When Israeli diplomat David Roet attended a United Nations conference in Kuala Lumpur recently, the Opposition went into full swing trying to discredit the government saying that it wants to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
In a statement, the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) explicitly states that the invitations to the Israeli delegates was issued by the UN as per Article III of the Host Country Agreement signed by the organisation and Malaysia so that the UN is able to conduct its conferences away from any of its established headquarters.
The Article states, in part, that the Forum shall be opened to all UN member states and its Specialised Agencies. This was confirmed by Israel’s Hadashot TV which reported that Malaysia was compelled to host the Israelis, since it was required to grant visas to all delegations in order to hold the international conference. Therefore, it is immaterial whether or not Malaysia has diplomatic relations with Israel. It is for the same reason that Fidel Castro was able to attend the UN summit in New York in 1976, 1995 and 2000.
If you walk along Jalan Zainal Abidin in Pulau Pinang which is just off Burmah Road near the Tune Hotel, you will come across an old cemetery. That is a Jewish Cemetery. Jalan Zainal Abidin was once called Jalan Yahudi or Jew Street, the only evidence that a Jewish enclave once existed on the island.
Israel first established contact with our pre-independence government in 1956 when Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett visited Malaya to propose the appointment of an Israeli consul in Malaya. Israel also voted in favour of the Malayan bid to become a UN member in 1957. Trade between the two countries was in place. This was banned in 1974, after the Yom Kippur war, but indirect trade (through third countries) was in place.
An Opposition supporter was quick to point out that according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, between 2008 and 2011 trade between the two countries fluctuated considerably. Israel’s exports to Malaysia peaked at USD798 million in 2010 while imports from Malaysia peaked in 2011 at USD93.6 million.
Although the preriod shown above shows the statistics was for the period between the end of Abdullah Badawi’s administration and the commencement of the Najib Razak administration, the flourish in trade could be traced back to the Mahathir administration. In December 1993, as a consequence of the Oslo I Accord, Mahathir wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The photo of the letter may be a bit difficult to read but I shall provide the transcript here:
PRIME MINISTER, MALAYSIA
21 December 1993
His Excellency Mr Yitzhak Rabin Prime Minister of Israel, JERUSALEM
I would like to thank you for your letter of 17 October informing me about the Agreement of Principles and Mutual Recognition between Israel and the PLO.
My government supports this positive development and views it as a first step towards the realization of a comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem. As a demonstration of Malaysia’s support to this development my country was represented at the Donor’s Conference to support The Middle East Peace held in Washington and subsequently pledged a modest financial contribution to the Palestinians to assist in their new tasks. My government has also offered the Palestinians technical assistance under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme.
Malaysia as a matter of general principle is prepared to develop relations with Israel at the appropriate time. In the meantime, we would like to see tangible progress in the implementation of the peace agreement.
The Middle East problem particularly the Palestinian issue has been a cause of instability to the region and I hope the recent agreement between Israel and PLO would contribute to lasting peace to the area.
I look forward to normal relations with Israel.
DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD
I intentionally made bold the last line because, while the rest of the content which, obviously was drafted by someone else, Mahathir wrote that bold part saying he looked forward to normal relations with Israel himself. Yes, it was handwritten.
In the most recent diplomatic history, Obama wished to have normal relations with Cuba. Diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba was subsequently restored. The following year, PKR’s Chua Jui Meng, who was the then-Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, suggested that Israel could eventually become a destination for Malaysia’s investments (Shanti Nair, Routledge, 1997 p.252).
As a result, in 1999 Israeli exports to Malaysia totalled USD107 million. In 2000, it was USD732 million, and USD615.5 million the following year. In 2002, the Israel Ministry of Industry report on trade relations with Indonesia and Malaysia advised Israelis interested in conducting business with Malaysian companies that “there is no opposition to trade and commerce relations as long as a low profile is kept“.
Discretion is essential for these companies, not just in Malaysia but also in Indonesia. Reputation and financial damage are the risks for companies in these two countries if they are known to be doing trade with Israel. According to Emanuel Shahaf, the vice chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, “There are two contradictory trends. The pro trend is that Indonesia demands more high-tech things… The negative trend is the political situation is not getting better (when it comes to Israel), in fact it’s getting worse.”
Mukhriz tweeted “Upon request from large foreign investors here, in 1996 the Cabinet instructed MITI to approve import from and export to Israel.” The relevation came as a surprise, especially as the trade ties were established during the Mahathir administration. Mahathir has been a vocal opponent of Israel and continues to project this false stand via his Perdana Leadership Foundation which openly opposes Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Najib took over from Abdullah only in 2009.
So, thank you Mahathir for his eagerness to start a diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1993.
Congratulations also to the Opposition states as they received a lot of FDI from Israeli companies. Don’t forget to thank Mukhriz for that information and confirmation.
The ‘Ping Pong Diplomacy’ between Malaysia and China that happened in 1971 was a marked departure from the policy on China set by Tunku Abdul Rahman. While Tunku blamed China for its support for the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Tun Abdul Razak saw it necessary to engage China to end its support for the CPM.
When Mahathir took over the premiership in 1981, he placed importance on economic development and not so much foreign policy. Three years earlier, Deng Xiao Ping had also placed China under a process of economic modernisation. However, although there was an increase in bilateral economic and trade exchanges with China, the percentage of that compared to the overall trade declined. In the 10 years since the beginning of formal diplomatic relations, economic and trade exchanges between the two countries was at 3.5 percent of Malaysia’s total trade. This number fell to just 1.5 percent in 1984 (Stephen Leong, “Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China in the 1980s: Political Vigilance and Economic Pragmatism”, Asian Survey, Vol. 27, No. 10, October 1987, p.1114).
