Thursday, June 18, 2015
Democratic Malaysia?
He's having some trouble sleeping. Are you okay, Ku Ali?


Recently, ordinary Malaysians were told by the Minister of Tourism and Culture that a certain former Prime Minister had no right to ask the current Prime Minister to clarify matters of national and public interest in a public debate. The Minister asked, “So, why would my PM stoop so low to a normal citizen?”

The same Minister had also warned HRH the Crown Prince of Johor not to make any comments on national politics. This is in response to HRH’s comment “How can you have a dialogue called Nothing2Hide featuring a person who has everything to hide? Obviously he won’t show up.”

So, according to this Minister, neither normal citizen nor royalty can question his beloved Prime Minister? It is quite extraordinary that in a government that insists it is democratic, apparently no one is entitled to voice their opinions.

Now, Minister, let us ordinary Malaysians enlighten you about a few things you might have forgotten since you became a minister. This country Malaysia belongs to the people of Malaysia. We are not lowly citizens and your Prime Minister is not that high and mighty. It is through our consent that your Prime Minister, his Cabinet (which includes you) and the Opposition can sit in Parliament. Or would you now like to deny that you were voted into your position by us?

And we, ordinary citizens of Malaysia, have every right to demand explanation from your Prime Minister, or any other politician, whenever things seem shady. This is especially valid since he had decided to “invest” public funds (our money) in a company that is failing. He does not have a choice anymore whether or not to explain to the public about it. If he continues to keep mum, it is his integrity and political survival that is at stake.

Prime Minister Najib, please come clean. Whatever the outcome, at least you would have the saving grace of being brave enough to be truthful, which is your duty anyways.

Prime Minister Najib, it is unfortunate that you have surrounded yourself with apple polishers. Your apple polishers make you blind to the realities of the nation. They give you the wrong advise, and their fanatical ass kissing damage your government.

We, the Malaysian public, are sick of unintelligent and unfeeling ministers. We don’t understand why we have ministers who had told us to shut up, to just don’t take the toll road if we can’t afford it, who wanted to turn a mass grave into a tourist attraction etc. Although you did not make these statements yourself, those who made them are seen to represent you. Ultimately, it is your reputation that is damaged.

So, Prime Minister Najib, we advise you to reevaluate who you choose to surround yourself with. Discard the sweet-mouthed yes-men and start surrounding yourself with intelligent, frank, advisors. Listen to the people, and do your duty to the nation. Stop hiding. Do not be afraid of the truth.

We want Malaysia to work. And if you are truly your father’s son, you would want the same too.

By the way, a Deputy Minister famous for his GST-free fried rice recipe had blamed Tun Mahathir for the continued decline of the Ringgit. If that is true, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, who had said that he was very happy with the falling value of the Ringgit, should thank the grand old man. It is so disappointing that our ministers would say anything (no matter how obviously stupid or ridiculous it is), just to get some attention. So desperate.

Malaysians, we deserve better. This country deserves better. Let us tell our politicians that we are not lowly citizens. Let us remind our politicians, whether from the Government or Opposition that Malaysia belongs to us.

And if they try to silence us, let’s deny them their voice in Parliament in the next election.


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here here here here here here here and here for his old ramblings.
posted by Izham Ismail at 11:18 pm | Permalink |
Monday, May 25, 2015
The best there is, there best there was, the best there ever will be. So long, captain. 

Thank you for everything. 

You'll never walk alone. 
posted by Izham Ismail at 1:42 am | Permalink |
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Choosing to be Human
He's not done yet. It's 2015, and Ku Ali is not done yet.


A humanitarian crisis is upon us. And we are all being tested, both at sea and on land. Those at sea are being tested with physical hardship, starvation, disease, the unforgiving sun, torture and death at the hands of human traffickers. While on land, our conscience as part of the human community is at stake. Can we sleep well at night knowing that in our waters, people are dying? 

The Rohingyan community is a prosecuted group in Myanmar. Under the 1982 Burma Citizenship Law, the Rohingyans are specifically excluded from acquiring citizenship. They are subjected to horrendous conditions and treatment in their home country. Dignity and freedom are taken away from them. The abuses they endure in Myanmar are well documented. Under such conditions, how can we not expect them to leave?

Undoubtedly, Myanmar has a lot to answer for this human tragedy. Yet it would take years for them to even consider this a problem. For them, the Rohingyans, being non-citizens, are not their concern. Unfortunately, ASEAN, holding steadfast to the principle of ‘non-interference’ lack the political will to resolve this issue.

So, in droves, the Rohingyans turn to the sea, in order to survive. But what an unfortunate lot they are. At every shore, they are turned away. We can see their weakened bodies; we can hear their pitiful cries. Yet we turn them away, anyway.

Our governments had decided to let them drift at sea. To them our shores are too good to be soiled by refugee footsteps. The refugees only bring problem to us. So their boats must be turned back towards the sea and be someone else’s problem. That is their choice. And history will judge them accordingly for it.

Yet for us citizens, we have a choice on how we want to respond to this. We can blindly follow the dictates of our governments, and pretend we bear no responsibility. Or we can rise to the occasion and for once prove to the world that we are the kind, caring, and compassionate people we always promote ourselves to be. It is our choice, and no one can compel us otherwise.

Malaysians, Thais, Indonesians. We are better than those who pretend to represent us. They talk about national interests. Let’s talk about keeping humanity alive. Let us not be uncaring just because these people are not our citizens. Let’s prove that our kindness, humanity, decency and compassion are for all, and not discriminated on account of the passport we hold. 

We praise the Acehnese for stepping up to the plate. Perhaps it is the suffering that they themselves had gone through that shaped their response to this crisis. Should we wait for God’s wrath to descend upon us before we honour our human duty to those desperate at sea?

