Saturday, August 29, 2009

Idris Jala:A minister reporting to a minister

There is nothing wrong with Najib's move to appoint Idris Jala as a Minister. Although, Idris probably is not the best CEO Malaysia Airlines ever had, he did fairly well. Despite his rather unexciting HR background, he made waves as a corporate leader. The likes of Tony Fernandes created tsunamis, but Idris Jala just needed to be impactful enough for the PM to stand up and take notice.

What people don't understand is why the Government needs another Minister to look at this thing called KPI. And why is this Minister answerable to another Minister, whose performance thus far has been far from impressive.

"The public is confused here," one of my regular correspondents from abroad pointed out. Najib needs to appoint more professionals to his Cabinet to help him realise the nation's Vision, but as the correspondence has it, "The execution of this strategy could have been better."

Thursday, August 27, 2009


In this open spate of verbal boxing between MCA president and Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat and Bintulu MP and BN Backbenchers Club chairman Tiong King Sing, Ong has alluded to the plan by a multiracial party from Sarawak to enter into the fray in West Malaysia.

Ong’s revelation must have alarmed more than a few MCA members. MCA has lost a great deal of electoral real estate to the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in the general election last year. A multi-racial party from Sarawak could serve as a sanctuary for disaffected leaders and members, thereby weakening the MCA even more.

This revelation was confirmed by Tiong himself the next day. A Sarawak party in Peninsular Malaysia would offer an alternative for BN supporters who are unhappy with existing component parties of the BN coalition, according to him.

How credible is this bizarre scheme to bring a Sarawak party to cross the South China Sea to West Malaysla.

Tiong is probably referring to his own party, the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP), of which he serves as treasurer. This is a splinter party that was formed in the aftermath of the de-registration of the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) in 2002. The party has four members of parliament and eight seats in the 71-seat Sarawak state assembly.

The SPDP is now in talks with another equally rural and equally Dayak-based party the Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) for a merger. The talks are not expected to yield concrete results any time soon because of internal politicking within both parties.

In the eyes of many members of the Dayak intellegentia, both the SPDP and the PRS with eight state seats are the tools used by Parti Persaka Bumiputra Sarawak (PBB) headed by the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to divide and rule the Sarawak Dayaks. PBB has 35 seats in the state assembly.

Tiong, a business tycoon who has been given the nickname “BN ATM”, has been known in Sarawak to be the man bankrolling the entire SPDP. In rural Sarawak, politics – especially during general elections – is a costly business beyond the reach of average Sarawakians. In the old days, SNAP used to depend heavily on another tycoon, James Wong Kim Min, for financial support. Ironically, Tiong was also said to have played a major role in the 'demise' of SNAP.

The Bintulu MP is also known to be interested in contesting the post of deputy president in the coming SPDP election in November, a position currently held by Peter Nyarok.

So far, not a single top leader from SPDP has openly given his support to Tiong over allegations that his company Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd has been involved in irregularities in the PKFZ scandal. None has come forth to lend credence to Tiong’s claim that the SPDP will attempt to make an entry into peninsular politics. It is the first time Sarawakians have heard of such an outlandish project.

But SPDP president William Mawan had since clarified that the party has no intention to go national and most of SPDP senior leaders are not in favour of Tiong's intention, some even telling him off. albeit behind his back.

Sarawak politicians within BN are usually quite low-keyed in their public statements. They also seem far more comfortable with political matters within the state territory of Sarawak. Their MPs do not speak out much in the Dewan Rakyat! It is hard to see how the SPDP leaders and members can operate in the very volatile contentious and often confrontational political atmosphere in Peninsular Malaysia.

SPDP is also hardly multiracial in substance. Tiong is their only Chinese wakil rakyat elected in the parliamentary constituency of Bintulu where there is an overwhelming Iban majority.

All things considered, the presence of a Sarawak political party in West Malaysia is hardly a viable proposition. It would be like asking a basketball team to go play football on a football field.