In a speech at Qing Hua University, Beijing in November 1985, an alarmed Mahathir said: “My own country`s bilateral trade with China has in fact declined since 1980 and this is despite the widely held view that China`s modernisation would increase the opportunities for trade and economic links.”
Mahathir saw China as a very important partner that could help the modernisation of Malaysia’s economy so much so that the delegation that he brought with him on that first visit in 1985 was huge. In a speech given during that visit he said:
“I have brought with me a large delegation of leading Malaysian entrepreneurs and businessmen. It is my hope that with your cooperation they would be able to fully explore further opportunities for trade and economic cooperation.”
Mahathir made six other visits to China between 1993 and 2001, a display of the importance of China in his economic policies. A year after he began his administration, trade with China stood at USD307 million. This jumped to USD1.4 billion ten years later. A year before he stepped down, it was at USD14 billion.
Mahathir led another large trade delegation to China in 1993 and 1994 with China returning the favour towards the end of 1994. Of China’s communist ideology, Mahathir in his speech during the 2nd Malaysia-China Forum in Beijing in August 1996 said:
“China has come in for special attention. For years it had been condemned for being Communist and isolationist, practising a close centrally planned economy. Now it has opened up and has adopted a version of the universally acclaimed market system. Instead of being welcomed to the fold, it is looked upon with fear and suspicion. The World Bank has sounded the alarm by predicting that China will emerge in the 21st Century as the greatest world economic power. And fear of China has mounted.”
Hence, we can see that it has never bothered Mahathir that China is a communist country, and working with China does not turn a country into a communist one. China was so important to Mahathir that he wanted to see his proposal for a regional consultative group, namely the East Asia Economic Group (EAEG) take flight with US and US-leaning countries accepting China. This, however, was not to be. To his dismay, Japan refused as it was closely linked to the USA which had formed APEC; South Korea refused as the EAEC proposed by Mahathir would have placed Japan at the centre of the organisation.
During the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98, the Chinese Government assumed a highly responsible attitude. It provided assistance to all the affected countries including Malaysia within the framework of the IMF arrangements and through bilateral channels. The decision of not devaluating the Renminbi, for which China paid a high price, assisted ASEAN countries affected by the crisis to pull through.
During his visit to China in August 1999, Mahathir thanked China in his speech:
“China`s concern for the well-being of East Asia in the financial crisis has been most laudable. The regional economies and the global community at large greatly appreciate China`s decision — despite strong pressures — not to devalue the Yuan. Beijing`s cooperation and high sense of responsibility has spared the region of a much worse consequence. Renminbi devaluation would almost certainly result in a new round of currency devaluation by the affected economies.”
The crisis had brought both Malaysia and China closer together, both Mahathir and China promised better cooperation. In June 1999, Malaysia and China agreed to invest around USD2.5 billion to develop a Trans-Asia Railway from Singapore to Kunming passing, without doubt, through Malaysia. Mahathir welcomed China to play an active role in the railroad construction.
When Premier Zhu Rongji visited Malaysia in November 1999, an overwhelmed Mahathir said in his speech:
“We appreciate the decision of the PRC to participate in the pulp and paper projects in Sabah. I understand that this project is valued at RM4.3 billion is the PRC’s largest investment in the region. We hope as many PRC companies will try to explore the investment opportunities available in Malaysia.”
However, it is so wrong now for China to help Malaysia build the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). Every single investment by China in Malaysia is seen as ‘selling away our rights and sovereignty’ but it was not the case back then.
I often wonder if Mahathir is jealous that Najib Razak is doing better, or if he (or his agents) is not getting a slice of the cake? He seems to be the only one making noise about China’s investments in Malaysia although, at less than three percent of the total FDI, is at the 10th place of the largest Foreign Direct Investments in Malaysia – the largest being Singapore. Why is China being made the scapegoat?
Which is why DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has been silent on the issue of Forest City for the longest time – as he can see how it benefits his parliamentary constituency, very much unlike Mahathir whose hatred for Najib surpasses the needs of his political partners and voters.
During a conference on Assessing ASEAN’s Readiness by Country at the Napalai Ballroom, Dusit Thani hotel in Bangkok on 17 September 2013, the nonagenarian said:
“We have been trading with China for almost 2,000 years. China was very big, most developed nation in the past, they could have conquered us but they didn’t. They came and lived in Malaysia but they didn’t conquer us. And I don’t want to be in any confrontation with China. China is a good trading nation with 1.4 billion people.”
And suddenly after 2,000 years of peaceful co-existence, just because Najib Razak is now the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the China that Mahathir so loved wants to invade us?
I am appalled that there still are those who deny the roles played by the non-Malays in defending this country, especially during the two Emergencies; that dark 33 years of fighting communism. The history books emphasised more on the 12-year First Emergency because of its relation to the independence of Malaya, thus many forget that not too long-ago bombs were going off in the middle of Kuala Lumpur while ordinary policemen were getting slayed.
The First Emergency broke out in June 1948 with the murder of three British estate managers in Sungai Siput. Fuelled by the progressive successes the Communist Party of China was having against the Kuomintang, the acts of banditry increased exponentially. Based on a priori the British found it best to both resettle the Chinese in camps while between 20,000 to 50,000 be sent back to China. The plan moved at a snail’s pace due to the objections by many, and with the total withdrawal of the Kuomintang to Formosa, the repatriation of the Chinese came to a halt in September 1949 when the Communist Party of China closed off all ports and beaches. Only 6,000 Chinese from Malaya were sent back (Anthony Short, 1975 pp 178-201). The rest were settled in new villages to curb them from supplying the Communist Party of Malaya with food and other essentials.
