Friday, January 27, 2006

Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy Chinese New Year)!

"Nian Nian Yiu Yu"

The fish is a symbol of prosperity. The Chinese word for fish - "yu" is a homophone for phrases such as the one above which could mean "be blessed every year" or "have profits every year".

In this coming year of the Dog, I would like to wish everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year festivities, a joyous occasion, and may you and your loved ones be blessed with peace and safety wherever you may go.

"Chu Ru Ping An" !

If you are interested to know more about this traditional festival, log on to here.

What's the public's verdict on Metramac case?

Why does it seems like this case is being tried in the court of public opinion?

Lawyer faces contempt (The Star headlines, 27 January 2006)

Metramac counsel facing contempt enquiry (NST headlines, 27 January 2006)

Lawyer faces contempt of court charges (The Sun, 27 Jan 2006)

Press Statement by Tun Daim Zainuddin over the Metramac case (The Sun, 27 Jan 2006)

Daim: It was cabinet's decision (The Star, 27 Jan 2006)

Declassify cabinet minutes, says Daim (NST, 27 Jan 2006)

Annuar and Halim didn't enjoy my patronage: Daim (The Sun, 27 Jan 2006)

Metramac case: Cheras MP quizzed by Bukit Aman (NST, 24 Jan 2006)

Lawyers' letters of complaint not unheard of (NST, 27 Jan 2006)

Court of Appeal to hear contempt arguments over Metramac case (The Star, 26 Jan 2006)

Metramac probe begins (The Star, 21 Jan 2006)

Halim's statement insinuatory and mischievous: Anwar (The Sun, 20 Jan 2006)

Daim rebuts court's findings (The Star, 19 Jan 2006)

Make A-G a political appointee (The Star, 19 Jan 2006)

Update on Metramac controversy (The Sun, 18 Jan 2006)

He was MOF when Fawziah Holdings lost concession to UEM Group (The Sun, 17 Jan 2006)

I did not steal money: Halim replies to Metramac judgment (The Sun, 17 Jan 2006)

Halim: He was not involved (The Sun, 17 Jan 2006)

Tan Sri Halim Saad's full media statement (The Sun, 16 Jan 2006)

DAP: Find out others involved in Metramac case (The Star, 16 Jan 2006)

Metramac judgment online (The Star, 15 Jan 2006)

Datuk Gopal Sri Ram's judgment on Metramac case (The Star, 14 Jan 2006)

Metramac to pay RM65 million (The Star, 13 Jan 2006)


Friday, January 20, 2006

Who's running the show in Malaysia?

[Post deleted]

O.K. I've taken the original entry off this blog because I've decided I don't wish to get worked up over it anymore.

Sudahlah. What's the point anyway?

Chinese New Year is just round the corner ... time to give this stuff a rest and at the same time, work on getting into the right mood to welcome in the Year of the Dog.

BTW, why is everyone telling me that this year is not so good for the businesses trying to cash in on the shopping spirit to usher in the CNY? Looks like the people I come into contact with agree on one common observation - that the festive spirit is very subdued this year.

And I noticed that the price for the usual tubs of cookies have increased from RM15 to RM18 this year. One kilogram of raw dried prawn crackers costs RM23 compared to RM18 last year. And even mandarin oranges are more expensive. And yeah, the nian gao (sweet and sticky new year pudding made from glutinous rice flour) costs RM2 more for the same size. The vendor told me its partly because cost of cooking gas has gone up, which is true.

I love nian gao, sandwiched between a slice of sweet orange potato on one side and a slice of yam on the other, dipped into wheat flour batter and deep-fried until crispy. It's one of those things that make me look forward to Chinese New Year.

I also like it soft, cut into small pieces and rolled in grated coconut with a dash of salt.

Which brings to mind, my experience of eating nian gao in Shanghai during a trip coinciding with Chinese New Year in 2001. It was served at breakfast in the hotel I stayed in, and whitish in colour instead of the rich caramel colour of the type we have here. One bite into it made me realize that the Shanghainese have a totally different version of nian gao in China. It tastes salty instead of sweet, and I have to admit I didn't like it at all. At that very moment, I suddenly felt a strong mixture of longing for home, my home here in Malaysia. I guess that feeling must be very familiar to Malaysians who had to work or study in a foreign country.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

We are not so safe anymore

I was asked to send 15 year old L to a GP's clinic yesterday evening because she had been suffering from a nasty bout of cough and cold that refused to go away after one week of self treatment with over-the-counter medication.

