Beautiful Malaysia

Char Kuay in the morning brings people together to the table

Malaysia turned 55 last weekend.  Although the electronic and social media platforms are filled with rancorous exchanges, the general population is nice to each other, no matter the political leaning.

We come from a somewhat mixed family. My father was attended to by an Amahwhen he was little.  His eldest sister married a wonderful Chinese man whose last words were, “Tell the world that I lived and died as a Muslim.” Two Chinese and an Indian were married into my family.

Slightly more than four decades ago I went to a Chinese kindergarten somewhere in Melaka.  It was just a couple of years after 13 May 1969 but the relationship between races then was good, or so it seemed to this little boy then.  Although I cannot recall any of my schoolmates’ name, we played together.  Almost every evening my father would take me to Uncle Ah Boon’s house where I would converse with them in beginner’s Mandarin before stopping for some Putu Piring at the foot of Bukit Peringgit.

I went to the St John’s Primary School on Jalan Bukit Nanas and had great classmates such as Yong Choon Wah, Chow Kah Sung, Michael Foo.  While waiting for the bus to go home, Choon Wah and I and a few others would go up and down the escalators at the neighbouring AIA building where an A&W outlet was once located until the Sikh jaganabbed us and threatened to send us to the police station. Not once did my friends and I see each other, other than as fellow Malaysians.

That jagabecame famous on 4 August 1975 when he was shot beneath the eye by a Japanese Red Army terrorist who had taken 35 people there as hostages.  His name was Sukdave Singh.

My favourite Nasi Lemak from then till now is the Nasi Lemak Tanglin.  I often jogged to where it was located, a small stall in front of a Chinese kopitiam and a plate of Nasi Lemak accompanied by the kopitiam’s glass of Sirap Ais and Lengkung were the highlight of my week, almost every week.

Not Nasi Lemak Tanglin. This was at the kampung kopitiam, downed with a cup of Kopi Cap Rambutan

A few years later when I was at The Malay College, I realised that 80 percent of the teachers there then were Chinese.  Ask any MCKK alumni who went there between 1972 to 2005 and they can tell you that the Additional Mathematics guru then was Mr Tan Gim Hoe.  Every one of his students would remember his famous “Tatapa. Tatapa” (Tak Apa, Tak Apa) as he tries his best to make you understand his lesson.  He even wrote the Additional Mathematics textbook! MCKK was Mr Tan’s first and only posting, and in the 33 years and 10 months that he was there he helped produce brilliant Malay students such as the former Khazanah head Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.  I used to meet Mr Tan in town every Saturday for Add Maths tuition when I was in Form 4.  While some of the boys would be upstairs at Kuala Kangsar’s famous Yut Loy restaurant for a quick smoke, I would be with my Pau Daging, Add Maths books and Mr Tan.

Mr Tan Gim Hoe taught at The Malay College for three decades until his retirement, and nowhere else

Unlike back in the 1970s, we hardly see Malays and Chinese dine together these days.  Not only do we look at each other with contempt, we also now question each other’s rights that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution. I blame the education system – the Arabisation of the National Schools, and the existence of vernacular schools. Children who do not grow up together will never learn about each other.

Just when everything seems bleak, my wife and I made a road trip along the coastal road in Selangor to attend a wedding in Sabak Bernam.  We stopped for breakfast at a nice kopitiam in Kuala Selangor.  For tea, we crossed into lower Perak where we found a kampung sundry shop that doubles as a kopitiam that has a mix of Malay and Indian clientele.

Michael, the second-generation proprietor, spoke to us in lower Perak Malay accent.  He told us that the suppliers of the Nasi Lemak, noodles and kuih are local Malays.  “It is the way of life here. We live in our community where we don’t see each other as Malay, Chinese or Indian,” he stressed. Prosper thy neighbouris his motto.

Pulut Sambal, made by the kampung Malays, sold at this Chinese kopitiam

“Come back tomorrow morning for some Char Kuay,” he said before we left. “I’ll make them fresh for you.”  And we did! Michael and his son CJ served us one of the best Char Kuay ever, complemented by his homemade Seri Kaya.  But it was not just the food and kampung coffee that had us in awe, it was how Michael and his clients enjoy their banter.

It was there and then that I was transported back to the 1970s, where Malaysians eat and drink and joke together, without a hint of any political divide.

And that made it the most beautiful Malaysia Day ever.