When Ismail Mina Ahmad, the chairman of the Ummah umbrella group for Muslim organisations, claimed that only the Malays fought against invaders and communists in this country, it shows the level of ignorance on his part (Syed Jaymal Zahiid – In fiery speech cleric tells forum only Malays fought invaders communists, Malay Mail Online, 13 January 2018). His claim is far from the truth.
At the peak of the First Emergency, the British had to not only bring in members of the Palestine Police Force who were experienced in counter-insurgency warfare, but also recruited a large number of Chinese residents of Malaya. Tan Sri Dr Too Chee Chew, more famously known as CC Too, headed the Psychological Warfare section. We had the likes of Tan Sri Jimmy Koo Chong Kong, Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling, Datuk Leong Chee Woh to name a few who spent most of their lives fighting the communists.
CC Too, Koo Chong Kong and Yuen Yuet Ling were among the ranks of the Malayan People Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) during the Second World War who chose to go against their former comrades and became targets of the Communist Party of Malaya. Jimmy Khoo Chong Kong, who was also a former member of the Sarawak Communist Party before surrendering to the authorities and joining the Royal Malaysian Police, paid with his life on 13 November 1975 in Ipoh, Perak, as did his driver Constable (awarded Sergeant posthumously) Yeong Peng Cheong who died with his gun blazing. Without hesitation, even with the knowledge that he was also on the hit list, Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling replaced Tan Sri Koo as the Perak Chief Police Officer.
When a Royal Malaysian Air Force Sikorsky S-61A Nuri helicopter was shot down in Gubir, Kedah on 27 April 1976, three Malaysian Chinese personnel were also among the 11 killed. They were Captain Choo Yeok Boo TUDM, Lieutenant Chung Ming Teck TUDM and Sergeant (Air) Leong Yee Heng. They were on a resupply mission from the Butterworth Air Base when they were shot down.
Captain Frank Chong Keng Lay TUDM (retired as Lieutenant-Colonel) flew his Nuri into a hot landing zone to rescue several infantrymen. His two commando escorts were killed as his Nuri took 22 heavy machinegun shots. The next day he flew into the same landing zone to repeat the task. Keng Lay was my Chief of Staff at the RMAF Air Training Command where I was a Staff Officer and later its Adjutant.
Inspectors Kamalanathan and Robert Cheah were inside a coffee shop meeting with informers when a terrorist threw a grenade into the shop. The explosion maimed Kamalanathan and for the rest of his life he walked with an obvious limp with a grenade shrapnel still embedded in his leg.
There were many other non-Malay police officers in particular those who served in the Special Branch who died as unsung heroes as they were not recruited nor trained with other policemen. They were the deep infiltrators, members of the community, who went on leading a double life that even their own family did not know they were all policemen. Their pay did not come from Bluff Road (Bukit Aman) directly. DSP Jeganathan was a Jabatan Talikom employee tasked with setting up the police’s VHF network and spent years jungle-bashing, building towers on mountain and hilltops with the communist terrorists hot on his heels so that the police could have a nationwide communications network.
There were those who were just roadside sweepers working for the municipal and town councils, collecting information. One had his cover blown when he was discovered in a different town by a neighbour asking him loudly what was he doing there sweeping the streets.
Another was on his death bed, ridden with cancer, when he sought the help of a Malaysian daily to contact my father to tell the latter of his condition. His real name was quoted by the daily to my father, which my father could not recall. My father asked the contact in the daily to ask him his Special Branch name. When the reply came, my father left his golf game and rushed to the hospital and after more than 50 years of being married, the wife and family finally knew the man-of-their-house was a hero fighting the communists, not just some small-time trader.
Let us not forget Chief Inspector Chin Chin Kooi. He was a Special Branch officer probing communist activities in Serdang, Kedah. At 9pm on 12 July 1973, six communist terrorists stormed into his home and let loose a volley of bullets. Mortally wounded, Chin returned fire until his last breath.
Across the South China Sea, Police Field Force Superintendent Joni Mustapha was a champion Sarawak hurdler from 1958 to 1959. Joni was watching a movie with his son in Sibu when a policeman relayed a message to him that his men were being pinned down by communist terrorists upriver Sungai Setabau. He asked the policeman to stay with his son in the cinema and left to rescue his men.
Constable Nuing Saling, an Iban policeman, was on a two-week leave to be with his wife Imbok Jimbon who was six months pregnant with their third child. Upon hearing that Joni was leaving for the jungle, hurriedly joined the team. Both Joni and Nuing had made a pact that they would help each other. They left by boat to get to the location. Upon arrival, they engaged the communist terrorists. Joni was felled by machinegun fire but remained conscious to direct the firefight until he died. Another constable friend, Abang Masri was already dead. Seeing his commander and friend die, Nuing unsheathed his machete and charged at the terrorists’ position firing at them, only to be mown down. He had been hit in the face by a bullet. Nuing refused to give up. He continued his charge and was hit several times more but kept on charging, killing and wounding many. He died inside the location of the communist terrorists.
Kanang ak Langkau is perhaps the most known warrior from Sarawak who shed blood and tears fighting against the communist terrorists. He was wounded several times but not once let his wounds stop him from fighting.
