Thursday, August 31, 2023

Unity – Formula For Malaysian-Indian Success?

Unity – Formula For Malaysian-Indian Success?

After 9 months of the Anwar Ibrahim administration, the Indian community is the one that has benefited the least. Members of this community have now started looking inward – “Have we been duped?” “Why is the community in dire straits?” “Have we, as a community, done the right things?” “Is it our own fault? Have we become like this because we are disunited?”

The last question is one that deserves attention even if, time and again been repeated like a broken record. Almost every single expert on the subject plus commentators, politicians, educators, and concerned Malaysian-Indian citizens converge on one point; that disunity within the community is among the root causes of its failure and Indian unity is imperative, fast. I wish to put forward an alternative view.

Is unity a mandatory recipe for minority wellbeing? Why do we keep pushing for something that has a very low probability of happening? We will lose focus of achievable in trying to accomplish something with a low likelihood of success. We should instead direct our focus on the achievable. After 65 years, the community has not progressed much. Are we going to waste another 65 years attempting to unify the race?

In the end unity may or may not come. Therefore, we should quit chasing. Instead, identify assets and strengths that the community possesses, work on them. Even Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim got fooled into thinking the way to go for Indian advancement is through unity. A couple of months back, he urged Indians to unite and propose ideas to him. This is bad advice considering his failure to bring unity to his own community and one that will cause considerable delay in implementing concrete policies for Malaysian-Indians.

An attempt to unify Malaysian-Indians needs a great deal work; mental revolution of a large scale which include constant social media bombardments, face-to-face counseling, group counseling, a daily dose of positive unity indoctrination, cooperation from the Indian intelligentsia, elites, and the middle class. Will individuals in these groups associate themselves with labor-class Indians?

What is going on now is: when a non-Indian criticizes the labor class Indians, the Indian elite, the educated, and the middle class agree and add to the criticisms. The Indian poor is defenseless. Even in a situation when the poor Indian is wrong, do we really need to add to add fuel to fire? The Indian poor want to court the groups better-off than them but there is no reciprocity.

We, Malaysian-Indians, have created our own version of the caste system. How many of you will have the courage to admit that the drunk Indian guy, passed out on the curb is of your kind? The typical Indian will provide a myriad of reasons to establish that he or she is of a different mold or different league than the drunk. Wouldn’t it be better if one comes to terms and acknowledges the fact and find reasons for what causes such social ills and solve them instead of running away from it?

If you decide to help the drunk on the street and provide the best advice you can, yes, he is likely to end up in his abyss the very next day, but that does not give us the right to completely disassociate ourselves from one group of the community that needs long-term attention through narrowly-tailored, special approaches. Any person who has not done enough to elevate Indian lives in Malaysia has no right to criticize them.

It is interesting to note that Malaysian-Indians are not unlinked in every aspect. There are instances where members of the community have shown solidarity when they want to. In almost all cases of indigents needing funds for higher education or for healthcare, donations pour in, not in hundreds or thousands but in hundreds of thousands of ringgit. The same people will not unite or lift a finger when an Indian kid is being beaten up.

Likewise, there is a serious absence of accord in the area of political unity; the primary reason being loss of faith in politicians, with MIC owning the lion’s share of it. Today, a sizeable number of Indians have no trust in politicians anymore. Whether there are genuine, sincere leaders out there has become irrelevant because the perception that there aren’t is what matters. Whether they will regain trust when a perceived truly, completely unblemished, untainted leader, sort of a savior shows up is for the reader to guess.

If There Is No Political Unity, Then How About the Hindraf Rally? That Was Political Unity Right?

Correct. The Hindraf rally was of a political unity type. It was nevertheless a pre-existing unity engendered by years of hopelessness and a hatred of Mahathir and the MIC. The frustration in turn generated a common ideology, that is, to end BN rule and to completely do away with MIC. This was automatic unity, not by design. At that point of time, Indian fury had reached boiling point. The time for the mass protest was ripe, just waiting for a spark. The spark was the series of gatherings organized by the Ponnusamy brothers culminating in the larger November 25, 2007 rally.


The Italian Example

Italians are known for their disunity. As a group they achieve very little. However as individuals they are great achievers. Throughout history, the Italian name has been carved in all facets of life, ranging from technological inventions to fame in religion, art, design, fashion, and sports. Columbus, Da Vinci, Galilei, Machiavelli, Paul VI, Ferrari, Fibonacci, Versace, and Marciano will forever remain in people’s minds. While still being debated, many believe the name America came from Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.

Consisting of many different ideas and ideologies, Italy, as a country is so much divided. Italian disunity is not new. The Roman Empire witnessed marked animosity between the Emperor and the Roman Senate which lasted many years. Even its Mafia is split by the various family ideologies. Current day Italy is predominately Italian by race and Catholic by religion yet faces many challenges with regard to unity. She is divided along many fault lines, mainly political and ideological. Yet Italy is the 10th largest economy in the world.

The New India

With numerous religions, scores of languages, hundreds of dialects, and thousands of political parties, India is perhaps the most fragmented country in the world. Today India is growing and progressing at a rapid rate. Once a world capital for beggars and famine, India is now second to none in Science and Technology especially in Information Technology (IT).

The recent landing on a hostile, unexplored area of the moon is testament to this. India did not suddenly transform into a united country spearheading the progress. Religious, ethnic, caste, clan, and regional rifts have not dissipated at all yet it is returning to its heyday of a thousand years back. India has proven that while unity is important for success, it is not the main recipe or a mandatory factor to achieve it.

The Terrorist Example

The amount of damage done and the number of goals terrorists achieve is mind-boggling. The whopping amount of money, effort and other resources countries expend to fight terrorists serve as a reminder of the power of a small, highly-motivated segment of a community. The impact of terrorism is extensive, extending beyond space and time and cannot be measured by lives and dollars and cents only.

Who carries out such acts? It is a no-brainer that in any religion or group, the super radicals who turn into terrorists are a minority of the whole. While China-styled unity has given rise to commendable accomplishments for that country, one can also argue that a visibly fractionalized United States boasts 200 years of American global dominance, meaning unity is not a prerequisite for triumph.


The Chinese community in Malaysia is very united. Whether this is a fact or perception is extraneous to the issue because the consensus points to the affirmative and is often used as a yardstick for non-Chinese communities to adopt. In Malaysia, the Chinese have an affinity for self-employment. Financial independence is paramount to almost all Chinese.

