Good governance and accountability in the rapidly emerging world of Knowledge Economies

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim, Governance, International, Leadership on July 20, 2008 by suaramalaysia

Good governance and accountability in the rapidly emerging world of Knowledge Economies
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By Anwar Ibrahim

http://anwaribrahimblog.com/2008/06/26/good-governance-and-accountability-in-the-rapidly-emerging-world-of-knowledge-economies/

Remarks by Anwar Ibrahim at the SAGIA Noor 2008 Forum, Madinah, 23rd June, 2008

Ladies and Gentleman.

While it would be superfluous to harp on the importance of research and development in knowledge based industries (KBIs), the issues of focus cannot be overstated. We know that the market is indeed hungry for the entire spectrum of knowledge based products ranging from aerospace and ICT products to precision and scientific tools. The more intensive the use of high technology, the greater reliance will be placed on R&D advances. We would imagine that from the vantage point of strategic policy the state’s focus will be on sustainable development.

As they say, in a knowledge economy, the trajectory of R&D cuts across every spectrum and becomes not only a key driver but the main fulcrum for economic advancement. We know that the development of KBIs is now springing up as a catch all phrase sometimes employed without serious consideration of its implications. From another vantage point we are really referring to enhancing market competition, which is not just a question of breaking down protective barriers and opening tenders for contracts to the best bidders. That is of course absolutely necessary for transparency and accountability. But the principle also entails the fostering of entrepreneurship and creativity so as to remove crutches and enable indigenous enterprises to grow into significant entities able to hold their own.

This is all subsumed under the rubric of a humane economy where corporate governance, transparency and accountability are active indices of responsible government. And these will remain elusive sound bites without an advanced information infrastructure. From the material standpoint, we need this infrastructure to keep abreast with the speed of industrial and economic development on a global scale. But perhaps even of more profound significance, open and responsible governments cannot actualize their ideals without this fundamental platform. That is why we see a correlation between the levels of knowledge, information infrastructure and the state of the economy. Intra economy correlations can also be noted where the disparities are reflective in the GINI coefficient. Where these disparities are not checked, the risk of a digital divide increases manifold, quite apart from the obvious growing chasm between the rich and the poor.

The competitive advantage of nations may be attributed to a host of R&D factors. For one, the need to attain critical mass and maintain a gene pool of expertise may be a prerequisite for staying ahead of the curve. Traditionally, the United States and Japan as pioneers and innovators in this regard, enjoyed first mover. This is where nations like Saudi Arabia and those in the region with substantive capital cushions can blaze the trail in carving a niche in strategic R&D investments. China and India for example have already embarked on this road trying to strike the right balance between the private and public sector driven initiatives.

It has been said that R&D will count for nothing if it does not enable the establishment of responsive knowledge-creating institutions so that firms may tap into and enhance their innovation capabilities. Cutting-edge IT universities for instance would indeed be one of the most salient indicators of R&D investment. This advanced infrastructure must be supported and nurtured by the strength of the human capital behind it. This is just to amplify what I said earlier about the need to shore up a critical mass of talent and this would include scientific, technological, entrepreneurial and managerial expertise.

A more comprehensive framework must be considered encompassing core economic policy imperatives. The key to advancing the economy will be the streamlining of the bureaucracy to make it more conducive to foreign entry and to strengthen investment protection laws. Building a symbiotic relationship between the respective stakeholders is crucial. Once we get past the gates of these imperatives, we need to consider the political, ethical and cultural factors that can enhance the Kingdom’s role as an innovator in the region.

We also need a holistic concept of development which aims at balanced growth and an improved quality of life. Economic objectives, environmental protection, gender equality and social goals must be welded into a seamless whole. We cannot overemphasize the primacy of growth which promotes distributive justice instead of wealth accumulation by the few.

There is no question that companies ought to be more accountable to their stakeholders but history tells us that gargantuan corporations are fundamentally averse to doing business in uncharted waters. The lure of maximizing profits remains ever so appealing. We are told that the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma phenomenon means that market forces tend to dissuade individuals from taking steps towards a greater good unless there is reassurance that the rest of the market will follow suit. Are we to fold our arms and luxuriate in the hope that the invisible hand will always appear at the right time to correct all these externalities?