These are stories that we should all remember. Stories of our non-Malay brethren heroes who risked and gave their lives so that we can all enjoy the peace and prosperity that God has bestowed upon us. Many more have gone unsung, but they shall not be forgotten. Especially not by selfishly ignoring the sacrifices that have been made by them.
I simply do not comprehend the fuss that is being kicked up by Mahathir’s fanatics. On one hand they want the transparency that none of us got when Mahathir was the Prime Minister; on the other they are fuming because Mahathir, Nor Mohamed Yackop and Anwar have been implicated in the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) foreign exchange scandal of the 1990s.
Mahathir’s long-time crony Daim Zainuddin, who served as finance minister from 14 July 1984 to 15 March 1991, for having aided and abetted Nor Mohamed by leaving BNM “to its own devices”.
Let us ask the very man whose perseverance has finally paid off:
Yes. The loss of RM31.5 billion through forex gambling was and still is a crime against the Malaysian people. And if it weren’t for Lim Kit Siang’s persistence and perseverance, we would not have gotten where we are now.
Three people have been found principally liable for the criminal breach of trust and should be probed further over their involvement and liability. They are the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, his then-Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and ex-BNM advisor Nor Mohamed Yackop.
The commission found in its 524-paged report that the Cabinet in the 1990s was not given the full picture by Anwar on the forex losses, adding that he had “deliberately concealed facts and information and made misleading statements“. It is also of the opinion that the then Prime Minister (Mahathir) had condoned the actions of the Finance Minister.
The RM31.5 billion losses, the report said, were hidden using “unconventional accounting treatments”, such as booking losses to reserves in the balance sheet and the absorption of the remaining losses by the transfer of shares from the Government to BNM as well as the creation of a “Deferred Expenditure” to be repaid in instalments over a decade.
The RCI noted that Anwar Ibrahim, the then Finance Minister, had been informed about the actual forex losses suffered by BNM. It also said that Mahathir was informed by Anwar together with then Treasury deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbert in late 1993 that BNM had suffered estimated losses of RM30 billion on the forex dealings for 1992 and 1993.
However, in the extract of minutes from three Cabinet meetings on March 30, April 6 and 13 in 1994, Anwar had made “no mention of the actual losses of RM12.3 billion for 1992 and RM15.3 billion for 1993.”
Anwar had chaired the March 30 meeting as the deputy prime minister. The losses for 1993 were reported as RM 5.7 billion.
The RCI also noted that the prime minister, who chaired the meeting on April 6, did not correct or offer more information when the forex losses for 1993 were recorded as only RM5.7 billion.
The RCI report said as pointed out by Herbert, he had expected Mahathir to be outraged but his reaction was quite normal with him uttering “sometimes we make profit, sometimes we make losses”.
“His reaction to and acceptance of the huge forex losses suggest that he could have been aware of the forex dealings and its magnitude,” said the report.
Why Did It Take So Long?
Of course supporters of Mahathir got their knickers in a knot over the RCI findings, mostly harp on the duration it took to have a RCI formed, whether it was formed to time itself with the looming general elections so that the Pakatan Harapan would be epitome of broken hopes?
Lim Kit Siang may have harped on the matter, trying to get an RCI formed since 1994, if not earlier. Mahathir was the Prime Minister then until the end of 2003. No one during Pak Lah’s time took up the issue as Mahathir was then breathing down Pak Lah’s neck watching the latter’s every move. In the end, Mahathir got Pak Lah ousted for not playing his game his way.
When Najib Razak took over at the beginning of the second quarter of 2009, Malaysia’s economy had shrunk even though oil price was high. The GDP growth rate for Malaysia in 2009 was -2.5 percent because of the global financial crisis then, hence Najib Razak’s priority then was to safeguard the economy and take measures to improve on the GDP growth.
And ever since then Najib had been fighting on all fronts to make sure that Malaysia goes through a sustainable growth, and that there would be enough government money to still help the people, especially those from the B40 income group. Hence, we see various initiatives like the 1Malaysia Clinic, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (which is now being revamped), BR1M, PR1MA and various other 1Malaysia initiatives.
And while all that was happening, Lim Kit Siang was still going around asking for an RCI to be formed for the BNM forex scandal. In the run up to the 13th General Elections, Lim Kit Siang wrote this on the BNM forex scandal:
“I had estimated in Parliament two decades ago that Bank Negara lost a colossal RM30 billion from the Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal under Mahathir’s premiership. But Bank Negara claimed RM10.1 billion loss in 1992 and RM5.7 billion in 1993 while former Bank Negara Deputy Governor Dr. Rosli Yaakop estimated last year at a public forum that Bank Negara lost between USD27 to USD33 billion, which was five times more than its foreign reserves and its entire assets of USD20.7 billion in 1992.”
You can read more on what Dr Rosli Yaakop had said on the BNM forex scandal HERE.
Lim Kit Siang also said that Malaysian voters should not only pass a verdict on Najib’s non-transformation in the past four years, but also pass judgment on Mahathir’s 22 years of authoritarian and corrupt policies when he was Prime Minister from 1981 – 2003. He said:
“I am on public record as saying that if Pakatan Rakyat is to capture Putrajaya in the 13GE, we should re-open investigation not only on the RM30 billion Bank Negara forex scandal of 1992, there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM100 billion losses suffered by the country in the financial scandals of the 22-year Mahathir era.”
Kit Siang added that the voters should decide whether they endorse the proposal to have a wide-ranging public inquiry into Mahathir’s financial scandals in 22 years which have cost the country RM100 billion of losses and for which the present generation of Malaysians are still paying the price – although there is totally no accountability and transparency about these glaring instances of corruption, cronyism and abuses of power for more than three decades.
