Saturday, May 31, 2008

Digging up Malaysia’s Racial Past

Digging up Malaysia’s Racial Past
Philip Bowring
16 May, 2007

A new book presents the view that 1969 race riots were instigated by ambitious Malay politicians. Now it seems the book will be banned by the government.

may13bookThirty-eight years on, the traumatic ethnic riots of May 13, 1969 in Malaysia remain as much a subject of official censorship as the events of June 4, 1989 in China. Now a new book by a Malaysian Chinese academic is on the point of being officially banned for suggesting that May 13 was the occasion for what amounted to a coup against the independence leader and Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman by his United Malays National Organisation colleagues who were pushing pro-Malay policies. Officials of Malaysia’s Internal Security Ministry Tuesday confiscated 10 copies of the book from a Kuala Lumpur bookstore, advising the store not to sell it as it may be banned. According to a letter issued by ministry officials, the book is suspected of being an “undesirable publication.”

What happened on May 13 remains highly relevant to UMNO’s position as the leader of the Barisan National, the alliance of race-based parties that has ruled the country since independence 50 years ago.

“Declassified Documents on the Malaysian riots of 1969” by Dr. Kua Kia Soong, the principal of New Era College, is based not directly on Malaysian sources but on now-open British documents held at the Public Records Office in Kew Garden near London. These consist of contemporary British diplomatic and intelligence reports which suggest that the riots were not spontaneous acts of communal violence, as is constantly alleged by UMNO, but were fanned by Malay elements, with support from the army and police, wanting to discredit the accommodating prime minister and impose a much more rigorous Malay agenda. One British document concluded that the goal was to “formalize Malay dominance, sideline the Chinese and shelve Tunku.”

The official Malaysian government version of events was that the riots were sparked by opposition parties “infiltrated by communist insurgents” following huge opposition gains in the election. Although the UMNO-led Alliance, the predecessor of the Barisan National, retained an overall majority, it lost its two thirds majority and its control of Selangor state was threatened. Certainly there was much celebrating among the mainly Chinese opposition parties at the election result, which angered Malay politicians who sensed their political dominance was under threat.

By the time the riots were over, official figures said 196 people had been killed, 6,000 made homeless and more than 700 buildings destroyed or damaged.

Non-Malays in particular have long believed that though there was violence on both sides, it was a mostly one-sided affair with some Malay politicians, notably Selangor Chief Minister Harun Idris, encouraging mobs to attack Chinese areas and that the security forces initially did little to prevent violence. This is largely confirmed by contemporary reports such as those of Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent Bob Reece.

Kua’s thesis suggests that there was a grander political design behind the episode, which from the beginning was intended to create a new political agenda and new leadership. He attributes this to a younger Malay group dissatisfied with the aristocratic, pro-British the Tunku.

In any event, the Tunku effectively stepped aside as emergency powers to rule by decree were (temporarily) placed in the hands of a National Operations Council headed by his deputy Tun Abdul Razak – father of current deputy prime minister Najib Abdul Razak. The Tunku remained prime minister until September 1970 but had little authority any more. In 1971 he also stepped down as president of UMNO after virulent criticism by the Malay “Young Turks,” headed by Mahathir Mohamad, the future Prime Minister. The same year the government enunciated the New Economic Policy and began aggressive affirmative action programs to advance the economic and educational level of Malays.

However, while the consequences of May 13 may be clear, there are disagreements about Kua’s thesis even among those who attribute the riots to Malay politicians. For example, Dr Syed Husin Ali also a respected academic and deputy head of the opposition Keadilan Party, has suggested that while some UMNO figures used the events as an opportunity to sideline the Tunku and set out a pro-Malay agenda, it was not planned as such.

In other words, Razak and others took advantage of the situation which arose after the election and the appearance of Malay mobs to grab the reins of power from the Tunku, with whom they were dissatisfied, but that it was not premeditated. Syed also takes issue with Kua’s view that they represented an aspirant Malay capitalist class when most had traditional and feudal links.

Bookstores have been advised not to sell Kua’s book and a formal ban looks likely on the grounds that it will stir up racial animosities, which it could well do in the short run. However, from a broader perspective it is hard to see how a multi-racial, multi-religious Malaysia can flourish if events such as May 13 can only be discussed in private, while the public is fed a distorted official version in order to sustain the legitimacy of UMNO politicians.

Enhancing sexual health

Enhancing sexual health

Yam Cher Seng

Dec 28, 2007

EVERYONE experiences low sexual drive and other sexual problems at some point in their lives.

This may be due to illnesses, surgery, injury, fatigue and stress. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol are at higher risk of developing sexual problems. These conditions may affect blood flow to the sexual organs and nerve functions. Ageing may also affect sexual health in women as many complain of vaginal dryness and lack of libido especially after menopause.

Those who are younger may experience sexual problems due to stress and fatigue. A heavy workload and long hours may affect a person's behaviour and mood towards sex. Other problems faced by younger people involve finances, poor health and relationship with others.

Balancing your life is important to ensure a healthy sex life and ultimately, a healthy relationship with your partner. Healthy eating and regular exercises are advised. It is not as easy to put this into practice but it may help your health overall, including sexual health.

Many people opt for vitamin Bs to sustain energy levels and to cope in times of stress. Others go for herbal remedies. A combination of herbs such as horny goat weed, ginkgo, ginseng, withania, muira puama, puncture vine and damiana may be of benefit.

Withania and ginseng are adaptogens which help one cope with stress. In addition, ginseng increases the nitric oxide level, helpful for erectile dysfunction. Ginkgo has been traditionally used to promote blood flow. The herb relaxes the artery walls, allowing more blood flow to the penis. Horny goat weed has testosterone-like effects, stimulating sexual desire and sensory nerves.

Damiana stimulates the natural desire for sex. Muira Puama increases libido and helps in hormone production. It also helps to maintain an erection. Puncture vine raises the amount of luteinising hormone, leading to increased testosterone levels in men.

A combination of these herbs increases the production of the hormones dopamine and serotonin by the pituitary gland. The adrenal gland produces lower amounts of cortisol and higher DHEA. This leads to higher stamina and energy levels. In addition, these herbs are able to relax muscles, thus improving blood flow.

According to Dr Ismail Tamby, an andrologist or specialist in sexual and reproductive health medicine who conducted a study on 50 people from all walks of life using these herbs, all of them had positive effects not only in sexual health, but also in physical and mental health.

"The participants saw changes in their body, improved health, better immune system and higher energy levels. This is what this food supplement does. It adapts to improve function and processes and gives a lot of benefits," said Dr Tamby.

The writer is a pharmacist who is actively involved in the dissemination of information on natural healthcare and holistic therapies.

This article was first published in The New Straits Times on Dec 24, 2007.

Ezam keeps his bargain, starts attacking Anwar

Ezam keeps his bargain, starts attacking Anwar

(MalaysianInsider) KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Finally, it boiled down to one pressing need: Umno wanted someone who could unsettle Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, attack him and put him on the defensive.

Months before Election 2008, Umno officials opened talks with Ezam Mohd Noor on returning to the ruling party. But there was little urgency on both sides until March 8 when Pakatan Rakyat snared Kedah, Selangor, Penang and Perak from Barisan Nasional.

Suddenly, there was panic in Umno circles as they contemplated the possibility of Anwar forcing crossovers of BN MPs and the collapse of the government. In the weeks after the polls, it was also patently clear that the momentum was with the Opposition leader and there was nobody in Umno who had the "ammunition" to fire at the prime minister-in-waiting.

After all, it has been 10 years since he was sacked from the party and government. Also, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and others seemed preoccupied with fighting fires in Umno than the enemy outside.

Again, Ezam’s name cropped up, and this time there was intensive courting by Umno officials including Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Wan Farid Wan Salleh. A Perak Umno leader told The Malaysian Insider:

"We told Ezam that he would need to attack Anwar because he knew his weak points. Of course, we also think that he has the ability and charisma to lead Umno Youth. I think Ezam himself believes that he could go quite high in Umno. But his immediate job is to show up Anwar."

Ezam has started to keep up to his end of the bargain. In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia, he painted Anwar as a political chameleon, noting that Parti Keadilan Rakyat seemed to have a fluid political ideology.

