Sabtu, 21 Januari 2012



On changing horses midstream and the man who can walk on water — Sakmongkol AK47

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 05:12 PM PST

Unite and kick out BN, Kit Siang tells Malaysian Chinese voters

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 03:44 AM PST

Hannah Yeoh

Hannah Yeoh

Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 05:34 PM PST

Here's wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! Have a wonderful reunion dinner with your loved ones tonight. May 2012 be a year of hope, peace, joy and good health for all Malaysians. Gong Xi Gong Xi!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 05:33 PM PST

Here's wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! Have a wonderful reunion dinner tonight with your loved ones. May 2012 be a year of hope, peace, joy and good health for all Malaysians. Gong Xi Gong Xi!

Dr Shafie Abu Bakar

Dr Shafie Abu Bakar

Pesta Ponggal Peringkat DUN Bangi Di Kajang Utama

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 03:12 PM PST

Philosophy Politics Economics

Philosophy Politics Economics

So It's 6 Littoral Combat Ships, Or Not?

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 04:52 PM PST

The Ministry of Defence has been touting its latest acquisition of 6 second generation patrol vessels (SGPVs) as the purchase of the latest and most advanced "littoral combat ships" (LCS). It is also the justification for the ships to cost a total of RM6 billion, which was subsequently adjusted upwards to RM9 billion.

However after our clarification meeting between Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament - Saifuddin Nasution, Dzulkefli Ahmad and myself with the Minister of Defence, Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi and his officials, we have confirmed that we are not acquiring Littoral Combat Ships.

The Government has been justifying the cost of acquisition of the 6 ships by comparing against the United States LCS programme which cost between RM1.5 billion to RM2.5 billion per ship to claim that we are buying on the cheap at only RM1.5 billion per ship.

The LCS is a specific ship built by the United States (US) Navy and no other countries. The US current has only 2 LCS in service with orders for additional ships still under construction.

According to, the LCS is "a fast, highly manoeuverable, networked surface combat ship, which is a specialised variant of the family of US future surface combat ships... Both [ships] achieve sprint speeds of over 40knots and long-range transit distances of over 3,500 miles."

The Wikipedia entry notes that the LCS are able to "add the capabilities of a small assault transport with a flight deck and hangar large enough to base two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the capability to recover and launch small boats from a stern ramp, and enough cargo volume and payload to deliver a small assault force with armoured fighting vehicles to a roll-on/roll-off port facility."

The reputable Defense Industry Daily also confirmed the LCS are "115 – 127 meters in length and 2,800 – 3,100 tons of displacement" and are differentiated from typical frigates by "their shallow water design and employment."

However, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed during our dialogue that the top speed for our SGPVs is only 28 knots and not 40-45 knots of the standard LCS. In addition, our ships will be shorter at 105 meters and does not have the long-range transit reach of 3,500 miles. Earlier announcements by Mindef have also confirmed that the ships will have a 2,500 tons of displacement, carry only an Eurocopter 725 each and does not have the capability to launch and recover small boats.

In fact the announcement by Mindef contractor Boustead Naval Shipyards on Bursa Malaysia last month and our meeting confirmed that we will be acquiring "Gowind Class Corvettes" from scandal-tainted French shipbuilder DCNS. It will certainly be a stretch of any military experts' imagination to equate our purchase of these SPGV Corvettes to the state of the art LCS.

We would like to once again thank Mindef for holding the dialogue with us 2 days ago for this information could not have been confirmed otherwise.

We would now like to call upon Mindef to "call a spade a spade" and stop the attempt to disguise our acquisition with fancy names to justify their substantial cost. The Gowind-class corvettes are not ships to be belittled and are powerful in their own ways which may serve the needs oe Malaysian Navy, but they are not by means the equivalent of LCS as trumpeted by the Minister and Government.

6 Second Generation Patrol Vessels: RM6 billion or RM9 billion?

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 02:51 AM PST

The Pakatan Rakyat Member of Parliaments – Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Saifuddin Nasution and myself would like to thank the Ministry of Defence for making arrangements to provide clarifications to us over the recent procurement controversies yesterday.

One of the key issues which required urgent clarification was the disparity between the originally stated RM6 billion to acquire 6 SGPVs, first highlighted in February 2011 which was subsequently increased to RM9 billion in December 2011.

