Najib

Developing A Litigation Culture

Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, through his lawyers has issued a letter of demand to PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and DAP’s Tony Pua over a few things the outspoken duo have said in recent times 

Our premier wants Tony Pua to publish a retraction and apologise within 14 days in two national newspapers, or face legal action for his speech recorded in the November 3 video: “Tony Pua: Najib is creating the biggest scandal ever in the history of Malaysia

Failure by Rafizi and/or Tony Pua to act as per the letter of demand would most definitely result in legal action being initiated against them

Some netizens take this as a sign of cowardice on the part of Najib because it comes across as an act to scare off his detractors. I, however, think it is a good thing that Najib wants the courts to adjudicate what has been said by the two Pakatan Rakyat leaders regarding the reduction of fuel subsidies and the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) respectively

I say so because if the issue reaches the courts, evidence will be have to be submitted by both parties. Through that and the court’s ruling, the people can ascertain objectively who is actually correct/telling the truth.

Does the money saved from the reduction of petrol subsidies go into Najib or Rosmah’s pocket? We will most assuredly find out. Regarding 1MDB, is there any hanky-panky use of the people’s money? We will undoubtedly find out

If Mrs Donoghue did not sue the manufacturing company of the ginger beer after finding a decomposed snail in her drink we would not have the landmark case of Donoghue v Stevenson

In that case, Lord Atkin established the all important ‘neighbour principle’ and it revolutionised the tort of negligence as we know it today.

This shows us that case law is an important contributor to the development of the law as it ensures that the law stays relevant in light of changing social, economic and cultural conditions

Moving on, the freedom of speech does not include the right to defame a person. Therefore, if Rafizi has no evidence to support his claim that Najib or Rosmah would directly/indirectly benefit monetary wise from the reduction of fuel subsidies, he should be liable for defamation

In Tony Pua’s case, he gave some immensely mind boggling statistics. However, if he does not have any solid admissible evidence to back his allegations about 1MDB, he would have to fork out a lot of money to compensate Najib for the “tremendous stress and embarrassment” caused

If Najib wins his lawsuit(s) against Rafizi and/or Tony Pua, the enormous amount of damages usually awarded in defamation cases should act as a precedent to teach our leaders to speak only when they have proof to attest to their claim.

If our public figures do not learn that lesson, we’d have more and more Mashitah cases whereby the irresponsible person speaks unsubstantiatedly and then gets whacked left, right and centre (metaphorically) by the public

In conclusion, while Dr Mahathir is of the opinion that taking legal action for political slander is useless, i beg to differ for the aforementioned reasons. The way I see it, litigation over controversial issues would be beneficial for the common folk who ardently follow our nation’s politics. Developing a litigation culture is good to a certain extent

*Check this awesome article out at The Malaysian Insider, The Malay Mail Online, and Free Malaysia Today

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What Effective Leadership?

Our very dear Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak drew a very interesting analogy today (9th July 2014). He said, “When I watched Brazil (play against Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup), their defence was all over the place. I put it down to lack of leadership. There was no proper leadership.”

He then added, “If that could happen to a football team, imagine what would happen to a country that does not have effective leadership… the answer is, we will end up like Brazil.” DS Najib likend Malaysia without an effective leadership to Brazil who lost 1-7 to Germany  

In theory what our PM said is absolutely correct! A ship without a captain is in danger of heading in the wrong direction. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that DS Najib was referring to BN leaders when he brought up “effective leadership”

John Maxwell once said, “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” So does our Prime Minister and his ministers know the way?

In April last year, a survey conducted by UMcedel showed that the people favoured DS Anwar Ibrahim over DS Najib . “43% of the Malaysians asked in the poll conducted between April 3-20 believe in Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s capabilities to be prime minister, which forms almost half the country, compared to the 39% rating for caretaker Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak”

Subsequently, Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the popular vote in the 13th General Election. Oops. Looks like the rakyat doubts BN knows the way. However, by virtue of the ‘first past the post’ system used in Malaysia, BN successfully formed the federal government

Let’s put that aside. After all, “effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” (as per Peter Drucker)

So what are some of the results of DS Najib’s illustrious tenure as premier of Malaysia? Firstly, we have the unforgettable “Apa Lagi Cina Mahu?” and Tsunami Cina rant by Utusan Malaysia (which is owned by UMNO).

That was all because a large number of Malaysian Chinese decided not to vote for BN. The Chinese are so ungrateful! After all BN has done for them over the years, how could they exercise their right to vote for a non-BN candidate?! This is totally unacceptable!

Next, we have the never-ending mismanagement of funds and lack of action. The 2012 Auditor General report contained surprisingly unnecessary overspending. Items were overpayed by thousands of times beyond its actual cost

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the 2013 Auditor General’s report pointed out more malfeasances. The report showed that Malaysia was ‘bleeding itself to death.’ I honestly wonder what the 2014 Auditor General report has in store for us!

The year 2014 began with a bang when DS Najib questioned why the government gets blamed every time prices of goods increase, but was never praised when prices came down. He specifically used the example of kangkung and it has stuck to him ever since

Malaysians came up with parodies, t-shirts, etc. DS Najib pretty much made kangkung Malaysia’s most talked about vegetable! However, I’m not sure if that’s something to be proud about

In the month of March, DS Najib found himself yet again in the spotlight when he allegedly purchased chicken for RM1. He then went on to say that Malaysians should look for bargains instead of complaining.

