May 11th, 2014

We’re not obsessed with global varsity rankings, says Muhyiddin

Malaysia was not obsessed with the rankings of local universities at the international level as they did not take into consideration the country's attempt to push higher education towards excellence, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

He said this was because the criteria and the yardstick used to gauge local universities in the world rankings did not meet the country's aspirations.

"The more important thing for the country's interests is to ensure excellence of academics, programmes and the institutions. They must meet the three Rs – namely relevance, referred and respect.

“We have to find a field to strengthen the country and become the world leader in the field and this is a more significant and suitable yardstick for all types of institutions of higher learning in the country," he added.

We’re not obsessed with global varsity rankings, says Muhyiddin – Bernama

He said this during a dialogue with key leaders of institutions of higher learning on the preparations for the country's education development plan for higher learning.

He said the 3Rs provided a better yardstick to gauge local universities.

Institutions of higher learning, led by five research universities, had succeeded in producing high-impact journals, hence placing Malaysia in an impressive position.

"Besides this excellence, they should also focus on ensuring the returns from the research are felt by the people and benefited them," he added.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said the rapid development in technology should be utilised in the learning and teaching process at institutions of higher learning with lecturers and students having access electronically to materials developed by professors, locally and abroad.

"These facilities can support the transition from curriculum development. In other words, this development should be used to enrich the learning and teaching experience of our graduates."

Earlier, Muhyiddin had opened the campus for Higher Learning Leadership Academy (AKEPT), costing RM105 million, at Bandar Enstek, Nilai. – Bernama, May 9, 2014.

Education system in need of drastic, radical change, says Ku Li

Malaysia’s education system has failed, and is in need of a drastic and radical change, former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said today.

"The reality is... We have failed in international rankings, we have failed to foster racial integration, we have failed to produce educated, principled and thinking models," he said in his speech at a convocation ceremony in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) today.

His comments at the convocation came as the country’s local universities continued to decline in international education surveys, with the World Bank expressing its worry that the poor quality of Malaysia's education system is worse than the level of debt in its households.

Malaysia failed to get on the list of the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) 100 under 50, which is now into its second year. In the first rankings list in 2012, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was ranked 98th.

The bad showing followed Putrajaya's remark that Malaysia has one of the best education systems in the world – better than the United States, Britain and Germany.

Saudi Arabia and Iran were also on the THE list which comprised 29 countries – one more than last year, with the addition of India, which made it on to the list for the first time.

Education system in need of drastic, radical change, says Ku Li

Tengku Razaleigh (pic), also known as Ku Li, said that it was important that the international evaluations were accepted openly to immediately begin, and be committed to, a process of improving education.

"As soon as we accept the fact, we can also work to improve our philosophies, implementation, delivery, acceptance and living out the system," Ku Li said.

He lamented that the current education system does not produce graduates who can think effectively and excellently in challenging, unpredictable and varying situations.

"I still remember how, once upon a time, we were respected and revered by the world. In international forums, we were always given the honour to prepare the discussion reports, the communiqué and even become moderators and more."

"Those things happened because, relatively, our ability to think and mastering of languages were much better then. Unfortunately, things have really changed now," Ku Li said.

The education system is supposed to contribute to strengthen racial integration. But now, racial polarisation is at a severe and worrying level, he added.

"As someone who has seen Malaysia go through its pains and suffering, I am very sad to see what is happening.

"I still remember when Wong Peng Soon won the 1950, 1951 and 1952 All-England Badminton Championships. All the kids who played the sport would call themselves 'Wong Peng Soon', no matter what race they were.

"But today, racial polarisation is haunting us. What is most saddening is that this polarisation also exists in higher learning institutions where the community is educated," he said.

Taking South Korea as an example, he said it had once used Malaysia as its yardstick for success in many areas, including sports. But the effectiveness of their education system has pushed them forward, leaving Malaysia behind.

"South Korea's effective education system is what contributed to their success today. It's true that the diversity of races here is not relevant in this case but we can learn so many things from them in other areas."

In 1980, he said, South Korea's income per capita (US$2,322 or RM7,500) was lower than Malaysia's (US$2,351). However, today, theirs stand at US$24,328 – twice the amount of Malaysia's, which is at US$10,547.

"Now their economy is better than ours. The question is, what did they do that was so great and where did we go wrong in developing our country?" he said.

"Only if we are truly honest in answering these questions, then only can we come up with effective approaches to develop the country for all our benefit."

Ku Li said Malaysia now needs an education system that is revered by all; national schools where parents fight and race to get a place for their children.

"We hope that the National Education Blueprint (2013-2025) will take this opinion into account with implementation in mind," he added.

Ku Li also stressed on the importance of mastering the English language, failure of which would mean that Malaysia is left behind in the "race".

"It is the language of communication in many areas such as commerce and business, Internet and technology, medicine and diplomacy.

"So let's not fight about languages. We will not lose our identity, culture and customs if we master more languages. In fact, we will appreciate our culture and customs even more," he said, adding that the delay in this would only set Malaysia back. – May 10, 2014.

Top 5 Biggest Banks in Malaysia

When we hear the word "bank", we can choose to look at it from a straightforward point of view, which is that banks serve as financial institutions or intermediaries and they are usually those with great importance in the financial system as well as powerful influence on national economies.

And then we can look at the word in a decidedly different way from everyone else with an enthusiastic inner chant of "good bank, bad bank, old bank, new bank; what a lot of banks there are, but did you know which are the biggest ones there are?"

There are precisely 27 commercial banks registered under Bank Negara Malaysia's list of "Licensed Banking Institutions in Malaysia" but since is only going to be taking a look at which of them are the biggest in this nation, it's therefore safe to say that we fall under the category of the other type of view!

Note: The information is based on total asset size and market capitalisation as of 24 April 2014, all of which are gathered from Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. Other information about the banks themselves have been taken from their official websites.

5) AMMB Holdings Bhd

Mention the name above to anyone on the street and you might get a blank stare in return. More commonly known as AmBank Group to the public, it was first incorporated in April 1975 as a joint venture between Malaysia (Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad with 55% shareholding), Kuwait (Arab Investments for Asia with 33% shareholding) and Saudi Arabia (National Commercial Bank with 12% shareholding). Its name became "Arab-Malaysian Development Bank" in December 1983 and in 1988, it became the first merchant bank to be listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange market.

About RM119 billion in total assets are owned by AmBank Group as well as a market capitalisation of RM21.82 billion; they are the first to start off this list.

4) RHB Bank Berhad

Formally formed out of a merger between three banks (Kwong Yik Bank Berhad, Sime Bank Berhad and Bank Utama Berhad) in 1997, RHB Bank Berhad can nevertheless trace its roots all the way back in time to the early 90s. This is because all the events and different work cultures from the banks have been moulded into the bank they are today. Presently, they offer a diverse range of banking services to the public such as retail, business, group transaction and Islamic banking. Celebrating their 100th year anniversary in the year 2013, they have a presence in other countries as well such as Singapore, Thailand and Brunei.

They are now the fourth largest bank in Malaysia with total assets worth around RM202 billion as well as a market capitalization of RM 21.67 billion.

3) Public Bank Berhad

The founder, Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow, had a vision that he would open a financial institution as "a bank for the public" and that vision came to light in August 1966 when Public Bank first opened its doors for business. Thus begin a bank that was to have 48 years of strong growth and rapid expansion to not only states in Malaysia (258 well-distributed branches), but also making its presence felt in 124 branches in Asia. With a proven track record of sustained profitability ever since its first listing on the Malaysian Stock Exchange in 1967, Public Bank has grown into a premier banking group.

Currently owning approximately RM293 billion in total assets and a market capitalisation total of RM71.98 billion, it is the third largest banking group in Malaysia.

2) CIMB Group Holdings Bhd

Second on this list is CIMB Bank, with a history of many banks (such as Bian Chiang Bank, Ban Hin Lee Bank and Bank Lippo) coming together to merge into one company. By January 2003, they were registered on the Main Board of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. With its presence felt in diverse businesses such as consumer, wholesale and Islamic banking as well as in strategic investments, its hard not to notice them, especially since they have 1,061 branches spread in 17 markets around the globe. No wonder they are known as a leading ASEAN universal bank!

As of 2014, they are now in possession of about RM360 billion in total assets as well as having a market capitalization of RM61.80 billion.

1) Malayan Banking Bhd

Is it any wonder that this is the bank who is number one on this list? In terms of power in the financial industry, Maybank holds onto its spot as the top banking and financial group in Malaysia with its presence felt in Singapore, the Philippines and other international financial centres such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Bahrain. Formed and founded in 1960 by Khoo Teck Puat, a Malaysian business tycoon, along with a few of his partners, the fledgeling bank quickly gained traction in the first few years and had opened more than 150 branches by the time 1963 had rolled around.

Fast forward to present time and you get a powerhouse that has total assets of around RM527 billion as well as a market capitalization of RM88.60 billion. Caitlyn Ng is an Investigative Journalist of , an online consumer advice portal which aims to help Malaysians save money through smart (and most of the time painless) savings in their daily banking, technology, and lifestyle spending habits. Eugene Chua |  Fri, May 9, 2014

Short men may live longer: Study

London, May 10 (IANS) Don't get depressed if she has refused to go on a date with you owing to your short height. Tell her you are going to stay longer on earth for better chances knocking on your door!

According to research on Japanese men, shorter men are more likely to have a protective form of a gene, leading to smaller body size during early development and a longer lifespan.

Shorter men are also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and less cancer.

"The study shows that body size is linked to the longevity gene (FOXO3), which is important in longevity across most species," said Dr Bradley Willcox, a professor in University of Hawaii's (UH) John A. Burns School of Medicine.

The research was based on the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Programme (HHP) and the Kuakini Honolulu-Asian Aging Study (HAAS).

Researchers categorised Japanese men into two groups - those who were 5-feet-2 and shorter, and 5-feet-4 and taller.

The former category members, who were shorter, lived the longest.

"The range was seen all the way across from being 5-feet tall to 6-feet tall. The taller you got, the shorter you lived," Willcox added.

The Kuakini HHP started research in 1965, on 8,006 American men of Japanese ancestry born between the years 1900 and 1919.

Around 1,200 men from the study lived into their 90s and 100s, and about 250 of those men are still alive today, said the study published in the journal Plos One. -Indo-Asian News Service Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited/Yahoo India News14 hours ago

UMNO tidak boleh terlalu bernostalgia

ESOK genaplah usia UMNO 68 tahun, satu usia yang cukup matang jika ia disamakan dengan tubuh manusia. Tetapi pemimpin dan ahli parti itu tidak boleh melayan UMNO seperti manusia kerana dalam golongan manusia yang berusia sedemikian ada yang sihat dan masih kuat, ada pula yang sakit dan kemudiannya meninggal dunia.

UMNO juga tidak harus dilayan seperti manusia yang berjasa. Mungkin jasanya harus diingati tetapi untuk terus bernostalgia dengan jasa-jasa yang ditaburkan oleh sebuah parti dalam senario politik yang semakin berubah dan pemikiran rakyat yang semakin berkembang, boleh diibaratkan tindakan untuk menempah tempat di ‘kuburan politik’.

Justeru apa yang harus dilakukan oleh UMNO dalam usia 68 tahun ialah melakukan tindakan yang terus relevan dengan perkembangan semasa khususnya sebagai benteng utama memperjuangkan nasib orang Melayu dan umat Islam.

Memang benar, kalau mahu dibandingkan pencapaian UMNO dengan parti-parti lain dalam Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-13 (PRU-13), UMNO masih mendapat sokongan rak­yat apabila menguasai 89 kerusi Parlimen dan ia sekali gus menunjukkan parti induk orang Melayu tetap menjadi pilihan rakyat khususnya orang Melayu.

Tetapi UMNO tidak boleh selama-lamanya bernostalgia dengan kejayaan itu kerana jumlah kerusi tersebut masih memaksa UMNO meminta bantuan komponen Barisan Nasional (BN) untuk menubuhkan kerajaan. Malah apa yang perlu difahami, UMNO juga gagal mempertahankan beberapa kerusi sama ada di peringkat Parlimen atau Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) yang tradisinya milik parti tersebut.

Mungkin jika kerusi tersebut tidak terlepas ke tangan pembangkang, UMNO mungkin sudah menawan Selangor dan BN boleh memerintah dalam kedudukan majoriti dua pertiga di Dewan Rakyat.

Bagaimanapun situasi itu tidak berlaku kerana dalam kalangan pemimpin dan ahli UMNO masih lagi tidak berubah sikap, biar pun mereka mengetahui betapa gigih pucuk pimpinan parti berusaha memastikan UMNO diterima rakyat.

Penulis yakin orang Melayu masih bergantung harap kepada UMNO untuk memperjuangkan hak mereka, orang Melayu masih melihat UMNO sebagai benteng mempertahankan Islam dan orang Melayu juga percaya UMNO biar pun menjadi tonggak utama dalam BN namun kesejahteraan kaum lain sentiasa terpelihara.

Keyakinan dan kepercayaan yang dinyatakan itu ada dalam kalangan orang Mela­yu tetapi ini tidak bermakna UMNO boleh berasa selesa dengan bergantung dengan nostalgia apatah lagi retorik politik untuk menarik dan mengekalkan sokongan orang Melayu kepada parti itu.

UMNO perlu dilihat yakin dan tegas dalam perjuangannya, tidak boleh bersikap apologetik apatah lagi mengamalkan politik bak kata, ‘bangga tidak bertempat, seronok tidak tentu hala’. Ini memandangkan senario politik sudah berbeza.

Pemimpin dan ahli UMNO tidak boleh bergantung segala-galanya kepada Presiden UMNO, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dan Timbalan Presiden UMNO Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin untuk memastikan UMNO terus mendapat kepercayaan rakyat.

Kita harus akui, melalui dasar dan langkah yang dilakukan oleh kerajaan melalui gandingan dua pemimpin itu ia mampu memberikan manfaat politik yang besar kepada UMNO dan BN. Tetapi malangnya, ada ketikanya atau mungkin seringkali juga berlaku, harapan kedua-dua pemimpin itu tidak sampai ke akar umbi bagi memboleh­kan rakyat yakin dengan UMNO dan BN.

Sebaliknya sehingga ke hari ini, masih ramai pemimpin dan ahli UMNO di peringkat cawangan, bahagian mahupun negeri bertelagah sesama sendiri. Perbuatan bere­but jawatan dan bertelagah sesama sendiri masih wujud sehingga melemahkan UMNO dalam pilihan raya.

Dalam bahasa mudahnya, masih ramai pemimpin dan ahli UMNO yang ‘tidak sedar diri’ dengan mengamalkan perbuatan-perbuatan yang boleh menimbulkan perasaan muak rakyat kepada parti itu, biar pun mereka amat memahami ketelusan dan keikhlasan kerajaan yang dipimpin oleh Najib dalam membela nasib orang Melayu dan umat Islam.

Bagaimanapun, sama ada UMNO akan terus kukuh dan unggul seperti mana dihasratkan oleh Najib, bergantung kepada sejauh manakah pemimpin dan ahli UMNO bersedia bermuhasabah dan melakukan pembaharuan demi memastikan parti itu terus relevan pada setiap zaman.

UMNO harus mengakui bahawa cabaran politik terutamanya dalam menghadapi Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-14 (PRU-14) cukup getir. Atas sebab itulah mereka harus membuat persediaan dari sekarang untuk mera­napkan impian pakatan pembangkang menawan Putrajaya.

Salah satunya memastikan tiada konflik dalaman yang kita harus akui sering menjadi ‘duri dalam daging’ kepada usaha UMNO.

Selain itu, demi survival politik UMNO juga, parti itu harus memperkukuhkan lagi usaha menarik sokongan orang Melayu dan bukannya dilihat parti yang semakin meminggirkan mereka biarpun mengetahui orang Melayulah yang menjadi faktor kemenangan UMNO dalam pilihan raya.

Meneruskan dasar memperjuangkan hak orang Melayu tanpa rasa apologetik mampu menyakinkan orang Melayu bahawa UMNO sejak dulu, kini dan selamanya masih tidak berubah iaitu mendahulukan bangsa, agama dan negara.

Semoga ulang tahun ke-68 ini akan dijadikan momentum terbaik kepada UMNO di semua peringkat memperkukuhkan parti kerana UMNO sama sekali tidak boleh berada dalam kedudukan Pas yang diibaratkan seperti ‘lebai malang, menang sorak kampung tergadai.’

Oleh itu UMNO terus kekal menjadi tonggak perjuangan dan payung orang Melayu biar pun ia mungkin akan menyebabkan ada pihak yang tidak selesa. Tetapi pihak yang bersikap demikian perlu menerima hakikat bahawa apabila UMNO kuat dan kukuh semua kaum merasai nikmatnya, tidak seperti pakatan pembangkang, apabila ada parti di dalam pakatan itu berasa kuat dan memerintah sesebuah negeri, ada kaum berasa dipinggirkan. Zulkiflee Bakar: utusan/Rencana/20140510

Sedia berubah sebelum diubah

USIA UMNO yang ditubuhkan pada 11 Mei 1946 genap 68 tahun, esok. Parti yang lahir di Istana Besar, Johor Bahru, Johor kini menghadapi pelbagai cabaran getir dalam menarik sokongan orang Melayu khususnya generasi muda yang bakal menjadi penentu dalam Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-14 (PRU-14) akan datang.

Dalam wawancara dengan wartawan Utusan Malaysia, NIZAM YATIM dan jurugambar, SAIFUL BAHARI ASHARI baru-baru ini, Presiden Persatuan Alumni Pemimpin Mahasiswa Aspirasi Malaysia (Aspirasi), MOHD. SHAHAR ABDULLAH menegaskan, transformasi politik UMNO perlu ditambah baik bagi memastikan ia benar-benar berkesan dalam menarik sokongan padu orang muda.

UTUSAN: Sejauh manakah kejayaan transformasi politik UMNO?

MOHD. SHAHAR: Kita akui dan gembira dengan transformasi yang dilakukan oleh Presiden UMNO, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yang telah berjaya menarik dan membuka peluang yang seluas-luasnya ke­pada golo­ngan muda pelbagai peringkat untuk bergiat aktif dalam parti, termasuklah anak muda yang berpendidikan tinggi serta lulusan universiti yang turut berpeluang memberi sumbangan kepada parti.

Jika dahulu sistem UMNO agak menyukarkan anak-anak muda untuk menyertai dan memegang jawatan. Tetapi menerusi transformasi yang dilaksanakan, nampak­nya sudah ada sedikit pencerahan.

Maknanya sudah ada ramai anak muda lulusan universiti yang memegang jawatan ke­­tua Pemuda bahagian, jawatan-jawatan dalam Pemuda, Puteri dan pentadbiran bahagian. Situasi ini cukup baik sebagai latihan kepada peneraju UMNO di masa hadapan.

Terdapat juga transformasi dalam segmen-segmen lain. Perubahan oleh UMNO sudah ada, tetapi yang perlu kita semak kembali adakah perubahan ini dirasai, difahami dan berkesan sehingga ke akar umbi iaitu di peringkat bahagian dan cawangan?

Apakah transformasi lain yang perlu dilakukan?

Untuk menentukan apakah bentuk transformasi lain, kita perlu melihat sejauh mana kebenaran dakwaan sesetengah pihak bahawa hari ini anak muda jauh daripada UMNO, mereka tidak suka kepada parti ini dan anak muda agak sinis apabila disebut nama UMNO?

