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Thursday, September 23, 2010

If It's a Problem, Don't Recognise It! By Kee Thuan Chye

Idris Jala was interviewed on BFM 89.9 this morning. During the time of the interview I twitted that people who heard the interview should read an article by Kee Thuan Chye before they make up their minds about what Idris Jala said. But for some reason people who wanted to read it could not access the Facebook page. So here it is re-produced. If you missed the BFM interview you might be able to get it as a podcast eventually at www.bfm.com.my For some reason it wasn't there when I looked just now.

If It's a Problem, Don't Recognise It!

By Kee Thuan Chye

Idris Jala is a good speaker. If you listen to him and you don't watch it, he will sell you an idea.

That's what he did - or tried to do - when he gave the keynote address at the “We Are Malaysia” event hosted by UCSI University on Malaysia Day.

He spoke of 1Malaysia and its aims, and how national unity can be achieved. One of the central aims of 1Malaysia is upgrading the diverse population's attitude towards one another from tolerance to acceptance and, eventually, the celebration of diversity. And one of the central strategies of achieving that is the recognition that, in Idris' own words, “in life, there are only two types of issues”.

Sounds rather pat, as if coming from a self-enrichment guru. But as I said, Idris Jala (left) is a seller of ideas.

What are these two types of issues?

Problems and polarities. A problem, expounded Idris, is something that can be solved. A polarity is something that cannot be solved but must be managed. The examples of polarities he gave are old and young, urban and rural, good and evil, rich and poor. Like the North and South Poles, they cannot be removed; therefore a balance must be struck between them.

To illustrate further, he gave the example of his wife and him. She is fastidious in wanting him to place his socks in a proper basket for washing, but he is used to leaving them all over the house. Despite her repeated attempts to get him to conform, he is incorrigible. She on her part takes an inordinate amount of time to get ready when they have a function to attend. It annoys him that because she can't decide on what to wear, they often turn up late.

“That's the situation,” said Idris, “but if we tried to solve it, we could end up in divorce.”

Extending the idea to a wider realm, Idris said race and religion are also polarities, which means they cannot be solved.

“If you try to solve them,” he said, “you could get something like Hitler's Final Solution and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.”

On that UCSI occasion, Idris got away with not having to answer questions from the floor as there is usually no provision for such in a keynote address. But if there had been, the key question would be: Isn't this all just a game of semantics? How do you decide what is a problem and what is a polarity? Or is there really no difference between the two?

Let's look at the issue of race in the present context. Let's bring in Perkasa, which insists that the 30 percent equity for bumiputeras must be upheld in the New Economic Model (NEM). For want of an opposing camp, let's bring in the MCA, which recently called for the 30 percent to be gradually reduced.

Is this situation of two opposing viewpoints over a racial issue a problem or a polarity? What does it translate into when from this dispute, policy has to be made?

Policy is policy. It provides a guideline for operations to be performed and actions to be taken. It provides a clear-cut solution. It does not merely manage. So how will it solve this Perkasa-MCA dispute?

If Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak decides to listen to Perkasa and includes the 30 percent in his NEM, the MCA might have something to say. Not to mention other groups opposed to Perkasa as well. But since the MCA is a Barisan Nasional partner, Najib or his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, can ask its party leaders to shut up and toe the coalition line, and chances are they will obey. Is that managing the issue or solving it?

While we mull over this, let's consider another point - for an issue to be resolved, it calls for negotiation and sometimes arbitration. There was negotiation between the two differing groups over the ge tai issue in Penang last week and the outcome was satisfactory to both sides. Do we say they found a solution to the issue or that they merely managed it? Does it matter what we call it?

It's all semantics. And semantics are of no practical use. Sometimes, semantics create further problems. In any case, the fact that you enter into a negotiation shows that you want to find a solution. If after negotiating, you still can't find it, you may seek an arbiter.

For racial disputes, there is already an arbiter. And that, plain and simple, is the constitution. So how we solve or manage - whichever word you want to use - racial disputes should be guided by that arbiter.

Article 153 of the constitution is the bone of contention. But as lawyer Azzat Kamaluddin (left), who also spoke at the “We Are Malaysia” event, astutely pointed out, there is no mention in that article of special rights for the Malays.

Clause 1 of Article 153 states: “It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.”

Note that there is only mention of “special position”. And the second part says, significantly, that the Agong shall also be responsible for safeguarding “the legitimate interests of other communities”. It's not all one-sided.