Below is a chronology of events and statements made:

  • On February 5th 2011, Bernama reported that "the government has agreed to allocate RM6 bil to build six second generation patrol vessels for the Royal Malaysian Navy, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Saturday" in an article entitled "RM6 bil approved for 6 patrol vessels". It was mentioned that Boustead Naval Shipyard will be awarded the contract to build the ships.
  • On 12 February 2011, the New Straits Times also reported that the Royal Malaysian Navy Chief, Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar said that "the RM6 billion package deal for six second-generation offshore patrol vessels is considered reasonable… the cost included weapon-system installation, radar technology and other sophisticated equipment to enhance the armed forces' firepower."
  • On 8th March 2011 in Parliament, Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi had further clarified that "pada masa ini pihak kerajaan masih belum memuktamadkan harga. Sejumlah RM6 bilion telah diperuntukkan sebagai siling dalam Rancangan Malaysia Kesepuluh dan sebahagian akan melimpah ke Rancangan Malaysia Kesebelas dan mungkin hingga ke Rancangan Malaysia Kedua Belas." (pg 6). He repeated the same on 21 March 2011 in Parliament (pg 52).
  • On 16th December 2011, Boustead Holdings Bhd has announced on Bursa Malaysia that its subsidiary Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd has received the "letter of award to undertake the construction of the ships" from Ministry of Defence Malaysia "to design, construct, equip, install, commission, integrate, test and trials, and deliver six LCS" for the new ceiling price of RM 9.0 billion.

At the meeting yesterday, the Secretary-General of Defence Ministry, Dato' Seri Ismail Ahmad "clarified" the apparent increase in the cost:

  • Firstly, Dato' Seri Ismail claimed that the announcement made by Boustead Holdings Bhd refers to a "letter of intent" and the agreement has not been finalised. However this contradicts the statement made by Boustead to the stock exchange which clearly stated that it is a "letter of award".
  • Secondly, Dato' Seri Ismail claimed that the Defence Minister's reply in parliament was perhaps wrongly interpreted. What the Minister apparently meant was that RM6 billion was just for the 10th Malaysia plan and did not include the RM3 billion budgeted in the 11th Malaysia Plan. Therefore the price was RM9 billion for the 6 ships all along, and never RM6 billion.

Malaysians can now make their own judgement as to whether the explanation given by the Defence Ministry is acceptable or even credible.

I had asked during the meeting that if the actual purchase price or original budget was to be RM9 billion, then why did the Defence Minister announce on 5th February 2011 that it was RM6 billion to acquire 6 ships?

I further added, if it was indeed RM9 billion and not RM6 billion all this while, why was it that it took more than 9 months for the "correct" RM9 billion figure to be exposed via the Boustead announcement?

No further clarification was given by the Defence Ministry or the Minister besides insisting that it was all along a RM9 billion acquisition.

The above controversy provides one of the clearest instances why it is imperative for the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Defence Expenditure, modelled after the United States House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations which looks after defence policies as well as the US Defense Budget Appropriation Committees which review and approve detailed defence expenditure.

The setting up of such a committee with access to all the necessary and relevant documents will ensure that no one will be left with any doubt over whether it was RM9 billion all along or whether there was a massive increase in price from RM6 billion.

Pakatan Rakyat MPs to meet Zahid

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 02:56 AM PST

Pakatan Rakyat Member of Parliaments, Saifuddin Nasution, Dr Dzulkefli Ahmad and myself will meet with Dato' Seri Zahid Hamidi tomorrow 19th January 20112 (Thursday) at 3 pm at the Ministry of Defence after receiving his invitation to discuss the recent controversies with regards to defence procurement.

Among the issues which we will raise with the Minister is the contract signed by the Ministry of Defence with Boustead Naval Shipyards "to design, construct, equip, install, commission, integrate, test and trials, and deliver six Littoral Combatant Ships (Frigate Class)" for the amount of RM9 billion last month.

The RM9 billion contract was signed despite the Minister of Defence having told the Parliament twice in March last year that the ceiling price set for the acquisition of these ships was set at RM6 billion. This represents a huge increase of RM3 billion or 50% of the original budget.

Malaysians are even more concerned when Boustead announced that the ships will be built by scandal-ridden French warships manufacturer, DCNS. While the ship-building history and capabilities of DCNS are not in doubt – DCNS has been found guilty of bribing government officials in Taiwan and has been fined by the Courts €630 million (approximately RM2.5 billion).