"If we remember, PKR was declared as a multiracial party with a Malay spine. This resulted in the party getting support from civil servants and Abim. But lately it seems that it has become a multi-racial party. This change happened after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison.

"This was done because he understood the economic situation and the sentiments of the Chinese. This decision shows clearly that PKR is willing to change its position or struggle. To me this is not consistent. I can tell you that in a few weeks time, Anwar will bring back the Malay image to try and attract Malay leaders and prominent Malays into PKR. This he will do because he is being attacked for not caring enough about the Malay agenda.

"What this means is that he will once again abandon the PKR position and move to get the Malay market."

He disagreed with Anwar’s position on the New Economic Policy, saying that he was playing a dangerous game.

"He is willing to push the out of bound markers and disparage the NEP. He is playing on racial sentiments so that now the Chinese equate the NEP with corruption. He is playing the NEP card to get support from non-Malays. He is willing to over step the boundaries even though he knows that the NEP is an important policy for the Malays and other races. We cannot run down the NEP to the point where it is not respected by Malays or other races," said Ezam.

Ezam and Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail were among the founders of Keadilan, the political party born after Anwar was sacked by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for alleged sodomy and corruption. In the early years, he was the face of opposition to the government, promising to bring down ministers with six boxes of classified documents that he had carted overseas.

But his love affair with PKR ended after Anwar’s release from prison in 2004 after the Federal Court overturned his conviction for sodomy.

Ezam felt that Anwar was listening more to Azmin Ali than him. He stopped playing an active role in the party since 2006, focusing instead on the non-governmental organisation Gerak. Still, he kept contact with Anwar and his family members. In the interview with Mingguan Malaysia, Ezam hit back at Wan Azizah for saying that she was shocked at his decision to return to Umno.

"Why should she be shocked? Didn’t her husband once join Umno after criticising Umno and going to jail under the Internal Security Act? So she should not be surprised because her husband also went through the same process. But what we need to realise is that the Umno I am joining is better than the one he joined. At least the party I am joining is clearly interested in change and reforms," he said.

So the first shots have been fired by the former loyalist. Anwar is not likely to respond. Not yet, anyway. The official position in PKR is that Ezam is a disgruntled former party member, a nobody in today’s political environment. Engaging him in a mud-slinging contest will only serve to give him equal status as Anwar and create the impression that Umno did indeed pull off a coup by getting Ezam to change his allegiance.

We're not bowing to pressure: Najib

We're not bowing to pressure: Najib
Adrian David
1 June, 2008

PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA: The Barisan Nasional government supports the move to open the access road connecting Bandar Mahkota Cheras to the Cheras-Kajang Highway for the benefit of the people.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the decision was not to bow to pressure or to please the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government in Selangor.

"We want what's good for the people," he said at a parade held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Royal Malaysian Air Force in Subang yesterday.

However, he said, the government will not back the people if they break the law.

On Friday, the cabinet had decided to allow the access road to be opened, pending a court decision.

Controversy arose when the highway toll concession holder, Grand Saga Sdn Bhd, sealed off the access road.

Grand Saga had built a wall in January 2006 to prevent toll-free traffic from Bandar Mahkota Cheras accessing the Bandar Tun Hussein Onn junction that connects the Cheras-Kajang Highway.

This resulted in a spate of confrontations between the residents and a group believed to be employed by Grand Saga to prevent the removal of the wall.

On the RMAF's future procurements, Najib, who is also defence minister, said there were plans to acquire more jets to strengthen the air defence.

"There are plans to beef up the multi-role combat aircraft fleet. But a lot depends on the budget and the requirements.

"If need be, we will acquire the jets in stages."

The RMAF, he added, was looking at optimising the Sukhoi Su-30MKM in two years once the aircraft are fitted with the desired avionics and the crew trained.

"We are looking at using Indian Air Force flying instructors to train our pilots in dogfights, tactics and weaponry."

On the alleged poor maintenance of RMAF aircraft, Najib said that the ministry had taken stock of the issue.

"We have learnt from our lessons. The RMAF is being structured towards a better maintenance culture."

Zaid Ibrahim, The Back Door Minister

Zaid Ibrahim, The Back Door Minister
1 June, 2008

1. I refer to the outburst by Zaid Ibrahim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department – (New Straits Times, 29.5.08) wherein he was quoted as saying ‘’You can say anything so long as you do not violate party principles. You are at liberty to talk rubbish, nonsense or real stuff, but you have to follow the rules’’ – in respect of a debate on the Royal Address between Mukhriz Mahathir and Zaid Ibrahim.

This outburst by Zaid Ibrahim is in response to accusations made by Mukhriz Mahathir that “after being appointed minister, he (Zaid) immediately set out to realise the opposition manifesto, not the BN manifesto”-(NST,28.5.08). Furthermore Mukhriz Mahathir had alleged ‘’that Zaid’s willingness to review laws like the Internal Security Act gave the impression that he was moving to realise the opposition’s manifesto’’- (NST 29.5.08). Zaid Ibrahim therefore asked the Barisan Nasional whip to take action against Mukhriz Mahathir –(NST, 29.5.08) for humiliating him, the government and the prime minister (NST,29.5.08).

2. Zaid Ibrahim is only an ordinary member of UMNO and in the last election was not even given any seat to contest. However after the elections due to reasons known only to him and Abdullah Badawi in the exercise of his prerogative powers immediately made Zaid Ibrahim a senator and made him a ‘’back door minister’’ in the prime minister’s department carrying out the functions of a de facto law minister (incidentally Zaid Ibrahim intends to clip this prerogative powers of Abdullah Badawi in his forthcoming reforms). Not being a parliamentarian, Zaid Ibrahim is not a member of the Dewan Rakyat and therefore does not represent the Rakyat of any constituency except the government and Abdullah Badawi.

3. However, Mukhriz Mahathir a member of UMNO holds the position of UMNO Youth Exco having been elected as a Member of Parliament and represents the Rakyat of Jerlun in the Dewan Rakyat and is therefore answerable to the Rakyat in that constituency but not to the government. As a member of parliament on an UMNO ticket he is expected to support the Barisan Nasional government in the Dewan Rakyat but as a representative and in the interest of the Rakyat in certain circumstances which he considers fit has the right to criticise or question Zaid Ibrahim or any member of the government or the opposition, whether in or outside parliament, on any statements made by Zaid Ibrahim or any member of the Barisan Nasional government or the opposition that does not seem to be appropriate or acts against the interest of the Rakyat.

4. Zaid Ibrahim’s outburst borders on arrogance with the lack of maturity and the attitude as a de facto law minister that he is always right and no one else and that he is over and above everyone else when he is carrying out his functions and who relies heavily on Abdullah Badawi to prop him up. Under what party principles or any other rules has Mukhriz Mahathir violated for Zaid Ibrahim to call upon the Barisan Nasional whip to take action against Mukhriz Mahathir other than his authority as a ‘’back door minister’’?

5. Mukhriz Mahathir is doing what the Rakyat expects of him as a Member of Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat.

Imran Imtiaz Shah Yacob

Smoking can make you blind

Smoking can make you blind

Ng Wan Ching

Jun 01, 2008
The New Paper

NEARLY all the smokers in a survey here knew the habit can cause lung cancer. But only about a third knew it can cause blindness too.

These are the findings of a cross-cultural survey conducted by a group of investigators in Singapore and Scotland, released ahead of World No Tobacco Day tomorrow.

The study was conducted at Alexandra Hospital here and Ninewells Hospital in Scotland to compare the awareness of various smoking-related conditions, as well as attitudes towards the use of graphic health warning labels printed on cigarette packs.

In Singapore, 115 people were surveyed, and in Scotland, 105.


Results of the survey indicated that awareness levels for diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, mouth and throat cancer and stroke were high, with more than 85 per cent of people being aware, in both populations.

Awareness of lung cancer was the highest, at 96 per cent in Singapore and 98 per cent in Scotland.

In comparison, the awareness of blindness as a smoking-related condition was much lower, with only 36.5 per cent of people being aware of it here and 30.5 per cent in Scotland.

'Cigarette smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration by three- to four-fold and cataract by two- to three-fold,' said Associate Professor Au Eong Kah Guan, Head and Senior Consultant of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Alexandra Hospital, and an investigator in the study.