In the wake of the IT explosion in the late 90s, an intense search for the answer that would benefit society as a whole was answered by a system of “e-governance” which streamlines and reduces costs in the delivery of public services and, more significantly, provides the maximum level of transparency and disclosure. This is quite apart from what I have alluded earlier, that a sound IT infrastructure is essential for global corporations to conduct their business operations seamlessly.

Again, we cannot overstress the importance of the issues of corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and ethical business practices. Similarly, a culture of transparency in the KBIs is an imperative but this transparency cannot be expected without transparency in political governance. There is also the overriding issue of accountability and corruption. But if we agree that corruption is the greatest impediment to development in the Muslim world, then key areas such as judicial reform, the media and civil liberties must also be addressed.

Thank you.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

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The Principle-Centered Paradigm

Posted in Governance, Leadership on July 20, 2008 by suaramalaysia

The Principle-Centered Paradigm

Excerpt From THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Dr. Stephen Covey

The character ethic is based on the fundamental idea that there are principles that govern human effectiveness — natural laws in the human dimension that are just as real, just as unchanging and unarguably “there” as laws such as gravity are in the physical dimension.

An idea of the reality — and the impact — of these principles can be captured in another paradigm-shifting experience as told by Frank Kock in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute.

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all
activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”

“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.

Lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.

The captain then called to the signal man, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.”

Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”

The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”

“I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees.”

By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”

Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”

We changed course

The A Paradigm Shift is the “a-ha” experience associated with finally perceiving or understanding some aspect of the world (or a circumstance) in a different way. Paradigm Shift experienced by the captain — and by us as we read this account — puts the situation in a totally different light. We can see a reality that is superseded by his limited perceptions — a reality that is as critical for us to understand in our daily lives as it was for the captain in the fog.

Principles are like lighthouses. They are natural laws that cannot be broken. As Cecil B. deMille observed of the principles contained in his monumental movie, The Ten Commandments, “It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law.”

While individuals may look at their own lives and interactions in terms of paradigms or maps emerging out of their experience and conditioning, these maps are not the territory. They are a “subjective reality,” only an attempt to describe the territory.

The “objective reality,” or the territory itself, is composed of “lighthouse” principles that govern human growth and happiness — natural laws that are woven into the fabric of every civilized society throughout history and comprise the roots of every family and institution that has endured and prospered. The degree to which our mental maps accurately describe the territory does not alter its existence.

The reality of such principles or natural laws becomes obvious to anyone who thinks deeply and examines the cycles of social history. These principles surface time and time again, and the degree to which people in society recognize and live in harmony with them moves them toward either survival
and stability or disintegration and destruction.

The principles I am referring to are not esoteric, mysterious, or “religious” ideas. There is not one principle taught in this book that is unique to any specific faith or religion, including my own. These principles are a part of every major enduring religion, as well as enduring social philosophies and
ethical systems. They are self-evident and can easily be validated by any individual. It’s almost as if these principles or natural laws are part of the human condition, part of the human consciousness, part of the human conscience. They seem to exist in all human beings, regardless of social conditioning and
loyalty to them, even though they might be submerged or numbed by conditions or disloyalty.

I am referring, for example, to the principle of fairness, out of which our whole concept of equity and justice is developed. Little children seem to have an innate sense of the idea of fairness even apart from opposite conditioning experiences. There are vast differences in how fairness is defined and achieved, but there is almost universal awareness of the idea.

Other examples would include integrity and honesty. They create the foundation of trust which is essential to cooperation and long-term personal and interpersonal growth.

Another principle is human dignity. The basic concept in the United States Declaration of Independence bespeaks this value or principle. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Another principle is service, or the idea of making a contribution. Another is quality or excellence. There is the principle of potential, the idea that we are embryonic and can grow and develop and release more and more potential, develop more and more talents. Highly related to potential is the principle of growth — the process of releasing potential and developing talents, with the accompanying need for principles such as patience, nurturance, and encouragement.

Principles are not practices. A practice is a specific activity or action. A practice that works in one circumstance will not necessarily work in another, as parents who have tried to raise a second child exactly like they did the first one can readily attest.