The uniformity in outlook may have emanated from episodes in history perhaps going back to Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s as well as Mao’s unification agenda. The same cannot be said about the other main ethnic groups. Each race evolved differently with different histories spanning hundreds, if not thousands of years giving rise to different priorities and values each holds dear to. As such, the degree of cohesion varies from race to race.

Further, we cannot compare Chinese unity with Indian unity because of differences in population size and ethnic diversity. The 23-25% Chinese in Malaysia are divided by only dialectic differences. The meager 8-9% Indians on the other hand belongs to various sub-ethnicities, languages, religions, and cultures, splitting them further, causing each group to possess only negligible power.

We do not require absolute esprit de corps for success. In fact we don’t even need two-thirds of the community to be united for that. Many things can be accomplished with the support of simple majorities. If a percentage of a community is devoted to positive and noble changes (as opposed to negative, as in the case of religious fanatics), success will come, slowly but surely. In the process, the active, the motivated, and the patriots can graciously allow the naysayers, the apathetic, and those living in oblivion to remain in their unique conditions as long as the latter do not play killjoys.

Unity can be a double-edged sword. Too much unity can rattle diversity in thought and fresh ideas. It can also lead to sheep behavior – following the majority blindly. Some variety in creed and credo is always welcome. Paradigm shifts cannot arise without diversity in opinions. I’d like to warn that if we continue to hold on to the conviction that unity is a precondition for success, the community may forever be trapped in the pursuit of it.

Finally I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not giving excuses for Malaysian-Indian failures. I am merely putting things into perspective. Reiterating what has been mentioned earlier; instead of struggling to cause unity, Indians should instead identify assets and strengths that the community possesses, build on them, and involve various stakeholders, dedicated groups, cast off naysayers, and move forward continuously without waiting for supermajority consensus.

The habit of taking breaks or pausing need to be tossed off. We are racing against time. I wish to repeat here one thing that I have mentioned in my public speeches and in some of my writings – The Malaysian-Indian loves to talk, hence, precious time for actions, lost. The first step toward change is to talk less and work more. Do that!

Contributed by: Professor Dr. Suguman Narayanan

PAS will punish, label anyone as anti-Islam just to be kingmaker, says Puad

PAS will punish, label anyone as anti-Islam just to be kingmaker, says Puad

AN UMNO leader has labelled PAS an “ugly kingmaker” who can change its fatwa to suit its political actions and would abandon whoever it wants.

UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi was responding to PAS election director Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor’s bold claim yesterday (Aug 30) that the Islamist party was a “kingmaker” that can determine the political expectancy of UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“According to Sanusi, Zahid’s political life expectancy can be long if he works with PAS. According to him, PAS is a kingmaker.

“That’s right, PAS is a kingmaker. But an ‘ugly kingmaker’. PAS can change its fatwa to whitewash its political actions. PAS will leave whoever it wants.

“PAS will punish and label anyone as anti-Islam just to be the kingmaker. PAS has become arrogant because it is now kingmaker to (Perikatan Nasional chairman) Muhyiddin (Yassin) and Bersatu,” Puad said in a Facebook post today (Aug 31).

Sanusi, who is also the Kedah Menteri Besar, said this in response to Zahid’s dismissal of any talk of UMNO reviving the Muafakat Nasional (MN) alliance with PAS, saying that the Islamic party may have hidden agendas behind such a move.

According to the Jeniri assemblyman, only PAS can save Zahid’s political career if the UMNO president works with the party.

Sanusi also went as far as to describe PAS as having great influence in determining the direction of any political party, adding that any political cooperation in the country would not succeed without PAS’ involvement.

“I think if you will not go anywhere if you do not seriously involve PAS, any political cooperation in Malaysia today needs PAS as a kingmaker,” Sanusi was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia.

“If Zahid wishes to do anything without involving PAS, he will not be able to prolong his political career.”

He added that UMNO was now mired in a crisis under Zahid, as evident from the party’s rejection in the recently concluded state polls in Kedah which was a manifestation of rejection towards the latter’s leadership as well. – Aug 31, 2023

“It’s politicians like you who divided the country, not vernacular schools,” Ramanan tells Tun M

“It’s politicians like you who divided the country, not vernacular schools,” Ramanan tells Tun M

FORMER prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad must stop spewing any more inflammatory statements which brings no value to national unity, said a PKR leader.

PKR deputy Information chief (1) Datuk R.Ramanan said it was disappointing that the fourth and seventh prime minister had to release a seditious statement asking for the abolition of vernacular schools, even though they were part of the national education system.

“Tamil and Chinese vernacular schools were institutions funded by the federal government and have long existed since independence, unlike the private schools,” the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) Special Committee chairman was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia in a statement today (Aug 31).

“On average, Chinese primary schools have about 100,000 non-Chinese students, namely Indians and Malays. The numbers are about the same for non-Indian students presently studying at Tamil primary schools all over.

“These students will play a major role in nation-building in time to come,” Ramanan said.

The Sungai Buloh MP also invited Dr Mahathir to see their attributes to national unity in their programme and syllabus, adding that some of the best talents had graduated from these primary schools and they were occupying high positions in the government and the private sector today.

“It is also because of vernacular schools that Malaysians have been able to have a better grasp of Mandarin and Tamil, linguistic assets,” headed.

Ramanan went on to say that one of the main reasons Malays and Indians were sending their children to these vernacular schools for primary education was because they wanted their children to learn Mandarin or Tamil.

“Moreover, China and India are major economies, and it is something we must understand, and when our children are able to speak these languages, they become highly marketable and are sought after, giving them better opportunities in their careers later on,” Ramanan remarked.

According to Ramanan, Dr Mahathir, unfortunately, has chosen to see everything from a racial angle, to ensure he stays relevant in the news.

“At 98 he should play the role of bringing Malaysians together instead of creating division via some of his recent statements.

“With respect, we would like to know if his (Dr Mahathir’s) grandchildren attend private or international schools or are they in our Sekolah Kebangsaan, like the rest of Malaysians?”

Ramanan further said it was a sad sight when Dr Mahathir still refers to Malaysians who are not Malays as “pendatang” (immigrants) despite gaining independence for 66 years.

“It is not vernacular schools that have caused the division in the country, but politicians like Dr Mahathir,” he said. – Aug 31, 2023

Why didn’t Tun M bridge racial divide caused by vernacular schools when he had absolute power?

Why didn’t Tun M bridge racial divide caused by vernacular schools when he had absolute power?

By Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

SOMETIMES I think that it serves no purpose to comment about the twice former prime minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed.

