December 15th, 2014

Hero filem Melayu klasik, Mustapha Maarof meninggal dunia

KUALA LUMPUR: Seniman filem Melayu klasik, Datuk Mustapha Maarof, 79, meninggal dunia di Hospital Angkatan Tentera Tuanku Mizan, Wangsa Maju, di sini, jam 8.38 pagi tadi.

Mustapha atau nama sebenarnya Mustapha Azhari Maarof meninggal di wad Unit Rawatan Rapi (ICU) hospital itu selepas dua minggu mendapatkan rawatan akibat penyakit paru-paru.

Jenazah akan disempurnakan di hospital dan disembahyangkan di Masjid Sentul sebelum dikebumikan di Tanah Perkuburan Islam Ampang yang dijangka selepas Zuhur.

SENIMAN filem Melayu klasik, Datuk Mustapha Maarof, 79, meninggal dunia di Hospital Angkatan Tentera, Tuanku Mizan, Wangsa Maju jam 8.38 pagi tadi. - Foto fail NSTP/Zunnur Al Shafiq

Suami kepada Allahyarhamah Roseyatimah dikenali dengan filem seperti Hang Tuah, Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, Seri Mersing dan Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang.


1) Datuk Mustapha Maarof dilahirkan pada 1 Januari 1935. Berasal dari Kuala Lumpur dan kini berusia 79 tahun.

2) Memulakan kerjaya lakonan di era 50-an.

3) Sebelum menikahi Allahyarhamah Roseyatimah, Mustapha pernah memperisterikan pelakon jelita, Suraya Harun dan mereka dikurniakan seorang cahaya mata bernama Suzlynna. Namun perkahwinan itu hanya mampu bertahan selama tiga tahun sahaja apabila mereka berpisah pada tahun 1965.

4) Mustapha dan Allahyarhamah Roseyatimah mendirikan rumah tangga pada 1967, dikurniakan tiga anak iaitu Azlynna, Mohamad Rezainuddin dan Mohammed Khairuddin, namun Mohammed Khairuddin meninggal dunia akibat denggi ketika berusia tiga tahun.

5) Sudah berlakon lebih 50 filem dan beratus-ratus drama televisyen, sama ada di Malaysia mahupun Singapura, kini lebih aktif bekerja di sebalik tabir sebagai produser drama dan iklan komersial serta video korporat menerusi Warna Motion Pictures.

6) Selain itu, beliau juga sibuk dengan aktiviti berpersatuan. Pernah menerajui Persatuan Seniman dan menjadi Ahli Lembaga Pengarah FINAS.

Heritage: Unique blend of cultures

The traditions of a Chetti wedding are a showcase of how the community has adopted and adapted local customs, writes Mahen Bala

LAST month, in a spectacular weekend of colour, music and tradition, an authentic Chetti wedding took place in Kampung Chetti, Malacca.

Not to be confused with the Chettiahs, Chetties were originally Indian traders from Tamil Nadu who settled in Malacca during the Malacca Sultanate. Over the centuries, intermarriage between Indians and locals, and the adaptation of local customs had resulted in a unique blend of cultures, just like the Chinese Peranakan.

Sithambaram Pillay with his parents S. Thuraisingam Pillay and Gowri Tan Eng Neo. The Chetti dress bears similarities to the Chinese Peranakan dress.

The bride arrives at the temple.

Once the couple has been blessed, mandi mandi turns into a free-for-all water festival for everyone.

The Chetties dance the joget lambak and entertained by a traditional Dondang Sayang troupe.

Henna paste is rolled into balls to create small dots around the bride’s feet.

New clothes and jewellery for the bride to wear on the wedding day are presented on a silver tray after the thali blessing ceremony.

The thali is collected from the goldsmith and brought home where the family’s male elders bless the thali. The groom, Sithambaram Pillay, dressed in traditional Chetti attire looks on as his father performs the rites.

The thali is tied. They are now man and wife.

The kalyana murungai is covered with turmeric paste by married women of the family.

Most Chetties don’t speak pure Tamil. Instead they converse in a unique patois of Bahasa Malaysia inflected with Tamil. About 200 Chetti from some 30 families live within Kampung Chetti in Gajah Behrang, Malacca.

On Nov 22, T. Sithambaram Pillay, or Jeeva to his friends, married Chong You Wen, now Priyanka, in the style of a very traditional Chetti wedding at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple (Dato Chachar), as it would have been conducted in years long gone by.

As dictated by tradition, many ceremonies and rituals were arranged in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Here, with much input from Jeeva the bridegroom, the sequence of events:

Buang Suara A representative of the groom visits the family of the bride to ask for her hand in marriage. Locally, this would be referred to as merisik (spying).

Upacara Masuk India A customary traditional prayer held for non-Hindus as the Chetti Malacca Community are all

Saivites. Shaivism is one of the largest and oldest sects of Hinduism, centred on the worship of Lord Shiva as the supreme being. The ceremony is conducted by a Hindu priest in the presence of both families. The non-Hindu party then seeks the blessings of both families as a symbol of being reborn into a new life.

Sandanggu A ceremony traditionally reserved for a Hindu girl who has just reached puberty. She is covered with turmeric paste in a ritual called lumur kunyit and then bathed clean as a symbol of purification. After the ceremony, she is dressed in a long kebaya, batik and her hair bun is pinned with a cucuk sanggul, as a sign that she is now a woman. The ceremony is usually carried out by a Hindu priest with five married women who bless the bride by waving their hand in circular motion with a sprinkle of rose water, dried cow dung, a pot of water, rice, a batu giling, rice again, putu piring, bread and finally, an oil lamp. At the end of the ceremony, the bride gets a bite of putu with brown sugar.

Tukar Cincin The official engagement, or parasam. In a procession to the bride’s house, complete with bunga mangga and kompang, the groom’s entourage carries seven trays containing, in a prescribed arrangement, an old coconut covered with turmeric powder, bananas, sirih pinang (betel nut), rose water, bunga rampai (potpourri), rock sugar, dates, sweets, a saree, bangles, talcum powder, jasmine flowers and fruit.

At the bride’s house, the groom is welcomed with the acceptance of the trays. The bride puts on the saree presented on the sixth tray. During the ceremony, dowry (duit tetek) is given to the bride’s mother, and gold jewellery is presented to the family for the bride. The ceremony is conducted by a Hindu priest and ends when the bride and groom exchange rings. The newly-engaged couple then seeks the blessing of the elders from both families. The entire Chetti community attends.

Hantar Sirih Kuil The days leading up to the wedding. In the old days, a pair of sirih pinang was the invitation. These days, three silver trays bearing flowers, rose water, flower garlands, fruit, an old coconut, the invitation card and sirih pinang are presented to the committee at the Sri Poyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple to be blessed with an archanai (offering) made in the name of the groom. After that, wedding invitations are distributed in-person to temple trustees and the management committee of the Chetti Malacca community and then to the families.

Naik Tiang A ceremony where a branch of the kalyana murunga, translated as “wedding tree”, is planted in front of the house before any other preparation is made.

Sembahyang Thali The wedding thali is bathed in milk and blessed by family members, along with the wedding clothes. A thali, or mangalasutram, is a necklace given by the groom to the bride carrying the same significance as a wedding ring. Once prayers are completed, married women of the family help with the berinai — the couple get their fingertips and toes covered with freshly made henna paste.

Hari Kahwin The bride and the groom march from their respective homes to the temple, accompanied by their families. The procession is lively with musicians, kompang and bunga manggar. From the temple, the newly-weds join family, relatives and friends for a feast before being escorted back to the groom’s house.

Mandi Mandi An event full of fun and laughter held on the morning after the wedding. Family members and later the entire village take turns to bathe the couple with air bunga.

The wedding festivities included joget dancing and delightful dondang sayang performances. To quote a line from the dondang sayang performance: “Ini bukan Cina, ini bukan India, inilah Chetti Melaka.”

Mahen Bala is a filmmaker who documented this Chetti wedding for the Malaysian Heritage and History Club

‘Happy just to have a mattress’

I STUMBLED upon three surprises as a speaker at the recent International Conference on Higher Education hosted by the University of Guadalajara in Mexico.

