Thursday, February 5, 2009



According to Bob Teoh in My Sin Chew “Some thought it a joke that a Black man can be in the White House. But Barack Obama proved everyone wrong. So can an Iban, Kadazan, Kenyah, Dusun, Chinese, Indian, Orang Ulu, Orang Asli dan lain lain lagi be prime minister of Malaysia? “

Yes, anyone can be PM in Malaysia, said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"It is up to the people to decide, just as the Americans had done through the democratic process," he told reporters while extending his congratulations to U.S. President-elect the day after his unprecedented victory.. PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat also commented of Obama‘s victory “"It was a victory of sorts for Islam because Islam did not differentiate between race or creed," "That is why Obama's victory is groundbreaking. It also proves there is no such thing as the superior race of the Caucasian. Everybody shares equality in Islam," he said.

So can anyone become Prime Minister of Malaysia? Yes according to Dr Mahathir. It does not matter if the Prime Minister is Malay or non-Malay, as long as he enjoys the trust of all Malaysians. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there was no specification in the country that a Prime Minister must be a Malay.

“But when you talk about having a non-Malay as a PM, you are being racist yourself because you shouldn’t ask the question if one is Malay or non-Malay.

“If he is acceptable to all Malaysians, yes, he can become PM. The specification is that he must be the leader of a majority party and if he can be such a leader of that majority party. Don’t ask if he is Malay, Chinese or Indians,” he told reporters after delivering a keynote address on “Bangsa Malaysia” at the Perdana Leadership Foundation on Wednesday.

However, Dr Mahathir said it was wrong to assume that race-based politics were no longer relevant.“Race-based politics is still relevant. We are still not united if we can’t even a vision school for all children from various races to attend together. As long as there is such sentiment, we won’t be able to have Bangsa Malaysia.


It is correct t hat the Federal Constitution does not prohibit anyone who is qualified from becoming Prime Minster of Malaysia. This is found in Article 43 of the Federal Constitution which reads:-

43. Cabinet

(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint a Jemaah Menteri (Cabinet of Ministers) to advise him in the exercise of his functions.

(2) The Cabinet shall be appointed as follows, that is to say:

(a) the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) to preside over the Cabinet a member of the House of Representatives who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House; and

(b) he shall on the advice of the Prime Minister appoint other Menteri (Ministers) from among the members of either House of Parliament,

but if an appointment is made while Parliament is dissolved a person who was a member of the last House of Representatives may be appointed but shall not continue to hold office after the beginning of the next session of Parliament unless, if he has been appointed Prime Minister, he is a member of the new House of Representatives, and in any other case he is a member either of that House or of the Senate.

(3) The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament.

(4) If the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, then, unless at his request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.

(7) Notwithstanding anything in this Article, a person who is a citizen by naturalisation or by registration under Article 17 shall not be appointed Prime Minister.


Is Singapore ready for a non-Chinese PM?

From Malaysia we switch over to Singapore. The recent announcement of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s promotion to Finance Minister — in addition to his current Education portfolio — set many tongues wagging as to whether he might be the successor to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong many moons from now.

This in turn sparked a debate in the Straits Times as to whether Singaporeans (read: the Chinese-speaking majority) are ready to accept and support a non-Chinese prime minister.
This isn’t the first time this issue has surfaced. Mr Lee Kuan Yew once said that former Cabinet Minister S. Dhanabalan was one of the four men he considered as his successor, but decided against him as he felt Singapore was “not ready” for a non-Chinese prime minister. That was almost 20 years ago. Only time will tell whether a “Obama“ type Ptime Minister can emerge from Singapore


For those who are getting high on Obama’s victory, you need to consider this. It is one thing to win an election. It is another thing to stay in power. Consider the bitter experience of Fiji.

Voyagers from the east settled Fiji at least 2,500 years ago. Some of their descendants later moved on to settle the Polynesian islands to the west. The first known European contact came when the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted the Fiji group in 1643. European sandalwood traders, army deserters, and shipwreck survivors also landed on the islands during the first half of the 19th century, a period in which the chiefs of Bau rose to a dominant position. Protestant missionaries from Tonga arrived in 1835, and French Catholic priests in 1844. After a few chiefs had been converted, more and more Fijians embraced Christianity, usually in the form of Wesleyan Methodism.

In the course of a civil war in the 1850s, Cakobau, the most powerful chief in Fiji, combined forces with the king of Tonga to become paramount chief of western Fiji. The growing presence of Europeans contributed to political and economic instability. In 1871, some 3000 Europeans supported Cakobau's claim to rule as king of all Fiji, but unrest continued. Cakobau's government appealed to Britain for assistance and, on 10 October 1874, Fijian chiefs signed a Deed of Cession making Fiji a British Crown Colony.