The Taiwanese government has continued its litigation against DCNS by filing another NT$ 3.0 billion (RM310 million) in additional compensation from DCNS, above and beyond the sum above, for prohibited commissions and kickbacks at the International Court of Arbitration.

Malaysians are of course well aware of the €115 million (~RM500 million) paid to Perimekar Sdn Bhd for "coordination and support services" in the Malaysia's purchase of 2 Scorpene submarines from DCNS which cost €1.34 billion (~RM6.5 billion). Perimekar was owned by the Prime Minister and the then Defence Minister Dato' Seri Najib Razak's close associate, Abdul Razak Baginda. It was also a newly set up company with no prior experience in providing defence support and coordination services.

The Ministry of Defence must also provide clarity over the RM7.55 billion purchase of 257 armoured personnel carriers at RM29.4 million each. It has been publicised widely that Deftech Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of DRB-Hicom Bhd owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary which was awarded the contract, has purchased the "base system" from Turkish defence company, FNSS Defence Systems for approximately US$559 million (~RM1.7 billion).

The Minister must provide transparency over the above procurement, especially since it was conducted without any open tender. The Government must provide details of equipment and services which makes the difference between the acquisition cost of RM7.55 billion relative to the "base system" of only RM1.7 billion.

Most importantly, given the size, specialisation and sensitivity of defence procurement, we would like to repeat our call for the Malaysian government to set up the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Defence Procurement modelled after the United States House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations which looks after defence policies as well as the US Defense Budget Appropriation Committees which review and approve detailed defence expenditure.

The set up of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Defence Procurement will lead to greater accountability and transparency to ensure that the rakyat's wealth will not be frittered away, especially in the light of the warning by Datuk Idris Jala that Malaysia might be bankrupt by 2019 if Government expenditure is not curtailed.

Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud

Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud

Naga : Tahun perubahan

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 08:31 PM PST

YB Dr Siti Mariah menyampaikan sumbangan limau pagi tadi di Tmn Sentosa 
Saya mengambil kesempatan ini mengucapkan selamat menyambut tahun baru kepada semua masyarakat Cina khususnya di Parlimen Kota Raja dan seluruh negara. Semoga dengan kedatangan tahun baru ini, kita akan melihat suatu perubahan yang lebih baik dari tahun yang lalu.

Menurut kepercayaan Cina, Naga adalah salah satu daripada 12 haiwan dalam zodiak Cina yang digunakan untuk menetapkan tahun dalam kalendar Cina. Ianya berpendapat bahawa setiap haiwan dikaitkan dengan personaliti tertentu. Tahun Naga biasanya yang paling popular untuk melahirkan bayi.Terdapat lebih banyak bayi yang dilahirkan pada tahun-tahun Naga daripada mana-mana binatang yang lain dalam tahun Zodiak.

Walau apapun kepercayaan masyarakat kita, sebagai rakyat Malaysia kita harus saling hormat menghormati antara kaum agar kita dapat hidup dalam rukun damai tanpa ada perasaan prejudis diantara satu sama lain. Kita juga seharusnya menghormati adat dan pantang larang agama masing-masing agar tidak timbul salah faham dalam pergaulan kita seharian dalam masyarakat yang berbilang bangsa.

Semoga dengan kerjasama dan kesepakatan dalam memperjuangkan keadilan, kita mampu mengubah system pentadbiran negara ke arah yang lebih baik dan adil untuk semua tanpa mengira bangsa, agama dan fahaman politik.

Kepada mereka yang balik kampung, hati-hati di jalanraya agar selamat sampai ke destinasi masing-masing. Semoga kita dapat merayakan tahun baru ini dengan perasaan harmoni antara kaum.

Gong Xi Fa Cai kepada semua masyarakat Cina.

Ikhlas sungguh ...

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 07:54 PM PST

ish!!!! ish!!!! ikhlas sungguh orang ni  ... tapi ia tetap satu idea kreatif cara umno

Lim Guan Eng

Lim Guan Eng

2012 Chinese New Year Message (Penang)

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 11:44 PM PST

2012 Chinese New Year Message By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng On
21.1.2012 In Komtar, George Town.