Saya akui ada kebenaran sebahagian dari­pada cerita-cerita ini disebabkan wu­jud­nya sebilangan kecil anak muda yang sudah mula mempertikaikan siasah perjuangan UMNO kerana mereka melihat parti ini seperti sebuah kenderaan yang tidak bersifat sepanjang zaman.

Ia diburukkan lagi dengan pelbagai propaganda licik pembangkang yang saban hari menggunakan media sosial untuk mencipta persepsi yang telah mengaburi kebenaran akan kemampuan UMNO menjadi parti pembela orang Melayu.

Untuk menarik sokongan orang muda, kita perlu membuat mereka melihat UMNO ini seperti sebuah kenderaan yang mampu dan akan membawa mereka ke destinasi yang lebih baik, sesuai dengan perubahan zaman dan kehendak semasa.

Ketika mula-mula ditubuhkan, parti te­lah berjaya membawa rakyat termasuk anak muda ketika itu keluar daripada zaman penjajahan ke zaman kemerdekaan. Ketika itu sokongan anak muda sangat tinggi dan UMNO adalah segala-galanya.

Sekarang, walaupun UMNO masih sebuah kenderaan yang mempunyai empat tayar, satu enjin dan satu stereng, ia perlu mengubah nilai perjuangannya supaya bersifat relevan, kontemporari dan dikehendaki oleh orang Melayu.

Apakah nilai-nilai perjuangan kontemporari?

Untuk menentukan nilai-nilai ini, UMNO kena membuka pintu seluas-luasnya untuk menerima pandangan anak muda melalui pendekatan berbeza mengikut kepelbagaian latar belakang mereka. Kita kena sedar ba­hawa anak muda suka bercakap dan me­nyuarakan pendapat dalam apa sahaja lapangan dalam sebilang masa. Sebab itu, mereka menggunakan platform Facebook, Twitter, Instagram dan lain-lain untuk meluah dan berkongsi pera­saan, idea dan pandangan.

Apa sahaja yang berlaku di depan mata, mereka cepat hendak menyatakan komen. Komen ini kadangkala agak kritikal, agresif dan ada juga yang hanya bersifat persepsi semata-mata. Jangan nampak agak kritikal sedikit, kita sisihkan dan tuduh mereka mempunyai pemikiran pembangkang. Walhal mereka menyokong kita, cuma mereka mahukan Malaysia menjadi lebih baik daripada hari semalam.

Selain itu, adakah ramai pemimpin UMNO sudah kerap kali turun secara tidak formal ke syarikat besar, syarikat milik kerajaan (GLC) dan universiti untuk mendekati, bertemu dengan golongan pekerja ter­ma­suk­lah kelompok tenaga profesional, pensyarah dan teknokrat bagi mendengar serta menyelami apa masalah mereka?

Pemimpin peringkat bahagian juga per­lu memainkan peranan bertemu ma­syarakat termasuk pergi ke sekolah-sekolah setiap minggu bagi mendengar apa sebenarnya rungutan ibu bapa, guru dan pelajar. Setelah dapat menyenaraikan semua masalah dan rungutan berkenaan, kita kena jadikan langkah untuk menyelesaikannya sebagai satu siasah perjuangan UMNO dan barulah perjuangan kita bersifat kontemporari.

Apakah kehendak orang Melayu sekarang?

Orang Melayu hendak pendidikan yang le­bih baik untuk anak-anak. Mereka juga mahukan pemimpin yang mengutamakan pendekatan agama.

Oleh itu, pemimpin UMNO perlulah te­­­rus memperkasakan nilai-nilai agama dalam gerak kerja masyarakatnya seperti mengimarahkan surau dan masjid serta berupaya membaca doa, mengimamkan solat dan memberi tazkirah selepas sembahyang.

Dari segi pembangunan ekonomi dan keperluan hidup, orang Melayu mahukan ru­mah dan tempat berniaga selesa. Janganlah apabila orang Melayu buka gerai tepi jalan, datang majlis perbandaran, roboh gerai berkenaan, sedangkan tiada arked perniagaan yang mencukupi untuk memenuhi keperluan setempat.

UMNO juga perlu membantu orang Melayu bersaing dan membuka perniagaan di kompleks beli-belah dan memperkasakan orang Melayu bagi meningkatkan keupayaan mereka untuk membuka kedai-kedai besar.

Kita kena fokus kepada industri kecil dan sederhana untuk diangkat ke pasaran terbuka. Perkasakan kedai-kedai, restoran dan kilang skala sederhana, sebagaimana kita berjaya mengangkat industri batik dan tenunan songket yang dahulunya diusahakan secara kecil-kecilan oleh orang Melayu. Kini industri tersebut berjaya menembusi pasaran antarabangsa. Inilah yang kita kena angkat dan majukan, kerana ia adalah nadi sebenar kepada ekonomi orang Melayu.

Orang Melayu juga bimbang dengan masalah gejala sosial yang melanda remaja. Oleh itu, UMNO perlu mewujudkan makmal-makmal di peringkat bahagian bagi mencari penyelesaian terhadap masalah ini kerana permasalahan itu di setiap tempat adalah berbeza dan bersifat tempatan.

Bukankah usaha menyelesaikan ma­sa­lah rakyat telah dibuat kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) yang ditunjangi UMNO?

Kita kena faham, UMNO itu bukan kerajaan. UMNO tidak boleh disamakan dengan kerajaan. UMNO adalah parti politik orang Melayu, yang siasah perjuangannya adalah untuk membela nasib kaum itu.

Adalah silap apabila kita mengaitkan kerajaan dengan UMNO, seolah-olah UMNO yang mendominasi kerajaan. Kita mesti memberi kefahaman kepada rakyat bahawa UMNO adalah parti politik yang sama se­perti mana-mana parti politik termasuklah parti pembangkang. Kerajaan hari ini adalah kerajaan BN yang dibentuk daripada berlainan parti yang berada dalam komponen BN.

Sebagai kerajaan yang dibentuk berdasarkan konsep perkongsian kuasa, kerajaan BN harus memberi tumpuan kepada semua kaum secara menyeluruh dan bukan tertumpu kepada orang Melayu sahaja.

Pihak pembangkang sejak 1970-an lagi cuba sedaya upaya mengaitkan UMNO de­ngan kerajaan BN dengan harapan agar apabila disebut BN, dalam fikiran rakyat, BN adalah kerajaan UMNO. Inilah propaganda pembangkang untuk menjadikan kaum lain membenci UMNO dan BN.

Selain itu, jika UMNO mengharapkan jentera kerajaan BN menyelesaikan masalah kaum Melayu, orang tidak akan merasakan itu adalah perjuangan UMNO. Nanti timbul ungkapan seperti yang selalu disebut sebilangan kecil pegawai ting­gi kerajaan iaitu kami sokong kerajaan yang memerintah, tetapi kami tidak sokong UMNO.

Apakah ciri pemimpin yang disukai orang Melayu?

Mereka mahukan pemimpin yang mempunyai imej begitu bersih dan dilihat sebagai seorang bijak pandai serta mampu mem­bela kebajikan mereka ke arah kehidupan yang lebih baik.

Mereka tidak mahu pemimpin yang menggunakan parti untuk ‘mencari makan’ sebaliknya sukakan pemimpin yang ‘buat kerja’ dan boleh membawa suara rakyat akar umbi ke peringkat atasan. Mereka juga mahukan pemimpin merendah diri yang tidak malu untuk makan nasi bungkus bersama-sama dan boleh menumpang tidur di rumah penduduk serta sanggup menghadapi dugaan dan bencana bersama.

Satu lagi yang perlu ada adalah ciri 3M iaitu untuk ‘mendengar’ dan ‘merasai’ masalah rakyat serta berusaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk ‘membantu’ menyelesaikannya. Pemimpin juga mesti cepat bertindak memberi maklum balas dalam menyelesaikan masalah rakyat. Itu barulah, kita boleh katakan pemimpin sepanjang zaman dan juara rakyat! Kembali kepada asas!   Utusan/Rencana/20140510

Kesan dasar collectivisation

Kematian Joseph Stalin pada tahun 1953 dan terpilihnya Nikita Khrushchev menggantikan Stalin pada 1957 sebagai Perdana Menteri Soviet telah menyemarakkan lagi pergeseran antara Mao Tse-tung dengan sesetengah pemimpin kanan Parti Komunis China (PKC) yang tidak sehaluan dengan Mao. Ini lebih-lebih lagi setelah tersebarnya isi ucapan ‘Secret Speech' Khrushchev di Kongres ke-20 Parti Komunis Kesatuan Soviet (PKKS) pada bulan Februari, 1956 di mana beliau, sebagai Pengerusi Majlis Presidium PKKS, mengecam habis-habisan sikap kediktatoran Stalin dan dasar-dasar pemerintahannya yang menzalimi rakyat Soviet.

Mao menganggap ucapan Khrushchev bukan sahaja tidak berpatutan, malah menuduh pemimpin Soviet itu menempelak dirinya (Mao) menerusi ucapan itu sebab beliau adalah penyokong kuat Stalin. Ini kerana, pada pertengahan tahun 1950-an, Mao di ambang memulakan dasar ‘The Great Leap Forward' (Melompat Ke Depan Dengan Hebat) dalam bidang pertanian dan perindustrian sebagai mengikuti jejak Stalin dengan matlamat untuk mendapat pulangan tinggi dalam sekelip mata. Hasrat Mao ditentang sebilangan pemimpin kanan PKC tetapi anehnya, Mao tidak menghiraukannya walaupun beliau tahu dasar Stalin telah menemui kegagalan. Pergeseran-pergeseran sebeginilah yang menyebabkan pucuk pimpinan PKC berpecah dua kepada kumpulan yang menyokong dan kumpulan yang menentang kepimpinan Mao Tse-tung.

Sebelum saya menyentuh lebih luas dasar ‘Great Leap Forward' Mao dan kesan-kesan buruknya terhadap kehidupan rakyat China dan perihal perpecahan pucuk kepimpinan PKC gara-gara politiking Mao Tse-tung, saya rasa sesuai jika saya menceritakan lebih lanjut kisah kehidupan masyarakat Soviet semasa dasar collectivisation secara paksaan yang dilaksanakan di zaman Stalin. Anda kelak akan dapat membandingkannya dengan dasar sama yang dilaksanakan oleh Mao Tse-tung di China pada tahun 1958 hingga 1962.

Dasar collectivisation di negara Soviet bermula dari tahun 1928 hingga 1940, kira-kira dua puluh tahun sebelum Mao Tse-tung dan PKC memerintah China. Tujuan utama collectivi-sation adalah untuk menyatukan semua tanah pertanian milik persendirian dan semua petani yang mengerjakan tanah tersebut ke dalam satu sistem yang dinamakan collective farm (perladangan milik bersama).

Ada tiga jenis collective farm di Soviet pada dasarnya. Yang pertama ialah jenis Tsoz di mana petani memiliki tanah mereka tetapi berkongsi menggunakan jentera pertanian dan bekerjasama dalam kerja-kerja menabur benih dan menuai. Jenis ini banyak wujud sebelum tahun 1930 dan dihapuskan selepas collectivisation. Kedua, jenis Sovkhoz yang dimiliki dan diusahakan oleh kerajaan. Petani yang bekerja dengan Sovkhoz dibayar gaji seperti mereka yang bekerja di kilang. Ketiga, jenis Kolkhoz di mana tanah-tanah milik persendirian disatukan menjadi milik bersama dan diuruskan oleh jawatankuasa yang dipilih oleh peserta.

Jenis Kolkhoz menjadi pilihan Stalin untuk collectivisation. Bagi sebuah Kolkhoz, perlu disatukan antara 50 hingga 100 pemilik tanah. Bukan sahaja penyatuan tanah, malah alat-alat pertanian dan haiwan ternakan diletakkan di bawah pengurusan jawatankuasa yang dilantik itu. Menjelang akhir tahun 1930-an, Stalin telah memaksa collectivisation ke atas semua tanah pertanian Soviet jenis Kolkhoz. Stalin begitu yakin collectivisation sebagai ganti amalan pertanian berasaskan pemilikan tanah perseorangan, boleh memberi pulangan pertanian lebih tinggi dan cepat untuk dibekalkan kepada penduduk bandar selain memenuhi keperluan bahan mentah untuk diproses oleh kilang-kilang dan untuk memenuhi permintaan luar negeri.

Collectivisation secara paksaan, sebetulnya, adalah bertentangan dengan dasar V.I. Lenin sendiri sebagai pengasas negara Soviet. Menurut Lenin: “Adalah sangat tidak munasabah jika kita mengubah ladang-ladang mereka (petani Soviet) secara mendadak dengan mengeluarkan sesuatu perintah atau mengenakan tekanan ke atas mereka. Kita perlu sedar, kita hanya boleh mempengaruhi berjuta-juta petani secara beransur-ansur dan menerusi contoh-contoh kita yang praktikal." Lenin menamakan pendekatan ini


“Prinsip Penyertaan Sukarela oleh Petani" dalam laporannya kepada Kongres Parti Komunis Kesatuan Soviet pada tahun 1919 yang berjudul “Laporan Kerja di Daerah-Daerah".

Penentang utama dasar collectivisation Stalin ialah Nikolai Bukharin, salah seorang anggota Politburo PKKS. Beliau dibantu oleh beberapa anggota lain dari puak kanan kepimpinan PKKS. Mereka bimbang collectivisation boleh membangkitkan bantahan-bantahan ganas dalam kalangan petani dan situasi ini boleh menjejaskan pengeluaran pertanian. Malah, Bukharin meramalkan, jika Stalin meneruskan collectivisation secara paksaan, kesannya terhadap keutuhan negara Soviet akan berpanjangan dan akhirnya boleh mengakibatkan perpecahan negara itu. Bukharin ialah sahabat karib Lenin semasa Revolusi Bolshevik yang sangat tersohor serta berbeza dengan Stalin dari segi kecerdasan dan kefahaman teori Marxisme. Beliau merupakan seorang intelektual yang sangat petah (eloquent), dianggap paling tajam akal dalam kalangan pakar-pakar teori Marxisme Bolshevik yang seangkatan dengannya. Malah, beliau mengatasi keunggulan Leon Trotsky dari segi kepetahan berhujah berlandaskan ideologi Marxisme. Bukharin dikatakan banyak mempengaruhi Lenin semasa memerintah negara Soviet. Draf laporan berjudul “Laporan Kerja di Daerah-Daerah" oleh Lenin itu dikatakan telah disediakan oleh Bukharin.

Namun, bukan saja pendapat Bukharin tidak diendahkan oleh Stalin, beliau telah dikenakan show trial (perbicaraan palsu) oleh Stalin pada Mac 1938 atas tuduhan kononnya telah ‘bersubahat untuk memecahbelahkan negara Kesatuan Soviet dan berniat menghidupkan semula dasar kapitalis’. Beliau telah dipaksa mengaku bersalah dan ditembak mati sebaik sahaja selesai perbicaraan itu.

Pembunuhan Bukharin pada tahun 1938 itu berlaku pada saat kemuncak keganasan Stalin menerusi tindakan The Great Purges. Dalam hal ini, setakat penghujung tahun 1930-an, sebilangan besar pemimpin Revolusi Bolshevik yang berjuang bersama-sama Lenin pada tahun 1916 hingga 1917 telah dibunuh oleh Stalin. Pembunuhan Bukharin kerana pendiriannya menentang collectivisation secara paksaan adalah semacam pelengkap langkah Stalin menangkap dan membunuh lebih daripada 800,000 warga Soviet sepanjang tahun 1936 hingga 1938 dengan mengenakan tuduhan-tuduhan melulu terhadap mangsanya seperti ‘menjadi musuh kepada negara’.

Apakah rumusan yang boleh dibuat terhadap dasar collectivisation Soviet? Tentulah ‘collective farm' adalah cara Stalin menyelesaikan masalah-masalah pertanian Soviet. Bagi Stalin, beliau mahu mengubah dengan cepat status petani Soviet supaya menjadi seperti agroworkers, tidak lagi bersifat individualistik yang mengejar kemewahan menerusi cara kapitalis. Stalin mahu petani Soviet diselia lebih rapi supaya bidang pertanian Soviet memberi hasil mencukupi bagi penduduk bandar. Ini kerana pemerintah Soviet pada masa itu sedang giat mewujudkan kawasan-kawasan perindustrian untuk mengukuhkan ekonomi negara.

Malangnya, Stalin telah menggunakan kekerasan, keganasan dan dakyah secara menyeluruh untuk menegakkan sistem collectivisation dengan kelajuan (speed) yang sangat kencang. Berbagai bentuk kekejaman telah dilakukan terhadap petani yang menentang atau yang culas mengikuti sistem collectivisation. Contohnya, tangkapan besar-besaran, pembunuhan beramai-ramai dan deportasi beratus-ratus ribu petani ke wilayah-wilayah terpencil.

Kesan dasar collectivisation'terhadap bidang pertanian di Soviet adalah sangat buruk. Hasil gandum, misalnya, jatuh menjunam, berkesudahan dengan berlakunya bencana kebuluran sepanjang tahun 1932 hingga 1934. Kesan buruk ini tidak reda sampai pertengahan tahun 1950-an apabila kegiatan pertanian di Soviet mula menunjukkan sedikit perubahan ke arah kebaikan. Tetapi, ini hanya berlaku selepas kematian Stalin pada tahun 1953.

Nikita Khrushchev, yang menggantikan Stalin, menyedari sepenuhnya harga kemanusiaan yang amat tinggi gara-gara collectivisation corak Stalin itu. Dalam ucapannya kepada majlis perasmian Kongres ke-20 PKKS pada bulan Februari 1956, Khrushchev berkata : “Kesengsaraan manusia akibat kekejaman dasar pertanian Stalin tidak mudah diukur secara kuantitatif, apatah lagi bagi mereka yang bukan hanya telah kehilangan rumah-tangga malah terhumban ke kem-kem tahanan Gulag serta menjadi buruh paksa." ABDUL RAHIM NOOR Utusan/Rencana/20140511

Pastikan UMNO sentiasa relevan

Berikut ialah transkrip penuh Ruang Bicara Khas Bernama TV Bersama Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak di Pejabat Perdana Menteri di Putrajaya. Perdana Menteri ditemuramah selama sejam oleh Ketua Pengarang Bernama Datuk Zulkefli Salleh, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Bernama TV Datuk Ibrahim Yahaya dan Penolong Pengarang Jamaluddin Muhammad sempena ulang tahun UMNO Ke-68.

Datuk Seri, soalan pertama saya adalah UMNO akan merayakan ulang tahun ke-68 pada 11 Mei ini. Kalau UMNO itu manusia, pada usia sebegitu ia dikatakan sudah berumur, kurang tenaga, kurang aktif, dan mungkin semangatnya sudah luntur. Bagaimana Datuk Seri melihat UMNO pada usia sebegitu?

NAJIB: UMNO masih parti yang berwibawa. Hakikatnya dalam pilihan raya lalu, kita telah berjaya menambah bilangan kerusi. Ini menunjukkan apa pun yang diperkatakan, UMNO masih merupakan parti yang terkuat di tanah air. Ini menunjukkan bahawa perkembangan sebuah parti yang sudah pun usianya mencecah 68 tahun tapi tidak bererti ia semakin lemah atau kurang bertenaga. Namun saya akui (sebagai) sebuah parti, kita mesti lalui transformasi. Kita mesti hadapi cabaran untuk terus jadikan UMNO sebagai parti yang relevan pada setiap zaman.

