Thursday, February 23, 2012


FIRST I must make it clear that I support any initiative to help the poor, regardless of race and religion. Which means that on this score I'm on the same wave-length with former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

I was also supportive of anything under the New Economic Policy that was intended to help improve the overall economic situation of the Malays/Bumiputras in general but again this was incumbent on helping only those who needed help.

The big difference between Tengku Razaleigh a.k.a. Ku Li and Aziz Hassan is that while the prince had enough platforms while a minister and a senior member of the Umno supreme council to try and correct any imbalance or lopsided policies, I did not.

I now quote the relevant paragraphs from a report in the Malaysian Insider today on Ku Li's speech at the "Breakfast Meeting" forum.

In highlighting the NEP as a major source of disunity, Ku Li said this: "If we visit government departments or universities, we wonder where all the non-Malays have gone. After 1969, suddenly there was this attempt to recruit mostly Malays into the civil service.

"It is tragic that the civil service does not reflect the racial composition of the Malaysian population, as the predominant presence of only one race tends to engender a sub-culture that is antithetical to the evolution of a dynamic and efficient civil administration in the country."

After 1969? Forget Tunku Abdul Rahman because by that time it was widely known that Tunku was on the way out, which leaves us with Tun Razak Hussein and Tun Hussein Onn, both deceased. The man many people love to hate, Tun Mahathir Mohamed, became our CEO only in 1981.

Ku Li was highly regarded by Razak and had the PM's ears too. The problem is Malaysians  above 50 cannot remember Ku Li as the Umno man/minister who fought to correct what was wrong with the government's policies which he thought were favouring the Malays. At least we don't remember him publicly advocating consistently and diligently a different approach.

He could have spoken out at the Umno supreme council to try and make a difference. He certainly could have done that too at the cabinet while serving under three PMs. Did he?

Ku Li headed Pernas, the now non-existent Bank Bumi and Petronas, apart from holding two cabinet portfolios. Did he recruit differently from other Malay bosses and politicians at these places? Bank Bumi was a very Malay bank in terms of its staffing. Petronas too has always been known to be heavily Malay.

But Pernas takes the cake because it was set up in November 1969 following a resolution at the second Bumiputra Economic Congress. It's objective was to help only the Malays and Bumiputras and Ku Li was its founding chairman. Not only the policies were closed and thus favoured only the Malays and Bumis, so too was its stated recruitment policy. So what does this mean in terms of favouring one race? Wasn't Ku Lii too responsible for this biased, lopsided situation at the expense of the non-Malays?

As chairman of the Umno-owned Fleet Group from 1972 to 1982, who were Ku Li's appointees to head the companies within the group and to make up the senior management? Was racial balance ever a consideration?

Didn't Ku Li realise the folly of the government's policies then? If he did and felt strongly enough, the decent thing to do would have been to resign. He didn't and because he didn't, Ku Li must be held collectively responsible for being part of that government.

Or did the realisation come about only recently? If this indeed is the case, then we must add a now vocal former Umno minister, a retired senior judge and a retired senior cop to the list of people who moan and groan the loudest about everything that is wrong about this country and its leaders -- but only after leaving office.         

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


HAD a problem at first trying to decipher it all because the remarks came from someone of a high standing. It was like "Can I believe this?" or "Did he actually say this?"

It's been three days and since there is no denial or clarification, the news portal must have quoted him and another legal mind correctly.

In a nutshell, to Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah, a former chief justice, almost everything that is wrong with our judiciary is all due to Tun Mahathir Mohamad -- chief tyrant, he the all-intimidating politician, the prime minister who whipped everyone into submission.

In his address at the weekend to honour the birthday of our first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman, amongst other things, Dzaiddin said Mahathir had cowed the judiciary for well over two decades.

He spoke about the amendments in 1988 and 1989 pertaining to judicial review, the amendment to Article 121 of the federal Constitution, which effectively clipped the judiciary's wings.

Thus the courts have become subservient to politicians in the executive arm of the government, said Dzaiddin. A sweeping statement but the portal's report did not say if Dzaiddin had referred to specific cases to back his claim.

Also mentioned by Dzaiddin was the sacking of then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas due "to clashes between the two over the roles of the two arms of the government".

At the same event Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee had his take too on Salleh: "We must never allow a PM to sack judges.....Salleh was sacked because he made a judicial pronouncement unfavourable to the government of the day."

What set me thinking was primarily this: If Dzaiddin was firm in his belief that Mahathir had messed up with the judiciary since 1988/89, why did he stay on as a judge? Can a judge who's cowed be expected to do what is required of him without fear or favour?

I'm reminded of the late lawyer Raja Aziz Addruce who refused to appear in court when Tun Hamid Omar was the LP. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree with him but at least Raja Aziz kept his principle intact.

In the case of Dzaiddin, not only did he stay on as a judge but also accepted the appointment as CJ in December 2000 and served until his retirement in March 2003. It was an appointment by the Agong but acting on the advice of the PM. Was it not Mahathir who was the PM at that time?

Was the problem with Salleh not a result of him incurring the displeasure of a late Agong? The decision to form the tribunal to hear the case against him was taken only after Salleh had changed his mind about resigning.

I have no doubt that there was no love lost between Mahathir and Salleh but the fact remains that the dispute started when the Agong didn't want Salleh around.

The other fact is that Mahathir left office about 8 1/2 years ago. Still not enough time for the judiciary to get back into shape?

But what if those who led the judiciary after Dzaiddin, and the present too, don't agree with his views? Would not that be an insult, an affront to their dignity and integrity? Still fearful of a Mahathir who left office in late 2003, or any other government politician?

Even if Mahathir was such a man would you, by your own admission, serve under such a person when there were other options available?

Would you, again by your own indirect admission, allow yourself to be put down, to be subdued and to be intimidated by this man, only to speak out years later?

I know I wouldn't. Malu.