Sunday, August 23, 2009






*Yuran Pendaftaran: RM10 (Wajib)

• Bagi siswa-siswi Sarawak yang belum lagi mendaftar, anda DIWAJIBKAN mendaftar bagi memudahkan pihak BAKSAR mengetahui maklumat anda. Ia sangat penting untuk kebajikan anda semua dan juga memudahkan kami menghubungi anda sekiranya ada program atau isu-isu berkaitan anak-anak Sarawak.

• Selepas anda mendaftar, anda akan diberi kad keahlian BAKSAR dan pemegang kad ini akan menikmati pelbagai kemudahan sebagai keahlian.

• Setiap Program BAKSAR selepas ini akan dibuka kepada semua anak-anak Sarawak dan setiap program akan melibatkan semua tanpa pengecualian.

• Anda boleh membuat pendaftaran dengan menghubungi atau mengambil borang keahlian di:
1) Kolej Ungku Omar- Jacob Berayun ( 0198566890) & Emmanuel Stephen ( 0139422560)
2) Kolej Harun Aminurasshid- Jessica Betie ( 0195023685) StanleyEmparang(0134646214)
3) Kolej Zaaba- Fauzan ( 0194491923) & Norshida ( 0128585607)
4) Kolej Aminuddin Baki- Romero ( 0135620151) & Jemira ( 0135914311)
5) UKLK- Kenneth ( 0138477478) & Walter ( 0148983903) & Dickson Laga ( 0135914482)


1) Foyer Bitarasiswa
2) Bilik Persatuan ( Meja Persatuan Perpaduan)
3) Kaunter Kebajikan MPP UPSI ( Setiap Rabu)
4) Foyer KAB ( Malam)

Sebarang masalah hubungi terus:

Samuel- 0137117477


Samuel Sila Mathew Unjah
Setiausaha Agung BAKSAR “Together in BAKSAR”

Friday, August 21, 2009

Some unfinished business: Untangling the peoples of Malaysia

When Merdeka was granted half a century ago, we inherited a number of items of unfinished business, the most critical of which was the urgent necessity to create a united Malayan nation and, soon afterwards, a Malaysian nation.

The late Tom Harrison, the famous curator of the Sarawak Museum, described Malaysia as “a tangle of peoples” in an article published in the Malaysian Outlook, a small journal I edited in Australia in 1963, in a fit of patriotism. “Konfrontasi” was in full swing then, and, given the dangerously unpredictable and volatile behaviour of Bung Karno of Indonesia, our future as a nation was by no means assured.

Harrison was not thinking so much about the Malays, Chinese and Indians of the Malay peninsula, but rather the often forgotten peoples making up the many different tribal and ethnic groups with their many different customs, religious beliefs and languages inhabiting Sabah and Sarawak. Almost overnight, they found themselves the citizens of a new and, to them, somewhat vague political creation called Malaysia. The Kadazan Dusuns, Bajaus, Punans, Penans, Kayans, Muruts and various others, I fear, still remain very much outside our consciousness, even after more than four decades of Malaysia. Need I say more about this serious lapse of memory? What national unity are we talking about without them?

When the British government responsible for the administration of these two colonial territories decided to bring to an honourable and dignified end of their stewardship and allow the sun to set on these, the last remnants of their Eastern Empire, the newly-proclaimed state of Malaysia took on not only additional responsibilities for her new citizens, but also assumed a new character and identity. National unity with which we had been preoccupied all those years before and since Merdeka took on a new urgency.

Young Malays of my generation, growing up under colonial rule, saw Merdeka as a great opportunity to bring about change, with courage, compassion and wisdom, and rectify those aspects of colonialism that we had considered repugnant to our sense justice, pride and dignity.