Berubah atau rebah. Saya ingat lagi kata-kata Datuk Seri apabila mengambil alih teraju (kepimpinan parti). Tetapi masih ada suara-suara sumbang yang mengatakan mereka tidak lihat perubahan ketara dalam UMNO. Mungkin perubahan itu tidak dapat dilihat secara tangible (nyata), mungkin secara sikap dan minda ada perubahan Datuk Seri lihat?

NAJIB: Saya lihat daripada beberapa aspek. Pertama dari segi UMNO, dasar-dasar yang ditunjangi UMNO melalui kerajaan; dasar-dasar ini kita dapat lihat umpamanya UMNO menyokong dasar transformasi negara, UMNO menyokong konsep 1Malaysia dan UMNO juga menyokong segala inisiatif yang dilakukan oleh kerajaan. Dari segi UMNO itu sendiri, kita telah lakukan perubahan dan pembaharuan di mana kali pertama dalam sejarah parti kita, kita telah dapat melaksanakan apa yang kita katakan pemilihan secara langsung - direct election. Kita tidak lagi bergantung kepada 2,600 perwakilan yang datang ke Kuala Lumpur untuk mengundi kepimpinan parti dari atas sampai ke peringkat Majlis Tertinggi tetapi kita buat pemilihan melalui penyertaan akar umbi 160,000 ahli terlibat dalam proses tersebut. Namun saya akui perubahan dari segi nilai dan budaya perlu makan masa untuk kita membuat perubahan yang lebih mencerminkan apa yang kita patut lakukan dalam konteks persekitaran politik yang baharu. Maknanya yang saya tekankan ialah kita mesti jadi pengamal new politic bukan pengamal the old politic. Ini saya akui memakan masa sebab mengubah mindset manusia, tentu sekali makan masa.

Macam Datuk Seri memperkenalkan cara pemilihan, sudah tentu ia bertujuan mengelakkan politik wang. Tetapi apakah mereka bersedia berubah dari segi minda dan budaya mereka, sanggup transform daripada dulu sanggup beri sogokan untuk dapat sokongan? Apakah mereka tidak lagi berbuat demikian selepas Datuk Seri memperkenalkan cara pemilihan baharu?

NAJIB: Belum sepenuhnya. Saya akui belum sepenuhnya berubah (politik wang) tetapi saya anggap ini sebagai satu perjalanan. Ini mungkin fasa pertama. Lepas ni kita perlu melihat apakah kaedah yang lebih baik dan bagaimana nak ubah mindset atau sikap dan nilai manusia dan pemimpin-pemimpin dalam konteks di peringkat akar umbi. Mereka begitu setia pada parti, mereka berkhidmat untuk parti tetapi saya harap soal pemilihan parti kita menjunjung nilai-nilai yang murni dalam pemilihan.

Ada tak nampak perubahan ke arah lebih baik Datuk Seri?

NAJIB: Ada beberapa aspek nampak lebih baik, tetapi ada aspek yang kita perlu terus lakukan penambahbaikan.

Satu lagi Datuk Seri, mengenai peremajaan parti. Remajakan parti tidak semestinya bermaksud orang lebih muda masuk, tetapi dalam Bahasa Inggeris rejuvenate the party. Pada pilihan raya lepas kita lihat ada lonjakan kerusi bagi pihak UMNO sedangkan untuk rakan-rakan lain kurang mendapat sokongan. Apakah reformasi atau transformasi yang dilakukan itu memberi kesan kepada UMNO dalam pilihan raya lepas?

NAJIB: Sedikit sebanyak sokongan yang bertambah kepada UMNO menunjukkan perubahan yang kita lakukan mendapat sambutan dalam kalangan rakyat tapi sokongan kepada UMNO di kawasan bandar/urban tidak begitu memuaskan lagi.

Jadi langkah kita ke hadapan ialah untuk terus mempertahankan UMNO, kekuatan kita, teras kita di kawasan luar bandar. Tetapi di samping itu kita perlu dilihat sebagai parti yang ada sokongan yang semakin bertambah di kawasan bandar termasuk bandar utama.

Proses peremajaan UMNO itu sendiri, bagaimana Datuk Seri lihat, sudah berjaya atau tidak?

NAJIB: Belum lagi. Saya lihat ini sebagai satu proses. Tak mungkin dalam tempoh masa satu penggal saja atau kurang daripada satu penggal, kita boleh melakukan proses peremajaan dalam UMNO. Tetapi ini bagai satu perjalanan, di mana proses ini mesti berterusan. Jadi, dalam satu penggal ada penggantian dengan pemimpin-pemimpin lebih muda dan baharu dan selanjutnya proses ini akan kita teruskan dan kita perlu mengenal pasti bakat baharu yang boleh kita ketengahkan. Ini mesti merupakan proses yang terancang, bukan proses yang berlaku dengan sendirinya.

Mesti ada usaha yang tersusun supaya UMNO dilihat sebagai sebuah parti yang memang mengiktiraf kepimpinan baharu, intelektual, profesional dan mereka yang mencerminkan, apa yang selalu kita sebutkan, Gen-Y. Kita pun kena merupakan sebuah parti yang sentiasa dapat melakukan proses pembaharuan ini.

Dalam pemilihan yang lepas, ada pihak mengatakan tidak banyak perubahan dari segi muka-muka baharu. Adakah ini suatu yang positif atau negatif kepada Datuk Seri?

NAJIB: Saya melihat bahawa kita tidak boleh melakukan sesuatu yang begitu mengejutkan tetapi kita mesti melakukan continuity dan pembaharuan. Dua unsur ini perlu kita lakukan secara serentak. Maknanya ada pemimpin-pemimpin yang perlu kekal sebab khidmat mereka masih diperlukan. Ada juga pemimpin baharu yang kita ketengahkan, kita naikkan kedudukan mereka dalam kerajaan, dalam parti di mana sumbangan mereka akan lebih meluas lagi. Jadi saya lihat kedua-dua unsur ini perlu berjalan serentak.

Di peringkat akar umbi, bahagian dan cawangan, kelihatan seperti orang-orang itu juga masih menjadi ketua bahagian. Jadi di mana peremajaan itu boleh berlaku kalau mereka masih mahu bertahan walaupun sudah memegang jawatan selama empat, lima penggal?

NAJIB: UMNO merupakan parti demokratik. Jadi hakikatnya kita cuma boleh menggambarkan prinsipnya tapi pada akhirnya terpulang kepada ahli UMNO itu sendiri yang memilih. Tak semestinya mereka kekalkan (semua) pemimpin sedia ada...dan mungkin juga mereka tolak semua. Jadi kalau pemimpin lama masih boleh berkhidmat dan beri sumbangan dan dapat sokongan daripada ahli, mereka akan kekal sebagai pemimpin. Sebaliknya, banyak juga bahagian, lebih kurang 35 peratus ada perubahan kepimpinan dari segi ketua bahagian. Saya lihat ini satu perubahan yang menggalakkan. Kalau satu pertiga berlaku perubahan, mungkin pemilihan akan datang satu pertiga lagi akan berlaku perubahan di bahagian-bahagian, yang belum berlaku perubahan dalam pemilihan yang baharu berlangsung.

Saya nak minta pandangan Datuk Seri sebagai Presiden parti. UMNO memang tak dapat dinafikan parti tertua yang memerintah malah di dunia. UMNO telah banyak berjasa bukan sahaja kepada orang Melayu, tetapi seluruh bangsa di Malaysia. UMNO di bawah Datuk Seri mempunyai pelbagai rancangan yang cantik melalui transformasi, nak bawa negara ke tahap berpendapatan tinggi. Tetapi dalam masa sama dikatakan seperti seorang tua yang tidak dihormati oleh golongan muda. Dikatakan terlalu lama memerintah, ketinggalan zaman. Jadi sebagai presiden, tidakkah Datuk Seri merasa kecil hati atau jauh hati sedangkan Datuk Seri beria-ia memimpin negara ke arah yang dijanjikan?

NAJIB: Pendapat itu mencerminkan keterbukaan dalam masyarakat kita. Sebab masyarakat kita lebih terbuka hari ini berbanding masa-masa lalu. Dan peranan media sosial begitu meluas. Tak pernah pada peringkat yang kita lihat pada hari ini. Jadi kepelbagaian pendapat ini semakin rancak dalam masyarakat kita. Kita mesti akui kita menjurus kepada masyarakat demokratik yang lebih matang. Lebih matang masyarakat kita, lebih kepelbagaian pendapat.

Dari satu segi boleh lihat ini satu perkembangan sihat. Dari satu segi kita sebagai pemimpin kena banyak bersabar. Orang kata apa pun kena terima hakikat bahawa tak ada satu aliran pendapat berbanding dengan masa-masa lalu.

Kepelbagaian merupakan sesuatu yang boleh dikatakan kelaziman dalam masyarakat yang semakin terbuka, yang semakin matang, semakin terdidik. Dan ini satu hakikat yang kita terpaksa terima dalam mana-mana negara, kita lihat perbezaan pendapat dan kritikan itu perkara biasa. Yang penting sekali ialah majoriti. Apakah majoriti menyokong UMNO? Jadi kalau majoriti dalam kalangan yang muda tak sokong UMNO, tak mungkin dapat pertambahan kerusi dalam pilihan raya lalu. Tetapi yang menentang kita, yang tak terima UMNO, pun bilangannya agak besar juga. Yang penting adalah majoriti masih bersama-sama UMNO.

Jadi maksudnya suara-suara yang menentang ini tak semestinya bermaksud UMNO tak bersatu-padu atau lemah? Ini satu demokrasi yang sihat?

NAJIB: Ini satu tanda keadaan zaman hari ini dah berubah dan kita tak boleh nak menutup apa yang berlaku sekarang ini sebab masyarakat kita ini terbuka kepada unsur-unsur globalisasi umpamanya, teknologi, soal kejayaan dalam mendidik anak bangsa. Saya anggap ini kesan-kesan daripada success story UMNO memimpin negara kita.

Tidakkah kebebasan yang terlalu luas ini boleh menyimpang mereka daripada menghargai perjuangan atau bakti budi UMNO kepada mereka?

NAJIB: Saya terima kalau ada perbezaan pendapat tetapi sebagai Perdana Menteri saya pentingkan keamanan dan keharmonian dalam negara. Sebab itu kita ada kebebasan tetapi ada hadnya. Bukan kebebasan mutlak yang tak ada had peraturan undang-undang sebab ia akan bawa kepada huru-hara. Anarki. Tentu kita tak mahu anarki, kita nak masyarakat yang toleran dari segi perbezaan pendapat. Masyarakat yang terima prinsip demokrasi. Walaupun ada perbezaan pendapat tetapi pendapat majorti akhirnya akan menentukan siapa yang berkuasa. Kalau ada pihak berniat nak membawa kepada pergaduhan, ketidakstabilan dalam negara maka mereka kena hadapi tindakan dari segi undang-undang.

Datuk Seri sebut tentang kesabaran. Secara individu adakah Datuk Seri seorang yang sabar?

NAJIB: Saya sebagai individu, saya kena terima bahawa kita dalam demokrasi yang terbuka. Hakikatnya perbezaan pendapat itu akan jadi satu kelaziman. Kita lihat saja dalam negara-negara yang amal demokrasi lebih lama daripada kita, memang itu perkara yang boleh dikatakan biasa bagi mereka.

Orang menganggap kesabaran Datuk Seri sebagai satu kelemahan untuk bertindak?

NAJIB: Tidak...tidak. Saya tak anggap itu kelemahan. Kalau kita tanya apakah mereka mahu satu keadaan di mana ada saja yang mengeluarkan pendapat kita tangkap di bawah ISA (Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri). Apakah itu yang kita nak? Tentu sekali majoriti rakyat Malaysia tak mahu keadaan sedemikian. Mereka mahu kita merupakan masyarakat yang ada latitude/ruang untuk keluarkan pendapat walaupun kontra/berbeza. Tapi jangan sampai membawa kemudaratan kepada negara. Ini yang saya nak tekankan.

Ada pihak dalam UMNO sendiri merasakan seolah-olah Datuk Seri ini terlalu penyabar. Tahap toleransi lebih tinggi barangkali. Mereka kata tangkap saja, bimbang kalau dibiarkan jadi benda yang tak elok. Tetapi Datuk Seri kata politik dah berubah, orang lebih demokratik, pendidikan lebih tinggi. Sejauh mana toleransi ini boleh diberikan?

NAJIB: Saya percaya majoriti rakyat Malaysia mahu ruang lebih luas dalam discourse politik tanah air. Mereka tak mahu pendapat mereka terkongkong, mereka tak nak hidup dalam keadaan ketakutan. Kalau kita buat penilaian, tak semua nak balik kepada zaman ISA. Jadi saya lihat ini sebagai satu perkembangan positif. Walaupun ada suara-suara yang nak kita kembali ke zaman ISA tapi kita ada kuasa yang cukup untuk bertindak terhadap sesiapa yang cuba merosakkan keamanan dan keharmonian negara. Ada yang kita ambil tindakan di bawah SOSMA, Akta Kesalahan Keselamatan (Langkah-langkah Khas) 2012. Mereka yang tunjuk keinginan lakukan keganasan, kita boleh ambil tindakan di bawah SOSMA. Kita juga masih ada lagi Akta Hasutan di mana kalau cuba sentuh perkara sensitif yang boleh membawa pergaduhan dalam negara kita, menghasut dan sebagainya, tindakan undang-undang boleh diambil tetapi mesti berasaskan kepada prinsip undang-undang. Kita memang ambil tindakan berdasarkan undang-undang negara tetapi bukanlah dengan cara tangkap ikut rasa marah kepada mana-mana individu kita tangkap bawah ISA. Saya percaya kalau buat macam itu lagi ramai orang marah pada kerajaan. Kita perlu lihat di negara-negara Timur Tengah mereka ada undang-undang yang lebih keras daripada kita tetapi apa yang berlaku? Rakyat marah sampai rejim-rejim itu jatuh pada akhirnya.

Tidakkah nanti kesabaran atau toleransi itu memberi gambaran bahawa Datuk Seri bukan seorang yang tegas dan boleh mengakibatkan sokongan orang Melayu kepada UMNO itu merosot?

NAJIB: Tidak...Sokongan pada UMNO itu bertambah kuat (masa) election yang lalu. Hakikatnya kita telah membuktikan sokongan kepada UMNO itu bertambah. Tetapi kita mesti faham bahawa kalau sebaliknya kita ambil tindakan ikut cara dulu, apakah sokongan kita akan berkekalan atau sebaliknya orang semakin marah kepada kerajaan. Ini yang kita mesti menilai.


Orang mengaitkan pemansuhan ISA kepada keterbukaan. Apakah kalau ISA tiada orang akan terbuka, hentam raja, hentam agama. Bagaimana pandangan Datuk Seri?

NAJIB: Kita kena pilih apa corak masyarakat yang kita kehendaki. Sebagai sebuah kerajaan tentu kita kena mengambil pendapat majoriti. Kita tak boleh ambil pendapat sekumpulan saja. Jadi saya nak tahu apa pendapat majoriti rakyat Malaysia. Apakah kita nak sebuah masyarakat di mana ada ruang kita berbicara politik walaupun ada perbezaan pendapat, atau kita nak satu masyarakat di mana kita ada kuasa mutlak, tak boleh dipersoalkan oleh sesiapa. Kita nak tangkap orang, kita boleh tangkap. Apakah itu yang kita kehendaki? Kita minta rakyat tunjuk jenis corak mana masyarakat yang kita perlukan. Sebagai pemimpin saya bersedia lakukan apa saja yang saya fikirkan terbaik dan saya juga kena menilai penerimaan masyarakat kita. Tetapi apa yang saya dan kerajaan lakukan hari ini, pada pendapat saya adalah yang terbaik untuk negara kita.

Dalam kepelbagaian pendapat ini, Datuk Seri ada Facebook, Twitter dan dalam itu ada juga yang kutuk/ tegur Datuk Seri. Bila melihat itu, apa yang Datuk Seri buat terutama mengenai komen yang negatif?

NAJIB: Tak ada apa-apa reaksi. Saya tolak itu semua. Kalau cakap karut marut, mencaci, mengutuk, saya anggap mereka itu lunatic fringe atau orang ini yang tak ada adab, atau tak rasional. Ada yang kritik secara rasional...kalau kritik secara rasional dan beradab saya terima. Saya cuba nilai kritikan itu ada asas atau tidak. Inilah masyarakat yang kita kehendaki.

Maknanya kita berani terima teguran asalkan dibuat dengan cara ada adabnya. Dan kita mesti dengan segala rasa tawaduk, humility menganggap diri kita bukan tahu segala-galanya. Saya dah kata era kerajaan tahu segala-galanya dah berakhir. Maknanya kita terima kalau pendapat rakyat itu baik, dan ada asasnya. Kerajaan sedia pertimbangkan. Inilah keterbukaan zaman sekarang, ini yang saya rasa dikehendaki masyarakat kita. Sebab kita jangan lupa kita nak menuju sebuah negara maju. Semua orang kata kita nak Malaysia sebagai negara maju. Adakah cara dulu itu sesuai dengan ciri dan nilai sebuah negara maju? Ini yang saya nak tanya.

Selepas 2008 kita lihat percambahan NGO Melayu yang bercorak politikal. Mereka seolah-olah tak mahu menyuarakan kepentingan/hasrat orang Melayu melalui UMNO dan mereka antara yang mahu ISA dikembalikan. Macam mana nak reconcile dengan golongan ini?

NAJIB: Kita mesti faham dalam masyarakat kita ada pelbagai pendapat. Soalannya sama ada suara dia mencerminkan suara majoriti atau tidak. Atau suara sekelompok dalam masyarakat. Inilah yang mesti kita nilai.

Tentang pengkaderan. Adakah proses ini berlaku dan adakah UMNO masih berusaha membentuk pemimpin baharu?

NAJIB: Kita sedang berusaha mencari. Pertama saya nak supaya UMNO beri ruang kepada pemimpin baharu supaya mereka tak rasa kalau masuk dalam UMNO menyusahkan dia, dia terpaksa bekerja di peringkat akar umbi. Sebab sesetengah orang profesional ini dia tak nak terlibat dalam proses di peringkat cawangan dan sebagainya. Ini yang kita perlu beri ruang. Kalau nak lantik sebagai ahli jawatankuasa tambahan, katalah ada 10 ahli jawatankuasa tambahan yang boleh dilantik, apa salahnya kita lantik tiga, empat orang dari kalangan profesional termasuk dari latar belakang ulama, peguam, doktor supaya dalam jawatankuasa ini kita mencerminkan komposisi masyarakat secara keseluruhan tanpa mengetepikan pemimpin-pemimpin akar umbi.

Saya nak minta Datuk Seri simpulkan, kita sambut Hari Raya sebab merayakan kejayaan berpuasa. Jadi 68 tahun UMNO apakah yang dirayakan? Perpaduan, keutuhan atau kepelbagaian dalam UMNO secara khusus?

NAJIB: Kita boleh merayakan sebuah parti yang paling berjaya dalam sistem demokrasi yang terbuka dalam sejarah peradaban manusia. Ini satu keunggulan pada UMNO. Waima kita kata tak ada siapa boleh nafikan hakikat kita parti bukan saja parti tertua tapi parti paling berjaya.


UMNO tak boleh berdiri sendiri. UMNO menang kerusi lebih banyak. Tetapi sementara UMNO naik, rakan-rakan BN menurun. Ada tak formula supaya mereka boleh sama-sama naik?

