Source : Free Malaysia Today

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | May 23, 2012

A World Bank reports states that the country’s export oriented economy likely to be affected by global recession.

KUALA LUMPUR: Slow economic reform is stalling the Najib administration’s aim to transform Malaysia into a high-income country by 2020, the World Bank said in its biannual East Asia and Pacific economic update.

Malaysia was told to hasten several key initiatives including dismantling its hefty subsidy regime and widen its tax base if Putrajaya is earnest in achieving its goal but noted politics was a major hurdle.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was forced to delay spending cuts amid soaring cost of living as his ruling coalition faces its toughest election yet, but the bank pointed that Putrajaya must go beyond “quick wins” if it is to flesh out its 2020 ambition.

The bank also warned that Malaysia’s export-oriented economy will likely be affected by the global recession, predicting a 4.6% growth and 5.1% next year.

Combined this with the snail-paced reform, the country’s required target of a consistent annual 7.5% growth to reach a high-income nation status in eight years’ time is in jeopardy.

The report also echoed the views of various opposition leaders who called on Najib to focus and precipitate key structural reforms needed to boost the economy.

ETP progress

But while detractors claim the premier’s reform was heading nowhere, the bank said Najib’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) has “registered notable progress”.

“The challenge now is to go beyond quick wins and accelerate the implementation of more difficult – but critical – structural reforms that lie at the core of boosting the economy into high-income levels,” it said, adding that putting reform in place could easily be accelerated.

Fear of a potential voter backlash stalled Najib’s plan to implement the goods and services tax (GST). Analysts say the new tax scheme was key to broaden Malaysia’s tight revenue stream. The unpopular plan for subsidy cuts was also delayed.

Political observers say the prime minister will first need a stronger mandate in the upcoming polls to carry on with the stringent economic measures.

Yesterday, Second Finance Minister Husni Hanadzlah conceded that it will be tough to meet the 5% to 6% growth projection from Budget 2012.

He said China’s cooling growth, weak economic recovery from the US and a prolonged eurozone crisis dragged Malaysia’s export sharply, while the World Bank said the ongoing risks to the global recovery constitute risks for Malaysian growth

The water dragon year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, is special. It happens once in every 60 years and therefore considered auspicious. The dragon is ferocious, strong and believed to signify changes. In the case of Malaysia, changes we need pronto.

The recent disruption of an ABU rally clearly shows that we need to boot out the current regime. Enough of calling for reforms within the existing system of government. The rampant graft, cronyism and greed is so institutionalized in UMNO and its coalition partners that no revamp is possible.

The use of rowdies to beat up people and stop the rally show that the UMNO-led coalition government would do any trapeze artist act to stay in power.

Any leader who wants democracy and a just government would allow for the dissemination of information. Those who want to stay in power to exploit the wealth of the nation while empowering and enriching their family and friends would not be able to fight the urge to disrupt talks and meetings to stem the flow of information to the people.

The reaction of the Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah further caricatures the decay of administration in the country. Tun Hisan was quick to gloss over the incident saying that nothing had happened and the hick-up was caused by unhappy residents.

The police force has the responsibility to act in a just manner to uphold law and order. It is not there to take sides or go to the mat for UMNO and its cronies. We have seen blatant discrimination acted out by the police in Malaysia – they nab peaceful protesters, beat them up and use tear gas and water canon to cow people into submission.

That’s not all. The uniformed bully-boys show their authority on the detainees by whacking them to a pulp, resulting in custodial deaths. When questioned, top-ranking police officers sing Tun Hisan’s tune.

While the government has chosen to distance itself from the display of violence at the ABU rally, the rakyat know the truth. We have seen, over the last months, the desperation of the government to flex every possible muscle to silence the opposition, disparage civil society, hood-wink the public through rhetoric and scheme strategies to keep its reins on power.

Prime minister Najib Tun Razak’s self-styled campaign peppered with claims of opening up the democratic space in the country, allowing for greater rights and putting the needs of the people first are nothing but propaganda, targeted at regaining the confidence of the people.

This was cleverly captured in Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2012, where it notes that the premier fell short in his pledges to “uphold civil liberties” and build a “functional and inclusive democracy”.

Deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson, further said that “Malaysia’s leaders are fooling themselves by thinking they can backtrack on public promises to respect the rights to demonstrate peacefully and criticize the government without fear” alluding to the Peaceful Assembly Bill that further  encroaches into the civil rights of the people.

I was cautious about celebrating the acquittal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Most people smelled a rat when the surprise court decision came about. And as expected, an appeal has been filed.

One would think that Najib would play smart as opposed to disguising political drama as reforms. His strategy is merely short term and targeted at convincing the people to vote the government in again at the next general polls, widely expected to be held in March this year.

Once he secures a fresh term, Anwar could be found guilty and sent to languish in jail. The plot sounds familiar – its about demonizing the opposition and getting rid of vocal voices.

The trial of DAP Chairman Karpal Singh emits the same stench. He has been ordered to enter his defense by the Court of Appeal for allegedly using seditious words against the Perak Sultan three years ago.

These appeals paint Najib as a political weakling who, time and again, back pedals on promised reforms to cater to the demands of UMNO warlords. By flip flopping on his rallying cry of reforms, the prime minister blatantly shows that he is pandering to the conservative elements within his own political party.

Malaysia does not need an indecisive prime minister. We do not need a party which is corrupt to the core and would not hesitate to stir up racial sentiments to be at the helm of power. The rakyat do not need Barisan Nasional leaders who only care about lining their pockets. Malaysians do not need to put up with more sex allegations, let alone keep witnessing the unfolding of political game play in the court house.

We cannot allow Najib to play the role of mafia bosses who, in the movie “Casino”, eliminate all their opponents. Neither can we allow him his perverse pleasures of clipping the rights of the rakyat and persecuting his political rivals.
The next general election is crucial as it would determine the future of our children and the nation. As such, let’s use our voting power to show Barisan Nasional the exit.

Charles Santiago

Member of Parliament, Klang

Press Statement by Member of Parliament Klang Charles Santiago in Klang on 10th April 2009

First, we were all given the impression that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s new cabinet will be leaner. Slashing two people hardly amounts to slimming down the cabinet representation.

But what is more pertinent is Najib’s choice of candidates whom he would rely on to implement his government and social reforms in the next coming months. In contradiction to infusing new blood, he has retained most of the ministers from former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s cabinet.

Maybe Najib forgot that these ministers were an integral part of the previous government that failed to deliver on its reform promises, including the weeding out of graft. Or for that matter initiate changes to the administration of the country under ruling UMNO and its component parties.

What is even more glaring is Najib’s back-door means of appointing candidates who lost at the last general election. These ministers and deputy ministers are not answerable to the public because they were not chosen by them. Neither would they have to face their constituents. In short they are simply not accountable to anyone, except Najib.

Dropping Khairy Jamaluddin from the cabinet line-up only goes to show that Najib is pals with former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The other theory is that Najib wants to make sure that the old man does not pass stinging remarks about his leadership from both within and outside the country.

Najib has already incurred the wrath of Abdullah’s boys for purging them out of UMNO before party elections were held. Deliberately side-lining Khairy will cause an internal strife within UMNO, which may lead to further instability and infighting within the party.

Najib does not need more problems for himself. He has been facing serious allegations linking him to the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian model.

The court verdict, sentencing the two policemen implicated in the murder to death, has only angered the rakyat more. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the former Special Task Force officers are scapegoats with absolutely no motives for blowing up Shariibuu, using powerful explosives.

Although speculations about Najib’s role in the lurid murder might linger, he could have at the very least put together a more credible team to show he is serious about reforms.

His inability to do so candidly shows that there is nothing within UMNO to help them change.

Charles Santiago

Member of Parliament, Klang.