Creating a truly united Malayan nation was the number one item on the national agenda, one that was inspired by Tunku Abdul Rahman’s exemplary personal example of inclusiveness in which race was nothing more than an accident in the larger scheme of things Malayan, and later, Malaysian. Tunku saw strength in diversity and did everything possible to drive home the need for all races to unite as one and to show their love and affection for the country of their birth. Those were the early days of independence when the Constitution absolutely guaranteed the citizens their rights. The people felt they belonged and had full confidence in the institutions of government which remained largely unsullied. The same cannot be said of many of our national institutions today.

Looking back now over the last 50 years, we have achieved a great deal in material terms, far more than the most bullish among us would have dared to imagine. If material progress were the only measure of success in creating unity out of diversity, then we could reasonably claim to have arrived. But, have we? Or are we just postponing the evil day by papering over the cracks and glossing over issues that divide us, while ignoring the legitimate concerns, demands and aspirations of our people for a rightful place in the Malaysian sun.

The time to rediscover and re-establish our sense of Malaysian-ness is now and this can best be done by allowing the people of each community, large and small, the freedom to retain their cultural practices, traditions and values, always recognising that with freedom there is a corresponding responsibility to contribute to national unity. In matters of culture and language, people can usually be relied upon to decide for themselves. All cultures must be treated as Malaysian, and celebrated as such. They must not be politicised.

We must, for a start, accept cultural diversity, in the fullest sense, as an article of faith. Merely tolerating the cultural traditions of the other races is simply not good enough anymore for a country that, after 50 years of independence, is still groping for that elusive Malaysian identity. Our aim should be to achieve smooth and seamless integration that will stand the test of time as an essential prelude to achieving the essence of Malaysian- ness, that state of being that defies definition or description, but captures our imagination as nothing else can.

The role of education in nation building and in bringing about social and economic change is not in dispute. We have seen what investment in education has done for thousands of our people, of all races, particularly the Malays who have, within one generation, completely transformed themselves in social and economic terms.

On the debit side, the thousands of unemployable young men and women have hampered efforts to develop and improve our human capital. Our decision to downgrade English more than three decades ago has completely rendered our young people ill-equipped for employment in the new knowledge-based industries. The more serious overall consequence of our policy of neglecting the most important international language makes Malaysia a much less competitive investment destination for the higher-end technologies that could help Malaysia to leapfrog up the knowledge and value chain.

The application of some aspects of the New Economic Policy has not helped in the process of human capital development because by our depriving many non-Bumiputeras of equal educational opportunities and by discriminating against them in public sector employment, there is still today an overwhelming sense of alienation and injustice. I have always subscribed to the view that you could only justify a policy of positive discrimination if it was implemented in strict observance of the aim and spirit of that policy which was, in this case, principally to alleviate the poverty that afflicted many millions of people of all races in our community.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. When it became evident that the spirit of this great social experiment was being violated blatantly to serve the interests of the few politically connected breed of self-proclaimed Melayu Baru instead of improving the lot of the disadvantaged, the NEP tragically lost its legitimacy. But I digress. The point I am making is that unfair policies whether social or political detract from our efforts to develop and enrich our human capital with the result that the essential spirit of common heritage and shared values, of being part of an important national initiative is lost in the politics of discrimination. There is no evidence to suggest that people will give of their best, make sacrifices, and be loyal to the country of their birth when they are made to feel, rightly or wrongly, that they are second-class citizens.

National unity must be predicated on equality of opportunity, justice and equity. Anything less is unsustainable. Fifty years of Merdeka still finds us groping in a tunnel of darkness for that elusive, overarching spiritual experience that defines the essence of “Malaysian-ness”.

It would be unfair to blame the government entirely for the present state of race relations in our country. It must, however, admit that it has not always been energetic and competent in dealing with problems that are largely associated with official policies that are seen as Malay-centric. Policies affecting education, language and culture tend to generate a highly-charged emotional response, and are always divisive. Change has to be managed with compassion and imagination.