While practices are situationally specific, principles are deep, fundamental truths that have universal application. They apply to individuals, to marriages, to families, to private and public organizations of every kind. When these truths are internalized into habits, they empower people to create a wide
variety of practices to deal with different situations.

While practices are situationally specific, principles are deep, fundamental truths that have universal application. They apply to individuals, to marriages, to families, to private and public organizations of every kind. When these truths are internalized into habits, they empower people to create a wide
variety of practices to deal with different situations.

Principles are not values. A gang of thieves can share values, but they are in violation of the fundamental principles we’re talking about. Principles are the territory. Values are maps. When we value correct principles, we have truth — a knowledge of things as they are.

Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value.

They’re fundamental.

They’re essentially unarguable because they are self-evident. One way to quickly grasp the self-evident nature of principles is to simply consider the absurdity of attempting to live an effective life based on their opposites. I doubt that anyone would seriously consider unfairness,
deceit, baseness, uselessness, mediocrity, or degeneration to be a solid foundation for lasting happiness and success. Although people may argue about how these principles are defined or manifested or achieved, there seems to be an innate consciousness and awareness that they exist.

The more closely our maps or paradigms are aligned with these principles or natural laws, the more accurate and functional they will be. Correct maps will infinitely impact our personal and interpersonal effectiveness far more than any amount of effort expended on changing our attitudes and
behaviors.

A nation going everywhere but nowhere

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim, Barisan Nasional, Judiciary, Legislative - Parliament, Malaysiakini, Malaysian Bar, MCA-MIC Component Parties, UMNO on July 20, 2008 by suaramalaysia

A nation going everywhere but nowhere
Edmond R | Jul 18, 08 5:17pm

http://malaysiakini.com/letters/86374

The country lost its direction and went nuts a long time ago. Judging from cyber-news reports concerning the arrest of both Anwar Ibrahim and Raja Petra, I am now totally confused as to what the government’s priorities are.

Is alleged sodomy (which if it is true, is most likely to be consensual) a greater crime than abusing captives in police custody and then denying it? Is alleged defamation a more lethal crime than alleged involvement in the murder of a foreign national, that the former has to be arrested and brought to court, while the latter is still scot-free?

We are a nation without a common philosophy. That’s what we are. And that is why for the last 50 years, Malaysia’s progress lacks direction due to the absence of a single common set of philosophical belief and guidance. We are a nation heading everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

In other words, we are lost.

The government insists that we should follow the principles of the Rukunegara. But the Rukunegara is merely a set of national ideologies and not philosophy. We must understand that there is a big difference between philosophy and ideology, as clearly illustrated in this well written article entitled Philosophy and Ideology.

According to the writer, philosophy is a guide and a general construct meant to help us think whereas an ideology is rigid, dogmatic and doesn’t respond to facts or circumstance. In fact ideology ‘brooks no dissent’ as proven by our prime minister’s recent accusation that bloggers are treacherous because they have blemished the Rukunegara.

Even the various government policies and countless battle cries of racially biased politicians are actually divisive ideologies which further widen the cracks in our multi-cultural society. The New Economic Policy which was supposed to address the gap between the rich and poor has been manipulated throughout the years by the ruling party to enrich and empower itself.

There is no single national philosophy that binds us all together as a nation. Each level of society seems to have its own ideas about the purpose of their existence in this country.

The Barisan Nasional government behaves like a huge corporation that treats our natural resources and wealth as their very own. Civil servants who are supposed to serve the rakyat become servants to the ruling party instead. The rich are busy accumulating their wealth through any means possible. And the poor rakyat continues to be exploited by all of the above.

Yes. Without a common philosophy to guide the nation, it is the poor rakyat who are at the losing end.

The grassroots which many politicians are suddenly talking about nowadays need to be nurtured properly for the country to grow. Otherwise the roots will just rot away into oblivion and the whole country will eventually fall. Unfortunately, even after their major losses in the recent elections, Barisan Nasional leaders fail to understand the real needs of the rakyat.

After 50 years of lack luster performance, our country seriously needs a collective philosophy to propel the nation through these uncertain times of global economic and political upheaval. For that we need leaders who are able to inspire the nation, mobilise them towards achieving their goals and at the same time, always be in control of situations.