We champion the causes of the Palestinian, Bosnian and other oppressed peoples. We send peacekeeping missions all over the world. We send humanitarian aid to conflict and disaster areas, most recently in Nepal. And we do all this with great fanfare. Since we had always cared so much about human disasters all over the world, would it not be more genuine if the same level of kindness were extended to those suffering in our waters?

Every year, during the Muslim New Year, we praise the Ansars of Madinah for warmly receiving the Muhajirins, who had fled prosecution in their native land, Mecca. Our children also grew up listening to the story of the King of Habshah (Abyssinia) who protected the Meccan refugees. We also sing praises of the Ottoman Caliphate for taking in Andalusian Muslims and Jews, refugees from Spain. 

Yet, when the opportunity comes our way to be part of this glorious tradition of human kindness, some of us and our governments are comfortable ignoring the cries for help. All of us, Malaysians, Indonesians and Thais must realize that this is not about legal obligations, but about being human. We must put value on human lives. One life lost when it can be prevented is a stain on us all. 

The Rohingyans are already here, so let’s deal with this. How many more lives can we bear to see lost before we extend a hand? 

How can we ignore the plight of others so clearly visible from our shores? Let’s have a heart, and let that heart be moved. 

Should we allow ourselves to be defined and dictated by our governments, or should we follow the innate kindness of our hearts and help our brothers at sea?

Let’s decide for ourselves.


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here here here here here here and here for his old ramblings.
posted by Izham Ismail at 8:21 pm | Permalink |
Monday, July 07, 2014
To Feed Or Not To Feed
Half way through 2014, so where do we begin?


Seest thou one who denies the Judgment (to come)? Then such is the (man) who repulses the orphan (with harshness). And encourages not the feeding of the indigent. So woe to the worshippers. Who are neglectful of their prayers.Those who (want but) to be seen (of men). But refuse (to supply even)neighbourly needs. (Surah Al-Ma’un: 1-7)
And who are we to argue with God?

We read with alarm the Federal Territories Minister’s directives concerning his solution to the city’s homeless folks. It is disturbing that such a statement could be made by a declared Muslim, in the holy month of Ramadhan, in a country that vehemently insists that it is Islamic. Yet the directive to prevent the feeding of the poor within the city is directly against God’s commands.

Dear Minister, why do you think it is worth risking your soul by doing this? Is it because you have a dream of dividing KL into rich and poor zones? Where the poor is out of sight and out of mind of the rich? Where we can pretend that those unfortunates do not exist? Where Malaysians cease to have any connection with those beneath their perceived social status? Is it acceptable for any decent society to put up signs around that 2km radius of yours, saying ‘No Poor People Beyond this Point’?

Any thinking person would know the answers are negative. But in the spirit of democracy and free speech, we want you to ask yourself these not-so-difficult questions, and come up with your own answers. We hope you won’t disappoint us, Minister.

You want a sanitized, Stepford Wives’ version of KL. We want our real city, warts and all. We want a rich city with stories to tell. A truthful city, not one that drives away its poor so the tourists can consume a sugar-coated, superficial, shiny version of itself.

As a Minister that once held the portfolio for tourism, you seem to be out of touch with the wants of the modern traveller. Modern travellers crave for real experiences. They want to see the real deal, to develop deep insights. They want something interesting. Interesting here means both the good and the bad, human stories, human connections. Imagine what effect this would have on KL’s tourism, if tourists discovered how a minister ordered the poor to be driven out and denied food access. It will be morally incorrect to visit the city. Have you ever thought about that, Minister?

You say that KL has a very bad image. You say that it is dirty. You say that the rats are huge. And you try to put the blame on the soup kitchen volunteers. Very dishonourable and cowardly, Minister. Those volunteers are what make our city great. They prove that KLites are not heartless, even with such a Minister. They prove that there is still hope for humanity in KL. They may or may not read Surah Al-Ma’un, but they certainly practice what that Surah commands. We do urge you to understand this Surah, so that you won’t stray further from God’s grace. It is easy enough to understand.

If the city is dirty, and its rats huge, it is a testament to the ineffectiveness of those workers the City Council chose to contract or employ. Aren’t they tasked with cleaning up the city? And aren’t they answerable to you? So why are you putting the blame on others, when it is your men who should be helping to clean the city. It is their duty anyways. Soup kitchen volunteers not only clean after their activities, but also pick up rubbish not created by them in those areas they operate. The soup kitchen volunteers can put the rubbish in bags and put them aside, but the men contracted by the City Council have to collect them. You can’t expect KLites to be driving to dumpsites to deliver wastes personally. What then, would these men be paid for?

And you say that most of these unfortunates are foreigners. What does it matter if the poor bear names such as Kusumo or Anggraini? Is food and relief to be given only to the Malaysian poor, while only steps away, those unfortunate enough to bear the designation ‘immigrants’ are left to starve? Is that the way to go? Come on, Minister. Have a bigger heart. We indulge in great fanfare over the fact that we are involved with humanitarian works all over the world. Yet, on our home soil, the do-gooders are warned against feeding the poor. Values such as kindness, decency, empathy should be universally applied. Not conditional on possession of the Malaysian ID. Malaysians, we are better than that.

You say that the Opposition is always seeking opportunity to smear the Government’s image. Perhaps, there is truth to this. But that is their devils. Let us, ordinary Malaysians, enlighten you on another truth, one that you seem to be oblivious of. The truth is, it is people like you - holding high ministerial positions, but giving out nonsensical and tactless statements, that makes us unimpressed with the Government. We wonder, do you intend to undo all the good efforts of the Prime Minister? As we all know, the Prime Minister urge all to merakyat, yet you seem to be eager to menekan rakyat. We are curious as why you are not following the Prime Minister’s line. Thank God there are those like YB Khairy Jamaluddin, who tries to clean things up.