There seems no end to his oscillation from one form of racism to another. Earlier, it was the nefarious attempts by the non-Malays to dilute the Federal Constitution from one based on mono-ethnicity.

This time around, he has returned to his familiar territory of bashing the vernacular schools as the prime reason for the present racial divide or divisiveness.

The question is: whether Dr Mahathir is right in saying that the vernacular education system which comprised the Mandarin and Tamil schools in the country are the cause of the racial divide.

The vernacular school system was something continued from the British colonial days. It was not product of recent times.

Schools in the country – whether national or national-types (vernacular) or religious schools – are products of the overall national education system.

The national education system is there because it is a policy decision adopted by those in power. In essence, the schools by themselves are not the primary cause of racial strife or racial divide.

They are dependent variables of the larger political system. If schools are reinforcing racial divide, not just the vernacular schools but the problem seems to be with those in control of the government.

Who’s the real culprit?

When Dr Mahathir was the PM for 22 years and 22 more months, one wonders why he never voiced out his vehement opposition to the existence of vernacular education.

Why didn’t he remove the vernacular schools in the first place? Then, as political power was essential to him, he would have realised that actions seen to be tampering with vernacular schools might only jeopardise his political career.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

What is the point of raising the hue and cry about the vernacular schools now when the horses have left the stable?

Vernacular schools are not the primary cause of racial divide in the country. On the contrary, the racial divide is the consequence of racial and religious extremism in the country. In short, the consequence of political system that is based on ethnicity and religion.

Just as the national schools are reinforced by the government’s policy in favour of the majoritarian community, a counter move of reinforcing the ethnic character of vernacular schools are taking place.

Dr Mahathir by not differentiating between the cause and effect, takes the popular route of blaming the vernacular schools for the racial divide in the country.

Rather than blaming the vernacular schools, Dr Mahathir should ascertain why the governments after political independence failed to institute a national system of education that would have provided a stake for the all the ethnic communities.

Perhaps he should ask himself since he was the PM for more than two decades why he miserably failed to implement a comprehensive education that would cater for all the ethnic communities in the country.

Why blame the vernacular system of education now when he had all the opportunities to bridge the “racial divide” caused by vernacular schools when he had absolute power. – Aug 31, 2023

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the former DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also the former deputy chief minister II of Penang.

PN-inspired Merdeka

S Thayaparan

“Only sometimes you can’t feel anything about a subject without hypothesising its extinction.”

- American novelist Richard Ford

COMMENT | The green wave overshadows whatever feel-good messaging the state comes up with every year for Merdeka.

Once a year, the political class attempts to project an image of inclusivity in what is supposed to be our independence from colonial rule.

This year, Perikatan National looms large. It has had a good year. They have leaders who are willing to slay Malay sacred cows. They have used social media to their advantage. They have demonstrated that as a political bloc, they are immune from the sanctions of the state.

They have made this unity government look like a bunch of incompetent autocrats and they have done all of this, while their leaders and various bank accounts have been under siege by the state.

But more importantly, they have torn away the last vestiges that Malaysia is a secular and multi-ethnic state.

This administration is so afraid of spooking the Malay base that they are doing the theocratic and racial work for PN.

The non-Malay political bloc is so terrified that anything said or done would be spun as “Chinese influence” over the Madani state.

So much so that they have tucked their tails between their legs and acted as handmaidens to any racial or theocratic diktat that Anwar and Umno think will burnish their Malay and Islamic credentials.

The sight of a sitting prime minister presiding over the conversion of a new convert is symbolic of the encroachment of PN into every aspect of the fast-dissolving public and personal spaces of non-Muslim Malaysians.

The attempt to normalise this act is symbolic of how non-Malay political operatives and some of their supporters have surrendered to the theocratic state-in-waiting.

Dismantling democratic guardrails

Merdeka is supposed to be a day of remembrance, of where we came from. It is also a day for looking forward, to where we are heading. This is a bitter pill to swallow.

Where we came from was a functional democratic and secular (for the most part) country, after independence, having Umno/BN over its long watch slowly dismantled the democratic and secular guardrails of this country and turned this once blessed land into an ethnocracy before turning it into a kleptocracy.

Where are we heading? Well, PN has the answer for that. We are heading into a theocratic state. We are a country divided not on ideological grounds but rather on racial and religious paradigms. People who vote for PN have no interest in the fig leaf of multiculturalism that previous regimes indulged in.

PAS understands that not only is the political instability brought upon by the machinations of a kleptocratic regime useful to them, but also that more democracy injected into the Malaysian body politic is detrimental to them.

With Pakatan Harapan/Umno attempting to restrict the press and calls not to act like a big brother, not to mention all the abandoned promised reforms, PN would have an easier time when it assumed power.

More damaging is that Harapan and DAP would not be able to make credible arguments for reform and calls to action when they are the opposition again because, when they had the opportunity for reformasi, they rejected it.

So what non-Muslims need to understand is this. The only Islamic narrative in this country is that Muslim leaders will govern based on their religious dogma and that as long as they have power, they should use it to enforce their religious dogma.

There used to be Merdekas in the past where the possibility of hope and reform were present. This Merdeka especially, Harapan supporters have nothing to hope for.

Their coalition is in power and working in concert with Umno, fending off an attack by a populist movement intoxicated by the power it wields through racial and religious narratives.

Appeasement of extremists

Merdeka as a totemic reference to the unshackling of chains has morphed into a different kind of beast. The religion of the state and the racial hegemony of the majority have become the dominant narratives.

We are not really talking about independence as a means to fulfil everyone’s potential but rather independence from Western democratic values which hampers the religionists in this country.

As the years roll on, sticking up for your rights is becoming more onerous. What the youth vote demonstrates is that young people who vote, especially Muslims, have no desire for any kind of consensus building.

Over the decades, the consensus has become appeasement. The appeasement of racists and religious extremists not only endangers your rights as a citizen but also makes you complicit in a system in which you really have no say.

What does it say about Merdeka in his country, when the lesser of two evils is clamping down on our personal liberties and public spaces, but the alternative, PN is worse?

What is the point of celebrating Merdeka when the people who vote for one coalition have no trouble letting their non-Muslim brethren live as pak turuts (yes men) and the other side wants to do whatever is necessary to remain in power even if it means further disenfranchising the non-Malays/non-Muslims in this country?

This Merdeka is a culmination of this country foolishly throwing away its potential. Everyone says give this unity government more time but time is not really the problem.

What does this Madani government want to be? What kind of future does this Madani government want for the Malays? Because not spooking them is not a roadmap to a productive future.

