Stop the rot in Malaysian politics


With reference to Frank Smith’s piece on Malaysia’s corruption scandal (‘Graft embedded in Razak premiership’, September 2015), I was recently in Kuala Lumpur and witnessed the preparations for the planned protests to demand prime minister Najib Razak’s resignation (which went ahead peacefully on August 29/30).

It is about time. Malaysia’s political system has become rotten to the core and with media crackdowns, Najib’s supposed democratic credentials and earlier claims to be a reformer have taken a battering.

His ruling UMNO party has been in power too long, in spite of the opposition winning more votes in the last (2013) election. It has used various means to reinforce its position and give unfair advantages to the country’s ethnic-Malay Muslims over the ethnic-Chinese and ethnic-Indian population.

No real challengers to Najib’s premiership have emerged, at least none that his own MPs are willing to risk backing. It can only be hoped that a vote of no confidence will be forced through by opposition politicians when parliament reconvenes in October. This might well be helped along by the large numbers of Malaysians who took to the streets to show their discontent with the status quo, though the danger remains that this could end up rallying ethnic-Malay support for Najib.

Stacey Thrale

Keep UK Indian-friendly

Three cheers for Lord Karan Bilimoria, a great entrepreneur and spokesman for Indians’ contribution to British society and its economy (‘Cobra’s crusading Lord bites back’, September issue).

No one can deny the current problems that exist with mass immigration to Britain, and elsewhere. There are too many unskilled workers attempting to cross our borders, when what we need is highly trained people offering shortage skills in fields such as engineering and technology.

Indians can offer these very skills in spades, as the good Lord points out, and the British have a clear affinity with Indian people. Even UKIP leader Nigel Farage has expressed a preference!

Pat McCluskey
Kilburn, London

Two sides of the fault-line

Since the divisive legacy of Operation Bluestar sadly continues to this day, I was pleased to see your magazine offering a balanced view on the subject in Professor Pritam Singh’s article (Asian Affairs, September 2015).

By highlighting the wrongs committed on both sides of the ‘fault-line’, Professor Singh calls attention to the importance of considering all aspects of a story and using that vision to take action to reconcile old wounds — something Mrs Gandhi failed to do preceding and after Blue Star.

It is thanks to India’s Sikh community, and the country’s multi-religious culture, that the bitterness of Operation Blue Star has not spread deeper or wider. But religious discord is always simmering, in India and elsewhere, and the events at Amritsar in 1984 should warn Narendra Modi and all world leaders against allowing extreme elements within political parties to incite hatred of other religious communities. If we want people to be loyal to their country, this cannot gainsay loyalty to their faith.

There is said to be no ‘proactive struggle’ for Khalistan in India today, yet the Khalistan movement has shown signs of life in Britain in recent years, as evidenced by the 2012 attack on Major-General Brar in London by four young Sikhs.

Ajay Kochar

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