Should we decentralise PDRM?– Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Source: The Star Online


OVER the years, several organisations and analysts, especially those from civil society, have argued that our Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has too much power with very little check and balance.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan – The Star Online file pic

Some of these comments are simply attempts to politicise the situation. They complain when the police act against them, but are silent when the actions are against those on the opposite side.

For example, when the police take action under the Sedition Act on those who are on their side, then the police are accused of being unfair. But when the same Act is used by the police against those whose views they disagree with, their reaction would be different.

As the body is tasked with implementing the law, these criticisms are unavoidable. The police force is bound to be criticised, or praised, by one side or the other. It is a reality of life that no one can please everyone all the time.

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Affirmative action is morally wrong — Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Source: FMT News


As long as ethnic-based affirmative action remains, we will continue to be a society operating in a downward spiral of suspicion and discomfort about each other. — Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Wan Saiful Wan Jan - The Star Online file pic

Wan Saiful Wan Jan – The Star Online file pic

Anyone interested to objectively study the topic of affirmative action must read the seminal book by Thomas Sowell entitled “Affirmative Actions Around the World”. The global study of affirmative action was published by Yale University Press in 2004, and it is probably still one of the most authoritative studies on the topic until today.

Sowell said in the book: “Some groups in some countries imagine themselves entitled to preferences and quotas just because they are indigenous ‘sons of the soil’, even when they are in fact not indigenous, as the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and the Malays in Malaysia are not.”

This is a very strong statement. Sowell commented specifically about Malaysia. And he said that the Malays are claiming the right to preferential treatment through affirmative action because they are indigenous, even though they are not really indigenous to this land.

When affirmative action was implemented through the New Economic Policy (NEP), it was done with all the good intentions. Our second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein had a very good intention to rectify what he saw as structural weaknesses faced by our country at that time.

But as time went by, despite the original good intention, the affirmative action policy turned into an ugly beast.

What was supposed to be a temporary assistance programme evolved into a sense of entitlement, and then morphed into a monster called Malay rights that cannot be debated, let alone be removed. Read more

IDEAS: Whistleblowers Protection Act too weak to protect public

Source: FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan - Pic from FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan – Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The extremely low number of whistleblowers coming forward to report on any wrongdoings in this country is due to weaknesses in the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, says IDEAS chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

Referring to a new policy paper titled “A critical look into the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010” presented by IDEAS board member and past president of the Malaysian Bar Christopher Leong, the think tank chief said there are severe gaps in what should be reported and what is currently being reported in the country.

“Many experts can agree that whistleblowing is one of the best ways to discover corruption. In countries like the US, as much as 46% of fraud cases were discovered due to whistleblowers.

“However, in Malaysia, the numbers are extremely low. Only 28 out of 8,953 complaints made to the MACC in 2012 were by whistleblowers. This is approximately 0.3% of cases,” Wan Saiful said in a statement. Read more

We must make reform popular — Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Source: The Star Online


It’s all about changing the climate of opinion to fit your vision because politicians and political parties win or lose based on how popular their ideas are.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan - The Star Online file pic

Wan Saiful Wan Jan – The Star Online file pic

JOSEPH Schumpeter, in his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, defines democracy as “that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote”.

This definition implies that in a democracy there must be competition for votes. This says a lot about the nature of democracy. To win, you must make what you are selling popular. Not necessarily right. But popular.

To see the story of democracy in our country, we need to look back. Since before independence, our society has been divided along communal lines. This was reflected when our political parties were formed. Almost all were communal.

The first president of Umno, Datuk Onn Jaafar, tried to change this. He wanted Umno to open its membership to non-Malays. He embodied the spirit of 1Malaysia before the term was coined.

But he failed and he eventually left Umno. He formed the Independence of Malaya Party and later Parti Negara to pursue his vision for inclusive politics. But, again, he failed.

Onn’s vision was ahead of its time. The public wanted something else, not the good vision that he offered. That is the reality of demo­cracy. Good visions can and do lose the democratic battle if you are un­­able to change the climate of opi­nion to support your vision. Read more

Wan Saiful: Malaysian voters still favour communal politics

Source: The Star Online

Wan Saiful Wan Jan. Pic by Tan Kim Bock.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan. Pic by Tan Kim Bock.

KUALA LUMPUR: Communal political parties are what Malaysian voters seem to want and what voters have continuously voted for, said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan (pix).