Putting Penang First – The RM500 Million Affordable Housing Fund, The RM8 Billion Road Projects And Transforming Penang's Civil Service That Is Competent, Accountable and Transparent Will Help Make Penang Cleaner, Greener & Safer.

The year of the water dragon holds much promise of making Penang cleaner, greener and safer, which is essential to Penang's long-term vision of an international and intelligent state. To succeed the state government must retain the rakyat's faith in our ability and will as well as encourage their unique spirit of creativity and innovation.

Penang's unique spirit of creativity and innovation can be retained so long as Penangites maintains its faith in the government. Retaining the rakyat's faith is more about our ability and will to choose the best that can deliver and execute. It is much more about believing in common values of freedom, the rule of law, human dignity and democracy. It is about sharing the commitment of always putting Penang first over our own private interests.

There is a certain confidence in Penang, born of optimism and past achievement in our ability and will to choose the best. Penang has
been praised by the Auditor-General for recording budget surpluses every year in state government finances. Most notable was saving
Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai from bankruptcy afer RM230 million of losses in 7 years under BN. Another notable achievement was reducing our state government debts by 95% or RM600 million from RM630 million to only RM30 million.

More important than these achievements, is the optimism in the future stemming from proving that a clean, competent, accountable and transparent can also work and succeed in Malaysia. Open tenders, public declaration of assets and public disclosure of government contracts has brought about confidence and optimism resulting in praise from Transparency Internantional as well as record levels of foreign investments and tourists.

These improvements are meaningful when achieved with respect for each other as well as the institutions of freedom, rule of law and
democracy. Respecting human dignity to speak freely and each other's differences fosters peace and harmony. Penang's ability to accommodate diversity has brought great pride to Penang, with the listing of George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

However, present achievements are no guarantees for future success. Future success is only guaranteed when both the rakyat the state government is committed to putting Penang first over any private interests. Putting Penang first requires proof that prosperity is
shared and solutions to problems are inclusive. If possible no one is left behind.

To ensure that the civil service performs well by serving the rakyat with quality, good governance of competency, accountability and
transparency will be intensified to a higher level. There is no room for non-performance, delays, passing the buck from one department to another and corruption.

To deal with housing needs of the lower-income groups, the Penang state government has set up the largest affordable housing fund of any state government amounting to RM500 million. To deal with the traffic congestion caused by the sudden surge of investors and tourists, the government has outlined short-term, medium-term and long term plans of road infrastructure projects amounting to nearly RM8 billion.

Putting Penang First – the RM500 million Affordable Housing Fund, the RM8 billion road projects and transforming Penang's civil service that is competent, accountable and transparent will help make Penang Cleaner, Greener & Safer.

–Mandarin Translation–


以槟城为先- 推出5亿令吉可负担房屋基金、80亿令吉道路计划、打造能干、公信及透明的公共服务素质,让槟城变得更清洁、绿意及安全。




最明显的成就是,威省市政局在国阵管辖下,短短七年内亏损了2亿3000令吉、近乎破产。另一个重要的成就是,我们把州政府的负债减少了95%(近6亿令吉), 或从6亿3000万令吉减少至3000万令吉。

最重要的是,这些成就让我们对未来充满希望,证明干净、能干、公信及透明也能够在马来西亚推行成功。公开招标、公布财产和公开政府合约,已经建立起人民的信心和乐观,也让我们被国际透明表扬,在招商引资及游客人数方面也获得不俗 成绩。




为了解决低收入群体的房屋需求,槟州政府已经 成立比其它任何州属还大的可负担房屋基金, 价值为5亿令吉。为了解决投资者及游客突然涌入而导致的交通阻塞,槟州政府已经拟定短期、中期及长期计划,开展近80亿令吉的道路建设计划。

以槟城为先- 推出5亿令吉可负担房屋基金、80亿令吉道路计划、打造能干、公信及透明的公共服务素质,让槟城变得更清洁、绿意及安全。


YB Dato' Mohd Nasir Tan Sri Ibrahim Fikri

YB Dato' Mohd Nasir Tan Sri Ibrahim Fikri

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 04:40 AM PST

gambar hiasan


Kita tinggal seketika mengenai topik politik. Hari ini saya ingin menulis mengenai budaya bercuti panjang, terutama pada musim cuti perayaan seperti Tahun Baharu Cina. Dan, scenario itu seringkali dikaitkan dengan isu kemalangan jalan raya.

