Tuesday, November 2, 2004

"Honeymoon's Over"

2nd Nov 2004, Pak Lah says Honeymoon is over and reminded all his MPs and his government that it is, in fact, over.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

"I Need More TIme To Fight Graft"

Malaysia's Abdullah says more time needed to fight graft

Kyodo World News Service
Dateline: KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 31
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is unhappy with the progress in his war on corruption and appealed for more time, The New Straits Times reported Sunday.

"Unfortunately, these things take time," he told the daily in an interview to mark his first year in office. "I know that many people will be impatient with that answer but as I have said, the process is ongoing."

When Abdullah, 64, took over the government from former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Oct. 31 last year, he pledged a clean and transparent government.

There were some high profile prosecutions involving a Cabinet minister and a business tycoon ...

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Malaysia threatens to use Internal Security Act and sedition laws against webmasters

Malaysia threatens to use Internal Security Act and sedition laws against webmasters

Country/Topic: Malaysia
Date: 07 October 2004
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Target(s): Internet/website(s)
Type(s) of violation(s): threatened
Urgency: Threat

(SEAPA/IFEX) - SEAPA is gravely concerned by the government's stated intent to use the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Sedition Act to potentially control the flow of information and opinion in Malaysia-based Internet operations.

On 4 October 2004, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was quoted by a local daily, the "New Straits Times", as saying his government will look into using the ISA against webmasters who allow irresponsible comments and content to be posted on their sites. Badawi was reacting to a newspaper report that the website "Screenshots" had published "views ridiculing Islam" on 30 September (see previous IFEX alert of 7 October 2004).

Deputy Minister of Internal Security Datuk Noh Omar said he would investigate the person who posted the comment. Another senior official overseeing the implementation of the 2001 Communication and Multimedia Act has also threatened to use the Sedition Act against the cyber-commentator.

A Malay-language daily, "Berita Harian", accused Screenshots webmaster Jeff Ooi of "failing to control the forum by allowing an opinion ridiculing Islam to be published."

In his defense, Ooi said he had already blocked the writer in question from the website after the man ignored e-mails admonishing him on issues of plagiarism and blasphemy.

Beyond the facts of the controversial Screenshots postings, SEAPA is concerned that Malaysia may exploit the issue to further restrict the flow of information in the country. The Internet is the most viable medium for independent news and information in Malaysia, where print and broadcast journalism is controlled by state ownership, licensing rules and political intolerance of criticism.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had committed to leaving the Internet relatively untouched. As a result, the web now plays host to a handful of alternative and independent news outlets, such as http://www.Malaysiakini.com. These new news providers are constantly pushing the boundaries of free expression in Malaysia, testing and exploiting the virtual space that Mahathir had vowed to respect.

"It should be noted that censorship of the Internet was explicitly rejected in the Communications and Multimedia Act 2001," the Kuala Lumpur-based Center for Independent Journalists (CIJ) said in a statement.

SEAPA and the CIJ are concerned that the government has found an excuse to influence web content as well. The organisations are concerned that the very suggestion of using the ISA and sedition laws against a webmaster may have a chilling effect on other content providers. The ISA allows for detention without trial for up to two years, with a 60-day "investigation period". Crimes under the Sedition Act are punishable by prison terms of up to three years.

In January 2003, police raided the office of Malaysiakini.com and carted away dozens of computers after using sedition laws to clamp down on the Internet news provider (see IFEX alerts of 8 October, 27, 22, 21 and 20 January 2003).

"Wielding the ISA and the Sedition Act against webmasters will create a climate of fear and self-censorship on the Internet," SEAPA said in a statement. "This further chokes the already limited options Malaysians have for free, independent and reliable news and information."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Islam Hadhari (UMNO General Assembly 2004)


13. Islam is Allah’s supreme guidance to mankind. As Allah’s servants, humans must give thanks to their Creator and be prepared to muhasabah (be introspective) and evaluate their weaknesses. Humans have a responsibility to fulfil their duties and to give primacy to Islam. As citizens, they must be grateful to a leadership that builds a nation of peace and prosperity in a just and trustworthy manner; a nation that provides the facilities and an enabling environment for its people to continue achieving success.

14. Since its inception - in its struggle against the Malayan Union, during the drive for independence, throughout the post-independence period, the introduction of the New Economic Policy, and in its other struggles - UMNO has always rejected the use of force. Conversely, UMNO’s strength has been proven to be predicated on a more astute approach, based on reason and rationale.

15. Such an approach must be continued and acculturated within UMNO, consistent with the Quranic injunctions:

“Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious; for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (An Nahl: 125)

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” (Fussilat: 34)

16. For this reason, Islam must be delivered in a judicious manner – through reminders and advice – through dialogue and the exchange of thoughts. The Hudaibiyah Agreement is a sterling lesson; the Muslims under the Prophet’s leadership held fast to the principle that war and the use of force should not be used as a shortcut to success. The words of Allah within the Quran contain infinite wisdom to guide mankind to the path of righteousness, the path of peace, the path that receives Allah’s acceptance.

17. Islam Hadhari is an approach that emphasises development, consistent with the tenets of Islam and focused on enhancing the quality of life. It aims to achieve this via the mastery of knowledge and the development of the individual and the nation; the implementation of a dynamic economic, trading and financial system; an integrated and balanced development that creates a knowledgeable and pious people who hold to noble values and are honest, trustworthy, and prepared to take on global challenges.

18. Islam Hadhari is not a new religion. It is not a new teaching nor is it a new mazhab (denomination). Islam Hadhari is an effort to bring the Ummah back to basics, back to the fundamentals, as prescribed in the Quran and the Hadith that form the foundation of Islamic civilization. If Islam Hadhari is interpreted sincerely and understood clearly, it will not cause Muslims to deviate from the true path. It is not UMNO’s culture to trivialize religion. UMNO has never allowed religion to be used as a political tool. UMNO staunchly opposes the use of Islam as an instrument to manipulate people’s beliefs. UMNO has always ensured that Islam and Muslims are protected from such abuse of religion. It was on this basis that UMNO, which was directly involved in formulating the Federal Constitution, inserted Articles that place Islam under the jurisdiction of the Heads of State.