NAJIB: Ini yang sedang kita fikirkan. Mungkin satu langkah yang boleh kita lakukan ialah supaya kita muncul sebagai Barisan Nasional (BN) lebih lagi dari segi program dan aktiviti kita. Tak ada lah UMNO dengan UMNO, MCA dengan MCA, MIC dengan MIC. Kita perlu kongsi satu platform di mana kita bersama-sama supaya dilihat inilah BN yang sebenarnya. Bukan MCA, MIC, UMNO berasingan. Ini merupakan satu model politik baharu kita boleh fikirkan ke hadapan. Sebab nasib rakan-rakan dalam BN kena fikir juga supaya dapat tambah kekuatan kita secara keseluruhan.

Apa nasihat Datuk Seri kepada pemimpin masyarakat Cina? Apakah perlu kerja lebih keras lagi seperti PRK Kajang? Apa formula terbaik menangi hati pengundi Cina?

NAJIB: Mereka (MCA) tak boleh rasa kecewa. Mesti teruskan usaha untuk yakinkan masyarakat kaum Cina. Kedua, mereka kena tambah engagement mereka dengan kaum Cina. Jelaskan kepada mereka dan di samping itu dengar rintihan dan keluhan kenapa tak sokong kerajaan dan cuba beri jawapan kepada keadaan sebenar supaya tak keliru dengan hasutan atau dakwaan daripada parti pembangkang. Tetapi apa penjelasan kita sebagai wakil kerajaan boleh juga kita terangkan.Mudah-mudahan kekusutan dapat dirungkai melalui engagement dengan pengundi dan masyarakat yang mewakili kaum Cina.

Apakah kemasukan MCA dalam Kabinet akan membantu ke arah itu?

NAJIB: Saya lihat memang MCA perlu sebab dasar-dasar negara kita kalau tak ada input daripada wakil kaum Cina, bila jumpa masyarakat kaum Cina, nampak mereka tak boleh uar-uarkan mereka sebahagian daripada kumpulan yang menggubal dasar-dasar dan keputusan-keputusan negara.

Setahun selepas pilihan raya. Apa analisis awal Datuk Seri mengenai kekuatan parti komponen seperti MCA, Gerakan dan MIC?

NAJIB: Ada sikit peningkatan tetapi banyak lagi perlu diusahakan sampaikan kita boleh kata proses pemulihan itu selesai. Belum lagi selesai. Maknanya kita ada tempoh sehingga PRU akan datang. Apa-apa pun mesti faham kita ada time limit dan mesti berusaha sedaya upaya.


UMNO naik jumlah kerusi, tapi BN tetap tidak mendapat mandat dua pertiga. Dalam pada itu, Datuk Seri menghadapi era keterbukaan; kepelbagaian pendapat; cabaran membawa negara ke tahap negara maju, terlalu banyak masalah (yang) kita lihat. Kalau saya, tak sanggup jadi Perdana Menteri. Bagaimanakah dengan keadaan ini Datuk Seri boleh tahan?

NAJIB: Saya lihat kalau kita terima hakikat bahawa dalam demokrasi yang terbuka, apabila kita memiliki dalam 60 peratus daripada bilangan kerusi itu sudah cukup kuat. Umpamanya di United Kingdom (UK), kerajaan Konservatif tak dapat majoriti overall, dia terpaksa berkongsi dengan Liberal baharu dia boleh tubuh kerajaan, tetapi dia masih mampu mentadbir negara dia. Jadi kalau kita punya mindset tidak terlalu terikat dengan faktor dua pertiga itu, seolah-olah dua pertiga itu kayu pengukur yang muktamad.

Tapi kalau kita tidak ada perangkap mental block tersebut saya percaya majoriti yang kita ada ini, kita boleh mentadbir negara kita sebab yang cuma kita tak boleh lakukan adalah perubahan perlembagaan sahaja. Tetapi apa juga dasar dan rang undang-undang kita nak buat, memang kita boleh buat dan kita telah buktikan pun segala-galanya boleh diluluskan oleh Parlimen dengan majoriti yang selesa. Jadi ia tidak menggugat kewibawaan pentadbiran kita. Ia masih boleh kita lakukan dengan licin, cuma ia satu mental block saja pada kita. Jadi saya harap kita semua akan beri tumpuan kepada kerja-kerja untuk membangunkan negara.

Dari mana datangnya keberanian itu, adakah daripada ahli pemimpin UMNO, atau pejuang-pejuang UMNO terdahulu atau rakan-rakan dalam Kabinet?

NAJIB: Saya tak rasa tergugat. Saya rasa saya dapat mandat daripada rakyat melalui proses demokrasi yang sihat, yang lebih terbuka dalam sejarah tanah air kita. Maknanya saya rasa ini satu amanah yang perlu saya pikul dan saya beriltizam melakukan dengan penuh semangat dengan bersungguh dan saya hendak serah kepada rakyat menilai bila sampai masanya. Jadi saya tidak rasa gusar, saya akan tetap menjalankan pentadbiran dan kepimpinan mengikut apa yang saya fikirkan terbaik untuk negara.

Masa penggal pertama Datuk Seri ambil alih tampuk pemerintahan negara, pentadbiran Datuk Seri nampak banyak (dasar dan program baharu), 1Malaysia, GTP, ETP, tetapi bila masuk penggal kedua ini banyak pihak rasa tak nampak hala tuju ke mana Datuk Seri nak bawa negara ini? Apa komen Datuk Seri?

NAJIB: Mereka tidak faham, yang pertamanya bila saya meluahkan Gagasan 1Malaysia, ia bukan soal pilihan raya. Ia soal nation building, membina sebuah negara bangsa. Jadi tentu kita nak bina sebuah negara bangsa, takkanlah setiap penggal saya nak keluarkan satu gagasan baharu, apa orang kata ini baru empat tahun, apa dah jadi pada Gagasan 1Malaysia. Soal transformasi, kita dah kata ini menjangkau hingga 2020. Takkan sampai 2014, saya nak kata Wawasan 2020 dah tak ada lagi. Jadi maknanya dengan komitmen dan sokongan yang diberikan kepada saya dalam penggal kedua ini saya akan teruskan sehingga Wawasan 2020 tercapai, sehingga hasrat kita menjadi negara maju jadi kenyataan. Lepas tahun 2020 barulah kita gantikan dengan visi yang baharu. Apa makna visi, ia menjangkau satu jangka masa yang panjang. Jadi takkanlah dalam tempoh empat tahun kita dah nak ganti dengan visi yang baharu, ini satu pertimbangan yang tidak rasional.

Datuk Seri, saya melihat keadaan sekarang ini seperti “nasi yang sedang ditanak, belum masak lagi tetapi dah ada yang kata mentah, tak menjadi". Yang diperlukan ialah masa, berapa banyak masa yang diperlukan Datuk Seri? 2020 kah?

NAJIB: Saya ambil alih tampuk kepimpinan negara pada 2009. Apa janji saya, janji saya pada rakyat ialah untuk membawa negara jadi negara maju pada 2020. Jadi kita baharu di tahun 2014. Bagi saya tempoh masa untuk kita membuktikan bahawa apa yang telah kita janji pada rakyat dapat kita penuhi. Kita masih lagi dalam tempoh menghala ke tahun 2020, banyak lagi yang perlu kita lakukan, dan banyak pun yang telah kita capai tetapi banyak lagi yang kita perlu lakukan. Dan kita boleh lihat dari segi ekonomi umpamanya, pencapaian kita boleh dikatakan baik dalam suasana yang tidak menentu. Kita telah capai kadar pertumbuhan yang amat memuaskan 4.7 peratus dan tahun ini insya-Allah kita mungkin boleh dapat tinggi sikit dari itu.


Masalah tak faham ini, saya lihat dalam soal cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) pun tak difahami, apa masalahnya?

Najib: Mereka tak faham, mereka ingat ini satu percukaian yang baharu. Jadi maknanya satu tambahan beban kepada mereka. Semua orang tak suka pada cukai, jadi bila pembangkang kata bahawa ini satu percukaian yang baharu, semua naik takut, dan secara automatik mereka kata mereka tidak sokong GST walhal GST ini menggantikan percukaian jualan dan perkhidmatan sekarang dan ia satu sistem percukaian yang ganti cukai sedia ada. Kedua; mereka tak faham, kita dah kata banyak barang-barang keperluan dikecualikan, zero rated. Jadi tugas sekarang ialah kita kena senaraikanlah jenis-jenis barang tersebut.

Kebanyakan rakyat dia tak tahu pasal konsolidasi fiskal, dia tak nak tahu pasal defisit negara. Dia nak tahu (harga) nasi lemak dia berapa. Dulu berapa, lepas GST (berapa). Susu bayi macam mana, dulu sebelum dan selepas GST.

Jadi kalau kita boleh huraikan berapa harga sekarang dan lepas GST, jadi rakyat boleh nampaklah GST itu sebenarnya tidak membebankan rakyat. Walaupun saya tidak dapat nafikan kalau kadar inflasi, mungkin ada sedikit peningkatan, tetapi peningkatan itu untuk tahun pertama pelaksanaan GST, lepas itu ia akan balik pada kadar yang biasa.

Dalam TV kita sebut apa itu GST, surat khabar, media elektronik, media baharu, tetapi bila balik kampung orang akan tanya, “saya akan kena ke GST?", pada hal kita dah sebut ikan tak naik, harga tepung, harga minyak masak takkan naik. Tetapi kenapa mereka takut dengan perkataan GST?

Sebab ada orang yang memomok pada mereka bahawa ini satu beban kepada rakyat, satu cukai tambahan kepada rakyat dan sebagainya. Jadi kita kena teruskan, tingkatkan penjelasan kita dan juga keberkesanan penjelasan kita kepada rakyat. Saya lihat sekali dia dengar, dia tak akan faham lagi, kena banyak kali. Rupanya dia kena dengar sesuatu mesej itu banyak kali baharu dia faham.

Betulkah Datuk Seri, orang kata kerajaan buat GST ni kerana kerajaan tak ada duit, dan bila dah ada duit nanti akan bolehkan kerajaan boros berbelanja?

NAJIB: Ini bukan soal kerajaan tak ada duit. Ini ialah untuk menstabilkan punca hasil untuk negara. Jadi bila punca hasil kita bertambah, kita dapat mengurangkan defisit negara, penarafan Malaysia akan bertambah dan kita ada kemampuan yang lebih untuk melaksanakan pelbagai projek dan perkhidmatan kepada rakyat. Kedua, kita boleh jaga juga kebajikan penjawat-penjawat awam dan sebagainya sebab ini semua bergantung kepada punca hasil kita. Hasil kita ini terlalu kecil berbanding dengan jumlah orang yang bekerja. Dan jangan lupa ada juga orang tak membayar cukai yang dikatakan the black economy ini, siapa yang terlibat dalam black economy. Maknanya sesiapa sahaja yang terlibat dalam apa-apa jenis kegiatan, dia akan terpaksa membayar cukai, tetapi cukai ini adil. Orang yang makan gaji tak dapat mengelak, tetapi banyak orang yang buat urusan-urusan perniagaan dan perkhidmatan lain mungkin dapat mengelak daripada membayar cukai ataupun tak bayar cukai sepenuhnya.

Masa kempen pilihan raya umum lepas, Datuk Seri sering melaungkan slogan ‘Rakyat Didahulukan’. Tetapi ada gambaran, lepas menang Datuk Seri laksana dasar rasionalisasi subsidi, yang dikatakan membebankan rakyat terutama golongan berpendapatan rendah.

NAJIB: Tidak...rasionalisasi subsidi ini sesuatu yang perlu kita lakukan sebab banyak ketirisan dan pembaziran, misalnya kalau harga minyak yang kita subsidi terlalu tinggi sampai RM23 bilion setahun, banyak ketirisan di situ, banyak orang yang tak sepatutnya (dapat), orang kaya dapat faedah dan sebagainya. Jadi kita ganti dengan bantuan subsidi secara bersasar (direct subsidy), sebab itu kita naikkan bantuan Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M). Bantuan BR1M ini sebenarnya mengimbangi, bila kita naikkan harga minyak. Jadi inilah cara yang kita lakukan. Maknanya bukan subsidi pukal. Kita kurangkan subsidi pukal, tetapi kita bantu rakyat yang layak dan patut dapat melalui subsidi bersasar.

Datuk Seri, pembangkang kata ketirisan itu di pihak kerajaan, kalau boleh dikurangkan ketirisan dan pembaziran di pihak kerajaan, tidak perlu dikurangkan subsidi?

NAJIB: Kita memang perketatkan. Maknanya, Laporan Audit Negara kita ambil tindakan yang serius. Saya dah minta Ketua Setiausaha Negara untuk umumkan apa tindakan-tindakan yang diambil oleh kerajaan terhadap penyelewengan yang berlaku dan sebagainya. Pembelian kerajaan sekarang ini hampir semua kita buat secara tender. Tak ada direct nego, tapi melalui tender sama ada tender terbuka atau tender terhad, dan kita menilai sesuatu itu supaya harga yang dibeli oleh kerajaan itu harga berpatutan. Maknanya kita lebih berhati-hati dalam soal pembelian kerajaan.

Datuk Seri dikatakan tidak memperjuangkan Bumiputera, tiba-tiba Datuk Seri memperkenalkan dasar memperkasakan bumiputera. Bagaimana setakat ini usaha itu?

NAJIB: Usaha itu berjalan dengan baik, macam-macam program kita buat untuk bumiputera. Kita ada Majlis Pemerkasaan Bumiputera, tiap-tiap bulan kita mesyuarat sekarang ini, dan ucapan saya tahun sudah di Shah Alam itu kita sedang laksanakan, umpama kita tambah peruntukan untuk bantuan pendidikan Mara sebanyak RM500 juta, kita telah melancarkan Skim Superb, kumpulan pertama telah pun dianugerah bantuan kerajaan, kita lancarkan Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 (ASB2), jadi semua yang kita telah janjikan, kita tunaikan.

Adakah kerajaan ada alternatif lain jika tidak melaksanakan GST, alternatif lain yang mampu meningkatkan hasil dan kemampuan negara?

NAJIB: Soal GST kita sudah fikir lama, bukan hanya di zaman saya (sejak) zaman dulu lagi. Sebanyak 160 buah negara di dunia dah melaksanakan GST, dan kalau begitu maknanya GST lah pilihan jumlah negara yang terbesar di dunia daripada sistem lain. Maknanya sistem GST lah yang paling telus, progresif dan memberi hasil yang bertambah pada negara.


Datuk Seri, baru-baru ini lawatan Presiden Barack Obama ke Malaysia banyak hasil yang tercapai dan tak lama lagi dengarnya Datuk Seri akan ke China pula. Dalam konstelasi (constellation) (kumpulan) politik antarabangsa, dilihat Malaysia digemari kedua-dua negara kuasa besar ini, banyak faedah yang diperoleh, tetapi banyak juga yang kata Malaysia seolah-olah dikawal oleh negara-negara besar ini.

NAJIB: Tidak. Kita sebagai sebuah negara kita ada prinsip kita, dasar luar kita adalah berdasarkan prinsip. Prinsip kita ialah untuk berbuat baik dengan semua negara berdasar kepada pertimbangan apa yang kita fikirkan patut. Kita bukan negara pak turut, tak pernah, kita ada pendirian kita yang bebas.

Misalnya dalam soal hal rakyat Palestin, kita terus perjuangkan rakyat Palestin. Itu saya beritahu kepada Presiden Obama dan dia tahu pendirian kita. Dalam hal ini kita tak ada kompromi tentang apa yang kita hendak perjuangkan keadilan dan hak rakyat Palestin, kita teruskan. Tetapi ini tidak bermakna kita tidak boleh ada hubungan strategik dengan Amerika Syarikat.

Pendirian Malaysia tentang Perjanjian Perkongsian Trans-Pasifik (TPPA) itu tetap yang sama?

NAJIB: Kita mesti sedar bahawa Malaysia ini sebuah negara berdagang yang besar. Nilai dagangan kita total trade 167 peratus berbanding dengan Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) kita, meletakkan Malaysia antara negara yang tertinggi di dunia. Maknanya kalau kita sebahagian daripada rejim perdagangan bebas, menguntungkan negara kita. Kita dapat akses kepada market, mereka yang hendak melabur di Malaysia pun melihat Malaysia ada kelebihan kerana mereka akan suka untuk melabur dalam negara yang ada akses kepada market yang lebih luas. Dia boleh eksport ke Malaysia tanpa dikenakan tarif, ataupun tarif yang rendah, jadi kita ada kelebihan. Sekarang ini ada 12 negara yang terlibat dalam TPPA, tetapi mungkin bertambah kepada 20. Kalau Malaysia terkeluar daripada TPPA, apa implikasinya? Mesti ada kosnya. Kita tidak nampak hari ini kosnya, sebab itu kita perlu menilai penyediaan TPPA kita secara keseluruhan. Di samping kita kena pastikan juga bahawa kita tidak menandatangani sesuatu yang boleh menjejaskan kepentingan kita. Saya tidak kata kita boleh untung semua, tetapi asalkan keuntungan kita itu melebihi apa yang mungkin kita terpaksa lepaskan, asalkan keseluruhannya lebih baik untuk kita.

Akhirnya saya hendak minta Datuk Seri menyampaikan pada rakyat apa yang Datuk Seri harapkan daripada rakyat?

NAJIB: Saya harap mereka memberi peluang kepada kita, maknanya kerajaan yang menerima mandat daripada rakyat. Kita ada mandat untuk tempoh lima tahun, supaya rakyat memberi peluang kepada kerajaan mentadbir negara kita tanpa menimbulkan banyak masalah.


10 sikap bos yang dibenci

SEMPENA sambutan Hari Pekerja yang kita sambut setiap 1 Mei, sesi merrepak hari ini khusus membicarakan 10 sikap bos yang dibenci.

1. Kaki Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp

Ketagihan kepada media sosial di atas ini selalu berlaku dalam organisasi di mana terdapat pengurus yang ramai sehingga pembahagian tugas menjadi kecil. Ini diterjemahkan sebagai pengurus ramai tetapi tugas sikit. Kenapa perlu ramai pengurus, kita merrepak pada sesi lain. Disebabkan tugas sikit, maka banyaklah waktu untuk berlegar di laman sosial. Kecenderungan ini jadi kegilaan kerana fizikal badan ada di meja atau bilik masing-masing tetapi jiwa raga di alam maya. Bila waktu deadline, baharulah terkial-kial hendak menyiapkan tugasan yang tertunggak.

PETUA: Jangan ‘friend’ bos dalam laman sosial. Takut sesekali anda tertekan ‘Check In’, bos akan tahu anda tidak berada di tempat kerja. Kalau dia minta friend, luluskan. Lusa anda ‘unfriend’.

2. Suka mencarut, bercakap lucah

Berpakaian segak, bertali leher dan kadang kala lengkap dengan sut, bos anda kelihatan tampan dan berkuasa. Tetapi masalahnya hot temper mengalahkan ahli gusti. Pantang sikit marah, mulut terus mencabul dengan perkataan mencarut. F%$# Y&%.

PETUA: Elak dari cetus kemarahan bos. Masalahnya masalah orang lain pun anda juga kena tempias. Belajar teknik ‘tuli telinga’. Bila bos mula mencarut, tulikan pendengaran tetapi buat muka lurus. Jangan lawan. Bos adalah durian. Kita durian belanda. Tak sama.