The first was the concurrent renowned Guadalajara International Book Fair, regarded as the most important publishing gathering in Ibero-America that also doubles as a cultural festival. The second was the fact that the event — initiated 28 years ago by the university — draws authors of various languages and cultures from all continents to take part in stimulating academic forums and dissect key concerns. Argentina is guest of honour this year.

Mujica, 78, leads an exemplary simple lifestyle as head of state.

Jose Mujica is the embodiment of kepemimpinan melalui teladan and
indeed he takes it further beyond what Malaysia is not able or willing to do.

The most pleasant surprise, however, was the address by Uruguay President José Mujica in a hall full of admirers on the last day of the fair. I am privileged to be an invitee.

Until then, little did I realise that he has a huge following outside of Uruguay. If Asia hails Indonesian President Joko Widodo for his humility and modesty, Latin Americans see the same in Mujica. Perhaps more so, given his game-changing “simple” yet profound stance demonstrated throughout his presidency.

Mujica, 78, leads an exemplary simple lifestyle as head of state. The Guardian of the United Kingdom ran the headline: “Uruguay's president José Mujica: no palace, no motorcade, no frills” on Dec 13 last year. Reporter Jonathan Watts wrote: “If anyone could claim to be leading by example in an age of austerity, it is José Mujica, Uruguay’s president, who has forsworn a state palace in favour of a farmhouse, donates the vast bulk of his salary to social projects, flies economy class and drives an old Volkswagen Beetle.” Since assuming office in 2010, he has “won plaudits worldwide for living within his means, decrying excessive consumption”.

He and his wife have “only two guards parked on the approach road, and (his) three-legged dog as security detail” at his one-bedroom home set amid chrysanthemum fields outside Montevideo. The UK Daily Mail lauded him as a trustworthy and charismatic figure in an article titled Finally, a Politician who DOESN'T Fiddle his Expenses (Nov 16, 2012).

This was echoed by the chairperson at the book fair when he said in Spanish that Mujica is probably the only president who has not robbed a single peso from the treasury. The crowd applauded in agreement to this statement. It is no wonder that Mujica mesmerised the audience in his hour-long interaction.

And every so often he drew thunderous applause, unlike the half-hearted claps that we often hear. His charisma and sincerity come from the heart; he does not make mere “populist” statements that many citizens have grown used to.

Determined to be a one-term president, and with his office ending soon, he stated: “There is no social justice without sacrifice.”

He bears this out by living within his means and reducing unnecessary consumption.

"My lifestyle is a consequence of my wounds. I'm the son of my history. There have been years when I would have been happy just to have a mattress," he said.

Yet he is a critical realist. “We're in an age in which we can't live without accepting the logic of the market.

Contemporary politics is all about short-term pragmatism. We have abandoned religion and philosophy… What we have left is the automatisation of doing what the market tells us.”

He is adamantly against "blind obsession" to achieve growth through greater consumption, and insists on the “need to build things that last”.

He advocates that if we live within our means — by being prudent — the seven billion people in the world can have everything they need. While global politics should be moving in that direction, he noted: “But we think as people and countries, not as a species.”

While he has a mild demeanour, he is intellectually engaging. He was not shy in speaking his mind when it came to the fight against inequality as a means to overcome injustice and violence.

It was not surprising that he won over the younger generation, especially students. During his visit to the Federation of Students Union at the University of Guadalajara, he was conferred the Heart of Lion Award for highlighting the fight for the return of the missing 43 students from a Mexican teacher training college earlier this year.

Mujica is the embodiment of kepemimpinan melalui teladan and indeed he takes it further beyond what Malaysia is not able or willing to do.

Generasi baharu wajar dipupuk integriti, etika

Baru-baru ini penulis berpeluang mengikuti syarahan bertajuk 'Towards Creating a Society with Ethics and Integrity - The Way Forward' oleh Dr Ishak Ismail, seorang profesor dalam bidang pengurusan yang diberikan kepada mahasiswa tahun akhir dalam pengajian berkenaan di Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

Penulis tertarik mengikuti syarahan ini kerana ingin mendengar dari seorang ilmuan tentang kepentingan etika dan integriti yang diberikan kepada bakal pemimpin masa hadapan, anak-anak muda yang akan mencorakkan negara kita kelak.

Apatah lagi dalam keadaan kegawatan nilai yang kita hadapi sekarang, yang sukar membezakan antara nilai murni yang perlu dipertahankan dan dijadikan pegangan hidup dengan kepentingan kumpulan dan diri dalam konteks kuasa dan politik yang jika tidak berhati-hati akan merosakkan negara pada masa hadapan.

Hal ini amat dirasai kerana terdapat beberapa insiden termasuk yang dapat dibaca dalam status media sosial dan tindakan segelintir masyarakat yang amat membimbangkan kita. Lihat sahaja bagaimana status menghina seorang tokoh yang baharu meninggal dunia dengan kata-kata keji semata-mata kerana berbeza pandangan politik malah juga carut marut berterusan dalam komen di media atas talian mengenai pelbagai perkara yang seolah-olah menjadi satu gaya hidup baharu sekarang ini.

Usah beri muka

Malah kita melihat bagaimana mereka yang dianggap melakukan aktiviti
tidak bermoral, memaki hamun orang lain, memaparkan aksi erotik di internet, atau menyalahgunakan kebebasan yang ada melarikan diri ke negara asing, mencabar pihak berkuasa dan menganggap negara sendiri sebagai neraka untuk kebebasan hidup yang dipercayainya dibela oleh pihak tertentu walau tahu yang dipegangnya boleh merosakkan bangsa dan negara.

Seharusnya mereka seperti ini tidak diberikan layanan pun, apatah lagi sampai ke tahap menteri untuk memberi komen sehingga dia menganggap begitu penting.

Penulis bersetuju dengan pandangan Ishak dalam syarahannya yang mengingatkan anak-anak muda terhadap Wawasan 2020 yang mengungkapkan harapan apabila Malaysia menjadi negara maju, kita harus bangun sebagai masyarakat yang mempunyai moral yang tinggi, berpegang kepada nilai etika dalam masyarakat yang demokratik, liberal, bertoleransi dan nilai-nilai lain.

Namun kata Ishak, agak malang tatkala kita mempunyai infrastruktur kelas pertama bertaraf dunia, kita masih berdepan masalah besar dalam membentuk masyarakat beretika tinggi yang kemungkinan besar disebabkan oleh kepantasan proses pembangunan yang mewujudkan masyarakat materialistik dan kita semakin jauh meninggalkan norma hidup, nilai-nilai murni dalam mengejar kejayaan peribadi dan tidak dapat membezakan antara kehendak dan keperluan dalam hidup.

Pupuk budaya mulia

Kerana itu, katanya negara memerlukan tadbir urus korporat yang baik, mereka yang berintegriti, pemimpin yang jujur, ikhlas, pembentukan budaya yang menyokong kepada usaha ini dan yang utama ialah kembali kepada etika, akhlak yang mementingkan sikap saling hormat menghormati dan tauhid dalam sudut agama. Kita perlu menolak apa jua yang bertentangan dengan nilai-nilai ini.

Budi bahasa menggambarkan perihal seseorang yang menjaga tutur katanya kerana kata-kata apabila dilafaz adalah menggambarkan pemikiran seseorang yang boleh merosakkan jika tidak berhati-hati.

Budi pekerti adalah perihal pekerti seseorang, sifat dan perwatakan yang ditunjukkan melalui tingkah laku yang sopan atau dianggap biadab, manakala budi bicara adalah pertimbangan berasaskan pelbagai prinsip dengan mengambil kira kemashlahatan awam dan masyarakat.

Kerana itu, soal nilai dan etika mahu pun trilogi budi yang dipegang oleh masyarakat kita selama ini, apatah lagi jika kita melihat prinsip kelima Rukun Negara, 'Kesopanan dan Kesusilaaan' yang menjadi teras kepada pembangunan masyarakat dan negara harus terus dipegang dan dijunjung tinggi.