19. As the party that is responsible for ensuring Muslims are able to meet current challenges without deviating from their faith, the doors of ijtihad must remain open, so that interpretations are suited to the developmental needs of the prevailing time and conditions. Policies must be balanced and broad-based development that encompasses the infrastructure and the economy; human resource development via a comprehensive education programme; the inculcation of noble values through spiritual development and assimilation of Islamic values.

20. Islam Hadhari aims to achieve ten main principles:
I. Faith and piety in Allah
II. A just and trustworthy government
III. A free and independent People
IV. Mastery of knowledge
V. Balanced and comprehensive economic development
VI. A good quality of life
VII. Protection of the rights of minority groups and women
VIII. Cultural and moral integrity
IX. Safeguarding the environment
X. Strong defenses

21. These principles have been formulated to ensure that the implementation and approach does not cause anxiety among any group in our multiracial and multireligious country. These principles have been devised to empower Muslims to face the global challenges of today.

22. Islam Hadhari is complete and comprehensive, with an emphasis on the development of the economy and civilization, capable of building Malay competitiveness. The glorious heritage of Islamic civilization in all aspects must be used as reference and become the source of inspiration for the Malay race to prosper.

23. A change in mindset among Malays requires action that is encompassing, drastic and systematic, irregardless of sector or partisan loyalty. It requires the Malays to change their tasawwur (worldview). Consistent with this, the concept of life as service to God and the concept of work as worship, humans as caliphs and the obligation to seek strength in every aspect of life must be accentuated, in particular, the objective of maqasid al Syariah which seeks to safeguard, dignify and empower religion, intellect, life, property and progeny.

24. A consistent effort to ensure lasting success must be prepared. Any thinking that confuses and is inconsistent with Islamic beliefs must be rejected in order to allow Malay resilience and thought to be built. A change in attitude and culture requires ijtihad and jihad (struggle). The concept of jihad must be given a broader interpretation, covering all aspects of life, including the pursuit of knowledge, the mastery of science and technology and economic activity. This improvement in quality (itqan) must become part of our culture. Ijtihad that can build the Ummah in the modern day must be acknowledged.

25. Malays must be given Islamic understanding that enables the appreciation and provides the ability to inherit a vision of a global civilization, in order for Malays to be more successful global players. As a strategy to improve Malay competitiveness, the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood (ukhuwah Islamiah) must be inculcated and expanded to create a strong social network. Malays must appreciate self-sufficiency and reduce dependence on others. Negative traits and values must be changed to accommodate the values of the tasawur.

26. Malay society must be a society that embraces knowledge, skills and expertise in order to build capacity. Islam makes it compulsory for Muslims to embrace knowledge in all fields. The misconception that there exists a difference between so-called secular knowledge and religious knowledge must be corrected. Islam demands the mastery of science and technology and the enhancement of skills and expertise. Many verses in the Quran that touch on the need to master science and technology should be studied. All Muslim students should be aware of Islam’s contribution to science and technology that brought about the birth of the Renaissance in Europe. Initiatives to produce more Malay scientists who are capable of making new discoveries must be intensified.

27. Malays, UMNO and Islam in this country cannot be separated. Together, the elements form a distinct culture and identity. Through its words and actions, UMNO has the responsibility of building an Islamic culture that balances the needs of this world and the next, an Islam that balances fardhu kifayah and fardhu ain. Worldly affairs that are conducted with sincerity will, God willing, receive Allah’s blessings and will be favourably looked upon in the Hereafter.

“But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed upon you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world; and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the Mufsidun (those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupters.)” (Al Qasas: 77)

28. UMNO must enable Muslims to engage the world in a positive manner. Life on this Earth is a journey that requires us to discharge our responsibilities to society in an honest, transparent and trustworthy manner. Mankind will not fully benefit from this life if their attitude and worldview is not as it should be; because Allah created Man to be leaders on Earth. It is therefore imperative for mankind to arm itself with knowledge and with skills, to enable them to succeed.

29. It is important for the Ummah to be guided in understanding and practicing Islam as a comprehensive way of life as a means to building a civilization. A wholesome way of life will create the balance between our responsibilities in this world and the Hereafter. Islam is not merely a ritual, because ritualism is meant solely for the Hereafter. UMNO, too, has never practiced secularism that rejects the Hereafter and focuses solely on worldly matters. Islam must be lived as a system that integrates the worldly life and preparations for the Day of Judgment.


"Work With Me, Not For Me"/"Cemerlang, Gemilang dan Terbilang" (UMNO General Assembly 2004)

10. I thank all party members who, with diligence and industry, with discipline and commitment, ensured the party’s victory. I thank the fellow component parties that worked side by side, dedicated to the common struggle of building a Malaysia that is more peaceful, more united and more developed. UMNO and its allies in the Barisan Nasional will continue to speak with a single voice and act with a unity of purpose. I am also grateful to the Malaysian people, who have displayed political maturity and an ability to evaluate objectively and rationally. The Malaysian people have accepted the spirit of “Work with Me,” and have entrusted us to take Malaysia towards excellence, glory and distinction.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"All Malaysians are equal"

All Malaysians are equal Posted by Hello


“Let all citizens of Malaysia, without feeling inferior, without feeling sidelined, irrespective of race or religion, rise to become statesmen in our own land. We’re equal, we’re all Malaysians. No individual in this country is more Malaysian than another. Unleash your potential and shape this country of yours the way you want it to be,” The Prime Minister’s Merdeka Day message to all Malaysians.