And Minister, do you not understand that we live in a democracy? Or do you not understand what democracy is. In a democracy, we shall choose how we want to do charity. If we want to give it on the streets, it’s up to us. If we want to give it through the mosque, it is up to us. If we want to give money, energy or time, it is up to us. Up to us and us alone. The government do not have a say in which form of charity we shall indulge in. Or would you like to now deny that Malaysia is a democracy?

It would be so difficult to teach the next generation about common decency and the right thing to do, when we have a Minister threatening to fine us if we don’t do charity his way. Would you like to be responsible for that, Minister?

On this matter, Minister, we are sorry, but we shall not follow your order. We, Malaysians, have a greater obligation to God, than to you. We suggest that you also think about your greater obligations.

Read Surah Al-Ma’un and understand its meaning. It is said that mighty mountains would shatter should God’s words descend upon them.  We hope your heart might at least be moved when you read the Surah.

At the end of the day, Malaysians, ask ourselves, to feed or not to feed?


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here here here here here and here for his old ramblings.

posted by Izham Ismail at 12:10 am | Permalink |
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
The Myth of Indispensability

Ah, 2013 was fun. Watch out 2014, Ku Ali is back.


Whoever surrounds themselves with nodding heads, will develop an unrealistic, inflated sense of self. This inflated self worth will eventually make them believe in the myth of indispensability, leading them to talk and act in a senseless manner, which brings no benefit to anyone, including themselves. For they believe that they may do as they like, and no repercussions strong enough to dislodge them may come. Perhaps, it will do this Nation a lot of good, to remind everyone, that everyone is dispensable.
As we see it, some politicians have a strong conviction that they are indispensable. We will provide some examples here. We hope those concerned will take heed and do whatever is necessary and improve their behaviours. You are constantly being watched.

A Selangor State Assemblyman had resigned, leaving that constituency vacant and up for grabs. The De Facto Leader of an opposition party had been forwarded as a candidate to fill the vacancy. (We have always been puzzled by this designation. Why is he ‘De Facto’, rather than just ‘Leader’? What are his powers, and what are those of the President? Does he call all the shots? If so, what’s the use of the President? It’s all very confusing)

A strategist for that opposition party had come forward to apologize for the inconvenience caused by the by-election. We approve his humble confession of his party dragging the Rakyat into this mess. We also approve of him taking responsibility over the fiasco, rather than dodging the bullet. There is virtue in that.

However, let’s not forget that the apology also means that we Rakyat are mere chess pieces played and sacrificed at will by politicians, to achieve their goals. Let’s not be blind to that. We must always remember to take that fact into consideration when we deliver our verdict of these ‘statesmen.’

The MP of Gombak was less reserved in polishing the boots of the De Facto Leader. He was reported saying that Kajang Residents should be grateful that the De Facto Leader is willing to grace the constituency by participating in the by-election. What a smart thing to say, especially after forcing an unwanted by-election on the Rakyat. There is no need for the Rakyat to be grateful to any hypothetical State Assemblyman, especially since he had not yet won the seat, and had yet to contribute anything to the constituency.  This is exactly the kind of senseless remarks that will come out of a politician who thinks himself indispensable. It discredits him, his De Factor Leader, his party, and it definitely is insulting to the Rakyat. One wonders if the Gombak MP is merely daft, or he is consciously sabotaging the De Facto Leader. For the opposition’s sake, we hope he’s the former.

And on cue, as we have expected, the Gombak MP had accused the press of twisting his words. The same old excuse of “I never said that. The press ‘misinterpreted’ what I said’. This is very cowardly. Politicians must grow some spine and stand by their words, whether popular or not. Take some responsibility.

However, to be fair, there is a possibility that the press had exaggerated the statements. Since both politicians and the press do not have sterling track records of telling the truth. Perhaps each party can initiate a libel suit against the other. Then a proper investigation and verdict on who defamed whom can be made. Ideally, the defaming party should be sued to bankruptcy, so as to be a lesson to all others on the futility of spreading falsehood. Perhaps then, Malaysian politics can progress beyond the smear exchanges it is now.

The Federal Territories Minister also exhibited some senseless behaviour not so long ago. He was reported as saying that the slightly cheaper RON95 petrol should be reserved for the poor. If this report was true, the move will create another point of division among an already divided society. Division between the haves and haves-slightly-less. The minister did not explain how the poor will be classified, and how the plan would be implemented. The injustice in prohibiting certain sections of society access to RON95 is that the funds used to subsidize the fuel come from those who pay tax, who mostly won’t be classified as poor. Inequality, in whatever form, should never be made a policy.

And, as the Gombak MP had done, the Federal Territories Minister also chose to blame the press for the faux pas. In this, politicians on both sides of the bench are the same.

We hope the people of Kajang will think clearly in making their decision. For better or worse, they will decide.

Just remember, the De Facto Leader, who had always talked about being and representing the Rakyat, made such a fuss when he was treated like an ordinary Rakyat not too long ago. He clearly saw himself to be special, making him worth a conspiracy involving two countries.

When he was refused entry into Japan, for not having the right papers, he went to BCC and spoke as if Japan had insulted 52% of the Malaysian electorate by refusing him entry. In actual fact, he was the one who had insulted Japan, a sovereign country which have the right to deny entry to any non-citizens, especially when they do not have the right papers. Rather than treating this as a private matter, he had to threaten Malaysia-Japan diplomatic ties, because of course, he is no ordinary Rakyat. He thinks himself indispensable.

