If a man of such integrity and substance like Hamid is unable to clean up PDRM, I’m not sure who else can.

Personally, in a little corner of my heart, I hold some affection for the police force. I was a police cadet in secondary school and learned police drills, including marching, learned to take instructions from my superior officers and discipline – the one important attribute one must have before you are allowed to wear the police uniform. Aha, I still have in my possession the little wooden baton that we were each provided as police cadets.

In my younger days as a journalist in Kuching, I worked closely with the police and considered one late Kuching OCPD a best friend. He would call me, even deep into the night, to follow him and his men on drug raids or whenever major newsworthy incidents took place.

A cousin also retired as the Sarawak CID chief years ago. These personal ties with the police enable me to appreciate how policemen work and how tough their lives could be.

Only yesterday, I received news of a policeman who died in an accident while on duty. His body was covered with blood on the road. The incident is believed to have taken place in Johor Bahru.

When we hear of such tragedies, our hearts go out to the men and women in blue. More importantly, let us learn to appreciate and honour them as their work also involves the ultimate sacrifice, something which many of us will surely shy away from.

To IGP Hamid Bador, as I salute you in your untiring effort to bring “aman” to Bukit Aman, I also wish to say that I understand you are only human, with faults and weaknesses.

Nonetheless, please know that you have already earned the respect of your fellow Malaysians and that they are placing their total trust and faith in you to do what must be done to “overhaul” PDRM.

You are THE man whom we believe will be able to handle tremendous pressure in the worst of times. To the best man for the job now, we sincerely wish you every success.


FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Posted in MoCS (Sarawak)