Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Selangor Times - July 29-31 issue

Selangor Times July 29-31, 2011 / Issue 35To view page in full, please click first button, bottom left.

PSM6 released and given hero's welcome


Some 250 people gathered at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night to give a hero's welcome to the PSM 6 who were released after 28 days of detention under the Emergency Ordinance (EO).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It is heart warming

This video can certainly teach some of our leaders a little about compassion and love, though we may not come from the same stock. Towards the end of the video, you would probably end up saying, " Awwwwwww ......."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Violation of social visa? But Bourdon didn't have one


Prominent French human rights lawyer William Bourdon is baffled to learn that his deportation is attributed to a violation of his social visa.

According to him, he never had such a visa in the first place.

Home Minister Hishammudin Hussein yesterday said that Bourdon, 55, was deported last Friday because he violated his social visa by giving a speech in Penang and insisted that there was no hidden political agenda.

“I don’t know what the minister is talking about because I didn’t even have a social visa. So it is very strange that he is speaking of one,” Bourdon told FMT in an interview from Paris.

His fiancee, Lea Forrestier, confirmed this in a later text message and added that citizens of the European Union do not need a visa for travel into Malaysia.

She also said that the only documentation Bourdon had filled up was a small card on which he had clearly specified that he was in Malaysia for “professional purposes”.

“My personal interpretation is that there is political motivation behind my deportation. There was no basis for the decision. And this is a very sensitive case for Malaysia,” Bourdon said.

Bourdon had first arrived in Penang on July 21 to speak at his client’s dinner on the controversial Scorpene submarine deal between Malaysia and France.

His speech at the Ops Scorpene fundraising dinner in Bayan Baru had reached – and burnt – government ears, for the lawyer, who was scheduled to give a talk here and in Ipoh, was detained by immigration authorites and sent home the next day.

His client, Suaram, had hired Bourdon in 2009 to file a case against French naval giant DCNS over irregularities in the Scorpene deal that allegedly involved millions of ringgit in kickbacks.

The French authorities are currently probing the deal, which was also linked to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

[Source: FMT]


Well, Hishamuddin, what have you got to say for yourself? Trying to hoodwink the rakyat with more lies?


The debate between Wan Ahmad Wan Omar and Ambiga Sreenevasan




Election Commission (EC) deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar today faced a hostile crowd in a debate with Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.

NONEHe was booed a number of times, forcing him to plead with the audience to give him a hearing in the event organised by Kumpulan Karangkraf, a media organisation which publishes Malay language daily Sinar Harian and a score of popular magazines.

Wan Ahmad (left) also insisted that the EC is just a “management body” which does not have the enforcement powers to tackle the abuses raised by various quarters relating to the electoral system and processes.

He then kicked the ball to the Attorney-General's Chambers regarding amendments to the election laws, stressing that it is a natural advantage for the ruling government to decide on the laws to be passed and amended, and the EC has no say in this aspect.

“Anybody who wants to push reform which touches on the fundamental policy of the government must approach the right person.”

NONEThe moderator, Wan Saiful Wan Jan from think-tank Ideas, then asked whether Wan Ahmad is suggesting that the problem lies with the government and not the EC, followed by a round of cheering and applause from the audience.

Not answering the question specifically, Wan Ahmad replied that the current government, elected by a majority of the people, certainly have a stronger say in law amendment.

“If you are elected, you will do the same thing,” he answered to another round of boos.

“To push for reform, we need to work together, don't treat the EC as an enemy.”

'Don't treat the EC as an enemy'

NONEIn response, Ambiga (right) rebutted that it was the EC that had adopted a hostile stand against the electoral reform coalition.

“I think you treat us as an enemy... It is wrong to say that 'we won't talk to you because the opposition is with you'... You sound like the government,” she said to the applause of the crowd.

She also lambasted the EC, which she claimed has been given a certain degree of enforcement power under the federal constitution, for not taking pro-active action in changing the laws.

Annoyed by the constant interruption from the floor, Wan Ahmad criticised them for refusing to open up their mind, being irrational, ignorant about election laws and even “sitting under the coconut shell”.

The audience responded by shouting “no power” almost every time Wan Ahmad spoke.

The irritated EC deputy chairperson then said "BN did not hentam(attack) the EC", inviting another round of boos and sneers.