Age-related macular degeneration is a deterioration in the health of the most sensitive part of the retina known as the macula. A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear crystalline lens in the eye.

Those who took part in the survey were also shown five Australian graphic health warning labels relating to smoking-related diseases and asked to grade the level of fear and disgust they felt.

Here, 39 per cent felt extremely fearful, while 26 per cent in Scotland felt that way.

Forty-one per cent here and 38 per cent in Scotland felt extremely disgusted. One quarter of the respondents in both populations said the labels would have no effect in preventing them from smoking or stopping smoking.

Said Ms Deborah Ng, a Singaporean studying medicine at Ninewells Hospital, who was involved in the study: 'A graphic health warning label communicating the risk of blindness from smoking, in addition to the ones already being circulated in Singapore, may just be the extra push some smokers need to quit smoking.'

Said Dr Srinivasan Sanjay, Registrar of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Alexandra Hospital, another investigator in the study: 'Many people fear the loss of sight but are unaware that blindness is another smoking-related condition.'


Some international studies have shown that many people fear blindness more than lung cancer, said Assoc Prof Au Eong.

'For this reason, we have been in discussion with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to add the warning 'Smoking causes blindness' on cigarette packs,' he said.

Graphic warning labels have been in circulation in Singapore since 2004 and were modified in 2006.

Australia is the only country which carries a graphic warning label which reads 'Smoking causes blindness'.

The survey was conducted in various outpatient clinics from November last year to February this year.

'HPB continually educates and empowers Singaporeans to quit smoking through ongoing public education programmes,' said Mr Lam Pin Woon, its chief executive officer.

One of these is a collaboration with Alexandra Hospital to equip optometrists with the skills and tools to provide quit smoking advice to their customers.

Lung health roadshows for you

SIX community Race for Your Health roadshows will be held over three weekends starting from World No Tobacco Day tomorrow.

These roadshows will provide information about chronic obstructive lung disease.

Members of the public can also receive free basic health screening and professional quit-smoking advice.

Pharmacists trained in smoking cessation intervention will provide one-to-one counselling at these roadshows.

Give Pak Lah the credit he deserves

Give Pak Lah the credit he deserves
31 May, 2008

(TheStar Online) IT is common knowledge and widely accepted that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, or more fondly known as Pak Lah, is a nice man.

But it is quite disappointing that there are some political commentators who, while stating the obvious about Pak Lah being a nice man, then use this as cover to be overly and unfairly critical of the man.

Their playing to the gallery can be quite disconcerting. It seems that they think they can play both sides; praise Pak Lah for being a nice man yet at the same time please his detractors who allude that Pak Lah is inefficient, weak and indecisive.

Those who are unfairly critical of Pak Lah are conveniently forgetting the circumstances in which he came to office and the baggage that came with the position, as well as the prevailing culture in his party and the general populace at large.

Some people do not understand that Pak Lah was very clear about what was needed to be done after the 2004 General Election.

There was no mistaking what the mandate was for which were reforms - a change of how things are done in Malaysia after the last 22 years of the previous prime minister's rule and to a large extent the damage done by his maverick deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who actively pursued an Islamist agenda to the detriment of a multi-racial Malaysia.

But Pak Lah is no novice politician. He understood the implications of rocking the boat; he was in fact an astute strategist who found ways to go about getting things done without needing to upset party members and civil servants who needed time to get used to the changes proposed, understanding their ability to change incrementally.

But on the other side of the fence there were equally astute adversaries who knew that they could use this knowledge to their advantage, although they themselves knew it would be impossible for any prime minister to effect the monumental changes required in the short time given to Pak Lah.

Many who know Pak Lah at close range would agree with me that Pak Lah used his niceness to his advantage and at no time was it his weakness.

The strategy to paint Pak Lah as a weak and ineffective leader began in earnest as soon as his predecessor found out that he would not be getting his way in many matters of state.

There was an organised attempt to politicise the most innocent of intentions by Pak Lah to effect change.

The economic corridors concept was an attempt by Pak Lah to respond to the needs of investors who found that Malaysia’s bureaucracy and red tape was preventing them from investing in the country.

Pak Lah realised that he could not change this in as short a span of time as possible which would have required acceptance by a civil service so used to the old way of doing things.

The corridors helped bypass these obstacles so that the civil service would not feel they were burdened with more work and allowing them time to get into step at their own pace.

The 2008 General Election result was a result waiting to happen in 2004, that is if Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had remained as Prime Minister.

I dare say we would have lost more than five states had he been leading the charge then for Barisan Nasional.

But 22 years of excess cannot be corrected in four or even eight years. There is the issue of habit or culture which needs deft handling and I dare say we have the right man in the right place for that now.

Each of his policy announcements was carefully crafted to address a particular deficit – whether it be social, political or economic.

But his enemies within the party and outside were busy working towards denying him the credit he deserved.

A smear campaign was launched to portray him as a nice man but not an efficient Prime Minister.

A concerted effort was made to tarnish him with the same brush of nepotism, cronyism and corruption that was used against his predecessor.

Those employing these tactics were well versed in these tools having been previously the targets of these same allegations.

Political commentators must be careful not to fall into this trap or perpetuate a perception that has been deviously nurtured.

It is to Pak Lah’s credit that today we have a vibrant democratic environment for reforms to take place.

This would have been unimaginable under the previous administration.

And Dr Mahathir's playing of the race card now is proof of this. And that is not being very nice.


President, National Youth Association of Malaysia.

TCM for childhood myopia

TCM for childhood myopia

WHEN Ms Fun's eight-year-old daughter was diagnosed in school with early myopia, she did what few mothers here would have done. Rather than take her child to an optical shop for a fitting, she enrolled her in a course of acupuncture treatment instead.

'I don't want her to be wearing spectacles at such a young age, so I looked around for alternative treatments,' says Ms Fun, 42, whose older daughter is also myopic.

Indeed, it is still a little known fact here, but the World Health Organisation recognises myopia as one of the conditions that could benefit from traditional Chinese medication (TCM) related treatments.

'In TCM, myopia is associated with deficiency in blood and qi, or energy,' explains physician Wu Yue, a veteran acupuncturist with more than 20 years of experience. According to him, childhood myopia is particularly treatable if the condition is diagnosed in its early stages.

'Young children who have had mild myopia for less than six months benefit the most from acupuncture and acupressure. For some, the condition is even reversible and the child may regain perfect eyesight,' says Mr Wu, who has been treating patients at Raffles Hospital's Chinese Medicine Centre for the past several years.

Studies have shown that the prevalence of myopia in Asian countries is as high as 70 per cent, compared with about 30 per cent in the United States and just 10 per cent in some African countries.

One reason for this discrepancy is the difference in lifestyle.

'Myopia is, in some ways, a lifestyle condition. Children here are computer savvy from a very young age and their eyes could be over-used. Bad reading posture and even nutritional imbalance could all contribute to myopia,' explains Mr Wu.

A recent study jointly conducted by medical schools in Singapore and Australia comparing the level of myopia in six and seven-year-old Chinese kids in Singapore and Sydney validated Mr Wu's assessment of the problem.

The study's results, which were published just last month in Arch Ophthalmol, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal, showed that the prevalence of myopia was significantly higher in Singapore (29.1 per cent) than in Sydney (3.3 per cent), leading researchers to conclude that the unfavourable outcome in Singapore was associated with too few hours of outdoor activities and our early educational pressures.

How TCM helps

To understand myopia, it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of what's involved in the eye's focusing system. These include the cornea, lens and retina. The cornea is a tough, transparent tissue that lies in front of the iris, the coloured part of the eye. The lens is a double-convex structure located behind the iris, while the retina is a thin membrane that lines the rear of the eyeball.

Light-sensitive retina cells convert incoming light rays into signals that are sent along the optic nerve to the brain, which then interprets the images.

In the myopic eye, the focusing power of the cornea and the lens is too great, resulting in what is called a refractive error. In other words, an overly focused, fuzzy image is sent to the brain.

In TCM, acupuncture is used on the eye muscles, causing changes in the shape of the eyeball and thus, may help to correct nearsightedness.

'There are two types of acupuncture available for young children. The first uses magnetic seeds, or adhesive ear point seeds, while the second uses extra fine needles,' explains Mr Wu.