On A Suicide Watch

A month ago in the aftermath of the Sarawak State Elections, Mahathir remarked that the situation for Barisan Nasional were different in Sarawak compared to the Peninsula. Whilst national issues are natural concerns for the Malayans, Sarawakians were more concerned about their well-being. Nary a day passed without Mahathir campaigning against Najib.

This 91-year old thoroughgoing villain pulled out all the stops to have Najib removed albeit undemocratically even to the extent of cooperating with his political enemies, soliciting help from foreigners to throw baseless allegations and lies, as well as coming up with a nonsensical “Citizens Declaration” that was proven to have false signatures.

In the end, the parliamentary by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar proved that the voters totally rejected the destructive lies brought forth by Mahathir as well as his attempt to make Muhyiddin the Prime Minister to warm up that seat for his son Mukhriz. The opposition paid a heavy price for jockeying this mule when, despite heavy campaigning, they lost badly to Barisan Nasional and made an ass of themselves. That is the price they paid for aligning themselves with Mahathir thinking it would benefit them. Anwar must be smiling to himself in prison.

In 1905, George Santayana wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Mahathir was a great man but he was a cruel and egotistical dictator nevertheless. He was rejected by his own UMNO division in 2004. Instead of remembering that episode, the opposition chose to ride on Mahathir’s “popularity.”

Unfortunately for them, most of the voters still remember Mahathir’s sins. This played well into BN’s hands where the backroom boys used to engineer the opposition’s downfall. And being the proud and egotistical person that he is, Mahathir refused to recognise that his campaign was disastrous. Instead of saving his “friends,” he dragged PKR, DAP and PAN deep into the hole that he had himself dug.

It’s a bit like a suicide watch…with a twist.

Dari Sungai Besar Ke Kualē

Esok merupakan hari penentuan buat para pengundi di Parlimen Sungai Besar dan Parlimen Kuala Kangsar. Kedua-dua buah kerusi yang kosong akibat kematian ahli-ahli Parlimen yang mewakili kawasan-kawasan tersebut bulan lalu menjadi rebutan di antara PAS, BN dan parti serpihan PAS iaitu PAN.

Kedua-dua buah kerusi ini adalah amat penting buat BN dan PAS. Bagi BN, kemenangan akan bermaksud rakyat masih meletakkan kepercayaan mereka terhadap BN walaupun sokongan para pengundi amat tipis ditambah pula dengan serangan-serangan tidak munasabah yang telah dilakukan oleh bekas ahli UMNO iaitu Mahathir Mohamad. Bagi PAS pula, ianya akan menjadi bukti bahawa sokongan terhadap PAS masih kukuh walaupun telah dikhianati oleh Mohamad Sabu dan konco-konconya.

Tidak timbul isu sama ada calon yang diketengahkan oleh parti-parti yang bertanding adalah merupakan “calon payung terjun” seperti yang didakwa oleh pelbagai pihak. Calon BN, Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid walaupun berasal dari Negeri Sembilan telahpun bermastautin di Kuala Kangsar selama 27 tahun dan adalah merupakan pengundi berdaftar di Kuala Kangsar. Beliau telah bekerja dengan arwah suami beliau untuk rakyat Kuala Kangsar sekian lamanya.

Berbeza dengan calon PAN di Sungai Besar. Azhar Ab Shukur, yang berasal dari Pahang tetapi menetap juga di Pahang.  Calon Pakatan Harapan ini tiada bezanya dengan ahli-ahli Parlimen lain Pakatan Harapan yang memegang serentak kerusi DUN dan Parlimen, kemudiannya sibuk berceramah di sana sini dan tiada masa untuk diluangkan secara peribadi di kawasan-kawasan yang telah memilih mereka sebagai wakil suara pengundi.

Malah, Azhar dengan berbesar hatinya telah umumkan kepada para pengundi Sungai Besar bahawa beliau akan lawat kawasan sebanyak dua bulan sekali! Sebulan sekali sekiranya beliau seronok!

Kalau inilah yang terbaik boleh PAN berikan untuk rakyat, eloklah kita ramai-ramai baling mikrofon ke arah Presidennya, Mohamad Sabu.

Jangan juga kita lupakan siapa sebenarnya di belakang  tabir mentadbir PAN – tidak lain dan tidak bukan parti DAP sendiri.