In June 2017, Lim Kit Siang even wanted the report recommending the RCI to be made public. Finally, on 8 August 2017, the RCI commenced, and Kit Siang’s 25 years of wait ended.
And one other Pakatan leader who had been lying very low beneath the BNM forex scandal radar is Anwar Ibrahim. If anyone was to ask why did the government not do anything between 2004 and 2017, the answer would be why hadn’t Anwar, since 2 September 1998, asked for an RCI on the matter? Was he afraid that he might get implicated?
You and I know the answer to that now.
And what about the 1MDB scandal? Well, unlike the BNM forex scandal, the 1MDB case was investigated by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, the Royal Malaysian Police, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Police reports were also made against 1MDB. But not a single sen had gone missing!
For the BNM forex scandal, this is the first time that it has been investigated – by the RCI, and soon by the Royal Malaysian Police. And the first police report was made by a member of the RCI itself after the RCI findings report was published – 25 years after the whole thing happened.
So, we should all say our thank you to Lim Kit Siang for exposing this crime against ALL Malaysians. Thank you, Lim Kit Siang – for persistently asking for your good friends to be investigated.
I received this copied in a Veterans’ WhatsApp group. I omitted some parts of the message as it was just gibberish talk:
_Copied from write up by Mej **** ***** TUDM (Rtd)_
Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.
Right to dissent
Save our economy
Fine words they are, but for someone with some legal training to write as such shows how much understanding the author has of the Federal Constitution.
Let us address this “call”:
“Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.”
The country and the government cannot be separated, neither can a state be separated from its state government. Yes, governments come and go, but a government is still a government. Officers and men of the civil service, the Armed Forces, the Police owe their allegiance to the King and Country. The King rules the Country, as do the Sultans their respective state, through a government that was picked by the people. Be they the Federal Government or the State Government, they administer the country and the states on behalf of the King and Sultans, as well as the Governors. This is prescribed by Article 39 of the Federal Constitution where the Executive Authority of the Federation is vested in the Yang DiPertuan Agong by him, or by the Cabinet, or by any Minister authorised by the Cabinet.
In the case of the Armed Forces, the King exercises his power through the Minister of Defence. Which is why the officers and men of the Armed Forces are required to salute the Minister of Defence who represents the King’s executive power over the Armed Forces, and the Prime Minister who is the King’s Chief Executive, representing the King.
Article 41 states that the King is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and therefore those representing the King as prescribed by Article 39 are performing their duties on behalf of the King.
Therefore, it is imperative that the Armed Forces, as well as the civil service and the Police, remain loyal to the government of the day as the government of the day represents the King – be it bad or otherwise. Whether or nor a member of the Armed Forces, or the civil service, or the Police subscribes to the government of the day politically is a secondary matter. The oath that was taken was to be loyal to the King and Country; therefore loyalty shall be given to the government of the day.
The Minister who represents the King in matters of defence is also made the Chairman of the Armed Forces Council which is responsible for the command, the discipline and the administration of the Armed Forces, except for matters relating to their operational use. This is prescribed in Article 137 of the Federal Constitution.
And it is the Parliament that passed an Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to the establishment, government and discipline of the Armed Forces is made which is called the Armed Forces Act, 1972.
It is also the Armed Forces Act, 1972 that gave the powers to the Armed Forces Council to enable Brigadier-General Datuk Fadzlette Othman Merican Idris Merican be promoted to Major-General while she is being seconded to a Federal Government Department. Section 5C of the Armed Forces Act, 1972 determines that she remains a member of the regular forces but her remuneration shall be paid by that Federal Government Department.
By the same token, even the ordinary people who are citiens of Malaysia must realise that the Federal Government represents the King, the state governments represent the resective state’s Ruler. These are governments chosen by the people but was appointed by the Rulers to administer the country and states on their behalf. The only way to change these governments is by a democratic process called ELECTIONS (unless you have not heard of that word before).
Since 1955, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Sabah have all seen a change in government. If the elections were not clean, would it have been possible for the Opposition to have won cash cows such as Pulau Pinang and Selangor?
I must admit there are bad hats in the government, be it the Federal government or the states government. This is why we have seen people like Harun Idris, Mokhtar Hashim, Khir Toyo, Lim Guan Eng charged in court for corruption. All but Lim Guan Eng have served jail time. Guan Eng, who said that he is not afraid to go to prison, has been delaying his corruption trial using technical issues.
Many more state excos have also been arraigned in a court for corruption. This is not possible without agencies such as the Auditor-General’s Office and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission which act as checks and balances to ensure that the Federal as well as states governments are run efficiently and cleanly.
Of course there are those who have yet to face the music. For example those responsible for the Maminco scandal in 1985 that saw a loss of RM1.6 billion (about RM2.56 billion in today’s terms); the Perwaja scandal in 1982 that saw a loss of about RM10 billion (RM18.73 billion in today’s terms); the BMF scandal of 1983 that had caused a loss of RM2.5 billion (RM4.5 billion today); the 1986 Deposit-Taking Cooperative Scandal that caused a loss of RM1.5 billion (about RM2.58 billion today); the RM30 billion loss by Bank Negara Malaysis through foreign exchange gambling in 1994 (RM45.25 billion today); the Malaysia Airlines scandal of 1994 with the loss of RM9.4 billion (RM14.18 billion today); the PKFZ scandal of 1999 with a loss of RM12.5 billion (RM13.5 billion in today’s terms).