Knowing the work ethics of the Japanese as compared to any politician, it is easier for us to believe the explanation of the Japanese authorities, rather than the whines of a politician.
And, Datuk Seri, we, the 52% you were talking about, are not insulted by Japan. We are insulted by the way you tried to smear Japan’s image. We are infinitely embarrassed by how your boys behaved in front of the Japanese embassy, and we resent them for trying to claim they represent our views. Insulting a sovereign country over personal matters is not something Malaysians are proud of.

We wonder what was going on in the heads of these grown men that enabled them to behave as they did, without feeling ridiculous. Perhaps our education system had failed to produce straight thinking individuals. Instead, it seems we have lots of emotional ‘cows’ who follow and support everything blindly.

On that matter, we do not agree that the teacher who treated his students like animals should be merely transferred to another school. Anyone who abuses children, whether physically or mentally must never be allowed to work in education. Children are our future. It is senseless to expose this nasty person to another school. Nobody is indispensable.

Perhaps, the reason our politicians do not feel the need to behave, is that we Malaysians are easily placated with a mere apology. Whenever they step out of line, this and that group will demand apology, and when it is tendered, the issue is forgotten. Perhaps the Rakyat should learn to have more self worth, and make these people pay whenever they insult us. And always remind them who put them in office. Perhaps, when we become less forgiving, they will act less like clowns.

In the current situation that we are in now, no one should expect to be safe from dismissal. If a Chief Minister who had managed his State rather well still risks being replaced by a De Facto Leader of an opposition party, why should other non-performing individuals be allowed to feel indispensable?

One of the main purposes of democracy is that if leaders are ineffective, there is a mechanism to remove them legally and without fuss. Perhaps all those sitting in Parliament should be reminded of this principle.

Get your act together. Everyone is dispensable.


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here here here here and here for his old ramblings.
posted by Izham Ismail at 8:25 pm | Permalink |
Sunday, September 08, 2013
Empat Belas Melintang Jalurnya

There is something about this guy that I secretly adore, and I've no idea where to start. He orders the same drink every time, crosses his legs like a man and still an excellent reader of my hidden intention. He is a prime example of tragedy in a hero no one will ever know. My kind of hero.

He is Ku Ali, and he is back.


2013 had seen the sovereignty of our nation challenged from without and betrayed from within. From without, we have seen a disgruntled pretender landing his mob at Lahad Datu. From within, a group of confused individuals insulted our National Flag on the eve of National Day. Both incidences are crimes against our nation and people. However, we feel the latter to be the more sinister of the two.

We write this article especially for those who are confused and trying to confuse others. Let us begin by explaining what is Malaysia, and some of the entities that is part of her history.

This country of ours is Malaysia. She was formed on 16th September 1963. She comprises the Malaysian Peninsula and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo Island. She has a flag, which bears a 14-point star and 14 stripes, representing all the states within this federation. This flag had been wholeheartedly accepted by all Malaysians for 50 years. Malaysians may have our own ideas on how this country should be run, but we had all rallied united behind the Jalur Gemilang for half a century.

On 31st August 1957, the Federation of Malaya, or Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, gained independence from Britain. That federation comprised only the states on the southern region of the Malay Peninsula. Sarawak and North Borneo (as Sabah was then known) were still under British rule. She had a flag with an 11-point star and 11 stripes, reflecting the geopolitical reality of that period. However, with the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the country called Malaya officially ceased to exist. And because Malaya had ceased to exist, the displaying of her 11-stripe flag lost national significance in our country Malaysia.

Langkasuka is an ancient kingdom, probably situated towards the north or middle regions of the Malay Peninsula. Her territory may have included the Thai Malay states and areas within modern Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan. Her influence did not extend across the South China Sea, to Borneo, where Sabah and Sarawak lies.

In any country, only one flag can fly as the national flag. Any attempt to replace the national flag that had already been accepted by the overwhelming majority of citizens, is a seditious, malicious act. It is an act of lese majeste, crimes that jeopardize the dignity of the nation and her symbols. It is an indication of sinister intent to cause unnecessary division and discord amongst the population.

Our National Day was spoilt by a widely disseminated YouTube video. In that video, a hysterical man was shouting insults at our National Flag, insisting that it be thrashed in favour of the flag he termed the Sang Saka Malaya. He put forward some conflicting information he tried to package as historical facts. He insisted that our National Flag is a ‘bendera tipu daripada Amerika,’ and we should change it with the Sang Saka Malaya, which he claimed to be a heritage of the Malay kingdom of Langkasuka. Then he claimed that the Sang Saka Malaya was the flag raised by the ‘rakyat’ in 1947. While waving that flag, he claimed that it was the flag of Tanah Melayu. He went further by insisting that 31st August 1957 was a ‘Hari Malapetaka’. Behind him can be seen a very famous university dropout giggling away. In another video, a famous old man was seen trying to give a speech, when he was educated by an ordinary Malaysian about the National Flag.

We shall enlighten our confused activists point by point.

The United States of America did not trick us into accepting the National Flag. Our National Flag was chosen through a competition, and that competition was won by a Malaysian. In a time where meritocracy is all the rage, shouldn’t such practices be encouraged?

What historical evidence has the hysterical man brought forward to prove that this flag is a heritage of Langkasuka? And even if it was, why does it matter? Langkasuka’s territory does not cover modern Malaysia’s territory. And Malaysia is not Langkasuka. The people of this land had chosen to be Malaysian, not Langkasukan. Why do you insist that we Malaysians fly the flag of a defunct kingdom?