Sejak mula hari pencalonan lagi kelihatan “para pembesar” DAP kelihatan berkempen dengan agresif bagi pihak PAN. Ianya bukanlah sesuatu yang menghairankan. PAN lahir akibat hasutan jahat DAP terhadap ahli-ahli PAS yang pernah ada bai’ah bercerai suami-isteri talak tiga sekiranya keluar meninggalkan PAS. Maka keldai-keldai tunggangan DAP ini bekerja keras mengikut arahan yang diberikan oleh tuan DAP mereka untuk cuba memenangi kerusi Sungai Besar dan Kuala Kangsar. Kemenangan PAN adalah kemenangan DAP:

Apa yang nak dihairankan mengenai hukum bersama bekas isteri yang dicerai talak tiga kalau boleh bersekongkol dengan golongan evangelis yang tidak pernah senang dengan kedudukan istimewa Bumiputra dan agama Islam sebagai agama Persekutuan Malaysia?

Seorang lagi yang menangguk di air yang keruh bersekongkol dengan PAN dan DAP ialah Mahathir Mohamad, seorang yang mengaku Melayu kerana bencikan bangsa nenek moyangnya.

Kerja Mahathir adalah untuk mendapatkan sokongan rakyat untuk mencapai agenda persendiriannya termasuklah berbaik dengan musuh-musuhnya.

Sejak memulakan serangan terhadap Perdana Menteri, bekas ahli UMNO ini yang pernah menangis kerana memecat dirinya sendiri dari jawatan Perdana Menteri cuba membuktikan bahawa beliau masih mendapat sokongan rakyat dalam perjuangan memenuhi nafsu sendiri. Ini termasuklah mengitar semula isu lapok yang sudah berjawab dan membuat dakwaan-dakwaan yang tidak berasas di mana beliau sendiri akui bahawa beliau tiada bukti untuk menyokong dakwaan-dakwaan beliau, tidak ubah seperti para pejuang papan kekunci yang mengharapkan bayaran.

Malah, “sokongan” yang beliau perolehi juga adalah penipuan sebesar “sokongan” yang didakwanya.

Serangan Mahathir juga tidak terbatas kepada Najib; malah Abdul Hadi Awang juga menjadi sasaran kempennya. Maka apakah agenda Mahathir kalau bukan membantu evangelis untuk menjatuhkan Islam dan Melayu?

Di hari terakhir tempoh berkempen ini, fikir-fikirkanlah. Undilah calon yang boleh membawa kemajuan, pembangunan, peluang pekerjaan, penambahbaikan mutu kehidupan, perpaduan dan kesejahteraan.

Siapa pun yang bakal anda pilih, janganlah dipilih calon parti keldai yang hanya akan menjenguk anda dua bulan sekali.

Mari kita tonton video terakhir:

Pernicious Pakatan

I still remember before the 12th General Elections when the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat came up with 23 promises in their manifesto. The first category, “Administration” had these:

  1. To ensure that all state assemblymen are always clean from misappropriation or corruption throughout their term of service.
  2. To form a special body To investigate any misappropriation regarding the administration of land and other state resources.

Everyone lauded the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat for the manifesto. Soon after forming the state government the MACC was already investigating shady deals involving the state government that led to the demise of witness Teoh Beng Hock whose death benefitted DAP more than the Barisan Nasional, and the aide of former Menteri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim who has sinced been sentenced to prison with whipping.

Recently, PKR’s Chicken Blower Rafizi Ramli (above) made a report to the MACC on bribes being asked by members of the Selangor administration.

The bribes, in the form of women, are said to be asked to those wanting favours from people in the state government.

Today, we have been shocked once again – a former PKR Selangor MP has been arrested by the MACC for receiving bribes amounting to RM30,000 to facilitate a contractor’s tender process. He is also being investigated for eight other offences.

A despicable offence that he is also being investigated for is the misappropriation of provident funds of a disabled person. The money totaling  RM60,000 was siphoned out from the provident fund account after he convinced the disabled person to withdraw the savings and passed to him.

All the offences above were committed while he was still in office yet not one special body was set up by the Pakatan Rakyat government.

Pakatan Rakyat/Pakatan Harapan mase so much noise about the alleged abuses done by the Barisan Nasional from 1974-2008. Yet, the Selangor state government has managed to do despicable things within the first eight years alone.

They had no qualms cheating a disabled person of his life savings. And do you still want to give them power?