It is pointless writing feel-good articles about this country and how it is hampered by extreme forces. What hampers this country is that there is no opposition to those extreme forces. No opposition backed by political will to define the democratic future of this country.

Merdeka this year reminds us that democracy is a legacy of this country instead of its future.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

Fukushima: Japan to help fishers after China’s seafood ban, reports Nikkei

Fukushima: Japan to help fishers after China’s seafood ban, reports Nikkei

An official measures radiation levels of scallops imported from Japan as they conduct a radioactivity check, which have been conducted regularly since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, at Noryangjin fisheries wholesale market in Seoul, South Korea, July 6, 2023. — Reuters pic

Thursday, 31 Aug 2023 8:06 AM MYT

TOKYO, Aug 31 — Japan will tap additional funds to help the fisheries industry after China banned Japanese seafood in response to the release of water from the Fukushima nuclear plant last week, the Nikkei reported on Thursday.

The additional several tens of billions of yen (hundreds of millions of dollar) will be tapped from the government's budget reserves for the current fiscal year, the Nikkei said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected announce the new measures on Thursday after his visit to the Toyosu fish market in Tokyo, Japanese media have reported.

Japan started releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean last Thursday, prompting China, Japan's biggest trade partner, to impose a blanket ban on Japanese aquatic products.

Tokyo's government has set up two funds worth ¥80 billion (RM2.54 billion) to help develop new sales channels and keep excess fish frozen until they can be sold when demand recovers, among other measures. Officials have previously denied the possibility of additional fiscal measures for the industry.

More than 700 Japanese companies exported about US$600 million worth of aquatic products to China in 2022, making it the biggest market for Japanese exports, followed by Hong Kong, which announced its own ban on seafood imports from 10 Japanese regions after the Fukushima release.

Fisheries Minister Tetsuro Nomura said last Friday that the government would take steps to diversify Japan's fish exports for China-dependent products such as scallops. China took more than half of Japanese scallop exports in 2022.

Some Japanese officials have also signalled diplomatic actions to urge China to lift the ban, which Tokyo says is not based on scientific evidence, including filing a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint. — Reuters

Selangor MB sues Kedah MB for defamation over Vincent Tan remarks, demands compensation

Selangor MB sues Kedah MB for defamation over Vincent Tan remarks, demands compensation

In his defamation suit filed at the Shah Alam High Court at noon today, Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari is seeking for the court to order Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor to pay compensation in the form of general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages for the alleged defamation. — Bernama pic

Wednesday, 30 Aug 2023 5:43 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari today filed a defamation lawsuit against Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor over the latter’s August 2 remarks on Selangor and Berjaya Corporation Berhad founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan.

In his defamation suit filed at the Shah Alam High Court at noon today, Amirudin is seeking for the court to order Sanusi to pay compensation in the form of general damages, aggravated damages, exemplary damages for the alleged defamation.

Amirudin is also seeking for an injunction or a court order to stop Sanusi from repeating the same defamatory statements.

When asked, Amirudin’s lawyer Mohd Haijan Omar told Malay Mail that the court papers for the defamation lawsuit have been served on the law firm representing Sanusi, Messrs Faizi & Associates.

Haijan said the defamation lawsuit is scheduled for case management at the High Court on October 3.

Previously on August 9, Amirudin had issued a letter of demand dated August 8 to Sanusi, giving the latter a 48-hour deadline to apologise and pay RM10 million as compensation over the defamatory remarks. Amirudin had said failure to comply with the demands would result in legal action being taken in the courts.

But in the court papers filed today, Amirudin said Sanusi has so far failed, refused or neglected to comply with the demands to publish an apology and to retract the defamatory remarks.

In his defamation lawsuit, Amirudin claimed that Sanusi had made the defamatory remarks in an August 2 speech during the ‘Jelajah Mega PN Best ‘Sayangi Kedah Sejahtera’ event in Jitra, Kedah. ― Bernama pic

Amirudin, who is also Sungai Tua state assemblyman and Gombak MP, is also PKR vice-president and Selangor Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman and Pahang PH chairman.

Sanusi who is Jeneri state assemblyman is the election director for PAS, which is a component party of PH’s rival coalition Perikatan Nasional (PN).

In his defamation lawsuit, Amirudin claimed that Sanusi had made the defamatory remarks in an August 2 speech during the “Jelajah Mega PN Best ‘Sayangi Kedah Sejahtera” event in Jitra, Kedah as part of political campaigns leading up to the August 12 state elections. Six states including Selangor and Kedah went through elections on August 12.

Amirudin said the video containing Sanusi’s alleged defamatory remark was made available on TV PAS’ Facebook page and that the video has also been made available by others such as media outlets Astro Awani and KiniTV on social media, and that a video of a portion of the alleged defamatory remarks were made available on PAS Kuala Selangor’s TikTok account and Agenda Daily@one’s TikTok account.

Amirudin claimed that PAS online portal Harakah Daily had also reproduced Sanusi words in an article titled “Sanusi dedah skandal Amirudin dengan Vincent Tan”.

In the lawsuit, Amirudin said Sanusi’s remarks had defamed him by accusing him of being corrupt and abusing his powers as the Selangor menteri besar to cause the Selangor state government’s 600 acres of land worth RM10 billion to purportedly be given for free to Tan and his related company Berjaya Land Bhd.

But Amirudin said that Sanusi’s remarks were untrue and are malicious falsehoods, saying that Tan and Berjaya Land were never awarded or gifted 600 acres of Selangor state land for free and that the Selangor state government did not incur RM10 billion losses as claimed by Sanusi.

Among other things when arguing that there was malice, Amirudin claimed that Sanusi’s August 2 remarks were politically motivated and intended to cast him in a bad light ahead of the August 12 state elections, and claimed the remarks were aimed at garnering votes for PAS and PN.

“In uttering the defamatory statements at a political campaign event, which are untrue and baseless, the defendant was clearly motivated to obtain cheap publicity for personal, political and/or electioneering gains,” Amirudin said, also claiming that Sanusi’s remarks were aimed at making him lose votes in the state election.

“The express reference to a Chinese businessman by the name of Vincent Tan and the repeated references to the phrase ‘tauke’ in the defamatory statements were racially motivated and the defendant had intended to play with racial sentiments to cause disdain and disgust amongst the Malay community against the plaintiff,” Amirudin argued, referring to himself as the plaintiff and to Sanusi as the defendant in the court case.

