The real reforms we expected in 100 days

Kua Kia Soong

COMMENT | The Pakatan Harapan government had pledged to wipe out kleptocracy, a promise that was key to its victory in the 14th general election.

But so far, they have disappointed the people of Malaysia, especially Sarawakians who have seen the wealth of their state sucked dry by the rapacious greed of the kleptocrats in the state.

The Harapan government has not yet acted to make governor Abdul Taib Mahmud declare his assets and that of his spouse and family.

Harapan has shown us that where there is a political will in getting to the root of the 1MDB scandal, there is a way to get rid Malaysia of corruption and crony capitalism.

However, by letting off his long-time ally in Sarawak – Taib, arguably the richest man in Malaysia – Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad makes his campaign against his predecessor Najib Abdul Razak look like nothing more than a personal vendetta.

Even the prime minister himself has failed to lead by example, and declare his assets and that of his family.

Conflicts of interest

The constitutional status of the appointed Council of Eminent Persons has already been called into question, especially when its chairperson, Daim Zainuddin, is in a position in which he is able to call up judges and even represent Malaysia in negotiating with China.

Now it has been reported that the Perak government has taken Putrajaya’s lead and established its own State Economic Advisory Council (SEAC), with corporate heads of MK Land Bhd, KL Kepong Bhd and Gamuda Bhd as “eminent advisors”.

There is a gross conflict of interest with such arrangements when these corporate leaders still have interests in the local and international corporate scenes. Continue reading

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‘Paloi’ to all those fighting one another in PKR

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | If politics is dreaded by many because it is considered sickening or abhorring, then politicking is much worse. Especially so when comrades within the same party are gunning one another down in order to gain more power for themselves and those within their inner circle – like the factional infighting in PKR now.

For the majority of Malaysians who are not members of political parties or have no interest in politics, they are not keen to know the intrigues of internal party squabbles or who is right or wrong.

The citizen who is fed up with the overly-ambitious in politics will probably want to send this message to the feuding politicians: “Don’t wash your dirty linen in public. I don’t want to know. Just get down to work for what you are paid for and keep your promises to the people.”

Let’s get real. There is nothing friendly or brotherly in fighting your comrades for key party posts. Or even sisterly.

Why? Didn’t we hear of a PKR leader slamming party chief Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail over her purported “slow action” in resolving a child marriage case?

And when Azizah’z deputy in the ministry, Hannah Yeoh, wrote an article in tribute to her boss, the same person lashed out at Yeoh.

Goodness gracious! What is so wrong for Yeoh to speak well of Azizah? When we hear others praising some leaders whom we are not particularly fond of, I would have thought that the best thing to do is to keep quiet.

And Azizah is no ordinary person. She was still the PKR president at the time she was ticked off by, of all people, a member of her party. She is also the deputy prime minister. Not that a DPM cannot be criticised but the recent salvo at her smacked of dubious intention when it is viewed as connected to the party election campaign. Thus, it became pretty hollow. Continue reading

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Shame on you, my fellow Sarawakians

Image result for sarawak leadersBy Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | July 22 was barely two weeks ago. It was an auspicious day for Sarawakians. It’s Sarawak Day, or rather, independence day for this former British colony.

On this day, for many Sarawakians including me, we remind ourselves that Sarawak is our beloved homeland. It is the only home that we have and the only land we can call our own.

We will happily and proudly call ourselves patriotic Sarawakians. It was on Sarawak soil that we were born and it is where we intend to die and be interned when that hour dawns. I believe I speak for many of my fellow Sarawakians on this.

For Sarawakians, July 22, 1963, was the day their hornbill state gained independence from Britain. Even the state government has recognised July 22 as independence day for Sarawak.

Why, it has to take decades for Sarawak leaders, past and present, to pick up the courage to declare July 22 as the true independence day for Sarawak.

Why are we, Sarawakians, so subservient to Malaya and for so long that we didn’t even dare to tell the truth but had to hide a significant historical fact as our real independence day? Thankfully, things are different now.

Hari Kebangsaan, Aug 31, holds little meaning now for Sarawak and Sabah. It is a day for Malayans to celebrate their independence day. Of course, Sarawakians and Sabahans can rejoice with Malayans on their National Day, but Aug 31 has no significance for those in the Borneo territories.

Today, all of Sarawak and indeed, all of Sabah too, will tell that straight into the faces of national leaders in Malaya: “That is your day, not ours but we rejoice with you too and wish you all well.”

Unfortunately for me, personally, July 22 this year holds little meaning too. My little note to friends who sent me “Happy Sarawak Day” and “Happy Independence Day” messages tells why: Continue reading

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Two cunning ‘foxes’: Mahathir and Anwar

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT |Let me be clear at the outset. The term “cunning foxes” is not meant in the derogatory manner, but as a salutary description of two of Malaysia’s foremost veteran leaders.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim are the duo who matter most in the country today. They are the supreme leaders, whether you recognise them as such or not and whether you support them or not.

