Wednesday, September 17, 2008
We were young.
We were free.
We were fun.
Then the wives came along, work load gets heavier and later the kids happened.
Then there's responsibility.
Then there's stress.
Then we become older.
Then we are not free anymore.
Then we are not fun anymore.
And that's when friendship starts dying and mistakes becomes harder to forgive because of the cruel world's harshness, we have to become cold ourselves or else we ourselves will get eaten alive. We then start developing our survival instincts to guide us within the system.
That's how the world works and it has a system; a survival system. Once we realise and understand the system, then the rest will be easy.
I used to ask myself, 'why is it so hard to be friends with everyone?' or 'why can't we work together?' or... 'why can't I trust you anymore?'
The sad answer to that is simple;
We simply grew up.
In the recent months following the March 8 political tsunami, SAPP has been fighting for fairness to the point of attempting to remove the Prime Minister by moving a motion of no confidence in parliament.
The attempt failed naturally, due to threats made by government agencies, such as the ACA and ISA, against SAPP's president and its 2 parliamentarians.
Fairplay in the BN is laughable and that's another reason out of the many reasons why SAPP is sickened. Imagine that you just won a hard earned political victory on March 8 by winning 2 parliamentary seats, only to be insulted by not been given any federal cabinet position.
"Wah so spoil-sport one kah? So into positions that when not given anything sulking already?" some political observers may say. Well, in this day and age, one may be forgiven on grounds that we're an enlightened crowd so we simply have a "give and take" attitude and all will be well, right?
Not when your boss 'takes' all your dues and 'gives' them to a party with only 1 lousy seat!
And the boss gives you a pep-talk that a politician (or a ridiculously highly paid motivator) usually tells to his supporters...
That's right folks.
The BN is all about bullshit. The stench is so bad that SAPP left!
Now the die is cast and there's no turning back. Who's next to leave is on every Sabahan minds. For now, nobody knows what's next.
But be rest assured the coming days is going to get interesting. So be prepared.
SAPP Pulls Out Of BN, Stays Independent
The Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) has decided to pull out of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition to become an independent party.
The party’s supreme council, which met this afternoon, has opted to be an opposition party but will not join Pakatan Rakyat for now.
"The Sapp supreme council has declared that the party is no longer a member of the Barisan Nasional coalition," party president Yong Teck Lee at a packed press conference at 4.30pm after the council meeting.
"We will be independent at the moment and provide quality opposition in and outside the parliament, as well as the state assembly, until the time comes when Sapp is ready to be back in the government."
The party has two parliamentarians and four state assemblypersons.
The two MPs are Eric Enchin Majimbun (Sepanggar) and Dr Chua Soon Bui (Tawau), while the state representatives are Tan (Tanjong Papat), assistant state finance minister Melanie Chia (Luyang), Au Kam Wah (Elopura) and Liew Teck Chan (Likas).
"The BN has lost its moral authority to rule. Numerical majority in Parliament means little if the people no longer respect you," he said.
"Sapp members who hold political appointments in the executive branch of government shall relinquish their posts by giving the due notice under the constitution and relevant rules and regulations, starting at the cabinet level."
An upset Sapp deputy president Raymond Tan, who walked out of the council meeting, said he would resign as Sabah deputy chief minister and state minister for infrastructure development.
According to Tan, he has yet to decide on whether he would quit the party, but said that Youth chief Au - who did not attend the meeting - has already resigned.
Richard Yong, the right-hand man to party president, also toldMalaysiakini that 32 out of the 35 supreme council members were present this afternoon when the decision was made.
He disclosed that Tan and Wong, who is political secretary to Chief Minister Musa Aman, opposed the decision.
A fresh blow to BN
The Sapp decision today comes as a fresh blow for the beleaguered government at a time when Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is signing up defectors from BN.
"But we will be in consultation with all parties, Pakatan included, that shares our beliefs and struggles," he said.
Sapp has been an irritant to the coalition since June, when it called for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and its departure from the coalition was not unexpected.
In the past it has said it would consider joining the opposition, which has actively courted disaffected lawmakers in Malaysia's underdeveloped eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Yong has previously attacked the coalition's record in impoverished Sabah, saying it had been subject to unfair laws and excessive taxes.
Yong's Press Statement In Full
The following is the press statement given by Yong Teck Lee at 4:30pm after the party's supreme council meeting at the SAPP headquarters in Kota Kinabalu
1. The BN has lost its ‘BN spirit’. It was not that the people who did not want the BN, it was the BN who abandoned the people. In spite of repeated appeals from some BN members to other BN leaders to be more sensitive to the peoples' feelings, these leaders continue to treat the people with contempt. Perhaps after 50 years of uninterrupted government, some BN leaders have got it in their heads that they have a divine right to rule.
