Your MP’s Question of the Week #6

After 08 March, the nation has witnessed the PM announced two major reforms regarding 1) the Judiciary and 2) the ACA.

Do you think that the PM should now really ‘walk his talk’ and immediately put these two reforms into motion without further wasting the nation’s time?

– Terjemahan oleh harris nasril – Ucapan ribuan terima kasih dari Wee Choo Keong –
Soalan Mingguan WR Anda #6

Selepas 8 Mac, negara telah menyaksikan PM telah mengumumkan dua perubahan besar berhubung:
1) Kehakiman
2) BPR

Adakah anda fikir bahawa PM harus kini ‘mengotakan kata-katanya’ dan dengan serta merta menggerakan kedua-dua perubahan ini tanpa perlu membazirkan lagi masa negara?

– 翻译员:angel_x , Wee Choo Keong 致于万二分谢意
阿強每週一問 #6


1) 司法
2) 反貪污委員會


34 thoughts on “Your MP’s Question of the Week #6

  1. Anonymous

    For me it is a BIG YES!This PM is only good for talk,talk, talk. He is the master of sleep talk with eyes open. Let him wake up now and work, work, work.No more bull talk lah Bodowi. Correct, correct, correct.

  2. mohamad

    only ONE answer, YES YES AND YES!!if he doesnt walk the talk, he is just remaining inconsistent and remains a flip-flopper! We the people are watching you and your words coming out of your mouth

  3. Angel_X

    The question this time not that spicy la, Mr. Wee….Of cos the PM shouldn’t waste anymore time….. he already wasted 5 years of our lives.Nab those little napoleons. sack them, not merely transfer them to another area to wreak havocs.Return the municipal voting rights to people. This country belongs to the rakyat, not Barang Naik or united malaysian nazi organization.Increase the salary of the public servants to at least RM2000~3000 per month. and punish those who were involved with graft even more severely (I don’t mind capital punishment)List out all the procedures and rules/regulations clearly to the public so nobody can ever attempt back-door access.Open tender. The NEP only capable of making ali babas.

  4. TsuChong

    If Pak Lah can seriously reform the judiciary, police, ACA, and ISA, he will gain my respect.All talks lead to no where la. Waiting anxiously to see the next progress.Hopefully its not just a political move.

  5. Anonymous

    Raised my hands and legs ==> YES!PM should talk less, do more now :)People will believe only if good result is produced.

  6. Anonymous

    Only talk, talk and talk. Like the 9th Malaysian Plan only talk and the Plan is still on the shelf. So where this country is going? No where. Can’t wait to see his chapter closed. Once he goes, then htis country will have a new begining.

  7. Anonymous

    salam sejahtera,dear sir, i am a UTAR student, I just wonder is it possible for the municipal council to help construct a pedestrian overhead crossing along jalan genting klang. it’s very dangerous to run across. thanks a lot.

  8. es76

    YB,can you tell anwar ibrahim to move asap because i don’t think paklah will do much because his hand are tight by his SIL, Najib and other mnisters.

  9. temenggong

    Of course lah!!But he is dragging the matter till Nov/Dec 2008 to coincide with umno elections.Ask him in parliament, what keeps him (Badawi) from establishing the judicial commission within a week of parliament opening?

  10. Anonymous

    My foot teh PM is reforming the judiciary and ACA. He should reform himself by resigning to save the country rather than saving himself. The country already in deep shiut and he still want ot ruin it further just to save his SIL, son (kamaluddin) and cronies.He si jsut bullshitting about reform. Like any opther leaders who are in the deep shit always talked about reform when htey are dying politically.Forget aboutreoftm Bodohwi. Just get resign and go to AUstralia.

  11. kiddokit

    To the UTAR student above,First of all, I can tell you the answer — NO, City Hall ain’t gonna be building any overhead bridge along that part of the road. It serves nobody, only UTAR students perhaps. Tmn Bunga Raya residents (and possibly TAR College students) have the public buses right in TBR itself. Who on earth would want to cross the Genting Kelang road at UTAR’s end?However, I do understand UTAR students’ predicament as I have witness for myself how they have to dash across the busy road sometimes. To resolve this, why not speak to UTAR’s establishment and get them to propose a more concrete solution for their own students?

