Day: May 18, 2015

Death sentence on Morsi – Egyptian judiciary sinks to new low

We denounce the latest decision by the Egyptian judiciary convicting Mohamed Morsi and sentencing him to death on charges of plotting a prison escape with Hamas and conspiring with foreign agents against the nation.

The ruling, which comes on the heels of a recent mass death sentence on over 100 people, represents a new low in the depths that the illegitimate government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has sunk to. This was a trial that has failed to meet even the basic requirements of due process and flouted every rule of evidence.

It is also a death sentence on democracy and justice underscored by the intense and massive accumulation of power by the military since the deposing of President Morsi in the July 2013 coup assisted by unseen hands in the region.

The powers that be have wasted no time in undoing the ground work that had been initiated under the representative government of Morsi and has unleashed a torrent of repressive and oppressive measures against independent civil society organisations, academia and the free media while driving the remnants of a vibrant opposition underground.


Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people – ASEAN must act swiftly on humanitarian grounds

The current plight of the Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people is a humanitarian crisis of herculean proportions that is threatening to blow apart the unity of ASEAN members. This is not the time to engage in a blame game. Finger pointing by one party against another will only add to greater mutual acrimony.

All ASEAN members must for now set aside their nationalistic or parochial concerns and focus on the immediate task of helping save the thousands that are currently stranded in great need of food, medical care, and shelter.

There are no short cuts to solving a crisis of this nature involving boat people except a long-term strategic solution that must include swift and effective action on the part of maritime and security authorities.

In this regard, I fully support Malaysia’s leadership role as Chairman of ASEAN in 2015. As time is of the essence, Malaysia must call for an urgent and immediate meeting of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers (AFMM) to discuss the issue.

It is clear that Bangladesh is also a party to the crisis and it would only be right and proper that the AFMM invite the Bangladesh FM to join the meeting. The immediate objective of the AFMM will be to endorse a plan of action to avert the crisis from spiralling out of control.

I also urge Malaysia to concurrently respond to the urgent needs of the boat people in terms of safety, shelter and medical care and to mobilise the ASEAN countries for support. This is also the best time for civil society organisations to work hand in glove with the respective member countries in one giant humanitarian effort to relieve the plight of the boat people.

These are immediate concerns that must be resolved and, considering that Malaysia is the chair, I urge the Prime Minister to take the lead in these initiatives.

He must also ensure that, come November, the Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people issue is placed high on the agenda of the ASEAN leaders’ summit. Among other critical issues, resettlement, repatriation, and security matters will feature prominently. The question of the role of Myanmar and Bangladesh (as push countries) and Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand (as recipient countries) must also be thoroughly resolved. Undoubtedly because of the geographical proximity, Malaysia and Indonesia will bear the brunt of the proliferation of refugee camps. Brunei and Singapore too must willy-nilly play some significant role towards the long-term solution.

In any event, these problems cannot and should not give us any excuse not to act or to retard our response to this growing humanitarian crisis.


Moving Selangor Onto The Global Map

1. First and foremost, let me say ‘thank you’ to all our guests for accepting our invitation. I just want to say that we are proud to have with us today members of the global business community, heads of government departments, and representatives from domestic and foreign business chambers as well as foreign dignitaries. I also want to acknowledge the presence of members of the media.

2. This occasion is very important to us and we are very honoured by your presence today.

3. You will recall that it was the exceptionally beautiful face of Helen of Troy “that launched a thousand ships” and “burnt the topless towers of Ilium” which, of course, changed the entire course of ancient Greek history.

4. Indeed, while we have no intention of starting any wars, I cannot overemphasize the significance of our ceremony today. When I press that button later to launch a new name and a new logo for the Selangor State Investment Centre Berhad, we will be embarking on a new odyssey that we hope will launch a new era for the future of investments and economic prosperity for Selangor.

5. As the record shows, for the last 15 years at least, many of you have been our partners in economic growth, working closely with our investment arm. Thanks to you as major players in trade and industry across the board, and the relevant bodies of the state as well, Selangor is the most advanced state in Malaysia contributing almost a quarter of the GNP.