Because I had to run some errands in town, I dropped her off alone at the clinic which was located along a busy main road with instructions to wait for me to pick her up in about 20 minutes' time. Just before L closed the car door, I hastened a quick reminder for her to wait for me INSIDE the clinic when she's done. And I repeated myself that she is NOT to stand outside along the corridor because it is already dark.

As I drove away, I caught myself thinking about the way I had so naturally and instinctively stressed to the girl the need to ensure that she is safely indoors, especially when she is on her own. I also wonder why I had so casually assumed that it is NOT safe to stand outside, even though the place is well-lit and not exactly deserted.

I remember back when I was a primary school kid, I walked to my school which is a good 15 minutes away from my house, in the darkness of the early morning with another schoolmate, also a little girl. The only warning my mother gave to me is not to talk to strangers and to look out for cars when crossing the road. And sometimes, after school, I walked alone all the way home.

And it went on until I was in secondary school. Throughout my teenage years, I had to depend on public transport to go to my school which is about 2.5km from my house. So I had to start my journey well before the sun comes up because I had to take 2 different buses and that means I'm out of the house before 6:30am. And during those nightmare moments when I missed the bus, I had to walk all the way alone to school, a journey that takes almost an hour.

Did my mother freaked out at the thought of her only daughter walking in the dark, alone and sometimes out of sheer desperation, taking short-cuts along quiet backlanes? Maybe life was much simpler back then, or maybe our streets were generally safer in those days. It must be, because I survived those years without even coming across news or stories of the type that is rampant in our society these days.

Just look at what happened to 25 year-old marketing executive Chee Gaik Yap. She innocently went out for a jog in her neighbourhood early last Saturday evening, at about 6pm when the sun has not yet set, and nine hours later, was found dead, raped and brutally stabbed, 200m from a residential area. Needless to say, her family was devastated, and claimed that the security guard and the police had not acted fast enough to save Chee's life.

This is just the latest news that has made headlines in our papers but we know for a fact that sex crimes and petty but equally dangerous crimes like snatch theft is on the rise in this country. And what about kidnapping and being held for ransom? We, especially women, just don't feel safe out in the streets anymore. And we fear for our children and the elderly, especially so for our girls who would be utterly defenceless against such brutes and animals.

That is probably what made me instinctively caution the teenager not to put herself in any situation which increases the risk of such crimes happening to her. My fear is that some sex-crazed nut or desperado might just snatch and stuff her into a car while she is standing alone along the corridor. Such horrible crimes had happened before, in places like Johor Bahru, and the victims' lives were forever ruined and traumatised, if they did not end up dead. Better be safe than sorry, and that seems to be the motto we all live by these days.

48 years of independence, and 6 years into the new millenium but our quality of life is not getting any better, in terms of personal safety and sense of security. Almost all houses are barricaded with ugly metal grills and fenced up. We hardly ever see our kids out in the streets running around or bicycling freely in our neighbourhood. We walk with our hands gripped tightly around the straps of our handbags, eyes ever watchful for the suspicious looking fella who might turn out to be a snatch thief. When we arrive home at night, we look cautiously around us before we get out of our cars to unlock the gates. Is this what progress has brought us? That we have to pay such a high price for the seemingly affluent lifestyle that we enjoy now?

L seems to take my paranoid warnings in her stride, as if it were the most natural thing to hear from an adult. Unsurprisingly, she is very well aware of the dangers that lurk around our streets, thanks in no small part to the news that she read in the papers and also the constant reminders by her teachers and other elders of the real world out there, a world that could be dangerous and cruel and far removed from the secure little cocoon that she lives in. A not so pretty picture that mars our otherwise beautiful country.

Maybe we really need to take a re-look at the Safe City concept that was introduced 2 years ago but as is always the case, quietly died down after all the hoopla. But my guess is that this suggestion is only brought up because we have been horribly reminded of it by the tragic death of Chee. In all probability, no one will give a hoot after all the drama has died down and everyone will get on with their lives as best as they could, in the circumstances that we have found ourselves in now.

Until the next shocking case jolts us out of our slumber again, that is.



Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Same deck of cards

Some people are getting excited over the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle by our PM, maybe as early as next week.

I look at it this way. Just like a deck of common playing cards, no matter how hard you shuffle and reshuffle, you end up with essentially the same kind of pictures, maybe in a different position.