Among other things, Amirudin said his reputation had been damaged and that Sanusi’s remarks had resulted in ridicule from the Malay community that he helps and enriches Chinese businessmen and also accusations from the public that he practises cronyism, besides also damaging public confidence in him as Selangor menteri besar and reducing his vote-majority in the Selangor state elections.

Based on the distress, anxiety, embarrassment, loss and damages he had suffered due to Sanusi’s alleged defamatory remarks, Amirudin claimed for compensation to be awarded.

On August 8, Tan and Berjaya Land had also filed a defamation suit against Sanusi, where the two sought for the court to order the Kedah politician to pay compensation over his ‘completely untrue’ remarks in the same August 2 speech in relation to land in Selangor. — Reuters pic

On August 8, Tan and Berjaya Land had also filed a defamation suit against Sanusi, where the two sought for the court to order the Kedah politician to pay compensation over his “completely untrue” remarks in the same August 2 speech in relation to land in Selangor.

In the defamation suit, Tan and Berjaya Land are seeking for the High Court in Shah Alam to issue an injunction to restrain or stop Sanusi from making the same or similar defamatory remarks against them.

Reiterating Berjaya Land’s detailed August 4 point-by-point rebuttal of Sanusi’s claims, Tan and Berjaya Land in the lawsuit had said both of them were never given any 600 acres of land for free, and also stressed that the Selangor state government did not incur RM180 million in losses for giving away such land for free.

On August 17, Tan and Berjaya Land obtained a court order or injunction to temporarily stop Sanusi from making the same or similar defamatory remarks, until the High Court hears and decides on the defamation lawsuit. The injunction was obtained through an ex parte application, which meant it had only involved Tan and Berjaya Land’s lawyers.

The High Court on August 25 extended the temporary injunction obtained by Tan and Berjaya Land, until the High Court’s October 25 inter-parte hearing on the injunction where Sanusi’s lawyers are reportedly expected to object to the injunction application.

Happy Merdeka Day


Wednesday, August 30, 2023

India, a Reluctant BRICS Traveler

Volume 28, Number 236 — Tuesday, August 29, 2023

India, a Reluctant BRICS Traveler

M.K. Bhadrakumar says BRICS is transforming into the most representative community in the world, with an expanding membership that interacts while bypassing Western pressure.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a BRICS meeting in 2017. (, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

By M.K. Bhadrakumar
Indian Punchline

India became a beacon of hope for the Western media for a short while in the run-up to the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg — a potential dissenter that might derail the grouping’s acceleration toward a “de-dollarisation” process.

Reuters floated a rumour that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might not attend the summit in person, which of course was an excessive case of wishful thinking but called attention to what a high-stakes geopolitical game BRICS has become.

Such paranoia was unprecedented. If up until last year, the Western game was to mock at BRICS as an inconsequential club, the pendulum has swung to the other extreme. The reasons are not hard to find.

At the most obvious level, there is great sensitivity in the Western world that the massive effort through the past 18 months to weaponise sanctions against Russia not only flopped but boomeranged. And this is at a time when the United States’ morbid fear of being overtaken by China peaked — burying the global hegemony of the West since the “geographical discoveries” of the 15th century.

The recent years witnessed a steady strengthening of the Russia-China partnership, which has reached a “no limits” character, contrary to the Western calculus that the historical contradictions between the two neighbouring giants virtually ruled out such a possibility. In reality, the Russia-China partnership is shaping up as something bigger than a formal alliance in its seamless tolerance of the optimal pursuit of each protagonist’s national interests while concurrently supporting the core interests of the other.

US Crosshairs

China’s President Xi Jinping with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in March. (Sergei Karpukhin, TASS)

Thus, any format in which Russia and China play a lead role, such as BRICS, is bound to be in the U.S.’ crosshairs. It is as simple as that. The New York Times reported on the BRICS expansion as being regarded “as a significant victory for the two leading members of the group, increasing China’s political clout and helping to reduce Russia’s isolation.”

It drew comfort from the group’s heterogeneous makeup and lack of clear political course, “except for the desire to change the current global financial and management system, making it more open, more diverse and less restrictive — and less subject to American politics and the power of the dollar.”

This [desire to change the current global financial and management system] is the whole point. The Indian analysts are missing the woods for the trees.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov disclosed to the media that behind closed doors, the Johannesburg summit had “quite a lively discussion” [read divergent opinions] but reached a consensus on the “criteria and procedures” of BRICS expansion, which he outlined as follows:

“The weight, prominence and importance of the candidates and their international standing were the primary factors for us [BRICS members]. It is our shared view that we must recruit like-minded countries into our ranks that believe in a multipolar world order and the need for more democracy and justice in international relations. We need those who champion a bigger role for the Global South in global governance. The six countries whose accession was announced today fully meet these criteria.”

From left, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva, China’s President Xi Jinping, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, India’s Modi and Russia’s Lavrov at the summit in Johannesburg. (Prime Minister’s Office – Press Information Bureau, GODL-India, Wikimedia Commons)

Later, after returning to Moscow from Johannesburg, Lavrov told the Russian state television two important things:“We [BRICS] don’t want to encroach on anyone’s interests. We simply don’t want anyone to hamper the development of our mutually beneficial projects that are not aimed against anyone.” Western politicians and reporters “tend to wag their tongues, while we use our heads and [engage in] concrete issues.”

There is no need for BRICS to become an alternative to the G20 now. That said, “the formal division of the G20 Group into G7+ and BRICS+ is taking a practical shape.”

Unless one is myopic, BRICS’ sense of direction is there for all to see. The grumbling and hand-wringing about the logic of BRICS expansion is complete nonsense. For, the unspoken secret lies here, as a leading Russian strategic thinker Fyodor Lukyanov wrote in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta:

“We can hardly talk about an anti-Western orientation — with the exception of Russia and now, perhaps, Iran, none of the current and likely future [BRICS] participants openly wants to oppose themselves to the West. However, this reflects the coming era, when the policy of most states is a constant choice of partners to solve their problems, and there may be different counterparts for different problems.”

This is the reason why India, which carefully protects its line of “multi-alignment” — that is, cooperation with everyone — is also satisfied with a large and heterogeneous BRICS. Delhi is least interested in amplifying antagonistic sentiments within the BRICS community. The Indian commentators cannot grasp this paradox.

Indeed, the pragmatism in admitting three major oil producing countries from the Gulf region (Iran, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.) only signals what Lavrov meant by the “projects” and “concrete issues” that BRICS is grappling with — principally, creating a new international trading system to replace the five-centuries old system that the West created, which was geared to transfer wealth to the metropolis and enabled the latter to get fatter and richer.