Azzat pointed out that “everyone stops at Clause 1”. But if they were to look at Clause 2, they would see clearly that the special provisions for Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak pertain only to positions in the public service; scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities; and permits and licences for the operation of any trade or business.

And in these areas, the provisions have to be “of such proportion as [the Agong] may deem reasonable”. In other words, it's not carte blanche.

Look also at Clause 5, which states that Article 153 “does not derogate from the provisions of Article 136”.

What does Article 136 say?

It says: “All persons of whatever race in the same grade in the service of the federation shall, subject to the terms and conditions of their employment, be treated impartially.” This is another limit to the scope of Article 153.

If the government follows the rule of law and interprets the constitution as it should be interpreted, we wouldn't have a racial problem. Yes, problem. Let's call a spade a spade. The racial problem we have now is mostly the result of what the government has done and not done.

It has not followed the rule of law. It has not told Perkasa to grasp the proper provisions of Article 153. Instead, it has been affirming that Perkasa's doing the right thing - only a few days ago, Deputy Education Minister Puad Zarkashi said Perkasa was championing the people's rights as spelt out in the constitution. Perhaps Puad hasn't read beyond Clause 1. Perhaps he doesn't understand it fully.

In terms of what the government has done, it has chosen to take sides to formulate policies that are contrary to the spirit of the constitution. For instance, is the discount for bumiputeras purchasing property constitutional? If so, where is it written in that sacred document?

The government favours one race and marginalises the other races. With regard to the civil service, it has not upheld Article 136 of the constitution, which calls for impartial treatment for civil servants of all races. Over the past four decades, the promotion of civil servants to the highest positions has been almost totally confined to those of one particular race. Is that impartial treatment?

As for religion, it is again the government that has created problems. Just to name two, one is its action to deny Christians the right to use the word “Allah”; the other, and more far-reaching, action is declaring Malaysia an Islamic state, as Najib did in 2007 when he was Deputy Prime Minister.

“Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic state,” he said.

He must surely have read Article 3 of the constitution but chose to ignore what it says: “Islam is the religion of the federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the federation.”

Nowhere is it stated that Malaysia is an Islamic state.

But by his declaration, Najib caused fresh anxieties to surface and made the issue of religion more contentious. In extreme situations, the provisions of Article 3 have been disrespected. A recent example is Perkasa's lodging of a police report against a church in Shah Alam for planning to stage a Christian play during Ramadan on the grounds that it was seditious and insulting to the sultan.

That police report became a problem to the church. How would it be solved? In an ideal Malaysian setting, the government would have stepped in and told Perkasa to respect Article 3. But of course, it did not. For the church and other Christian groups, these problems will continue to crop up in future and there will be no solution in sight if the government stays silent.

Is the government silent because it now believes it can call such a problem a polarity? And with a polarity, which cannot be solved, the less said about it, the better? Similarly, in the case of the Johor school principal who allegedly made racist remarks, it is better to let the issue be until the public forgets about it?

If so, 1Malaysia is not about taking a radically honest approach towards national unity and the celebration of diversity. It seems to shy away from calling a problem a problem and solving it. Calling it a polarity merely adds a new twist to the propaganda.

So, if Idris Jala comes to your neighbourhood and tries to sell you that idea, be sure to ask him some difficult questions. He's a good speaker and can easily mesmerise his audience. His words may sound pretty until you probe them for substance. If you do, you might find that they amount to nothing more than public relations prattle.

28 comments:

not your ordinary blogger; said...

It's merely an government propaganda on 1 Malaysia. How could it be One where as everything is so divided now! It's the fact that we cannot deny nor we can put it aside!

Perkasa?? When do they start to exist??? Some smart fella...LOL....trying to provoke some racist issue but WHY no action has been taken on him??? WHY???? Oh yeah.....he is backed by some BIG shot! We dont need a racist leader....neither we need someone that have such a low intellectual to be our law maker!!

MCA.....too late & just too slow! after 53 years of independence, what have u all did for the chinese community???? NONE!!! Yeah right....after some scandalous act....now u try to be a good man & good leader??? I don't need you....you are just 53 years late!!! If u guys there really think of our future.....get out from BN.......If u dare....u make up for what u have not been doing for the past 53 years!

Malaysia???? My country??? My land??? I used to have one...but too sad.....it's almost gone now!

chrono13 said...

this reminds me of the chinese saying of a person ringing a bell with his ears closed, believing that by doing this other people cannot hear the bell.

flyer168 said...

Pat,

After all that has been said...

Just to share this...