Vice-Chairman of Selangor DAP

016-626 7797













查尔斯圣地亚哥 敬上



016-626 7797

Source : Merdeka Review

English version : Charles Santiago : What reform? Lame Duck PM and Tainted DPM

■日期/Oct 09, 2008 ■时间/08:13:36 pm

■新闻/党团观点 ■作者/民主行动党







纳吉的改变承诺必须先从废除内安法令和释放所有扣留者开始 – 包括拉惹柏特拉、兴权会五君和其他被拘留在甘文丁长达六年之久的扣留者。





查尔斯圣地亚哥(Charles Santiago)是民主行动党雪兰莪州巴生区国会议员。

阅读次数(1442) | 读者来函(0) | 发表言论

English version : Charles Santiago : What reform? Lame Duck PM and Tainted DPM


日期 2008109







纳吉的改变承诺必须先从废除内安法令和释放所有扣留者开始 包括拉惹佩特拉、兴权会五君和其他被拘留在甘文丁长达六年之久的扣留者。


纳吉的名字也与潜水艇交易的贪污案挂钩 可以确定那不是大马人心目中未来首相所应拥有的信誉。





Press Statement

9 October 2008

What reform? Lame Duck PM and Tainted DPM

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had announced his decision to relinquish power next March as the besieged ruling Barisan Nasional coalition struggles to face an emboldened opposition.

It is clear the premier had been pressurized to step down despite a planned transition of power to his deputy, Najib Tun Razak in 2010. It also takes very little to sum up that Abdullah was aware he would not get the mandatory 58 divisional nominations to contest his presidency at the party’s internal election next March.

UMNO leaders have evidently tightened the noose on Abdullah in a desperate bid to restore the party’s marred image. It is as if Abdullah is shown the exit and a new prime minister would magically regain the confidence of the people.

A changing of guards would not help UMNO win support from people. Its leaders must be committed to reforms within the government, wiping out corruption and putting in place an accountable and transparent government including ending cronyism in the party.

In short a reversal of shoddy policies is a must. Mere rhetoric, like the video message on Najib’s website, pledging to restore confidence in public institutions and “to work for the change'” that the public demanded at this year’s election falls short of peoples expectations.

But nabbing people under the draconian Internal Security Act to silence criticisms against the government and keep a lid on dissent completely contradicts the deputy premier’s promise to allow for greater rights and alternative views.

Najib’s commitment to work for change must begin with an end to ISA and release of all detainees – including Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Hindraf five and detainees who have been in Kamunting for more than six years.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s website postings implicated Najib to the murder of a Mongolian woman.

Najib’s name is also synonymous with corruption involving submarine deals – certainly not the kind of credentials Malaysians would hope for the country’s future Prime Minister.

Abdullah, to be fair, inherited a corrupt government from his former boss Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had single-handedly ruined the judiciary, domesticated the media, introduced money politics in UMNO and had his eyes wide shut to rampant corruption.

But Abdullah’s vows to reform government institutions, the judiciary and clean up corruption before he leaves government is all but mouth service. In effect Abdullah is a lame duck Prime Minister who would not be able to effect any changes to the country’s administrative system.

Charles Santiago

Member of Parliament, Klang

016 – 626 7797


Date    : 1 Oct 2008

I wish all Muslims a very happy Aidilfitri. Muslims in the country and around the world have been fasting over the past month, performing prayers and spreading the message of love, and peace to strengthen their religious resolve and relationship between their brethren in faith and tolerance towards others.

In line with this spirit of Hari Raya, let us come together and demand for the repeal of the country’s harsh Internal Security Act. This colonial relic denies detainees their right to be heard in an open court and also allows indefinite detention, at the whims and fancy of the Home Minister.

I appeal to all Malaysians to show their solidarity with Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the Hindraf five and other ISA prisoners whose fundamental rights have been robbed from them.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has appeared on the local television station, Astro Awani, to extend his wishes to the people. In this spirit, I call upon the premier to make a bold decision to free all the 62 ISA detainees with immediate effect.

We are aware that Abdullah’s top job is in a limbo. The Prime Minister has been dogged with calls for resignation from within the ruling UMNO and opposition camps. Bowing to pressure, Abdullah has hinted he might throw in the tower earlier than 2010. Before Abdullah leaves, I urge him to leave a mark in Malaysia’s political history by abolishing the harsh ISA, which is widely used to curb dissent in the country.

While celebrating this joyous occasion which fosters goodwill among people from all walks of life, I also strongly urge Abdullah to abandon the DNA Identification Bill 2008 which is a legal and human rights disaster. The Bill places excessive powers in the hands of the police and Home Affairs Minister and is therefore open to abuse.

Let us begin Eid with a staunch hope that it would usher in a new era of reforms in Malaysia – reforms that are targeted at allowing people to regain their freedom of speech and fundamental rights.

Eid Mubarak.


Member of Parliament, Klang

Source : Merdekareview

English version : Charles Santiago : The End of Abdullah’s Reform Agenda?