"How are political parties namely PAS, PKR and DAP different from BN coalition parties? The difference is in their approach. BN also criticises us like you do but not in the media.

"They discuss rationally but you use the media to stab us. The EC cannot just keep quiet," he responded, sparking an uproar within the floor.

NONE

Wan Saiful (right), who commented that Wan Ahmad's "partisan language" had agitated the audience, had to repeatedly call for calm, but it was in vain.

“Let's stop the heckling,” he said, adding that the situation was turning into a rowdy “primary school” classroom.

However, Ambiga, at one point, commended Wan Ahmad's courage to face the critics.

“Wan Ahmad is a brave man sitting here. The whole EC should be here to back him but they only sent him,” she said, prompting the audience to give a round of applause to the EC's number two.

When quizzed that many people do not see EC as a credible institution, Wan Ahmad argued that the view is just limited to the audience in the forum but the majority of the people still trust the commission.

Ambiga herself, however, faced questions levelled at her over the rally on July 9 which took place, with at least two members of the audience demanding whether she would continue with her "confrontational" methods.

One challenged Ambiga "from lawyer to lawyer" on her leadership role on July and whether she would organise more "illegal rallies".

A third questioned the Bersih 2.0 chief over the prominent space taken up by opposition party leaders in her civil society-led coalition.

NONEThe three-hour panel discussion, 'What's next after July 9?', also saw the participation of UKM professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin (left).

During the forum, a commotion broke out when a Malay lawyer, while criticising Bersih 2.0's decision to call an illegal rally, made a remark that “the Malays have accepted the Chinese and Indians as citizens”.

The remark angered a few Indians who stood up and shouted at the lawyer. However, the situation calmed down soon after the ushers interfered.

Forum ends early on order of 'higher authority'

The organiser ended the forum 15 minutes earlier than planned, saying that it was due to the order of a “higher authority”.

banner outside karangkraf building ambiga debate EC wan ahmad bersihMany speculated that the order came from the police, who had been monitoring the forum, but the organiser later clarified that it was due to praying time and the “higher authority” referred to was God.

Before the commencement of the forum, police were guarding the entrance and banners that read "T-shirts with Bersih and Patriot logos are prohibited" were put up.

[Source: Mkini]

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Najib gets his comeuppance: Netizens tell him to "Diam lah" or Shaddup

Embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak is like the boy who cried wolf. For too many times, he has relied on fine-sounding words to win the hearts of Malaysians even as he did the very opposite to what he preached in reality.

A good example is his recent trip to the Vatican, where he again trotted out his call for religious moderation and peace, but the moment he landed in he resorted to racial and religious bigorty to cosy up to his Malay electorate.

But if the 58-year old Najib thought that whatever ill-feeling he created amongst the Christians by unnecessarily warning them, 'Respect Islam , and we'll respect you' would be more than compensated the cheers he received from the Malays, he may be underestimating the fair-mindedness of his own people.

A new Diam Lar! page

Netizens of all races did not hesitate to show their frustration by going into his Facebook wall and posting the comment "Diam lah", which is Malay for "Shaddup".

According to Malaysiakini,, the first Shaddup posting came around midnight after Najib's page administrators published his reflections on leadership and peace in the country.

It sparked a wave of followers as other fed-up Malaysians began to tell the PM to shut up all over his Facebook wall. Some were so vehement they even used large-sized fonts to express their emotions.

As usual, that prompted an online war with pro-Najib netizens retaliating against the Pakatan Rakyat, led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim. However, their responses fell far short of the Shaddup Najib group. A 'Diam lar!' page has since been set up, and as at 8.18 pm already has 7,626 likes. Given Najib's current unpopularity, this looks a real winner of a page!

Okay, Guys, let's give Najib some good scores, eh?

Monday, July 25, 2011

I was there - Scuba Gal

I’m as ordinary as it gets. I live in a decent-sized condo, in a fairly popular middle-upper class neighbourhood. I married my husband in my early 30s. I’ve got a decent job in a well-regarded private corporation, where I’m middle management.

No children just yet but we’re trying for the average number of two. On the weekends, we do what most Malaysians in our circumstances might do — head to the cinema, have a meal at one of KL’s many malls, catch up with family and friends.

Recently, I had to answer a little profile write-up for work. When asked “what’s your biggest achievement?”, I could think of nothing I’d done so far that qualified. Yes, I’m that ordinary.