Map of BRICS countries, with the six joining in January — Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Iran — in light blue. (Dmitry-5-Averin, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Basically, this is today about tackling the phenomenon of the petrodollar, which is the pillar of the Western banking system and at the very core of the “de-dollarisation” process that the BRICS is aiming at. Suffice to say, the curtain is coming down on the Faustian deal of the early 1970s that replaced gold with American dollar and ensured that oil would be traded in dollars, which in turn required all countries to keep their reserves in dollars, and eventually turned into the principal mechanism for the U.S.’ global hegemony.

Put differently, how is it possible to roll back the petrodollar without Saudi Arabia being at the barricades? That said, it is also well understood by all member states, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, that while BRICS is “non-Western,” a transformation of the BRICS into an anti-Western alliance is impossible. Quintessentially, what we are seeing in the BRICS’ expansion, therefore, is its transformation into the most representative community in the world, whose members interact while bypassing Western pressure.

At the same time, the bottom line is that BRICS expansion is perceived in the West as a political victory for Russia and China.

Despite its tensions with China, India did the right thing by trimming its sails accordingly while sensing the winds of change and anticipating that BRICS cooperation could inject new vitality into the grouping’s functioning and further strengthen the power of world peace and development.

July 30, 2023, map key: Blue = Members; Light Blue = Joining on Jan. 2, 2024; Orange = Applicants; Yellow = Expressed interest in joining; Gray = No relationship with BRICS. (MathSquare, Wikimedia Commons, Dmitry Averin is author of original source image;CC BY-SA 4.0)

It is about time the government rethinks the viability of its strategy of holding the relationship with China hostage to the border issue.

The BRICS summit highlighted that China enjoys big support from the Global South. It is quixotic, to say the least, to act as a proxy of the U.S. to contain China.

But India will find itself in a cul-de-sac by dissociating itself from the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms simply because China could be a beneficiary of a new trading system that is part of a more just, equitable and participative global order.

[“Even as India deals with the US on its own terms,” the Hindu BusinessLine editorializes, “it can hardly afford to dabble actively in moves that seek to replace the dollar with the yuan. As BRICS emerges as a China shop, India should keep a sharp eye out for its strategic interests.]

India risks alienating the Global South who are China’s natural allies, by turning its back on the BRICS’ core agenda of a multipolar world order.

M.K. Bhadrakumar is a former diplomat. He was India’s ambassador to Uzbekistan and Turkey. Views are personal.

The original version of this article appeared on Indian Punchline.

“Kepci Music Fest violated Shariah Law,” claims Zuraida

“Kepci Music Fest violated Shariah Law,” claims Zuraida

MUAFAKAT Nasional (MN) deputy president Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said the Kepci Music Fest 2023 was not in line with the cultural norms of the Eastern people as there was a mixing of unrelated men and women as well as dance performances on the stage.

According to the former PKR leader, the situation was exacerbated by the fact that tahfiz students who were in the process of memorising the Holy Quran were also involved in such “inappropriate activities”.

Zuraida was referring to the group of tahfiz students from Madrasah Watahfiz Al-Quran Rohingya Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) Jaya on Saturday (Aug 26) who had also attended the concert.

“Personally, I am not opposed to any form of entertainment as long as it does not go against Islamic principles or Shariah law,” the former Ampang MP said in a statement today (Aug 30).

“However, as Muslims, we should make an effort to choose a form of entertainment that is compatible with our religion and beliefs while without exceeding the boundaries set out by Allah S.W.T.

“What we saw in the recent concert is clearly not in accordance with Islamic Shariah, where there is a mix of men and women, as well as the dance performances on stage, which are not compatible, not only with the teachings of Islam, but also with our cultural customs as easterners.

“Therefore, it is appropriate for directors, headmasters, or managers of tahfiz centres and Muslim orphanages to be sensitive to every invitation they receive, as it is feared that it could have a negative impact on the character development of the students under their care.”

Zuraida, who is also former PKR vice president, felt that local authorities that provide public entertainment licences should be involved in reviewing every plan or proposal made by the organisers of such events.

“The application for a temporary entertainment licence should be regulated even more, with not only the tentative event being notified to the authorities, but also the invited guests being informed,” she pointed out.

“I strongly hope that this does not happen again, when tahfiz or religious school pupils and Muslim orphans are dragged to meaningless programmes that can have a negative impact on them.” – Aug 30, 2023

Govt to probe unethical labour practices at US firm’s factory in Kedah


Govt to probe unethical labour practices at US firm’s factory in Kedah

The four contractors to be investigated are involved in providing security, cleaning, building maintenance and warehousing services.

Human resources minister V Sivakumar said First Solar requires permission from its corporate office in the US to provide information about the four contractors. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The human resources ministry will investigate four contractors after reports of unethical labour practices at a solar panel factory in Kulim, Kedah, owned by an American firm.

In a statement, human resources minister V Sivakumar said four contractors appointed by top US solar panel maker First Solar had not met the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) standards.

“This includes recruitment practices that are unethical in both Malaysia and in their home countries, the retention of passports by employers, and the withholding of salary,” Sivakumar said.

He added that the labour department will conduct further investigations into all four contractors – which are involved in providing security, cleaning, building maintenance and warehousing – after it has obtained their names.

First Solar requires permission from its corporate office in the US to provide information about the four contractors, Sivakumar said.

In the statement, he added that First Solar has now made sure the foreign workers were paid their salaries and had their passports returned to them.

Sivakumar also said a reimbursement plan has been implemented with the help of RBA representatives to assist the contractors in reimbursing recruitment costs paid by the foreign workers in their home countries.

First Solar has also updated its service contracts and contractor payroll policies to prevent the recurrence of such unethical labour practices.

On Aug 16, the Arizona, US-based company said an audit of its manufacturing operations had uncovered unethical labour practices at its Malaysian factory, sending the company’s shares down by about 5%.

Foreign Ministry: Malaysia does not recognise China’s claims in the South China Sea

Foreign Ministry: Malaysia does not recognise China’s claims in the South China Sea

This photo taken on August 22, 2023 shows Chinese coast guard ships corralling one of the civilian boats chartered by the Philippine navy to deliver supplies to a Philippine navy ship in the disputed South China Sea. On Monday, the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources issued the ‘China Standard Map Edition 2023,’ which also covered the exclusive economic zone maritime areas of Malaysia near Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as well as several areas in India. — AFP pic

Wednesday, 30 Aug 2023 6:43 PM MYT

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 30 — Malaysia does not recognise China’s claims in the South China Sea, as outlined in the “China Standard Map Edition 2023,” which also encompasses Malaysia’s maritime areas, stated the Foreign Ministry.

