Going Rogue: Malaysia and the 1MDB Scandal — Danny Quah

Source: The Diplomat

BY DANNY QUAH

Democracy and rule of law won’t magically clear society of cronies and corruption.

Danny Quah is Professor of Economics and International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at LSE. He had previously served on Malaysia’s National Economic Advisory Council, 2009-2011. Pic taken from LSE blog.

Danny Quah is Professor of Economics and International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre at LSE. He had previously served on Malaysia’s National Economic Advisory Council, 2009-2011. Pic taken from LSE blog.

In 1971, more than forty years before the world would turn its attention to the so-called one percent and the problem of income inequality, Malaysia embarked on one of history’s boldest and most noble experiments to reduce social disparity. Malaysia’s New Economic Policy, or NEP, would seek to “eradicate poverty for all” and “eliminate identification of race by economic function and geographic location.” This polity that had achieved national independence just over a decade before, this country that was still a low-income emerging economy, was setting out to solve the massive problem of injustice and inequality over which other societies much more mature continued to struggle.

Malaysia was a democracy that hewed to the rule of law. The NEP would be Malaysia’s key political driver. Over the decades that followed, the NEP’s mantra would serve as a backdrop to almost all political discourse in the country. NEP-themed policies would, among much else, flesh out the concept of Bumiputera – an ethnic-driven formulation of native peoples in Malaysia. Read more

Kerry urges Najib to do more on human-trafficking

Source: The Malaysian Insider

US Secretary of State John Kerry told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today his government should do more to stop people-trafficking, an official said, a week after Washington controversially praised the country’s efforts.

The US State Department on July 27 raised Malaysia from its lowest Tier 3 ranking on trafficking to the “Tier 2 Watch List”, drawing allegations that President Barack Obama’s administration was trying to curry favour with Malaysia to gain its support for a regional trade pact.

Kerry met Najib on the sidelines of an annual regional security forum hosted this year by Malaysia. Read more

Amend law to make it clearer – Azmi Sharom

Source: The Star Online

Azmi Sharom - file pic

Azmi Sharom – file pic

BY AZMI SHAROM

WHOA! Talk about a stealth bomber of a law.

This one slipped under my radar and the next thing I know it’s pounding down with legal explosives.

I am talking about the new section 124B of the Penal Code.

This provision, which criminalises “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”, was introduced in 2012.

I think some noise was made about it then, but soon we got distracted, as we Malaysians are wont to do.

To be fair, we got distracted by some pretty big things.

The sudden ever-presence of the Sedition Act, the threat of the new Prevention of Terrorism Act – these were all relevant and pertinent issues that had to be faced.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, like flatulence in an elevator they whack us with this law.

And it’s a doozy. Read more

Rakyat Malaysia jangan takut untuk menyoal, kata peguam

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

Peguam Syahredzan Johan bercakap kepada hadirin pada forum awam mengenai Akta Pencegahan Keganasan 2015 (Pota) di Pulau Pinang, malam tadi. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Hasnoor Hussain, 5 Ogos, 2015.

Ketika kontroversi mengenai wang derma RM2.6 bilion dalam akaun bank perdana menteri hangat diperkatakan, peguam Syahredzan Johan yang lantang bersuara berkata, rakyat Malaysia tidak perlu takut untuk bertanya soalan.

Syahredzan, pengerusi bersama Jawatankuasa Peguam Muda Kebangsaan Majlis Peguam berkata, soalan perlu ditanya dalam usaha untuk mempertahankan prinsip kebebasan berucap dan bersuara.

Beliau mendakwa, tujuan undang-undang seperti Akta Hasutan diperketatkan ialah supaya orang tidak bertanya soalan dan “bagi memenjarakan fikiran rakyat”.

“Kita ada prinsip tertentu yang kita patuhi dalam satu demokrasi. Kebebasan berucap dan bersuara adalah sebahagian daripada DNA kita, jadi kita berpegang kepada nilai ini.

“Kalau kita tidak mengatakan sesuatu kerana kita takut mereka cari kita, bermakna kita mengatakan nilai ini tidak begitu penting kepada kita.

“Adakah kita mahu menjadi jenis masyarakat yang membenarkan pihak berkuasa berbuat sesuka hati mereka kerana kita takut kita akan susah?

“Jangan takut walaupun undang-undang boleh dikenakan ke atas anda. Anda tidak keseorangan,” katanya pada forum awam mengenai Akta Pencegahan Keganasan 2015 (Pota) dan pindaan kepada Akta Hasutan 1948, anjuran Jawatankuasa Majlis Peguam Pulau Pinang di Pulau Pinang, malam tadi. Read more

Water, fish contain high level of arsenic

Source: NST Online

KUANTAN: DO not consume fish or other seafood from water sources contaminated with bauxite and its residue!

Public health experts have warned those here that the water sources where bauxite had seeped in were heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals, some with carcinogens.

The desperate call stemmed from the independent laboratory test results commissioned two weeks ago by the New Straits Times Probes Team on live fish samples obtained from Pantai Pengorak and Sungai Pengorak here.

 

The three fish samples that were submitted to an independent laboratory for tests by the NST Probes team - pic by NST

The three fish samples that were submitted to an independent laboratory for tests by the NST Probes team – pic by NST

Tests were conducted for metal concentration in fish from the Gebeng coastal area that had been contaminated with bauxite.

The NST received the test results late on Monday and were shocked by the readings.

The most disturbing reading was the arsenic level. The Food Regulation 1985 states that the permissible level for arsenic in fish and fishery product is 1mg/kg.

The mean reading for arsenic in the three fish samples that were submitted for the test was 101.5mg/kg, very much higher than the permissible level.

In the first sample (Fish 1), the trace of arsenic was at 70.8. Fish 2 registered 93.2, while Fish 3 was at a staggering 104.5.

“We don’t eat fish by the gramme. Imagine the levels of carcinogens being consumed in one serving,” said a scientist assisting the Probes Team in analysing the results.

Environmental health expert Professor Dr Jamal Hisham Hashim said the public should avoid consuming seafood harvested from the area as the high concentration of arsenic in them could cause cancer. Read more