Kita tidak boleh membuang masa melayan kerenah seorang dua atau segelintir mereka yang mencabar nilai moral, etika dan agama yang ada walau pun mendakwa dan meminta hak mereka dihormati seperti mana kita juga meminta hak kita yang ingin melihat negara kita maju dalam acuan moral yang tinggi tidak boleh dipandang sepi.

Ironisnya tatkala Ishak bercakap panjang lebar tentang nilai dan etika, anak-anak muda pelajarnya yang duduk di kerusi belakang bersama-sama penulis di dalam dewan tidak langsung mendengar dan hiraukan syarahan yang diberi sebaliknya berborak kuat hingga mengganggu tumpuan orang lain dan melangkah keluar masuk di celah-celah penulis tanpa senyuman apatah lagi kata magis lama - 'boleh tumpang lalu' dan penulis berfikir panjang 'di mana adab seorang pelajar dan anak muda terpelajar universiti?'.   Mohamad Abdullah adalah Timbalan Pendaftar Kanan Pejabat Naib Canselor USM. Berita Harian Kolumnis 13 Disember 2014

Minyak bumi lawan minyak syal

Kunta Kinte selalu dengar orang kata, ekonomi susah nak faham. Orang muda pula kata, 'boring'. Yang lebih kerap cakap macam itu adalah orang Melayu.

Ini boleh jadi sebab orang Melayu tak kuasai ekonomi dan yang berniaga pun tak ramai berbanding orang Cina.

Kunta Kinte in “Roots”

Tapi, apa pun pendirian kita berkenaan ekonomi, ia penting. Jadi, Kunta Kinte nak sambung sikit lagi perbincangan kita berkenaan kejatuhan harga minyak mentah.

Kunta Kinte dah sentuh berkenaan harga runcit minyak. Harga runcit petrol turun sikit walaupun subsidi dihapuskan seratus peratus. Harga runcit petrol turun sebab harga minyak mentah jatuh. Tapi harga diesel naik.

Sejak pertengahan tahun ini, harga minyak mentah dunia dah jatuh dekat 40 peratus daripada sekitar AS$100 setong kepada AS$60 setong.

Kita kena ambil tahu dan faham sebab ekonomi negara kita, pendapatan kerajaan dan pembangunan untuk kita, banyak bergantung kepada industri minyak dan gas.

Mula-mula dulu kita bergantung kepada hasil bijih timah dan getah. Lepas itu kepada, getah, kelapa sawit dan kayu-kayan. Sekarang asas ekonomi kita lebih luas. Selain komoditi, kita ada barangan keluaran kilang dan perkhidmatan. Jadi, ekonomi lebih tahan goncangan.

Macam mana pun, sektor minyak dan gas sangat besar. Kalau harga minyak jatuh, ekonomi kita akan rasa kesannya.

Ada tiga, empat sebab utama harga minyak mentah jatuh. Nombor satu, ekonomi dunia lembap. Bila ekonomi lembap, permintaan minyak jatuh. Bila permintaan kurang, harga akan turun.

Instrumen pasaran

Kedua, spekulasi dan kegiatan lindung nilai (hedging). Hari ini minyak mentah bukan saja diniagakan sebagai komoditi fizikal, tapi juga sebagai instrumen pasaran sama macam jual beli saham.

Ketiga, pengeluaran yang melebihi permintaan. Untuk imbangi pengurangan pendapatan akibat kejatuhan harga, negara-negara pengeluar minyak, khususnya yang jadi ahli Pertubuhan Negara-Negara Pengeluar Petroliam (OPEC), tambah pengeluaran.

Yang keempat dan paling penting ialah persaingan antara minyak mentah bumi yang macam kita keluarkan dengan minyak daripada syal (shale), sejenis batu dari kelompok batuan sedimen.

Syal mengandungi minyak. Tetapi kos mengeluarkan minyak dari syal lebih mahal daripada minyak bumi. Tetapi kerana harga minyak bumi naik mendadak sedekad dua lalu dan teknologi makin canggih, minyak syal boleh dihasilkan dengan menguntungkan.

Minyak syal ini betul-betul macam cerita perah minyak dari batu. Melalui proses kimia, kandungan minyak batu syal boleh dikeluarkan. Komposisi kimia dan mutunya hampir sama dengan minyak mentah dari perut bumi.

Malah ada ramalan pakar kata, kos mengeluarkan minyak syal mungkin lebih murah daripada minyak mentah kalau dihasilkan secara besar-besaran. Ada lebih 40 negara di dunia yang ada deposit syal.

Mahu kekal monopoli

Inilah yang negara-negara OPEC, khususnya negara-negara Arab dan Iran, tak mahu. Mereka tak mahu monopoli mereka ke atas minyak mentah dipecahkan. Mereka nak bunuh industri minyak syal awal-awal lagi. Buat masa ini, mereka boleh tanggung harga minyak yang rendah pasal rizab minyak mereka sangat besar.

Jadi tak berapa betullah tanggapan dan pendapat sesetengah orang kita yang kata keadaan sekarang sementara saja. Kesan spekulasi dan lindung nilai ke atas harga minyak mungkin sementara, tapi implikasi persaingan antara minyak bumi dengan minyak syal akan berpanjangan.

Kita kena fahami dan buat persediaan segera dan jangka panjang untuk tangani perkembangan ini. Dalam skala dunia, kita negara pengeluar kecil saja. Tak layak pun jadi ahli OPEC. Tapi, minyak dan gas penting kepada ekonomi dan kesejahteraan kita. Jadi janganlah kita ambil ringan hal ini. Wallahuaklam.

The case for openness

EVEN some of those who had supported the release of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report agree that it could damage American interests abroad.

And opponents of the report are sure that, in Senator Ted Cruz’s words, it “will endanger lives,
drive away our allies” and “undermine” national security. But will it really?

Cruz’s argument is similar to what we heard often during the Cold War.

(The “Cold War” was a state of political and military tension after World War 2 between powers in the Western Bloc — the US, its North Atlantic Treaty Alliance allies and others — and powers in the Eastern Bloc — the Soviet Union and its allies — in the Warsaw Pact).

America was at a disadvantage compared with the Soviet Union, it was said, because it had to operate with its hands tied behind its back, with congressional interference, media exposure and all the other trappings of a democracy.

Moscow, on the other hand, could act speedily, effectively, lethally and in secret.

Even a dove like George Kennan would lament that conducting foreign policy in a large, messy democracy was a handicap.

(George Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist, and historian, best known as “the father of containment” and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War.)

In fact, the Soviet Union pursued an utterly disastrous foreign policy. It so brutally suppressed its “allies” that by the 1980s, it was flanked by a group of countries in Eastern Europe that had become deeply hostile.

It pursued an arms race with the US that consumed, by some estimates, 10 per cent to nearly 20 per cent of its gross domestic product. It invaded Afghanistan and bled itself dry in a war it could not admit it had lost.

All these flaws were a product of a closed system with no checks and balances.

The Kremlin and the KGB (the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its collapse in 1991) had complete freedom of manoeuvre, no oversight, no requirement to ever reveal any operations, and no media that reported on them. The result was that errors persisted and ultimately broke the back of the entire enterprise.

America made its share of mistakes during the Cold War. But because of a democratic system of contestation, transparency, checks and balances, many of them were exposed early. New administrations could shift policy without losing face. Course correction was routine.

Despite the nostalgia that many mandarins have for an old Metternichian model, it is the big, raucous, contentious democracies — Britain and the United States — that have prevailed in the world, not Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan or the Soviet Union.

“A case can be made ... that secrecy is for losers,” the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote in his 1998 book on the subject, adding, “Openness is now a singular, and singularly American, advantage.”

Closed systems work badly. Open systems have the great advantage of getting feedback — criticism, commentary, audits, reports.

The Central Investigation Agency (CIA) claims that its programmes after 9/11 worked very well and suggests that the best judge of this should be itself.

The Senate report provides an alternative view with substantial evidence and argumentation.

This debate will make the CIA better, not worse. And the revelations of the National Security Agency (NSA)’s vast espionage will force it to refine its snooping to programmes that are effective and justifiable.

What organisation has ever benefited from being able to be the sole judge of its own performance?

Democratic accountability is almost like a market test for government agencies. It forces an outside check that is otherwise very difficult to come by.

