Can Malaysians cope with free speech?

Can Utusan meet the challenges of a new era?

UiTM protest 2008. Can Utusan meet the challenges of a new era? [Utusan photo]


How will TV3, New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia report news now? Will they still shut out any news from Pakatan Harapan? They obviously can’t, that would mean not reporting on the Malaysian government. Will they be very critical? Maybe they should be.

What about news organisations that have been anti-establishment? Anti-establishment doesn’t mean anti-BN any more. I’m going through the same adjustment too.

Utusan Malaysia have continued to take the stand of preserving Malay rights. Many people slammed Utusan for being racist even though the rest of Malaysia had already moved on. Let Utusan say whatever it wants to say. It is a new era of freedom of speech. But let other people also say whatever they want. Let this discourse and debate happen in the media and just keep it from being violent. That is true freedom of speech.

Malaysian people need to increase their media and news savviness. They need to be more aware so that they don’t become gullible and subservient to all the differing opinions and information. We must not fall into a lull and must always be on our toes. — Condensed from Malaysiakini | » Can Malaysians handle freedom of speech?


Umno out, but its racial policies still survive

Graphic: The Economist

Graphic: The Economist

Malaysia: still one country, two systems

The Economist

Even as Malaysian politics has been turned upside-down, there has been little questioning of the premise on which UMNO had governed Malaysia since independence: that Malays deserve special privileges.

1Malaysia called for reforms in the name of national unity. It was soon discarded. No one now wants to emulate the man who dreamed it up

Race has dominated Malaysian politics since colonial times.

The “New Economic Policy” helped shape a corrupt system of patronage politics that proved predictably durable.

In many respects Pakatan Harapan marks a break with all this. Voters united across racial and religious divides to support the coalition, which also includes explicitly Muslim and indigenous parties.

But the government is not seizing its opportunity to undo racially discriminatory policies. The coalition hangs together partly because all parties have agreed on a binding principle: that the constitution and its privileges for Malays are supreme. Continue reading



How much did you give to make up for lost GST revenue?

Debt relief donations v GST revenue lost

Debt relief donations v GST revenue lost

Debt relief donations compared to daily GST lost revenue

Based on an estimate of RM48,000,000,000 (billion) in 6% GST collections for this year.

Daily revenue from 6% GST would be 48 billion divided by 365 – RM131.5 million

Total donations to Tabung Harapan up to 3pm yesterday came to RM49.19 million, or not even half of one day’s GST revenue that has been lost. Daily average donations paid to Tabung Harapan amount to RM4.91 million – or 3.7% of lost daily GST revenue.

Doesn’t that give you that nice, warm, feel-good glow all over?

Sirul may be sent back for new Altantuya murder trial

Sirul Azhar Umar

Sirul Azhar Umar

November 2006, Shah Alam.  Reporters at the murder scene

Reporters at the murder scene [Photo:]

Exclusive: Former bodyguard convicted of Mongolian translator murder could face a new trial potentially exposing links to senior government figures

Hannah Ellis-Petersen

The Guardian

Australian authorities have approved a request from Malaysia to extradite a former prime ministerial bodyguard convicted of the murder of a Mongolian translator in a scandal that dogged Najib Razak’s time in office and transfixed the nation, the Guardian has learned.

A source said the Malaysian government had recently approached Australia to request that Sirul Azhar Umar be brought back to Malaysia, and that the plan had been given the green light after Malaysia agreed to cover the costs. It is believed Sirul will leave Australia within a month. Continue reading

Utusan to lay off half its 1,400 staff

Najib Razak opened Utusan's new headquarters of  three seven-storey blocks in Jalan Enam, renamed to Jalan Utusan, in Kuala Lumpur.

In 2013, Najib Razak opened Utusan’s new headquarters of three seven-storey blocks in Jalan Enam, renamed to Jalan Utusan, in Kuala Lumpur. [13 Sept 2013 – Star photo]

Half the staff and workers at Utusan Malaysia are to be laid off. The troubled Umno-owned newspaper, which is bleeding millions every month, says it has to “rebuild from scratch”.

Utusan Malaytsia front page June 7

Utusan Malaysia today

The company’s group managing director, Datuk Mohd Noordin Abbas, said a Voluntary Separation Scheme would be considered. The work force will be cut, probably by 50 percent from the existing 1,400 staff but the company would need to find the money to fund the lay-offs.

Similar job losses have already taken place at the New Straits Times Press and The Star, where the company announced last week that Star group editor Leanne Goh, together with the chief operating officer and the head of advertising, had taken early retirement. Senior and experience journalists had already been let go since last year at both NSTP and Star.

Continue reading

On Tommy Thomas, opinion, ‘facts’ and ‘truth’

Refurbishment of Sultan Abdul Samad building, which used to house the Courts, has been halted because government

Refurbishment of Sultan Abdul Samad building, which used to house the Courts, has been halted because government “debt” is too high. Opinion or fact?

By Gobind Rudra

In 2008, if memory serves, Tommy Thomas and others argued authoritatively in various statements that Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar Ibrahim were correct in trying to petition the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to sack the sitting prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and that the King had the power to do so.

I didn’t think so and at Balai Berita, it was sometimes necessary to change a declaration of such fact in a story to an assertion of opinion. Not that I have any constitutional expertise beyond that of any ordinary editor, but having watched from afar in younger days while Stephen Kalong Ningkan and later Gough Whitlam were removed, I believed this subject remained open, and was a highly contentious one at that.

Continue reading

Royal ticking off for media


KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, has urged all Malaysians to accept the appointment of Tommy Thomas as the new Attorney-General, without religious or racial discord, and expressed displeasure at inaccurate media reports on the issue.

In a statement from the Palace at 2.40am this morning, the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz, said the King had, on the advice of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, given his consent to the appointment of Tommy Thomas under Article 145 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong also called on all Malaysians to accept that the appointment of the Attorney-General should not create religious or racial conflict as every Malaysian should be fairly treated regardless of race and religion, ” he said.

Continue reading

King appoints Tommy Thomas

Istana Negara's statement issued after 2.30am tonight.

Istana Negara’s statement was issued after 2.30am tonight.

  • Late-night announcement pre-empts a meeting of the Rulers’ Conference scheduled for this morning.
  • Anwar Ibrahim was in audience with the King since last night.
  • Appointment comes hours before Rosmah Mansor gives a statement to MACC.


Istana Negara announced late tonight that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has dismissed the Attorney-General, Mohd Apandi Ali, and agreed to the appointment of Tommy Thomas as his successor.

Continue reading