3. Kaki potong OT

Memanglah syarikat amalkan konsep jimat cermat. Jimatlah elektrik, tutup lampu masa makan tengah hari. Guna e-mel, kurangkan kertas cetak. Tapi memotong tuntutan overtime (OT) kakitangan yang bos sendiri kerah bertugas lebih masa, adalah tidak adil sama sekali.

PETUA: Bila bos arah kerja lebih masa, siapkan borang OT dan minta bos tandatangan terus. Kaedah ini bagi mengelakkan bos lupa di hujung bulan atau kemaruk memotong OT.

4. Cuci tangan

Ada kalangan bos-bos kecil ini memiliki tali pinggang hitam dalam seni kung fu mengelak kena marah bos besar. Walaupun kesalahan kakitangan itu telah disemak bos dan patut bos bertanggungjawab bersama-sama, tetapi perkara pertama dibuat ialah menunding jari kepada kakitangan. Kaedah ini amat bertentangan dalam prinsip mengukuhkan ukkuwah dan jati diri dalam organisasi.

PETUA: Sebaik berlaku bencana, bos jenis ini akan meninggalkan kapal. Jadi terserah kepada anda untuk bersiap dengan pelampung atau paling bagus, cari kapal lain untuk belayar.

5. Suka cari kesalahan

Bos yang suka mencari kesalahan kakitangan, kononnya untuk meninggikan mutu kerja mungkin mendapat didikan kepimpinan daripada sekolah tentera Ghengis Khan. Jangan puji, takut nanti kakitangan lupa diri. Tumpukan kepada kesalahan. Senang keji. Peduli apa aspek motivasi dan keyakinan untuk membuat keputusan dalam kalangan kakitangan. Mereka bukan bos.

PETUA: Kakitangan sekalian, jangan contohi bos sebegini bila anda diberi peluang memimpin nanti. Fikirkan apa yang anda rasa sekarang terhadap bos anda yang sebegini. Benci tegar, bukan? Lagi tragis bila bos besar memberi contoh nama anda sebagai contoh bos dibenci sewaktu perhimpunan.

6. Pengawal kesihatan tidak bertauliah

Bila kakitangan sakit, perkara pertama disuarakan ialah `semalam nampak sihat. Tiba-tiba pula sakit hari ini?". Memang tidak salah bertanya tetapi bab sakit dan tidak sihat ini, di luar kawalan. Kakitangan tahu, mereka kena mengemukakan sijil sakit nanti. Apa bos tak pernah jatuh sakit?

PETUA: Cetak artikel kesihatan berkaitan masa kedatangan haid perempuan atau laporan akhbar tentang masalah kesihatan kesan daripada meminum air lombong atau badan jadi gatal disebabkan catuan air. Letak atas meja bos. Harap dia baca.

7. Tidak sensitif

Syarikat menanggung hutang bila melakukan projek tertentu. Akan ada sana sini yang perlu dikurangkan kos dan dikenakan kos. Kawasan meletak kereta kena caj RM30 sebulan terhadap kakitangan. Maka kakitangan meletak kereta di sekeliling pejabat. Laluan jadi sesak. Bangunan parking lapan tingkat jadi gajah putih.

Yang tidak boleh diterima sama sekali bila bos potong kemudahan perubatan hospital swasta. Mana sensitiviti? Bos yakin diri sendiri takkan perlu guna kemudahan hospital tersebut.

PETUA: Buat petisyen bantahan dan kemukakan kepada Lembaga Pengarah syarikat. Tak berkesan, buat sidang akhbar.

8. Egois

Bos daripada golongan ini memiliki sedikit kelebihan berbanding bos lain, sama ada daripada segi pendidikan atau harta atau rupa paras. Ia menjadi melarat bila mereka diberi peranan atau kuasa. Kalau benar-benar bertaraf bos besar tidak mengapa, tetapi baru ketua unit pun sudah mempamerkan ciri-ciri Adolf Hitler, memanglah anak buah semua bertekad menjadi gerila pejabat mensabotaj projek.

PETUA: Tazkirah secara perlahan-lahan menerusi posting di Twitter, Facebook (di mana bos selalu berada) tentang perlunya menurunkan ego supaya tidak dibenci kakitangan.

9. Mementingkan kerjaya diri sendiri

Dalam organisasi yang ramai pengurus, masing-masing diberi beberapa kakitangan sebagai unit. Di sebalik memimpin unit, bos jenis ini lebih suka buat kerja sendiri untuk menonjolkan diri dan menerima pujian bos besar. Bila waktu patut semua pengurus bekerja serentak mengejar deadline, bos jenis ini selamba buat kerja lain. Itu belum kira waktu dia terlelap tanpa mengetahui seluruh warga pejabat mengetawakannya.

PETUA: Bagitau bos besar minta dia ketuai unit tanpa kakitangan supaya tiada yang rasa diabaikan. Kalau bos besar nak dengarlah.

10. Berpuak-puak

Bos jenis ini bercita-cita tinggi dan mahu menjadi CEO dalam tempoh singkat. Bos ini percaya dia perlu mengumpul kroni-kroni dalam pejabat. Mereka yang tidak sebulu dengannya akan disisihkan daripada mengendali projek besar atau tidak disenyawakan. Lazimnya, kakitangan jadi mangsa kerana tidak tahu hendak patuh pada siapa. Penyelia terdekat selalu kena veto Little Napoleon.

PETUA: Buat komplot untuk dedahkan kepada bos besar tentang puak politik pejabat ini. Cara ada macam-macam. Jangan guna surat layang. Sudah tidak berkesan. Guna Facebook. Johardy Ibrahim Utusan/Rencana/20140511

Jangan Sembrono haramkan GST

Polemik mengenai Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) nampaknya bukan lagi setakat berlegar seputar hujah-hujah ekonomi dan sara hidup. Kini semakin ramai ‘mufti-mufti’ segera yang mengharamkan GST atas hujah simplistik dengan mengatakan Rasulullah SAW tidak pernah mengiktiraf sumber negara selain zakat dan sedekah.

Jika semudah itulah hukum haram dijatuhkan kepada GST maka segala cukai-cukai yang selama ini dikutip kerajaan juga haramlah jawabnya. Ini kerana kaedah fekah menyebutkan “Apa yang diharamkan untuk dilakukannya, maka haram untuk mengambilnya".

Justeru segala pendapatan juga jadi haram kerana lebih 70 peratus hasil negara hari ini bergantung pada cukai tidak kira cukai langsung seperti cukai pendapatan mahupun cukai tidak langsung termasuklah duti kastam, duti eksais, cukai perkhidmatan dan cukai barangan.

Maka bukan sahaja kesan ‘haram’ ini terpakai kepada Kerajaan Persekutuan sahaja, malah kerajaan-kerajaan negeri yang diperintah Pakatan termasuklah negeri Kelantan, Pulau Pinang dan Selangor juga dianggap menerima pendapatan haram daripada pelbagai jenis cukai yang dikenakan termasuklah cukai tanah, cukai pintu, cukai perniagaan dan bermacam lagi.

Sebab itulah dalam Islam, hukum halal-haram tidak boleh sewenang-wenangnya dijatuhkan berasaskan sentimen dan kefahaman dangkal mengenai satu-satu perkara. Malah menghalalkan yang haram mahupun mengharamkan yang halal boleh menjatuhkan seseorang kepada kekufuran.

Berbalik kepada isu ‘fatwa-fatwa jadian’ mengenai pengharaman GST ini, persoalan asas yang perlu dibangkitkan, apakah benar cukai tidak dibenarkan dikutip oleh kerajaan?

Sebelum mengupas lanjut, perlu difahami bahawa permasalahan cukai adalah termasuk dalam ruang-lingkup Siyasah Syariyyah iaitu pentadbiran hal-ehwal awam negara Islam yang perlu diteliti aspek mencapai kemaslahatan (kebaikan) dan menolak kemudaratan selagi tidak melanggar batas-batas Syariah dan prinsip-prinsip umumnya.

Dalam konteks muamalah atau hal-ehwal keduniaan, Islam membuka ruang kepada pelbagai ijtihad dan pandangan yang boleh berubah mengikut zaman dan tempat kerana prinsip digariskan Allah: “Allah mengkehendaki kamu beroleh kemudahan dan Dia tidak mengkehendaki kamu menanggung kesukaran" (Al-Baqarah:185).

Cukai dalam istilah Arab dipanggil ‘dharibah’. Malah ada juga ulamak yang mengaitkan istilah ‘al-maks’ juga membawa makna cukai berasaskan Hadis Nabi SAW: “Sesungguhnya penguasa yang mengenakan ‘Maks’ (cukai) adalah di dalam neraka" (Riwayat Ahmad).

Sesetengah ulamak menggunakan dalil inilah bagi mengharamkan sebarang bentuk cukai yang dikenakan ke atas rakyat. Ini kerana dalam kaedah usul fiqh, sebarang ancaman neraka menerusi nas membawa pengertian bahawa perkara yang disebutkan adalah haram.

Namun sebahagian ulama lain termasuklah Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi dan Dr Ali Muhydin Al-Qurrah Daghi mempunyai pandangan berbeza dengan menegaskan bahawa kalimah ‘Maks’ di dalam konteks hadis ini membawa maksud khusus iaitu “sejenis cukai yang diwajibkan oleh sebahagian pemerintah dan penyokong mereka untuk bersenang-lenang dengannya walaupun menyempitkan rakyat mereka" (Al-Qaradawi, Kitab Fiqh al-zakat).


Justeru mereka berpandangan pengambilan cukai sebagai tambahan kepada zakat, sedekah, jizyah dan ushur adalah harus bagi memastikan kerajaan dapat mengurus kemaslahatan ummah seperti membangunkan kebajikan rakyat, bayaran gaji pekerja kerajaan dan penyedian infrastruktur untuk kemudahan rakyat.

Pandangan ini berasaskan kaedah fekah yang masyhur iaitu: “Pendekatan atau tindakan seseorang pemerintah kepada rakyatnya adalah berasaskan kemaslahatan" (Imam As-Suyuuti, Kitab Al-Ashbah Wan Nazooir).

Pendekatan inilah yang diambil oleh para sahabat khususnya Khalifah Umar al-Khatab yang antara terawal melakukan ijtihad baru mengenakan cukai Kharaj (cukai tanah). Ini kerana, Khalifah Umar RA mula melihat kemaslahatan atau keperluan untuk menjana pendapatan lain apabila wilayah kekuasaan Islam berkembang ke Iraq, Syam dan Mesir terutamanya bagi menampung keperluan perbelanjaan pertahanan, penggajian tentera dan kakitangan kerajaan yang menguruskan hal-ehwal rakyat.

Ini dinukilkan oleh Imam Abu Yusuf dalam kitab Al-Kharaj yang ditulis beliau bagi memahamkan Khalifah Kerajaan Abbasiyyah paling berpengaruh dan dikenali sebagai raja yang warak iaitu Khalifah Harun Ar-Rasyid (786-809 Masihi):

“Khalifah Umar berijtihad untuk perkenalkan cukai Kharaj setelah bermesyuarat dengan pimpinan dari kalangan Ansar dan Muhajirin akan keperluan menampung perbelanjaan kerajaan yang telah meluaskan jajahannya sehingga Syam, Jazirah, Kufah, Basrah dan Mesir. Walaupun pada mulanya ditentang Abdur Rahman bin Auf, namun ijtihad Umar disokong Ali, Uthman, Talhah dan Ibnu Umar."

Pandangan mengharuskan pengenalan cukai juga dikongsi oleh ulama-ulama Muktabar seperti Ibnu Hazim, Imam Haramain Al-Juwaini, Imam Al-Ghazali dan Imam As-Syatibi. Imam Ibnu Taimiyyah pula dalam kitabnya yang masyhur ‘Siyaasah as-Syariyyah fi Islah al-Ra’yi Wa al-Ra’iyyah’, mengharuskan pembayaran cukai berdalilkan qias aulawi:

Katanya: “Jika sekiranya Allah mewajibkan ke atas para sahabat yang berjihad dengan harta dan jiwa raga mengeluarkan ushur atau cukai dari hasil tanaman mereka, maka sepatutnya lebih diwajibkan ke atas golongan yang berkemampuan yang tidak keluar berjihad mengeluarkan kewangan untuk menampung perbelanjaan jihad (untuk kepentingan umum)"

Apa yang penting sebagaimana yang digariskan oleh para fukaha silam, sistem percukaian yang dibina hendaklah berasaskan keadilan dan dikenakan pada golongan berkemampuan hingga tidak membebankan rakyat. Cukai ini juga hendaklah dipungut oleh pemerintah bagi menampung perbelanjaan untuk menguruskan kepentingan rakyat dan kemaslahatan yang diperakui syarak.

Hakikatnya GST bukanlah satu jenis cukai tambahan yang diperkenalkan kerajaan di kala ramai yang merasai terbeban dengan kos sara hidup yang semakin meningkat. Sebaliknya GST adalah satu penstrukturan percukaian baru bagi menggantikan skim cukai lama iaitu cukai barangan dan cukai perkhidmatan yang sudahpun dikenakan selama ini.

Pengalaman 160 buah negara yang memperkenalkan GST selama ini telah membuktikan bahawa sistem cukai ini adalah lebih telus dan adil bahkan mampu mengelakkan daripada berlakunya ketirisan sumber perolehan negara yang amat penting bagi disalurkan kembali kepada rakyat.

Bukan itu sahaja model GST Malaysia yang mengecualikan cukai ke atas barangan keperluan asas rakyat seperti beras, gula, garam, minyak masak dan lebih 1,000 senarai barangan keperluan lain termasuk segala barangan asas yang dijual di pasar basah seperti ikan, ayam, daging, sayuran dan buah-buahan tentunya tidak akan membebankan golongan berpendapatan rendah dan sederhana.

Ini bermakna GST hanya dikenakan bagi mereka yang berkemampuan untuk menggunakan barangan dan perkhidmatan melebih keperluan asas. Peniaga-peniaga kecil yang pendapatan kurang daripada RM500,000 setahun juga dikecualikan GST.

Justeru tidak timbul isu bahawa GST haram kerana turut mengenakan cukai kepada golongan miskin. Malah pendekatan baru struktur cukai ini bagi memastikan semua peringkat dalam rantaian penawaran (supply chain) berdaftar akan memudahkan kerajaan memantau harga barangan dengan lebih berkesan bagi mengelakkan peniaga menaikkan harga sesuka hati.

GST tentunya dapat menjaga kemaslahatan rakyat yang sebelum ini seringkali dimangsakan dengan kenaikan harga barangan tanpa kawalan lantaran kos pengeluaran yang tidak dapat dipantau secara tuntas dan sikap peniaga meraih keuntungan sesuka hati.

Sebaliknya melalui GST, setiap pengusaha daripada pembekal bahan mentah, pengilang, pemborang sehinggalah peniaga runcit perlu mendaftar dan mengeluarkan resit-resit bernombor siri GST yang sah. Ini bukan sahaja membantu pemerintah memantau harga bahkan mengurangkan ketirisan perolehan akibat sikap tidak bertanggungjawab golongan yang lari daripada cukai sebelum ini.

Harga barangan tertentu yang dulunya mahal kerana dikenakan cukai berganda juga sepatutnya lebih murah apabila GST diperkenalkan kelak kerana setiap rantaian penawaran, hanya dikenakan cukai sekali sahaja dengan kadar 6 peratus iaitu terendah berbanding 160 negara lain.

Justeru hujah-hujah semberono yang mem‘fatwa’kan GST haram dikutip kerajaan kerana menindas rakyat adalah satu tohmah dan pandangan dangkal tanpa memahami secara holitisk mekanisme GST ini.

Apa yang mustahak kini ialah untuk kerajaan memastikan sistem dan operasi GST yang bakal diperkenalkan tahun hadapan benar-benar berfungsi dengan berkesan. Pada masa yang sama segala bentuk ketirisan dan pembaziran dalam perbelanjaan negara sebagaimana laporan Audit Negara perlu ditangani bagi mengembalikan keyakinan rakyat bahawa cukai yang dibayar tidak dipersia-siakan.

Akhirnya falsafah cukai dalam Islam adalah bagi memenuhi prinsip adil dan saksama sehingga kekayaan dapat dikongsi oleh segenap lapisan masyarakat sebagaimana yang dijelaskan dalam Surah Al-Hasyr ayat 7: “Supaya harta itu tidak hanya berlegar sekitar orang kaya di kalangan kamu semata-mata".

* Dr Asyraf wajdi Dusuki ialah yang Dipertua Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (YADIM). Utusan/Rencana/20140511

How GST Will Impact Home Prices & The Property Market

With the coming implementation of Goods & Service Tax (GST) in April 2015, many Malaysians are concerned with what this bodes for prices in general. It is inevitable that home prices will also be affected. In this article, we explain how home and property prices will be affected moving forward.

To properly appreciate how GST will affect home prices, it is necessary to first understand how GST works. (Click here for a detailed but simple-to-understand explanation of how GST in Malaysia works).

Aside from GST, one must also have an understanding of the Sales Tax, which is the existing tax scheme affecting the property sector. GST will supplant the Sales Tax come April 2015.

Tax Scheme on Residential Property – The Similarities

In comparing both tax schemes, we have to first identify their similarities.

One similarity between GST and the existing Sales Tax scheme is that no taxes are charged or will be charged to the consumer on the purchase of a home / residential property. For GST, residential properties fall under the “Exempt Rated” basket of goods. (But do take note that GST will be charged to the consumer for commercial property purchases as commercial properties are “Standard Rated”).

However, during the creation of the final product (also known as the input stage in tax parlance), under both tax schemes, developers would incur taxes during procurement of their inputs and materials. And this is where the differences start to become apparent between both tax schemes. The tax rate for inputs and materials vary between GST and Sales Tax.

Sales Tax VS GST for Residential Properties – The Differences

Based on the Sales Tax Act of 1972, basic building materials such as bricks, cement and floor tiles fall inside First Schedule Goods, in which all the goods in this category will not be subjected to sales tax. Meanwhile, other building materials fall inside Second Schedule Goods, in which all the goods in this category will only be charged sales tax of 5%.

Under the new GST implementation, all building materials and services (E.g. Contractors, engineers) will be subject to GST with a standard rate of 6%. This will invariably raise the production cost for developers.

If you understand how GST works, you will notice that in most cases, the additional tax cost is simply passed on to the final consumer (Standard-Rated goods), or is claimed back from the government (Zero-Rated goods). But in this case (Exempt-Rated), the additional tax cost is borne by the party before the final consumer – The developer.
The developer does not have a next “victim” in the supply chain.

This seems like good news for home buyers as they do not have to pay GST when purchasing a home. However, one should not be too happy about this. It is no stretch of the imagination to think that developers would try to build in the additional tax costs into the final sale price implicitly.

Before & After GST – A Comparison

The tables below show a comparison between the cost of a new property before and after GST. Certain taxes and costs leading up to the sale to the final consumer have been simplified for this purpose.
Also, an assumption is made that developers are able to transfer 100% of all incurred tax costs over to the consumer via the sale price.


The example above shows a price increase of 3.41% for new residential properties post-GST implementation. But there is a plus point to this.

Overall, new residential properties may register a lower overall increase in tax burden compared to Commercial Properties that are Standard-Rated. This is because there still is the chance that developers may only transfer some and not all of their tax cost increases into the final retail price.

The downside to this is that where pricing for new commercial properties will be cleaner (Sales Price + GST), pricing for new residential homes would look inflated. This, in turn, will undoubtedly have a knock on effect on prices in the secondary house market.