  12. Bunda

    This Prime Minister is all talk. For example, the “revamped” ACA (or MCAC) is supposed to modelled after Hong Kong’s ICAC.Do you know who the ICAC reports to? It is an independent Operations Review Committee. It is a high powered committee, with the majority of its members coming from the private sector.The committee reviews EACH AND EVERY report of corruption and investigation, to ensure all complaints are properly dealt with and there is no “whitewashing”. It publishes an annual report, to be tabled before the Legislature for debate, thus ensuring public transparency and accountability.In addition,there is an independent Complaint Committee where members of the public can lodge any complaint againstthe ICAC and/or its officers and there will be an independent investigation. It also publishes an annual report to be tabled before the Legislature.You notice that the ICAC in Hong Kong doesn’t report to the government, or any Minister, as alleged by AAB. It is overseen by an “apolitical” private sector committee, and not even by politicians in government, although the committee is obliged to publish and submit an annual report to HK’s Legco for debate and oversight.Now, that’s what is called a proper check and balance system.

  13. Chong

    I’m not sure if I’m right to say this.I have a gut feeling that what he is doing now is wanting to win back the support of the people. It’s like a slap in the face…. WAKE UP!!!The question here is, if he has won back the support of the people, will he continue to serve the people?

  14. Anonymous

    The Sleepy Hewad only serve his family and cronies. Forget about him he is helping the Singapore government too. He is jsut hopeless full of talks and do nothing.When he resigned that is the begining of the recovery for Malaysia.

  15. Calvin

    Dear MP,I am a resident of Wangsa Maju Section 2. Hereby, I would like to draw your attention regarding the water leaking situation that cause the road to be flooded with water. Although it is not a very big issue, it do cause inconvenient to the pedestrain and user, especially motorist. The water will splash over the leg when crossing that area, it become worse if we wear long pants. In long run, it also lead to the tar road to be spoil. The water is flow from the bush area located in between the newly built Hospital tentera and Blok A car park area (where there is a big Petronas Gas Tank). The situation has been there for more than 4 months. Hope that MP can represent us to channel the situation to the approprite authority and action to rectify be taken as soon as possible. Your kind service for the community is much appreaciated. Thank you and God bless!

  16. Dragon

    YB Wee,腐朽不堪的“屋子”在怎样装修都是无济于事的,只有拆了再重建才会耐久!no matter how renovate the rotten house is useless, rebuild is only solution

  17. Anonymous

    no.. i dont think he “walk his talk” i think its a more walk away after talk … “udang di belakang batu” i guess that”s what he is doing .. for sure he has other plans behind the sweet talk … eg still he will put his cronies in …

  18. Anonymous

    You can hear him doing all the talks. Nothing happened. His head is empty. He rely whole sale on the 4th floor boys like Vincent Lim, Kamal and others. Most probably he didn’t know what reform he was announcing. He just read them and he can last a few more weeks. After the reform has passed its expiry date then the 4th floor boys will start another reform and he will last a few more weeks.So we, the rakyat, must go all oput to get him out. Whenever we have the opportunity we must register ourt disapproval. If we have the chancve to vote just vote against BN until they realised that the rakyat have had enough of BN under Pak Lah, SIl and cronies.The 43thj floor boys are running the government not him.

  19. Anonymous

    As long as Pak Lah stops sleeping, it is in itself a major reform! Forget about Pak Lah, he is just useless. He can only talk.


    The announcements sound good. But I’m numbed from all the lies already. Lame duck is lame duck- he can’t do it then- and I think he can’t do it now. Not enough time.The answer to the MP’s question is ‘yes’ of course but I don’t think he can do it.

  21. Anonymous

    You have to look at the timing of the reform; why not immediately after GE 2004 but after a host of mismanagement and GE 2008?Badawi does not have a convincing track record and one might suspect he has to ovecome hindrances unseen by the public.Is he trying to do this to gather public support as dissenting voices within his own political domain is gathering pace.His proposed reforms still fall short of full reform. ACA still reports to him and there is no investigation to the 1988 incident.He is just buying time, in my opinion. Unless I see some really big fish in prison and highly credible judges differentiating subsequent cases from the likes of Ayer Molek and religious dispute, I have trouble being convinced by a civil servant with a 4 year track record for fast plane, glamour event and shack time.RegardsLee Wee Tak