PM Najib’s Cronies and their Related Companies - http://www.financetwitter.com/...lated.html

ETP – Wishful Thinking Against Reality Hidden from You - http://www.financetwitter.com/...m-you.html

What Is It - The Economic Transformation of Malaysia - A Roadmap, A Plan, A Programme, A Blueprint? (22/9/10) - http://futurefastforward.com/feature-articles/4229

Another "Jaguh Kampung Syok Sendiri Pre Election Exercise"

While Bolehland & its citizens "Burns"!

Gerald Celente: US Economy = Depression - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...r_embedded

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZU0c8DAIU4&feature=related

This is proof that there are plans in place by the elite to systemically disassemble US sovereignty." Unquote.

(Does that sound familiar in Bolehland!)

As such ALL Malaysians MUST Restore the Independence of Malaysia & Malaysians...

Malaysians MUST "Get the Ketuanan UMNOputra/BN out of Malaysia & Malaysia out of the Ketuanan UMNOputra/BN Regime..."

Confessions of an Economic Hitman - http://hubpages.com/hub/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man

"Economic hitmen (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.

They funnel money from the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources.

Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.

I should know; I was an EHM.

I wrote that in 1982, as the beginning of a book with the working title Conscience of an Economic Hit Man.

We EHMs failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in....

It is your story too, the story of your world and mine, of the first truly global empire. History tells us that unless we modify this story, it is guaranteed to end tragically. Empires never last.

Every one of them has failed terribly. They destroy many cultures as they race toward greater domination, and then they themselves fall. No country or combination of them can thrive in the long term by exploiting others.

This book was written so that we may take heed and remold our story. I am certain that when enough of us become aware of how we are being exploited by the economic engine that creates an insatiable appetite for the world's resources and that results in systems that foster slavery, we will no longer tolerate it.

We will reassess our role in a world where a few swim in riches and the majority drown in poverty, pollution, and violence. We will commit ourselves to navigating a course toward compassion, democracy, and social justice for all.

Admitting to a problem is the first step toward finding a solution. Confessing a sin is the beginning of redemption. Let this book, then, be the start of our salvation. Let it inspire us to new levels of dedication, and drive us to realize our dream for balanced and honorable societies." Unquote.

The "Club of Doom...is Welcoming Bolehland to join its ranks..."

U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time - http://www.usdebtclock.org/

It is just round the corner!

Is Bolehland "Padded" with any Contingency Plan for the inevitable 2nd Financial Tsunami?

Eat your heart out "Sheeple!"

You be the judge.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

The Malaysia problems whether these are polarities or problems have reached the stage 4 ( Terms use by doctor for cancer victims )
We need a lot of time and resources to prolong the life i.e. maybe add a few more years but will be dead at the end.
This is what our Minister want to say "We cannot solve in our generation Who knows and cares what will happen in the next century. ???

Vincent Tan said...

Rahsia bisnes orang Cina:

Jika dahulu bapanya berniaga air di tepi jalan, maka anaknya akan membuka restoran dan barangkali cucunya akan membuka kilang menghasilkan air dalam tin.

Pak Roket said...

DAP DUN Ayer Keroh dinner
-------------------------
Date: 11 October 2010
Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Pay Fong High School

Speakers: Lim Guan Eng, Tony Pua & Teo Ni Ching.

Tickets price: RM30@ticket

Enq: 016-337 8317

Ziana said...

A Melayu proverb for you, DPM: Mau seribu daya, tak mau seribu dalih.

It means if he, as the Education Minister, is earnest about suppressing racism in the schools, he would have gone to the extreme to punish this headmaster. But since he does not want to punish, he will find a million excuses not to do so.

Sonic Youth said...

Youth can no longer ignore politic today as our future and political system will be determined by our younger generations. Politics has everything to do with youth but many of them are not awarded of it they are not aware of the importance to vote as they do not understand what the government does everyday has everything to do with their lives, their wealth, their employment, income level, social problems and so forth in one way or another. Malaysia is becoming less and less competitive internationally and the outstanding Malaysian graduates are all leaving to help other nations boost their economies.

Many people, especially the younger generations, are finding that their lives have become more and more competitive. Standard of living is getting more and more difficult to cope with, their social problems cannot be solved, general security has been getting out of hands, and many other complaints. This is due to they HAVE NOT DONE the one MOST IMPORTANT AND YET SIMPLEST THING to rectify all these problems that they are facing. That is to VOTE.