However, if you are imaginative enough to add in a deck of Tarot cards, you might just create a different kind of game altogether and that would certainly make it interesting, don't you think?

But my guess is Malaysian politics are akin to the common cards, and no amount of shuffling by our PM will get rid of the deadwoods and clowns that make up a majority of them.

No?? As someone said, I'd eat my words (and my shoes) if proven wrong!


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Selangor local authority officers "masih tak O.K."

Ah ... another interesting piece of news coming from the first developed state in Malaysia.

Bernama reported yesterday that Selangor's MB has proposed the setting up of a training centre in Selangor where officers from every local authority in the state must attend a compulsory 3-month training course to enhance their competency and efficiency as well as improve administrative skills. At the end of the course, they will be assessed by way of a special test and if they should be so unfortunate as to fail the test, they need to re-sit the course for another 3 months.

Hmm ... I'm curious as to why it is necessary to waste public funds on such an exercise. In the private sector, training of personnel is almost always conducted in-house because then the stuff they learn will be directly relevant to the kind of work they are tasked to undertake. No unnecessary man-hours will be lost while the training is going on in the course of carrying out their daily tasks.

Besides, would it not be more hands on to learn your job from your senior officer who is supposed to know what it is that the department wants out of you, rather than from a training officer who may not have an iota of an idea of how your specific department functions? I mean, surely not ALL departments in ALL local authorities have the same uniform kind of work mechanism. Other than the tea breaks, I mean.

One other thing that is curious to me is that all the local authorities in Selangor must be over-staffed to be able to afford sending their personnel on a 3-month course out of the office. And not to mention that while they attend such a course, they will continue to get paid out of taxpayers' money for zero productivity.

Also, Selangor must have ample surplus in their budget allocation because surely the next step is to spend money to fund the training centre as well as all the attendant expenses that go with it. Is all the money spent on such an exercise even necessary? Could it not have been better spent on projects that directly benefit the poor and needy, like sprucing up orphanages, old folks' homes, run-down schools, or even improving the state of public toilets in Selangor?

Something must be very wrong with the management of our local authorities if they cannot even handle the training of their own staff. Maybe the MB needs to look clearly at the source of the problem instead of taking the easy way out by throwing money around. And money is such a precious commodity during these difficult times when every single person on the street is struggling with inflation and increased costs of living brought on no less by a hike in everything from utility bills, assessments to interest rates on their existing loans. It seems almost obscene when taxpayers' monies are being wasted on unnecessary ventures.

Maybe it is a case of realizing too late that despite Selangor having been declared a developed state, the people who run the show in Selangor are still lagging behind and having a most undeveloped way of doing their jobs.

Or is it the other case of the state having reached developed status, can now afford to throw some money around and create some sort of activity to take the mundane existence out of the daily lives of its officers.

We throw our arms up at those "lawatan sambil belajar" trips that was such a favourite among local councils before it became politically sensitive. Now, I'm scratching my head at this latest compulsory "kursus" and I can bet you that at the end of this dubious exercise, nothing much changes at the local authorities and their way of dealing with the public.

Do you seriously think that a 3-month course can change a lifetime of bad manners and bad attitude? Give me a break!


Monday, January 16, 2006

Import permits for mobile phones?

Get this. The latest issue of The Edge Malaysia reported that M Dot Mobile Sdn Bhd (M.Mobile) has proposed to the govt to allow it to collaborate with Sirim Bhd to develop a Malaysian standard for imported phones. In essence, they want mobile phone distributors to apply (and pay a fee) for import permits.

How did this ingenious proposal came about? M.Mobile to-date has yet to sell a single mobile phone and had posted a net loss of RM550,000.00 for the five months ended November 2005, while its shareholders' fund stood at RM155,205.00. Enter second boarder Kosmo Technology Industrial Bhd, an auto parts manufacturer aspiring to create a local mobile phone maker to rival Nokia and Motorola with the acquisition of a 30% stake in M.Mobile for RM11 million.

And how does Kosmo propose to compete in this lucrative business where 5 million phones were sold in Malaysia last year (and none whatsoever by M.Mobile)? By going NEP lah!