2. On March 8, the people had spoken out loud and clear. The BN paid a heavy price. But yet the BN refuses to learn. The ruthless increase in fuel prices on June 4 and the failure to tackle inflation and economic slowdown have dealt a severe blow to ordinary people. The recent blatant abuse of the ISA against an innocent journalist, an MP and a blogger only confirms that the BN leadership has not learned from their mistakes.
The shameful Taiwan trip by 49 BN MPs and the instigation of racial animosities have aggravated the collapse of confidence among the people and leaders, not only on the PM but the BN as well.
The PM's Budget 2009 was totally uninspiring and has already been discredited even before it was debated in Parliament. The BN has lost its moral authority to rule. Numerical majority in Parliament means little if the people no longer respect you.
3. Minister Zaid Ibrahim's resignation only confirms what many lawyers already knew that is that the prime minister and his government has never had the intention to reform the judiciary. Zaid's exposure about "the BN government being paralysed by internal strife and divisions" has also been known to many people in the BN. In many other countries, such paralysis of government will lead to fresh general elections.
4. The PM himself appeared drifting, not knowing what has been happening around him. Sapp has nothing personal against the PM and his family. None of the matters raised by Sapp concerns his person, his family, son, daughter, son-in-law or businesses. Sapp is only concerned about the issues affecting the country such as the need for good governance, the dangers of racial polarisation and injustice of economic imbalances to be tackled effectively.
5. Sapp hereby proudly dissociates ourselves from these shameful wrongdoings of the BN government. Sapp further believes that the BN is not capable of practicing good governance and non-racial politics; that BN has no intention in granting autonomy to Sabah, returning 20 percent of oil royalties and Labuan to Sabah, implement Borneonisation, review unfair federal laws and departments in Sabah, solve the illegal immigrants problems and remove social and economic imbalances.
The BN leadership even refused to recognise historical facts by denying Sept 16 as Malaysia Day, 45 years.
6. Sapp had only wanted to see that the legitimate rights of Sabah and the unfairness suffered by Malaysians in Sabah be given due attention with results. The BN must realise that, if not for Sabah and Sarawak, BN would be in the opposition today. But instead of sincerely working to solve the issues raised by Sapp, the BN has chosen to embark on a course of action to destroy Sapp.
The Sapp supreme council hereby condemns the attempts of BN operatives to destroy Sapp through divide-and-rule tactics and by abusing the economic resources of the BN state and federal governments aimed at instigating Sapp members and leaders to destroy Sapp.
7. As a matter of fact, by deliberately excluding Sapp from four consecutive meetings of the Dewan Tertinggi and two meetings of the management committee ever since the announcement of no confidence on the prime minister on June 18, the BN has effectively terminated the membership of Sapp. The Sapp supreme council hereby declares that Sapp is no longer a member of the Barisan Nasional coalition of parties.
8. Sapp is now free from the BN. Sapp shall henceforth use this freedom to pursue our autonomous political path to fulfill our mission to establish a trustworthy government and a progressive, just and harmonious society. We are no longer subservient to BN. We now have the master key to our own house. We shall build a brighter future for our people and the younger generations to come.
9. Sapp members who hold political appointments in the executive branch of government shall relinquish their posts by giving the due notice under the constitution and relevant rules and regulations, starting at the cabinet level.
10. With our experienced MPs, Aduns and other party colleagues, Sapp shall provide quality opposition in and outside the Parliament and State Legislative Assembly until the time comes when Sapp is ready to be back in government.
11. I call on our members to be brave. Do not despair. Remember that one of our party culture seven values is resilience. From the day we join the party, we knew that things can get very rough for us. Yes, together we shall overcome this difficult period because the people are with us. With the strong encouragement and support of the people, Sapp will succeed in our struggle.
12. In view of the current fasting month of Ramadan, Sapp shall only embark on a series of political activities two weeks after Hari Raya. We shall plan a road map to victory in future elections. We shall elaborate how we plan to achieve the eight-points declaration, namely:
(i) Good governance and non-racial politics
(ii) Autonomy for Sabah
(iii) 20 percent oil royalties
(iv) Return of Labuan
(v) Review of unfair laws and detrimental departments
(vi) Borneonisation of the federal civil service
(vii) Solution to the illegal immigrants issue
(viii) Redress economic and social imbalances
|SAPP to make crucial decision today|
The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 - Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) is expected to make a crucial decision this afternoon on its position in Barisan Nasional.