The former, which is also sometimes called auricular acupuncture, features a tiny pearl-like 'seed' which can be stuck to the various acu-points on the ear by way of a small square of plaster. According to Mr Wu, this method is totally painless and is often recommended for use by the very young.

'All you need to do is leave it on the ear for one or two days each time,' he says. Each session would require about four or five 'seeds' to be administered.

Alternatively, for those who can stand a small amount of pain, traditional acupuncture with very fine needles are used around the eyes and forehead. This form of treatment, however, must be performed by an experienced acupuncturist, as there's danger of blood vessels bursting.

'There are several delicate blood vessels around the eyes, so if the needle is not properly inserted, or if it is off the mark, there could be bleeding, or worse, the whole eye could become horribly swollen,' cautions Mr Wu.

He warns that an experienced hand is needed for such delicate jobs, even though the needles are usually placed about an inch from the eyeballs.

'Acupuncture around the face is truly an art. It takes many years of training and practice to be able to insert the needle precisely so as not to cause damage,' says Mr Wu, who strongly advises all parents to turn to an established clinic or physician for such treatments. According to him, approximately 20 sessions - about three to six months of treatment - followed by daily eye exercises are needed to see significant and prolonged results.

In addition to treatment, patients may also be prescribed certain traditional Chinese herbs which have long been associated with eye conditions. These may include ju hua (chrysanthemum flower); gou qi zi (Chinese wolfberry) and huai hua mi (pagoda tree flower).

'The important thing to note about myopia in young children is this - do not be in a hurry to get them fitted with spectacles, because the eye is still developing and the myopia may not have stabilised,' says Mr Wu.

This story was first published in The Business Times on May 17, 2008.

Umno Has To Consider Ezam's Application Thoroughly, Says Muhyiddin

Umno Has To Consider Ezam's Application Thoroughly, Says Muhyiddin
1 June, 2008

(Bernama) -- Former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor's application to rejoin Umno must be considered thoroughly by the party leadership, Umno Vice-President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Saturday.

He also said that the applications of Ezam and several other former PKR members should go through the normal party process without any preference accorded to them.

"The application process has to go through the usual procedure at the supreme council, and prior to that the management committee. Only then will we see the justification to accept or reject the application so that no member is disappointed that we (Umno) neglected the usual consideration for certain reasons.

"I do not see the significance of Ezam's readmission into Umno. To me, admissions are normal. But his (Ezam's) is not a normal admission. He has a record. We have to study (his application) thoroughly," he told reporters after opening the annual meeting of the Johor Pensioners Association, here.

Muhyiddin was commenting on the applications to rejoin Umno of Ezam and several other former PKR Youth leaders which were handed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi earlier this week.

Muhyiddin, who is International Trade and Industry Minister, said he had come to know that there were party members who were uneasy over how easily Umno was readmitting Mohamad Ezam, a former political secretary of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, without conducting a check on his background.

He said the regulations and procedures provided for in the Umno constitution should be adhered to before anyone who had left Umno and opposed the party was readmitted.

The procedure of readmission into the party of those who had quit was different from the admission of new members, he said, adding: "It is just not plain sailing approval."

"There are members who have said that they are disappointed because they have struggled for so long and have not left the party even for a second but they have not been accorded any preferential treatment. That is what I have heard," he said.

Muhyiddin said it was easy to get admitted to Umno, by sending in the application form to a branch chief.

"One or two people see the prime minister and they are able to get admitted. They should actually go to the branches and submit their application forms to the branch chiefs," he said.

Asked about allegations that Mohammad Ezam could be a "Trojan Horse" of the Opposition, Muhyiddin said it was not good to be suspicious of fellow Muslims but, at the same time, Umno has to be cautious.

On Mohamad Ezam's statement that he was sincere in wanting to rejoin Umno, he said: "I hope he is sincere. But even if he is sincere, he has a record. There are procedures to be adhered to so that we can have a control over our membership in a proper manner."

TUNKU ABDUL AZIZ: Umno's demise highly exaggerated

TUNKU ABDUL AZIZ: Umno's demise highly exaggerated
1 June, 2008

It is, for now, living on borrowed time. Unless serious efforts are made to identify and confront decisively its massive internal weaknesses which have led to the totally unacceptable excesses of the past, it will not survive the 13th general election.

By : Tunku Abdul Aziz, New Straits Times

Carcosa was handed over by the British government to Malaysia. British High Commissioner to Malaysia Sir Donald Hawley said the Malaysians were ‘very reasonable’.
Carcosa was handed over by the British government to Malaysia. British High Commissioner to Malaysia Sir Donald Hawley said the Malaysians were ‘very reasonable’.

THE news doing the rounds of the demise of the United Malays National Organisation is greatly exaggerated and premature.

I am pleased to say that Umno is alive. It is, however, for now at any rate, far from well.

The in-fighting, the ill-disguised open warfare, the unremitting attacks on the party leader, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, are extremely damaging, exposing the ugly side of Melayu Baru politics.

It is, for now, living on borrowed time. Unless serious efforts are made to identify and confront decisively its massive internal weaknesses which have led to the totally unacceptable excesses of the past, it will not survive the 13th general election.

Its leaders have to learn quickly to see the Malaysian political world for what it really is and not through rose-tinted glasses because in life, rarely is anything what it seems.
There is still a small window of opportunity for Umno to reclaim the moral legitimacy it once enjoyed and so carelessly lost in circumstances that were totally within its control.

The tide of unpopular sentiments, with the potential for developing into running sores, must be stemmed now by putting in place reforms of a fundamental nature based on ethical, democratic practice and principles which unfortunately do not seem to have been part of Malaysian political traditions as a whole.

Continuing to be relevant, by doing what is ethically right and fair, is going to be the name of the political game in a new Malaysian "age of reason".

Unless Umno possesses sufficient social and political savvy to read and digest the writings on the wall, it will be joining, surely as day follows night, the ranks of its major coalition partners and sharing their fate on a journey into oblivion.

While on a recent working visit to London, I addressed a group of Britons with long Malaysian connections on "Malaysia in the aftermath of the 12th general election".

The intense interest shown in Malaysian affairs in general did not really surprise me because many were old "Malaya hands" with fond memories of their time of service in our country.

The others, younger and more up-to-date in their knowledge of contemporary Malaysian issues, were equally anxious that Malaysia would weather the post-election hiccups and continue to prosper in an orderly manner.

As with the rest of us in Malaysia, they were concerned that half a century after independence, our race relations are still as tentative and fragile as ever.

The overwhelming impression I took away from that open and friendly dialogue was one of enormous goodwill for Malaysia.

The meeting was organised by the British Malaysian Society, with chairman Datuk Neville Green presiding.

Another pleasant duty was to attend, in the Chapel of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in St Paul's Cathedral London last Thursday, a special service of thanks-giving for the life of Sir Donald Hawley, KCMG (Knight Commander of St Michael and St George), and MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

Hundreds of Sir Donald's friends came from all over the United Kingdom and overseas, many from Malaysia, to remember him as a colonial service officer, diplomat, scholar, gentleman and friend.

I felt greatly privileged to be invited by Lady Ruth Hawley to attend as a friend and on behalf of the Kuala Lumpur Panel of the British Malaysian Society.

In the words of the Reverend Canon Edmund Newell, Chancellor and Canon in Residence:

"We remember with gratitude his contribution to international relations through a long and distinguished career in the army, politics, law and the diplomatic service, in this country and in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

"...we give thanks for his courtesy, wit, integrity, erudition and sense of fun."

It was a movingly beautiful service on a lovely sunny afternoon. It was wonderful to hear the Hawley children, Sara, Caroline, Susan and Christopher, reading short passages of great beauty and inspiration.

The address was given by Lord Carrington, a former British Foreign Secretary, and an old family friend of the Hawleys.

It was a memorable speech -- witty, nostalgic and generous, so appropriate to the occasion, in celebration of a gentleman and good friend of Malaysia.

Sir Donald is remembered in Malaysia as the unenviable British High Commissioner (1977-1981) who, in spite of worsening Anglo-Malaysian relations that led to the "buy British last" policy, was able to continue to maintain reasonably constructive working relations with the Malaysian government.