The above all happened during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister. The grand total of losses is RM67.5 billion (or RM101.3 billion in today’s terms). The amount shown does not include the bailouts reported in various books, Opposition leaders’ blogs and so on.
I do hope that the cry for a clean government will also call for the arraignment for the Prime Minister during whose tenure the financial scandals happened. Had the RM101.3 billion been put to good use during those 22 years, Sabah and Sarawak would have had SIX toll-free Pan Borneo Highways, or 1,013 80-bedded Government hospitals all over the country!
Instead, it enriched the few and killed one person.
“Right to Dissent”
I have not seen any Opposition-leaning media being taken off print or air, unlike during a certain 22-year period of my life. Malaysiakini et al are still spinning their version of what they call “balanced news” (read: news the way we want you to see it). The way these media operate reminds me of a character in Netflix’s limited series called “Godless” called A.T Grigg, a newspaper owner-editor who writes news the way he sees it, not how it truly happens.
The ISA was repealed six years ago by this present administration. Although replaced with SOSMA and POTA, it doesn’t give powers to the authorities to hold anyone without trial as the ISA did. And the ISA was being used a lot against political dissenters especially in the late 1990s during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister.
This administration also introduced the Peaceful Assembly Act, 2012 that has allowed more freedom to assemble peacefully, unlike during those days of a certain former Prime Minister where at the slightest hint of a political dissent, you get whisked away to the University of Kamunting.
Has the author of the message been arrested yet? Of course not. Even when he actually committed sedition against Malaysia by encouraging Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.
Now, how is that seditious? If you look at Section 2 of the Sedition Act, 1948 it tells you the following:
This former Armed Forces officer also committed a crime of sedition under Section 3 (1) (b) of the same Act for encouraging Sarawak to leave Malaysia:
And you thought that the Federal Constitution protects freedom of speech? Yes, it does. But as with all other liberties, they are subjected to restrictions. Article 10(1) guarantees that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression, but at the beginning of the Article it also says the following:
To dissent is okay. To dissent seditiously, or criminally, or dangerously, or incitingly, is not okay.
Any legal-trained person ought to know this, right? What more a former officer of the Armed Forces!
“Save Our Economy”
In April 2017, the World Bank forecasted that Malaysia’s GDP would be at 4.3 percent. This was revised in June 2017 to 4.9 percent due to an acceleration in domestic economic activities (people in Malaysia are actually spending more) by 5.7 percent year-on-year. The GDP growth was revised again in October 2017 to 5.2 percent.
Let me quote several reports here by the World Bank.
World Bank Group lead economist Richard Record said at a media briefing on the update that Malaysia’s robust GDP growth in the first half of 2017 was largely underpinned by strong private-sector expenditure, with additional impetus from an improvement in external demand.
“Private consumption expanded firmly this year, supported by favourable income growth amid stable labour market conditions, and improved consumer confidence. Private investment also sustained rapid growth rates during the period, reflecting mainly continued capital spending in the manufacturing and services sectors,” said Richard Record.
“On the external front, gross exports rebounded strongly from the subdued growth experienced in 2016, supported by double-digit growth in commodity and manufactured exports,” he added.
Economic watchdogs are generally bullish on the Malaysian economy’s performance, buttressed by strong expansion in private consumption and private investment. In the latest update on its World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund has upped its GDP growth projection for Malaysia in 2017 to 4.8 percent from 4.5 percent previously.
Apart from that, the Asian Development Bank has also upgraded its 2017 growth outlook for Malaysia to 4.7% from 4.4%, and indicated that the two-year slowdown in economic growth is likely to have bottomed out last year.
Richard Record also predicted Malaysia’s economy for 2018 and 2019.
“We are forecasting Malaysia’s GDP to grow by 5 percent next year (2018) and 4.8 percent in 2019. Our prediction reflects how we are seeing the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals’ performance and the baseline scenario,” he said.
Online economics portal ‘Focus Economics’ also said the following:
“Economic momentum remained robust in Q3 as confirmed by more complete data. Export growth expanded by a double-digit pace in September, underscoring thriving external demand for Malaysian goods. Household spending was buoyed by a low unemployment rate in September and by higher wages, which were propped up by a thriving manufacturing sector, the key driver of industrial production growth in the quarter. The 2018 budget passed on 27 October is focused on fiscal consolidation and is expected to narrow the fiscal deficit from 3.0 percent in 2017 to 2.8 percent in 2018. Despite the tightening, the budget has consumer-friendly components that will increase disposable income. These include lower income tax rates, especially for middle-income earners; higher public wages; and increased assistance spending.”
Of course, with the oil prices continue to stay below the USD70 per barrel level, Malaysia as well as other countries will continue to experience some sluggishness in the economy. However, good fiscal policies have allowed us to grow unlike a neighbour of ours that is often quoted as being a model economy. That country’s growth have been at 2 percent in 2016, and 2.5 percent this year.
The outlook for the construction sector has taken a sharp turn for the worse, with poll respondents tipping a contraction of 4.2 per cent. The previous survey, released in June, had respondents forecasting 0.2 per cent growth in the sector.
The outlook for the accommodation and food services sector in this model country has also worsened – it is now expected to shrink 1.5 per cent, from previous estimates of a 1 per cent expansion.
Economists polled expect overall economic growth of 2.5 per cent next year for this model country, the same pace as this year.
Perhaps the author of the message we are discussing here should go down South and help revive the economy of that model country.