The credibility of that man must be further questioned when it is revealed that his attribution of that flag to Langkasuka is factual error. Most historians agree that the business of putting red and white bands on flags came from Majapahit. Majapahit is an ancient kingdom, also not based in the territory of modern Malaysia, and currently defunct. Again, why does it even matter? This country is Malaysia, not Majapahit.

That man also claimed that this flag was raised by the ‘rakyat’ in 1947. We must correct this fallacy. That flag was raised by a segment of the rakyat, which do not represent the whole (or majority) of the Rakyat body. It was eventually not chosen by the people of this land to represent us. We have chosen the Flag with 14 stripes to fly over this land Malaysia. Why is our choice disrespected, by activists claiming to fight for democracy? Does democracy mean that the majority have to yield to a minority whose vision is coloured by personal grudges?

The 14 stripes of our National Flag represent the 14 states of Malaysia. In contrast, we are not sure what the 12 stars on Sang Saka Malaya represent. Either the activist wants 2 states eliminated from Malaysia, or they seriously have problems with arithmetic. Let’s hope it is the latter. That is a much less sinister situation.

Oh, wait. The activists said the flag is the flag of Tanah Melayu. They were not even thinking about Sabah and Sarawak, an integral part of this country Malaysia. We would like to remind the confused activists that as of 16th September 1963, the country called Tanah Melayu had ceased to exist, with the formation of Malaysia, which includes Sabah and Sarawak. We must live with present realities. We are Malaysians, not Malayans.

And 31st August 1957 is not a Hari Malapetaka. The real malapetaka for this country is that unfortunately, she had to accommodate that hysterical man as her citizen, for the principle of jus soli is in practice on her soil. It is unfortunate that such accidents of birth as this man could speak so disparagingly of our National Flag, on our home soil.

Many people are grumbling over the fact that a famous old man was taken in by police at night. We don’t see any problem with that arrest. That famous old man was energetic enough to stand by his red and white flag on the eve of Merdeka. So why can’t he spend another late night explaining his convictions to those who do not understand the merits of his antics? Shouldn’t we seize all opportunities to educate the less educated? (Assuming that the famous old man is a great intellectual compared to those arresting him). Anyway, if he feels sleepy, there is always coffee.

To Datuk A. Samad Said, we desperately want to respect you for your age and commitment towards those disenfranchised in society. However, your current behaviour makes that task an enormous challenge. How can we respect such persons whom had shown such hostility to our National Flag, the Flag we Malaysians had chosen? With age, ideally, comes wisdom. Please think wisely before you embark on your next public stunt. Take the path that is necessary, for us to continue to respect you. If you continue on this current path, we feel we are left with no choice, but to treat you as the boy you’ve become, rather than the man you were.

To Encik Hishamuddin Rais, we live in an age where everyone is striving towards true democracy, whatever that is. We understand that you have your own ideas on how this country should run. Being democratic is not only about free speech. Another, more important aspect of democracy is being respectful of the choices of others – especially if those ‘others’ form the majority and the choice they made do not harm anyone. We Malaysians have chosen the Jalur Gemilang as our Flag. Why should someone, whom by his own admittance, had never held down a permanent job, dictate to us that we must change our Flag? Perhaps you feel we Malaysians are not capable of thinking for ourselves. Such is how you regard and patronize us ordinary Malaysians. Such is your display of arrogance.

Your fight is with UMNO. Do not use your personal scruples with that party as an excuse to insult our country’s dignity. Malaysia and UMNO are two different entities. Do not confuse the two. If ever UMNO cease to govern this country, we still insist the Jalur Gemilang fly high.

To Encik Adam Adli, don’t waste your youth, as it is not forever. Go back to school and finish your studies. Finish something in your life. You have been distracted far too long. We care enough to caution you. We care more than the company you keep. We don’t want you, to one day wake up, in your 60s, and realizing you have achieved nothing, and have no prospects. You are salvageable, if you choose to be. And remember, everything must come at a price, whatever that price is. If it is free, it will be taken for granted. Ponder that.

To the man who defended our flag, thank you. To those who stood by doing nothing, shame on you.

Lastly, to those who are trying to gain political mileage through this issue, we are disgusted. You should not be emphasizing the political leanings of the hooligans to malign your political opponents. It is the unfortunate fate of that political entity to have these deluded individuals representing their image. The government, opposition, and the people of Malaysia as a whole, must put our foot down, and send a clear message:

We have chosen to be Malaysians. We are not Malayan. We are not Lankasukan. Respect our choice. Do not force that flag on us!


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here here here and here for his old ramblings. 
posted by Izham Ismail at 1:32 am | Permalink |
Sunday, April 28, 2013
It's quite lonely up here. 

posted by Izham Ismail at 5:08 pm | Permalink |
Monday, February 18, 2013
Midnight Train
It's half past two. The train is boarding and the time to hop in is very, very little.

Miss this train, miss the journey.
posted by Izham Ismail at 2:37 am | Permalink |
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

Happy birthday, John.
posted by Izham Ismail at 11:57 am | Permalink |
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Unnecessary Divisions
Ku Ali is one romantic dude. He loves his country way too much and wishes his fellow countrymen a very Happy Malaysia Day 2012.


49 years ago, this country Malaysia was formed.  Her birth was not without complications. The differences between the various peoples inhabiting this new Malaysia, spread across both sides of the South China Sea, were significant. These differences had to be reconciled, into a national compromise, without diminishing the unique identities of each group. That was a delicate task in itself. In addition, this new Malaysia had to endure hostilities from her neighbours, whom had challenged her very right to exist. They landed troops on our soil to emphasize their opposition to this newly formed Malaysia. Internal divisions, combined with political manoeuvrings, eventually saw the exit of Singapore from the Federation in 1965, thus forming the current state of Malaysia.