True to his sense of decency and honour, Sir Donald had this to say about the Carcosa episode, "but I have to say that when the Malaysians intimated that they would like it (back), and the British government decided it should be given to them, they were very reasonable. (Former prime minister Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) himself was extremely helpful..."

That is the measure of the gentleman that Sir Donald was. He was quite incapable of harbouring any animosity for the slights heaped upon the honour and dignity of his country.

There are lessons to be learnt from the life of Sir Donald Hawley.

The writer is chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Panel of the British Malaysian Society.

Surreal - Inside Myanmar's capital

Surreal - Inside Myanmar's capital

Lorna tan

Jun 01, 2008
The Straits Times

Nyapyidaw - Even a calamity the size of Cyclone Nargis has not stopped construction in the newly built Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw.

The junta's rising Shangri-La of officialdom contrasts starkly with the misery in the rest of the country.

A small group of foreign journalists got a rare glimpse of the city recently after UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon met the junta's leader, General Than Shwe, in his palatial compound.

The journey began with a one-hour flight aboard a chartered government plane from Yangon, the former capital known as Rangoon. From the airport, it was a 40-minute drive on a Los Angeles-style eight-lane highway - the widest and smoothest road in the country - to Gen Than Shwe's opulent meeting room.

Virtually no cars or people were seen, aside from workers hand-sweeping the roadside.

Entering the city required passage through a fenced checkpoint along the highway. The capital has 24-hour electricity, a rarity in Myanmar.

Soldiers greeted the VIP motorcade with salutes as it moved along the main road, passing sprawling new golf courses and resorts with signs like 'The Thingaha - uber cool'. Few people were spotted anywhere.

Inside one resort, wellgroomed waiters served cool green melon drinks. At another stop, the group was offered a buffet of seafood, noodles and other local fare on elegant wooden tables. The five-star luxury hotels featured circular driveways, gleaming fountains, shady foyers and sunny pools.

The capital, segregated into military and civilian districts, is surrounded by hills believed to hold a hive of bunkers.

Inside the military area were a shopping mall, a high school built like a fortress and a stadium described by one local official as 'a training ground for parading'. International reporters are rarely allowed into the country, except to cover the annual military parade.

A sightseeing tour of half-built government buildings led through a massive construction site of unfinished Soviet-style facades. Workers lined up to wave at the passing UN diplomats and foreign press.

There was also little sign of life near some of the city's 1,200 new four-storey apartment complexes. The authorities, however, insist that nearly one million people now live in the city.

Few people are allowed phones inside their homes, and the city has no cellphone service - military officials use walkie-talkies to communicate.

Once at Gen Than Shwe's pillared compound, armed guards greeted the group of foreign visitors, leading them through a two-storey entrance hall that opened onto a 4.6m rock sculpture topped with a serene alpine mural.

Gen Than Shwe and the UN chief sat side by side on throne-like chairs with floral upholstery, separated by a bouquet of pink and white flowers and a silver tea set. Chandeliers and ceiling-high depictions of golden pagodas adorned the room.

The generals clearly imagine their city as a place of royal grandeur.

Enormous statues of ancient Burmese kings line the military parade grounds, and work is under way on a replica of Yangon's famed Shwedagon Pagoda, the country's holiest Buddhist shrine. Naypyidaw means 'abode of kings' in Burmese.


Cyber attacks in your language

Cyber attacks in your language

Tan Chong Yaw

Jun 01, 2008
The Straits Times Digital Life

DURING the 2006 FIFA World Cup, German soccer fans desperate for tickets received e-mail messages in German telling them they have won the FIFA ticket lottery.

Eagerly they opened the zipped files and unknowingly downloaded a worm. The FIFA office computers were soon overwhelmed by the worms. Work stopped while the digital attack was sorted out.

Cyber-attacks are acquiring local flavours. The viral nature of increasingly popular Web 2.0 and peer-to-peer networks are being exploited in the distribution of malware, that is, any software developed to harm a computer system.

These findings were reported in McAfee Avert Labs's third annual Global Threat Report entitled 'One Internet, Many Worlds'.

'This isn't malware for the masses anymore,' said Jeff Green, senior vice-president of McAfee Avert Labs. 'Cybercrooks have become extremely adept at learning the nuances of local regions and creating malware specific to each country. They're not just skilled at computer programming, they're skilled at psychology and linguistics too.'

With 23 languages in the European Union, language used to be a barrier for malware authors. But malware has now adapted to the language of the Internet domain where scam messages are being sent.

Even word processors were not spared. Users of Ichitaro, a popular word processing program in Japan, were targeted with spyware.

What are users to do?

Vu Nguyen, McAfee Avert Lab's field research consultant, suggested that the best defence is for the user to remain vigilant and careful.

'Use your brains,' he said. Proper configuration and updating of anti-virus patches are vital.

'The best software is only as good as your last update,' he reminded.

Corporations are better equipped against cyber-attacks, he said, as they have dedicated professionals controlling data traffic and equipment.

Don Ng, field director of Enterprise Security in Asia Pacific for security firm Symantec, warned that corporations face attacks from many fronts.

He said: 'Companies should be adopting a multi-layer strategy including end-user education. Conventional tools just won't work for a worm written just an hour ago.

'What's needed is special software that scans computer systems regularly to catch these new worms.'

Cyber-attacks can come from these fronts:

Political agenda

Hackers' motivation is more diverse. In Estonia, the denial-of- service attacks on the country's infrastructure originated not from criminals but political activists.

Stealing passwords

One quarter of China's 137 million computer users play online games. Malware authors are looking for passwords to get into users' gaming accounts so that they can steal virtual goods and currency.

Envoy: Those with Singapore PR also affected

Sunday June 1, 2008

Envoy: Those with Singapore PR also affected


SINGAPORE: The ruling to ban the sale of petrol to foreign-registered vehicles within a 50km radius of the border must consider Malaysian holders of Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) status residing in Johor.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk N. Parameswaran said there were a large number of Malaysians holding Singapore PR who travelled in their vehicles between Johor and Singapore daily via the Causeway and Second Link.

“One of the terms of their Singapore PR is for them to use a Singapore-registered vehicle.

“If a blanket ruling on all Singapore-registered vehicles is enforced, this will surely hurt this group of Malaysians who live in Johor but travel daily to work in the republic,” he told The Star.

Asked whether the move would help curb petrol smuggling at the border, he said Singaporean authorities were strict when it came to smuggling.

“Singapore enforces a strict ruling that Singapore-registered vehicles leaving the country must have three-quarter full tank or face a heavy fine,” he said.

Motorcyclist Raymond Kit, 30, who holds a Singapore PR, described the move as “silly” as there were many Malaysians who owned Singapore vehicles.

“I already have to pay a hefty toll to enter Malaysia via the Second Link amounting to RM6.40 each time I ride my motorcycle back,” he said.

Kit, who has been working in Singapore for 10 years, said he visited Johor Baru at least once a week “not just to fill up 20 litres of petrol but to have a meal, shop and sightsee” with his wife and friends.

Another Malaysian who owns a Singapore-registered motorcycle and car, David Maniam, 48, suggested that Malaysians be allowed to buy petrol at the subsidised rate by showing their MyKad.

'Safe Home' police patrols in full swing in JB

Sunday June 1, 2008 MYT 12:00:48 PM

'Safe Home' police patrols in full swing in JB


JOHOR BARU: Police have been busy visiting homes left empty by those going on vacations during the current school holidays.

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaakob said his personnel had been patrolling the neighbourhoods of participating homes.

“Our mobile patrol units are patrolling the homes to ensure that no crimes are reported in areas participating in the Safe Home Campaign. So far no break-ins have been reported,” he said.

ACP Zainuddin said that police also left forms in the homes as proof that the homes had been checked,” he said.

He added that he expected more people to sign up for the campaign as the school holidays were still on.

Among the participating areas are Larkin, Taman Melodi, Taman Abad, Taman Dato Onn, and Taman Sri Bahagia.

The Safe Home Campaign is a community service project by the police, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) and The Star.

The forms are available at all 104 police stations and district police headquarters state wide, Irda office at Menara MSC Cyberport and also at The Star’s Johor Bureau in Jalan Maju.

Forms are also available at the Irda website at For more information call 607) 331-5666.