The touchstone example of congressional revelations that are said to have damaged American foreign policy is the Church Committee.

It became an article of faith for many that the committee, set up in 1975 in the wake of the Watergate scandal, destroyed the CIA and weakened America.

But what were its revelations? That the CIA had attempted to assassinate a series of leaders across the Third World, often in ham-fisted and botched operations that provoked a nationalist backlash for decades. That it covered up its mistakes. That it had spied on American citizens.

A worker cleaning the floor at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia. A torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee has delivered a damning indictment of CIA interrogation practices after the 9/11 attacks. AP pic

The reforms of the era included a ban on assassinations, congressional and judicial oversight of intelligence agencies, the requirement that the president formally approve a covert action (to create accountability), and a term limit for the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (so that no individual could amass and abuse power in the manner that J. Edgar Hoover had for four decades).

It is a measure of how sensible these reforms are that they are today utterly uncontested.

As for the broader consequences, a few years after the Church Committee, the revolt in Afghanistan, dissent in Eastern Europe and dysfunction in the Soviet Union — all assisted by America’s intelligence agencies — caused the unravelling of the Soviet empire. Keep that in mind when you hear the same kinds of warnings today.

Melayu jangan takut mencuba

UTUSAN: Apakah pendapat Tan Sri mengenai pandangan sesetengah pihak yang mempertikaikan keupayaan pelajar Melayu ketika ini?

Tan Sri Arsha Ayub

ARSHAD: Peluang pendidikan kepada anak-anak Melayu sebenarnya telah disediakan oleh kerajaan bermula di peringkat sekolah hinggalah ke institusi pengajian tinggi (IPT). Jadi terpulang kepada mereka yang bertanggungjawab mengurus institusi pendidikan ini sama ada guru besar, pejabat pelajaran atau pengurusan IPT untuk melaksanakan dasar-dasar melibatkan pendidikan yang digariskan oleh kerajaan.

Saya tidak mahu tuduh sesiapa. Kalau di sekolah, tanggungjawab mendidik para pelajar adalah terpulang kepada guru, dialah menjadi katalis (pemangkin), menggalak, memberi manfaat dan menunjukkan.

Bila bercakap mengenai guru, ia termasuklah di universiti-universiti. Kalau kita perhatikan pada hari ini, kerajaan telah buat pelbagai kaedah sama ada Indeks Petunjuk Prestasi (KPI) dan lain-lain tetapi isinya perlu dikotakan.

Sebagai contoh di UiTM, kerajaan telah menyediakan kemudahan pendidikan kepada pelajar Melayu dan bumiputera, jadi terpulanglah kepada pensyarah-pensyarah, Naib Canselor dan pucuk pimpinan universiti untuk melaksanakannya. Di mana-mana pun, universiti, sekolah atau rumah, siapa yang memimpin itulah yang paling mustahak. Sesetengah orang ada lapan orang anak, tapi dia berjaya memimpin kesemua anaknya masuk universiti.

Kerajaan sediakan kemudahan sahaja, tapi kita yang menggunakan sepenuhnya (kemudahan itu). Masing-masing ada tugas. Perancangan untuk pendidikan anak-anak Melayu sebenarnya telah disediakan. Cumanya orang menjalankan pengurusan kemudahan pendidikan itu perlu pastikan adakah para pelajar mengambil kesempatan menggunakan kemudahan tersebut.

Kalau tanya saya, majoriti pelajar mengambil kesempatan ini dan tidak ada orang nak membazir kemudahan yang disediakan, mungkin ada tapi peratusannya terlalu kecil. Namun, dalam apa-apa pelaksanaan perancangan tidak boleh dinafikan mesti ada sedikit kelemahan, tidak ada 100 peratus sempurna, tapi mesti ada bilangan yang signifikan menggunakan manfaat tersebut untuk membangunkan pelajar. Tenaga pengajar mesti faham tugas mereka.

Dasar kerajaan cuma menyediakan sahaja, yang memantau ialah pihak yang terlibat menguruskan kemudahan pendidikan tersebut.

Kalau di UiTM, Timbalan Cancelor ada empat, tapi UiTM ini besar dan cabarannya adalah tinggi untuk melaksanakan dasar itu kerana mempunyai kampus di setiap negeri, ada kampus bandar lagi. Ada sesetengah pihak berpendapat sebab kita banyak, kualiti turun...pada saya tidak.

Di UiTM kita ada banyak profesional, macam sesi ini (Konvokesyen UiTM Ke-81) ini, kita ada 31,000 graduan. Katakan kalau satu peratus gradu­an kurang cemerlang, ia tidak boleh mewakili semua tidak elok.

Apa pandangan Tan Sri mengenai pencapaian keseluruhan anak-anak Melayu, apakah mereka sudah cukup berjaya atau sebaliknya?

Pencapaian anak-anak Melayu memang sudah tinggi, tetapi kalau kita ambil nisbah 65 peratus populasi orang Melayu ianya masih tidak cukup. Contohnya dalam bidang perakaunan, berapa bilangan anak Melayu sebagai akauntan profesional? Ia masih tidak cukup. Dengan populasi kira-kira 65 peratus maka sekurang-kurangnya kita perlu ada 65 peratus doktor Melayu. Komposisi kita belum capai lagi, masih jauh. Angka itu perlu dipertingkatkan. Banyak yang perlu kita tingkatkan, seperti jurutera.

Kita kena tanya mengapa kita tidak boleh hasilkan ramai profesional Melayu? Hal ini kerana sesetengah pelajar tidak berminat menjadi profesional seperti jurutera, akauntan, juruukur bahan dan juruukur tanah selain kursus insurance dan marketing yang bagus untuk menjalankan perniagaan.

Oleh kerana kita berpuas hati hanya dengan mendapat ijazah, kita tidak mahu ceburkan diri dalam bidang profesional kerana takut tak lulus peperiksaan (badan profesional).

Ini pemikiran yang perlu diubah, bukan kita tidak boleh buat, sebenarnya boleh. Saya pernah melanjutkan pengajian dalam bidang pertanian, ada banyak benih. Ada benih yang elok, ada benih yang tidak elok. Kalau benih yang elok, kita tanam dan biarkan, hasilnya kurang. Tapi kalau benih yang tidak elok kita jaga, bagi baja, jirus air, jaga serangga, hasilnya lebih baik daripada benih yang elok tadi.

Ada pandangan mengatakan sekolah vernakular antara punca pola­risasi kaum di negara ini. Apa pendapat Tan Sri dan apakah wujud kelemahan dalam sistem pendidikan negara?

Kita tidak boleh nak adakan hanya sekolah kebangsaan, tidak boleh...perang besar kita. Cuma kalau tanya saya, kita perlu memperkuat, memperhebatkan sekolah kebangsaan. Hari ini kalau sekolah kebangsaan, boleh atau tidak orang Melayu belajar bahasa Cina? Tidak ada opsyen belajar bahasa Cina di sekolah kebangsaan. Patutnya kita dulu dalam undang-undang kalau ada 15 bahasa di negara ini perlu adakan bahasa-bahasa lain di sekolah kebangsaan sebagai subjek elektif.

Kalau dulu dah ada subjek bahasa lain di sekolah, orang Melayu boleh belajar bahasa Cina. Sekarang bila di universiti baru boleh belajar bahasa Cina, Tamil, Arab, Perancis. Kalau sekarang kalau nak perkasakan sekolah kebangsaan, perlu ada subjek bahasa lain sebagai elektif manakala bahasa Melayu kekal sebagai bahasa pengantar di sekolah-sekolah, kita ada bahasa elektif. Orang Melayu boleh menguasai bahasa ibunda, bahasa Inggeris selain bahasa Cina dan Tamil.