Kosmo's rationale is that all the 5 million phones sold last year were imported, resulting in a capital outflow of at least RM2.5 billion. This excludes the rest brought in by unauthorised dealers, the so-called grey imports which are estimated to be about 40% of all phones sold locally. By imposing stricter rules on the import of mobile phones, Kosmo was hoping to get a decent slice of the market and at the same time, in the spirit of Malaysia Boleh, prevent such a huge outflow of money from taking place yearly. Gosh, even if it couldn't sell a single phone, it could make some quick bucks from the processing fee imposed on import permits. Assuming the fee is RM10, this will generate RM50 million annually (based on last year's mobile phone sales figure), assuming again that the money goes to M.Mobile, the gatekeeper of the Malaysian standard for mobile phones.

Of course, this is still peanuts compared to the kind of money those guys get from the Approved Permits for imported cars. This clever idea though should give some other businesses in similar desperate situations the cue to look for the right solution in overcoming their sorry state of affairs. If you can't compete on decent terms, what's stopping you from cornering the market by the almighty and favourite tool of trade in Malaysia?


Friday, January 13, 2006

All about Proton, nothing about A.P.

Today's news report in The Edge Financial Daily revealed that Volkswagen (VW) has scrapped plans to cooperate with Proton Holdings Bhd and sell VW brand cars for the local market. Its chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder made the announcement to investors gathered in Dearborn, Michigan, on Wednesday. Proton has so far kept mum on this latest development.

There has been so much trouble going on in Proton and with our ex-PM taking regular potshots (publicly) at the Board of Directors, it is no surprise to see the direction Proton is heading - south, and sliding further down at Bursa Malaysia. Is Proton in danger of turning into a pariah company?

On another matter, it seems that no one is interested in the A.P. issue anymore. That should be good news for Rafidah, who has been understandably lying very very low these days. And talk about politicians lying low, everyone from the BN seems to be doing their utmost best to keep their foot off their mouths lately, most noticeably from the regular troublemakers in Parliament. Even the publicity-seeking keris wielding Education Minister had kept mum on the issue of SJK(C) Sin Chung. Perhaps it has got something to do with the earlier hints by the PM of a possible cabinet reshuffle? Could that possibly have kept everyone shaking in their pants?

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Dr M. Bakri Musa's new book

I am a regular reader of Dr M. Bakri Musa's blog at and personally, I find there is always much to learn from his writings and musings. Thus, I am looking forward to the weekly serialization of his upcoming book entitled "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia" on his website. It will be very interesting to hear his views and proposals on a very controversial subject which had resisted countless attempts to save it from the inevitable self-destruction which we now painfully bear witness too, amidst continued denial by our Ministry of Education that we have a full-blown crisis in our education system.

You can also read his other books for free at his website, notably The Malay Dilemma Revisited and Seeing Malaysia My Way.


Not such a good start to 2006

We are hardly a week into the new year and already I am not too optimistic about the direction Malaysia is taking in handling its internal affairs, specifically issues pertaining to national unity.

First off is the cold water poured on the local media with the Internal Security Ministry issuing two show-cause letters to the China Press demanding an explanation to its report and erroneous identification of the victim of the ear-squat incident as a Chinese national. As a result of this and possibly because of the threat posed to the popular vernacular newspaper under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, its two top editors have since had their posts redesignated. Mr Chong Choong Nam, the editor-in-chief is now the personal assistant to the Nanyang group chairman while Mr Ng Siew Peng the executive editor-in-chief is now special projects manager.

This is a very strong message being sent out by our government underlining its intolerance towards journalists and editors who wish to exercise unbridled press freedom in this country without being mindful of the ruling party's sensitivities. I guess our newsmen can look forward to a pretty unexciting year, now that they have been nicely cowed into towing the official and acceptable line of responsible reporting in this country.

Issue number 2 that has got me upset is the bulldozing by Penang developer Motif Era Sdn Bhd on SJK(C) Sin Chung right in front of the teachers and pupils who had their lessons rudely interrupted yesterday morning only to witness with their own eyes the subsequent demolition of their school canteen and toilet. And this shameful incident happened in our Prime Minister's constituency.

Sheer decency, compassion and moral priorities for the good of our society have been abandoned in the interests of economic gains of the individual and corporate entity. In dismissing the school's application to stop the demolition, the Butterworth sessions court judge had inadvertently encouraged the ugly mindset of ruthless greed and selfishness overriding actions which could ultimately benefit society as a whole. The actions of those who have contributed to the destruction of a school for our kids is downright ugly. And all this ugliness is displayed for the whole country to see in the mere pursuit of a few quick ringgit.

