In our Selected Exhortations category, we republish interesting stuff such as must-read articles and essays not originally written exclusively for the blawg, and which have come to our attention. Please feel free to email [email protected] if you would like to reproduce your writing, but first follow our Writer’s Guide here. This article was previously published in the original REFSA Rojak issue here.

Foong Li Mei brings to you another edition of REFSA Rojak, a weekly take on the goings-on in Malaysia by Research for Social Advancement.

REFSA Rojak – “trawl the newsflow, cut to the core and focus on the really pertinent. Full of flavour, lots of crunch, this is the concise snapshot to help Malaysians keep abreast of the issues of the day.”



Empty promises

Who wouldn’t get riled up when promises are not kept? In Sarawak, five hundred native landowners are crying foul. They alleged they have been cheated by Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and Pelita (Land Custody Development Authority).  Pelita initiated four joint-venture projects in 1996 under the auspices of  Taib, promising the landowners dividends after 4 years. But until today there has been zilch. Now the landowners are planning to sue. Nobody likes being cheated, especially not when on home ground.

In an ironic twist, Pelita’s company in Dijih is suing the landowners. Apparently the  landowners harvested oil palm fruits when the promised dividends were not forthcoming.

Certain Malaysians not welcome here

Over in Sabah, a problem of a different nature is simmering.  President of Malaysian Civil Liberty’s Movement (MCLM), Haris Ibrahim, was unceremoniously ejected from the state upon arrival. Immigration has refused him entry; no explicit reason was disclosed. High-handed, yes? Apparently this was on Chief Minister Musa Aman’s orders. Haris was there at the invitation of SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party) to ‘promote good governance and civil society.’ According to SAPP lawyer Peter Marajin, Haris’ presence appears threatening and Musa is paranoid and afraid of being exposed.

Will Harris, like the Sarawakian landowners, sue the Sabah government for this perverse treatment?

Some states are apparently off-limits to certain Malaysians.  Here’s an idea – perhaps immigration can come out with a list on where we are or are not welcome? This will save everyone a lot of trouble.

Day of reckoning soon?

2012 will soon be here, and the new year signals an impending 13th general election.  This postulation is not unfounded though it is possible the election would be in the middle of 2012. Political parties on both sides of the divide are insinuating its likelihood and names of candidates are being bandied about. Who are the ‘winnable’ candidates in BN? And who are the right contenders in the Opposition? Everyone’s tight-lipped on this at the moment. Seemingly potential candidates are suddenly claiming undivided loyalty to their parties, and everyone sees himself as the right contender.

Who is more racist?

In the run-up to the general election and PM Najib’s extrapolation of 1 Malaysia during the recent UMNO general assembly, DAP parliamentarian, Lim Kit Siang has accused UMNO leaders of playing the race card and inciting racial tension. But unlike Opposition parties, they have immunity and impunity, he says sarcastically.

Tan Sri Muhyddin adamantly maintains that UMNO is not racist and the fact that the government was formed with non-Malay parties proved this. Other political parties are “a hundred times more racist,” he insisted.

Racism, extremism, the list goes on – it’s a never-ending debate in Malaysia. But what does 1 Malaysia mean? Professor Khoo Kay Peng says Malay, Chinese and Indian are all Malaysian brothers and sisters but in reality our ‘Malaysianess’ has been abused by people in authority. We are divided because of lopsided government policies and regulations.

Why ‘Rojak’? Disparate flavours and textures come together in a harmonious mix to make this delicious but underrated concoction. Our Rojak Weekly is much like this mix, making sense of the noise of daily newsflow and politicking.

It is also our ultimate dream that our multi-ethnic melange of communities can be made richer within the unique ‘sauce’ that is Malaysia. Let’s take pride in the ‘rojakness’ of our nation!

Click here for previous issues of REFSA Rojak.

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REFSA is an independent, not-for-profit research institute providing relevant and reliable information on social, economic and political issues affecting Malaysians with the aim of promoting open and constructive...