Despite it all, Malaysia stood strong. We were united in repelling the Confrontation of the 1960s. We chose to put aside our differences, so that a feeling of national belonging can take root. In that process, we did not demand any group to dilute their uniqueness. Instead, we encouraged each group to preserve their traditions and gave breathing space for all to flourish. We chose to let past conflicts, be it domestic or international, to be just entries in our history books – recorded, but not dwelt upon. We chose to be united in what mattered. We chose not to be bigots. We chose be good, kind, generous, and forgiving. We chose to make this country work.

However, these past few years have seen the emergence of certain groups within our society that refuse to allow this country to work. We say they ‘refuse’ because they sought, through their actions, to create unnecessary divisions in matters that Malaysians have decided to be united in. They form a minority in our society, but their voice is disproportionately loud.

We are not referring to the typical political divide which is so commonplace today, as we uphold the right of all voters to be politically biased as deemed fit. This is a fundamental right of citizenship that we shall respect, protect and encourage. The nature of the divisions created by these dissenters is much graver, as they involve the distasteful practice of politicizing things that should not be politicized. The phenomenon of creating senseless division alludes to the rise of the unintelligent amongst us. Let us look at several examples, so that we may better understand the nature of these divisions and its threat to our survival as a nation.

In September 2011, a Malaysian journalist, Noramfaizul Mohd. Nor, died in the line of duty. The whole nation was united in grief, as we waited for his remains to return home. Uneasy with this show of unity, certain groups had to find faults and put blames. As if, those they blamed for this had actual power over life and death. They forgot that death is the prerogative of God. And they also conveniently forgot that Noramfaizul was an experienced journalist (who had covered various conflict zones) and had made this choice to enter Somalia freely. We feel the dissenters had hijacked a day Malaysians could have been proud of, when we welcome home a son who had died a hero. This they did because it has become a culture for them to blame everything on their enemy, even in matters that need no blaming. We are unimpressed.

In the recent Olympics, another son, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, had done us proud. He not only brought home a silver medal, which is a great achievement in itself, but charmed the World with his dignified grace, sacrifice and humility. He apologized when he did not have to. He united us. We put aside our differences and just focused on being proud of this nation. As expected, uneasy with this unity, an unintelligent MP had to make a statement. He ridiculed our hero, whom had managed to unite us better than any politicians could, in the public domain. Bad move, YB. We are unimpressed. As a famous American judge once said: “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.” The only consolation to this case is that we can confidently reveal that we had no part in placing this mediocre person in Parliament and he is not our representative.

This year’s Merdeka celebration was a joke. It was hijacked by politicians in a bid to woo us. This is the problem with the unintelligent amongst us. They do not understand that we are unimpressed with things that do not make sense. It does not make sense to have several themes for an occasion that is supposed to belong to all Malaysians, and not to politicians. Firstly, there is no need for slogans, as slogans mean nothing if nothing is delivered. Secondly, if they feel they absolutely can’t live without a National Day theme, the least they can do is to agree on just one. If we can’t even set aside our political differences to honour Merdeka, what hope is left for this nation? Let us be clear, we are unhappy.

The hooliganism displayed on the eve of this year’s Merdeka was a most unacceptable show of stupidity. So much was wrong with that incident. We feel repulsed at the reporting that focused too much on the picture stomping, downplaying the main offence – the displaying of an alternative flag and distribution of flyers urging our current Flag to be replaced.

As distasteful as it was, the picture stomping was a personal attack. If the Prime Minister and wife feel offended, they should sue. Or, if they feel particularly generous, they may forgive. But only they have this right to pursue the case or to forgive, and nobody else should meddle and interfere. The Prime Minister and wife are individual citizens. They are not national symbols. Why should we fight personal battles on their behalf?

We consider the flag incident to be the most serious and treacherous crime against our nation. The Malaysian Flag is a national symbol, and any contemptuous display against it is construed as an act of lèse-majesté. It is a most heinous offence, as it injures and compromises the dignity and sovereignty of our country. The hooligans that waved this alternative flag apparently wanted to educate the public on an alternative historical narrative. We wonder whether they actually realize the flag represented the Melayu Raya aspirations. Nothing is wrong with that aspiration, except that it was a goal that was rejected. Reviving that idea and pursuing its goals mean that Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei would eventually have to cease existing as separate, sovereign nations. Is that good or bad? Only time can tell. But the fact remains; it is a path we had rejected.

For 55 years, our people had chosen to rally behind the Jalur Gemilang. If the purpose was educational, the place for the Sang Saka Malaya is in academic journals or museums. It cannot be displayed alongside the National Flag with the same dignity. We must accept, the Sang Saka Malaya was the flag that was not chosen. So please, do not force it upon us.

Since we are on the subject of flags, we feel compelled to inform that the National Flag’s dignity had been compromised for years. This is because, in Malaysia, we have this misguided understanding that the wearing of the Flag as pieces of clothing is an act of patriotism. That act is actually a clear form of lèse-majesté. This is because, in producing such garments, the Flag is cut and mutilated, and when worn, the flag is insulted further by being sat upon. The practice destroys the majesty of the Flag and reduces its status to just an ordinary piece of cloth. Let us put a stop to this indignity.

How should we handle these divisive elements in our mids? Some has suggested leniency and forgiveness. We feel this is not the way.

Firstly, it sends out the wrong message. It says that we do not care, and these incidences are insignificant. It says that we accept our dignity being defiled. It says we tolerate stupidity and hooliganism. It says we may be bullied and trifled with. It says we would not rise in defence of our nation. It speaks of complacency. Tyranny, by either the minority or majority, should not be allowed to take root and prevail.