This third ugly incident involved yet another demolition exercise on Wednesday, as reported in The Sun today. If not for the fact that this act reminded me of the Taliban government, it would have been laughable.

Consider this. It took a full force of 300 men from the police, General Operations Force, fire and rescue department, water board, TNB, Jasin district council and PWD officials to pull down a Chinese temple and destroy a 20m-long reclining Buddha statue located inside a privately-owned orchard. And these guys had to sneak in at dawn with 4 bulldozers and backhoes and 20 lorries, before taking 5 hours to complete the ugly job.

I'm sad because it shows that in this country you are not allowed to exercise religious freedom to carry out acts to fulfil your religious vows in your own private space and enclosure, even though you may be doing it without causing any obstruction or untoward inconvenience to your neighbours and the public.

Remember Ayah Pin? Can you identify what these two incidents have in common? No, its not the one where the whole government machinery came out in full force to show that they mean business and that they have the means to do their business.

These three separate incidents brought to my mind the lyrics to the current popular song on air, CRAZY by Simple Plan:-

Is everybody going crazy?
Is anybody going to save me?
Can anybody tell me what's going on, tell me what's going on,
If you open your eyes, you'll see something is wrong ...

Yes, I am wondering what is wrong with our society, our people and the way our lives are being governed by the ruling party. The above events does not augur well for all of us peaceful and civilised folks here in Malaysia, and coming so soon after the Moorthy case and the Islamic Family Law uproar, I am feeling troubled. And for this, I am giving the thumbs down to our Prime Minister and his concept of Islam Hadhari. I do not see how his version of the religion has done us any good at all. The actions we have seen thus far speak for themselves.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Are we serious about unity in Malaysia?

It is indeed a blessing that we have been able to slip quietly and uneventfully into the new year after all that had happened in 2005. The heavy rainfall that soaked KL and the Greater Klang Valley on the last day of 2005 is to me a wonderful expression from the heavens in sending off the not so pleasant year with a good wash-off and thorough clearing of the spirits and minds, hopefully in preparation of a better year ahead.

Scanning through the major English dailies yesterday, I find that there is a common thread of hope among the local folks and prominent personalities being interviewed. Almost everyone wished for Malaysians of all races to unite and help each other to overcome the resurgence of fear and uneasiness brought about by a perceived wider rift and distrust among us, such feelings intensified no less by thoughtless politicians and bureaucrats who do not seem to understand nor appreciate the fine line of sensitivity in matters which are universally important to the individual and society as a whole.

Take for instance the subject of religion. If you think your religion is the only one that matters and that you demand others to respect your beliefs and your right to practise and participate in rituals in accordance to your faith, would it not be logical to your sensible mind that you should also accord the same respect to other individuals who choose to believe and put their faith in a different religion from yours?

And if other different religions are willing to look for similarities within their faiths and work together to highlight common truths and goodness for the sake of humanity, what good will it do you to refuse to acknowledge the positive effect on national unity that can only come out of it but instead insist on a non-negotiable rule all the time?

No one can seriously ignore the fact that after 48 years of Merdeka, our country is actually veering towards uncertain horizons. So much damage has been wrought on our multi-racial and multi-religious society as a result of misguided policies being allowed to go out of hand for over 3 decades that it is now very hard to ignore, much less deny that we have a serious problem going on here in presumably peaceful Malaysia.

The young generation, specifically those below the age of 20 and those still cocooned in local universities and colleges, are all wrapped up in themselves and within their own race groups, not the least interested in what is going on in other communities, less so in trying to widen their circle of friends outside of their own race. How could that have happened, if not for the failure of our education system as well as that of misguided policies in not realizing the importance of a multi-racial component in every aspect of our lives, particularly in civil services where the people of all races comes most in contact with.

And what about the other important group of people, those who are parents of school-going kids? I suppose a large section of this group, those aged 40 and above, would have witnessed first-hand the transition from the vibrant spirit of muhibbah which they experienced during their school days in the early 1970s and 1980s to the sad reality of segregation they see as a part of their children's lives now.

If a survey were to be done on the population of students in Chinese and Indian vernacular schools in the 1970s as compared to the 1990s, I'm quite sure that there was a quantum leap many times over, after taking into account the ratio of population increase during that period. And how many of these parents were the product of national schools back in the 1970s? And how many of these parents actually enjoyed having friends and teachers from different race and backgrounds and then why are they turning their backs on the national school system now, making the choice of vernacular education for their own kids?