Seperti cuti panjang pada musim perayaan setiap tahun, kemalangan jalan raya terus menjadi isu yang panas. Melalui Opss Sikap yang dilaksanakan PDRM, bagitu banyak kematian dicatatkan. Saya yang mengikuti perkembangan itu, naik takut dibuatnya.

Yalah, kajian mendapati bahawa kebanyakan kemalangan berpunca daripada kealpaan pengguna mematuhi peraturan atau undang-undang jalan raya. Sikap takut kepada anggota pihak berkuasa seperti Polis atau JPJ telah menyebabkan orang kita kurang kesedaran atau sengaja mengabaikan tanggungjawab mematuhi undang-undang.

Lebih memilukan lagi apabila ada juga yang terkorban akibat kecuaian orang lain. Persoalannya, apakah masalah ini dapat kita tangani atau atasi?

Bagi saya, kita boleh jika semua orang mempunyai tanggungjawab atau kesedaran. Sikap berhemah, bertolak ansur dan tidak mementingkan diri ketika memandu adalah resepi paling berguna bagi mengurangkan kadar kemalangan maut.

Bayangkan jumlah mereka yang menderita akibat kemalangan. Itu belum termasuk kerugian terhadap negara apabila sekian ramai rakyat terkorban di jalan raya?.

Hakikatnya, ramai yang terkejut dan takut setiap kali melihat berlakunya kemalangan. Namun agak malang, orang yang sama jugalah gagal menjadi pemandu yang berhemah ketika memandu. Jadi, sampai bila semua itu harus dibiarkan.

Saya berharap, kita semua berhati-hati. Jangan memandang mudah tanggungjawab sebagai pemandu berhemah di jalan raya. Banyakkan bersabar, pastikan kenderaaan dalam keadaan baik dan pastikan tahap kesihatan memuaskan ketika memandu.

Semoga percutian anda dan kita semua tidak tercemar dengan kemalangan pada musim perayaan ini, InsyaAllah.

Comments for Wee Choo Keong

Comments for Wee Choo Keong

Comment on Is MAS serious about joining Oneworld? by Charles F Moreira

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 04:50 AM PST

Kong Hee Fatt Chye all Chinese readers

Good work YB

Australian regulator take Air Asia to task

Do our regulators have the same balls?

Comment on TM UniFi “D-Link router only can do” – another TM monopolistic policy that raises suspicion! by michael lee cher siew

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 10:26 PM PST

YB..i think u wrong. i using unifi, and using own router tp – link is ok. i think u should lesrn more. do not just complaint…

Direct Free Kick

Direct Free Kick


Posted: 21 Jan 2012 04:09 AM PST

Tanda tanya timbul apabila Pejabat Kesihatan Daerah Hulu Langat telah menjalankan operasi pemeriksaan ke atas restoran-restoran di kawasan Dewan Negeri Chempaka satu minggu sebelum Tahun Baru Cina.

Hasil dari operasi tersebut 5 restoran telah ditutup.

Sebagai Ahli Dewan Negeri kawasan tersebut dan Exco Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, saya menyokong sebarang usaha untuk memastikan premis-premis yang menyedia dan menghidang makanan berada di dalam keadaan bersih. 

Tetapi apabila operasi dijalankan pada waktu yang paling ramai pengunjung maka sudah tentu pemilik-pemilik perniagaan tersebut akan menanggung kerugian yang besar jika premis mereka terpaksa ditutup.

Saya tidak mempertikaikan peraturan-peraturan kesihatan tetapi hanya mencadangkan agar operasi-operasi sedemikian dilakukan lebih awal.

Ia juga dapat mengelakkan tanggapan buruk bahawa operasi ini dilakukan terlalu hampir dengan Tahun Baru Cina agar pemilik-pemilik membayar "ang pow" jika mahu premis mereka dibuka semula.

Saya yakin tanggapan ini tidak benar tetapi pihak yang berkaitan tidak seharusnya mendedahkan diri mereka kepada sebarang tuduhan.

Iskandar A. Samad
Ahli Dewan Negeri Chempaka
Selangor D.E.
21 Januari 2012

Jom Shopping di Giant Pandan Indah 21 Jan 2012.