This ordinary Malaysian grew up in a normal household. My father was a university lecturer, my mother a secondary school teacher. We weren’t poor, nor were we rich.

Luckily for me, my parents watched their money and saved enough to send me to a good university in the US. They were also fairly staunch Opposition supporters and I grew up apathetic about our government.

I came back after several years away to take care of a sick father. He passed on, I ended up staying. Though I disliked how there was increasing affirmative action for the majority race, it didn’t affect me enough to leave. I got a pretty good job, and my life was comfortable. I made sure I kept myself minimally informed of politics and the development of our country because it made no difference to me and would only upset my even keel.

Several years ago, just before the 2008 political tsunami, things began to change. I felt more and more upset as I saw my younger sister — top scorer, award-winning athlete, board of prefects, captain of her house — being passed over again and again for any sort of educational aid, because we weren’t the right race. And it got worse. Church burnings, the cow head incident, being told that as a Christian I couldn’t use the word “Allah.”

I got more and more angry. And I wanted to talk about it. But I was told by all the powers that be that it wasn’t in our culture to voice dissent or question any “sensitive” issue. In this multi-cultural nation, it’s amazing that we can claim there’s a single type of culture – aren’t our differences in culture and way of life precisely what we sell to the tourists?

But I was still angry, so I’d complain, although only to family members or friends who I knew for a fact had the same opinions as me. Like many Malaysians, I complained about everything – the rise in crime, the lowering education standards, the racist statements of some quarters in government, the inability of the Opposition leaders to see eye-to-eye. I complained all the time. But I didn’t do anything about it. Just like most people. After all, what could I do? It would be too much effort anyway.

And then Bersih 2.0 came along, and I suddenly felt this need to take action. I knew this was the moment to do more than just complain. So I decided I wanted to be a part of it. Was I worried? Heck, yeah! Even up to the morning of July 9th, a part of me was hoping the rally would be cancelled or that my mum would be worried enough by our government’s intimidation tactics to ask me not to go.

Neither happened. With a small group of friends (two Eurasians, one Chinese, two Indians, a Muslim East Malaysian – yes, we were “1 Malaysia”!), we braved the police at our first LRT stop at Taman Bahagia, then at KL Sentral, and at the entrance to Stadium Merdeka, at Dataran Maybank, and finally at Pudu. We faced a stand-off where we were fired at in the compound of Tung Shin hospital (yes, our Health Minister and top cop are both blatant liars). We were trapped by FRU trucks on both ends of the street but finally found a side alley to escape to.

I was terrified throughout the ordeal, knowing and seeing first-hand how our police cared little for the safety of the peaceful, innocent supporters. But it was worth it. Because for the first time in my life, I felt like a real Malaysian. For the first time in my life, I felt united with my fellow citizens regardless of race, religion, age, gender or where we came from. For the first time in my life, I felt I was part of something bigger.

For the first time in my life, I could finally answer the question of what my biggest achievement was: it was to be united with tens of thousands of men and women, in spite of our physical differences, because we held a common belief.

Was it a life-changing experience? It certainly was. Will it be enough to bring about the changes in elections and in the way things are run that we want? I can’t say for sure. But I do know that this ordinary Malaysian is humbled by the many other ordinary Malaysians who believe in something better. And who will stand up for our rights no matter the potential price, but always in a peaceful manner.

I’ve never been prouder to be simply Malaysian.

Why Najib must go

The rakyat is angry with all politicians, not just BN or the opposition.

We have had 54 years of Umno/BN rule and have things really got any better? The rich appear to get richer, whilst the numbers who make up the poor, are increasing.

The old class system was royalty versus the serfs. Then it was the colonialists against the Malayans. Now it looks like it is the Umnoputras versus the rest.

The Umnoputras are the new elite. Even royalty depends on the largesse of those who lead Umno/BN to get funding from the civil list.

When it suits them, BN will use emotional blackmail on the Malays to say that their heartland and their birthright is being threatened.

The British left us with a country that had enormous potential. Malaya had an abundance of wealth, from tin to timber, minerals to mining.

Singapore was only a trading port for all of Malaya's riches. Look at Singapore now.