  22. every dog has his day

    We had much hope and expectations for him in his first term by giving him a resounding victory in 2004; and looks what happened in the next four years after that. We are extremely disappointed in our choice and the racism and corruption of the wretched BN regime grew worse.Ultimately, in GE2008, we expressed ourselves and the outcome and reality is there for everyone to see. Do not for once think that the ordinary people and voters are damned and stupid.Bodohwi had it coming and he can only have himself to blame for the present debacle he faced. We are not interested in window dressing the long-overdue reforms of the blighted judiciary, the corrupt ACA-AG-EC setup and other vital reforms of the main body politic. Do not pull wool over our eyes any further with sham and superficial changes. Unless the Sleepyhead wake up from his political stupor and lethargic ineptness, he may as well sail into the looming storm awaiting him at the end of the horizons onboard the thirty-million-dollar COBRA SULTAN (bought with sleaze on the sly.How more corrupt does he prefer to be? Good riddance to him. But wait again, people. With Najib onboard at the helm, more C4 production and possession cum distribution is gonna be another nightmare for us. We are doomed with these wretched UMNOputra baboons ruling the roost.

  23. every dog has his day

    Let’s Send The Altantuya Murderers To Hell Posted by Raja Petra Kamarudin Friday, 25 April 2008Today, we shall not be talking about politics. We shall also not be talking about race or religion. Today, we shall talk about doing the human thing. Today, let’s discuss how to launch a ‘Justice for Altantuya: restore Malaysia’s dignity’ campaign. And let’s send those bastards who murdered Altantuya to hell where they belong.NO HOLDS BARREDRaja Petra Kamarudin I had dinner with a few friends last night and on the way to the restaurant another good friend, Din Merican, phoned to fill me in on the details of Dr Setev Shaariibuu’s press conference that was held earlier that day. I listened as Din filled me in on what transpired and could not help but blurt out, “I am a father of two daughters. I can imagine what Shaariibuu must be feeling. Fucking assholes!”“I have three daughters,” Din responded. “These people are animals, bloody animals. Fuck them! Fuck them!” This is what I would call ‘at a loss for words’ — and when you just have to say something but no words can fully describe how you feel, then ‘fuck’ is the only word you can use which will console you enough and make you feel you have expressed your anger and disgust in a most ‘appropriate’ manner.“Hey, don’t insult animals,” I replied. “Animals are cute. I love cats, dogs and horses. These people are worse than animals. Even animals will not do something like this.”“Even pigs can be cute,” my wife who was driving the car butted in and I repeated what she said. “Yes, even pigs are cute. These people are not even the same level as pigs. They are lower than pigs. Melayu babi, the whole lot of them.”I found it very difficult to hold back my tears as Din continued with his narration of what Dr Shaariibuu said at his press conference. Yes, I am a very emotional person as many may have suspected by now. But I can also be very stubborn and stiff-lipped as well when facing an adversary, as the Special Branch officers from Bukit Aman have discovered. I am what the Malays would call ‘marah nyamuk, bakar kelambu’. And I would not hesitate to deny my body food and water as an act of defiance just to prove to my jailors that they may incarcerate my body but they can never own my mind or break my spirit. But hearing what Dr Shaariibuu had to say ‘broke’ me. Even my degil got tamed.“Let’s bring these bastards down,” I told Din. “Let’s launch a ‘Justice for Altanatuya: restore Malaysia’s dignity’ campaign’ or something like that. These assholes must be sent to hell.”Understandably, much of the dinner conversation thereafter was focused on the Altantuya murder. What was most amusing — not that I would classify this tragic murder as ‘amusing’ — is that none at the dinner table are lawyers by profession. But all were able to skilfully ‘argue their case’ as any seasoned lawyer with decades of litigation experience under his or her belt can — or maybe even better than that because not all lawyers are smart (trust me on this one). I always say you need brains to become a lawyer but you do not need to be a lawyer to have brains.Sure, ‘certified’ lawyers would pooh-pooh such ‘coffee shop’ arguments as just that, coffee shop arguments. And have we not overheard and scoffed at many an ‘expert’ at the next table offering his or her legal prognosis to all and sundry who would care to listen? Yes, opinions are like assholes — everybody has one.But there are opinions and there are opinions — and, just like assholes, no two are alike. So, while we value the expert opinions of our ‘learned’ legal eagles (yes, that is what they call each other in court even though they may be arguing — how civil), we too have conducted our own trial by court of public opinion and we have already arrived at our verdict even while the Altantuya murder trial is halfway through and long before we can see the end of what many consider a show-trial in a kangaroo court.Of course, we are not at liberty to say this as this may tantamount to subjudice or contempt of court or something like that (the courts have all sorts of fancy words and phrases to throw at you when they want to send you to jail whenever you differ with their opinion). So I would never dare state that the Altantuya murder trial ‘a show trial in a kangaroo court’ for fear of getting sent to jail. All I am at liberty to say is that many consider the Altantuya murder trial a show-trial in a kangaroo court and leave it at that without declaring whether I too share the opinion of the majority of Malaysians (not sure whether that statement can still get me sent to jail).Anyway, back to the dinner last night and to what all those ‘self-made lawyers’ who never argued even one case in court