Many do not believe that the POWER TO CHANGE is in their hands but it's true. They can change and they have to believe it can be done. They can vote for a better government, who will listen to their point of views, their problems, economic instability and social security etc.

It is everyone's responsibility to vote, everyone is supposed to be responsible for their own lives. Our parents are responsible for the situation we are in today because they chose the government, which they believe could deliver. So we have to be responsible for our next generations by deciding which government we believe in or rather not to choose the government we no longer believe in. Register yourself and vote in the coming 13th General election. Sabah needs your votes, Malaysia needs your votes.

Do our parts as a citizen of Malaysia to fight for our own lives and for our future generations.

Anonymous said...

Sack them! Sack them all I say! Aren't we (the People) ,their bosses in the first place. NUMBNUTS!

Anonymous said...

The article seems to read Malsys and natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

It has left out Malays and natives of peninsula.

This article is in particular application for Sabah and Sarawak to woo them to join Malaya to form Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) CEO Idris Jala himself had said that 92 per cent of funding for the ETP programme would come from the private sector.

He said the private sector would be the ETP’s backbone. This means the private sector — local businessmen, you, me, we are going to foot the bill.

On the one hand, you tell us that the ETP will save Malaysia in 10 years, but on the other, you say the government has no money and the ETP would have to rely on the private sector.

So I ask myself, if we, the private sector, are the ones who can save this country, and you, in the government, have no money to do so, then why do we need the BN?

Pearl said...

Najib should tell Obama that the word 'Allah' is not allowed to be used by (bumiputera) Christians for prayers in Malaysia, then USA will not have Islamphobia.

Obama should return favour to teach Najib how to cure his cartoonphobia.

monsterball said...

If we can expose Mahathir ...all others are easy to expose.
So glad we have one hell of a sharp blog owner taking time to guide the misguided.
Take care Pat!

monsterball said...

Bottom line...UMNO B buggers are very afraid to loose power and their wheeler dealer leader no more effective with his so call idiotic deputy talking cock all the time.
All these machais are nothing to the vast majority Malaysians.....waiting to chuck them into the dustbins..come 13th GE.
PS: Pat...I have not given up to visit U in your restaurant with few friends.

Anonymous said...

DPM Muhyiddin has confirmed that The Little Napoleans in Bolehland whom he called “permanent Government officers" is more powerful than him.

In other words, he is only a 'temporary Government officer' with a short shelf life until the next election.

Thaks for the reminder to all Malaysians.

Source:
http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/9/26/nation/7106939&sec=nation

Memey said...

Najib should not assume that Malaysia is a Muslim country. Malaysia is a multireligious society. while Malays who form 55% of the population are Muslims, the other 45 per cent are Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, animists, atheists, etc.

Najib should first ensure religious tolerance is practised at home in Malaysia before offering advice on religious tolerance to President Obama.

Bogger Boy said...

Hi "Grandpa" Patrick
I was inspired by your fishing technique in latest Singtel advertisement; whereby "you" told your "grandson" what's the future holds for Singapore (i.e. the world of robots ala Terminator or Transformers).
I hope our local DIGI (Maxis & Celcom defintely not) will engage you (if u r not tied up by T&C of Singtel not to appear in another techno ad) to be in Msia's version.
If that's the case, what is your idea or concept for Malaysia's future scenario ???
Kindly enlighten us.

p.s i am sure you will do our National Service by appearing in Malaysia TV ad soon.

Anonymous said...

this guy is a snakeoil salesman. look at how Taib plunder the state and left the dayaks and penans naked. Polarity my shit Jala. You are just another conman waiting for your turn to plunder the state.

Pak Piee said...

A sincere and transparent government must not simply give super-inflated figures that they can't achieve in real-life situation. What's more, it's not achievable even on paper.

If you think that the govermnment's Economic Transformation Prograame (ETP) is logical, please give figures or examples that can really support your views, figures and examples we readers can comprehend. Not like those who say Malays in Penang have been marginalised under Koh TK's time but when asked for supporting figures and details, there are still none forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

"The government favours one race and marginalises the other races. With regard to the civil service, it has not upheld Article 136 of the constitution, which calls for impartial treatment for civil servants of all races. Over the past four decades, the promotion of civil servants to the highest positions has been almost totally confined to those of one particular race. Is that impartial treatment?"

Good Patrick. You're only demonstrating your ignorance by writing this. Oh ignorant old man...

GNG

Anonymous said...