Malaya was rich in natural resources and it was these riches that helped fund the British war effort in the First World War. However, one untapped resource then as it is now, are its people - the Malaysians - Orang Asli, Malays, Chinese, Indians, the East Malaysians, Eurasians and all the rest.

Over the years, all these people contributed towards the success that we now see in the country. It is not BN or Umno or the Opposition who are responsible. It is the hard work and fortitude of those Malaysians who love their country.

NONEHowever, the Umnoputras are the new royalty and they are siphoning away riches that should be shared with the rest of the rakyat. They take but they never give. They forget that all Malaysians deserve the same considerations and protections as other individuals working in the country.

Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak (right) was not elected to the post. He leads the country by default. He has shown very little ability to govern or to engage with the rakyat.

He only pays lip service to his speech to delegates of the 65th United Nations General Assembly; he said that extremists should not be allowed. At home, Malay extremists were permitted to express their insensitive racist and religious views without being punished.

Tighten belts

His administration tells us to tighten our belts but it appears he does not have to heed his own advice. He freely uses taxpayers' money on his personal comfort. How does he have the gall to spend RM63 million on renovations on Seri Perdana when some people do not have a decent roof over their heads?

Taxpayers' money is also used to fund his expenses abroad. One trip to the US was combined with his daughter's graduation ceremony. Another trip to Kazakhstan with a large entourage of officials coincided with his daughter's engagement ceremony. Quite a few regarded it as morally wrong.

rosmah new york times first lady 150610When Najib's wife, the self-styled "First Lady", appeared in the New York Times centre-fold, the rakyat was irked further when it was alleged that US$4 million had been spent on this self-publicity drive.

Perhaps Najib is not at all bothered about emptying the public purse. In comparison, if we owed a government department one ringgit, we would be hounded like criminals.

Najib and his administration are devoid of morality. He need not go on about the opposition and their spending when people who have been found practising money politics to head government institutions.

How can he claim that other Muslim nations should follow Malaysia's lead, because Malaysia's system of governance is based on moderate Islam and has worked?

What about corruption, the abuse of power, the use of racial or religious sentiments to divide the public and the lack of credibility of the country's institutions?

Why can Najib not make decisions which will lead to monumental improvements in democracy in Malaysia?

Instead he wants to build monuments to his vanity like the proposed 100-storey Warisan Merdeka. These are mere phallic symbols for Umno/BN.

Intolerance increasing

In Najib's Malaysia, levels of aggression and intolerance by some Malays towards non-Malays or non-Muslims have increased. Malays who make racial and religious slurs go unchecked, despite Najib's promises to eradicate extremism.

Bersih, which called for free and fair elections, has been outlawed by Najib. Is he not interested in clean elections? Does he not wish to prove that Umno has won every election by fair means? Why is he afraid of free and fair elections?

Why is he afraid of allowing international observers to oversee the elections? Surely, international observers would scotch all of the opposition's claims that Umno tampers with the election results.

On the other hand, the recent deportation of French lawyer, William Bourdon, can only mean one thing. There is something to hide.

azlanBourdon, who is representing local NGO Suaram, believes that details of beneficiaries and kickbacks from theRM7.3 billion Scorpene submarine deal will be revealed when the matter is raised in an ongoing French corruption trial against defence giant DCNS.

If all is above board the parties involved would surely want to clear their name. Or even prove that the Scorpene scandal has nothing to do with them.

The shame is that other Umno/BN members are aware of the truth and that Najib is an incapable leader. However, these people are not willing to help the country because they only want to save themselves. Perhaps, they are themselves implicated or maybe they fear for their own safety.

But we, the rakyat, are telling Najib that it is time he went.

If he is still unconvinced that he is not the man for the job (of leading the country), he should have known by now, that being PM is a poisoned chalice.

[Source: Mariam Mokhtar]

The Penang Chief Minister

Such actions would be construed as unbecoming of any BN ministers, unless its a by-election .... or they may even kiss your feet or promise you the moon !

But not so with this guy here ...... ... no big fuss lah. Having a meal in public wearing a simple T-shirt, no aides and no body guards.

Taib Mahmud would not have a breakfast with ordinary folks like this Penang CM.

Taib or Najib wouldn't drink at a regular coffee shop like this.

You wouldn't see Taib sharing the back seat of car with somebody else like this.

Monday Humour - Ooops!!

