Sadly, these three qualities are absent from the present leadership. Our present batch of leaders is devoid of any philosophical stance except of filling their own pockets with the toils of the rakyat.

So what is this great Malaysian philosophy that we should yearn and strive for?

First of all, we need to identify the main causes of segregation in this country. If you are a government supporter, you will say that the reasons for our disunity are religion, race and riches. If you are in the opposition, then you will most likely say that it is the politicians themselves who are the main cause of religious discrimination, racial intolerance and widening wealth disparity in our country.

In any case, both sides are correct. That is why the first thing we should do is remove bigoted politicians from power and replace them with capable leaders who have the whole nation at heart. Only then can we start to address the three segregating factors of religion, race and riches.

Religion: Although the first principle of the Rukunegara is ‘Belief in God’, it is obvious that almost everyone does not want to believe in the same God! Islam and Christianity originated from the same God and yet their followers try their best to highlight the differences rather than rejoice in their similarities.

Then you have the Hindus who believe in the many manifestations of God and the Buddhists who uphold the idea that they only way to salvation (Nirvana) is through our own efforts.

And then there are the atheists who do not believe in the existence of a supreme being at all.

We can all argue and defend our religion till kingdom comes but the universal truth is, we will never get any closer to the ultimate answer at the end of the day.

That is the reason why, in order to safeguard harmony, religion should never be included in any national ideology or philosophy. Religion is a private matter and should only be confined to the hearts of its followers.

Malaysians should instead take advantage of the multi-religious nature of our country to celebrate spirituality. Judging from the thousands of mosques and temples all over the country, it is obvious that Malaysians are truly spiritual people. So why don’t we celebrate this abundance of spirituality by absorbing the good values from each religion?

After all, it is safe, acceptable to everyone and contributes to the strengthening of our moral values.

Race: Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan and others. The only way you can change your race is to change your parents. If you can’t do that, then I am afraid you will have to stick to being who you are.

It sounds profound, doesn’t it? Yes, but not as profound as creating a Malaysian race or Bangsa Malaysia, which is much touted by both the opposition and the government. I for one, used to believe that we should all strive to become one single Malaysian race.

That is until someone pointed out to me that it is impossible to change the genetic structure of a person and that our real goal should actually be to strive for a single Malaysian identity which is inclusive of all races in the country.

However, we Malaysians are typical hard core ‘racists’. We seem to adore the word ‘race’ so much that it features in almost everything we say and do. The word is found everywhere – in our identification cards, passports, official forms and documents.

But we have totally forgotten that the one race which we all belong to is the human race. Perhaps this is what we Malaysians should be aiming for – a human race with Malaysian identity.

Riches: Everywhere in the world there are rich people and poor people. Even in communist and socialist countries, the distribution of wealth is not as balanced as they would like it to be and we can still see a disparity between the rich and poor. Malaysia, being a capitalistic democratic country, is not exceptional in this case.

We will never be able to eradicate poverty and inequality in Malaysia totally but we can eradicate government policies that contributed to this problem. Firstly, the much manipulated New Economic Policy has to go. It should then be replaced by a new policy which encourages meritocracy and distribution of wealth based solely on needs.

The philosophy behind this is that people should work as hard as they are able to, and they should be remunerated according to their achievements. Those who have tried their best but are still unable to make it, should be helped through other constructive methods.

As opposed to the previous policy in which the differentiation is between the rich and the poor, our new philosophy should be aimed at sieving out the lazy section of society from the hard working group. In that way, funds are not wasted and the disparity of wealth will commensurate with the amount of hard work a citizen contributes to nation building.

We are now at the crossroads of our destiny. If we choose to be led by a rigid, dogmatic and unresponsive government, Malaysia will end up in the backwaters of the world. If choose to change our old ways, and get ready to embrace a new philosophy of nation building, then we will be on the right track that will take us greater heights.

I hope we choose the latter. Fifty years of stagnation is more than enough to make anyone puke.

We may yet see Anwar as PM one day

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysiakini on July 20, 2008 by suaramalaysia

We may yet see Anwar as PM one day
H Lee | Jul 18, 08 6:00pm

http://malaysiakini.com/letters/86382

I refer to the recent political incidents which have made headlines and would like to express my concern, too, as an everyday citizen.