"The government favours one race and marginalises the other races. With regard to the civil service, it has not upheld Article 136 of the constitution, which calls for impartial treatment for civil servants of all races. Over the past four decades, the promotion of civil servants to the highest positions has been almost totally confined to those of one particular race. Is that impartial treatment?"

Good Patrick. You're only demonstrating your ignorance by writing this. Oh ignorant old man...

GNG

Ustaz hadhari said...

Get your house in order before telling the US what Islam is.

Islam in Malaysia supports discrimination based on race, believing in the domination of and suppression by Muslims over kafirs, disallowing the proliferation of Christianity, Hinduism and other faiths. It is a far cry from the Islam practised in Turkey, Bosnia or even by the Hui in China.

Many Muslims in Malaysia support racists like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Ibrahim Ali and Dr Mohd Khir Toyo. I would not be surprised to know that Azahari Husin (Phd fom Reading University) and Noordin Mohd Top are admired by many Malays.

The US have more moderate and liberal Islamic scholars among their seven million Muslims than Malaysia. They come from various backgrounds (blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians) and speak perfect English.

Sending top Malay ulama who speak poor English, with limited understanding of Islam in the US will only insult Americans and deepen Islamophobia.

Ustaz hadhari said...

Get your house in order before telling the US what Islam is.

Islam in Malaysia supports discrimination based on race, believing in the domination of and suppression by Muslims over kafirs, disallowing the proliferation of Christianity, Hinduism and other faiths. It is a far cry from the Islam practised in Turkey, Bosnia or even by the Hui in China.

Many Muslims in Malaysia support racists like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Ibrahim Ali and Dr Mohd Khir Toyo. I would not be surprised to know that Azahari Husin (Phd fom Reading University) and Noordin Mohd Top are admired by many Malays.

The US have more moderate and liberal Islamic scholars among their seven million Muslims than Malaysia. They come from various backgrounds (blacks, whites, Hispanics and Asians) and speak perfect English.

Sending top Malay ulama who speak poor English, with limited understanding of Islam in the US will only insult Americans and deepen Islamophobia.

Anonymous said...

hey patrick.. you should post about this :
Malaysia's funniest and tragic court video ( teoh beng hock inquest )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ffbSgUy_1E&feature=related

there are 8 episode of the tragic court of malaysia.. very funny n amusing.. but a bit scary if that lawyer will be the AG?

Anonymous said...

Hey pat!

You must understand that all of us don't really grasp the full meaning of our constitution. It may say that 'all are treated equally' but when you say this to a group of people who deem themselves as being the No.1 people of the country (and adding the No.1 'true' religion), then what was written will not be entertained. True, you can justify, even show them what is what, BUT what's the point when they mindset has been fix? In the pass 30 years, our civil service and arm forces has been so one-sided that seeing a NON-Malay itself is a fascination. The great Agong, or Sultan in fact has nothing but a mere symbol, being fed heavily by the government to influence the lower class of the country. The government is stronger than the sultan and that's that. What we can do now, in our democratic right, is to vote. We vote for someone who thinks evveryone is equal, that his friends are all races and don't favour their own race. God Bless Malaysia!

Anonymous said...

http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/27trafal/Article/

I do not think it is right for Matrade to use tax payers' money to organize 'Pasar Malam Malaysia' at Trafalgar Sqaure London to 'promote' malaysian hawker food.

The event has benefited the 'malaysian restaurants' in London (business up 30-40%). Could these restaurants be owned by the cronies?

Anonymous said...

http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/27trafal/Article/

I do not think it is right for Matrade to use tax payers' money to organize 'Pasar Malam Malaysia' at Trafalgar Sqaure London to 'promote' malaysian hawker food.

The event has benefited the 'malaysian restaurants' in London (business up 30-40%). Could these restaurants be owned by the cronies?

Anonymous said...

The new trend of policies. If it is a problem, I don't care to recognize it and let other decide for me (and others here meaning the rakyat2 with the biggest balls!). If it is NOT a problem, then I make it a problem for, again, the rakyat2 with the biggest cahonas to resolve. To hell with the Constitution and laws of the country after all, I decide what is right and appropriate, you understand! Oh by the way, this is the only way to divert your attention from my siphoning the peoples dues but then again I decide, UNDERSTAND! Polarities, please don't get me started least I give you PROFANITIES! Do the right thing and get it right, NUMBNUTS! Don't play the race, religion or bigger pie game. We don't play that game no more, YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!?!?!? If anyone of US were to fall then WE all will fall and I'd rather YOU go before losing it all!

Nuffnang