Friday, August 27, 2004

"Atheletes Failed Us"

Athlete Failure Posted by Hello


"Malaysia is not a poor country. We eat well, have healthy bodies and have facilities available but countries that are not as developed as us have proven to be better. Where do their ability come from? It all comes down to preparedness,” said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

"Make it hot for crooks"

Make it hot for crooks, says Pak Lah

New Straits Times
Make it hot for crooks, says Pak Lah
Edition: Main/Lifestyle; 2*
Section: Prime News

KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - Police are doing a good job fighting crime, but more must be done to make sure that Malaysia remains a country inhospitable to Heavenly Kings and other underworld bosses.

This was the message Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi delivered to senior police officers during a closed-door session at Bukit Aman yesterday.
Senior officers interviewed by the New Straits Times said Abdullah told them that crime bosses "must not be allowed to rule" here.

If crime bosses were allowed free rein, they would try and influence policy and create social chaos. ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

PM lauds swift action by police

PM lauds swift action by police

New Straits Times
PM lauds swift action by police
Edition: Main/Lifestyle; 2*
Section: Prime News

KUALA LUMPUR, Mon. - Criminals can expect swift action by the police, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.

The Prime Minister said this was the lesson to be drawn from the shooting of five men who had robbed a goldsmith in Seri Petaling on Thursday.
"It is a message sent to all those who have the intention to commit crime."

He hoped that the police's action in the incident would discourage criminals.

Abdullah praised the police response time, noting that police personnel arrived at the goldsmith shop within 10 minutes of receiving the distress call.

"Their quick response ...

Monday, August 9, 2004

"Carry out police proposals immediately"

PM: Carry out police proposals immediately

Alang Bendahara
New Straits Times
PM: Carry out police proposals immediately
Byline: Alang Bendahara
Edition: Main/Lifestyle; 2*

GENTING HIGHLANDS, Sun. - Proposals by the Royal Commission on the Police Force which can be implemented immediately will be put into action, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

He was commenting on the status report by the Royal Commission which had been handed to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Friday.
Abdullah said that even before the report was completed, he had told commission chairman Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah to examine the possibility of implementing some recommendations along the way.

The commission was set up just after Abdullah ...

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

"I Am Not A Leader of Muslims, But A Muslim Leader Of All Malaysians"


Tarikh/Date : 03/08/2004


"Police must act swiftly and firmly"

Abdullah: Police must act swiftly and firmly

New Straits Times
Abdullah: Police must act swiftly and firmly
Edition: Main/Lifestyle; 2*

PUTRAJAYA, Mon. - There must be a swift response to the robbers who shot dead a policeman and put a bullet in his partner, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.

"This is an incident which warrants us to respond speedily in the accepted sense of the word ... the police must act quickly and firmly," said Abdullah, who as Internal Security Minister, oversees the police force.
A crime in which a member of the police force was killed was a serious matter and it implied that law enforcement was no longer respected.

He was referring to the incident yesterday when policeman ...

Sunday, August 1, 2004

"Old folks being beaten up, fathers raping daughters - all this is sad news"

PM expresses dismay over spate of crimes

New Straits Times
PM expresses dismay over spate of crimes
Edition: New Sunday Times; 2*

LANGKAWI, Sat. -"Old folks being beaten up, fathers raping daughters - all this is sad news," said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of the spate of suicide, murder and incest cases.

"None of us wants ...

Saturday, July 31, 2004

"We'll Learn From Tragedy" (Sarawak Copter Crash)

Lesson Learned Posted by Hello


Malaysia will always strive to improve its search and rescue capability as it did after the Highland Towers tragedy about a decade ago when it set up the SMART team, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

The Prime Minister said perhaps there was something that could be learnt from the recent helicopter crash in Sarawak which killed seven people.

“If there are suggestions, I hope those who were involved in the rescue work could provide some ideas as to how it could be done better,” he told reporters here yesterday. Abdullah said he felt sad over the tragedy and extended his condolences to the family members of the victims.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

"We Need To Be Prudent on Spending"

Tempat/Venue : PUTRAJAYA

Tarikh/Date : 08/07/2004

S: Lapan bulan sebenarnya tempoh yang sangat singkat. Apakah dalam tempoh itu Datuk Seri melihat, Datuk Seri berpuas hati dengan apa yang dihajati atau apa yang Datuk Seri ingin capai dalam tempoh yang sedemikian?

J: Apa yang berlaku dalam jangka masa lapan bulan ini yang paling besar sekali, yang betul-betul memberi macam-macam kesedaran kepada saya ialah keputusan pilihan raya dalam masa itu. Itu ertinya respon rakyat. Dan daripada respon rakyat itu saya sudah mula, saya memahami bahawa rakyat sedang menuntut dan mengharapkan sesuatu. Ini sebenarnya yang menjadi tekanan, it becomes a pressure. Tapi ada perkara-perkara yang kita tidak boleh laksanakan dengan cepat. Kalau ada pressure, there is a good feeling, ya, ia mendesak kita bekerja. Tapi saya tahu nak implement semua ini dia kena ambil masa. Tetapi saya sudah memulakan apakah yang kita perlu capai kemudian sama ada yang hubung kait dengan memerangi rasuah, yang hubung kait dengan meningkatkan kecekapan, mengurangkan karenah sama ada dengan langkah membina integriti, sama ada ia ada hubung kait dengan kita adakan program-program untuk mencapai good governance, transparency, disclosure, ini kita buat di pihak swasta, kita dah mula.