Secondly, we should not be lenient for the sake of the hooligans. Being unintelligent and immature is not a crime. However, they need to be redeemed. One of the ways to earn redemption is by bravely accepting punishments befitting the offence. Grovelling for leniency and forgiveness is pitiful, and cowardly. Cowards can never gain redemption. Thus, we urge the deviants amongst us to take the opportunity, when sentences are passed, to redeem and rehabilitate your membership in this society.

Several offenders related to the flag incident had been identified. We hope their parents and authorities will not deny them the opportunity for redemption. Please grant them appropriately harsh punishments so that they can be seen as brave individuals, rather than cowards.

We want this country to work. We want to be united in things that matters. So let us send a clear message to those who sought to create unnecessary division in this country: We do not want you.


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here here and here for his old ramblings.
posted by Izham Ismail at 11:11 pm | Permalink |
Thursday, September 13, 2012
"Some are blessed with musical ability, others with good looks. Myself, I was blessed with modesty." - Roger Moore.
posted by Izham Ismail at 2:46 am | Permalink |
Dear Audrey Barker
I get it.

I'm sorry for wasting your time.
posted by Izham Ismail at 2:35 am | Permalink |
Sunday, September 09, 2012
Sem Sem Sem Sem
is the number of semesters I've completed.

New semester starts in few hours and the build up to the occasion is shaping up quite nicely.

I started the pre-season with the new club as we prepare for the new season, and my new boots have been helpful so far to allow me control and bend the ball as I like. End result, I scored a goal from a free kick and provided a cross for another. My team won the match we bossed and the last time I felt so good after playing a football match was years ago, and it feels good to be back. I can't wait for the next one.

Third year of law school means it is time for some serious brushing up and persistent work for lengthy assignment called project paper, and my project paper is another little box I am working on for a tick later for weeks now. I'll be writing some serious academic stuff for the next few months (hopefully to be published somewhere) and the draft is looking pretty. My supervisor has been so helpful with some brilliant ideas and I can't wait to return the favour with something big. The topic I'll be writing is something very close to my heart and I am excited to get both my passions in a writing-up skirmish.

#UMmocktrial is coming soon. I've been secretly working on this project for more than 6 months now and mentioning about it in just a paragraph doesn't do this project a justice. I am blessed with a hardworking team and they are so excited about this project. Everyone is buzzing about #UMmocktrial for months now and I'll only write or tweet about it few days before the actual day, fashionably late, of course.

New semester, please don't disappoint, because you are looking pretty already.

P.S. You can get updates on #UMmocktrial by following its Twitter account at @UMmocktrial, or just click here if you are one lazy bastard. You probably don't have any idea what is #UMmocktrial. I didn't, and I wish I knew about it much earlier.
posted by Izham Ismail at 9:59 pm | Permalink |
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Nak Dara Rindu
One last gig to honour a dying friend. One of the most beautiful thing I've listened to for a long time. Hats off, gentlemen.
posted by Izham Ismail at 3:09 am | Permalink |
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
All In
I usually go for traditional black or white Predators. Not this time. I've lost track on how many football boots have I bought but I am sure that this is my third Predator ever. 

They say third time is the charm.

Football season is back!
posted by Izham Ismail at 4:50 pm | Permalink |
Monday, September 03, 2012
There are two kinds of writer. There are ones who plan everything before they put their pen on their paper, detailing every particulars of their characters - personality profile of some sorts - and maybe with specific plot diagrams akin to a storyboard on their wall.

There are others who believe that the whole point of writing is making it up as they go along, like a traveler without a map or a scout without a compass. This is the kind who would take the risk of maybe having a wonderful ending with boring plot progression or otherwise.

I am a bit of both. I plan my writing but I don't really follow what I schedule for myself. I am a stubborn writer. The meticulous writer in me has been having a duel with the adventurous one for years and I think they haven't really reached a fair compromise yet.

I have been reading Jorge Luis Borges' works to understand writers' infamous Jekyll and Hyde plight of having a split personality. It has long become a custom for a writer to conform with the rest of the fellowship with such behaviour and every writers have accepted that the plight allows them to have a second life.

It's scary but I don't buy any of it.

Writing is not a mean to escape the realities of life. It draws someone closer to appreciate life's little lessons. That is why I don't see a point to detach the person you are with the writer inside you.

They should be the same person, because they are.

But wait, I am not a writer. I just blog.
posted by Izham Ismail at 8:39 pm | Permalink |
Sunday, September 02, 2012
“A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing.” 

From second division to world beater. Happy birthday, Shanks.
posted by Izham Ismail at 5:28 pm | Permalink |
Interesting Sentences and What They Mean
The annual ritual continues. Step aside, Ku Ali is here.


Since we have just entered our 55th year of independence, perhaps it is wise to review, assess, and reflect the values and standards we wish to uphold in society.  We, Malaysians, are concerned and alarmed at what we see as the unnecessary lowering of societal standards.  From the characters of representatives (we hesitate to use the term ‘leaders’) we choose to put in Parliament, to our current rojak communication (in any language), we seemed to have settled for less. We hope this article will help wake complacent Malaysians from their deep sleep. Things can be good, if we choose. We deserve better.

The recent outcomes of two statutory rape trials call for urgent discussion on the state of our societal values and standards. Before we delve deeper into discussion, let us be clear that the cases had been ruled upon by eminent judges, and we respect their rulings. All was done with legal provisions, and we appreciate the Judiciary for handling the cases in a professional manner.

However, we still believe that the country may benefit from a frank and honest discussion on the ramifications of the decisions and what those rulings say about us as a society. Let us first briefly describe  these two cases and their rulings.