So, there have you. I really do not know what the fuss is about. All I can deduce is that the author of the message is all hot air – you can feel it blowing on your face, but there is no real substance there. This is the same as BERSIH, and the recycling of petty but stale issues by the Opposition just so that they can remain relevant, and justify for the allowances they receive from the pockets of the rakyat.
You can express your dissatisfaction, but always do so constructively. Especially if you are a member of the Malaysian Armed Forces and Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans.
THIS would be my mellow version of the Ops Lalang.
The Internal Security Act, 1960 or the ISA, was probably the most draconian law to ever exist in Malaysia. Prior to having the ISA, preventive detention was done through the Emergency Regulations Ordinance of 1948 aimed at combatting the communist threats.
With the end of the first Malayan Emergency in 1960, the Ordinance of 148 was done away with but was replaced with the ISA. The mood of the period must be understood to see the reason for having such law.
Although the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) had lost the fight, the struggle was continued from across the Thai border by cadres, as well as their supporters (Min Yuen) in Malaya. They penetrated unions, the press, as well as associations, causing occasional racial tensions in the country.
Pre-1970 Malaysia was not all dandy when it came to race relations. The economic power was held by the Chinese since the days of the British administration while the Malays had been relegated to being farmers or lower ranking civil servants.
The Chinese immigrants first came to the Malay states in 1777, and first settled in the state of Perak in 1830 (Patrick Sullivan, 1982: 13). Within 44 years, they numbered 26,000 in Perak alone. In 1921, the number of Chinese immigrants in the Malay states numbered 1,171,740. Ten years later, it was 1,704,452. In 1941, it became 2,377,990 while the Malays were at 2,277,352 (Paul H Kratoska, 1997:318). The Malays remained as a minority until the census of 1970.
During the war, the Malays did not face much hardship as the Chinese did at the hands of the Japanese.
After the war, the CPM/MPAJA and their Chinese supporters took revenge on the Malays. In Batu Pahat, Muslims were forbidden from congregating at mosques or suraus to perform the Terawih prayers (Hairi Abdullah, 1974/5: 8-9).
The same occurred in Perak and some parts of Batu Pahat where Muslims were gunned down and burnt together with the mosque they were in during Friday prayers.
Mosques and suraus were often used as places of meeting for the Chinese community (WO 172/9773, No.30: 478) and were tainted by incidents such as slaughtering of pigs, and mosques’ compound was used to cook pork, where Malays were forced to join the larger Chinese groups. Pages were torn from the Quran to be used by the Chinese using these mosques as toilet paper.
Racial clashes had begun in September 1945 where Malays and Chinese clashed in Kota Bharu, Selama, Taiping, Sitiawan, Raub.
This culminated in the slaughter of Malays early one morning in a hamlet near Kuala Kangsar called Bekor where 57 men and women, and 24 children were killed by about 500 members of the CPM aided by 500 Chinese villagers from Kelian in March 1946 (CO 537/1580: 21 and Majlis, 24 Februari 1947:5).
All in all, 2,000 lives were lost.
Such was the mood and the ISA was introduced to also prevent further racial clashes by preventing instigators from achieving their objective whatever that may be.
Therefore, it was an Act of Parliament that was used to preserve public order and morals. If one is to read the ISA thoroughly, then it would be easier to see that the Act was not just about detention without trial, but also as a weapon for the Royal Malaysian Police to nip any cancerous threat to public order and morals in the bud.
Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister as well as Home Minister when Ops Lalang was executed on Oct 26 1987 (arrests were made in the early morning of Oct 27).
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was Umno Youth chief and also Education Minister in Dr Mahathir’s Third Cabinet.
Anwar had made several unpopular moves that earned the wrath of the MCA such as the removal of crucifixes from missionary schools, introduction of Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of instruction for Tamil and Chinese studies at the University of Malaya, as well as the introduction of non-Chinese educated senior assistants and supervisors to Chinese vernacular schools.
Deputy MCA president Datuk Seri (now Tan Sri) Lee Kim Sai who was also Selangor MCA chief, on the other hand, had also uttered words implying that the Malays were also immigrants.
A 2,000-strong gathering by the Dong Jiao Zong that was also attended by the DAP, MCA and Gerakan was held and a resolution was made to call a three-day boycott by Chinese schools.
Umno Youth responded with a 10,000-strong gathering at the TPCA Stadium in Kampung Baru. It is said that Dr Mahathir then instructed Datuk Seri (Tan Sri) Sanusi Junid, who was Umno secretary-general then, to organise a rally of 500,000 members in Kuala Lumpur.
I remember feeling the tension in the air, especially when an army personnel, Private Adam Jaafar, ran amok with his M-16 in Kampung Baru, adding more fuel to a potentially explosive situation.
The senior police management met in Fraser’s Hill to plan and then launched Ops Lalang to prevent bloodshed.
Whether or not Dr Mahathir disagreed with the police for Ops Lalang to be launched, it must be remembered that even if the police had wanted to launch the operations unilaterally, Section 8(1) of the ISA specifically mentions that it is the Home Minister who, upon being satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary, may make an order for the person to be detained for a period of not more than two years.
According to Section 73 of the Act, the police were not given the power to detain a person for more than 30 days unless the Inspector-General of Police had reported of the detention and its reason to the Home Minister.
Nowhere does the Act mention that the Home Minister SHALL or MUST act as advised by the police. The police provided the names in a list, with reasons why they should be or were detained, but only the Minister could sign the detention order.
Dr Mahathir may now claim that Ops Lalang was the police’s idea, which may be true. But as mentioned at the beginning of this article that the ISA is an Act of Parliament giving powers to the police to diffuse potentially explosive situations and also to protect and preserve public safety and morals.