No doubt it is all politics and Umno can play it as well as PKR. However, using the apparatus of the state to play such power politics is a bit beyond the accepted norm of reasonableness. In fact, it is tantamount to abuse of office.

Citizens of this fair country should not be regarded as enemies of the state. Whether members of the ruling party or the opposition, all are loyal Malaysians foremost with the interest of the ‘entity’ called Malaysia and her people at heart.

Rest assured that when or should an external threat or tragedy is faced by the country and her people, Malaysian citizens will coalesce and rise to meet the challenge.

There will be no such division as members of the governing party or opposition or just citizens of whatever race. Most will be prepared to die in defending the country.

To fight for the country is to fight for Malaysian interests – not for the interests of some power-addicted politicians who fear to face the future without the chair of power.

Our sympathy and support, as natural in such circumstances, is with Anwar Ibrahim. He currently represents the voice of a large majority of the people who would like to see the country governed well.

As Malaysians, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his team probably respect that. I am sure they probably respect fair play and the rules of democracy which enable power transition to be achieved – whenever the people wish it – without violence.

I have no doubt Abdullah and his team have the interest of Malaysia at heart. Perhaps it is the learning curve, this being our first experience on the road to a, naturally, two-party democracy.

Perhaps Anwar should tone down his confrontational approach (after all, we are no longer in the Mahathir era).

Perhaps the people of this country, especially those who write letters to the editors and run blogs, should be a little more thoughtful and considerate in their language as befitting honourable gentlemen in a First World country.

I am sure,we have it in us to be that. We are all good people. We want to be good people.

Remember, especially Abdullah and his good men currently in the chairs of power, you lose the greatness when you lose that goodness. Never lose sight of that.

Anwar too. Rest assured that if it is God’s destiny for you to become prime minister, nothing will prevent that. Not even a nuclear war.

But if it is not your destiny, we may just have to reconcile to it. Nevertheless, I am sure many of the people of Malaysia wish you well.

I believe many people do indeed want change. You represent that. And our hopes. The journey may not have been easy but do not give up.

We may yet see you as a PM of Malaysia one day.

Why I believe Anwar is not guilty

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysiakini on July 20, 2008 by suaramalaysia

Why I believe Anwar is not guilty
K Bing | Jul 18, 08 6:00pm

http://malaysiakini.com/letters/86384

First of all, I must say that I do not possess any information which is not already public knowledge. However, I have been following news of the new sodomy allegation against Anwar closely and I’m analysing this from the perspective of ‘reasonable behaviour’ and ‘balance of probability.’ Here are the reasons why I think Anwar is not guilty.

1. Is Anwar gay? A person who has fathered six children has established his sexual orientation firmly. Bisexuality is very rare and in any case he does not fit the mould. He has a loving family and his wife is standing steadfastly by him which says a lot.

2. The highly controversial sodomy conviction of 1998 failed to convince most people. A person in a position of power who allegedly cannot control himself to even keep away from his wife’s driver, must have a string of partners. One must ask, why has nobody else come out of the woodwork? Why was it necessary to coerce false confessions from two of his associates?

3. A person on the cusp of attaining political power would not be so stupid as to risk everything. If indeed one assumes that he cannot control his urge, where are the others that he may have violated or other consensual partners? With multiple partners, it’s a secret which is almost impossible to keep for a public figure.

4. Anwar’s anger and outrage at the new allegation is exactly how a wronged person will react. His body language when he speaks of the issue is consistent with his words.

5. When news broke of the police report against him, Anwar took refuge at the Turkish embassy. I believe he did so as he feared immediate arrest and not so much a threat on his life. This shows that Anwar believes there is a conspiracy against him rather than a private complaint which would not warrant immediate arrest. A guilty person would immediately assume it’s a private complaint.

6. Saiful’s resignation e-mail to Anwar did not suggest he had been sodomised and traumatised by his boss. This e-mail has not been denied by him.

7. The notion that a 61-year-old man can force himself on a 23-year-old youth is unthinkable. If threats were used, what can Anwar possibly threaten him with as he is not in a position of power?

Is there a conspiracy against Anwar? I believe there is for the following reasons.

1. The accuser, Saiful was obviously closely connected with Umno and has been photographed with a few Umno leaders including an aide to the deputy prime minister.