A word about our international competitiveness. A stable political system is a prerequisite as is an efficient and incorruptible bureaucracy. We need to ensure a ready supply of trained and trainable human resources, hence the need for investment in developing our human capital. But above all else, we all need to operate in an ethical way, fight and reduce corrupt practices so as to be able to attract investments to sustain our national economic development. Corruption adds a cost to doing business, and it is in our interests to reduce it so that that we can improve our competitive position.

In summary, therefore, the future of Malaysia, given its racial and cultural complexity, depends on our ability to encourage and promote unity in diversity, focus on similarities and values that unite us rather than harping on differences that divide us. We have our work cut out for us as we seek to bring about a convergence of interests as a basis for developing mutual trust, and respect for diversity in all its manifestations.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Kepada ahli PERMAS dan BAKSAR, sekiranya saudara/i ada masalah bolehlah terus menghubungi saya di talian 0137117477 atau email
Anda boleh datang ke bilik Persatuan pada masa:
1) Selasa- 2.00 petang-4.30 petang
( Meja PERMAS)
2)Rabu- 1.00 ptg- 2.30 ptg( Kaunter MPP)
3.00 Ptg- 4.30 ptg
3)Khamis- 10.00-12.00 pagi (Meja PERMAS)
2.00-4.00 Ptg (Meja Perpaduan)
4) Jumaat- 10.00-12.00 ( Meja PERMAS)
*Sebarang masalah atau cadangan anda dialu-alukan. Jadi jangan malu untuk terus menghubungi saya atau barisan kepimpinan PERMAS dan BAKSAR yang lain..
"Mahasiswa Didahulukan, Kebajikan Diutamakan, Prestasi dipertingkatkan"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How NOT to measure ourselves

Quotes on money

Along side the Bible verses in the posting, instructive to note that Mao Zedung also said “to get rich is glorious”.

It has also been quoted that “Donald Trump doesn’t see money as the measure of a person. He pursues it not for want of it, nor to accumulate it, but merely as a unit of measure.To Trump, money is but a scorecard that tells him he has won and by how much”.

Dayak Earlier ways of measuring success

To the Dayak Iban - antu pala, tajaus, tawaks, tibangs (full of padi) bravery, courage, righteousness … used to be the measured of a man. Until RTM (see John Postil) successfully transform the Iban into commercial creatures with fervent longings for injin padi, injin moto aik, can food, bicycle … as pemansang. Of course, BN (un)wittingly feed the insatiable hunger for materialism at the expense of stunted or denied spiritual growth.

Bejalai / Belelang

Some adventurous Iban young man went on Bejalai to Indonesia to bring back wonderful material stuff -more tawaks, tajaus and basic electrical equipment, to bring back to the long house.

The measure of an Iban man’s worth, his dignity and pride, grew to be determined by his material acquisition. Thus the poor, long house folks envy the well to dos, and despise the poorer folks.

Dayak Ways of transcending Wealth - through knowledge

The Iban leadership, transition beautifully into the commercial world. It used to be the Tuai Rumah gains much respect among his anembiak for bountiful harvest, for knowledge of the Iban adat, and for bringing lots of meat from successful hunting.

Now - it is based on government handouts

In the new world, the Tuai Rumah, would pride himself for getting pemansang, to be shared among his anembiaks - from government, especially during election.

And so, as Mao Zedung said its best, to be rich is glorious. And Donald said - he is not obsessive about money, but he gets high from the action of getting money.

But Perhaps, as the posting and Money Changer said it between the lines: its not the prize (money) thats important - its the highs you get from working for it and the noble motivation for wanting it.

I would add as well, taking a cue from Donald, to remind ourselves not to measure ourselves or others by how much money they have, lest we lose our dignity, and sell our souls (or those of our anembiaks) for a few bottles of chap apek.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Flying Without Wing

Everybody’s looking for that something

One thing that makes it all complete

You’ll find it in the strangest places

Places you never knew it could be – Westlife

Occurrences over the last week or so have brought to mind the fragility of life, the frailty of the human condition and in particular the human body which, for most of us, is softer and more vulnerable than the ground it comes to rest on – when it hits, that is.