Tapi apa yang mula hari ini atau mula dalam masa tiga bulan ini, mungkin tidak akan menunjukkan sesuatu yang boleh dilihat dengan nyata. Pasal sekarang ini kalau kita katakan pasal pejabat daerah, memang kita dah reduce dia punya backlog, kerja tertunggak, khususnya dalam bidang penukaran title yang dulu begitu banyak beribu-ribu, 63 peratus telahpun kita selesaikan. Juga ada improvement daripada segi khidmat kaunter. Tapi saya nak supaya kita dapat lihat dengan lebih jelas sekali. Untuk polis, memang kerja besar ialah kita dapatkan (wujudkan) Suruhanjaya Diraja Polis dan saya sangat-sangat mengharapkan suruhanjaya ini dapat memberi perakuan yang tegas kepada kita. Usaha sekarang ini untuk memperhebatkan lagi pembangunan pertanian moden. Inipun telah dimulakan. Pendidikan, semua kita dah mula. It's set.

Orang kata kalau nak lari, sama ada lari 100 ela atau lari maraton, kita dah tiup wisel dah. Tapi satu perkara, Alhamdulillah saya rasa senang juga, ialah dengan ekonomi yang defisit itu, kita dapat menanganinya supaya nanti defisit itu tidak akan bertambah dan kalau bertambah defisit itu nanti semua orang susah hati dan mungkin rating bagi negara kita akan turun. Dan kalau dah turun, pelaburan pun tak akan datang, perniagaan akan menjadi lembab.

Saya telah menyatakan kita akan cermat dan kita akan berhemah supaya kita jaga (kawal) defisit kita. Di samping itu kita jaga supaya jangan sampai kita belanja tak ambil kira tentang defisit itu kerana ini akan membawa mudarat kepada kita. Ataupun jangan sampai kerana terlalu takut, kita kurangkan, jangan belanja itu, jangan belanja ini, semua kurang, kurang, kurang, kalau begitu, ini bererti akan berlaku pula ekonomi kita akan mengecut, there'll be a contraction of the economy, dan ini akan membawa pula kepada akibat yang tidak baik kerana ekonomi tak berkembang.
Jadi kita ambil pendekatan, okay, kita buat secara progresif, kita kurangkan dan di samping itu kita mesti keluarkan belanja juga. Kita mesti belanja dengan berhemah. Ini mesti. Dan nak buat itupun mengambil masa yang cukup lama sebab kita nak susun atur balik, kita nak tengok balik macam mana, ada yang dah dapat surat LOI (surat jemputan) tiba-tiba tak dipanggil, apa dah jadi ini, kerana nak bankrap ke, yang dapat letter of award (LOA) pun tak boleh buat kerja lagi. Apa pasal ni, adakah kami nak kena cancel. Macam-macam yang saya dengar. Tak apalah. Kita bersabar. Kita ni jadi tukang, orang dok tengok, apa ni tak jadi lagi, belum jadi apa.

Semalam saya dah umumkan RM8.5 bilion kerja-kerja yang akan kita laksanakan dan ini, dengan wang yang kita ada, Alhamdulillah kita dapat (laksanakan), dan defisit kita tidak membimbangkan. Dan pada waktu ini saya masih nyatakan ada good feeling. Sebab itu ekonomi kita dalam suku tahun pertama 7.6 peratus dan suku tahun kedua ini masih ada harapan untuk mencapai pembangunan yang lebih dari 7 peratus, Insyaallah.

S: Ada yang bertanya betulkah kerajaan ada duit lagi?
J: Ada, duit ada tapi kita seboleh-bolehnya berhemahlah dalam kita membelanjakan.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

"Open Tender for Contracts" (2)

Cakap Apa? Posted by Hello


On 14th. January 2004, Pak Lah said, "The majority of Government contracts will be decided through open tender in line with on-going efforts to increase transparency, lower the cost of doing business and reduce the possibility of corruption."

The Prime Minister said only “Special Cases” would be dealth through direct negotiations. However he did not disclose the criteria for these “Special Cases”.

On 9th. June 2004, Second Finance Minister told the Dewan Rakyat that, " Bumiputera contractors can still get contracts through special tenders as not all are tendered through the open system,”

According to Nor Yakcop, this showed that the interests of Bumiputera contractors had not been overlooked.

1.) Open tender in line with on-going efforts to increase transparency, lower the cost of doing business and reduce the possibility of corruption?????

2.) Bumiputera contractors can still get contracts through special tenders in order that the interests of Bumiputera contractors will not been overlooked???

The two just don't gist if put together. Do they know what they are talking about? Or, is Nor Yakcop playing music to the ears of UMNO politicians?

Ting Pek King was just awarded a contract for $620 million to expand the Kuching Airport. Tan Sri Rozali Ismail of Puncak Niaga and Syarikat bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (SYABAS) will be getting the water privatization project worth multi billions ringgit and the taxpayers will have to bear with the propose increase in water tariff of about 45% as proposed by SYABAS.

"Is this called lowering the cost of business by way of passing the increased cost to consumers?"

Perwaja Steel problems of multi billion ringgit losses, billions of loses during Tan Sri Eric Chia's tenure and more loses uncovered after Maju Holding had taken over; all of these are to be absorbed by the tax payers - who is responsible to make good????? Efficiency, High Performance, Clean Govt., Cekap, Bersih dan Amanah, Cermelang, Gemilang dan Terbilang - the motto of our system???????

Oh, Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa Claus Management!

Saturday, June 5, 2004

"I wanted to study economics but I failed my statistics paper."



CNN: Welcome to this very special edition of TalkAsia. I'm Lorraine Hahn. Malaysia is celebrating their King's Birthday this weekend. And we'd like to play our part in marking this special occasion. We bring to you a rare, in-depth interview of the man entrusted as Malaysia's fifth prime Minister -Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

When Mister Badawi took over the helm last October, he had a lot to live up to. But that didn't stop him from immediately implementing some of his own policies when he came on board. A high profile businessman and a minister were charged as part of his anti-corruption campaign. While some Mahathir-era mega infrastructure projects were canceled. In March, voters responded by giving the government coalition a stunning victory. Experts say it was Mr. Badawi's "Mr. Clean" image and Islamic scholar credentials that struck a chord with the people. At 64, Prime Minister Abdullah is vowing to continue with his reforms. And to live up as best as he can, to voters' expectations.