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 01:26 AM PST

Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar Ibrahim

Appeal Against Anwar’s Acquittal Politically Motivated & Legally Unsound

Posted: 21 Jan 2012 02:17 AM PST

I refer to the statement by the Attorney-General’s chambers claiming that the decision to apppeal against Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal is based on evidence and the law and will enable them to obtain the grounds of judgement and apppreciate the judge’s reasoning. In fact, the appeal is politically motivated, legally unsound and influenced by the ruling BN party. If the AG’s chambers had really proceeded solely on the evidence and the law, there would have been no appeal filed against the acquittal. The only kind of law the appeal could possibly be based upon is the law of the jungle.The appeal is a major embarassment to the regional and international reputation of our country. Once again UMNO has made our justice system the object of global mock and ridicule.

The A-G’s chambers has been a willing tool in the hands of UMNO in its vicious, immoral and relentless persecution of Anwar Ibrahim. Since 1998, the A-G’s chambers has been a key player in UMNO’s attempts to imprison Anwar and terminate his political career. The current Attorney- General Abdul Gani Patail who made the decision to file this appeal, featured prominently in the first sodomy trial which ended in Anwar’s 6 years imprisonment for a crime he did not commit.

The A-G’s chambers’ excuse that they needed to file the appeal in order to ‘appreciate the grounds considered by the learned judge in arriving at that decision’ is simply absurd and untenable. The chambers must weigh the necessity of appeal based on the totality of the evidence presented at the trial and the flaws and shortcomings of the prosecution case. As clearly demonstrated by his counsel at trial, the case against Anwar is so full of holes that there is no necessity to even look at the judge’s grounds of judgement.

The filing of this appeal is an outrageous example of the unscrupulous abuse of State powers which has become the trademark of the Barisan Nasional coalition over the past 54 years of its corrupt and authoritarian rule. This appeal is further evidence that Najib’s promises of change and reform were nothing more than a massive and hypocritical fraud upon the people of this nation. The motive for the appeal is to jail Anwar and hinder Pakatan Rakyat from winning Federal power in the coming general election. Come what may, Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat will never falter or fail in the ongoing battle for change and reform, and for a fair and just Malaysia.

Issued by,

Embattled Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim Bent on Malaysian Reform

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 10:54 PM PST

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail


Anwar Ibrahim was supposed to be in jail right now. The leader of Malaysia's opposition would be convicted of having sex with a male aide, everyone here expected, and jailed long enough to ensure he posed no threat in the country's coming elections.

But after his surprise acquittal earlier this month, Mr. Anwar suddenly has a very different residence in mind. "The next time we meet," he says conspiratorially as we sit in his party's headquarters on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur for his first interview with a Western newspaper since the verdict, "it will be in a different office."

A smile spreads above his greying goatee as he points up and beyond me. He means Putrajaya, the suburb of Kuala Lumpur that's home to the office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Southeast Asia begins 2012 as a region in upheaval. Myanmar's generals have begun unexpectedly tearing down their authoritarian system, and neighbouring Thailand's coup-prone army stood aside last year and let the opposition it had previously confronted in the streets take power via the ballot box.

Mr. Anwar is convinced that Malaysia, a nominally democratic nation that has been dominated by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) since the country gained independence from Britain in 1957, will be the next to see sweeping change.

"There's definitely a Southeast Asian Spring taking place. No question about it. … We are between the ancien régime and the rebellion of the masses," says the man sometimes portrayed as the Nelson Mandela of this Muslim majority state. Mr. Anwar says the opposition would win a fairly held vote – and he warns that Malaysia could see scenes like those in Cairo's Tahrir Square if it is somehow prevented from taking power.

Tens of thousands of Malaysians have already shown their willingness to demonstrate, marching through the streets of Kuala Lumpur last July to call for reforms to the country's electoral system, which is seen as having been gerrymandered in the ruling party's favour

"We want free and fair elections," Mr. Anwar says. And if not? "Then we will fight. The people will not take it. No civilized country would accept the rape of the nation."

Having managed to maintain and build support through 14 years of sodomy charges and other smears – no small feat in a conservative country that bleeps out words like "bang" from reruns of How I Met Your Mother – there's suddenly a sense in Malaysia that Mr. Anwar might just end up in Putrajaya before the year is out.

Another jail term would likely have brought an end to the political career of the 64-year-old, who was deputy prime minister and UMNO's heir apparent until he fell out with the autocratic Mahathir Mohammed in 1998 over the handling of that year's Asian financial crisis. The relationship between the two men, long described as being similar to father and son, quickly dissolved into acrimony, mud-slinging and violence.

