Archive for May, 2018

PILIHAN RAYA ke-14 telah datang dan pergi. Ia adalah aliran air dalam sejarah politik negara kita, dan rakyat Malaysia telah membuat keputusan. Pakatan Pakatan Harapan (Harapan) telah pun membentuk kerajaan baharu.

Pemimpin-pemimpin kerajaan baharu kini akan memeluk hakikat asas untuk mentadbir negara dan berkhidmat kepada rakyat, bukan sahaja penyokong dan yang memilih mereka, tetapi seluruh penduduk, termasuk yang mengundi lawan mereka.

Mungkin angin sekarang boleh disimpulkan oleh kartun lama Lat. Perdana Menteri lama dan baharu Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad digambarkan dengan menggunakan pembesar suara – memanggil orang yang meraikan – “O.K. EVERYBODY! … GET BACK TO WORK! “ (O.K. SEMUA ORANG…PERGI BALIK KERJA!)

Banyak yang perlu dilakukan, begitu banyak untuk mengejar balik pembangunan sosioekonomi negara, begitu banyak untuk menyiasat penyalahgunaan dan tuduhan rasuah yang lalu, begitu banyak untuk memperbaiki dan memperbaiki penyampaian dan kecekapan beberapa perkhidmatan awam.

Dan banyak untuk menyembuhkan serta mendamaikan sebuah negara yang terbahagi antara Timur dan Barat Semenanjung Malaysia (dengan Pakatan Harapan mengawal kebanyakan negeri-negeri Pantai Barat dan Barisan Nasional (BN) dan Pas mengawal negeri-negeri Pantai Timur) dan antara Semenanjung Malaysia serta Sarawak dan Sabah.

Pemenang yang dipilih dalam semua kerusi dari seluruh jurang politik tidak sepatutnya menunjukkan apa-apa keangkuhan tetapi kerendahan dan kemurahan hati, mereka tidak boleh memprovokasi atau menghasut orang lain tetapi untuk berpakat dan bekerja bersama untuk Malaysia yang lebih baik. Biarlah mahkamah memutuskan keadilan untuk sesiapa mereka yang bersalah atas apa-apa jenayah.

Kerajaan lama telah dihakimi berdasarkan prestasi, tadbir urus dan dasarnya, demikian juga yang baharu akan dihakimi oleh penyampaian janji-janji, manifesto dan pemerintahannya. 100 hari pertama akan menjadi ujian sebenar dalam menangani 10 janji dan komitmen lain yang dinyatakan oleh kerajaan baharu.

Adalah malang bahawa banyak masalah sosial yang merosakkan seperti penyalahgunaan dadah, jenayah terancang, pemerdagangan manusia, kenakalan remaja, keganasan rumah tangga dan pinjaman haram, tidak dibawa sama sekali semasa tempoh kempen.

Sebagai penganalisis badan pemikir yang telah menyaksikan banyak pilihan raya di negara ini dan telah mengkaji konflik di banyak negara lain di seluruh dunia, saya prihatin terhadap godaan kuasa, terutama untuk pemasa pertama yang berada di jawatan tinggi seperti menteri. Seperti kata pepatah “kuasa merosakkan, kuasa mutlak merosakkan sepenuhnya”.

Saya sedar bahawa sudah ada beberapa pemeriksaan dan imbangan dalam sistem dan banyak lagi yang akan dilaksanakan oleh kerajaan baru (seperti peranan Peguam Negara), tetapi tidak pernah mencukupi dan bentuk pemeriksaan terbaik dan imbangan adalah untuk mendidik orang ramai mengenai perangkap kekuasaan dan tadbir urus.

Artikel ini harus dilihat dalam cahaya ini sebagai menyumbang kepada kesedaran sedemikian. Ia tidak mensasarkan mana-mana pemimpin dalam kerajaan baru dan tidak mencadangkan bahawa mana-mana daripada mereka akan menyeleweng.

Kualiti utama pemimpin yang diperlukan untuk mentadbir negara kita, atau mana-mana negara sedemikian, kelihatan cukup sederhana – keutuhan, keadilan, kebijaksanaan dan kerendahan hati.