It’s heartening to note that even the majority in the opposition have come around to accept that the Mahathir-Anwar combo is what matters. At least, that seems to be the case.

Except for a few rabble-rousers in Umno criticising the Pakatan Harapan leadership, most senior leaders within the opposition ranks have largely refrained from lashing out at Mahathir or Anwar, and rightly so.

Together, Mahathir and Anwar call the shots. What they do or say has a bearing on the direction the nation is heading. The mistakes they make will have dire consequences too.

On them lay the hopes and dreams of the majority of Malaysians, for the next five years at least.

In “The Political Animals At Large”, a political intelligence piece written by Don Morley and David Bancroft-Turner, the fox symbolises the most outstanding and perhaps necessary trait of powerful politicians. Or what is needed for them to hold on to power.

“Cunning, sly and clever, foxes know their way around. They are really quite adept at negotiating the corridors of power, getting support and being tuned in to the bigger picture. They recognise and take advantage of the weaknesses of others in order to get ahead and further their cause”.

But it also sounds a warning.

“Unfortunately, it is ‘their cause’ that they invariably put first in their decisions and strategies. The objectives of the organisation tend to be neglected, even ignored when it suits”.

In the light of recent events involving Mahathir and Anwar, let us take a closer look at the warning. Continue reading

Posted in MoCS (Sarawak)

Would Bersatu or Umno be welcome in Sarawak?

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | Bersatu chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently announced that his party would make its presence felt in Sarawak.

He said that since Pakatan Harapan parties like DAP, PKR and Amanah were already in the state, it is time for Bersatu to make its presence felt as well. Mahathir also claimed that there were calls from Sarawakians for the party to establish itself there.

Similarly, some quarters in Umno have also expressed interest to enter Sarawak. Umno veterans club secretary-general Mustapha Yaakub recently stated that the withdrawal of BN component parties in Sarawak has paved the way for Umno’s entry.

“In truth, Umno has existed for a long time in Sarawak. Because of objections by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Sarawak Umno had to take a back seat.

“And now, it is time for Sarawak Umno to spread its wings. We are confident that Sarawak will throw their support behind Umno,” Mustapha reportedly said.

It’s now very clear. BN is dead. All its former component parties are going their own way, particularly those in Sabah and Sarawak.

In Sarawak, the four ex-BN parties had decided to dissolve BN and formed their own political coalition, Gabungan Parti Sarawak. GPS is on its own and no longer answerable to their BN bosses in Umno as was the case in the past.

Now that the political realignment is official between PBB and Umno, there is nothing to prevent Umno from making its presence in Sarawak. PBB has no right to thwart such a move.

It is a fact that Umno had always harboured intentions to establish its presence in Sarawak. Umno, the backbone of the BN coalition which had ruled the nation for 61 years, had branches in every state, except Sarawak. Continue reading

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I won’t panic every time Dr M comments on Taib and S’wak

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | Although I am no longer active in politics, I remain politically conscious by keeping abreast with political developments in and around the country, like many are.

I believe I am able to dissect and understand to a certain extent why political leaders say this or that at times. No, I’m not always right but I believe I’m not way off either on certain issues.

Being a journalist for a good part of my working life helps. I’m sure my colleagues in the news world agree. At times, I think we can sense what’s going to come out from a politician’s mouth even before they say it. It’s as if we can “smell” a politician’s “fart” from afar. Yeah, think flatulence if you like.

For us in Sarawak, the major discussion this past week has been about Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that “the government is unable to act against former Sarawak chief minister and current governor Abdul Taib Mahmud until formal reports are lodged against him for alleged power abuse and corrupt practices”.

This was the second time Mahathir commented on the subject since his return to Putrajaya after the 14th general election. He made the remark in a Jakarta forum in response to a question from the floor. It was posed by a Sarawakian, so I’ve been told. Continue reading

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Sarawak NGO leader hopeful MACC will reopen file on Taib

By Alyaa Alhadjri

A Sarawak NGO leader has expressed his hope that the MACC will reopen its files linked to investigations against former Sarawak chief minister and current governor Abdul Taib Mahmud.

When contacted, Movement for Change Sarawak leader Francis Paul Siah said that he had lodged an MACC report against Taib seven years ago, as well as several police reports in Kuching and Bukit Aman on the same matter.

“I am disappointed. But I remain hopeful that the MACC’s new chief Mohd Shukri Abdull will reopen investigations into the case,” he told Malaysiakini.

Siah was asked to comment on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s reported remarks that no action can be taken against Taib for alleged corruption, as there has yet to be a formal complaint lodged against him.

Last month, Siah, had called on Shukri to reopen the file on Taib.

He also said he would be arranging a meeting with the chief commissioner in the near future to clarify matters surrounding his report against Taib.

“I doubt that Mahathir will not take action against anyone who is found to have abused his powers, including Taib,” he added.

Continue reading

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