Sunday, July 24, 2011

AirAsia Moves Corporate HQ from KL to Jakarta

Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia speaks during a joint company press conference with AirAsia in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday. AirAsia has chosen Jakarta to be its regional headquarters in an effort to be seen as a Southeast Asian airline rather than just a Malaysian one. (EPA Photo/Everett Kennedy Brown)

Putting regional office in Indonesia is a blow for Prime Minister Najib.

With all the troubles he has had over the last two months, the confirmation Friday that AirAsia, arguably Malaysia’s most vibrant private company, is moving its headquarters out of the country to Indonesia is one more blow.

Tony Fernandes, AirAsia’s group chief executive, confirmed the decision in Tokyo Thursday, saying the move is an effort to upgrade his company’s image as a regional Southeast Asian airline rather than just a Malaysian carrier.

“I don't know whether Najib has been told or not,” said a business associate of Fernandes in Kuala Lumpur. “But why should Tony care? There are solid business reasons for moving to Jakarta.”

Najib has been on a whirlwind trip to foreign capitals to try and mend the country’s image in the wake of a violent police crackdown on peaceful marchers seeking to present a petition to the country’s king on July 9, asking for election reform. In a throwback to the 1980s, Malaysian censors blacked out details of a report about the march carried in The Economist.

That was followed on July 23 with the results of a royal commission of inquiry that concluded that a young aide to an opposition politician had been hounded so badly during a marathon interrogation over office spending that he threw himself out of a window and killed himself.

Then on Friday, immigration officials took William Bourdon, the leader of a team seeking to ferret out the details of a massive scandal involving defense procurement, off a plane in Kuala Lumpur, held him for several hours and ordered him deported via a flight back to Paris.

Fernandes characterized the move of the headquarters as a simple business decision to take advantage of Indonesia’s vastly larger economy and population, which is nearly 10 times that of Malaysia’s, although Malaysian annual per-capita gross domestic product of US$14,700 by purchasing power parity is much higher currently than Indonesia’s at US$4,200. The size of the country, however, meant that the Indonesian economy was estimated by the CIA Factbook for 2010 at US$1.03 trillion against Malaysia’s US$414.4 billion.

AirAsia’s decision to move the headquarters is a serious negative propaganda blow for Najib’s 1Malaysia Plan, an intensive effort to lure foreign direct investment to Malaysia. In September 2010, the Malaysian government announced ambitious plans to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment in an effort to move the country out of the so-called middle income trap, and double per capita income to push Malaysia into the ranks of developed nations by 2020.

AirAsia may well be the only Malaysian company besides the state-owned energy giant Petronas to have made an international impact – and Petronas does it by advertising intensively during Formula 1 races and by sponsoring a car – which Fernandes does as well. Launched in 2002 as a regional no-frills carrier with just two planes, AirAsia now flies 93 planes all over Asia. In addition, a long-haul service, AirAsia X, flies to Europe, Japan and Korea. The company earlier ordered 300 Airbus A320neos.to expand its routes across Asia and beyond.

It isn’t just the publicity damage. In the past 10 years, according to a report by the news agency Reuters, private companies invested just RM535 billion (US$172.4 billion), according to official data. Malaysia’s private investment rate of about 10 percent of GDP is among the lowest in Asia and a third of what it was before the 1998 Asian financial crisis. The government, according to Reuters, contributes around half the investment in Malaysia.

In addition, Malaysia has long been plagued by capital flight, which has been generally regarded as an indication of lack of faith in the country on the part of its businessmen, although in Malaysia’s case the bulk may well be from stolen timber leaving the country from Sarawak and Sabah. Nonetheless, the US-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity estimated in a 2010 report that as much as RM888 billion (US$298.3 billion at current exchange rates) had left the country between 2000 and 2008. Illicit financial flows generally involve the transfer of money earned through illegal activities such as corruption, transactions involving contraband goods, criminal activities and efforts to shelter wealth from tax authorities.

AirAsia said the move is a bid to take advantage of access to the Asean secretariat, which is based in Jakarta, in advance of an open skies agreement expected to go into effect in 2015 and which is designed to lower barriers for air travel between the region’s capitals.

Asked why he chose to move the fast-growing airline’s principal corporate base to Jakarta from Kuala Lumpur, Fernandes said: “Asean is based in Jakarta, and Indonesia will be the largest economy in Asean in times to come … And I like it there” – enough, he said, to have impelled him to have already bought a home in Jakarta.