The Star reports that all indications are that the party chief Datuk Yong Teck Lee will steer his 36-member supreme council meeting, beginning at 2pm, to decide on pulling out of the BN which the party joined in 1994.The report says that if SAPP pulls out to throw its support behind Pakatan Rakyat, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan, the Tanjong Papat assemblyman and Elopura assemblyman Au Kam Wah are expected to resign.
Tan, the state Infrastructure Development Minister, is one of the three SAPP deputy presidents while Au, the Sabah Energy Corporation chairman, is the party Youth Chief.
While a decision on the pull out appears to be on the cards, several party members cautioned that the meeting might end up with only deciding on sending a letter to Barisan headquarters asking to make a stand on its position as SAPP had not been invited for six recent Barisan meetings in Kuala Lumpur.
SAPP has two MPs and four assemblymen in the coalition. The other two SAPP assemblymen are assistant state Finance Minister Melanie Chia (Luyang) and Datuk Liew Teck Chan (Likas).
|Pak Lah, Najib swap portfolios, transition intact|
|By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider|
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 - In a minor Cabinet reshuffle today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi named his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak as finance minister.
Abdullah, who was the finance minister, will take over Najib's defence ministry portfolio.
In making the announcement yesterday, Abdullah and Najib also said the transition plan in which the two leaders have agreed on remains intact.
By giving his deputy heavier responsibilities, the PM will hope to put an end to speculation over the transition plan which will see Najib taking power by 2010.
The swap in portfolios was announced after today's Cabinet meeting.
Najib has also been made deputy chairman of Khazanah Nasional.
Said Abdullah today: "I stress that Najib and I are committed to the plan that we have agreed to.
"I will continue to offer myself as president of Umno and Najib for deputy president."
Abdullah said he had informed the Cabinet, which met earlier, he was handing over the finance ministry to Najib with immediate effect.
He said the finance portfolio was important, especially in light of the current economic instabilities.
Najib, he said, could spend some time acclimatising himself to the duties of being a prime minister.
"The timing of the handover is flexible. I will decide but I will not be staying later than 2010. If I want to go earlier that is the flexibility I have arranged.
"Handing over is a process. Between now and June 2010 we will study the process and decide accordingly what we need to do. The agreement remains. I am PM and president, he is DPM and deputy president."
Najib, who was also at the press conference, said: "I thank Abdullah for the confidence he has shown in appointing me as finance minister. It is not just an important post but one held by the PM.
-So the decision is magnanimous and it shows his sincerity in picking me as his successor."
On the transition plan, Najib said the agreement remained intact, and he hoped it would be accepted by the people and the party.
|The entrenched forces still in Anwar's way|
|By Baradan Kuppusamy, The Malaysian Insider|
SEPT 17 - Opposition leader and PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has failed to keep his promise to topple the government and become prime minister by Sept 16. But it is not for want of trying.
He has been working day and night since March 8, meeting Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs secretly to persuade them to defect. He offered them almost anything they asked.
He also secretly met top civil servants, ministers and even tried to contact senior police officers and the army's top brass to help "clear the line" for him to make the change happen.
Although Anwar had substantial public support to make the crossovers happen, major hurdles stood in his way.
|Up to now, he has been unable to surmount the hurdles and that is why he failed on Sept 16 and will fail again. He is unlikely to see the inside of the prime minister's office in Putra Jaya unless he successfully clears these hurdles.|
This is the case even if he has the numbers. Depending on who you talk to, he is said to have 31 to 42 MPs behind him. This is the reality of politics here and anywhere where democracy is weak and personalities dominate national politics.
While, theoretically, the public will is paramount, entrenched institutions have a big say on who becomes prime minister. One instance is the King, who, although he is a constitutional monarch, still has a big say on who governs the country.
Not only is the King's support crucial for Anwar to achieve his aims but support from the Rulers as an entrenched institution is essential.
The backing of the Rulers is essential, not just for the technicalities of convening parliament, taking a vote of confidence or the swearing in of a new government, but more as an integral part of the political establishment of Malaysia.
Anwar's image as a rabble-rouser, earned from his days as an Islamic firebrand, stands in his way now as he battles from the outside to change the government. The worry is he is seeking to rewrite the rules and change the status quo.
Is he just replacing the leadership or rewriting the rules? Is he a republican or a monarchist?
He has not yet convinced the country's monarchs, who are also, crucially, the heads of Islam in their domains, that he will defend the status-quo including their positions.