their entire life had to say. As I said, neither they nor I am a lawyer but I have attended a decade of trials and hearings since the birth of Reformasi in 1998 and my ‘practical experience’ has exposed me to much of what goes on in court. And all I can say is that, and I repeat, while you need brains to become a lawyer, you really do not need to be a lawyer to have brains, as my dinner friends proved last night.It was a long dinner and much was discussed and everyone had an opinion plus, as I said, all skilfully ‘argued their case’. However, to avoid this piece turning into a fifty-page thesis, which may see me getting an honorary law degree (or see me getting sent to jail), allow me to summarise how the ‘case’ was argued last night.First concerns the Affidavit that Razak Baginda submitted to the court during his bail application hearing in the Shah Alam High Court. Justice Segera had initially cautioned Razak’s lawyer that there was no necessity in submitting an Affidavit since it was only a bail application hearing and, anyway, bail is not allowed in murder cases. But the lawyer insisted in pursuing the matter in spite of repeated warnings from the Judge. So the Judge had no choice but to accept the Affidavit as it is the right of the accused to defend himself/herself the way he/she sees fit.Justice Segera then read the Affidavit and remarked that, after reading it, he is even more convinced that Razak is guilty. How then to grant bail, notwithstanding the fact that bail should automatically be denied anyway in cases of murder? Justice Segera was then immediately removed from hearing the case and was replaced by a junior judicial commissioner.Note that Justice Segera is a senior Judge and the most suited to hear this very controversial and high-profile case. Was he removed because he had prejudged the case or because he was now privy to certain information that may influence his decision or because they want to ‘kill’ the Affidavit?This was the first bone of contention. Karpal Singh, who is holding a watching brief on behalf of Altantuya’s family, then raised this matter during the trial and he asked the police officer on the stand as to why they did not investigate the Affidavit since much has been revealed in that document. The police officer replied that they did not investigate the Affidavit because ‘tidak ada arahan dari atas’ (so instructions from the top).This further enhances the belief that there is some very damaging evidence in that Affidavit and which the government is trying to hide. The fact that the Affidavit exists and Karpal raised the matter in court and the police did not deny it — other than explain they did not investigate it because of no instructions from the top — convinces most that something is amiss here.It seems the Affidavit also reveals that Altantuya was camped outside Razak’s house and this caused him to panic. He then went running to Najib, and Rosmah summoned Najib’s ADC, Musa Safri, and instructed him to solve Razak’s problem. Musa then summoned the tw
    o police officers currently on trial. So, it appears like Razak and the two police officers are not the only ones involved. Najib, Rosmah and Musa have also been implicated in this entire thing. And why the need for the police officer to declare that he had already killed six people before this if murder was not what was on everyone’s mind?Then the Attorney-General did a very strange thing. Just before the trial started, he made a public announcement that only three people and no others are involved in the murder. This is not only strange but highly irregular as well. It is not the Attorney-General’s job to determine this. This is for the court to decide. Furthermore, the trial had not even started yet so how does the Attorney-General know what is going to surface in the trial? No one has testified yet and until all the testimonies are heard who knows who else is involved and whether the three accused who on trial are even guilty or not? The Attorney-General made it appear like he knows the outcome of the trial even before the trail commenced? How not to feel that the trial is a show-trial?The Sunday morning before the trial was supposed to start, I received a SMS that said the charges against Razak would be withdrawn. At 4.00pm, I received another SMS saying that the entire team of prosecutors will be replaced because they did not agree to drop the charges against Razak. The following morning, the new prosecutor requested a one-month postponement on the excuse that he had just that very morning been told he is taking over the case so he needs time to study the files. The judge gave them a two-week postponement. The SMS may have been inaccurate but the actions thereafter lent credence to the SMS. And this SMS was from a Deep Throat in the Attorney-General’s Chambers so I am not about to just dismiss it as lies and slander.The next point is about where Altantuya’s remains were found, which was deep in the jungles. The three accused deny killing Altantuya yet the police knew exactly where to go to look for the remains. How did the police know where to go when the three denied killing her? Did they use a bomoh? Was there an informer? No, the police just happen to know that deep in the jungles they would find Altantuya’s remains without anyone having to tell them.It makes one wonder whether the police knew where to go because it is a ‘gazetted dumpsite’ where all ‘bumped off’ people are disposed. Does this then mean that the two police officers on trial alongside Razak are police hit men whose job it is to bump people off and then get rid of their bodies at that site where they retrieved Altantuya’s remains? This, of course, remains mere speculation but there is certainly cause for speculation and the evidence all seem to point to this assumption.The whispering amongst those who walk in the corridors of power is that when they went to the ‘dump site’ they retrieved the remains of many others as well. Some say it was the remains of seven people and others say nine. So Altantuya was not the first. There were many others