This further tarnished DS Najib’s image in the eyes of the common folk as it paints him as someone who lives in an ivory tower and is unable to empathise with the plight of the people. I honestly thought effective leadership was supposed to garner the support of the people. Instead, all we’re seeing is loss of confidence in the Executive 

DS Najib’s cause wasn’t helped when MH370 disappeared and gained international furore. The whole debacle was made worse by the contradictory statements by Malaysian authorities

The Inspector General of Police (IGP)contradicted the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) regarding the number of passengers that did not board the plane. DS Najib’s response to everything was that MH370 is an unprecedented event, thus everyone should cut him some slack

Fair enough, DS Najib deserves some time to regroup with his wisemen and come up with a proper strategy to deal with the loss of the plane. After all, it is not something he has dealt with before. Out of the blue, DS Najib decides to announce that MH370 ended in the Indian Ocean

Notice that the word “ended” was used instead of “crashed” because at the time of announcement, there was no evidence to support the theory that the plane crashed. No debris whatsoever was detected despite many countries chipping in to search

Would an effective leader decide to make such a baseless announcement? A month later, DS Najib contradicts himself when he said he was not ready to declare MH370 as lost.

Although the flight supposedly “ended in the Indian Ocean”, he is still clinging on to the hope that the plane and its passengers are not lost? How does one crush the hope of others yet cling on to that very same hope? The only rational explanation is that the statement about the plane having ended in the southern Indian Ocean was hogwash

‘Unprecedented incident’ aside, the UiTM anti-Christian seminar happened during DS Najib reign. Adding insult to injury, DS Najib’s right hand man, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin labelled the seminar a mere brainstorming session which should be viewed positively

Again we see a complete lack of leadership. Which leader would allow his/her members to receive such a beating and still be able to remain silent, or worse still, try to justify it? Unless of course Christians aren’t considered citizens of Malaysia which fall under the purview of the Executive

Let’s give DS Najib and his administration the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they were unaware about what really went down at UiTM and merely spoke too soon (or in DS Najib’s case, remained silent)

What about when the minorities were shooting targets for certain questionable NGOs and individuals? Let’s do a slight recap. ISMA labelled the Chinese as “penceroboh” (invader, intruder) and in response to the public uproar, they questioned the contribution of non-muslims

PERKASA has had its fair share of controversies. In 2012, it conducted a mock funeral outside Lim Guan Eng’s house because LGE ignored their demands and never responded to any of the issues brought up by them over the past two years . In 2013, Ibrahim Ali (PERKASA chief) called on Muslims to seize & burn Malay bibles which contained the word “Allah”

Not wanting to be outdone, Ridhuan Tee Abdullah questioned the loyalty of Malaysian Chinese when he asked who they would support in the event Lin Dan (of China) faces Misbun Sidek (a Malaysian badminton legend) 

Ridhuan Tee also played down the contributions of non-malays and openly declared that there are 5 million foreigners waiting to replace them.

Wouldn’t an effective leadership have nipped such racial & religious insensitivity in the bud before it leads to undesirable outcomes? Most certainly so! When everyone looked to DS Najib to condemn the extremists, it seems like the cat got his tongue

Moving on, what does DS Najib’s attendance in parliamentary sittings reflect? Apparently as of April 2014, DS Najib “only attended 26 days of Parliament sittings since he took office in 2009.” That’s a mere 7% of the total 358 days Parliament had met

It is understandable that as head of the Executive, DS Najib is a very busy man. However, one would expect him to do better than 7%. DS Najib should be there when issues are debated by the Legislature in order that he may contribute his input. That is what an effective leader would do!

During DS Najib’s time at the helm, Malaysia was downgraded to Tier 3 in the United States’ annual Trafficking of Persons (TIP) report. It is important to note that Tier 3 is the lowest ranking and it puts us on par with countries like Algeria, Central African Republic, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Yemen

Worst still, DS Najib told UMNO to be brave like ISIL fighters. He said Umno must emulate the bravery of a Middle Eastern militant group that defeated an Iraqi force outnumbering it nearly 30 to one if the Malay nationalist party is to survive

Of all the examples DS Najib could have chosen, he chose ISIL which uses violence to achieve its objectives. Why not emulate the bravery of Malala Yousafzai? Despite an assassination attempt by the Taliban, she continued to fight for rights to education for women

Last but not least, under DS Najib, many have threatened to spark racial riots. Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin are amongst the main contributors

Although DS Najib labels himself a moderate, racial & religious tension are worsening by the day as a result of his deafening silence and utter inaction toward the extremists 

So what effective leadership was DS Najib talking about?

*Featured at The Malaysian Insider

1Malaysia vs Malaysian Malaysia

1Malaysia is a concept founded and advocated (at least it was, before GE13) by our current Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak while Malaysian Malaysia is an old concept reignited by
Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party (DAP). [as per http://www.wikipedia.org/Malaysian_Malaysia%5D. The name of the concepts may be similar but the ideology behind it is substantially different

Malaysian Malaysia fights for equal rights among citizens regardless of race while 1Malaysia upholds the special position of Malays (under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution) while protecting the rights and welfare of non-Malays

By now you should be able to see that the concept of Malaysian Malaysia courts a lot of controversy as it coincides with a provision in our Constitution. One cannot ignore the benefits of the concept though. Through the ideology of Malaysian Malaysia, there will be equality among the races (at least in terms of position and opportunity). Only equality can counter racism and discrimination

But of course as a law student, I believe in the sanctity of the Federal Constitution. As long as Article 153 is part of the Federal Constitution, I will respect that and uphold it. Perhaps one day Malaysians may achieve a level of maturity where it no longer matters what race you are or which country your ancestors came from. Then we no longer need provisions such as Article 153 because we will only see ourselves as Malaysians