CNN: The Prime Minister kindly gave us more than an hour of his time recently at the Finance Ministry in Putrajaya. I began by asking him how far he is willing to go in his anti-corruption drive, without fear, and without favor?

PM: That’s what I promised everybody, without fear, without favor and that is the case. If that has to be brought to the court, well, we will bring it to the court. But I have always said that it’s important we must make sure that justice is at all time be maintained.

CNN: How will you follow up with this anti-corruption campaign?

PM: We continue to remind civil servants people. This is a subject that I always talk about, it is also a subject my other colleagues in the cabinet talk about. We have now recently launched the national integrity plan. We have also set up the national institute for ethics. This institute and also the implementation of the national integrity plan, that will certainly do the follow up that is necessary for this.

CNN: What would make you satisfied? What would be something that makes you happy?

PM: I will be happy with certainly when the corruption index improve.

CNN: By how much?

PM: As much as we can

CNN: Some would say they are disappointed with your cabinet that in the sense you have maintained a number of Mahathir’s ministers in the cabinet, and that way you may not be able to really push through new and true reforms?

PM: Well, that’s the impression they have, but as far as I am concern, I must appoint cabinet people that I know and I believe who can perform the job. I always said that you can use the same vehicle although the driver will change, or the same vehicle to go for the race. It’s a different driver, this is exactly what’s happening to the cabinet. There are new faces too, they will see that the new faces are in the lower echelon, among the deputy ministers. That’s important, we have to bring them early, we have to introduce them to the process of change because when we come to the year 2020, the new ones will be in the frontline already. They will be the driver seat, they will be then the decision makers. Their decisions will decide the future of Malaysia, 2020 and beyond.

CNN: What are some of other your key priorities as prime minister, whether they are education, unity?

PM: We are now giving attention to the improvement of the public service delivery system. That is an on going program now. We have seen some improvements. I believe it is an important project, it makes the cost of doing business lower and they will make us more competitive at the same time, it will also provide some satisfaction to the people who demand services for them of the quality they want and also quickly. Of course education becomes very very important and that’s for our human resource development.

CNN: We hear recently of course of tensions in Southern Thailand, between the border of Thailand and Malaysia, how big a concern is this for you?

PM: Very very big concern. In fact, just across the border. This one, it involves the Muslims and they are also Malays, many of them have relatives on our side of the border. They travel frequently crossing the border, to and fro everyday, it’s an every day affair. So anything that happen on that side, I fear there might be repercussions on our side. So we have to act quickly, but we make sure we are not going to interfere with what is happening in Thailand, that’s not right too. I told Mr. Thaskin, Datuk Najid my deputy to go to Bangkok to see someone there. Of course Mr. Thaskin gave him the opportunity to have this discussion And I am very very happy with the outcome of the discussions. We have been given a role to play. We have been asked to provide, to give lectures on the role of Islamic development and the way we do it here, so the people who are Muslims there would understand what the role of Islam is. The idea is that they wouldn’t want to deal with militant Islam but an Islam and Muslims who are committed to progress, committed to development, who like peace and are moderate in their ways. So that’s what we are doing here.

CNN: When you see pictures recently, for example of the treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Iraq by coalition forces. I am sure that must be hard for some people like you to see. How do you ensure that this anti-American or anti-western sentiment for that matter doesn’t spill over to Muslim countries like Malaysia for example and people remain calm?

PM: These are lessons for us. We do not have to go to the same experience to know what it means. Let the experience rather be a lesson to us, and make sure it doesn’t happen to us. We have followed a path of moderation, development is our priority, national unity, good community relations, Muslims and non Muslims, this is what has given us the advantage. We have been successful because of this. So this we have to maintain at all cost.

CNN: Up next on TalkAsia: Why was Mr. Badawi dropped from the cabinet-at one stage in his political career. And how did he make his comeback. More on our personal conversation with the prime minister, just ahead.

CNN: Welcome back to TalkAsia and our very special interview with Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. As the son of a respected Islamic scholar and founding member of Malaysia's ruling party UMNO, it seemed natural that Mr. Badawi would follow in his father's footsteps. But that calling only gained momentum after his father passed away, and a decade as a civil servant. Mr. Badawi was first elected to parliament in 1978 under his home town constituency in Penang. He quickly rose up the ranks and held various Ministerial posts before becoming Prime Minister last year. But it wasn't always smooth sailing. We'll soon find out about that but first, let's hear a little, about his childhood.

PM: I don’t know whether I was studious or not, I did study but did play around too. As a child, the paddy field was my playground. We go fish, we also catch fighting fish, looking for birds and it was for kampong people, the paddy field was our the play field for the children.

CNN: Prime Minister, you won a scholarship to read economics, yet you decided
to study Islamic studies?

PM: No, no, I tell you the truth. (CNN: okay, you tell me) I wanted to study economics but I failed my statistics paper. I fumbled my standard. The question was standard deviate, the paper was on statistics, I don’t know how I did it so bad, so I was not allowed to continue to do all my honors course in economics and I had to choose other subjects for which I was qualified. So I decided to choose Islamic Studies.

CNN: Why?

PM: Somehow at the time I was thinking of my grandfather. Because he has always wanted me to go for religious education, he wanted me to go to Mecca. Somehow at that time my father had another view, he said I must continue my English education, so that was what he wanted. My grandfather gave in, okay if that’s what you all want. So I went to English school, secondary English school, so forget going to Mecca for my religious education. So when I had to make a decision whether I would like to do honors degree course in Islamic studies and Malay studies too, so I thought Islamic studies would be good.

CNN: Amazing. And then after that you went into civil service. Why did you join politics and not stay in civil service?

PM: I have always been interested in politics. I was in the student union before, very active.

CNN: Now you rose quickly up the ranks, yet at one period of time, you backed a faction that was against Dr. Mahathir, is that correct and therefore you got kicked out of government?