Hari ini kalau lihat sekolah pendidikan awal seperti taska, ada yang guna bahasa Melayu, ada bahasa Cina ada bahasa Inggeris, bahasa Tamil. Begitu juga sekolah rendah, ada sekolah rendah kebangsaan, ada sekolah rendah jenis kebangsaan Cina dan Tamil dan juga ada sekolah baharu iaitu sekolah antarabangsa yang guna bahasa Inggeris begitu juga dengan sekolah menengah. Jadi siapa yang hantar anak-anak ke sekolah antarabangsa itu, orang ada duit. Jadi masa depan orang kaya hantar anak mereka ke sekolah antarabangsa, luar negara untuk belajar, dia ada duit, tak apalah. Tapi orang kita yang tidak ada duit macam mana? Orang kita di kampung ini hanyalah sekolah kebangsaan belajar bahasa Melayu dan bahasa Inggeris.

Sekolah kebangsaan mesti diperhebatkan. Kita tidak ada harapan lain lagi. Kalau nak bangunkan golongan muda, semuanya terletak kepada sekolah kebangsaan terma­suk taska.

Ada pandangan bahawa jati diri orang Melayu makin terhakis selain masih mempunyai mentaliti bergantung kepada bantuan kerajaan. Apa pendapat Tan Sri?

Orang Melayu perlu ada perubahan pemikiran. Kalau sebut mengenai bantuan, memang kita berkehendakkan bantuan, tapi berapa lama kita hendakkan bantuan? Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) dulu ada masalah sedikit kerana krisis ekonomi pada 1997, kalau tidak kita dah maju dah. Sekarang bangsa lain nak masuk bekerja dengan kerajaan tapi orang Melayu nak bekerja di syarikat Cina susah sikit, dia nakkan bahasa Mandarin.

Tapi UiTM dah adakan kursus bahasa Mandarin selain bahasa asing­ lain Jerman, Arab, Perancis. Tiga tahun diploma, tahun pertama pelajar kena belajar sama ada bahasa Jepun, Mandarin atau Tamil. Untuk tahun kedua dan ketiga, kena belajar bahasa Jerman, Perancis dan Russia. Itu dululah sebagai subjek.

Melayu kena fikirkan survival. Kalau nak survive macam mana? Kita nak cari rotan, tapi tak ada rotan, akar pun jadi. Sekarang ini persaingan, persaingan, persaingan...bukan lagi persaingan dalam negeri tapi persaingan luar negara juga.

Saya berpegang teguh dengan pendidikan untuk memastikan survival orang Melayu, tidak ada jalan lain lagi.

Ada persepsi di kalangan pelajar bahawa ijazah pertama sudah cukup untuk mereka mendapatkan pekerjaan yang baik dan tidak perlu melanjutkan pengajian ke peringkat lebih tinggi. Mengapa wujudnya persepsi sedemikian?

UiTM sahaja mengeluarkan kira-kira 4,000 graduan perakaunan termasuk diploma. Dari jumlah itu saya tidak jangkakan setiap daripada mereka pergi ke tahap profesional. Kita ni kalau dah manja, selalu bergantung. Tapi kalau anak yang ada kemampuan tak ada masalah tapi ada anak-anak yang miskin inilah UiTM kena bantu dengan yuran peperiksaan profesional. Tetapi bila pelajar itu ada ijazah sebenarnya yurannya tidak besar hanya anggaran RM4,000 sahaja. Jadi kalau bercakap soal bantuan, subsidi inilah yang diperlukan.

Kita bantu mereka bayar RM4,000, lepas itu bila dah keluar, dapat pengiktirafan profesional, kita minta baliklah daripada dia.

Bagaimana Tan Sri melihat secara perbandingan di antara pelajar sekarang dengan pelajar dahulu dalam mendepani sesuatu isu tertentu.

Masa saya dahulu tidak ramai dapat peluang pendidikan, sekarang dah ramai. Dulu kurang gangguan, tidak ada televisyen, apa-apa. Maknanya lebih menekankan pendidikan, nak kata minat susah juga sebab kita tidak ada kaunselor, apa pun tak ada..kita nak jadi doktor ke apa ke. Sekarang ada banyak kaunselor. Dulu kemudahan tidak ada, sekolah saya dulu sains pun tak ada, saya cuma bagus dalam matematik, bahasa Inggeris pun kurang membaca.

Walaupun hari ini pelajar terlibat dalam politik, kita kena terima kerana politik adalah sebahagian daripada kehidupan, tidak boleh lari daripada itu. Tetapi janganlah politik itu sehingga pergi demonstrasi, keluar tak pasal-pasal menjahanamkan, buat apa? Politik boleh, tapi lebih baik tumpu kepada diri dahulu seperti kemudahan kampus dan pensyarah. Jangan fokus terlalu banyak di luar. Kalau nak fokus di luar, masa dah keluar (tamat pengajian) tapi sebelum itu perlu pastikan melengkapkan diri dengan persediaan sebanyak mungkin.

Sebenarnya terpulang kepada pelajar sendiri sama ada dah cukup matang atau tidak. Jika suka diperkudakan, tak apalah. Walaupun pelajar adalah pemimpin masa depan, tapi kena belajar.

Kita orang Melayu ini, tak usah ada mentaliti yang terlalu susah. Jangan rasa susah, kita buat dan jangan bising-bising sangat.

Berhubung cara pantas dalam era Ict

DALAM era teknologi maklumat dan komunikasi (ICT) ini, hampir segalanya berdasarkan kepantasan.

Perubahan dalam teknologi komunikasi

Bukan saja manusia terutama generasi muda semakin diasuh dalam budaya realiti maya dan perolehan maklumat secara real time iaitu secara langsung pada masa dan saat yang sama dengan berlakunya apa-apa perkara, tetapi semakin jelas telah muncul budaya ‘kepuasan segera’, yang mencerminkan kecenderungan untuk:

- Tidak mahu menunggu lama untuk apa jua, seperti tidak sabar menunggu muat turun data atau maklumat dan mahukan broadband yang sepantas mungkin.

- Komunikasi segera dan pantas.

- Komunikasi yang diolah semula pendekatannya, demi kepantasan, dengan menggunakan perkataan yang serba disingkatkan dan yang hanya berasaskan bunyi semata-mata serta simbol yang mencerminkan perasaan dan respon kepada sesuatu.

- Komunikasi yang serba ringkas sehingga tidak dapat menyampaikan dengan jelas intipati apa yang diperkatakan atau apa jua emosi dan perasaan di sebalik komunikasi tersebut.

Masyarakat telah diperkenalkan dengan penceraian melalui pesanan ringkas. Begitu juga aktiviti antisosial dan merosak masyarakat melalui hubungan secara maya, dengan komunikasi menggunakan Twitter dan aplikasi lain media sosial. Pendek kata hampir segala komunikasi merupakan ‘komunikasi talian’, dipercepatkan oleh ICT.

Persoalannya adakah semua itu benar-benar ‘komunikasi’ atau semata-mata ‘berhubung’?

Komunikasi pastinya sewajarnya, melibatkan pelbagai faktor seperti: adanya fahaman mendalam tentang apa yang dilafazkan melalui proses menekan butang-butang di komputer atau telefon bimbit; penghayatan tentang kesan pesanan pendek yang dihantar dan diterima, khususnya apabila tidak cukup jelas atau tidak lengkap menyampaikan apa jua hasrat; komunikasi dua hala dengan berhemah dan cermat, untuk mengelakkan selisih faham.

Contohnya dalam komunikasi secara persuratan yang memberi ruang secukupnya untuk penjelasan dan penerangan, serta bertukar-tukar pendapat secara mendalam, semangat berkomunikasi tetap segar.

Bagaimanapun, dalam era hubungan cara ICT, khususnya melalui komunikasi ringkas dan pantas, komunikasi sebenarnya semakin terhakis terutama apabila:

- Kata-kata yang dilafazkan itu dibuat tanpa fikir panjang atau mendalam dan dibuat semata-mata secara spontan.

- Individu boleh berselindung di sebalik identiti palsu di alam maya yang sukar disusuli atau dikesan seperti mereka yang berniat jahat untuk menarik perhatian sasaran tertentu, untuk motif-motif negatif.

- Semakin hilang keupayaan di kalangan anak muda untuk benar-benar berkomunikasi, terutama secara bersurat.

- Apabila komunikasi bertahan hanya setakat saat segala yang diperkatakan, ditiadakan dengan menekan butang ‘delete’.

