My Anthem

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Din Merican's Best Hari Raya Gift to Desi!

mGf DIN MERICAN, who has been a GUEST BLOGGER at Desi's Place as well at's where I first bantered with him and the host -- and we trio often have a clash of dissenting views, quite expected coming from Din, a confessed UMNO veteran, and Desi a professed Opposition vet! -- called me this morning at 8.30am. I thought he wanted to treat Desi to his fave Kopi in exchange for my French toast with two helpings of "kaya"! But no, physically it was impossible to exchange such BF goodies as he's in Subang Jaya and me in Furong, quite an hour's fast travel apart unless he could borrow the PM's executive Air Force Pet1?

But Sdr Din gave me an even better gift -- I told him it was the best Hari Raya present a buddy could give me! -- the news that he's officially joining Parti Keadilan Raykat! Let the man speak for himself,via latest Post at mutually close Malaysian writer

"Din Merican Says:

  1. My dear colleagues, friends and critics in the blogger community,

    On October 3, that is tomorrow, I will be formally be inducted into the KeADILan party. The time has come to see what I can do as a political activist rather than a analyst, commentator and critic of the Badawi Administration. I will, however, not be holding a formal position in the party, nor will I seek an elected office.

    I am happy to be in the “boiler room” of the party as “Program Director”, so to speak, with a very young outstanding team of talented ivy leaguers of all nationalities that make up the rich fabric of our great country.

    We have a job to do. We welcome volunteers and your support for a cause for change via democratic and constitutional means. You can reach me at or Please write to me about your concerns and suggestions.

    The decision I have taken is a long considered one. It is a difficult one because I will no longer be strictly impartial in my views. More importantly, I could be losing some of my old friends in UMNO, MCA and MIC. But that is a small price to pay.

    KeADILan ably led by Sdr. Anwar Ibrahim best represents my own position regarding the present Administration and what we can do for a better and more competitive Malaysia and a less corrupt one.

    We can no longer be behind Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan or South Korea. Even Botswana and Slovenia are better than us in terms of ranking on Berlin-based Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index!!

    Remember, Prime Minister Badawi rode to power in 2004 on election promises of transparency and accountability. All that “work with me, not for me” stuff followed. As we all now realise, his Administation has been neither transparent nor accountable. In stead, its actions seek to reinforce the prevailing culture of opacity and mediocrity. I will say no more.

    Dr. Bakri who is my intellectual sparring partner, friend and colleague over many years knows my reasons for making this decision at a rather late stage of my life (68 years old). Maybe, he will have some comments to make.

    For me, it is time to be in the political arena, and work hard for change.
    We can no longer–I certainly can’t– afford to stay on the sidelines. We have to register to vote and be active in the affairs of our country. We must end this culture of impunity, and hold our government to high standards of ethics and public accountability.

    I believe that we can in our own little ways make a difference. If we do not anything, we deserve the government we get.

    Cheers and thanks for your understanding and support, Din"

DESIDERATA: For the moment, I say Syabas to Sdr Din Merican , who graduated from blogosphere "conversationist" to protagonist activist-buddy with Desi, and now a party comrade, and we shall look forward to challenging, even "interesting", times ahead as we try our individual and collective bests to move NegaraKu away from sliding towards the Abyss.

For now, I'll take a break for a BF sojourn with another buddy -- not so political but matey for the soul yet unsold-- and I will be back to elaborate on my interactions with Sdr Din. Chow for meantime, which means "Seya later" or "Come Eat With Me" if you can track me down at Men Kee, Seremban:)

UPDATEd @about 11am: My EsteemedReaders, can I urge thee to later surf to to read in full the good doctor's latest on the Three-man Panel written much about by Sdr Kim Quek -- another recent entry into PKR! -- yesterday. I'll just entice with opening paragraphs and Sdr Din's initial comment at the moment and take another break (earning bread&butter, throw some kaya on when the money rolls in! -- doing urgent editing work!).

"Deal With The Rot, Not The Tape

If Chief Justice Ahmad Feiruz has any sense of personal honor and professional integrity left, he should resign immediately.

If Prime Minister Abdullah has even the slightest responsibility for leadership and moral duty to the citizens, he should not extend the Chief Justice’s contract due to expire this October.

If the Malaysian Bar Council has any credible principle of societal obligation and self-policing ethics of a profession, it would disbar the lawyer making that phone call shown in the infamous video clip exposed by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Alas, judging from past performances, expect none of these. That is the unfortunate reality of Malaysia today. What remains then would be for the King to withhold consent for extending Feiruz’s contract, thereby precipitating an unnecessary and distracting constitutional crisis the nation could ill bear..."

The Bar Council had an Emergency Meeting on the issue, but instead of initiating the necessary disciplinary proceedings on the involved lawyer (which would definitely be within its power) it decided instead to march at Putrajaya and hand a petition to the Prime Minister demanding for a Royal Commission. Next those lawyers would be demonstrating on the streets. So Third World, a la Pakistan! I would have thought that those smart lawyers would have concocted some novel legal theory on which to sue the government into action.