PM: I was dropped from the cabinet

CNN: You were dropped from the cabinet, okay, what were those days like?

PM: Three years and nine months, I always describe it as like a Japanese occupation! Those were hard times. But during that period, I was still the vice president of the party, so I still had a lot of political work to do.

CNN: Is it true though when you were dropped from the cabinet, even people at the golf course wouldn’t speak to you?

PM: They don’t speak to me, some even run away. They see me in a distance and walking and walking, when they saw me, they go somewhere else. (CNN: nothing to do with your golf game right?) Nothing to do with it. I just picked up golf, it was good, give me a chance to play golf.

CNN: And how did you make such a come back and win the trust of former Prime Minister Mahathir?

PM: Well, there are other aspects, I still command very good support in the party. I always go down, maintain contact with them. I have an office right in the city, I still receive many people who come to see me. If not for anything, just chit-chatting. And then we have lunch somewhere, that’s all. That’s was what office was for.

CNN: Prime Minister, is Tun Dr. Mahathir a hard act to follow?

PM: It’s not easy to follow him. I would rather do things in my own way. Not his way. I can’t do it his way. He is a different man, it’s not the same.

CNN: Is he still pretty vocal?

PM: Less vocal than before.

CNN: Still under his shadow?

PM: No, he has decided, he told me he would not interfere with whatever I do, he would not comment whatever I do. He said this is my government. You do whatever you want, you are the Prime Minister.

CNN: Up next on TalkAsia: How religion helps Mr. Badawi cope with his troubles, including a very personal one-he's going through now. And what he hopes most, for the people of Malaysia.

CNN: You're back with TalkAsia and our in-depth interview with Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He's a proud father, grandfather, and devoted husband. For close to 40 years, his wife Datin Sri Endon has been by his side. He says what little spare time he has, he makes sure it's quality time with the family. Mr. Badawi is affectionately known throughout the country as "Pak Lah". I asked him how his nick name, came about.

PM: I don’t know how it happened, somebody must have started to call me “Pak Lah” because in Malay society, someone who is older than you, or someone you choose to respect, you would call him Pak so and so, so there are others who are Pal Ali or Pakdin, so my name is Abdullah so “Pak Lah”. So there is certain feeling of affection.

CNN: I know, for a Prime Minister and someone in your job, to be called “Pak Lah” quite openly is something, and it doesn’t offend you?

PM: I feel very happy they call me “Pak Lah” but there is only one “Pak Lah”, if they call me Datuk Sri, there is hundreds of Datuk Sri.

CNN: Just this year alone, you have experienced a lot of ups and downs, the ups we all know of course, the downs losing your mother. (Prime Minister said: Tough) I am sorry again to hear of that. Was she very close to you?

PM: Very Close

CNN: How would you describe her influence on you?

PM: Very great, very great.

CNN: How so?

PM : A lot to do with my attitude towards life, towards religion, and towards members of my family. And it has to do with a lot of human relations.

CNN: Your wife as well, Datin Sri Endon, is being treated for cancer, I know she is doing remarkably well. But what’s sort of toll does that take on you? You have so much work to do, you have to travel?

PM Well, I have to cope with it somehow. When she was in United States, we maintained contact, we talked to each other on the phone, almost every night. And there was one occasion I tried to fix this video conferencing but somehow it did not come out very well enough so better to talk on the phone. If I have time, I just fly there to see her but I can’t do it except for one occasion it was possible. But there had never been another occasion for that, so she came back and then she went again. She is still going though a very difficult time but she is so disciplined, sticking to this treatment regime. Sometimes I feel so sad but there was nothing I could do, but we pray a lot together. I think that was a source of comfort.

CNN: I read that the two women in your life, your mother had said, correct me if I am wrong, you are very tight with money, you wife says if you lose your temper, it will snow in Malaysia, are these two ladies correct?

PM: Well, in a way. In a way they are right, but not too tight with money. I am quite a spendthrift but just being careful because my family was not rich, was not a rich family. We have very little to live on, I remember that, I cried because I wanted a new toy and my father couldn’t afford it. He didn’t say he didn’t have the money, but he persuaded me not to have it. But today perhaps my recollection is that maybe he didn’t have the money to buy the toys.

CNN: How old were you then?

PM: Big enough to remember. There are certain things that happen to you when you were small you still remember. And then there was another occasion that he took away my shoelace because his friend came to the house, somehow snap his shoelace. Naturally he need to buy shoelace, so my father conveniently took mine, give it to him.

CNN: And what did you say?!

PM: I didn’t say anything, I just cried!

CNN: Oh my dear! Prime Minister, what would you say would be your life philosophy?

PM: My life philosophy. I never thought what my philosophy is but it has to be balance in everything you do. You can’t have too much of everything, you must have a balance, that’s very important. And…(PM wipes his tears off with his handkerchief) maybe because you’re talking about my mother…. It must be a balance in everything we do, not too much of everything, keep it simple, not complicated.

CNN: Simple and straight to the point?

PM: Yes, that’s it, simple and straight to the point

CNN: As the world changes so fast, Prime Minister, what do you hope most for your children, your grandchildren and the next generations of Malaysians?

PM: I, talking about my children, of course I wanted them to succeed in life, they have to choose whatever job or occupation that they want, I will not try to influence. Religion has always been very important in our family, so I want them to be god fearing, I think it’s important.

CNN: And what about the next generation of Malaysians?

PM : Well, the Malaysian, we are making every effort today to make sure that they are united Malaysians, that there will be no racial prejudices among them, that they will be able to cooperate, they will be able to identify themselves very strongly as Malaysians and work hard for the future of this country. They must be well educated and also in terms of I don’t want to prescribe this but I hope that they will be well behaved Malaysians. Very old fashioned to say that they will be well behaved but I think it’s very important. Sometimes children do forget their filial responsibilities. I think that’s important. I believe that if I treat my mother well, then my children will treat me well and will treat their mother well. So we have to do what we think is good and at the same time the children will see you are doing something good.