In the first case, a bowler (let’s not mention names and increase their celebrity factor, as the offenders had been made famous enough by the press) was found guilty of one count of statutory rape. At the time of the crime, he was 19 and the girl 13. In the second case, an electrician was found guilty of two counts of statutory rapes. At the time of the crime, he was 21 and the girl 12. In sentencing both cases, Section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Code was invoked. The two convicted criminals were served a RM 25,000 good behaviour bond. They will be monitored for 5 (bowler) and 3 (electrician) years respectively. There is no jail time.

Many feel that the punishment is inadequate. However, let us be reminded that this is all conducted within the legal framework. We will not elaborate the provisions under Section 294 and what it means, as we have limited space and time here. And we do not believe in the practice of spoon feeding. We have high regards of our readers, and believe they are capable of undertaking their own independent research on this. We encourage them to arrive at their own conclusions.

We are much more interested to discuss what the rulings say about us as a society. One of the justifications offered for the light sentences was that the sex was consensual. We find this reasoning rather problematic because it basically says that a minor (in this case 12 and 13 year olds) bears legal agency and is mature enough to give this consent. Perhaps the victims were mature enough to make such decisions, as maturity is not necessarily related to age (as we have seen). Furthermore, what is considered mature or immature is highly subjective. Thus, we can establish that ‘maturity’ means different things to different people, and is measured using different standards. So let’s not be judgmental.

However, in approaching some matters that are ambiguous, the Law functions as a guide. And for the Law to have meaning, its prescriptions must be adhered to in a consistent manner. Our Laws concerning statutory rape is quite clear in establishing what constitutes a minor. A female below 16 years old is a minor, and the implication is that her consent to sex is void and she has no legal agency to make such a decision (even for herself). If she contracted venereal diseases, she cannot seek medical care without her parent’s permission. If her agency is not even recognized in the hospital, why should her consent suddenly matter in cases of statutory rape? The whole point of a provision for statutory rape in our Laws is that we don’t recognize sexual consent by a minor. It is about protecting the vulnerable amongst us.

Putting weight on a minor’s consent in sentencing these cases means we recognize that children should bear legal agency on their own crimes. The implication of recognizing this legal agency is that parents and guardians can only exercise minimal control and grant a significant amount of freedom and liberty for their children to make their own decisions at a young age. Malaysians must ask ourselves whether we want this and are we ready to face the consequences. If the answer is yes, good luck to us. If the answer is no, then let’s play by the book. It is our choice, ultimately.

The ‘youthfulness’ of the convicted criminals and their hopefully bright future were other considerations that resulted in the light sentences. What constitute being young (as with maturity discussed earlier) is highly subjective. Thus, in the same light as our discussion on minors, the legal definition of what is considered ‘adult’ must be adhered to. Males age 18 years and above are legally defined as adults, and must be held responsible as adults should. If we say that 19 and 21 year olds are too young to be sent to jail, we must then ask the question: When should we stop protecting people from the consequences of their actions and start letting them learn the importance of responsibility?

Criminals must be given the chance to redeem themselves by bravely facing the consequences of their actions. This includes accepting adequate punishments for the crimes done. We feel the light sentences passed denied these convicted criminals their chance of redeeming their humanity. Is that fair to them?

Perhaps, having represented his nation, the bowler deserved membership in the ‘bright future’ club. However, it seemed that it is not that difficult to qualify as member, as even a high school dropout had gained membership. The club certainly tries to cover the whole spectrum in this respect. We feel it is rather amusing that hypothetical ‘bright’ futures have impact in passing sentences. We detect an element of celebrity privilege in the ruling of the bowler’s case. Since he had represented the country, he must have a bright future, and putting him in jail would not make sense. This had set a precedent, which is proven by the ruling in the electrician’s case. We feel an alarming message was sent out to the public, which basically says celebrity status matter in determining sentences. The fact that the bowler had bowled overseas should not have mattered.

Everybody should be considered equally in our courts. The message should have been: It doesn’t matter who you are; flirt with crime, you do time. Frank, but fair.

It was mentioned that ‘public interest’ was a consideration in the decision. We, the public, are interested to know how not jailing these convicted criminals benefit us? Perhaps it is wise for someone well versed in Law to explain to us the merit of allowing convicted rapists to roam free amongst us. We don’t really see sense here, so please enlighten us.

Was justice served? It is a difficult question to answer. Justice (like maturity and youthfulness) is subjective. It depends on what values we hold dear. However, we feel that an important criterion to establish whether justice was done is how the injured party’s complaints were addressed. The family of the girl raped by the electrician expressed dissatisfaction over the ruling. Thus, we hesitate to agree that the victim’s grievances were adequately addressed.

The Deputy Public Prosecutor acting on behalf of the family had filed an appeal against the light sentence. This is the way forward. We hope the next judge presiding over this will dignify us with a worthy sentence. Please consider real public interest and the precedent that will be set by the sentence in carrying out this duty. We, Malaysians, want to be impressed by the Judiciary. However, the Judiciary must first take itself and the role it is to play very seriously.

Although our discussion focused only on the two recent cases, it relates to a more alarming issue in our society. It alludes to Malaysians accepting lowered standards (in all matters) and being comfortable with it. Let’s stop this rot. Our values and standards should be higher (or at least maintained). Never lowered.

Perhaps, looking at the identity of the criminals, this is a case of 1Malaysia gone wrong. Let’s hope there isn’t a Raju to confirm our suspicions. For the sake of the nation, let’s not be politically correct. Let’s just be correct.

Malaysians, where do we go from here?


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here and here for his old ramblings.

posted by Izham Ismail at 1:13 pm | Permalink | 0 comments