In the midst of life, and investigations, we are, indeed, in death.

DEATH - Terry Pratchett’s sombre character, dressed in robes and carrying his all-encompassing scythe awaits us all, and not just those in the Discworld either.

His, for we are assured by his chronicler that he is very much a male, is a public service of sorts, as DEATH collects us all, eventually, and no manner of flight can delay or prevent this.

Baring this in mind, there are, at the very least, two meanings to that oft-misunderstood word, “flight”. One is to flee, as in to scarper, slope off, to skedaddle, and to make yourself scarce, away from persecution and nice men in uniform who insist on having the pleasure of your company. The other is mimicking what birds do best.

It is odd, is it not, that over the years, so many foolhardy people have sought out the forces of government to teach them flight, in both senses, quite unsuccessfully for some, as it turns out.

Somewhere between 43 BC and 18 AD, Oublius Ovidius Naso (Ovid) wrote in his Metamorphoses, concerning Icarus and his dad Daedalus.

These two inventive, yet seemingly hapless, characters were two of the first recorded recruits to the local government (non) flying school. In this case it was the King Minos of Crete (non) flying school – all entrants guaranteed to crash, and Icarus did.

Seemingly Icarus, no doubt mentally humming the very latest popular ditty, did not listen to his dear old dad’s advice and flew too close to the sun. The bee’s wax holding his feathered wings together melted, and Icarus, devoid of other means to keep him aloft, plummeted to his fate. At least that was the official story leaked to the press, by King Minos’s publicity dept.

We are, therefore, according to the KMPB (King Minos Publicity Department), to believe that son Icarus launched himself voluntarily into the incredible blue of the Greek sky and plummeted to his demise, much in the manner of Monty Python’s inquisitive, yet suicidal, leaves.

No doubt, in the Middle Ages, when not looking for the Holy Grail, the infamous Spanish Inquisition, which nobody expects, assisted many ex-prisoners to fly, those that were not drowned by ‘ducking’ that is.

The twisted and mangled corpses heading to open graves attested to the failure of the yet-to-be-found secret of actual flying without wings.

Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain, were each, in their turn, pioneers of the secret of flying – down concrete steps – without wings. They became leading experts in the art of releasing prisoners, only for said prisoners to attempt what the birds do best, and discover the hardness of the ground and the softness of their own bodies.

Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China, too, were to add subtleties to this art, perfecting the alibis and the dialogues which excused them from the acts committed.

Many years later, in the 1970s, Steve Biko of South Africa – a hero in the fight against apartheid, enrolled voluntarily, so it is alleged, in the South African government’s very own (non) flying school.

He too, successfully, took a plunging flight down the security forces steps and winged his way to the next world and martyrdom.

So now it seems that forces closer to home have joined the hallowed ranks of agencies practising their very own (non) flying schools, teaching not just fleeing suspects, but also cooperative witnesses to fly, unsuccessfully, without wings, leaving grieving fianceƩs to ponder. You can learn a lot from history.

Elsewhere, in fumbling, bumbling Penang, the violence of gangs has erupted, causing chaos and mayhem – chiefly to themselves.

Intend upon beating up a martial arts coach, a gang of bullies and, as it turned out, idiots, became discontent with merely beating but felt that shots from firearms might give more credence to their cause.

While his mates were still laying into their victim with iron bars, sticks and parangs, beating him bloody and causing his girlfriend to run off in fear, one clever gangbanger whipped out a gun.

With a cavalier attitude towards another’s life, the gangbanger shot. He shot the coach in the pelvis, causing him later to be rushed to hospital. But not content with inflicting that injury, the gangbanger continued shooting until he had also gunned down two of his mates, brothers biologically and in gang patois.