Pertama, pemimpin mesti mempunyai keutuhan. Ini tidak boleh dirunding. Tanpa itu, rasuah kuasa dan ketamakan akan memakan dengan cepat. Seorang pemimpin mestilah adil kepada semua. Tanpa keadilan, akan terjadi konflik dan keamanan berpanjangan tidak akan berlaku.

Pemimpin mesti arif. Mempunyai kebijaksanaan lebih penting daripada pintar dan hanya dapat datang dengan usia dan pengalaman pembelajaran yang tepat dari membuat kesilapan dan pencapaian yang jujur. Para pemimpin baru juga harus belajar bagaimana mengurus perkhidmatan awam dan birokrasinya serta bagaimana merumuskan dasar dengan mereka untuk memastikan pelaksanaan dan penyampaian yang berkesan.

Rendah hati, lagi satu kualiti penting, menunjukkan kekuatan batin, kejujuran dan kedewasaan seorang pemimpin. Seorang pemimpin yang sombong jarang belajar apa-apa dan cenderung terpisah daripada orang yang yang mereka mendakwa mewakili.

Berikut adalah pesanan ringkas dari Nelson Mandela, ikon global umat manusia, berdasarkan petikan dari wawancara oleh Oprah Winfrey pada tahun 2000, setahun selepas dia rela melepaskan jawatannya sebagai Presiden Afrika Selatan baharu.

“Perkara pertama adalah harus jujur dengan diri sendiri, anda tidak boleh memberi kesan kepada masyarakat jika anda tidak mengubah diri sendiri. Dan salah satu senjata yang paling penting dalam mengubah diri anda adalah untuk mengenali keamanan, maksud saya orang di mana-mana di dunia ingin kedamaian.

Saya berada di sisi orang-orang hebat, sememangnya. Ada di antara mereka yang lebih berkelayakan, lebih berbakat daripada saya. Untuk duduk bersama mereka, untuk bertukar-tukar pendapat adalah salah satu pengalaman yang paling mendedahkan dan memperkayakan saya. Ia menguatkan moral anda. Ia memberi anda keberanian untuk melakukan lebih baik daripada yang terbaik.

Sesiapa sahaja, yang menukar prinsipnya bergantung pada siapa yang dia berurusan, itu bukan lelaki yang boleh memimpin bangsa. Anda mempunyai masa yang terhad untuk kekal di Bumi. Anda mesti mencuba dan menggunakan tempoh itu untuk tujuan mengubah negara anda menjadi apa yang anda inginkan. Negara demokratik, bukan perkauman, bukan seksis.

Kerendahan hati adalah salah satu sifat yang paling penting yang harus anda miliki kerana jika anda rendah diri, jika anda membuat orang menyedari bahawa anda tidak mengancam mereka, maka orang akan memeluk anda, mereka akan mendengar kepada anda.”

Negara kini sedang berlayar di perairan yang belum dicartakan dengan “kapal yang diperkuatkan, “anak kapal” baru dan “enjin” yang baru. Walaupun kita harus menyokong dan memberi pemimpin-pemimpin kerajaan baru peluang untuk menyampaikan janji-janji mereka, mereka harus sentiasa diingatkan bahawa mereka dipilih untuk berkhidmat kepada rakyat dan kepentingan umum harus selalu datang terlebih dahulu.

Hak-hak asas rakyat harus dilindungi dan dipertingkatkan. Perpaduan kebangsaan berdasarkan kepelbagaian mesti dijualkan. Isu sosial mesti ditangani. Keutamaan utama sekarang adalah mengenai isu roti dan mentega seperti meningkatkan pendapatan untuk semua, mengurangkan sara hidup, meningkatkan perkhidmatan awam dan menjaga kebajikan rakyat semua kaum.

* Penulis ialah Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif syarikat sosial Asia Heritage Museum (AHM). Comment: kktan2271@gmail.com

* Artikel ini telah di siarkan di The Sun pada 15 May 2018

 

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THE 14th General Election has come and gone. It is a watershed in our country’s political history, and the people of Malaysia have decided. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition is forming the new government.

The leaders of the new government would now be getting down to the brass tacks of governing the country and serving the people.

Perhaps the mood can be summed up by an old Lat cartoon. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was depicted using a loudspeaker calling out people who were celebrating – “O.K. EVERYBODY! … GET BACK TO WORK!”