Jelas bahawa generasi muda semakin tidak berupaya berkomunikasi secara yang lebih meluas daripada aspek-aspek pesanan ringkas. Ekspresi diri sukar dilakukan dalam apa jua bahasa. Mereka tidak akan berupaya menulis karangan atau menjawab soalan yang memerlukan penjelasan panjang lebar.

Mereka akan didorongi oleh desakan untuk mendapat segala-galanya yang mungkin, secara pantas dan segera.

Mereka tidak mungkin berupaya membuat analisis mendalam atas perkara-perkara tertentu kerana telah diasuh berfikir dan bertindak dengan pendekatan serba segera, yang dibolehkan oleh ICT.

Sekarang pelbagai bentuk maklumat, yang positif serta yang negatif, dengan begitu pantas, boleh dimuat naik dan dimuat turun kepada sesiapa dan di mana jua, asalkan ada jaringan Internet dan telefon.

Sangat penting dalam unit-unit keluarga, diawasi bagaimana anak-anak muda menggunakan aplikasi ICT, supaya tidak memudaratkan. Dan dikesan sentiasa ciri-ciri budaya baru generasi muda yang berkemungkinan membawa berunsur-unsur negatif.

Mereka perlu digalakkan menggunakan ICT untuk menambah ilmu dan pengetahuan dan meluaskan minda, serta memupuk nilai-nilai yang berfaedah.

Komputer boleh menyediakan perpustakaan maya, dengan pelbagai penerbitan berfaedah boleh dimuat turun dan meliputi apa jua bidang, seperti sejarah, sains, kesusasteraan dan lain-lain.

Anak-anak kecil dan muda lebih cenderung untuk memuat turun pelbagai permainan dan hiburan. Ini tiada apa salahnya, asalkan tidak mengganggu gugat waktu belajar, melakukan semakan pelajaran, atau pun masa bersama keluarga seperti waktu makan bersama. Wajar juga ibu bapa melengkapkan keupayaan anak-anak mereka mengendalikan ICT, dengan memandu anak-anak mengenal pasti aspek-aspek positif Internet dan ICT yang lain, yang boleh meningkatkan kecerdasan minda dan pemikiran mereka. Dan memberi input positif kepada proses pembelajaran mereka.

Tidak semuanya mesti berlaku dengan segera dan pantas dan di alam maya. Dan ICT mampu digunakan untuk kebaikan kita.

TAN SRI RAFIDAH AZIZ pernah berkhidmat sebagai Ahli Parlimen selama 35 tahun, menteri selama 28 tahun dan Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO selama 38 tahun. Beliau kini ialah Profesor Adjung di Kolej Perniagaan Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) selain menjadi Pengerusi AirAsiaX, Megasteel dan Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studio.

Three things we learned from: The Perkasa AGM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — The theme of Perkasa’s annual general assembly this year was “Social Contract and Rukunegara, the core foundation for peace in Malaysia”.

Someone posted in the Wikipedia ~ Perkasa on this "Former member of Parliament and comedian Datuk Ibrahim Ali is the founder and first president of Perkasa. "  see Leadership...

Unsurprisingly, leaders and members of the Malay rights group zoomed in yesterday on Malay and Bumiputera rights, and the need for stricter laws and policies to protect the country’s ethnic majority.

During debates, delegates lamented how Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) have not done enough to adequately safeguard the interests of this majority group, with one leader even suggesting that Perkasa turn itself into a political party to lead the country.

Umno, complained the leader, has fallen short of expectations.

Perkasa’s president, the outspoken Datuk Ibrahim Ali, even labelled those from Umno who have criticised the group as bangsat(bastards) and declared himself the true hero of the Malays and Islam.

Taking a leaf from their leader, others used the assembly for the same purpose - as a platform to rebut criticisms against Perkasa, an NGO that has successfully muscled its way into mainstream politics and planted itself firmly at the forefront, as a presence that even Umno daren’t ignore.

Here are three lessons we learned from Perkasa’s fifth general assembly:

1.The threat is not liberal Malays, it’s about daring to challenge the status quo

Ibrahim’s rebuttal to the recent open letter by 25 prominent Malays was that liberal-thinking Muslims are now out to destroy Islam in Malaysia, taking over from other anti-Malay and anti-Islam proponents from the the country’s non-Muslim communities.

The Perkasa president insisted that the views of the 25, whose open letter questioned Islamic laws and the religious authorities, were not representative of the majority of Malays here.

He said: “In 2015, we will be haunted by issues involving Islam’s defence. Malay liberals have now replaced those who want to destroy Islam”.

But Ibrahim may have got it wrong. The threat is not the fact that the 25 former civil servants and influential leaders defended the supremacy of the Federal Constitution over all other laws in the country. The threat is that they dared to challenge the status quo and the fact that Perkasa believes their myopic views on religion and race represent how most Malays here think.

The 25 prominent Malays had only reinforced the view held when Malaysia’s founding fathers drafted out the country’s highest laws - that while Islam is the religion of the federation and there is the Shariah Court, which deals with Muslim matters, the Federal Constitution remains the highest law of the land. This supreme law was made all-powerful simply because it recognises and caters to multi-ethnic and multi-religious Malaysia.

2. Corruption - a hindrance to both the Bumi agenda and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s reform plans

Interestingly, corruption within the civil service and political parties, a succinct issue, was briefly mentioned at Perkasa annual general assembly.

The group’s leaders admitted that the issue remains unaddressed and claimed that it seriously affects the government’s efforts in ensuring the Bumiputeras, who make up the bulk of the country’s hardcore poor, receive an equitable slice of the economic pie.

“Malays make noise when they do not get positions and when they don’t get projects. They (Malays) are so easily impressed if they get to ride inside a deputy minister’s car they won’t be able to sleep for three weeks,” Ibrahim said during his closing speech at the groups annual assembly here yesterday.

Similarly, Perkasa vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said that corruption was evident in all communities — Malay, Chinese and Indians.

“The Chinese, the Indians they corrupt our leaders. That is because they are smart.

“Now, even the Malay corrupt our leaders,” the Perkasa leader had said.

3. BN survival in GE14 still a toss-up, and Perkasa knows it

Umno is no longer the political animal it used to be in it’s heyday. Ibrahim hit the nail on the head when he predicted that there will be no landslide victory in GE14.

Perkasa has in the past, and at least for now, been a pressure group in support of Umno. They may criticise the Barisan Nasional lynchpin, but it is no secret that many in Perkasa are also active Umno members.

Fearing Perkasa’s hardline stance may force BN to lose middle ground votes, Umno has been subtly and gradually attempting to distance itself from the Malay rights group.

But the refusal of the ruling party’s upper echelon of leaders to publicly denounce Perkasa has shown one thing - Umno can ill-afford to offend the NGO as it could find itself losing the support of the conservatives, who form the bulk of the Malay party’s traditional vote bank.

Recognising their worth, Umno’s conservatives have grown bolder and have repeatedly urged their party leadership to be more decisive when fighting for the Bumiputera agenda.

But others, however, like Khairy Jamaluddin and Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad, feel the 57-year old party should slowly revitalise itself, and gravitate closer to the centre while still retaining its core roots.

Perkasa’s open attacks on Umno today paints a picture of the BN party struggling to find its footing in modern society - where the younger generation of voters want to move beyond race policies and more on bread-and-butter issues.

Yesterday, Perkasa vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said Umno and BN have grown weak, and suggested that the group take over as the country’s next ruling party.

“I would urge Perkasa to fortify efforts to become a political body which will rule this country.

“Once you run this country, no need to complain (to Umno and Barisan Nasional),” he said in his speech.

Whether or not this suggestion will come to fruition in the near future remains uncertain.

But with BN now seen to be at its weakest, and its foes in Pakatan Rakyat still bickering over key ideological differences, a Perkasa political party could very well prove to be a formidable opponent to both the troubled coalitions in the next federal polls.

Some News On Pertubuhan Katak SeMalaya (perkasa)

Why silent on graft when ‘in power’? Zahid Hamidi asks ex- EC chief

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi took a swipe at Perkasa’s Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman today for not speaking up on government corruption while in office.

In veiled remarks, he suggested the former Election Commission (EC) chairman has a hidden agenda in raising the issue now.