As a home buyer, it pays to know what the implementation of GST might bode for home prices moving forward. If you skipped the entire article, here are all the key insights in a nutshell:

  With GST, there should be a once-off increase in property prices across the board
  While developers may not bill home buyers for GST, they could transfer the costs implicitly via the sale price
  The overall price increase for new residential properties could be marginally lower than that for new commercial properties
  The secondary home market should see a knock on effect in prices

Armed with this knowledge, you can make a better decision on when to purchase your home - by Loanstreet | Yahoo Newsroom – Fri, May 9, 2014

Pioneer of 24-hour clinics in Malaysia dies at 88

PETALING JAYA — The pioneer of the 24-hour medical clinic in Malaysia, Dr K.M. Reddy, has died at the age of 88.

Dr Reddy, who set up 25 clinics nationwide more than 50 years ago, died in London on April 19.

Dr Romel D’Silva, who ran one of his clinics and worked with him for about 40 years, described him as “a man for all seasons, who would help people regardless of their background”.

“The clinics were his innovation, his brainchild. There were none in Malaysia at the time and so he contributed a lot in this regard,” he said.

Dr Reddy was the eldest son of a landowning family in Madras, India. After graduating from Madras Medical College, he travelled to Malaysia in 1952 to further his career in medicine, dedicating his first 10 years to government service.

He started his career at the Penang General Hospital, which was then considered the medical headquarters of Malaysia.

“He started out as a general practitioner at the Penang General Hospital looking after the TB clinic there, and later a leprosy clinic in Pulau Jerejak,” Dr D’Silva said.

“In 1957, he went on to become director and head of the Sungai Buloh leprosy settlement, the second largest leprosy settlement in the world.”

There, Dr Reddy was dedicated to eliminating public prejudice against leprosy and assisting patients in their return to society.

Dr Reddy was known to treat those in greatest need without charge. — file pic

“He was the first to start discharging leprosy patients. However, the government at the time thought it unsafe, even though by then they were not infectious or posed any threat to society,” Dr D’Silva said.

He left in 1965 to open his own private practice in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, which he ran daily until 9pm.

“His practice soon got a lot busier and it was then he thought it best that he run it for 24 hours,” Dr D’Silva said.

The clinic was equipped with advanced facilities and was staffed by four doctors.

“The original clinic was the biggest and busiest. After a while, he encouraged the doctors there to set up more branches elsewhere,” he said.

“The first branch was in Jalan Othman, Petaling Jaya, and the second in Setapak. By the time I first met him, he had set up 21 more clinics.”

Dr Reddy was a founding member of the Malaysian Medical Association. His pioneering work was at the forefront of rehabilitation projects, which the World Health Organisation and International Leprosy Association helped to develop further.

He was known to treat those in greatest need without charge. Such was his generosity that when in Bagan Datoh, Perak, he was known to receive gifts of coconuts in lieu of payment.

He moved to England in the 1970s where his five children and six grandchildren were educated and settled. Among his four daughters and a son, two of them — one daughter and the son — also became doctors.

Dr Reddy’s eldest daughter Jothi, who is a lawyer, said her father’s natural kindness and generosity carried over among his own children.

“He would often offer free services to those who couldn’t afford them,” she said.

“He was also a mentor to many and helped guide and inspire others to achieve their very best.” The Malay Mail Online 11/05/2014

5 permintaan buat si gadis takut

SAAT bergelar pasangan kekasih memang membahagiakan, apatah lagi jika si jejaka atau si gadis adalah orang yang menjadi idaman hati selama ini.

Ketika bercinta kalau boleh semua permintaan si dia mahu dipenuhi bagi membuktikan dalamnya cinta anda.

Namun dalam tempoh itu, sebagai gadis anda mungkin pernah berasa takut saat mendengar permintaan si dia.

Tentunya, ada beberapa permintaan daripada si dia yang mungkin tidak mampu anda turuti dan terpaksa memikirkannya berulang-kali sebelum memenuhinya.

Berikut adalah lima permintaan si jejaka yang boleh membuatkan si gadis berada dalam dilema.

1. Ajak bernikah tatkala belum bersedia

Si dia mengajak anda menikah, sedangkan anda berasa belum bersedia untuk melakukannya. Tentunya, ketika itu anda akan berasa serba salah, sangat bingung dan takut. Dari satu sudut, anda mungkin masih ada banyak rancangan atau impian yang belum dicapai dan anda sangat ingin untuk menggapainya sebelum menikah, namun ternyata si dia sudah sangat ingin menikahi anda.

Di sudut lain pula, anda tidak boleh langsung menolak lamarannya kerana akan menyakiti hatinya dan anda sendiri memang mencintainya sepenuh hati.

Dilema seperti ini sering dialami oleh sebahagian besar wanita moden yang masih ingin fokus untuk mengejar kerjaya.

Jalan keluar terhadap dilema ini ialah berusaha mencari jalan tengah agar anda dan kekasih tidak bermasam muka hingga menjejaskan hubungan.

Bincang dari hati ke hati, beritahu si dia apa impian dan rancangan yang anda ingin capai.

Anda memang ingin berkahwin tetapi anda memerlukan tempoh yang munasabah untuk anda mencapai impian anda dahulu. Awas, jangan biarkan kekasih anda menunggu terlalu lama kerana takut dia akan menjauh.

2. Diajak berjalan jauh hanya berdua

Permintaan ini kadang kala membuatkan si gadis berada dalam dilema atau gundah-gulana. Ketika ikatan di antara anda dan si dia masih terbatas sebagai kekasih, berjalan jauh dengan hanya berdua tentunya tidak manis kerana ditakuti akan terjadi hal-hal yang tidak diinginkan.

Selain itu, ibu bapa anda tentunya tidak akan membenarkan anda pergi bersama untuk waktu yang lama, apatah lagi jika harus menginap selama berhari-hari dan anda hanya berdua saja.

Apa yang anda perlu lakukan, tolak dengan baik ajakan kekasih anda itu dengan alasan seperti di atas. Jika perlu pergi juga, katakan padanya, lebih manis jika ditemani dengan rakan-rakan lain, bukan sahaja tidak menimbulkan pandangan serong masyarakat, bahkan lebih ramai lebih meriah.

Jika kekasih anda seorang yang ikhlas, pasti dia akan memahami dan menerima cadangan anda itu.

3. Bertemu ibu bapa si jejaka

Ada kalanya, si gadis juga memerlukan masa untuk mempersiapkan diri sebelum bersedia untuk bertemu ibu bapa kekasihnya.

Seorang gadis akan mempersiapkan dirinya secara matang bagi memastikan pertemuannya dengan calon mertua tidak akan berakhir dengan memalukan.

Ibu bapa si dia sudah tentu akan melihat keperibadian calon isteri anak lelaki mereka dan menentukan apakah gadis itu layak untuk bersanding dengan anak mereka.

Sebab itu, si gadis kadang kala menolak untuk diajak bertemu ibu bapa kekasihnya kerana berasa belum bersedia secara mental dan sangat gugup.

Membawa kekasih bertemu calon mertua, merupakan gambaran bahawa hubungan anda sedang melangkah ke peringkat seterusnya, iaitu peringkat yang lebih serius dan mungkin membawa kepada perkahwinan.

Justeru, ia memang perlu dilakukan dalam keadaan masing-masing sudah bersedia agar pertemuan berlangsung dengan selesa dan memberi manfaat kepada hubungan anda di kemudian hari.

4. Mengubah penampilan

Si dia ingin anda berpakaian lebih feminin dan elegan. Seorang jejaka kadang kala lebih suka melihat pasangannya mengenakan pakaian yang lebih feminin kerana ini akan membuatkan si gadis kelihatan lebih cantik dan anggun.

Namun, apa jadi kalau si gadis sudah terlanjur suka berpakaian tomboy atau setidaknya berpakaian kasual? Hal ini tentu akan mendatangkan masalah bagi si gadis tersebut dan pasangannya.

Bagaimanapun, si jejaka akan berusaha untuk menuntut perubahan pada penampilannya.

5. Mengubah keperibadian

Mengubah penampilan, walaupun sukar, masih boleh diusahakan. Namun, jika diminta untuk mengubah keperibadian pasti sangat sukar.

Sebagai contoh si jejaka meminta kekasihnya untuk mengubah sifatnya yang tomboy menjadi lebih anggun dan lemah-lembut.

Si gadis pasti memerlukan waktu untuk benar-benar mengubah keperibadiannya, kerana itu tentu tidak mudah.

Apalagi jika si gadis sudah berasa selesa keperibadiannya saat itu, dan memaksanya jadi anggun akan membuatnya merasa itu bukan dirinya yang sebenar.   Utusan/Keluarga/20140506

Kesedaran sivik masih rendah

PELBAGAI isu kesedaran sivik seperti kerenah negatif perokok, kebersihan dan vandalisme kemudahan awam masih tidak banyak berubah berbanding dahulu.

Masih ada masyarakat yang tidak bertimbang rasa apabila merokok, bersifat pengotor dan melakukan kerosakan terhadap kemudahan awam.

Jika itu keadaannya, bagaimana negara hendak mencapai status negara maju sedangkan mentaliti masyarakat masih sedemikian rupa.

Tabiat buruk perokok yang tidak bertimbang rasa hanyalah sebahagian daripada isu kesedaran sivik yang menimbulkan masalah kepada masyarakat dan pengguna kemudahan awam.

“Tabiat merokok memang amat sukar diatasi, tetapi sebaiknya berpada-padalah, jangan pula hingga menyusahkan orang lain," akui Yang Dipertua Persatuan Keselamatan Pengguna Kuala Lumpur (PKP), Samsudin Mohamad Fauzi.

Panduan yang paling penting ialah dengan memastikan anda tenyehkan puntung rokok sehingga benar-benar terpadam bagi memastikan sisa bara rokok tidak menyebabkan kebakaran.

Harta benda awam kerap menjadi sasaran
vandalisme. - Gambar hiasan

Jika perlu, merokoklah di tempat yang tersorok dan mempunyai pengudaraan terbuka, katanya, mengambil contoh kebiasaan perokok di Jepun yang merokok hanya di tempat khas malah membawa dompet rokok khas untuk membuang habuk rokok.

“Mereka amat mementingkan kebersihan dan tidak akan membuang habuk dan puntung rokok merata-rata tempat, membuktikan kesedaran sivik perlu dijadikan sebahagian daripada budaya kita," tambah beliau.

Hati nurani

Masih ramai perokok di negara ini yang tidak mempunyai hati nurani sewajarnya malah sengaja merokok di kawasan awam seperti kawasan hospital, sekolah dan tangga pejabat tertutup tanpa mempedulikan kesihatan mahupun perasaan orang lain.

Ada pula yang merokok di dalam ruang berpenghawa dingin berpusat seperti di lobi pejabat atau bilik hotel, sekaligus menyebabkan pencemaran udara dalaman yang mampu menjejaskan kesihatan semua pengguna dalam bangunan itu.

Malah, ada juga perokok yang tanpa rasa segan sengaja menghembus ke arah laluan orang ramai, misalnya, mereka yang terdesak untuk merokok selepas makan tetapi malas untuk beralih tempat ke lokasi yang lebih sesuai.

Tidak cukup dengan itu, mereka yang membuang habuk dan puntung rokok di merata-rata tempat seperti pinggan makan, lantai dan tangga laluan awam, sekaligus mengotorkan kawasan awam dan menyakitkan mata pengunjung lain.

Samsudin mengingatkan bahawa, larangan merokok di kawasan seperti sekolah, taman permainan kanak-kanak dan hospital adalah larangan bersebab, memandangkan kesan asap rokok pasif dalam kalangan kanak-kanak serta pesakit adalah terbukti amat buruk.

“Saintis membuktikan bahawa menghirup udara yang mempunyai kesan rokok akan memburukkan lagi keadaan pesakit yang mana sistem imun mereka telah sedia terjejas, serta kanak-kanak dan bayi yang masih belum mempunyai paru-paru yang kuat.

“Lagipun, ada banyak peralatan perubatan yang mudah terbakar, jadi, janganlah pula kita menyebabkan kebakaran di hospital dan bertanggungjawab terhadap beratus-ratus nyawa," tegur beliau yang tidak mahu tabiat buruk kesan kekurangan kesedaran sivik menyebabkan penganiayaan terhadap orang lain selain kekesalan seumur hidup pelaku.

Mentaliti pengotor

Kebersihan adalah antara faktor sosial utama yang dilihat dalam usaha menaiktaraf negara menjadi negara maju, tetapi sayangnya masih ramai yang bermentaliti pengotor.

Bagi menjelaskan perkara ini, Samsudin memberi contoh tabiat pengguna kedai makan dan tandas awam.

Malah beliau mempersoalkan adakah kita sengaja membiarkan sisa makanan dan tisu kotor bersepah-sepah jika makan di rumah?

Baginya, adab penggunaan tandas awam boleh dikatakan semakin baik selari dengan keberkesanan pelbagai kempen dan usaha penambahbaikan berterusan oleh pihak berkuasa setempat.

“Namun masih ada yang memandang enteng dan tidak menggunakan tandas dengan cermat sehingga membahayakan pengguna lain.

Ini termasuk sengaja membiarkan lantai dibanjiri air kerana tidak mahu menutup kepala paip dengan baik atau sengaja membiarkan hos air tidak disangkut di tempat sepatutnya," tambah beliau.

Lebih buruk lagi, ada pula yang bersikap pengotor dan tidak menjirus tandas dengan sebersihnya sehingga menyebabkan pengguna seterusnya ‘tidak lalu’ untuk mengguna tandas itu lagi.

Ada juga pengguna yang mempunyai tabiat membuang sampah seperti puntung rokok, plastik pembalut tuala wanita dan tisu ke dalam lubang tandas sehingga menyebabkannya tersumbat.

Sekali lagi Samsudin mempersoalkan sama ada mereka akan membersihkan tandas yang tersumbat angkara perbuatan tangan mereka sendiri? Sudah tentu tidak bukan.

“Sekiranya kita bersikap pembersih dan cermat ketika makan atau menggunakan tandas di rumah, apa salahnya kita bawa adab itu ketika berada di luar atau menggunakan kemudahan awam," tegur beliau lagi.

Lagipun, katanya, tingkah laku kita sebagai orang dewasa diperhati dan dicontohi oleh anak kita dan golongan yang lebih muda.


Tahap kesedaran sivik rakyat Malaysia boleh dikatakan semakin baik jika dinilaikan dari sudut penjagaan taman awam seperti taman permainan dan taman rekreasi.

Malangnya, tabiat buruk seperti sengaja membuang sampah merata-rata terutama di tempat awan seperti pantai dan hutan rekreasi tetap menjadi isu yang memalukan nama negara di mata pengunjung.

Begitu juga tabiat vandalisme kemudahan awam hingga menyebabkan peralatan seperti bangku, tandas, wakaf dan papan tanda rosak, masih lagi berlaku sedangkan tanpa sedar barangkali, mereka telah membazirkan wang rakyat untuk membaikinya.

Lantas, Samsudin menyeru semua pihak agar berusaha mengubah tabiat buruk ketika mengguna kemudahan awam selain membudayakan kebersihan sekaligus bagi mencapai status negara maju. - Bernama Utusan/Keluarga/20140509

Exotic mango harvest causes fruit frenzy

KANGAR: It is harvest season for the harumanis mango, and visitors are coming in droves to Perlis.

Fans of the fruit have waxed lyrical about its exotic taste and due to limited production, it is not uncommon to see people lining up to buy it.

The mango is only grown in the state and is only in season from mid-April to early June.

The price of harumanis can go up to RM35 per kilo, but this has not stopped people from buying boxes of the succulent, tropical fruit.

In fact, some even “book” the fruit online before it is even harvested.

During its season, the harumanis is not only enjoyed as it is, but is also eaten with glutinous rice or juiced.

Harumanis is high in antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E in addition to water-soluble fibres. It can also lower cholesterol levels and reduce phlegm.

  P1170004 P1170003
Mangifera Indica Linn atau Harum Manis di Jalan Masjid Firdaus, Segambut Luar, Kuala Lumpur.
Sapa beghani mai la ambik ....

Growers cannot meet the extraordinarily high demand for harumanis because annual production is only around a few hundred tonnes.

As with the previous harumanis seasons, many were forced to leave empty-handed due to the limited production.

Even the fruits on the trees have been pre-booked online.

Traders opened up booking as early as March 1.

Those who booked early would be able to get the first harvest in April, deemed the best but also the most expensive.

An online trader has set the price at RM100 for four kilos of harumanis, for delivery in the peninsula.

The delivery charge is set at RM38. The four kilos is only enough for three people.

To serve more than 20 people, the trader suggested purchasing 30 kilos ofharumanis at RM750. Factor in the delivery rate of RM158, and one would be spending RM908 to serve mango for around 20 people.

The price of RM25 per kilo is expected to last only until May 15.

Perlis Mentri Besar Azlan Man believes that this year’s harumanis production will be more than last year’s due to the dry weather during the blooming period, a condition considered optimal for good mango production.

The state government is always working towards improving production of the highly sought after harumanis, and has entrusted Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) to conduct research on it.

UniMAP has been successful in coming up with harumanis trees that produce fruits all year round. — Bernama

The STAR Home News Nation Sunday May 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Discovering the leader within

LEADERSHIP cannot be defined. What we can do is look at great leaders, the way they lead their lives and their qualities. Then we pull out these qualities and say this is what a leader looks like.”

That was how Nilai University mechanical engineering diploma graduate and author of The New Generation of Leadership: Transforming Ordinary Young People into Outstanding and Growing Leaders Nelson David Bassey described leadership.

Nelson’s motivational skills and ability to connect with students caught the attention of SMK Sultan Abdul Samad, Petaling Jaya principal Saraswathy Naranasamy who invited him to conduct a leadership workshop for her students.

Naranasamy said she had read the book and was impressed with the way it could resonate with youths, thanks to the simple English used and compelling content.

She said Nelson, as a young author, is a role model for young people.

“Nelson has shown initiative, leadership, talent and teamwork in writing this book,” she added.

The book was officially launched at the same event.

Meanwhile, the students clearly enjoyed the workshop as loud laughs and voices filled the air.

Fifth former Ahmad Ridhwan Ahmad Ismat said he learnt self-improvement and to not fear mistakes.

“We should admit when we’re wrong and have the courage to change ourselves,” he said.

Throughout the workshop, Nelson referred to a person’s ability to be a leader as a seed.

“If you take that little seed and put it in the soil, then in the right environment and the right condition, that seed will germinate into a great tree,” he said.

Nelson said he wanted to reach out to the young as they were easier to mould compared to adults who are mostly set in their ways.

“When I see young people, I see them as a blank sheet of paper. We can guide them on how to fill up that paper with something great.

“By teaching secondary school students leadership principles, they will have this knowledge in them and can start building a great future by the time they get to college or university,” he said.

Nelson shared that at the beginning of his varsity life, he was very shy and barely interacted with others.

He spent his days in lectures before heading back to his room to bury his face in books.

“I thought it was good to do well in my studies and paid attention only to it, ignoring everything else,” he said.

However in 2011, after an inspiring conversation with a friend, he changed his attitude and decided to pursue his unknown passion — leadership.

Although he may be on his way to becoming a renowned speaker, Nelson chose to continue his degree in mechanical engineering.

This may be a baffling decision to many but Nelson’s explanation struck a chord with many of today’s youths who choose to study one thing but change paths when it comes to their career.

“Life can be sectioned into three parts. I believe that each of us have these parts. We have a profession, a career and a business.