Fuel-buying frenzy at M'sia border

Fuel-buying frenzy at M'sia border
31 May, 2008

BUKIT KAYU HITAM, MALAYSIA: Thais are visiting different petrol kiosks here to fill up the tanks of their vehicles with either petrol or diesel, emptying them when they get across the border before returning to this border town for a refill. They are hoarding petrol and diesel before the authorities start imposing the ruling which does not allow them to fill up their tanks with government-subsidised fuel within a 50km radius of the border with effect from Monday.

Currently, each Thai vehicle is allowed to pump RM30 of petrol or diesel at a petrol station.

Several petrol kiosk operators here and in Changlun near the Malaysia-Thai border have reported repeat buyers.

Despite a postponement of the implementation of the ruling to Monday, Thai vehicles are still coming in droves to fill up petrol or diesel near the border town here and in Padang Besar, Perlis.

Earlier, it was announced that the ruling was to take effect yesterday.

Taking advantage of the cheaper fuel, the Thais would visit different petrol kiosks to fill up the tanks of their vehicles before returning to their homes in nearby Danok, across the Malaysia-Thai border in Kedah, to store the fuel. They would then re-enter to buy more.

A similar scenario was also observed with Thai vehicles in Padang Besar.

A worker at one of the petrol stations here, Norlela Bulat, 29, noticed that most of the vehicles that showed up at her petrol kiosk were the same ones.

She believed that they were trying to buy as much petrol or diesel for storage before the ruling came into force.

Meanwhile, Kedah Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Department enforcement division chief Suhaimi Mat Sari said he and his men would be merely observing the situation until the ruling came into effect.

He said they were also identifying petrol kiosks which were the "favourites" among the Thais and that stricter checks would be carried out on them from Monday.

He said 150 enforcement officers would be stationed at all 175 petrol kiosks, located between Bukit Kayu Hitam and Alor Star, to ensure all parties strictly observed the new ruling.

Any petrol kiosk found breaching the ruling will face a maximum fine of RM250,000 or three years' jail or both.

Individuals found guilty of the offence will face the maximum RM100,000 fine.

Making life difficult for temporary teachers

Making life difficult for temporary teachers
29 May, 2008
My Sinchew, ANN

MALAYSIA - In the early 1980s, with a Diploma in Journalism in hand, a friend of mine ambitiously and confidently walked into a newspaper company but he left the place disappointedly less than half a year later.

When I asked for the reason, my friend told me that it was because he received his salary once every two months. This had made many reporters to quit.

Today, the pressure of life has become the common enemy of the society. Everyone, especially those who are living in urban areas have to spend wisely with their limited salaries. Who can imagine there are still "bosses" who delays salary payments?

Many Chinese primary school temporary teachers in Kuala Lumpur have not received any of their salaries from the Ministry of Education since 3 Jan this year.

Those who are lucky enough got the employment letter after three months of teaching but they still had not got their salaries. For those who are unlucky, they do not even get the employment letter.

It is said that some of them will get their salaries in May. However, they are going to get their salaries for only one month after having worked for five.

The Government has no choice but to employ temporary teacher to teach in Chinese schools as it has no way to resolve the problem once and for all. But does the Ministry of Education think of how the temporary teachers are going to survive as they do not get their salaries on time?

A temporary teacher with SPM qualification can get only RM1,080 a month, including the various allowances. How could the Ministry of Education still not pay them on time?

It is absurd as it happens in the education world. The core value of education is human-oriented. Temporary teachers are humans too. If the Ministry of Education turns a blind eye to their difficulties, how could it educate the young ones?

Although temporary teachers are not qualified teachers, they are still teachers. Thus, they should be respected. How could those who are in charge of education create a respectful society if they themselves do not respect the teachers?

The issue of late salary payments of Chinese primary school temporary teachers is in fact no longer news. Such unfair treatment has existed ever since the existence of temporary teaching positions. It has reflected the lack of sincerity of the Government on Chinese school issues.

Such a phenomenon also shows that other than red tape, the flawed policies of the BN government remain uncorrected even after its great defeat in the 8 March general elections. (By TAN POH KHENG/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

( The opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of MySinchew )

Dr M issues ‘kick me out’ dare

Dr M issues ‘kick me out’ dare
31 May, 2008

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad continued to challenge Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today, this time daring the government to remove him as advisor to several government bodies.

At a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the "Suntikan Semangat Satria" (Injecting a Knightly Spirit) forum here, organised by the Minda Melayu Kreatif, Kelab Cinta Amanah Melayu and Arena PJS 14, Dr Mahathir said he was ready to quit as advisor to four government organisations.

"They can take away my position as advisor (to Petronas). I'm not dependent on them, not even if they give me RM15,000 a month. I'm not interested. I didn't even ask for it to begin with.

"I'm also advisor to Proton, Langkawi (Development Authority) and Tioman (Island Development Authority). If they say, 'Get out', I'll get out. No problem ... but I'd prefer it if they kicked out me out," he smiled.

Dr Mahathir was also asked to comment on his son Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, who has also quit Umno and was asked to step down as chairman of the Sepang International Circuit by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, apparently because the position was a government appointment.

Dr Mahathir, however, refused to take the bait and said that it was his son's decision to make.

On whether he thought Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor, who a few days ago had applied to return to Umno, was a "Trojan horse for PKR", the former prime minister smiled broadly and said that “in politics, anything is possible; what I do know is that Anwar is quite anxious to be supported by Umno", referring to the latter's bid to become prime minister by Malaysia Day, which falls on Sept 16.

However, Dr Mahathir refuted claims that Anwar had the numbers to make his dream a reality. "He's got the money, but he's not got the support. Crossovers can be very painful."

The former prime minister once again urged Umno MPs to quit the party en masse and force Abdullah to step down as party president.

In his address at the forum, among other things, Dr Mahathir said Abdullah should be a Malay gentleman and take the cue of former Umno presidents like Datuk Onn Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman who stepped down when they no longer enjoyed the support of members.

Dr Mahathir said an Umno which did not fight for Malay rights was not Umno anymore.

Form independent group, Dr M tells Umno MPs

Saturday May 31, 2008 MYT 7:41:07 PM

Form independent group, Dr M tells Umno MPs


PETALING JAYA: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has suggested that Umno MPs form an independent group instead of crossing over to the Opposition if they are dissatisfied with the present leadership.

Dr Mahathir said crossing over to the Opposition was wrong, as they would be subjected to opposition policies and would not be able to determine anything.

“You will be an ordinary member, but by forming a separate group, say at least 35 of them, this will cause the Government to collapse and the current Prime Minister will have to resign.

“Then if PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tries to become the Prime Minister and if the votes go to him and then if Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak have the guts to step in, the 35 MPs can give their votes to him.

“When he (Najib) becomes the Prime Minister, Barisan Nasional remains in power, and it will be no lost to anyone except to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,” he told a press conference after delivering his speech during a forum “Suntikan Semangat Satria” at a hotel Saturday.

The event was organised by three non-governmental organisations known as Minda Melayu Kreatif, Kelab Cinta Amanah Melayu and Arena PJS14.

He was commenting on Anwar’s claims that certain MPs from Sabah were expected to “jump ship” by Sept 16.

Asked if he would relinquish his positions in several companies and government agencies including the positions as Proton and Petronas advisors upon his decision to quit as an Umno member, Dr Mahathir said he did not see why he should do so.

“It may be an option, if I feel that I have to do so. But I prefer if they kick me out."

“Actually this is not related to me being an Umno member, as all past retired Prime Ministers are given jobs, and in the past we never took away their jobs even though they ceased to become Umno members,” he added.

On whether former PKR youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor was a “Trojan horse” for the party (PKR), Dr Mahathir said in politics everything was possible.

“He may be that (Trojan horse) but what I do know is that Anwar is anxious to be supported by Umno and he may want to join Umno at some stage, if he can become the Prime Minister,” he added.

On the International Court of Justice’s decision of giving the ownership of Pedra Branca to Singapore, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia did not send a competent team unlike Singapore.

Malaysia's Mahathir dismisses opposition claim
31 May, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's former premier Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday dismissed de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's claim that he can soon form a new government, easing worries about a change in rule that has unnerved markets.

Anwar had said some ruling coalition lawmakers were ready to join the opposition, giving it enough support to form a new government by September.