Mr. Mahathir called for police to investigate allegations that Mr. Anwar was corrupt and gay. Mr. Anwar was duly arrested, beaten by police and sentenced to 14 years in prison, although that sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004. (Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia, though the colonial-era statute seems to be used almost exclusively against Mr. Anwar, a married father of six. Charges against Mr. Anwar – who has denied that he's gay – and his associates account for four of seven recent uses of the law.)

The latest sodomy charges initially seemed to follow the old script, forcing Mr. Anwar to spend more time defending his reputation than building opposition to the government. The repeated allegations are scoffed at by many in cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur but likely have damaged Mr. Anwar's popularity in more conservative rural areas. In a sign of how dimly gay rights are viewed in Malaysia, Mr. Anwar came under fire this week by the government-controlled press after he called the sodomy law "archaic." He was forced to repeat a previous statement that he does "not promote homosexuality in public sphere and domain."

Since his acquittal, friends and allies say Mr. Anwar – always a workaholic – is more seized than ever with his Mandela-inspired vision of opening his country's political system and ending the institutionalized political bias toward ethnic Malays (who are favoured for civil service and military posts ahead of the country's Chinese and Indian minorities). He crams in as many meetings and campaign rallies as the day can fit, to the point where Some wonder whether his wiry frame, already besieged by arthritis and back pains caused by a 1998 police beating that was followed by six years in jail, is up to the task.

"I can say for a fact – because I've seen his medical records – that he suffers from facet joint arthritis, and [his] left sciatic nerve is damaged. He's limited in his movements. The whole thing was exacerbated by the beatings, but it's age as well," said Sankara Nair, a lawyer who represented Mr. Anwar in the 1998 and 2011 trials known here as Sodomy I and Sodomy II.

But Mr. Nair says his friend and client will only be slowed, not stopped, by his ailments. "I think Anwar is being looked upon as the saviour of the opposition, the salvation of the country. Is he up to it? Yes he is. … He's even prepared for further allegations, but it's full speed ahead to the elections. There's no stopping this man."

The personal attacks – and the allegations of marital infidelity and homosexuality – have also taken their toll, especially on Mr. Anwar's family. "It hasn't been easy. It's been a long journey, personally," said his 31-year-old daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar.

But 14 years of watching her father battle persecution also transformed Ms. Nurul Izzah from a self-described "rather apathetic teenager" into a firebrand opposition MP, one who inherited her father's flashing brown eyes and natural political skills. "This whole journey convinced me that this fight is not about Anwar," she says. "It's an attempt to move Malaysia forward." (One of the main criticisms of Mr. Anwar is that he has turned his People's Justice Party into something of a family dynasty, with his wife Wan Azizah serving as interim leader while he was in jail and his daughter now emerging as heir apparent.)

Mr. Anwar heads an improbable coalition of Islamists, liberals and ethnic parties, an alliance that has already proven itself a threat to UMNO's dominance, having won control of five of the country's 13 state parliaments. It's a coalition very much held together by his own chameleon-like character – the Islamists trust him because of his background as a leader of a Muslim student group, the liberals and middle class because of his successful tenure as the country's finance minister, while ethnic groups look to his mixed Indian-Malay background and his long record as a defender of human rights.

Whether Malaysia really is changing as fast as the opposition believes arguably depends on why Mr. Anwar was acquitted on Jan. 9. Some believe Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah – who throughout the trial had seemed openly biased toward the prosecution – was making a stand for judicial independence when he curtly delivered his not-guilty verdict. Others believe Judge Diah simply received new orders from the top as the lurid trial became an international embarrassment to the Malaysian government. The former version got a boost Friday when the prosecution announced it would appeal the not-guilty verdict, once more putting Mr. Anwar's political future in a court's hands.

Behind that question of Judge Diah's intentions is a wider debate about how serious Prime Minister Najib Razak is when he says he intends to transform Malaysia – a country that has lagged behind neighbouring Indonesia in embracing political change – into what he calls a "mature, progressive democracy." The government has in recent months announced a series of major changes, trying to seize the mantle of reform as its own.