2. Saiful is obviously pro-Umno as had been revealed by his online postings. Why then did he induct himself into PKR as a volunteer if not for some ulterior motive?

3. His visit to the DPM’s office a few months before the incident was explained as him having gone there to apply for a scholarship. This is a very awkward explanation. As a college dropout, Saiful was not in the market for a scholarship and in any case, the DPM’s office is the wrong department to go.

And why would a scholarship applicant have his photograph taken with a senior aide? One must ask, why is it necessary to obfuscate and conceal the real purpose of his visit?

4. Najib at first denied he had ever met Saiful and later admitted that he met Saiful at his residence when a traumatised and sodomised Saiful came to ask for his advice. Why did Najib first deny and then admit later when under pressure? Was he trying to conceal something?

5. Najib said he listened to Saiful’s story and told him it’s up to him whether he wants to lodge a police report or not. This is not credible. Wouldn’t Najib have jumped at the opportunity to discredit his political nemesis and insist that Saiful make a police report?

It is wrong for anybody – much less a minister – who has been told a crime not to bring it to the attention of the law enforcement agencies. Why is Najib giving unbelievable explanations? Is he trying to divert all thoughts away from a conspiracy and overdoing it?

6. Najib said that Saiful visited him a few days before he made his police report. The report was made on Saturday and the sodomy was alleged to have occurred on Thursday. This means Saiful could only have visited Najib on Friday, one day before he made his report.

This is stretching the definition of ‘a few days’ to breaking point. Establishing when the meeting actually took place will shed light on the veracity of the allegation.

7. How easy is it for an ordinary person to drop in and see the DPM at his residence or office on such short notice? If he has been sexually violated, there is no need to hawk his allegation to politicians first before going to the police.

8. Saiful’s smiling and confident demeanor when he emerged a few days after his police report certainly does not indicate a man who has been sodomised and traumatised.

9. Saiful’s public challenge to Anwar to swear his innocence on the Quran is unbecoming of a real victim who would be expected to feel depressed and keep a low profile rather than play politics.

To round it up, let me deal with some objections.

1. It is too outrageous to imagine that Umno would weave a sodomy conspiracy against Anwar again as nobody would believe it.

Do you think negative public opinion will stop them? Umno controls the AG’s chambers, the police, the judiciary all of which are sufficient to convict a man of trumped-up charges. For good measure, they also control the mainstream press.

2. The allegations will increase sympathy for Anwar so a conspiracy is unlikely.

On the contrary, it could well discredit Anwar. The tactic could backfire but it is not beyond politicians to miscalculate the effects of their action.

3. Anwar stands to gain the most from it so Anwar must have planned all this.

Isn’t this even more outrageous than the above? No need to waste words on this.

4. Why sodomy again? Isn’t the script 10 years old?

What else can they pin on Anwar? He is not outwardly corrupt. A legal conviction is the most efficient way to get Anwar out of the political scene for good. After serving the sentence, he will have to wait another five years before running for public office by which time he may be too old to have any political ambition.

5. It is too transparent as Saiful has been photographed with high-level Umno politicians.

The plot may have been hatched after all those photographs. We have to be realistic, there are not many candidates who would do this.

6. Why did PKR take in a person without background checks?

He volunteered at a time when PKR was desperately short of staff. Once in, a person is not easily dislodged even when his previous pro-Umno leaning is known. There’s always the notion of fair play and judging a person by his work rather than his past.

In conclusion, when events really happen, details automatically fall into place. When there’s nothing to hide, explanations do not create more questions. A person’s demeanour and facial expression is a reflection of his inner thoughts.

All the bits and pieces collected together can create a complete picture. The picture is not complete but it is complete enough for me to decide that on the balance of probabilities, the incident never happened and Anwar is again facing another political conspiracy.

Terengganu officials switch car brand

Posted in Barisan Nasional, Malaysia-Today.Net, UMNO on July 20, 2008 by suaramalaysia

Terengganu officials switch car brand
Written by Super Admin
Sunday, 20 July 2008

http://www.malaysia-today.net/content/view/10138/1/

(The Star) – State exco members and senior officers started using their new Mercedes-Benz E200 Kompressor cars today.