Is this all about race? Or is it more to do with inequality or the perception of it that strikes fear and insecurity among those who feel that they will be a victim of circumstances if they do not take control by plainly not putting themselves into a situation where they may easily be subjected to negative forces of the mighty majority.

Racial politics has always been and shall always be an unavoidable fact of life in Malaysia. Why? Because we have deep-rooted cultural links to our past just like all the other civilisations in this world, the Europeans, the Americans, the Africans, etc. Surely we do not demand that they too must discard their cultural roots so that we can all be a united "Earth" race.

And the other fact that makes race such an unavoidable issue in Malaysia is also because our race is predominantly defined by our religions as well. In general, when we talk of the Malays, we associate them with Islam, the Indians with Hinduism and the Chinese with Buddhism and Christianity. Okay, don't nitpick on this generalisation because I know Christianity is widely practised by the Indians and other races and that there are also many other religions of importance such as Sikhism, but to go into fine details would make me go off-topic and long-winded.

People, including politicians, often make the mistaken observation that racial politics as it has been played out like a long-drawn soap opera in Malaysia is the real reason behind the serious problem of disunity in our country. The concept of Bangsa Malaysia is of course, very attractive in that among other things, we no longer have to fill up forms where we have to mark out whether we are "Melayu, Cina, India atau lain-lain". But would that solve the growing divide, assuming that all other factors governing our country remain pretty much the same?

Racial politics need not necessarily be bad and evil in this country, if the politicians who run the respective parties are always mindful of the need to be sensitive to the feelings of all other communities, and to avoid being confrontational and hostile when demanding that the needs of their own community should be looked into by the government. It is politicians who practise ugly politics that put a bad name and bad taste to the term "racial" politics.

Perhaps it is time to look at the problem of racial politics in this country not so much as an ugly way of doing business by our ruling party but more as a problem of ugly politicians who, no matter what form of politics they take, will always secure their position by manipulating the sensitivities of their own communities for personal political and economic gains. Do we need these ugly politicians in our society? Why do we still tolerate them?

The other important factor that is causing much disunity among our people is also the over-emphasis on matters relating to the importance of religion in this country. Our government has unwisely allowed religion to be so elevated to such a high level of importance that it has now come to pass where it dictates much of our lives and society here in Malaysia.

We now witness, to our dismay, the steady erosion of constitutional rights to religious freedom in this country. The latest uproar over M. Moorthy's case is just one of many that makes us question the exact power Islamic laws and Syariah courts have over our lives, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and whether it is about justice or the exercise of religious might overriding all other powers, constitutional or otherwise.

Have we forgotten that bloody wars and battles have been fought for countless years in countless countries over matters related to differences in religious beliefs and religious righteousness? What are our people here in Malaysia thinking, knowing full well that we are made up of multi-religious citizens, playing the dangerous game of religious one-upmanship? Are we so arrogant to believe that we can continue to antagonize smaller communities without suffering dire consequences? Do some sections of our community truly think that when push comes to shove, that others will take it quietly, lying down?

I'm not hinting at the potential for bloodshed in this country among our people over arguments about religious rights and freedom. It can be equally devastating if we suffer economic repercussions from within and without the country due to perceived Taliban-like rule of law taking over the governing of our country and its people. And everyone, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, will suffer for it.

In his New Year's message, Tun Hanif Omar said, "We must not forget our national motto, emblazoned on our national crest, 'BERSATU TEGUH, BERCERAI ROBOH'. ... Racial ego and chauvinism should bow down to humanism." And DAP's secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's wish for 2006 is for: "A nationhood that is based on national unity and identity, not on race and religion...". Even the MIC president's message is worth repeating here, "The spirit of tolerance towards religion and culture of each race is important to ensure the nation's well-being and economic growth."

So, as we gear up for the challenges of 2006 and the future of our country and our children, are we equally prepared to look hard at the question that is facing us in trying to find the missing link that can help us mend the cracked and split trust and genuine sense of brotherhood among all the races that make up the unique country that is Malaysia?

How can we convince everyone, young and old, Malays and non-Malays, Muslims and non-Muslims that we must truly "BERSATU TEGUH" if we do not wish to end up "BERCERAI ROBOH"?

And, which is more dangerous and threatening to the fragile fabric of unity and peace in Malaysia: politics of race or politics of religion?

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