Last fall, Mr. Najib announced he would repeal the country's hated Internal Security Act – a colonial-era law that allowed for "preventative detention" – and loosen restrictions on the country's media, which is currently under tight government supervision. "I think that when Anwar tries to present himself as a reformer, he will find that ground is already occupied by the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak," the government's Information Minister, Rais Yatim, said in an interview.

But government critics see only rhetoric so far. Mr. Najib plans to replace the ISA, which is currently still in place, with another act that will still allow preventative detention, albeit with more judicial oversight. The new law will also ban protest marches, a move seemingly targeted at giving police the power to crack down on any election-related protests. Few other promised reforms have materialized yet: with an election perhaps just months away, pro-government newspapers are still the only ones with permission to print, and promises to review election laws that currently favour the ruling party have gone unfilled.

Mr. Anwar scoffs at the idea that Mr. Najib and UMNO are capable of substantive reform. "This government is not changing. It is the people who are going to change Malaysia."

Anwar’s Sodomy Acquittal a Pyrrhic Victory

Posted: 20 Jan 2012 10:15 PM PST

By Terence Netto

Those who claimed that Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal by the High Court last week on a charge of sodomy was a game-changing move must have felt, after the Attorney-General’s Chambers filed a notice of appeal yesterday, rather like North Korea’s nuclear disarmament interlocutors in recent years.

Just when we discern some sign of softening on the part of the communist world’s first dynastic regime, a South Korean frigate is sunk off the coast of the Korean peninsula, or Pyongyang test fires a missile, or commits some such travesty.

Then, what vestigial hopes the North had managed to keep alive in its adversaries are recognised as chimerical before the rogue regime begins another cycle of 'now you see my softer side, now you don’t.’

It’s a case of the inveterately bad only getting worse while fiendishly engaged in a dance of deception to take advantage of the gullible.

What are we to think?

Those wanting regime-change

Perhaps what the English poet WB Shelley said (“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”) that makes one of our own, A Samad Said, a seer in our times with the prophecy of his discourse in his most recent offering, 'Merindu Ruang’ (A Yen to be Unbound):

Ada sang perubah permainan
kami perubah kekuasaan
Inilah tekad generasi baru
akarnya keadilan syahdu

(Facing purveyors of game-change
Are those wanting regime-change
This is the power of newly emerging forces
Rooted in the sublimity of noble justice)

All good poetry works like this: it teaches humankind their actual desires, the desires that must be accommodated in a truly enduring and beneficent order.

But what of the right of the prosecution in the sodomy and sedition cases to their desires for vindication?

Sure, it is the right of the prosecution, in both the Anwar sodomy and in the Karpal Singh sedition cases, to appeal.

But the sodomy case had so many holes it would have made the one the reefs bore in the hull of the cruise liner Costa Concordia off the Italian coast the other day look meager by comparison.

As for Karpal’s (right) supposedly seditious fulminations in the wake of the changeover in the Perak state government in February 2009, if these were as licentious as what issued from him in some internal DAP disputes of fairly recent vintage, then it’s plausible he would be liable.

But Karpal the solicitor is known to be more judicious than Karpal the political jouster.

Business as usual

So just when elements of the punditocracy were beginning to hold forth on the advent of a more liberal order under Prime Minister Najib Razak, there occur two appeals in the judicial process that imply that business, in our justice system, is reverting to status quo ante.

No doubt this will renew attention to the so-called battle in Umno between the hardliners and liberals, with the former viewed as having, in the wake of the appeals in the sodomy and sedition cases, gained the upper hand.

But these nuances aren’t worth the trouble it takes to be discerning about them.

It’s like the argument over whether the captain of the Costa Concordia abandoned his ship before all passengers had the left the stricken liner.

It’s a diversion from a graver issue: what was the vessel doing so close to where it was perilous to go?

When the system is a sclerotic as the one Umno-BN has contrived for this country, the bard Samad Said’s (left) intimation that you need regime change is not a radical prescription.

Anwar’s second trial for sodomy is not the personal problem that the erstwhile Hasan Ali, formerly of PAS, and at times, even Najib, have airily held the matter to be: it is paradigmatic of plenty that is wrong with a regime that has been in power for far too long and displays the unmistakable symptoms of its entrenched and repetitive abuses.

Its bad ways are beyond reform and a leader seeking to change the game is like someone in quest of an oasis in a parched land.

TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them. It is the ideal occupation for a temperament that finds power fascinating and its exercise abhorrent.