The Indonesia National Air Carriers Association forecasts passenger growth at 10 percent to 15 percent this year. Indonesia’s Central Statistics Agency reported that domestic air traffic grew 22 percent to 53.4 million passengers in 2010 on growing demand from the middle class for domestic flights. That is higher than the 9 percent average increase recorded by Asia-Pacific carriers, according to data from the International Air Transport Association.

“Indonesia is among very few countries that managed to record strong growth in air traffic last year,” said an analyst quoted by the Jakarta Globe. “The lack of available airlines compared to population and geographic conditions is only a sign that there’s a lot of opportunity here.”

[Source: Asia Sentinel]

This is bad, real bad news for Najib. Not only are the FDIs dwindling, our own people are now relocating their operations overseas. It is even a mistake to think that Tony Fernandes is the only one with such a plan. Many more local companies have since relocated their operations, especially to China, and many more are in the pipeline of moving out. So what gives? I guess even with all the spin given by UMNO telling foreign investors what a wonderful place Malaysia is to invest their business here, it is apparent nobody seems to be buying it. Could Tony's decision to move their corporate HQ to Jakarta confirm what investors have been thinking all along? Your guess is as good as mine.

In Malaysia, When in Doubt, Blame the Jews

By Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Huffington Post

It's time for Malaysian leaders to grow up. Relying on big-lie Jewish conspiracies is no substitute for honest and transparent governance.

On July 9, 20,000 Malaysians gathered in Kuala Lumpur to demand more transparency in electoral laws in connection with next year's national elections.

Police unleashed tear gas and chemical-laced water on the demonstrators and temporarily detained nearly 1,700 of them. According to reports, authorities also detained six opposition activists without trial and accused them of trying to use the rally to spread communism. Police said they found T-shirts and other materials linked to communist figures.

Apparently, these measures didn't suffice for some of Malaysia's nervous ruling elite. The editors of Utusan Malaysia, owned by Prime Minister Najib Razak's United Malays National Organization ruling party (UMNO), defaulted to a time-tested maneuver: When in doubt, blame the Jews!

The Jews? Most citizens of the overwhelmingly Asian economic giant have never and will likely never meet a Jew in their lifetime. And yet the folks at Utusan Malaysia, which is influential among Muslims in rural areas who rely on government-linked media to shape their worldview, are apparently confident warnings about a "Jewish plot" would resonate in a land without Jews.

To understand why, you need only look at the track record of the man who dominated his nation for a quarter of a century, Malaysia's fourth prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir was credited with engineering Malaysia's rapid modernization and spectacular economic growth. He was a dominant political figure, winning five consecutive general elections. He also used his political clout and controversial laws to detain activists and political opponents.

And Mahathir is an anti-Semite.

Back in 1970, in his treatise on Malay identity, "The Malay Dilemma," he wrote: "The Jews are not only hooked-nosed ... but understand money instinctively. ... Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them the economic control of Europe and provoked antisemitism which waxed and waned throughout Europe through the ages."

In August 1984, a visit by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra was canceled when his Information Minister demanded that music by composer Ernst Bloch be deleted from the program. His crime? He was a Jew and the selection chosen was based on Hebrew melodies.

In 1986, Mahathir charged "Zionists" and Jews with attempting to destabilize the country through allegedly Jewish-controlled media. He subsequently banned The Asia Wall Street Journal for three months describing the publication as "Jewish owned." In the 1990s, Mahathir used the Malaysian news agency, Bernama, to accuse Australian Jewry of conspiring to topple him.

Mahathir, who made Islam a central component of Malaysian identity, made this chilling charge in 1997: "We are Moslems, and the Jews are not happy to see Moslems progress."

Perhaps that would help explain the resounding ovation which greeted his screed at a Islamic Leadership Conference in 2003: "The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million ... but today, the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."

And just last year the elder statesman of anti-Semites said this at a conference: "Jews had always been a problem in European countries. They had been confined in ghettos and periodically massacred. But they still remained and still thrived and held whole governments to ransom. ... Even after their massacre by the Nazis in Germany, they survived to be a source of even greater problems to the world."

All this may help explain why Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and the infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are on prominent display at the Malaysian capital's International Airport.