Concerns about a possible change in government coupled with a challenge to the leadership of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have cast a pall over financial markets in recent months.

But Mahathir brushed aside Anwar's claim, reversing his earlier view that the assertion should not be taken lightly.

"He's not likely to get support of MPs coming over," Mahathir told reporters after giving a talk attended by about 400 people.

"That is what he claims. He makes a lot of claims. We will see in September."

The opposition Pakatan Rakyat -- a loose alliance of Islamists, a Chinese-based party and Anwar's multi-racial group -- won a record 82 seats in the 222-seat lower house of parliament in the March general elections. It needs just 30 seats to win a simple majority and form the government.

Mahathir's remarks come as Abdullah meets lawmakers in the eastern state of Sabah on Borneo island, where unhappy MPs have indicated they are ready to leave the ruling coalition if their demands are not met.

The former premier also repeated calls for lawmakers to leave the ruling coalition, and chided members of the main United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party for fearing to speak out against the party leadership.

"I find UMNO members are afraid of doing anything," he said. "I have suggested that if they are not happy that they leave and be independent."

After months of public criticism against Abdullah's leadership, Mahathir has stepped up pressure for him to quit following the March poll which saw the ruling coalition recording its worst-ever performance in its 50-year rule.

Earlier this month, Mahathir resigned from UMNO in an attempt to force Abdullah to step down, saying he would not return to the party until the prime minister left office.

Mahathir also said a move by former opposition figure Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor to rejoin UMNO could be an opposition ploy.

"In politics everything is possible," he said. "He may be that (Trojan horse). Anwar is quite anxious to be supported by UMNO."


"That is designated as Ayurveda or the Science of Life wherein are laid down the good and the bad of life, the happy and unhappy life, and what is wholesome and what is unwholesome of life, as also the measure of life."


In simple terms, Ayurveda is a way of life. The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit roots, "Ayus" meaning life and "Vid" meaning knowledge. Ayurveda shows the way to a harmonious and graceful life by healthy integration of body, mind and spirit. Thus holistic well-being is the aim of Ayurveda, not mere healing of a specific illness.


Ayurveda is the oldest and most complete system of health care. Its origins date 4000 years back, to the Vedic Civilization in India. The Vedas are ancient Hindu books of knowledge that are said to have been divinely revealed to the sages of India. Of the four Vedas, the fourth Veda, the Atharva Veda is the source of knowledge about Ayurveda. The Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita are the most famous of the ancient treatises on Ayurveda.

The basic Ayurvedic belief is that everything in this universe, including man, is made up of five elements called panchamahabhutas -akasha (space), vayu (air), agni (fire), jala (water) and prithvi (earth). These panchamahabhutas combine into three doshas or the tridoshas, namely vata, pita and kapha. The tridoshas are vital energies responsible for all psychological and physiological processes in the body.

Ayurvedic medicine is based on the belief that every individual is a unique combination of the tridoshas. Our constituition or our prakriti is determined by our dominant dosha. Each of us was born with a certain prakriti and it remains with us for life.

When all doshas work in balance, good health reigns. This balance depends on various factors like diet, digestion, elimination of body wastes and emotional and spiritual states.

Ayurveda helps us to understand our prakriti and to live in a way that emphasizes the positive aspects.

When the doshas become imbalanced ill health results. The skill of an Ayurveda practitioner lies in assessing an individual's constitution, diagnosing the imbalance and deciding upon the best possible treatment to restore the balance. Ayurveda utilizes diet, herbs, yoga, detoxification by panchakarma, meditation and prayer to achieve this purpose.

Panchamahabhutas are the five great elements of nature. These are air, space, water, fire and earth.. These combine in an infinite variety of ways to form all matter in the universe.

In a single cell, the earth element gives it structure, the cytoplasm is formed by water, the metabolic processes of the cell are manifestations of the fire element, the gases in the cell represent air and the space occupied by the cell corresponds to the space element.

Charaka defines a human being as the assemblage of the panchamahabhutas and the 'immaterial self', the soul. The solid structures of the human body: the bones, nails, teeth, muscles, cartilage, skin and hair are manifestations of the earth element. Space corresponds to the spaces in the body: the mouth, the nostrils the digestive tract, the stomach, the respiratory tract and the cells. Air governs movements like those of the muscles, the lungs, the intestines and even those in the cells. Water is present in blood,saliva, digestive juices, plasma and the cytoplasm. Fire controls the functioning of the enzymes.

The three vital energies
The five basic elements that constitute all matter, the panchamahabhutas, are expressed through the tridoshas, vata, pitta and kapha, and together they work to sustain life. The tridoshas govern our entire physical structure and function. They are responsible for the simplest functions of the cell to the most complex processes in the body systems .Our physical characteristics and our emotional and mental tendencies are governed by the three doshas.

Vata is made up of the elements air and space. Vata is in charge of all motion in the body and mind. Vata governs many of the physical and mental phenomena of the nervous system.

Pitta consists of fire and water. Pitta is the agent of all transformations in the body. Chemical processes in our body including enzymes, hormones and the entire nutritional system are Pitta's domains.

Kapha is formed by water and earth. Kapha is the stabilizing influence in the body. The activities of the skeletal and anabolic system can be attributed to Kapha.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha keep the body healthy as long as they are in balance with each other. Thus the key to health and vitality is the balance of the tridoshas.

The central principle of Ayurvedic belief is the uniqueness of each individual. The combination of the tridoshas is unique to each person. This is his prakriti. Each individual is born with a typical prakriti. This prakriti is determined by the state of the parental doshas at the time of conception. But our diet, environment, stress, trauma, injury etc. can cause an imbalance in our doshas leading to a state known as vikriti Knowing our constitution or prakriti helps us understand ourselves better. It enables us to plan changes in out diet and our lifestyle for achieving a richer life through holistic well-being.

  • Vata Constitution Vata's dominant elements are air and space, the mover for bodily processes and persons with vata prakriti are hence associated with motion. They are on the move physically and mentally. They are blessed with a creative and sharp mind. They are active, quick and restless. They are quick at doing things -quick at learning, quick at forgetting, quick at getting excited and equally quick at losing that excitement. Vatas are often anxious and frightened. They can be extroverted and introverted by turn. Vatas have a temper that is unpredictable. They tend to be emotionally insecure. Vatas sleep little and their sleep is often disturbed. They eat little. They like sweet, sour and salty foods. Vatas' energy comes in bursts. Sometimes they are brimming with energy and at others they are totally drained. Vatas are the archetypal impulse buyers. Vata people have trouble making decisions. Vatas are sensitive and avoid confrontation. Vatas need warmth at all levels-from their environment, from their relationships and from their food.

  • Fire and water are pitta's elements and hence the fiery quality of persons with pitta prakriti. Pittas have immense resources of initiative and energy. It is very important for them to channelise their creative fire to constructive purposes. They are determined and strong-willed. They are intelligent and have a clear memory. Pittas are efficient, precise and orderly. They are articulate and proud. They can be aggressive, impatient and short-tempered. Pittas tend to be emotionally intense. Pittas can be stubborn in their beliefs. They hate heat. They prefer cold climates and cooling foods. Pittas love to eat. Pittas are perfectionists and can be critical of those who are less efficient than them. They tend to gray soon. Pittas enjoy light sleep.

  • Kapha persons are blessed with strength, endurance, and stamina. Their elements are earth and water, which explains their attributes of calmness and groundedness. They gain weight more easily and lose it with more difficulty than do other constitutions. They need time to think calmly and rationally. They can be calm and caring and also lazy and possessive. They tend to accumulate money more easily than do other people. Lust, greed and attachment are their shortcomings. Kaphas have a tendency to cling to old beliefs and attitudes. Kaphas can tolerate intense exercise better than other prakritis. They can also fast better as they have ample body store to keep them going. Kaphas need stimulation in their environment, their relationships and their food. Overcoming stagnation is Kapha's biggest challenge. Kaphas enjoy deep sleep. They like the slow relaxed life. Kaphas eat, walk and talk slowly. They are slow to learn but have a good memory. Kaphas are emotionally secure people.