There is so much to do, so much to catch up on the socio-economic development of the country, so much to investigate, so much to improve and fix on the delivery and efficiency of some public services. And so much to heal and reconcile.

Elected winners from across the political divide should not display any arrogance but humility and magnanimity, they should not provoke or instigate others but close ranks and work together for a better Malaysia. Let the court decide on the justice to be meted out to those who are guilty of any crime.

The old government had been judged on its performance, governance and policies, likewise, the new one shall be judged by the delivery of its promises and manifesto and governance. The first 100 days would be a real test on addressing the 10 promises and other stated commitments of the new government.

It was unfortunate that many destructive social issues such as drug abuse, organised crime, human trafficking, juvenile delinquency, domestic violence and loan sharking, were not brought up during the campaign period.

As a think-tank analyst who has witnessed many elections and studied elections and conflicts in many countries, I am concerned about the temptations of power, especially for the first timers in high positions such as ministers. As the saying goes “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

I am aware that there are already some checks and balances in the system and more are to be put in place by the new government (such as on the role of the attorney-general), but it is never enough and the best form of checks and balances is educating people on the pitfalls of power and governance. This article should be seen in this light as contributing to such an awareness. It is not targeting any leaders in the new government or is it suggesting that any of them would be corrupt.

The key qualities of the leaders needed to govern our country, or any country for that matter, look simple enough – integrity, fairness, wisdom and humility.

First, a leader must have integrity. This is non-negotiable. Without it, the corruption of power and greed would consume a leader quickly.

A leader must be fair to all. Without justice, there would be conflicts and no lasting peace.

A leader must be wise. Having wisdom is more important than being smart and it can only come with age and the right kind of experience of learning from making honest mistakes and achievements. New leaders must also learn how to manage the civil service and its bureaucracy and how to formulate policies with them to ensure effective implementation and delivery.

Humility, another important quality, demonstrates the inner strength, honesty and maturity of a leader. An arrogant leader rarely learns anything and tends to be detached from the very people he or she claims to represent.

Here is a simple message from the late Nelson Mandela, a global icon of humanity, based on extracts from an interview by Oprah Winfrey in 2000, a year after he willingly stepped down as president of the new South Africa.

“The first thing is, to be honest with yourself, you can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. And one of the most important weapons in changing yourself is to recognise that peace, I mean people everywhere in the world want peace.

“I was in the company of great men, indeed. Some of them are more qualified, more talented than I am. To sit down with them, to exchange views was one of the most revealing and enriching experiences I have. It fortified your morality. It gave you the courage to do better than your best.

“Anybody, who changes his principles depending on whom he is dealing with, that is not a man who can lead the nation. You have a limited time to stay on Earth. You must try and use that period for the purpose of transforming your country into what you desire it to be. Democratic, non-racial, non-sexist country.

“Humility is one of the most important qualities which you must have because if you are humble, if you make people realise that you are no threat to them, then people will embrace you, they will listen to you.”

The country is now sailing in unchartered waters with a reinforced “ship”, new “crew” and a new “engine”. While we should support and give the leaders of the new government an opportunity to deliver on their promises, they must be constantly reminded that they were elected to serve the people and public interest must always come first.

The basic rights of the people must be protected and enhanced. National unity based on diversity must be promoted. Social issues must be addressed. The main priority now is on bread and butter issues such as increasing income generation for all, reducing the cost of living, improving public services and looking after the welfare of the people of all races.

The writer is the CEO of a social enterprise Asian Heritage Museum (AHM), the tenant and custodian of the iconic heritage site Carcosa Seri Negara (CSN), where the “Road to Independence” exhibition is being held. AHM plans to set up a peace museum at Carcosa and art, cultural and nature centre at Seri Negara and make CSN a fascinating and iconic tourism destination. Comments: kktan@thesundaily.com

BEWARE THE BLACK SWANS

Posted: May 17, 2018 in Uncategorized
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THE coming general election is developing to be a hotly contested one and the results may be driven by one or more “black swan” incidents.

A “black swan” incident, which may include a speech or action from an influential personality or a group or a new policy or specific action by the federal or a state government or the opposition, is an unexpected and seemingly insignificant event but which may create a “spark” and turn the tide in favour or against the players concerned and may even determine the outcome of the election.