The map holds no binding authority over Malaysia, it said in a statement Wednesday.

“The map, among other things, displays China’s unilateral maritime claims that encroach upon Malaysia’s maritime areas in Sabah and Sarawak, based on the 1979 Malaysia New Map,” it said.

Furthermore, as previously emphasised by the Malaysian government regarding the South China Sea issue, including maritime boundary matters, Malaysia consistently rejects any foreign party’s claims to sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over maritime features or maritime areas based on the 1979 Malaysia New Map.

“Malaysia also views the South China Sea issue as a complex and sensitive matter,” the statement said.

This issue needs to be managed peacefully and rationally through dialogue and negotiations based on provisions of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

“Malaysia remains committed to cooperating to ensure all parties implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea comprehensively and effectively.

“Malaysia is also committed to the effective and substantive negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), with the goal of finalizing the COC as soon as possible,” it said.

On Monday, the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources issued the “China Standard Map Edition 2023,” which also covered the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) maritime areas of Malaysia near Sabah and Sarawak, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as well as several areas in India. — Bernama



Wednesday, August 30, 2023



Here is some trivia. The Germans sent 30 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine which were said to be the most powerful tanks in the world and would win the war. All 30 German Leopard 2 tanks have been destroyed within one month of showing up at the front lines.

The British are much cleverer. The British have sent 14 of their Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine but with strict conditions attached. The Challenger tanks must NOT be used in front line combat and each Challenger tank must be accompanied by a recovery tank in case the Challenger is hit by enemy fire ! Truth is stranger than fiction.

Why Russia will not conclude the war yet? The reason is simple - if the Russians conclude the war now, meaning they defeat Ukraine and run over the entire territory, then all the sanctions against Russia will remain and may even be prolonged. Russia does not want to give any more excuse for the sanctions to be prolonged. This is not only for the benefit of Russia but for the benefit of Germany - which is the real target of this British-American War in Ukraine.

Russia needs Germany not only as their largest trading partner in Europe but more importantly as a friend and security partner in Europe.

The German chancellor Olaf Schulz has become a real weasel doing all the bidding of the British and the Americans. Schulz has completely ignored the British-American bombing of the Nordstream gas pipeline which is now crippling his country. My view is Olaf Schulz will one day be tried in a German court and sentenced to jail for treason.

Life in Germany and Austria has become very difficult. Here is Survival Lilly (Elisabeth Putignam)  with a short video on the situation in Europe. Lilly is Austrian.

So Russia is prolonging the war to give more time for the growing protests and unhappiness in western Europe against the conduct of this war and against the money and arms provided by Europe - again at the bidding of the British and the Americans. Remember the real culprits behind this war are the Brits.  

If there were elections in France and Germany today there will be changes in government in those countries.  Other than removing the sanctions and restoring free trade with Europe (particularly with Germany) the Russians will also want security guarantees that NATO will not expand to their border with Ukraine.

Let me make a prediction. The British will abandon Ukraine as well. You mess with the British and the Americans and this is what will happen to you.

Is PAS out to conquer and divide Umno leaders, asks ex-MP

Is PAS out to conquer and divide Umno leaders, asks ex-MP

Former PAS lawmaker Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said PAS is purposely trying to create a negative perception towards the federal government with its offer to work with Umno again.

Khairuddin, who is now Umno ulama council executive secretary, was referring to a remark from PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who reportedly said the Islamist party is ready to work with Umno once again but ruled out teaming up with leaders who were willing to cooperate with DAP.

Khairuddin (above, right) pointed out that BN is working with Pakatan Harapan as a whole, and not merely with DAP.

"Even that was after the general election where no party had a majority to form a government, and it was also under the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree.

“But this narrative is purposely repeated by PAS to build a negative perception towards the cooperation of the unity government. That is PAS’ work, to build negative perceptions... ” he said in a Facebook post today.

He said the political cooperation between BN and Harapan was decided by Umno’s supreme council in line with the situation after the last general election, and it was not any individual decision.

“Is PAS trying to play with the agenda of divide and conquer among Umno leaders as what PAS did towards the end of its (PAS and Umno) cooperation at the federal level before this?” Khairuddin questioned.

He said political cooperation must be based on sincere intentions to unite the people and the spirit of welfare, and not upon hidden intentions of trying to break up their allies.

At the same time, Khairuddin said Tuan Ibrahim’s statement reminded him of the time DAP said something similar about being willing to work with PAS again but not its leaders.

At the time, PAS leaders had strongly criticised DAP for those remarks, he said.

“Looks like today, it is them doing the same thing. But it is usual for something haram for others to become halal if PAS does it,” he quipped.

Previously, Tuan Ibrahim (above) reportedly raised the possibility of reviving the Muafakat Nasional alliance between PAS and Umno, saying it was popular with many Umno grassroots.

However, he said they must get rid of those in Umno who have a personal agenda and are willing to ally with DAP.

Meanwhile, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has since said his party does not intend to revisit cooperation with scheming parties or leaders.

US Victim of Own Propaganda in Ukraine War August 29, 2023

Volume 28, Number 236 — Tuesday, August 29, 2023

US Victim of Own Propaganda in Ukraine War
August 29, 2023

The U.S. embassy in Prague furthered the suppression of the historical context of the Ukraine conflict, which has dangerously trapped Americans in ignorance about the war.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The whitewashing of the historical context for the war in Ukraine has resulted in a profoundly embarrassing episode for the United States embassy in Prague.

An Aug. 21 Tweet from the embassy with a message roughly translated from Czech to mean “Aggression always comes from the Kremlin,” showed two photographs: the first displayed Soviet tanks in the streets of Prague in 1968. The second showed fire burning in front of a building and was marked “Odesa 2023.”

Twitter users were quick to point out the embassy’s error. “The bottom photo is from 2014 Odessa Clashes where pro federalism (mostly pro Russian) got burned alive in clash with Ukrainian nationalist(s) while police and fireman stood watching. To this day no one was jailed,” wrote one commenter.

Someone else wrote: “You vile people, twisting the history to whitewash the crimes of the Ukrainian far-right against peaceful Ukrainians, and in fact using their crimes with the diametrically opposite meaning!”

The embassy got the message. “Thanks for the heads up and apologies for the incorrect use of the graphic. We wanted to illustrate the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and we chose the wrong photo,” it wrote.