But there are some signs that in 2011 not everyone is drinking Mahathir's toxic Kool-Aid. Maria Chin Abdullah, one of the organizers of the mass rally that sought to prevent electoral fraud, charged that Utusan Malaysia's warning of an alleged Jewish conspiracy was "nonsense that is being spread in very bad taste," adding, "To rely on this claim of Jewish support is to insult the people's good intentions of seeking important reforms."

Perhaps Kuala Lumpur hasn't paid much attention to the Arab Spring. Maybe its time they did, especially since it was inspired by Muslims demanding more freedom and democracy. It isn't world Jewry that is driving members of minorities to the streets of Kuala Lumpur, but the failure of a democratic government to provide equal rights and opportunities to all their citizens. It's time for Malaysian leaders to grow up. Relying on big-lie Jewish conspiracies is no substitute for honest and transparent governance.

I was there - Sin See Ho

We headed to Petaling Street using the road in front of Stadium Negara. The streets were eerily quiet. Gosh, don't tell me no one is coming. There were four of us, but we walked in pairs.

bersih rally petaling street 090711Were we the only gung-ho ones? Gary and Keng Yew were in front, 50 metres away.

Then they were stopped by officers in jackets. Gosh, they were stopped sooner than expected. Okay, we had to turn back now.

We quickly made a phone call to Gary. Phew, they were only officers from the Bar Council.

We continued walking, and lo and behold, there was a crowd of hundreds of people already gathering at Petaling Street, chanting away.

My spirits were lifted up. There are people! Oh my, where do they come from?

Excerpts from Maybank experience

At the side stairs, we heard, "Oi, Mr Maniam... Bersih... Bersih!" A Chinese gentleman was presumably shouting to his friend who was 20 feet away.

Then all of us joined in the chorus. "Bersih! Bersih! Hidup Bersih! Hidup Rakyat!"

I saw Malays, Indians and Chinese in unison shouting in accord and strangers flashing smiles at one another. This was a priceless moment.

Suddenly, tear gas was released into the air. The moment I dreaded most was happening. We ran to the back of Maybank. People started climbing the steel fence to escape.

Some men were very helpful, lending a hand to the women. My husband said: "Climb now, dear."

I didn't think I could do it as the fence was pretty sharp at the top and my eyes were in pain.

riot police firing tear gas in bersih rally bigWe ran further and found a lower barricade.

Then I saw an elderly Malay couple in their late 60s. Oh my, what are they doing here?

"Makcik, boleh tak?"

Through chaos and inflicted with tear gas, the young ones still had the conscience to do the right thing, which was to help the Pakcik and Makcik cross over first.

The police were behind us and we ran with all our might. We ran into an alley, thinking to stay away from the main road, but it led to a dead end.

About 40 of us were looking at each other and panic was written all over our faces. We had to turn back. My heart dropped. We would be arrested for sure. Was there another option? No. And so we ran, and I prayed. Was I in a Jason Bourne movie?

Excerpts from Tung Shin Hospital experience

Tear gas was released into the compound of Tung Shin Hospital. We fled to the back of the building where we managed to find a door and went inside the hospital. We were trapped as the FRU had cornered us.

While waiting, we chatted with our other compatriots.

"We are really not trained for this!"

"Of course not!"

"Are you in any political party?

"No!"

"Is running and hiding away your day job?"

"No!"

It dawned on me then what conviction could do to a person. A greater element was at work here. These were the ones that had not allowed fear to have the final say. With arrest imminent, the test of what we believed in had just begun.

bersih rally 090711 police shooting into tung shin hospitalPolice then came into the compound and made some random arrests. I stood and watched, helpless. I spoke to an elderly Chinese couple.

I asked them, "Uncle, auntie, what are you guys doing here? You really shouldn't be here."

Another guy chipped in, "Yes, I won't allow my parents to be here and I dare not tell them that I'm here too."

The elderly lady said, "We are doing this for our children, since we are old. If we die, die-lah. At least we are doing something for Malaysia."

She later she turned to her husband and added, "Darling, I think this is the best honeymoon we ever had!"

I gave a side-way look to my husband - Sorry, don't expect that from me!

SIN SEE HO owns a recruitment agency and an online job portal. He is not affiliated with any political party and loves Malaysia because it's the only home he knows.