“Business is what puts money in our pockets. A career is what we pursue in school. Our profession is what satisfies the fire in our belly and comes back to our passion.

“Leadership satisfies the fire in my belly but my career is in mechanical engineering. So I will get a mechanical engineering degree but will focus more on my leadership development training.”

The 23-year-old Nigerian is so passionate about leadership that he started writing the book on this topic while still pursuing his diploma.

He first approached his mentor and Nilai University Faculty of Engineering dean Prof Dr Logeswaran Rajasvaran two years ago to help polish his draft.

Prof Rajasvaran was impressed that a diploma student was already in the midst of authoring a book and said he was more than happy to lend a helping hand.

“We wanted it to be an easy read so that anyone could follow the steps to become a good leader,” said Prof Rajasvaran.

Nelson also reached out to Mindvault Sdn Bhd chief executive officer David Oh to be another mentor and to guide him to become a better leadership speaker.

“This book captures the essence of what Nelson has gone through, what he believes in and how he has grown,” said Oh.

“As an author myself, I have an intimate understanding of how hard it is to come out and publish a book,” he added.

The book is written together with Prof Rajasvaran and motivational speaker Sarah Michel as contributors.

REBECCA RAJAENDRAM The STAR Home News Education April 27, 2014

Thank you Marlon

I WALKED into Coffee Bean at Empire Shopping Gallery for the second time to meet one of the most feared foreign strikers in Malaysia.

The first time we met, we spoke about foreign players in Malaysia, the standard of Malaysian football and the emergence of young players in the country.

This time, it is likely to be my last meeting with him. ATM striker Marlon Alex James has announced his retirement from football.

Marlon reacts after scoring the first goal in the 2008 Malaysian Cup final.

Marlon reacts after scoring the first goal in the 2008 Malaysian Cup final.

When I shook hands with him and exchanged pleasantries , he said, “I love the media people. They are so friendly and I can talk so many issues with them. I just love them!”

Marlon celebrates with fans after beating Singapore during a Malaysia Cup match.

Those words were comforting and I thought for a moment - the league is going to lose an influential player and the media will surely miss an affable character.

Many thought this would be his last full season but it was cut short due to injury and he’s decided to step aside and allow ATM to sign another foreign player to bolster the squad.

And that marked the end of his illustrious career. The 38-year-old forward was replaced with 28-year-old Haitian striker Fabrice Noel.

“B.Sathianathan has lots of connections around the world and he was impressed with Noel. He used to be my opponent in the North American Soccer League.

“Noel is fast and will add some flair to ATM’s attack. Hopefully he becomes a vital asset for the team.”

We got down to his post-retirement feelings.

Marlon being challenged by Lion's Firdaus Kasman during a match.

“I’m still experiencing the atmosphere. I go to training sessions and meet the players. It would be nice for me to stay around but at this time, I just want some time away from football and think about the future.

He said he is getting very emotional because he is close to leaving Malaysia and returning to his home town, St. Vincent and Grenadines.

“I’m going to miss some of my good friends here. Saying goodbye is not easy. I share really good relationships with my teammates and friends in Malaysia.

“ATM coaches and management have been loyal and respectful to me. I made the right choice to quit although some didn't agree with it.

“The players are having mixed emotions because when I played for ATM, it became a much better team. They are more used to playing with me under Sathia’s system.

“I can see the love and respect they have towards me and I can’t complain about their efficiency as a team. I’m going to miss them,” adding that Sathianathan is one of the best coaches he has worked with because he has a good relationship with him and Sathinathan is very open to new ideas.

James, who first made his Malaysian League debut in 2004 with Selangor MK Land has garnered a strong fan following especially with Kedah fans.

“Not just fans in ATM, but fans in Malaysia...Oh My God, whenever I’m on the pitch, I can feel the love and appreciation. I love to play in away games because the fans there are appreciative of my talents.

“In Kedah, the fans asked me to play for them for the last time. That was my aim - to retire there but otherwise happened. They have been great towards me,” said James who won the double treble (Malaysian Super League, FA cup and Malaysia Cup) in the 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons with Kedah.

Throughout his time in Malaysia, he was known for his goal-scoring exploits, physical presence and thunder-like shots but during his time here also, he had several grievances which he expressed during the interview.

Coach B. Sathianathan gives instructions to Marlon during a match.

“I’m very concerned about Malaysian football. They should just stick to one football transfer window. They should stop the two transfer window period.

“It is giving teams a financial situation. You want to put money into winning the league and not to players who come in for six months and don’t impress at all. This is ridiculous.

“We need the youths to step up. They need to have the mentality of eating, resting and training properly. By doing so, they will improve.

“In Malaysia, some players have poor eating habits. They eat nasi lemak and roti canai for breakfast, it’s not healthy!

“Rather than buying players, you should develop players. In five to six years, you will see the benefits of it. I would love to see a big change in FAM. There should be less talk and more action,” when pressed on what changes, he just said they need big changes.

He also said that refereeing standards have dipped and it is a big problem in Malaysian football.

“In 2008, Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh was the best referee in Malaysia. He was such a good referee. Now, we don’t have someone like him.

“We can’t even question referees these days. Standards have dropped. The quality of refereeing is bad. Some of them commit school boy errors!” he said.

He also spoke about racism in the game.

“People have called me black before. I can’t recall what year it was, when I played against Kelantan, three fans started calling me hitam. They thought I didn’t know what it meant and when I looked at them, the other fans apologised for their antics.

“When we played a pre-season game last year in Perak, I was called monyet by some of the fans. It’s upsetting but you have to get on with the game,”

He said Malaysia needs people who dedicate their life to football and shouldn't just go for the money.

“I will come back to Malaysia and contribute to Malaysian football. I just love it in here. I would love to do youth development.

“Before I leave Malaysia, I would love to talk to Minister of Sports (Khairy Jamaluddin) and Johor Prince (Tunku Ismail) about football. They are concerned about the development of football in Malaysia. I would love to speak to people with fresh views and they have it,”

Marlon gives a thumbs up to Kedah fans during a Super League match.

Being one of the best foreign players in Malaysian football, the former St.Vincent and Grenadines international also commented on the foreign players in the league and had kind words for one player.

“Some of them think they’re bigger than Malaysian football. No way, no one is bigger than Malaysian football. You can’t give that impression in and off the field. This has affected some of the football clubs in Malaysia

“One person I really admire is Luciano Figueroa. He played high level football before in Argentina and England and even featured in the Olympics in 2004. The professionalism and attitude that he shows is a magnificent example of how foreign players should be in this league.

“I hope they (JDT) keep him around for a long time. They should centre the squad around him,” said James who mingles often with other foreign players like PKNS FC’s Karlo Primorac, his teammates Bruno Martelotto and Juan Manuel Arostegui and Pahang’s Dickson Nwakaeme.

The toughest player he has played against is former Kelantan defender Obinna Nwaneri but he joked, “I scored many goals against his team, especially when he is playing,”

“Jokes aside, he makes me work harder than any other defenders that I've played with. I also loved playing against Lions XII. Because it feels like Malaysia vs Singapore. The rivalry is insane.

“Not to forget Kelantan too, the atmosphere is just amazing. It gives you an extra impetus to perform better,”

For now, he will be going to his hometown and is looking forward to see two of his daughters, Malaya and Azura.

“Malaya is always asking me when are you coming back and so on. I’m really looking forward to see her,”

He has that humble Caribbean vibe in him and you will always feel comfortable when you meet him. He will be missed by Malaysian football.

Thank you Marlon for those good memories...We will miss your goals and celebrations!

T.AVINESHWARAN The STAR Online Exclusive 10 April 2014

RM2 bil saved by keeping PhD students in local unis

THE Government can save about RM1 mil for every PhD student studying in a local research universities in comparison to sending them abroad for such studies.

Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said research universities which produced PhD students had saved almost RM2 bil so far.

“If a PhD student is pursuing his studies in a local university instead of doing so overseas, we can save from RM500,000 up to RM1mil for each of them,” he said at the Research University Showcase held at Universiti Putra Malaysia in Serdang, Selangor on Tuesday.

Idris explained that the cost of sponsoring a PhD student abroad could easily range from RM800,000 to RM1mil over the four years it would take to complete their course.

“Local research universities have produced 3,897 PhD graduates between 2007 and 2012,” he said.

The five research universities are Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

Commenting on the absence of Malaysian public universities in the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 2014, Idris said the ranking of universities do not reflect the overall situation of the local tertiary education scene.

“Rankings do not mean everything, although we can improve (our ranking). We must be realistic when aiming for a position” he said.

The third annual Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 which was released early this month, is an annual ranking of the world’s best universities that have been operating for up to 50 years. Times Higher Education rankings editor Phil Baty had said no Malaysian institution made it into the rankings.

REBECCA RAJAENDRAM The STAR News Education 11/05/2014

Speak up, silent majority

WE, as a nation, are going through tough times. We cannot seem to disagree without being disagreeable. The voices of discord, taken to the extreme in some instances by some quarters, have gone up many notches.

The fragile fabric that holds this nation together, especially with regard to ethnic and religious issues, is under threat.

We can say that these are but the views of the fringe minorities, whose words and deeds are amplified by the media, in particular social media. We can say that this is the price we have to pay for a maturing democracy to truly embrace true freedom of speech.

For a long time, our nation has been treading gently on the free and open articulation of certain issues. The founding fathers and every government since Merdeka have embraced the notion that some things are best discussed behind closed doors. In the spirit of consultation and compromise, we have successfully navigated through many a contentious issue.

This is not to say that there were no extremist views before. In any family, community, state or nation, differences of opinion are a fact of life.

But with Malaysia, we have always witnessed the resounding triumph of moderation and reason because of our principal belief that there is a place under the cosmopolitan Malaysian sun for every citizen who calls this blessed land home.

We would not have got this far, poised as we are to become a fully developed country by 2020, if we had allowed the zealots and the bigots to have their way.

Today, these voices seem to have grown louder, helped in some ways by the proliferation of social media.

We must understand that the days of speaking only to a specific audience are over.

It is no longer possible to say a particular speech is not meant for the ears of others not in the same room as the speaker. In a nutshell, one cannot be moderate with one crowd, and then espouse extremism to another. And that also applies to keeping silent, which can often be read as consent.

Herein lies the dilemma. Do we sit back and do nothing, in the hope that “folly will die of its own poison, and the wisdom will survive” as articulated in a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial published in an American newspaper back in 1922?

What we do know is that now is the time for all good men and women, from all creeds, cultures and religions, to rise up and contribute to the collective wisdom that is so necessary to drown out the folly of the few.

For if the silent majority does not speak up, it may be doomed to become nothing more than the silent minority in the future. And the fears in our hearts may then become real fears instead.

The Star Says Home  Opinion  Columnists Sunday May 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Our right to speak up

We live in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia, where any law, whether hudud or civil, will affect all of us.

SERIOUSLY, I am fed up of being told that I should not comment on the proposed hudud laws by PAS and the party’s fans because I am not a Muslim.

The argument is that I have no right, and also no understanding of hudud, thus I am automatically disqualified from discussing it.

Another naïve retort is that this issue should be left to learned Islamic scholars.

So we have the likes of people like the Muslim activist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) chief Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman taking this line of argument further. In his inability to articulate his views convincingly and fairly, he has resorted to threats.

In linking the non-Muslims who oppose the introduction of hudud to a particular ethnic group, he has even called the Chinese citizens in this country “immigrants” and “trespassers” and told them to be grateful for what they have enjoyed in Malaysia.

I wonder if the Isma president is aware that although our Constitution defines Malays as those who profess the Muslim faith, it does not mean that all Muslims in Malaysia are ethnically Malay. What about the converts from other races?

I know so many wonderful people who are ethnically Chinese or Indian, but are also good Muslims. How will all these saudara baru feel to be told off that they are “immigrants” and “trespassers”?

And all my Muslim friends who have been to Mecca always tell me how surprised they all were to see Muslims from all over the world, of all nationalities and ethnicities. It is estimated that there are 25 million Muslims in China, far more than the number of Muslims in most of the Arab countries.

And then the Isma president tells us that PAS’ hudud laws should be applicable to non-Muslims – which runs contrary to his argument that non-Muslims have no say. If hudud is going to be imposed on us, non-Muslims, then why shouldn’t we have a say?

Like it or not, the reality is that we live in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia, where any law, whether hudud or civil, will affect all of us.

We have a sad situation in Malaysia when one is unable to advocate intellectually or, rather, intelligently. Many of us are unable to take part in a discourse with a rational mind, preferring to shut down or, rather, shout down those who take a different stand.

And the saddest part is that these threats mostly take on a religious and racial slant. That seems to be the way Malaysia is heading.

Until now, non-Muslims are waiting for an answer, or to be convinced, as to how a rape victim would be treated under PAS hudud laws if there is a need to produce four male witnesses.

And just because four witnesses cannot be found, it does not mean a rape did not take place. It also doesn’t mean that the woman has committed adultery.

A non-Muslim wants to know how the law would be applied, since the victim and the rapist can be of different religions in plural Malaysia.

Why should the non-Muslim be regarded as hostile, with no rights whatsoever to even bring up such questions?

For that matter, I am sure Muslims themselves would want to know how this situation would be dealt with as well.

To bring it to another level, if the PAS hudud isn’t about amputation of hands and limbs with regard to petty theft, then non-Muslims surely want to know whether those who steal the country’s money via corruption would also be subjected to such punishment?

And, as one writer rightly argued, “What about civil servants, developers and politicians who allow the rape of our forests in the name of development? What kind of laws would these greedy people be subjected to?”

There are many Malaysians, and I dare say both Muslims and non-Muslims, who are disturbed by what is happening in our country.

Those of us who are in our 50s would remember how, during our school days, it was constantly drummed into us that Malaysia is a plural society or masyarakat majmuk. We live in a country of many races and religions, or berbilang kaum dan agama.

We took all this very seriously, and rightly so too. We memorised the five principles of the Rukunegara – Belief in God (Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan), Loyalty to King and Country (Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara), Supremacy of the Constitution (Keluhuran Perlembagaan), the Rule of Law (Kedaulatan Undang-undang), and Courtesy and Morality (Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan).

Then little disturbing changes began creeping into our text books.

We began to notice that Parameswara had disappeared from our history books and was soon followed by Yap Ah Loy, whose founding of Kuala Lumpur was put in doubt.

Surely Abdullah Zaik is old enough to note the contributions of the Chinese and Indians in opening up the country’s economy, unless he failed his exams in school or is too proud and too blind to accept the contributions of other races who have made Malaysia what it is today.

He surely cannot be blind to the sacrifices of non-Muslims in the security forces who dedicated their lives to fighting the communists in the Emergency, and the many MCA leaders who were killed because they were regarded as traitors by the communists.

Ignorant fools and bigots like him should not be allowed to get away with their remarks. If the authorities choose to look the other way, it is as good as telling many of us that such people are tolerated or, worse, even endorsed by them.

Wrong is wrong, and we are glad that former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has the courage to tell Abdullah Zaik off.

And let us not forget the administrators at Universiti Institut Teknologi Mara, who allowed two foreigners – in this case, Indonesians – to speak at a seminar which was essentially a threat to racial and national unity. If it isn’t, most of us do not know what it is.

Again, we would like to know how two foreigners can preach anti-Christianity sermons in a state-financed university whose students also include many Christians from Sabah and Sarawak.

As a student in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, I had to do Islamic Studies, which was a compulsory subject. But I enjoyed the lectures. I appreciated the opportunity to learn about Islam and until today, I defend the wisdom to teach the subject.

I have continued to deepen my study of Islam and I have conti­nued to collect books on Islam on a monthly basis. My private library has one of the best collections of books on Islam, I dare to say.

And as a Sixth Form student, I signed up for Islamic History and in my first year at UKM, I signed up for the Malay Letters Department. On a personal level, there are Muslims in my family too.

I may not be an expert in religion but, like many of us, we will defend our right to speak up. Do respect our rights as citizens too, and our wish to keep Malaysia moderate, which was what our founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman had set out to do for this beloved country of ours.

WONG CHUN WAI The STAR Home Opinion Columnists On The Beat Sunday May 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Laugh loudly, it’s good for you

I LAUGHED as I read “Let’s all laugh” (The Star, May 7).

Yes, we all must laugh more often. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict.

Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.

Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships and supporting both physical and emotional health.

It has many a social and mental benefit. It promotes group bonding.

Laughter adds joy and zest to life and even relaxes your muscles and the whole body.

A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.

Laughter boosts the immune system. It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. It improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

So laugh, and loudly. It is good for you and also those who laugh with you.

Bulbir Singh Seremban The STAR Home News Opinion  09/05/2014

WITH the initiation of World Laughter Day by Yoga founder and Indian physician Madan Katariar in 1998, this delightful, healthy occasion is celebrated in 72 countries by Happy and Joyous Clubs all over the world on the first Sunday of May every year – “Laughing your way to good health with ‘laughter yoga’” (The Star, May 5).

Indeed, loud laughter from the bottom of the guts helps to release feel-good hormones into the bloodstream, which makes the person feel lighter and happier. It is certainly good to organise and participate in laughter gatherings at least once a month for our general good health.

T. Ramasamy Kuala Lumpur The STAR Home News Opinion Wednesday May 7, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Broadband services slow and expensive

INTERNET is a basic infrastructure like water and electricity in the modern world. Unfortunately, Malaysia is still not up to the mark in the broadband and water supply services.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) denial that Malaysia is behind Vietnam and Cambodia in a broadband benchmarking study is another denial. All countries under the study by Ookla are subject to the same indicator comparisons like average speed.

If Ookla were comparing the broadband speed in Hanoi with Kuala Lumpur only, I believe the same result would prevail.

Other broadband benchmarking studies by other companies like Google also point to the same conclusion, that Malaysia is behind Vietnam in broadband connection.

Besides the slow speed of broadband, Malaysians have to pay more for broadband service compared to the Vietnamese and Mainland Chinese.

Please stop using the old argument that Malaysia is a big country compared with Singapore and that more fibre optic wiring is needed to link-up Malaysia.

In reality, Vietnam and China have a big budget for wiring like Malaysia, but the unit price for broadband in both countries are at least 50% cheaper than Malaysia.

MCMC, let’s buck up before Malaysia is rated as having the slowest broadband speed in South-East Asia by 2020.

N.K. Khoo Cheras The STAR Home News Letters 09/05/2014

Celebrate Mother’s Day every day

MOTHER’S Day falls on the second Sunday in May.

For someone who is there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no pay, what can we give our mothers in return?

All mothers throughout the world are awesome and without them many of us would not be where we are today.

Remember the times when we fell, got dirty and hurt ourselves, felt sick and hungry. They were always there for us.

And now that we are all grown up and have families of our own, it does not mean we forget about our mothers.

We should continue to show our love and appreciation to them and hopefully our children will learn to do the same for their mother.

In Asian culture, filial piety is inherent in many of us.

Tomorrow, many restaurants would be doing a roaring business either during lunch or dinner as families would be giving their mothers a treat.

However, to show one’s love for his or her mother does not necessarily mean giving her the best only on this day alone.

In fact, I feel that every day should be Mother’s Day and not just one day in the month of May.

My mother is now in her 80s. She has scoliosis and osteoporosis.

Initially, it was very painful for her as the bones began to deform.

There is no cure for her ailments but medication can alleviate the pain and give her some degree of comfort. Every three or four months she has an appointment with her doctor at the hospital.