CNN: Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. A man who leads both his country and his family-with principle, love, and devotion. And that wraps our very special edition of TalkAsia, marking the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, or the King's Birthday in Malaysia this weekend. I'm Lorraine Hahn. Let's talk again, next week

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Scomi Nuclear Link, BSA Tahir Arrester Under ISA

Malaysia arrests Sri Lankan businessman linked to illegal nuke trade

Kyodo World News Service
Dateline: KUALA LUMPUR, May 29
Malaysian authorities have arrested a suspected middleman in the international nuclear weapons black market, local newspapers reported Saturday.

Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir, 44, a Sri Lankan-born businessman based in Dubai, was detained Friday under the Internal Security Act, the New Straits Times said quoting unnamed sources.

He could be held for two years at the Kamunting detention center in the state of Perak.

Tahir had previously been interrogated by the police but was let go. Police had said he had done nothing wrong, but now he was deemed to be "a security threat to national security," the daily said.

In February, the police ...

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

"No Cover Up In Graft Cases"

No Coverup Posted by Hello

18 sectors NOT 18 cases! Posted by Hello

25th. May 2004, NSTP reports

Pak-Lah says that there will be no cover up of graft cases and the facts will be made public to erase the perception that corruption was widespread and that investigation were dragging along. According to Pak-Lah, this was to ensure justice is done in corruption cases.

[Source: Doc Mave]

Saturday, May 22, 2004

"First Class Parliament" (CNBC Interview)

Saturday, May 22, 2004, 8.00 p.m.

Let’s start with this - To what degree today would you say that your agenda today has been shaped by the legacy of past Prime Ministers?

Yes, in a way yes, but I don't know to what degree. The most important aspect I would say that Dr Mahathir has been able to introduce, plan for the smooth transition, so when I took over there was no problem in the party - there was a strong support for me (the UMNO Supreme Council, the BN High Council, all the Mentri Besars in the cabinet). So that gave me the opportunity to proceed with whatever I had to do, and to gain the support of all of them.

And of course I have inherited if I may say, a government that has done well, and I have to look after my country which also has done well - good infrastructure, an economy that is stable, the political situation, stability - poitical stability, there's peace, there's security. All these to me are good fundamentals, and this is very much due to the efforts of Tun Mahathir, and Tun Mahathir himself has made his own contribution. So I have always looked at myself as having to manage something successful that I have inherited. What I had to do in managing this is I have to look ahead, because I cannot just stop at this level, or at this point, Malaysia must proceed ahead, not on the same level, we must proceed forward and upward, so that's therefore will be my responsibility.

It is an exciting time for Malaysia right now. The 11th parliament just sworn in, 90% of the MPs are from the ruling BN coalition. I hear you plan to be quite tough on them.

Well I don't know what the people say - to be tough, to be firm certainly; Because I had repeatedly told the MPs, they have to show good examples, they have to… people must be made to realize & accept that they're hardworking MPs. MPs must provide quality service.

It has also to be a first class parliament, where democracy is seen to be really working.

I am wondering though with the opposition so scaled down, whether you feel you will get the lively debates you are hoping for.

Well, I have told the MPs. I said I would welcome constructive criticism from all of you - that I would. And I would like to see a lively debate. I would like people to feel that having a very small opposition does not adversely affect the way democracy is practiced in Parliament. So they can express their views, they can make constructive criticism in ways that will benefit us.

Many people were quite disappointed that the new broom that applied to the new cabinet was not a lot more vigorous and there were some people who were retained in the cabinet whom outsiders looked at and said - these are names retained who might have been engaged in questionable activities. What is your response to that?

First I'd like to say that some people may not know there are 14 new faces in the cabinet. First time, young ones too. The cabinet will be assisted by all ministers, deputy ministers, even more, & young people, in & among the deputy ministers and parliamentary secs. These are the people who have to exposed early.

What I have to do is create a right mix, a combination of experience, and even age if you want to say that, with the new, dynamism of the young people who come in.

Two: When I wanted to name the candidate… to be candidates for the election, I have consulted especially those people have been talking about as having bad records, probably have a file with the police. I check and if the policemen or the BBR says, Ok, no problems there, Then I decide whether he should be named to be a candidate or not.

Malaysia is at a very critical juncture right now, in the way public agencies are run, and how the private sector fits in with that. Do you really think it is possible to delink political influence, political personalities, political connections from the way business has traditionally been done in Malaysia?

I don't think there will be too much difficulty. Perhaps in the beginning maybe. But the most important thing is when you do something, reasonable people, people who can think will be able to know that's the right thing. The question and issue is whether they want to criticize because their interest - their personal interest...that's all. But if they want to take it up, and agitate and hope to gain support for that, they are not going to get support because what we would like to do is do it right, make it fair, make it clear to the people that this is the best we can think of for Malaysia and for the people. It doesn’t only apply to the private sector, in terms of the good governance, and in terms of the need for the leadership for the cause, which include the boards, as well as the executive, the management, to embrace the culture of high performance, to adhere to good governance and accountability and all that. I don't think anybody will stand up and dispute and say - no we won't have it. Nobody would oppose that. If there is anybody who outwardly wants to oppose, in whatever we can see it, it's because their own personal interest has been affected.

Friday, May 21, 2004

"It is painful for Malaysians to see another human being tortured like this"

Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 07:15 GMT 08:15 UK

Nirmala Bonat
Nirmala Bonat said the abuse began when she broke a mug
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has said he is "shocked and outraged" at the abuse inflicted on an Indonesian maid by her employer's wife.

"It is painful for Malaysians to see another human being tortured like this," he told the New Straits Times.

Nirmala Bonat claims she was abused every day for the last five months, including being burnt with an iron.

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail described her abuser as a "monster", who could be jailed for up to 80 years.