The police used the ISA during Ops Lalang as it was intended to be used (there were also detainees from Umno during the sweep), but the Home Minister was the one who played God, and decided whom to be released before the 60 days was up, and whom to hold up to two years.
And that Home Minister is the same unrepentant person now touted to become the next PM by the DAP.
In 1982, 25 A-4C and 63 A-4L Skyhawks which were US Vietnam-era surplus were contracted for purchase costing less than USD 1 million each by the Malaysian government for the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s use. Of the 88 airframes, 54 were to be converted to single-seater fighter-bombers while 14 were to be converted to two-seater versions for training and conversions. The rest would be cannibalised for spare parts.
However, the cost for re-engine, new avionics and stretching of some of the airframes made the cost of each airframe balloon FOUR TIMES the purchase price. The final cost of the programme for these second-hand aircraft was USD320 million (purchase cost was less than USD88 million).
The RMAF Skyhawks were designated the A-4PTM/TA-4PTM (PTM: Peculiar-To-Malaysia). Delivery of 40 airframes began on 23 February 1985, the then-Prime Minister took delivery of ten A-4PTMs and launched No.6 Squadron for the new used aircraft. The delivery was completed a year later.
Not many below 50 would remember that 1985 was a year of bad recession in Malaysia. This was admitted by the then Auditor-General Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin Zakaria who said that apart from the BMF financial scandal (that caused the live of Jalil Ibrahim), the recession also caused budgetary problems and affected the country’s balance pf payments.
But that did not stop the government from buying two more aircraft in 1985 namely the Grumman HU-16B Albatross which are seaplanes for use by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Coincidentally, Grumman was the contractor that refurbished the A-4PTMs for Malaysia.
Interestingly, the Albatrosses were placed under No.2 Squadron which is a VIP communications squadron. The USAF’s last flight of the Albatross was in 1973, the last flight of the USN was in 1976 while the USCG last flew the Albatross in 1976. We bought the pair in 1985 but by 1987 I never saw them fly ever again. 466 were built since 1949 and the last airframe was buit in 1961. There is no way we had bought two new aircraft.
Only 40 Skyhawks were delivered to Malaysia between – 34 single seater A-4PTMs and six two-seater TA-4PTMs. The rest remained in the desert and some at the Marana Regional Airport in Arizona.
The A-4PTMs and TA-4PTMs started dropping out of the sky as soon as they entered service. One developed engine trouble in September 1985 while landing and exploded at the Kuantan airbase. The pilot managed to eject.
Three years later, four Skyhawks went down including one piloted by the current Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, General Tan Sri Haji Affendi bin Buang RMAF, while one pilot, Lieutenant Wahi Anuar RMAF remains missing until today after crashing into the South China Sea. I still remember how the annual exercise was put on hold in 1988 because of this incident.
Five more Skyhawks crashed in the following years. Four years after entering service, the RMAF announced that the Skyhawks will be replaced by the BAe Hawks 108/208 in 1994 making the Skyhawks the shortest-lived combat aircraft in the RMAF’s inventory. Six Skyhawks were retained as aerial tankers using Douglas D-704 external buddy tanks. They were taken completely out of service in 1999.
I wonder whose decision it was for second-hand Skyhawks and Albatrosses to be purchased by Malaysia. The Minister of Defence from 1981 to 1986 was Mahathir himself, who was replaced by Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi in 1986. Was the RMAF being used as a dumping ground for used goods while people made money out of the RMAF and the lives of its pilots?
Mahathir added, “In fact, if you were to ask me what is it I would want the United States to do with regard to economic policy, my honest and simple response is for the U.S. economy to get ahead and regain its strength, for the healthier and more vibrant the U.S. economy becomes, the better it will be, not only for the United States and Malaysia but all the developing countries in the world.”
So, it is wrong for Najib Razak to want to help improve the economy of the United States but not wrong for Mahathir to have done the same in 1984. I wonder whose individual economy also improved with the purchase of those second-hand aircraft?
If you think it was bad enough that we had paid USD232 million more for 88 Skyhawks that cost less than USD88 million but brought back only 40 which served the RMAF effectively for only nine years, you have not heared the full story.
In 2003, the RMAF decided to sell off the Skyhawks including the 48 airframes that were never brought back to Malaysia. To their horror, they were asked for a proof of purchase of the 48 that were left there! While the RMAF had the 40 they received in their inventory, the rest that were paid for never had any receipt produced – that is USD174.72 million worth of airframes that had no proof of purchase.
Even if the 48 were not upgraded, this still means USD48 million worth of defence assets procured using the RAKYAT’s money (to borrow a favourite Pakatan catchphrase) did not come with a receipt saying they are ours.
This also means that the cost of ugrading, which amounted to USD232 million, was only for 40 aircraft. That makes USD6.8 million the cost for each of the 40 Skyhawks that were sold to us for less than USD1 million each. Amazingly disgusting amount of money paid. Each upgraded Skyhawk could have given us three F-5Es and the total we paid for upgrading the Skyhawks alone could have gotten us 110 combat-ready Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs (combat-ready F-5Es were selling for USD2.1 million each) which still have operational status worldwide even now. We were already operating 14 F5-Es and two F-5Fs.
We purchased aircraft that were dangerous for our men and women to fly, for a price tag that defeats logic. What promise did Mahathir make to Ronald Reagan then?
And why are we not owning the remaining 48 Skyhawks that we have bought in 1982?