An example of a “black swan” incident was the abolition of the district status and withdrawal of government services by the then Sabah government led by Harris Salleh, meted out to the Tambunan constituency of Joseph Pairin Kitingan after he left the ruling Parti Berjaya and won the by-election as an independent in December 1984. This injustice created a public backlash and the newly formed PBS led by Pairin managed to win the April 1985 state election against the odds and formed the state government with the support of the federal government.

All politicians and key players for the election should be careful or cautious of what they say or do and not unwittingly create a “black swan” which may develop into an uncontrollable and lose-lose scenario for the coalition they represent. But it is often difficult to foresee a “black swan”, hence its name.

The new opposition alliance of Pakatan Harapan appears to be at its strongest compared to previous elections and it is now being led by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who headed the ruling party and ruled the country for 22 years.

The ruling Barisan Nasional, led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, is also strong. Most ruling parties can count on the power of incumbency and patronage, an important factor that tends to be underestimated.

BN, for now, appears to be more united and better organised than PH.

A “clash of the titans” appears on the horizon with both sides digging in and trying hard to consolidate their support with voters.

To the credit of both BN and PH, all past elections have been relatively peaceful, except for a brief period in 1969, reflecting a degree of maturity rare in many developing countries.

The targets of both BN and PH would be on the undecided voters or fence sitters, who may wait till the last minute before deciding who to vote for. It would be the decision of this segment that will determine the final outcome.

The number of eligible but unregistered voters, over 3 million, is a cause of concern and if you are one of them, it may not be too late to register at the post office. Apathy and the refusal to exercise the democratic right to vote is a grave moral sin and unregistered voters would have no one to blame except themselves if the duly elected government were to do things later that they do not like.

Both BN and PH are confident of victory and both have used various surveys and analyses in their favour to justify their optimism.

BN is counting on its incumbency in government, macro-economic performance and growth, strong currency, relative peace and liberal investment policies. BN is also exposing alleged abuses and scandals of PH state governments, especially in Penang, and the federal government during Mahathir’s premiership.

PH is counting on a formidable Mahathir to lead the charge, highlighting the alleged scandals of the federal government, the high cost of living and other issues.

The election issues can be broadly categorised as:
» Bread and butter issues, such as cost and ease of living, employment, financial incentives, health and transport;
» Emotional ones, both positive emotional issues such as patriotism and national unity and negative ones such as playing the race or religious card; and
» Alleged scandals on both sides

To avoid triggering a black swan and a backlash, it would be better if politicians were to play up the positive emotional issues and to explain clearly how their policies and programmes can benefit the people, especially the poor. Our voters, especially the youth, are better informed in the age of the internet and social media and it would be better to be honest and straightforward to win hearts and minds.

An important area often taken for granted by politicians is the history of the country, especially the struggle of our people for Merdeka (Independence). It is sad that many of our elected representatives do not seem interested to promote the multiracial struggle for Merdeka as a successful case of “unity in diversity” achieving a historical watershed and a continuing basis for our national unity. It is high time that they change such an attitude. A golden chance now exists for them to visit the Jalan Merdeka (Road to Independence) exhibition being held at Carcosa Seri Negara until March 31, from 9am to 6pm every day. Entrance is free.

The moment of truth would come soon as the next election must be called by June 24.

Some analysts have also written about the emergence of a new and ambitious “Third Force”, perhaps to even form the government in some states and be a king maker in the formation of the next federal government. Such an analysis can be misleading as it suggests that this Third Force is well organised, credible and large but such an entity does not seem to exist, at least for now.

A more likely scenario, especially if there is a hung Parliament, may be the emergence of an honest, wise and responsible “white knight”, acceptable to all stakeholders as a peacemaker and unifier to broker a workable deal for the sake of the country. The exact power formula is anyone’s guess and would also depend on the outcome of the general election.

The writer is a think-tank analyst and CEO of social enterprise Asian Heritage Museum, involved in organising a patriotic and pro-national unity Jalan Merdeka exhibition at the historical site of Carcosa Seri Negara. Comments:kktan@thesundaily.com

IN three earlier articles about Donald Trump after he was elected president of the United States, I had predicted that he would be forced to resign or be impeached and would not last a full term, hopefully before he wrought more havoc to America and the world.