The government offered Nirmala Bonat an official apology, with Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar saying: "We apologise and wish to extend our sympathies to her and family, who had placed high hopes on her earning an income, but she was abused instead."

Prime Minister Badawi promised that perpetrators of such "heinous crimes" would not be allowed to get away with it.

Maid's plight

The abuse first came to light on Thursday, when Malaysian newspapers were full of front-page photos of Nirmala Bonat's horrific bruises and scars, in what police claim is the country's worst case of maid abuse.

She [the employer's wife] then threw boiling water on me... She took the iron out of my hand and pressed it against my breasts
Nirmala Bonat
The maid told a harrowing story of how she was repeatedly burnt with an iron and scalded with boiling water by her Malaysian employer's wife.

Nirmala Bonat's plight was exposed after a guard at one of Kuala Lumpur's wealthy condominiums saw her crying, and spotted the horrific bruises on her face.

The guard immediately called police, who were shocked to find that the maid's whole body - including her breasts and back - were severely burnt.

Nirmala Bonat said the abuse began when she accidentally broke a mug about five months ago.

"She [the employer's wife] then threw boiling water on me," the maid told reporters.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi
Mr Abdullah vowed to punish such 'heinous crimes'
"One day she got upset while I was ironing. She said the clothes had not been properly ironed and slapped me. She took the iron out of my hand and pressed it against my breasts.

"When I go back, what am I going to tell my parents when they see all the scars?" the maid said.

Nirmala Bonat said she came to Malaysia last September, hoping to help support her parents, who are Indonesian farmers.

More than 200,000 foreigners are believed to work in Malaysian homes.

The country is the second largest destination for Indonesian maids after Saudi Arabia.

Many middle class Malaysian families rely on domestic staff, who are typically paid less than $100 a month.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"Fortunate to have Mahathir"


Fortunate to have Mahathir, says PM
27 April, 2004

Kuala Lumpur: Umno paid tribute to former Prime Minister and Umno President Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at a special dinner, here, Monday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was present at the dinner at the Putra World Trade Centre, said in his speech that Dr Mahathir had made much sacrifice for the development of the party and country.

“He is still serving (the country) because it is in his blood to contribute ideas for the development of the country and the Malays in particular,” said Abdullah, who is also acting Umno President.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Umno Sec-Gen Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob and almost all the party leaders as well as more than 2,000 Umno members.

Abdullah said Dr Mahathir had handed over Umno to him when the party was strong and this strength would be preserved.

He said Umno was getting stronger today and this had been proven at the last general election where Umno candidates had won many seats.

“We must manage our success well, just like we manage our failures. When chairing the National Economic Action Council (NEAC), Dr Mahathir used to say that we must find out the reason why certain things happen and thereafter find ways of improving it,” he said.

He said Umno was fortunate because since the party was formed, it had had good leaders who were credible and determined to bring development to the party and the Malays.

The Prime Minister said Umno members should thank Dr Mahathir who had made Umno stronger and more progressive and who had endeavoured to achieve the Vision 2020.

Abdullah called on Umno members to pledge to continue the success achieved by Dr Mahathir and he was confident that this would be the best gift to the country’s fourth PM.

He also thanked Dr Siti Hasmah who had looked after Dr Mahathir and assisted him in administering the country for 22 years.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir, who had led Umno for more than 22 years before his retirement in October last year, in his speech said he was touched by the dinner.

“Actually, tonight is meaningful as this is the first time I get to meet Umno leaders after the recent general election,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the election results also proved that Abdullah was a good leader who was capable of creating a brighter future for the country.

“When I wanted to step down, many people said that if I was not around, the Barisan Nasional (BN) would not get a landslide victory but I knew this was not true,” he said.

Stating that the BN had won 90 per cent of seats it contested, he joked: “If I had known this, I would have stepped down sooner”.

“The results clearly show that the rakyat support my successor and I hope Umno will continue to improve. I have no advice for Umno leaders facing party elections soon, but just a reminder that the party is bigger than the individual. Whatever we do, ensure that we prioritise the party,” he said.

Meanwhile, Khalil said during Dr Mahathir’s leadership of Umno from June 16, 1981 to Oct 31, 2003, the membership numbers rose from 872,796 to 2.81 million.

The number of divisions also rose from 114 to 191 and branches from 5,870 to 19,000 he said, adding that “in his time, Umno also penetrated Sabah in 1991 with 74,625 members”.

He added that by 2003, the number of Sabah Umno members had risen to 431,418.- Bernama

"My aim to hand over strong Umno"

Abdullah: My aim to hand over strong Umno

New Straits Times
Abdullah: My aim to hand over strong Umno
Edition: Main/Lifestyle; 2*
Section: Nation

KUALA LUMPUR, Mon. - Acting Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said tonight he hoped to hand over a strong Umno to his successor, just like what former president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had done.

The Prime Minister expressed this intention at an appreciation dinner hosted by the party for Dr Mahathir at the Putra World Trade Centre here. "God had fulfilled Dr Mahathir's wish to hand over a strong party to his successor.
"Umno today is a strong and respected party. This was proven in the last general election where Umno candidates won many seats.

"When the time ...

Saturday, April 24, 2004

`Steer clear of graft during party polls'

`Steer clear of graft during party polls'

Patrick Sennyah; Azura Abbas
New Straits Times
`Steer clear of graft during party polls'
Byline: Patrick Sennyah; Azura Abbas
Edition: Main/Lifestyle; 2*
Section: Nation

KUALA LUMPUR, Fri. - Prime Minister and acting Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today reminded members to stay clear of all forms of corruption during the impending branch, divisional and national-level party elections.

Branch elections will be held from June 1 to June 30 and divisional elections from July 8 to July 22.
Abdullah also launched Umno Election Guidelines 2004 - a book on the do's and dont's during the party elections.

"(With this book), I hope there will be no confusion or problems at ...