6. As I have said before, this state is a driving force of innovation. A strong inflow of foreign direct investments has been vital to the economy while we remain at the same time the most diversified in the country. Our relationship with foreign investors has been symbiotic. This is a strength that we must continue to build on.

7. But as they say, in the language of innovation, 15 years is a long time. While we do not fix something that is not broken, there are times when we need to step back in order to see further ahead. We need to respond effectively and timeously to the changing dynamics in the structure of investments.

8. It is not about fixing anything. It is about renewal and re-engineering – this is vital for enduring and sustained success – and this is the time.

9. A message of change in our economic direction also requires a modern and agile institution to master such tremendous challenges. So, we decided that a stronger focus and clear message requires an unambiguous brand.

10. In 2015, we give you a highly motivated Invest Selangor Berhad to better reflect their mission of being the state’s foremost promoter.

11. As we launch our new brand, I invite you to shift from the old perception of Selangor Darul Ehsan as a geographically defined State in the country to Selangor as a global entity.

12. Moving into this league requires clear vision, sustained commitment and a passion for success. It also requires highly automated processes and increasingly skilled labour. So, I seize this moment also to remind ourselves that we must work tirelessly towards realizing our goal of creating a knowledge economy.

13. Attracting investments and promoting vibrant growth in order to catapult Selangor as a global entity cannot be the sole responsibility of Dato’ Teng, although being in charge of the Investment portfolio, he does and will continue to play a key role.

14. We need total team work and in this regard, I intend to mobilize the entire state machinery to help us realize this objective. We must therefore move in tandem with our current efforts to improve our infrastructure.

15. Selangor is already strategically poised – we have the largest sea port, the airports, the major highways and public transport systems and fast and reliable internet links.

16. The major institutions of higher learning – colleges and universities – are here to provide the intellectual hinterland. Having said that, I totally recognise that much more needs to be done to enhance the quality of our graduates and working talent pool. This has to start from first principles, which means we have to get our primary and secondary education on the right track from the beginning.

17. Enhancing education must also go hand in hand with the upgrading of research facilities, what more if Selangor is to embark on this global odyssey. The state must play a proactive role here working in sync with the private sector and the relevant stake holders.

18. We will also need an efficient management and control system of local authorities. We are stressing accountability and prudence while being poised to spur the economy and the prosperity of the people. Does that mean that administrative stringency will prevail over efficiency?

19. Certainly not. On the contrary, I would like to stress that regulatory processes within our jurisdiction must be speeded up. The heavy hand of bureaucracy must not be allowed to weigh down on efficiency and the promotion of business enterprise and economic growth. Globally, this is one of the key factors of competitiveness to attract foreign investment.

20. Another crucial factor and this is particularly so for emerging economies is the maintenance and management of industrial parks. In this regard, we have set in motion initiatives to re-organize them in a way that would have a great potential to address most of the daily concerns of investors, entrepreneurs and all stakeholders in Selangor.

21. It is a new model that emphasizes transparency and accountability while blazing the trail for a new form of industry-government collaboration. Furthermore, in line with advanced management approaches, we are moving towards decentralization.

22. Congratulations to Selangor Investment who has developed this model together with FMM Selangor and experts from Monash University.

23. On the social development side, we are on track in our program to promote a house-owning democracy under our “Rumah Selangorku” scheme. As you may have read, this month alone, I have officiated several ground-breaking ceremonies for projects to build homes priced below RM250,000.

24. While there is no doubt that our political economy is founded on free market capitalism, we will not abandon social justice imperatives. We are convinced that development and growth are not solely driven by unmitigated greed. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to strike a healthy balance between growth and prosperity on the one hand and societal welfare and harmony on the other.


25. Finally, let me reiterate that taking Selangor global is not a pipe dream. It is a clear vision grounded on reality. Let us not be constrained by the conventional thinking of competing among our sister states in Malaysia. That is a zero-sum game.

26. Let us chart our own market boundaries and build our own industry structure. Beyond the shores of the vast state of Selangor lies the Straits of Malacca and beyond that, the vast blue ocean of opportunities. Let us set forth on this venture together.

Thank you.