before this, almost ten judging by the remains.This, of course, has never been made public and probably never will. So, until it is, we must assume that the ‘whispering’ is unfounded. But then, what about Razak’s Affidavit we talked about earlier, which stated that the police officer had admitted to killing six people before this. This would then make Altantuya the seventh victim. Against this backdrop, the ‘whispering’ about the police retrieving the remains of seven or nine people begins to sound like very loud whispers.Many other ‘key issues’ raised by my non-lawyer friends, who all argued as if they were conducting the Altantuya murder trial, were matters such as how Altantuya’s immigration records could be erased from the Immigration computers, the letters Najib wrote to the Malaysian embassy supporting Altantuya’s visa application, the photograph of Altantuya, Najib, Razak and Kalimullah taken during Altantuya’s birthday party in the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore, and much more.Rumour has it, and it remains just that, a rumour, is that all this ‘evidence’ has been given to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Okay, maybe Abdullah is using this information to keep Najib in line — which appears to be working seeing that he is constantly licking Abdullah’s hand. But this is not about politics and should not be dealt as such. This is about the Prime Minister of Malaysia withholding crucial evidence in a murder trial. Abdullah is an accessory to murder and burying evidence that will affect the outcome of the trial and interfere in seeing justice done renders Abdullah as guilty as those currently on trial and those who also should be on trial but are not.I really wish I could write about all the above which was discussed by those at the dinner table last night. Unfortunately, since the trial is still ongoing, I will not be able to talk about any of these matters. The best I can do is relate what those at the dinner table discussed last night and leave it at that without giving my opinion. And the above is what was discussed by those who are not lawyers and never once in their lives argued any case in court.Of course, since all these people are not lawyers, most of what they said is based purely on logic and not on points of law. It is actually quite ridiculous that people not tutored in matters of law would attempt to dissect and analyse the Altantuya murder trial and pass judgement as if they are trained and certified lawyers. Anyway, as I said, opinions are like assholes and every one has one so we should not take too much notice of what my dinner friends said last night. Meanwhile, read what my friend, Din Merican, e-mailed to me this morning:In ancient times, nations go to war at the slightest provocation. In the 21st century, fortunately, we are more civilised than our progenitors, although there are still exceptions. After all, we are members of the United Nations and, I am told, we subscribe to the UN Declaration on Human Rights. Yet, we in Malaysia, treat foreign nationals with total disregard for compassion and human decency. Are we a bunch of cynics? I wonder.Take the case of the beating-up of the Indonesian karate/judo coach and the brutality towards, and extortion of, Indonesian guest workers by Rela, the murder of a Mongolian national, etc. Is the way we deal with our neighbours and other nation states? I wonder whether we are a nation of laws or a country run on the basis of the law of the jungle.Our Prime Minister, Badawi, and his Foreign Minister (at that time Syed Hamid) did not have the courtesy to reply to the letters from their counterparts in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, seeking a fair trial and justice for the family of the late Altantyua Shaariibuu. Too busy maybe? Surely not!It is going to be tragic for Malaysia’s image if the Altantuya family cannot get justice for the brutal murder of their loved one. How can we blow to smithereens a human being, someone’s loved one, and a mother to two young children, using an explosive which is only utilised in times of war to destroy bunkers, bridges and buildings? This is unheard off anywhere in the world. This case, therefore, has a lot of international implications, especially when the deed was done by ‘servants’ of this country.We are being viewed as arrogant by the Indonesians, Thais, Singaporeans, as well as by many of our neighbours. Now, we add to this list the Mongolians. How indecent and irresponsible of the PM and his Foreign Minister for not even acknowledging the receipt of letters from their Mongolian counterparts. Who are we protecting?There is no point in Badawi trying to convince us that his Administration is keen to restore the image of the judiciary. He cannot even fix his own Police Force and the AG’s Office. Frankly, Malaysians should have sent Badawi and his cohorts in BN out of office in the last general election.The mainstream media is
    just hopeless in the cause of justice for Altantuya and dignity for Malaysia. Malaysians and civil society movements must now pressure the Badawi government to expose the real culprit behind this murder and bring to closure this long and costly trial. Let justice prevail and let us put an end to the culture of impunity, where the powerful and politically connected are above the Law.As a father of six kids (of whom three are girls, including a 16-year old) and a grandfather, I feel for Dr. Setev Shaariibuu and his family. I was at the press conference on April 24 at the Office of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and I personally saw the agony on Dr. Shaariibuu’s face.It is time for Malaysians to push this issue and not allow the murderers who walk in the corridors of power to get away with this vile and evil deed unscathed. It is time to ‘storm the Bastille’. It is time we sent these sorry excuses for human beings to hell where they deserve to be.Note: People, every dog has his day beseeches you guys to visit Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today website for more information.