Three further bullets the trigger-happy gang member pumped into his friends, enabling the police to catch them much easier. Such is the rule of violence.

Unleashed violence often consumes friends and foes alike, and, in time, also consumes the perpetrator whether he hides behind the corrupt mask of civil duty or excuses his actions by saying “I was told to do it”.

Trainers in the (non) flying schools, men, and it is frequently men, who breach the fragile peace with violence find that they have taken a step too far down the road towards the folly of fascism.

Did he fall or was he pushed? Did a young man enlist in the infamous (non) flying school, to depart this earth by flying without wings, leaving a grieving fianceƩ who thought their love gave them the only wings they would ever need.

Some find it in the face of their children

Some find it in their lover’s eyes

Who can deny the joy it brings

When you’ve found that special thing

You’re flying without wings.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sex involve in Ngayap

According to Padoch (1982:p92-3)

“The exact age of Iban at first sexual union is a topic difficult to explore, partially because of the usual reticence of women to discuss the subject, but mostly because of the impossibility of determining precise chronological ages. It is probable that among women in the Engkari region, courtship commences at about sixteen or seventeen years of age, while among men a somewhat later age, of eighteen or nineteen, is indicated. I have found no reason to assume that ages at which courtship begins in Bintulu are different. Whether there has been any change over time in the ages at which young Iban begin to court is uncertain. Several older women assured me that the age at first courting has declined, but there is no possible way of verifying this allegation”.

Gomes (1911)

“The mode of courtship among the Dyaks is peculiar. No courting goes on by day, but at night, when all is quiet, a young lover creeps to the side of the curtain of his lady-love, and awakes her. The girls sleep apart from their parents--sometimes in the same room, but more often in the loft. He presents her with a roll of sireh leaf, in which is wrapped the betel-nut ingredients the Dyaks love to chew. […] This nightly courtship is, in fact, the only way a man and woman can become acquainted with each other, for such a thing as privacy during the day is quite unknown in a Dyak house. If the girl be pleased with her lover, he remains with her until close upon daybreak, when he leaves with her some article as a pledge of his honour, such as a bead necklace, or ring, or a headkerchief, or anything else which he may have about him. This act of leaving some gift with the girl is considered as a betrothal between the two parties, and the man who refuses to marry the girl after doing so is considered guilty of breach of promise of marriage, and liable, according to Dyak law, to a fine”.

Komanyi (1973:p81-2): “An Iban girl may marry when she is fifteen or sixteen years old. Now, however, as educational opportunities improve, marriages tend to occur at a slightly later age, such as eighteen to twenty-two. A period of courtship, called ngajap , which is a uniquely Iban custom, precedes the betrothal”.


“The traditional Iban patterns of courtship (ngayap) , which involve nocturnal visiting of women by men, are a topic mentioned frequently by earlier writers (Roth 1896,I:109-11), among whom there is disagreement on the frequency or occurrence of sexual intercourse during the visiting. A more recent account of the practice (Beavitt 1967), and all informants I encountered, concurred that sexual relations take place often, although not always. It is reported that ngayap is now being replaced among someIban groups, particularly those converted to Christianity, by other forms of courtship not involving sexual union (Beavitt 1967:p409-10). However, the traditional form prevailed in all the communities that were studied during the period of field research”.

“... when a girl reaches maturity, and if there is a suitor, her parents will arrange for her to settle down. Normally, an Iban girl marries when she is seventeen years of age. When a girl attains her spinsterhood, her mother teaches her the ways employed to protect herself. She must be taught to behave and speak courteously to boys who court her at night. She is aware that it has been a tradition for a boy to court a girl. However, the question of getting her to offer herself to the boy depends very much on the girl herself, because he cannot force her to give consent unless they love each other through his kindness and winning ways. These are secretly explained to her by her mother. The mother also emphasises the methods in which her daughter can judge whether or not the boy is sincere enough to marry her”