Since independence, Malaysia has seen a rise of many communal parties like Umno, MCA and MIC, he said.

“There are some parties that try to change this situation. But the reality is that when it comes to deciding electoral strategy, they have to be communal too,” he said at a forum organised by Centre for Global Affairs Malaysia (Icon) titled “Revisiting Democracy: Global and Domestic Trends” on Thursday.

He said that political parties have to consider the ethnic distribution of constituency and who they want to fill the spot.

“Even the non-communal parties need to play the communal game. That is what our democracy demand of those who want to contest in the game,” said Wan Saiful.

Wan Saiful said that democracy is about what is popular, not about what is good. Read more

New security law debuts as PM fights critics

Source: Gulf Digital News Online

Kuala Lumpur (AFP): Tough new security legislation came into force Monday in Malaysia, with critics saying the “draconian” law threatens democracy and could be used against opponents of the scandal-tainted premier.

The National Security Council Act was pushed through parliament in December by the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has faced calls to resign for more than a year over an huge alleged corruption scandal.

The legislation gives the government power to declare virtual martial law in areas deemed to be under “security threat”.

Critics accused Najib and his government of enacting the law, and other tough recent legislation, to ward off political and legal challenges.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan - The Star Online file pic

Wan Saiful Wan Jan – The Star Online file pic

“The law will definitly put fear in people planning to participate in street protests,” said Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, a Malaysian think tank.

“The public perception in terms of the timing of the draconian law is that Najib wants the law in order to stay in office.”

The legislation allows a National Security Council headed by the prime minister to essentially suspend civil liberties in designated “security areas”, giving security forces sweeping powers of search, seizure and arrest. Read more

The changing face of corporate Malaysia

Source: The Star Online

Permodalan Nasional Berhad - one of Malaysia's GLIC. Pic by Tan Kim Bock

Permodalan Nasional Berhad – one of Malaysia’s GLIC. Pic by Tan Kim Bock

EVER wondered who dominate corporate Malaysia?

While Malaysia has its fair share of tycoons who have built their empires over the years, most of the country’s largest corporations are actually controlled by a select group of government-linked investment companies or GLICs who own major stakes in many large listed corporations in Malaysia dubbed government linked companies or GLCs.

For example, GLCs make up eight out of the 10 largest listed companies in Malaysia by market capitalisation and these eight have a combined market cap of a staggering RM452bil. There are a whole host of other GLCs in Malaysia, listed and unlisted.

And these GLICs in turn are under the control of the Finance Ministry, Universiti Malaya economics professor Dr Edmund Terence Gomez points out. (See graphic)

While similar structures exist in countries such as Singapore, Gomez, who presented a paper on the ownership and control of GLICs this week, is of the view that this is an inefficient ownership structure for corporate Malaysia.

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Travel ban step in wrong direction, says IDEAS

Source: The Edge Markets

Pic taken from The Star Online

Pic taken from The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR (May 18): The move to enforce travel bans on those who criticise the Malaysian government is a step in the wrong direction, according to Institute for Democracy and Economic Affair’s (IDEAS).

In a statement today commenting on a report quoting the Immigration Director-General who confirmed the existence of such provisions and stated passports were a privilege and not a right, IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said such arbitrary travel bans should not be happening in a country like Malaysia, especially if the Government claims to be progressive and democratic.

He said the freedom of movement which includes the right to travel, is a universal human right.

“The United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 which the Malaysian government has claimed to adopt and uphold, specifies that everyone has the right to leave the country and to return.

“This rule is also against fundamental democratic principles which require that the people of a country be able to express not only support for the government, but also to criticize its policies and actions without fear of recrimination or reprisals,” said Wan Saiful.

He stressed that the government should bear this in mind, particularly since it is making a bid for another term on the UN Human Rights Council.     Read more

Navigating sedition — Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Source: The Malay Mail Online


MAY 10 — If you have not watched the movie Redha yet, you should. It is a good film with a good storyline, different from typical Malay films today.

I was invited by Puteri Umno to join their charity screening recently. This is part of their campaign to raise awareness during Autism Month in April. The campaign culminatde last Saturday 30 April 2016, with a public event at KL Sentral station. Our team from IDEAS Autism Centre was there too, and I congratulate Puteri Umno for the event. Read more