The state bought 14 of the luxury cars for RM3.43mil to replace the Proton Perdana V6 Executive cars that had been purchased in 2004.

The new cars are for the exco members, the state assembly speaker, the state secretary, the state legal adviser and the state finance officer.

The new cars with tinted windows carry the state emblem with the wording “Exco Kerajaan Negeri” embossed on the number plate.

State Secretary Datuk Mokthar Nong said the decision to use Mercedes-Benz cars was made several months ago.

The state took delivery of the cars earlier this month.

He said the German cars were bought for the safety of the state officials who had to travel extensively and to reduce the cost of maintenance.

“After much evaluation, the state felt the Mercedes-Benz cars are more reliable for long term use. It was also time to replace the Proton Perdanas,” he added.

Home minister interfering in sodomy probe: Anwar Ibrahim

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia-Today.Net on July 20, 2008 by suaramalaysia

Home minister interfering in sodomy probe: Anwar Ibrahim
Written by Super Admin
Sunday, 20 July 2008

http://www.malaysia-today.net/content/view/10141/1/

(IANS) – Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has charged Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar with interference in the probe into the sodomy charge against Ibrahim levelled by an aide. He alleged it was at the behest of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Friday denied that anyone in his government was hatching any conspiracy against Ibrahim.

The probe would be allowed to be conducted unhindered, media reports Saturday quoted him as saying.

‘It is to smear the credibility and reputation of our client. Syed Hamid should know better than to attempt to exert his influence on this matter, especially as he is a senior minister,’ Ibrahim’s lawyer and political colleague R. Sivarasa said in a statement he issued at Ibrahim’s house Friday.

On the other hand, the prime minister Friday challenged Ibrahim to immediately disprove the sodomy allegation against him by submitting to DNA tests.

Badawi said if Anwar had not committed the alleged crime, he should be willing to provide the sample without delay.

‘If indeed he is not involved, give the sample now. He said he did not do anything. So he must give a fresh sample to prove that he did not do it. I want to see the results.’

Abdullah said the case could be concluded quickly. ‘We want this to be resolved fast but (until Saturday) it still cannot be done,’ the New Straits Times said.

It’s deja vu in Malaysia as L’affaire Anwar Ibrahim enters the second month with charges flying around just the way they did ten years ago.

Then deputy prime minister Ibrahim was slapped with a sodomy charge, combined with corruption. He was sacked by then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

He was prosecuted and suffered a long jail term. A court acquitted him in 2002.

The sodomy charge came back to haunt Ibrahim last month when Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, a political aide he employed during the March elections, charged him with having sodomised him more than once in a posh Kuala Lumpur house.

Ibrahim has vehemently denied this, saying that all this was meant to prevent his return to parliament in a by-election.

He has emerged politically strong since the March election when an opposition alliance he leads won an unprecedented 62 seats in parliament and now controls five of the 13 states.

His wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is now leader of the opposition in parliament.

A ban on contesting elections imposed by a court on Ibrahim ended in April. Armed with the renewed political support, he had planning to get one of his supporters to vacate a parliamentary seat and contest a by-election.

He says his entry into parliament was sought to be stopped by the sodomy charge.

Last month witnessed high drama with Ibrahim taking refuge in the Turkish embassy, saying he feared for his life.

The diplomatic spat between Malaysia and Turkey, ignited by Ibrahim’s refuge in Turkish embassy, was overtaken when the US state department cautioned Kuala Lumpur against a ‘politically motivated probe’ on Ibrahim.

The Badawi government took strong exception, calling it an ‘interference’. Besides the government and the ruling coalition lawmakers, the media went to town asking the US ‘not to throw stones from a glass house’.

The US’s own record in Guantanamo Bay against suspected Al Qaeda fighters and in Iraq was sordid, the New Straits Times said in an editorial.

The crisis was not abetting since Ibrahim was arrested, his statement recorded on the sodomy charge and released on bail earlier this week.

He says the same officials – Attorney General Gani Patail and police chief Musa Hasan – were the ones who fabricated charges against him ten years ago and are now holding key positions.

In order to placate public opinion at home and to ward off international criticism – the US had spoken up for Ibrahim ten years ago as well – the government ordered a probe against the two officials now holding top positions.