Meanwhile Abdullah Badawi was “disappointed,” not at the explosive contents of the video but the fact that it was released. Wake up, Mr. Prime Minister! The rot is the Malaysian judiciary, not the taping. If Abdullah does perk up from his slumber, he would probably order the arrest of Anwar Ibrahim!..."
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"Din Merican Says: September 30th, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Dear Dr. Bakri,
I am glad you have joined a lot of us in Malaysia in expressing horror at the state of our judiciary. Nothing short of a Royal Commission of Inquiry can begin the process to stop the rot that had set in and restore public confidence in this important institution.

The 3-man panel headed by Tan Sri Haidar which was set up recently by the Deputy Prime Minister will not do. It is at best “political damage” control, whereas what the country needs is a root and branch reform of our Courts and the administration of justice.

Political interference in the judiciary must cease and safeguards must be put in place to prevent it from ever happening again. We must respect the Constitution and uphold the Rule of Law. The Prime Minister must act with firmness on this issue and I hope he does so with utmost urgency when he returns home from the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

I agree with you that Ahmad Fairuz must step down before new revelations about him become public knowledge.

We can return the days of glory when Tun Suffian Hashim, Tuanku Sultan Azlan Shah, and Tun Salleh Abbas were Lord Presidents. But there must be the political will to fix it."

DESI: The highlights in Dr Bakri Musa's article plus Din's comment (thus BOLDED) are mine. I'll write more on some personal experiences interacting with Din over cuppas that not only warm the body but also the spirits, and the intellectual-yet-down-to-earth discourse often turns the whitening cells back into grey. Thank you matey!


Sdr Din had served in the private sector for most of his career before enlightening himself at an academic sojourn on lifelong learning quest and sharing his vast corporate experience. Though never a newshound,one "bad"habit he shared with Desi is pushing deadlines to their limits as wouldmost goode, or baddder ones, journos, normally do. Apparently in the field of journalism, exquisite writings come on tap at the last minute when the adrenaline floweth smooth. Or is that a myth?

So when last December I requested Sdr Din to write a short FOREWORD for my Anthology of Poems scheduled for publicatin in April 2007, the pseudo-journo burnt the midnight oil only on the eve of April 17 to pen that two-page thingy, and also only after I promised him an extra kopi kau with each telephone call. The response came dated Aril 18,2007 after se&en kopi-kaus were extended (Pulling thy short legs, mGf -- I plucked that magic number since 7 is my fave!).

Okay, I am extracting some relevant HI-points -- especially ego-lifting ones, mine, not Din's! -- to mark here for posterity:

"Desi is a vey uassuming man and it is easy to underestimate his considerable talent as a journalist, a poet and public intellectual........ He speaks gently and reassuringly, and makes his points succinctly and lucidly."

Hey, the context to this was he came to such iferences after we had had several "animatedly" exchanges over cyberspace, mainly at, focused often on former Prime MinisterTun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's 22-year reign at CEO of NegaraKu. Sdr Din mostly sang Dr Mahatir's praises, which I shared only up to a point. I said Dr Mahathir's first decade in office was without doubt admirable and progressive, but the latter half was marre by escalating "scandals" involving his UMNO and MCA businessmen-lackeys. And this was compounded by his children's involvement in BIG business.

I had reason to believe I also listened to Din's defence of Dr Mahathir's achievements, which I acknowledge -- the huge infrastructure development, putting Malaysia on the international map with well-articulated foreign policies not tid to any big power's coattails, etc -- so we truly bantered in the spirit advocated by VOLTAIRE's "I may disagree with what you say but I will defend,to the death, you right to say it."

I'd like to believe our engagement over some two years, first via blogosphere, later over tea and dinner, did result in Desi's dilution of some more "extremist" (negative) assessment of Dr Mahathir, and concommitantly, I trust Din similarly was malleable in accepting that the Opposition cause does have a positive role to play in nation-building, -- not just BN dominated by UMNO! --especially with a former DPM sacked under very disturbing circumstances extracting a high price on the independence of and people's confidence in Malaysia's judiciary. (And we now confront a judiciary crisis of gargantuan proportions whose script is still being written...)

One issue we both agree on after reviewing on Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's administration after three years is that the successor to Dr Mahathir had been beautifully high on promise but short, pretty short, on delivery. Borrowing Din's words, we both lament "the fact that despite our progress (economically) since our Independence fifty years ago, we lack social capital (truts, loyalty, honour and interity)." Din added: "Like Desi, I believe that we must restore morality and compassion to our Malaysian way of life."

"We talk of establishing a 'caring society' by 2020, but we have yet to begin the first small steps in that direction. We pursue economic growth. We want progress but we forget that progress also has a morality dimension, and it must include our concern fr the less fortunate among us."

The last quoted point is in tandem with PKR's main plank in its New Economic Agenda which stresses policies based on needs, never on race, religion or colour. I urge other fellow Malaysians to join Din and me on this ship captained by former DPM Sdr Anwar Ibrahim which we believe is the only viable vehicle that can steer the Malaysia we love back onto the right path of building a united nation -- with a society which is fair, equitable and humane, without the racials blinds that have been clouding us for the past five decades and with no sign of amelioration under the present government.

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