The influence of our diet on our health and constitution is central to Ayurvedic beliefs. Sages and Yogis of Ancient India believed that foods were vital carriers and balancers of energy in the body. Most diseases can be traced ultimately to incorrect diet.

Charaka prescribes the following principles for healthy eating:

  • Food should be hot, tasty and easy to digest. Eat proper amount of food.
  • Food eaten should not be too much or too little.
  • Do not eat when you are not hungry and conversely do not fail to eat when you are hungry.
  • Keep large gaps between meals.
  • Eat in congenial and pleasant surroundings with all accessories necessary for the enjoyment of food.
  • Eating should neither be rushed nor too leisurely.
  • Concentrate on your food while eating.
  • Eat food that suits your constitution.

Our diet should be tailored to suit our prakriti. A vata individual should take warm and sweet food articles. A person with pitta prakriti should take cool, heavy, sweet, bitter and astringent food items. A person with kapha prakriti should take food, which is dry, warm, light, pungent, bitter and astringent.

The seasons and time of the day are also important factors for planning our diet. For instance, a pitta diet should be avoided in the summer or at midday when the pitta activity of the body is at its peak.

Avoid cold and frozen foods and drinks. Choose warming foods and spices. Avoid foods like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts etc that create gas. Beans are cold, heavy and dry and not suited for vitas. Dairy is very calming to vata especially when it is warm. Stick to a regular routine. Sweet, moist, well-ripened fruits serve you well. Dry fruits should be soaked well before you have them. Raw food intake should be minimized. Sweet, sour and salty tastes should be emphasized in your food.

Keeping cool is very important for Pitta's fiery energy. Avoid excess oils, fried foods, caffeine and hot spices. Take lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Emphasize sweet, bitter and astringent tastes in your food. Cooling whole grains like barley, wheat and basmati rice are good for pitta. Pittas need good amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium and Vitamins. Most oils, salt, alchohol, red meat and hot spices are warming foods and hence harmful for pitta. Most dairy products are cooling in nature but cheeses, sour cream. buttermilk and yogurt are best avoided as their fat can aggravate pitta.

Fat consumption should be minimal. Avoid iced foods and drinks. Complex carbohydrates in diet are important to provide the necessary fiber. Light, warming and dry grains like barley, millet, oats rye, and amaranth increase insulin production and should be included in a kapha diet. Dairy products are best avoided. Light, crispy foods like popcorn serve you well. Low-fat proteins like high fiber beans are good for your constitution.

Life is God's precious gift to us and it is up to us to make the best of it. Health is the most basic and crucial requirement for a fulfilled life. Ayurveda prescribes a daily routine, 'dinacharya' and a seasonal routine 'ritucharya' for good health.

A new dawn: An individual should rise early in the morning before sunrise.

Clean habits: Physical and mental purity are pre-requisites for the day's activities. This is achieved through clean habits like brushing the teeth, scraping the tongue, gargling with water which has a pinch of turmeric added to it, bathing, trimming of beard, hair and nails and elimination of body wastes. Meditation enables elimination of mental wastes.

Massage: Daily oil massage strengthens the skin and improves its color and texture. It increases circulation, improves vision and resistance to disease. Massage of the head strengthens and calms sense organs.

Exercise: Exercise is best performed in the morning. should depend on your age and prakriti. Only kapha persons should exercise vigorously. Other prakritis should exercise moderately. Exercise is not advisable for the very weak or for those with respiratory or cardiac disorders. Bathing Soap is not meant for use on the body except when it is really dirty.

Bathing: Bathing within one hour eating is prohibited.

Purification of surroundings: Purification of our bodies and minds should be accompanied by purification of our houses and our surroundings.

The change of seasons affects the state of our doshas considerably. Hence Ayurveda advocates a seasonal routine to ward off imbalances of the doshas.

Vata increases during winter and spring, pitta during summer and kapha during late winter and spring.

Vata Prakriti

Vata prakriti persons are prone to vata-induced diseases. Wrong food, extreme cold or exposure to drafts cause vata to aggravate leading to diseases like: ·

  • Rheumatism, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other musculo- skeletal problems. These diseases are pronounced during old age which is the period of vata (vata kala)·
  • Problems in the stomach and digestive system -severe pain, constipation and diarrhea·
  • Cardiovascular complaints and partial and full paralysis.

Kapha Prakriti

Persons with kapha constitutions are susceptible to diseases caused by aggravation of kapha. Kapha -caused diseases are pronounced during childhood, which is the period of kapha ( kapha kala). Diseases caused by increased kapha are: ·

  • Obesity·
  • Diabetics
  • Sinusitis

Pitta Prakriti

An individual with a pitta-dominant prakriti may suffer from pitta-caused diseases if the proportion of pitta increases considerably in his body. Intake of spicy food, lack of fresh air, lack of cooling foods and increased mental activity and stress, all cause pitta to be aggravated. Middle age is the period of pitta (pitta kala) and hence pitta disorders are more pronounced during this period. Diseases due to aggravated pitta are:

  • Diseases of the digestive and metabolic systems. All forms of Hepatitis, hyperacidity, gastric ulcers, stomatitis and acid regurgitation.
  • Skin problems like psoriasis, skin eruption, itching and sores.

Ayurveda treatment consists of four basic forms: medicine or drug therapy; panchakarma (the five systems of treatment); dietary regime; and the regulation of lifestyle. Panchakarma is the Sanskrit word for the five purificatory therapies. Panchakarma has three main stages:-

Poorva Karma (Preparatory measures)
Poorva Karma includes two therapies, viz, oleation therapy( snehana) and fomentation therapy (swedana) which are the preparatory therapies for Panchakarma.

Oleation therapy

or oil therapy can be administered through different kinds of foods or through enema and massage. The therapy may take three to seven days depending on the individual's strength and response.
Massage with oily substances and medicated herbs improves circulation and by stimulating the system, speeds up the elimination of waste products.

Fomentation therapy

Fomentaton or sweating therapy follows oil therapy and should be given in a place free from exposure to excessive wind and at a time when the person's last meal has been well digested. In one type of fomentation therapy, external heat is required while the other includes physical exercise, covering oneself with thick blankets, hunger and walking in the sun.

Pradhana Karma
This is the main treatment and includes emesis(vamana); purgation (virecana); enema (vasti); nasal drops or snuffs(nasya); and bloodletting( raktamokshana).

Emesis therapy

In this process, the doshas are eliminated through the mouth by vomiting. This is the best way to eliminate kapha dosha. Emesis therapy is administered with drugs suitable to the particular disease and condition of the patient. A feeling of cleanliness of the chest and stomach, lightness of the body, and timely passing of urine and stools are the signs of well-administered emesis therapy.

Purgation therapy

This therapy aims at eliminating the doshas that cannot be removed by emesis or through other channels. This process of elimination is primarily from the anal region. Purgation therapy is indicated for many conditions like fever, skin diseases, bleeding from upper channels of the body gout, vaginal diseases etc.

Enema therapy

Enema is an important part of panchakarma therapy. Properly administered, enema helps to rejuvenate the body and provides strength and long life. Oily enema therapy uses preparations containing oils or fats and is indicated when vata is aggravated. Decoction enema therapy uses decoction of drugs and is recommended for various nervous disorders, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, loss of strength, muscular weakness, loss of appetite, urinary calculus etc.
Enema is also given through the male urethra or through the vagina in women. This therapy is recommended for men's genitourinary disorders and for women's menstrual disorders.


Panchakarma is the fifth karma of panchakarma. In this therapy blood is eliminated from the patient's body in order to tackle diseases caused by rakta and pitta. Bloodletting is done either with metal instruments or by using other methods such as leeches or vegetable gourds. This therapy is indicated in diseases such as skin diseases, tumors of certain types, gout, excessive sleepiness and hallucinations.

Nasal Drops

Medicines taken through the nostrils are known as nasya therapy. Medicated oils, powders or drugs are used for the treatment of head diseases. Nasya therapy is recommended for diseases occurring above the collar bones- problems related to ear, nose, and throat, loss of hair or premature graying.

Paschata Karma (after care)

Paschata Karma means the rehabilitative measures after the main treatment. Aftercare is a very important stage of Panchakarma. After the removal of doshas and internal cleansing, the digestive capacity of the individual must be restored. This is achieved through a properly planned diet and changes in lifestyle.