Surprisingly, she looks forward to such visits and she remembers the doctor who first treated her for her ailments.

Previously, I used to take my mother on a motorcycle to the hospital for her appointments.

I used the motorcycle because it was and still is very difficult to find a parking space at the hospital.

Even though her back was already deformed when she was riding pillion on the motorcycle, she could sit and balance herself properly. And of course I did not speed with her riding pillion.

On a few occasions I have had the traffic police outriders or patrol cars coming to my side to inquire if my mother was seated properly as a pillion rider. These policemen were concerned by the way her back was arched. I appreciated their concern and told the policemen that everything was fine.

My mother seldom talks about the early years when she was looking after me. I could remember bits and pieces of the time I was growing up.

I am sure, like all mothers, she went through a lot for me in trying circumstances. Even till today, she is still concerned for my family and me, and will never fail to tell us to drive carefully whenever we go about in our car.

Our mothers are like gems and we must treasure them and appreciate the things they have done and gone through for us when we were growing up.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

Michael Ng Seremban The STAR Home News Opinion/Letters/2014/05/10

My mother, a selfless motivator

THERE is no one but my mother, a selfless motivator, who propelled me forward to a brighter future.

Whenever she came across obstacles and hardships, never did she give up or succumb to the challenges. Optimist is her name.

Mother, the first and best teacher, never felt bored in nurturing and guiding me towards the path to success.

Now, I am a mother of two boys and wish to bring them up in the same way as my heroine, show a good example in moulding their character and manners.

If I were a pilot, missing in the darkness, mum, you would surely be my radar.

I love you, mommy. Happy Mother’s Day. May you always be happy and healthy.

EE FUI Mei The STAR Opinion/Letters/2014/05/10

Selfless act, Stay and Fight, The Other Side of The Coin

The Other Side of the Coin

I HAVE not been able to forget Sharyn Shufiyan’s last column (Why I have not emigrated, Tapestry, Star2, April 27). It was how I used to feel too: guilty about the benefits I received just by being a Malay Muslim – so much so that I turned down three government scholarships, managing to win a private company scholarship back when it was rare.

I had parents who believed in exposing us to different cultures; and when I became a parent in my 20s, in the 1990s, I would show China on a world map to my young kids and explain that the Chinese live there but that the uncle next door is Malaysian. I used to not fill up the “race” columns in forms and was proud when my teenage son followed suit at school. But things have changed since then, and to me, the biggest change happened in 2008 and onwards. Suddenly, race became a dominant topic. Suddenly, I found that I was judged based on my race. However much I wanted to not talk about it or defend the Malays, I was expected to.

When I was in my 40s and had worked in several companies through job hopping, I heard that “They only hire Chinese at that level”, that it was “preferably Chinese” or, at yet another company, that “Malays can’t be accountants”. Complain? No. I have to live with it, I believe in the concept of rezeki (earning a livelihood). Who would believe me anyway? The only people who can be called “racist” in Malaysia are the Malays. Everyone else is a victim.

I wish Sharyn Shufiyan well, and I hope that she will one day live in a Malaysia where she won’t be told that the only reason she got a job/promotion was because she is a Malay, no matter what her qualifications or experience. Hopefully, she will live in a Malaysia where meritocracy is not only for the non-Malays. Hopefully, she won’t be humiliated in meetings by being made to feel that she is inferior, there only to make up the numbers.

I must say that the late Mr Karpal Singh has a much better attitude than I do. Me? I’m giving up. I tried. After being told repeatedly in the last few years how corrupt, lazy and weak I am because of my race, how I am the product of an inferior if not defective education system, what’s the point? After doing my best (nay, I’d like to think BEING the best in my field) but finding doors closed to me because of my race, what is the point? After finding that I won’t get much work from “certain” private sector companies yet told that it’ll be easy for me to find work because I am a Malay – I’m giving up.

Gave-Up Guy Shah Alam The Star Opinion Letters 2014/05/11

Stay and Fight

I READ with interest Sharyn Shufiyan’s article, Why I have not emigrated (Tapestry, Star2, April 27).

I hail from the era when English was the medium of instruction. After the May 13 incident in 1969, my parents sent me to Britain for further studies. Their instructions were for me to stay there, if I wanted to. But I chose to return home. During my schooldays, my best friend was a Malay girl. Our parents knew each other well, and our families would visit each other during festivals and exchange fruits from our trees. We have kept in touch through the years.

My best friend married a Chinese man and their children are brought up integrated in their parents’ cultures.

I believe our society is becoming regressive, rather than progressive. It saddens me that racial overtones are so present today, instead of integration.

It is so easy to just go away - most of my cousins are overseas.

But I am in my 60s now, and I wholeheartedly agree with the late Karpal Singh who said we have to stay and fight.

ET Georgetown The STAR Opinion/Letters/2014/05/11

Selfless Act

I READ Sharyn’s article two Sundays ago and would like to commend her for not quitting.

Sharyn, you could have moved to another country and enjoyed your life there

but you stayed back to fight for a change. That’s a very selfless act. I hope more Malaysians will follow in your footsteps in our fight to become "colour blind". I am very proud that you are Malaysian.

Robert Lee Tanjung Bungah Penang The STAR Opinion/Letters/2014/05/11

Quiet force of dignity: It's family first for Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah

Whether as our late second Prime Minister’s wife or our current Prime Minister’s mother, this Johorean beauty’s most important portfolio was her family. Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah’s youngest son Nazir gives her top marks this Mother’s Day.

Second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein’s widow was only 43 when he passed away, but Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah rose to the challenge of bringing up her five sons. Tun Rahah grounded her sons in values she believes are important and kept the brothers close-knit.

Whether as the wife of the then Prime Minister, and now the mother of our current Prime Minister, Tun Rahah has stayed largely out of the limelight. On Mother’s Day today, her youngest son, CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, pays tribute to his 81-year-old mother and how her pivotal role influenced their family.

He also writes of how her unconditional love remains his source of strength.

Tun Rahah Mohammad Noah and her sons today (from left) Datuk Nazim Razak,
Datuk Johari Razak, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Datuk Nizam Razak and Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

So much is known about your father but not so much about your mother. Tell us about Tun Rahah.

Tun Rahah or “Mummy” as I call her, was born in Muar, Johor in 1933 to a relatively well-off family. Her late father, Haji Noah (Tan Sri Haji Mohammad Noah bin Omar), was one of the founders of Umno and went on to become the first speaker of Dewan Rakyat.

The strict and domineering Haji Noah set his mind on his youngest of four (surviving) children, Rahah, marrying well and soonest. It was maybe because she was very good looking – tales of her beauty reached as far as Pahang where my father, Abdul Razak, was a rising star in the colonial government. He went all the way to Johor Baru to “spy” on her at school and then asked Haji Noah’s blessings to court her soon after.

My parents married in 1952 when Mummy was a tender 19 years of age. She did not get the chance to pursue higher education, and instead turned from schoolgirl to wife of a prominent government official overnight, and then became a mother as well within a year.

She went on to have five children over a span of 12 years. Her biggest lifetime disappointment is that she only had sons. In fact, she was so sure that her fifth (me) would finally be a daughter that I only had girls clothes to wear for the first few months of my life!

From independence in 1957 until Dad died in 1976, Mummy was the young and glamorous wife of the deputy Prime Minister and then Prime Minister. She was 10 years younger than her husband and became a widow when she was only 43.

When I look at old photos of them, Mummy always looks perfectly poised, radiant and beautiful by Dad’s side. Despite her limited education I am told that she held her own on whatever stage she was thrust upon – from visiting kampungs to attending a banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Despite the demands of public life and looking after Dad, Mummy was a wonderful mother to us. She had a lot of domestic helpers, of course, but she was always our primary caregiver.

When Dad died, she was a young widow with five young sons to bring up; the eldest, Najib, was only 23 while I was nine.

Once again, she was thrust into dramatically new circumstances. She adapted quickly, and became very focused on two things – her boys and religion.

The five of us owe her so much; in fact, sometimes I feel guilty that she had to be so consumed by our needs that she was not able to pursue much else.

She is a reluctant socialite; she attends the obligatory functions but is always happier with her family – she now has 15 grandchildren to dote on – and close friends, or at prayer.

Her favourite pastime, though, is shopping; thankfully she is also a typically frugal Johorean so she is quite careful with her spending.

She is wonderfully particular about seemingly small things that touch others – she has only forgotten one of my 47 birthdays, and the one that got away traumatised her for a long time! Even today she is meticulous about keeping a diary of birthdays and anniversaries of everyone close to her.

Family portrait...the late Tun Razak Hussein with his young family in 1974.
Family portrait: The late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein with his young family in 1974. Back row from left to right: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Datuk Johari Razak (with glasses); Front row from left to right: Datuk Nizam Razak, Tun Abdul Razak, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, Tun Rahah and Datuk Nazim Razak.

Your father was busy with public life, and your mother was the primary parent. What was your childhood like with your mother?

For me, she was the primary parent for the first nine years, then the only parent.

Her style was laissez faire but grounded on values which she subtly instilled in her children. She did not set many rules but expected us to know right, wrong, too little and too much.

Her support for us was unconditional and she always put our needs before her own, and that has always been an enormous source of strength for me when facing life’s challenges.

When I was 13, she sent me to Britain for boarding school. She wanted me to have the education I needed, it mattered not that it meant she would be lonely at home. At school, I would always look forward to her weekly letters and whatever advice she would volunteer. So, even while we were far apart she continued to influence me.

What were the challenges your mother faced raising a house full of boys, especially after the passing of your dad? Could you share some of your family memories/anecdotes?

It is to her credit that we remain a close-knit band of brothers. Maybe we all just feel we owe her so much that in the end we always want to please her, and her number one priority is that we remain close. Or maybe she has just subtly instilled a strong bond between her sons.

My most enduring memories of my childhood were of many evenings when my brothers and I would all lie on her king-sized bed together while she sat on the sofa, and we would banter about everything and nothing, and laugh so much.

Fond childhood memories... Datuk Seri Nazir with his mother Tun Rahah on the eve of Hari Raya.

We would tease each other about all sorts of things; for Mummy though it’s always about her shopping. The standard jokes were around holiday trips where she would shop for days, yet buy nothing for herself. She was always obsessed with getting presents for everyone else; family, friends and staff first, so the final few hours of the holiday were invariably a frantic scramble to buy her own things.

Being the youngest in the family, did you receive special treatment from your mother? Were you someone who would get away with mischief easily?

She has always been very determined to treat her sons equally. She had her rules about when we each would get what, like a first overseas trip or the right to buy a car. Due to inflation, by definition I got the worst financial deal!

Of course, because Dad passed away when he did, I had more time with her while growing up, but I don’t think any of my brothers ever thought I got special treatment. But you’ll have to ask them to be sure!

How has your mother influenced you as a parent?

I try to provide my kids the same sense of unconditional love and support. But these days the environment is very different: there is a much higher risk of negative and dangerous influences on kids, whether via the Internet or society at large. So, Azlina (Datin Seri Azlina Aziz) and I are a lot more hands on with our kids because we have to be.

How has your mother shaped your attitude towards women?

Like most women of her generation, Mummy is traditional in her views about the role of women. Growing up in a family of five boys and attending an all-boys boarding school kept me quite traditional too, or at least until I met my wife.

Azlina and I married at a fairly young age and went through young adulthood together, and I daresay her strong and progressive views on gender equality have tempered my attitude too. With a wife who studied feminist theory at Oxford, it is pretty difficult to be a chauvinist!

We have two children, a twin son and daughter, whom we are careful to treat absolutely equally.

At work, too, I am proud to say that CIMB is a Malaysian company at the forefront of promoting gender diversity.

What are the important life lessons you have learnt from your mother?

She is the most selfless person I know, to her family and to others. She has maintained a group of very close friends through the years, so now despite her sons being busy with work and their own families, she is never short of good company.

She has taught me the importance of personal honesty and integrity and service to the community by always being concerned about our reputation and the family name.

Without ever using the words themselves, she taught me that “perception is reality” so do the right thing and make sure people know that you are doing right.

What do you value most about your relationship with your mother?

Her unconditional love and support. Even when she is displeased with something I have done, I still know that she is there for me. I value this so much; it makes me a much stronger person knowing that I always have a safe emotional haven.

The STAR Home Lifestyle Family Features 11/05/2014

The last of the entertaining trio

DATUK Aziz Sattar had a lot of stories to tell. After all, he was one of the last surviving stars of the golden years of Malay cinema. "Bang Aziz", as he was fondly called, would regale his listeners with stories of stars, directors, producers and films that he was involved with.

My favourite: back then, Malay film stars had to moonlight to get extra income. Aziz and two friends, including a famous actress, were invited to a show in Johor. On the way back to Singapore, they had a flat tyre. To their horror, there was no jack in the car and, worse, there was hardly anyone passing the road at midnight. The actress told them to sort out the tyre while she lifted the car with her thigh. No one spoke about the incident. But they knew she wasn't the type to mess with.

But Aziz had many more stories to tell about the late P. Ramlee. In fact, he was always an unapologetic defender of the legend. He had nothing but praises for him. After all, it was P. Ramlee who made him famous as part of the trio that gave us the memorable and hugely entertaining Bujang Lapok, Pendekar Bujang Lapok, Ali Baba Bujang Lapok and Seniman Bujang Lapok.

It was in 1957 when Aziz was cast in the first Bujang Lapok. He was already in his 30s. But his youthful, innocent and boisterous look made him the darling of cinema-goers. Bujang Lapok was a massive hit by any standard. Together with S. Shamsuddin and P. Ramlee, they redefined comedy in films. Bujang Lapok was P. Ramlee's fourth film as director, and his first comedy. He started with Penarik Beca in 1955, then went on to direct Semerah Padi and Panca Delima. The first two were blockbusters.

It wasn't easy to direct a comedy. After all, P. Ramlee wasn't known as a comedy actor. In the 24 films he had acted before he helmed Penarik Beca, he was always playing dashing heroes or tragic protagonists. The secret of Bujang Lapok was in the chemistry between its main cast. The trio was perfect. Improvisation, we were told, was the guiding principle. They didn't just act by following the script. The actors improvised a lot. And, it worked.

Bujang Lapok was a cleverer version of the Three Stooges. P. Ramlee successfully replicated the concept in two Labu Labi films and later at Merdeka Studio in Ulu Kelang, made three Do Re Mi movies. The last in the series, Laksamana Do Re Mi, in 1972, was also his last film. He died a year later at the age of 44.

Bujang Lapuk started it all. And, the series was unparalleled in originality, ingenuity and freshness. Some of the words and phrases used in those films stuck to this day, in fact it became part of the lexicon of cinema. P. Ramlee made fun of everyone and got away with murder for his sindiran (teasing), wit and humour. P. Ramlee moved on to make many more great films. But Aziz and Shamsuddin could never replicate their success in the Bujang Lapok films.

P. Ramlee, of course, was in a different class altogether; he was an all-rounder, no one in the film industry came close to him in terms of originality, creativity and talent.

There were some who believed that many of the scenes and portrayals in the Bujang Lapok series were so original that they were ahead of their time. Remember the scene in Pendekar Bujang Lapok when the dead walked up to the trio? P. Ramlee diehards believed that John Landis plundered the scene for Michael Jackson's music video, Thriller, 24 years later! Watch it, and you might end up believing.

P. Ramlee died in May 41 years ago, Shamsuddin in June last year and Aziz four days ago. Aziz was the last of the trio in the Bujang Lapok series. There are few survivors of the MFP and Cathay-Keris era in Singapore. With Aziz's demise, an era closes. With him ends the great bintang filem (film stars') era.

Aziz may have played second fiddle to others on screen but he was always his own man in real life. He was affable, ebullient and humble. He was a great star with no attitude. Like the character he played in Bujang Lapok, he was charming, friendly and entertaining.

For that, he will be fondly remembered.

Aziz Sattar may have played second fiddle to others on screen but he was always his own man in real life.

Johan Jaaffar | Twitter: @Johan_Jaaffar   New Straits Times Home News Columnist 10 May 2014

Teach, and they will learn

EMPOWERING ORANG ASLI: More firms must help equip them with skills, education

WHEN was the last time you visited an Orang Asli village? Okay,  I rephrase the question:  have you ever been to an Orang Asli village? If you can spare some time, please go to one and see for yourself their way of life and the changes taking place.

Some friends and I went to Kampung Semelor in the Royal Belum rainforest a few days ago. We brought along some reading materials, clothes, and tobacco and cigarettes for the old folk. Kampung Semelor can be reached by boat and logging tracks using a 4x4 vehicle.

If it rains, then it is better to go by boat because the logging tracks can be treacherous. If going by road, one can see electric fences to prevent wild elephants from entering the Orang Asli villages. The electric shock will not kill the elephants, but are strong enough to stun them and make them go elsewhere.

I met several Orang Asli ladies in Kampung Semelor. They were making plastic bags and small pencil holders. Under the guidance of the Human Resources Ministry, vendors are assigned specific tasks to help the Orang Asli community acquire skills.

I met Ita, a 26-year-old mother of a baby girl. She had acquired the new skill of sewing plastic bags, taught by one of the vendors. Ita can also sew simple clothes that would find their way into the open market.

Ita is from the Temiang tribe, which has been staying in Kampung Semelor for many years. Tok Batin Samad is very proud of Ita and the other ladies because they have helped break one big perception among the community: that they are lazy, unmotivated and reject new ideas, including acquiring new skills.

"Kalau saya jahit banyak barang, saya dapat banyak duit (If I sew many things, I get a lot of money)," Ita said, when taking a short break.

She and eight ladies from the village had just been taught to make file holders and pencil boxes. She gets 50 sen for every file holder sewn. Depending on the amount of work and degree of difficulty of the tasks at hand, Ita can earn between RM300 and RM400 per month.

"Dia orang kuat kerja. Diorang rajin belajar (They are hardworking. They are good learners)," said Tok Batin Samad.

But, Kampung Semelor is not an ordinary kampung. Yes, it is located deep in the 138-million-year-old Royal Belum rainforest. The Orang Asli are generally nomadic, moving from one location to another, as they stick to the slash-and-burn lifestyle. Sometimes, the whole village would move to another location when there were deaths in the village.

But, it does not look that way in Kampung Semelor. The villagers are proud of their clean village, with well-manicured lawns and general hygiene. Tok Batin Samad uses a big biscuit tin as an ashtray and he is quick to tell visitors where to throw their cigarette butts.

The village has a toy library-cum-kindergarten, courtesy of Yayasan Emkay. Two Orang Asli girls have been given proper training to teach infants, using toys as tools. The village folk would send their children there in the morning to learn basic preschool stuff.

The parents would often volunteer to help out, thus, making the village even more close-knit. Shila, one of the teachers, said school hours were flexible with one guiding principle -- as long as the children came to the toy library, they would be accepted and given lessons.

Yayasan Emkay has spent a considerable amount of money to get the library started. Two other Orang Asli villages deep in the Royal Belum rainforest are also equipped with their own kindergartens and have different levels of success.

Prime Minster Datuk Seri Najib Razak, commenting on these initiatives when he paid a two-day visit to Royal Belum, including a visit to an Orang Asli village, had this to say on Friday: "I (would) like more companies to be involved in helping the Orang Asli community. Make these initiatives sustainable. Everyone can see that an initiative, like the ones I see here, is most beneficial. Do more, please."

Orang Asli children after finishing their classes in Kampung Semelor.

Ahmad A. Talib | | AhmadT@aatpahitmanis New Straits Times Columnist 11 May 2014