Perkasa Logo

Perkasa Frog Logo

“Why didn’t you say it when you were in power?” asked Zahid who is also Umno vice-president.

He said Rashid, who is now Perkasa vice-president, appears to have become bolder only after leaving the civil sevice.

“It must be that he didn’t get something,” Zahid told reporters in Malay after officiating at a police conference in Cheras.

In his speech at Perkasa’s annual general meeting yesterday, Rashid accused the federal government of failing to address widespread corruption plaguing the civil service.

“The Chinese, the Indians they corrupt our leaders. That is because they are smart.”

“Now, even the Malays corrupt our leaders,” he added.

Rashid also urged Perkasa to seriously consider taking the next step and registering itself as a political entity to replace Umno, claiming the ruling Malay party has fallen short of expectations in its fight for Bumiputera rights.

“I would urge Perkasa to fortify efforts to become a political body which will rule this country.

“Once you run this country, no need to complain (to Umno and Barisan Nasional),” he said during his speech.

The Perkasa man said that although Barisan Nasional (BN) has not lost the political battlefield, the coalition is very weak.

“They have not lost, but they are ‘nyawa-nyawa ikan’ (almost dying),” he claimed.

He said he joined Perkasa without “baggage” but could tell many stories about some Umno leaders instead.

Rashid lamented how each year resolutions passed at Umno’s general assembly would not be enforced properly.

The Malay Mail Online Nation Politics 15 December 2014

Perkasa veep moots political party status for group, says Umno, BN weak

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — Perkasa must amplify its efforts to become a full-fledged political party to govern Malaysia instead of Umno, vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said today after citing his disappointment in the ruling party.

Rashid, who was formerly Election Commission (EC) chairman, said Perkasa should seriously consider taking the next step and registering itself as a political entity to replace Umno, claiming the ruling Malay party has fallen short of expectations in its fight for Bumiputera rights.

Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman speaking at the Perkasa AGM at the Pusat Islam Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, December 14, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

“I would urge Perkasa to fortify efforts to become a political body which will rule this country.

“Once you run this country, no need to complain (to Umno and Barisan Nasional),” he said during his speech at Perkasa’s annual general assembly here.

The Perkasa man said that although Barisan Nasional (BN) has not lost the political battlefield, the coalition is very weak.

“They have not lost, but they are ‘nyawa-nyawa ikan’ (almost dying),” he claimed.

Rashid lamented how each year resolutions passed at Umno’s general assembly would not be enforced properly.

“So many resolutions made by Umno, most of it goes into the dustbin.

“I have no baggage, I joined Perkasa. I can tell about his baggage (some Umno members),” the Perkasa leader said.

Rashid pointed out that the main problem that the federal government has left unaddressed is corruption.

“The Chinese, the Indians they corrupt our leaders. That is because they are smart.”

“Now even the Malays corrupt our leaders,” he added.

Stop lying about real situation in country, ex-EC chief tells Najib

Without mincing his words, former Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman today told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to stop lying to the public about the real situation in the country.

"Please stop lying to the rakyat and go do your work. Please also tell the Malay leaders to be honest and do whatever they can (to help the Malays)," said Abdul Rashid, a Perkasa vice-president, at the Malay rights group's annual general meeting today.

Abdul Rashid also told the government to stop harping about a report which said Malaysians were earning about RM24,000 per capita.

Stop lying about real situation in country, ex-EC chief tells Najib

Without stating the study or where he got the figures from, Abdul Rashid told Putrajaya to stop "bragging" about the figure as it was a big lie.

Abdul Rashid took issue with corruption in Umno and the government, saying he did not mind if Umno supporters were to get upset with him for openly criticising Najib, saying he had nothing to hide.

"Now, I am very loud in criticising people but no one dares to come to me and criticise me because I do not take a percentage or steal other people's money. I have nothing to hide," said Abdul Rashid, adding that he had confronted Najib before on previous occasions.

"I told him right to his face. I also told him that if he doesn't like me he could just demote me but instead of demoting me, I was promoted," said the retired election commissioner, who managed six of Malaysia's general elections.

He was the commission's secretary from 1979 and its chairman from 2000 to 2008.

Abdul Rashid said that whatever suggestions made at the Perkasa annual meeting today would not "go anywhere" as "the corrupt are not going to listen".

"They (Umno) are afraid that they will lose in the general election. I said they are not, but we will have lots of challenges," said Abdul Rashid.

He also suggested today that Perkasa ought to become a political party to rule the country, as it was the only way to ensure that the country would be led by the "right people".

“I urge Perkasa to fortify efforts to become a political body which will rule this country.

“Once you run this country, no need to complain (to Umno and Barisan Nasional),” he said.

Rashid said the main weakness of the Federal government was its failure to address corruption.

“The Chinese, the Indians they corrupt our leaders. That is because they are smart. Now even the Malays corrupt our leaders,” said.

The veteran civil servant said that although Barisan Nasional (BN) was still the ruling coalition, it was in a very weak state, like a fish out of water drawing its dying breath.

“They have not lost, but they are ‘nyawa-nyawa ikan’ (almost dying),” he said.

Criticising Umno for its weakness, he also snubbed the party's annual general assembly held each year, saying that the resolutions passed were not enforced and only ended up in the "dustbin". – December 14, 2014.

I am a hero and you are ‘bangsat’, Ibrahim tells critics in Umno

Datuk Ibrahim Ali today declares himself a hero of the Malay community and slams his critics within Umno as "bangsat" (despicable person) for their failure to understand the movement's agenda in defending Malay rights and Islam.

He directed the remark at Umno leaders who were known for being critical of both Perkasa and another Malay rights group, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma).

Among them are Umno youth head Khairy Jamaluddin and his deputy Khairul Azwan Harun, Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, Sabah speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Said Kruak, and former Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

"I declare myself as a hero of Islam and Malays in Malaysia," said Ibrahim, adding that the "liberals" he had named had no courage to address the real issues and had thus resorted to attacking Perkasa and Isma.

The Katak hero seen 4th from left and shall we say no 5 from left is froggie asshole too ...

I am a hero and you are ‘bangsat’, Ibrahim tells critics in Umno

He described them as "nobody" but felt that he had to mention their names in his speech at Perkasa's 5th Annual Conference in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

He said some Umno leaders were also afraid of being associated with Perkasa that they refused to take photographs with him and other Perkasa leaders.

"They were so afraid of ruining their image. I am just a small man," said Ibrahim.

He said some Umno leaders had even told the party members who joined Perkasa to leave the movement but nobody listened.

"In fact, our membership have increased over the years. I was told that Perkasa now processes about 250 applications daily," said Ibrahim.

He claimed that Perkasa currently has about 700,000 members and described the movement as "a beehive that produces quality honey which can be extracted to cure many ‘ailments’".

However, if it is poked or disturbed, the culprit will be stung, he added.

Ibrahim said Perkasa members are growing steadily with chapters being established in Indonesia and United Kingdom.

Yesterday, Perkasa vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman reportedly told Khairy to “shut up” following the Umno Youth chief's comment on Ibrahim's burn bibles remark in October.

Abdul Rashid also noted that the leadership of Umno was becoming more "sick" by the day, adding that the party needed to make many changes to improve its standing.

Apart from Khairy, other Umno leaders Ibrahim had mentioned were also known to be critical of the organisation. – December 14, 2014.

Membaca, membandingkan statistik

Shah Alam Sabtu 13 Disember: Betul atau tidak benar saya tidak pasti. Dengar cerita daripada sumber yang sahih ada seorang pemimpin gagal masuk Fakulti Ekonomi dan Pentadbiran Universiti Malaya kerana gagal peperiksaan statistik, langsung ditawarkan tempat di
Fakulti Pengajian Islam.

Apa pun dia akhirnya berjaya dalam kerjaya politiknya jika ukuran sukses adalah jawatan dipegang bukan legasinya. Saya belajar sambil lalu membaca statistik sebab kebolehan membacanya penting dalam politik, bisnes, journalisme juga dalam pentadbiran.