  24. everydog has his day

    Abdullah’s Second-Chance Reform Drive – Too Little, Too Late & Half Hearted MeasuresBy Anil NettoPENANG – Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has mounted a rearguard fight to salvage his leadership in the face of a poor electoral showing and formidable challenges to his rule, both from within and outside his United Malays Nasional Organization (UMNO) party.The political opposition made sharp inroads at last month’s general election, winning an unprecedented five state governments, 82 of 222 parliamentary seats and nearly half the popular vote. Opposition leaders now claim that they have lured a clutch of at least 30 parliamentarians from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to cross over to their side, which if true would be enough for the opposition to seize federal power.”God willing, we will be there. If not next month, the following month, then if not June or July … on Merdeka [Independence Day on August 31] or Malaysia Day [September 16]. I think we should not go beyond that,” opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim was reported as saying, referring to his prediction that the opposition would be able to form a new government this year.Anwar’s comments have set off a political maelstrom here, sparking a heated debate over whether defections represent a betrayal of voters’ trust, whether the opposition alliance should press on while it has the upper-hand and even whether Anwar’s bold claims are credible.It also raises the political stakes for Abdullah, who is likely soon to be challenged for the presidency of UMNO, the dominant party in the BN. Some of his own party members have pressed him to indicate a “transition” period for handing over power to his deputy and defense minister, Najib Razak. Najib, however, is plagued by his own political troubles and has given little indication to suggest that he favors the kind of political and economic reforms many Malaysians now hope for.Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister who once came close to toppling Mahathir Mohamad as UMNO president back in 1987, is poised to make a bid for the party’s leadership during elections in December. Meanwhile former premier Mahathir has added his own political pressure, saying during an April 18 interview on BBC World’s Hard Talk that, “[Abdullah] must go now because it will take time to revive the party for the next election.”Faced with such criticisms, Abdullah is bidding to win back lost ground and implement some of the original reform promises that catapulted him to power at the 2004 general elections. At those polls, soon after taking over UMNO’s leadership reins from Mahathir, Abdullah led the BN to a landslide victory, winning 91% of parliament’s seats.Some of those avowed reforms, including a new commitment to tackle corruption and abuse of power, were widely seen as a response to public demands made, sometimes on the streets through protest movements, during the turbulent final years of Mahathir’s 22-year authoritarian reign.Yet disenchantment over Abdullah’s perceived unfulfilled promises, along with mounting economic difficulties for poor communities and perceptions of unmitigated official corruption, were seen by pundits as the major reasons for the BN’s relatively poor performance at last month’s polls.Too little, too lateSince then, Abdullah has announced a series of populist moves and reforms in an attempt to win back lost popular support. For instance, earlier this month his government organized a dinner with the country’s Bar Council to announce the establishment of a judicial appointments commission to look into the appointment of judges.The checks-and-balances reform marks a departure from the previous practice of the chief justice recommending names for new judges to the prime minister, who would then screen the names before they were submitted to the country’s constitutional monarch for formal appointment. He also said the government would make an ex gratia payment to half a dozen top judges or their surviving families for their suspension or sacking back in 1988 when they stood up to Mahathir in a foiled attempt to preserve judicial independence.Critics say that Abdullah’s speech fell short of an outright apology and complain that he has still failed to establish an independent inquiry into the 1988 crisis, which many pinpoint as the start of the erosion of the once respected judiciary’s independence. Others wondered how independent the new judicial appointments commission would be.The embattled premier has also announced that he will overhaul the present Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), transforming it into a supposedly more independent Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption. Towards that end, an independent advisory board will be established for the new commission, which will be charged with submitting its annual report to a new parliamentary committee on corruption-busting. The reforms would also introduce new protections for whistle-blowers.At the same time, there are already questions about how independent the new commission will actually function in practice. Abdullah has said that he will ultimately still be “responsible” for the new anti-graft body and that he will “advise” on the appointments to its advisory board. “There’s always a minister, anywhere in the world, responsible for any institution set up,” he was reported as saying.Meanwhile, home minister Syed Hamid Albar said the Cabinet would soon consider a proposal to waive an administrative requirement for local newspapers to renew their licenses every year, a measure that critics say has led to self-censorship by newspaper editors.In that direction, earlier this week authorities decided to renew the publishing permit of the Tamil language newspaper Makkal Osai, which will now return to newsstands on Saturday. The move marked a reversal of a decision earlier this month not to renew the publication’s license for allegedly breaching certain licensing guidelines and threatening racial harmony through its reporting. In a survey of six newspapers carried out by an independent media monitoring team during last month’s election campaign, the paper was found to have provided the most opposition coverage.The government has also now agreed to issue a publishing permit for Suara Keadilan (The Voice of Justice), the newspaper published by Anwar’s political party, the People’s Justice Party. The permit will allow the publishers to sell the publication to the general public and not confine its sales to party members, as is normally the case for opposition party newspapers. The fortnightly paper’s circulation has shot up from 30,000 before last month’s general election to nearly 100,000 at present.Reform advocates, however, want the entire licensing provision to be scrapped, along with the Printing Presses and Publications Act, which stipulates that the minister’s decision on licensing issues is final and cannot be subjected to judicial review. They also point to punitive laws such as the Defamation Act, Official Secrets Act, Internal Security Act, Sedition Act and other undemocratic rules and regulations, which historically have weighed against freedom of expression.Zulkiflee S M Anwar Ulhaque, Suara Keadilan’s editor and a political cartoonist popularly known as Zunar, echoes those calls. “Instead of saying thank you, prime minister, my thanks would go to our readers, vendors and printers, who have been intimidated in the past,” he told Asia Times Online. “We have been denied a permit for three years, so his announcement is three years too late … These reforms are self-serving half-hearted reforms, too late and too little.”It’s yet to be seen if Malaysian voters will agree to bite the bait.Anil Netto is a Penang-based writer.