His latest outrageous move to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in defiance of the global community, undermining all peace initiatives on the Palestinian issue, knowingly inflaming the Middle East and the Muslim world, demonstrating the naked biasness of the US government in favour of Israel, exposing its pretence of being a fair and honest broker and deliberately prolonging what is probably one of the longest conflicts in modern history.

Trump is the poster boy of warmongers and right-wing extremism in America and he seems to be proud of this status.

The mishandling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the gross injustices suffered by the Palestinians, first by being thrown out of their own homeland and then those who remained have been treated as second-class citizens in an apartheid-like system, has been the cause celebre used by Muslim extremists from around the world to propagate their violent ideology, recruit disenchanted Muslim youths and justify terrorism and cruel acts on innocent people. It is also used to justify the “clash of civilisations” of Islam versus Christianity rather than Islam versus Judaism. Why?

The likes of IS have been largely defeated in the battlefields and the “caliphate” they used to control in Syria and Iraq. Many have gone underground or returned to their countries of origin to become lone wolves or sleeper cells, planning to inflict terror and harm on people as a sick way of revenge and taking out their anger on others.

If one looks at the issue objectively, the main beneficiary of Muslim extremism and its frequent clashes with the Christian world is Zionist Israel. Zionism is a racist and fascist ideology, no different at its core from Nazism and it undermines the image of Judaism just like Muslim extremism undermines the image of Islam. Many Jews around the world are actually opposed to Zionism. The extremist Jews (Zionists) are no different from the extremist Muslims and extremist Christians. The extremists of all religions, races and nationalities actually have a lot in common although they profess to hate each other. All extremists do not belong to the civilised world and they should be kicked out of this planet.

Some analysts wonder why Muslim terrorism rarely strikes in the heart of Zionism in Israel and instead is mostly targeted at the Christian world.
There have been many reports to suggest that the two major Muslim extremist organisations, Al Qaeda and IS, were actually funded, at least initially, by Israeli intelligence to cause havoc to the rest of the world and to undermine both Islam and Christianity.

In most crime scene investigations, suspicion for the hidden hand behind, say a murder, is likely to be the beneficiary of such a murder.
Therefore, if Israeli intelligence is behind and secretly promoting Muslim extremism, it can be concluded that Muslim extremists in reality, are doing a favour for Zionist Israel and undermining the image of Islam as a religion of peace.

Even before he was elected, Trump has shown his rabid anti-Muslim stance in every possible way. The Muslims are a discriminated minority in the US and are peace loving and patriotic citizens. Yet, Trump has been targeting them and making them scapegoats for the social ills in the US like what Hitler did to the Jews.
He seems to be deliberately provoking Muslims to retaliate or fight back violently and if they do that, he would then use it to justify his self-fulfilling prophecy that all Muslims are uncivilised or terrorists. It’s like the storyline in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest where inhabitants of a mental institution were mistreated. When they retaliated, it was used to justify the self-fulfilling prophecy that they were violent and mentally sick and therefore needed rough treatment. The vicious cycle continues.

I had predicted in my earlier articles in this column that Trump, due to his super arrogance, denial of reality, inconsistencies and unstable state of mind, would keep shooting himself in his foot and undermining his own credibility, especially by his stupid and insensitive tweets. His own published words are likely to be used in the impeachment process against him for obstruction to justice.

A group of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts in the US had just come out with a statement on Nov 30 to express their concern on the mental health and stability of their president, who as commander-in-chief, has his finger on the nuclear button and capable of starting a nuclear war to obliterate mankind.

The Russia Scandal, under investigation by the FBI, on Russia’s interference and the possible collusion of Trump’s inner circle with Russian intelligence on the last presidential election, has moved to a new level with National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying about his conversations with the Russian ambassador last December and the subsequent “request” by Trump to the then FBI director James Comey not to further investigate Flynn.

Many analysts are convinced that Trump has crossed the line of no return and there will be many unfavourable revelations to come, from Flynn and others. At the rate things are going, it looks like he will eventually be asked to resign or be impeached by Congress.

Trump has hardly served a year as president. The question many people are asking now is how much longer can he last before he is forced to go for the good of America, global peace and justice.

The writer is the CEO of a soon-to-be set up heritage and innovative museum in Kuala Lumpur to promote sustainable peace, moderation and cultural diversity and to oppose all forms of extremism. Comments: kktan@thesundaily.com