Saya terbaca dalam The Star, “The Star is tops again" maknanya edaran dan jumlah pembaca akhbar The Star juga e-papernya terus meningkat (28 November). Keesokan harinya Utusan Malaysia menegaskan, "Mingguan Malaysia kekal nombor satu” antara akbar bahasa Melayu. Kedua-dua penerbitan bukan memuji diri sendiri, kedua-dua sekadar menyiarkan statistik yang dikeluarkan oleh organisasi bebas.

Mereka bukan sahaja berhak berbuat demikian, bahkan mesti menghebahkan berita baik itu. Saya sentiasa memuji-muji, melahirkan kesyukuran kepada ALLAH SWT atas kemurahan dan perlindunganNya kepada saya dan keluarga.

The Star dan akhbar lain, dalam apa bahasa pun, terus relevan walaupun wujud kemajuan yang berterusan di alam informasi teknologi. Mengikut audit mutakhir - Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) Malaysia cetakan sirkulasi dan jualan The Star antara Januari-Jun 2014 meningkat kepada 291,068 dan Sunday Star pula kepada 293,195.

Sirkulasi The New Straits Times terus merosot kepada 74,711, merudum dari 115,570. New Sunday Times pula edaran dan jualannya 85,282 merudum dari 132,187.

Sunday Star pula edaran jualannya 293,195 bagi musim Januari-Jun 2014. Digital replika atau e-paper pada masa sama: The Star 81,367 dan Sunday Star 81,498, New Straits Times 3,347, New Sunday Times pula 3,334!

Dalam dunia media bahasa Melayu, seperti didakwa, Mingguan Malaysia terus nombor satu, antara Januari dan Jun tahun ini, edarannya berjumlah 360,919 naskhah; Utusan Malaysia 171,663, Kosmo Ahad 208,435, Kosmo 197,202; Harian Metro 313,690; Metro Ahad 328,700; Berita Harian Ahad 156,835 dan Berita Harian 125,514 naskhah.

Antara akhbar bahasa Cina (Mandarin) Sin Chew mengatasi akbar Cina lain di negara kita jumlah edarannya 365,297, edisi petang pula 14,207. China Press 174,429 naskhah pagi dan 59,284 naskhah petang.

Sinar Harian bukan anggota ABC, tetapi mengikut sumber yang sahih, sirkulasi runcit dan tunai berjumlah pukul rata antara 112,000-120,000 naskhah. Sinar Harian tidak ada bulk sales atau jualan pukal. Portal Sinar Online semakin diminati dalam kalangan pembaca internet.

Kini menurut Malaysia Digital Association (MDA) berdasarkan data yang diperoleh dari comScore Media Matrix(r) Service Sinar Online mencatatkan jumlah pengunjung seramai 931,300 menjadikan Sinar Online portal berita bahasa Melayu yang terbesar dan popular, manakala pengunjung Harian Metro 883,300 dan The Star 828,000.

Daripada statistik ini jelas menunjukkan sungguhpun orang Cina hanya 25 peratus penduduk Malaysia yang kini berjumlah 30 juta, akhbar terbesar di Malaysia adalah akhbar Cina yakni Sin Chew yang edarannya berjumlah 379,507 naskhah edisi pagi dan petang. Juga menunjukkan orang Cina suka membaca berbanding orang Malaysia keturunan lain.

Sungguh pun orang Malaysia tidak ramai menguasai bahasa Inggeris, akhbar Inggeris lebih laris dari akhbar Melayu pada keseluruhannya. Sungguh sedih!

Kenapa demikian? Kata mereka, baik Melayu dan Cina serta India, akhbar bahasa Melayu selain daripada Sinar Harian, sukaduka, “kurang telus dan tidak ada kredibiliti” dan rapat kaitannya dengan kerajaan.

Jika demikian sebabnya kenapa akhbar seperti The Star juga rapat dengan kerajaan dan dipunyai oleh MCA maju dan untung serta diminati ramai termasuk oleh orang Melayu dan Bumiputera?

Pada saya, umumnya orang kita tidak suka membaca; mereka lebih suka mendengar, menonton televisyen, DVD; melayari internet, Twitter dan Facebook.

Sebaiknya kita harus membaca semua pendapat, baik pro dan anti kerajaan agar kita boleh membuat keputusan yang adil dan saksama. Saya akan membela kebebasan membaca dan menulis, tetapi saya harap mereka akan membaca banyak pendapat - pro dan kontra. Kita perlu kepelbagaian perspektif dalam sebuah demokrasi.

Rakyat, termasuk orang Melayu, bosan dengan sesetengah media yang keterlaluan sangat menonjol sesetengah pemimpin dan menafikan pendapat alternatif. Barang kali The Star “lebih profesional" dalam news management atau cara mengendalikan berita.

Pokoknya, The Star mempunyai base yang kuat iaitu jumlah pembacanya besar. Walaupun mereka ini tidak bersetuju dengan pendapat akhbar itu, mereka “taat” pada Star!

Perayaan Tercentenary Worcester College, Oxford University di Kuala Lumpur

Jumaat malam saya dan isteri telah menghadiri jamuan makan malam di Marble 8 sempena perayaan Tercentenary atau perayaan tiga ratus tahun, Worcester (sebutan seakan ‘Wooster’) College bagi alumninya di wilayah Asia Pasifik yang dihoskan oleh DYMM Tuanku Sultan
Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah.

Tujuan saya menyiarkan ini semata-mata kerana untuk menarik perhatian tentang rangkaian antara Worcester College dengan alumninya di seluruh dunia. Begitu juga kaitan antara kolej Oxford dan Universiti Cambridge lain dengan graduan mereka tidak terputus.

Tradisi Oxbridge berlangsung; doa dibaca dalam bahasa Latin oleh Profesor Datuk Sheikh Dr Afifi Alkiti.

Hubungan saya dengan UiTM, Cambridge dan Harvard tidak putus. Bahkan juga dengan MCKK. Saya juga bekas pelajar Universiti Malaya peringkat PhD yang tercicir, tetapi tiada hubungan dengan Lembah Pantai. Di mana salahnya, saya atau universiti?

Licin dan berkilat Majlis istiadat penganugerahan darjah dan bintang kebesaran sempena hari keputeraan ke-69 DYMM Tuanku Sultan Sharafuddin Idris di Istana Alam Shah, Klang pagi Khamis, saya dapati seperti perhati Speaking, “sleek “ yakni lancar dan baik. Setinggi tahniah kepada Tuanku dan juga mereka yang dimuliakan (ennobled).

Waktu Encik Azmin Ali dilantik Menteri Besar Selangor saya di United Kingdom.

Apa pun wajar Tuanku Sultan Selangor tidak mengurniakan darjah dan bintang kepada menteri besarnya kerana terlalu awal.

Tunggu performance dan keberkesanan Azmin terlebih dahulu.

Reaksi Azmin - saya sempat berbicara ringkas dengannya - amat positif, tidak terkilan walaupun dia dicucuk oleh media sebab dua Exconya (dari Pas) dapat gelaran Datuk - Iskandar Abdul Samad, seorang bekas pelajar MCKK dan Dr Ahmad Yunus Hariri.

Seidealnya, kehormatan dianugerahkan apabila sekian lama memegang jawatan dengan baik kalaupun tidak cemerlang barulah seseorang itu diberi gelaran.

Kerajaan DAP Pulau Pinang tidak memberi gelaran kepada pemimpinnya. Saya tahu Lim Kit Siang telah menolak tawaran gelaran Datuk Seri daripada Kerajaan Pulau Pinang. Wajar dan tahniah. Pemimpin DAP bukan seperti politikus lain yang suka melobi dan gemar membolot bintang dan darjah dari sebuah negeri ke sebuah negeri.

Jangan “main main" dengan Siam Siapa sangka Harimau Malaya membuat kejutan di Hanoi menewaskan Vietnam yang begitu gagah di Shah Alam (Harimau kalah 2-1). Lagi manis kemenangan itu berlaku di padang lawan.

Nampaknya Harimau kita lebih mengaum dan lebih sukses memburu di luar kampung! Tahniah. Apa pun jangan “main main” di final lawan Thailand. Diharap kali ketiga masuk final membawa tuah

Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad Sinar Harian Kolumnis 14 Disember 2014