Another entrenched institution that needs convincing is the army, and, by extension, the police force which sees him as an agitator who will potentially destabilise the status quo.
The recent statement by the armed forces chief that the military is worried race and religious disputes are destabilising the country should be taken in the context of the constant refrain from Anwar that he would topple the government.
Any armed forces would worry about what is really being toppled?
By voicing their concern, the armed forces signalled that they will defend the status quo - meaning the institutions of the Raja Raja Melayu, Islam and the related political establishment - including current structures i.e. bureaucracy, state government structures, the established economic policies and the open investment climate - all of which together makes up the status quo.
Any established military, and ours is one such force, is for the status quo. It will defend the status quo against any grab for power from a leader considered "outside" the political establishment.
Originally, Anwar came in from the outside as a radical student leader in the 1970s and rose rapidly up the ranks in Umno only to be thrown out again. Now that he is trying to come back again from the "outside," it is natural for the "insiders" to be cautious and apprehensive of his motives.
What does he really want to change? That is a natural question entrenched stakeholders would ask. Anwar has to explain and convince, not just collect the numbers and head to the palace.
The door will not open otherwise.
Although he may have a majority of the public behind him, he has a lot of convincing to do to put powerful institutions at ease. No easy task for a man with an agitator's image.
Anwar's aides go to great lengths to say that he has already met the King or is going to meet him to clear the way. But that is not enough; he has to find a tactful way to assure not just the King, but also the Rulers as an institution and the many royalists who populate Malay society, that the change is benign not malignant.
The third hurdle Anwar faces is the one million-strong bureaucracy, 90 per cent of whom are Malay and Muslim, without whose support his chances of competently running the country is near zero.
In fact, it would ruin the country if he wins power and the civil service drags its feet.
Unlike in other countries where governments are frequently changed and the civil servants soldier on, here the bureaucracy has had only one master - the Barisan Nasional.
In fact, one of the key issues in the Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states of Selangor and Perak is a disobedient bureaucracy. This problem is minimal in the "Muslim" states of Kelantan and Kedah with the civil servants accepting their new masters as one of their own.
Anwar had attempted to meet senior civil servants, with some success his aides say, to assure them that basic policies will remain and institutional interest would be protected against encroachment i.e. a more racially balanced civil service.
Nevertheless, an obedient, helpful and functioning bureaucracy is a major factor and Anwar has to win them over in a manner convincing enough that investors and stakesholders are satisfied that the elephant in the room would cooperate proactively.
The last major hurdle is the divisions and diverging interests in his own Pakatan Rakyat coalition, with ally PAS having radically different views of how the country should be governed from that held by another ally, the DAP.
Up to now, Anwar and his people are "closing an eye" to the differences without actually working to resolve major issues.
The thinking, for now, is that the main struggle is to capture power and they believe everything else would fall in place after that.
Such a rationale has not convinced the entrenched stakeholders who believe differences should be resolved now to show that PR is a viable alternative to the BN.
PAS has repeated numerous times that they will not back a new government that is "not Islamic". They have proposed that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is the "best person" to be prime minister of the new Malaysia.
Up to now nobody in the PR - neither PKR nor DAP - is taking the PAS position seriously.
It is also not clear which of the parties - PKR, DAP or PAS - any potential defecting BN MPs will cross over to. Are they crossing over as individuals or as political parties joining Pakatan? Will everybody in a political party cross or only some?
Anwar has worked to show, in a convincing manner, the future shape of the political structure he will be heading. Is it a grand coalition or a collection of adventurous individuals?
There is a lot for work ahead for Anwar before he can confidently walk up to and knock on the palace gates. If he has the entrenched players behind him, the gates will be open when he arrives. Otherwise it will never open, even if he has the numbers.
Up to now, he has only succeeded in getting the people talking and thinking and accepting that a change of government is possible. That's about all.
The ISA detentions last Friday, roundly condemned by all, show how thin the line is between fair play and foul play, between acceptance and coercion.
It gives a glimpse into the powerful entrenched forces that are arrayed against Anwar in his bid for power.
|Najib is finance minister, Abdullah takes defence|
The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 - In a minor Cabinet reshuffle today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi named his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak as finance minister.
Abdullah, who was the finance minister, will take Najib's defence portfolio.
The swap was announced after today's Cabinet meeting.
Sources said Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz is expected to be named de facto Law Minister to replace Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who quit this week over the Internal Security Act (ISA) arrests of DAP leader Teresa Kok and two others.