  25. Anonymous

    Yes, absolutely! But so far I have only seen discriminatory moves taken by the federal government against the states that voted against them, esp in Penang. It looked more like punishment. There are lots of talk on reforms but those were merely talks, let’s see if he can undo what was institutionalised for the last 50 years…..

  26. Anonymous

    Why reform now? Bodohwi no mood for reform before 8th March. Typical “dying” man! When a person is about to “die” politically he will do everything to save his family, SIL and his cronies. He thought that he could save them by his stupid reform gesture. No body believe him.It was for htis reason that Bodohwi had to make use of Ambiga and her cronies in the Bar COuncil to organise a dinner platform for him and the government used rakyat monies to pay for the dinners by the lawyers. Bodohwi will do everything to save himself.WHY MUST THE RKAYAT PAY FOR THE DINNER ENJOYED BY LAWYERS TO SAVE THE LAME BELEAGURED PM. If this was not abuse of power what is?

  27. Wee Choo Keong

    Bros and sistersThank you all for interacting with me. Mohamd, every dog has his day, Abdulah and Hasril.abdullah: Thank you so much for your kind words. I will try my best to improve as we along. Thank you for your encouraging comments. Please bear with me. Pleae give me more ideas sotaht I can improve the blog. Hasril: Thank you so much for your help in the translation into Bahasa.Thank you all.

  28. Anonymous

    Reform what? He should start to reform his family and cronies. When he is koyak that will be the begining of REFORM!

  29. Anonymous

    aiyah… asking the obvious isn’t it? i think the concern is IF he can reform, not how soon it should be done. looking at all the kerfuffel taking place since elections, the only solution lies in lobotomy!

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