From 1879 to 1916, more than 60,000 laborers from India arrived to work on European-owned sugar plantations, and by 1920 they had settled as free farmers. European settlers were granted elective representation in the Legislative Council in 1904, and Indians were admitted in 1929. Ethnic Fijian representation was based on traditional hierarchies until 1963, when the council was reconstituted; the franchise was extended to women, and direct election of Fijian members was provided for. On 10 October 1970, Fiji became a sovereign and independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations, with Kamisese K. T. Mara, head of the Alliance Party, as prime minister. He and his majority party won elections in 1972, 1977, and 1982, but lost the April 1987 elections to a coalition of the Indian-based National Federation Party and the Labour Party. The new government was short-lived, however. Within a month, it was toppled by a military coup led by Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka and aimed at restoring political leadership to ethnic Fijians. On 20 May thousands of rioting Fijians attacked Indians. Under a compromise reached the next day, the governor-general temporarily was to head the government, assisted by an 18-member advisory council, including the coup leader and former Prime Minister Mara. Elections were to be held within six months, and the council was to propose constitutional revisions that would safeguard the political dominance of indigenous Fijians.

On 25 September 1987, however, Rabuka led a second coup. He subsequently suspended the constitution, dissolved the parliament, and declared Fiji a republic. The governor-general, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, was appointed president of the republic, and Mara was reappointed prime minister. Full civilian rule returned in January 1990 when Rabuka gave up his position as minister of home affairs and returned to barracks as head of the armed forces.

The second coup in 1987 and the adoption of the 1990 constitution, which favored ethnic Fijian control of the government, led to heavy Indian emigration, especially among those Indians with sufficient capital to move. This emigration caused serious economic difficulties for Fiji, but it also ensured that the native Fijian population became the majority. In May of 1992 the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) or the Fijian Political Party, led by now Major-General Rabuka, won 30 of the 37 seats reserved for ethnic Fijians. Rabuka formed a coalition government with the General Voters Party (GVP) and with the informal support of the Fijian Labour Party (FLP), and became prime minister. After President Ganilau's death in December 1993, the Council of Chiefs elected Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara as the new president in January 1994. Rabuka's government fell in November 1993 when the legislature defeated the government's

budget. New elections were held in February 1994. The SVT won 31 seats, and Rabuka was able to form a coalition government with the GVP. However, Rabuka's hold on power was tenuous as pressure mounted from within and outside the country for constitutional reform.

Beginning in 1995, a Constitutional Review Commission spent almost two years to develop a system that would avoid purely ethnic politics and, at the same time, take account of the concerns of the native Fijian community. Its recommendations were unanimously adopted by Parliament in July 1997. In 1999, parliamentary elections were held that resulted in a government led by Mahendra Chaudhry, leader of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP), who became the first Indian prime minister of Fiji.

On 19 May 2000, George Speight, a failed businessman and son of Sam Speight, an opposition member of Parliament, took Parliament by show of force and held Prime Minister Chaudhry and most of his multiracial cabinet hostage for 56 days. In exchange for the hostages' release, the military—which imposed martial law during the crisis—agreed to replace Chaudhry's government, grant an amnesty to the rebels taking part in the coup, and to abolish Fiji's multiracial constitution. One of Speight's demands was a new constitution that would only permit indigenous Fijians to hold the posts of prime minister and president. The coup resulted in widespread civil unrest and attacks against ethnic Indians, and caused a drop of 41% in tourism. Speight and 369 of his supporters were arrested in July 2000, and the military installed ethnic Fijian Laisenia Qarase as prime minister in a caretaker government. He was charged with organizing Fiji's next general election and drawing up a new constitution. Eighteen political parties fielded 351 candidates for office in parliamentary elections held in August and September 2001. Qarase was elected prime minister as the head of his newly created party, the nationalist Soqoso Duavata ni Lewenivuana Party (Fijian United Party or SDL), which took 32 out of 71 parliamentary seats. Qarase's campaign focused on indigenous Fijians' fears of political domination by ethnic Indians, who make up 44% of the population. Almost all ministers in Qarase's new government were indigenous Fijians. In February 2002, the Fijian Supreme Court ruled that Laisenia Qarase had to include ethnic-Indian members of the Fiji Labour Party in his cabinet. As of January 2003, more than 14,000 ethnic Indians left the country since the May 2000 coup, mainly professionals and skilled workers.


For 200 years, the head of state in the United States has always been a White man (never a woman) until Barack Hussein Obama had the audacity the change all that. That's amazing given that it was not too long ago that people like Obama was not even allowed to vote let alone become President of the most powerful nation on this planet. We are only 44 years old. Will change will take it little while to come or will it come quickly. Only time will tell.