That prompted another Twitter user to sarcastically respond: “You wanted to illustrate the Ukrainian aggression against the Russian people and you chose the right photo.”

The embassy then deleted the Tweet. It never acknowledged the event depicted in the bottom photo. That signifies either ignorance of the event or intentional suppression of it. The massacre in Odessa is a key point in understanding the cause of the war and has been buried by the West, creating a propagandized narrative about Russia’s intervention.

May 2, 2014

Demonstrators in Odessa on May 2, 2014 were protesting the violent overthrow two and a half months earlier on Feb. 21, 2014 of the democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych. U.S. involvement in the coup is revealed in a leaked telephone conversation between Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine at the time.

On May 2, football hooligans and far-right groups deliberately set fire to a labor union building in Odessa where protestors against the coup had taken refuge. As many as 48 people were killed. Police did not intervene. Video footage shows at least one police officer and others firing their guns into the building. The crowd is cheering as many of the people trapped inside jumped to their deaths.

Pleas at the time from the United Nations and the European Union for Ukraine to investigate were ignored. Three Ukrainian local government probes were stymied by the withholding of secret documents.

A report on the incident from the European Council (EC) at the time makes clear it did not conduct its own investigation but relied on local probes, especially by the Verkhovna Rada’s Temporary Investigation Commission. The EC complains in its reports that it too was barred from viewing classified information. The EC said the Ukrainian government probes “failed to comply with the requirements of the European Human Rights Convention.”

Relying only on the flawed local inquiries, the EC reports that pro-Russian, or pro-federalist, protestors attacked a pro-unity march in the afternoon, prompting street battles. Then:

“At around 6.50 p.m. pro-federalists broke down the door [of the trade union building] and brought inside various materials, including boxes containing Molotov cocktails and the products needed to make them. Using wooden pallets which had supported tents in the square, they blocked the entrances to the building from the inside and erected barricades. When they arrived at the square at around 7.20 p.m., the pro-unity protesters destroyed and set fire to the tents of the Anti-Maidan camp. The remaining pro-federalism protesters entered the Trade Union Building, from where they exchanged shots and Molotov cocktails with their opponents outside. …

At about 7.45 p.m. a fire broke out in the Trade Union Building. Forensic examinations subsequently indicated that the fire had started in five places, namely the lobby, on the staircases to the left and right of the building between the ground and first floors, in a room on the first floor and on the landing between the second and third floors.

Other than the fire in the lobby, the fires could only have been started by the acts of those inside the building. The forensic reports did not find any evidence to suggest that the fire had been preplanned. The closed doors and the chimney effect caused by the stairwell resulted in the fire’s rapid spread to the upper floors and a fast and extreme rise in the temperature inside the building.”

The local investigation thus blamed the anti-Maidan protestors for starting the fire throughout the building. But this video, which shows events on that day leading to the fire, depicts the main blaze in the lobby. It shows Right Sector extremists lobbing Molotov cocktails into the building and a policeman firing his gun at it.

It does not show any cocktails thrown from the building. It doesn’t show clashes earlier in the day, though one pro-unity protestor says they were attacked at Cathedral Square and they’ve come to burn the anti-Maidan protestors in the building for revenge.

The Fallout

Eight days after the Odessa massacre, coup resisters in the far eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk, bordering on Russia, voted in a referendum to become independent from Ukraine.

The U.S.-backed coup government had launched a military attack two weeks earlier, on April 15, 2014 against ethnic Russians in Donbass protesting against the coup, including seizing government buildings, in defense of a democratic election. This phase of the war continued for nearly eight years, killing thousands of people before prompting Russian intervention in the civil war on Feb. 24, 2022.

Russia says it had proof that the Ukrainian military, which had amassed 60,000 of its troops at the line of contact, was on the verge of an offensive to retake the Donbass provinces. OSCE maps showed a dramatic increase of shelling from the government side into the rebel areas in February last year.

Russia invaded Ukraine with the stated purpose of “de-Nazifying” and “de-militarizing” Ukraine to protect Russian-speakers and the people of Donbass. The events in Odessa on May 2, 2014 played a role. In a televised address three days before the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin said:

“One shudders at the memories of the terrible tragedy in Odessa, where peaceful protesters were brutally murdered, burned alive in the House of Trade Unions. The criminals who committed that atrocity have never been punished, and no one is even looking for them. But we know their names and we will do everything to punish them, find them and bring them to justice.”

Western Media Coverage

Entrance to The New York Times. (Niall Kennedy, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The New York Times buried the first news of the massacre in a May 2, 2014 story, saying “dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists.”

The Times then published a video report that said dozens were killed in a fire, “and others were shot dead when fighting between pro- and anti-Russian groups broke out on the streets of Odessa.” The video narrator says “crowds did their best to save lives.” It quotes Ukrainian police saying a “pro-Kiev march was ambushed … petrol bombs were thrown” and gun battles erupted on the streets.

The late Robert Parry, who founded Consortium News, reported on Aug. 10, 2014:

“The brutality of these neo-Nazis surfaced again on May 2 when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons.

‘Burn, Colorado, burn’ went the chant.

As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with Swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading ‘Galician SS,’ a reference to the Ukrainian nationalist army that fought alongside the German Nazi SS in World War II, killing Russians on the eastern front.”

Consequences of Suppressing Information

Though they were reported at the time, the events of May 2, 2014 have virtually vanished from Western media. It was one of the seminal events that led to Russia’s eventual intervention in the Ukrainian civil war.

Similarly the role Ukrainian neo-Nazis played in the 2014 coup and the 8-year war on Donbass — which had been widely reported on at the time in Western mainstream media — disappeared, erasing the context of Russia’s invasion. The December 2021 Russian offer of treaties with the U.S. and NATO to avoid war was forgotten too. A campaign was then launched by so-called disinformation monitors to try to suppress alternative media from reporting on these facts.

The consequences of these efforts is clear. The aggression of Kiev’s coup regime against ethnic Russians in Ukraine, which led to Russia’s intervention, has been airbrushed from history.

What’s left is a cartoon version that says the conflict began, not in 2014, but in February 2022 when Putin woke up one morning and decided to invade Ukraine. There was no other cause, according to this version, other than unprovoked, Russian aggression against an innocent country.

Thus the U.S. Embassy in Prague either deceptively used that photo, or more likely, had no idea what happened in Odessa in 2014, as it has hardly been reported on since, thinking that a prime example of Ukrainian aggression against ethnic Russians was instead a photo showing Russian aggression against Ukrainians.

This is what happens when you believe your own propaganda.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @unjoe