Mega dams, glitzy condominiums and largely vacant villas are not development. They are proud monuments of capital built at the expense of social capital and equality, says Nicholas Chan.
In our cover story, Francis Loh observes that more and more Malaysians are demanding both development and democracy. The deepening of democracy in Malaysia requires the consolidation of a two-coalition political system.
Towards this end, civil society activists have laid down ten benchmarks for Najib’s next hundred days. Economic reform, they point out, will not work if the political environment suppresses the people’s democratic rights.
Most of the clashes between indigenous peoples, governments and international financial institutions have arisen due to differing interpretations of the term “development”. For indigenous peoples, the key issues include not just the right to protect and preserve their ancestral lands, but also often their very survival as a community, notes Terence Gomez.
In an open letter to the Barisan Nasional candidates, the PGCC Campaign Group expresses dismay and
disappointment that all our attempts to engage the Barisan election
candidates in dialogue have been spurned.
We have been concerned by
several issues, such as the proposed development for the Turf Club,
haphazard and ad hoc development, the lack of local plans, and the
rapidly deteriorating traffic situation.
Widespread opposition and unhappiness about the PGCC has been a feature of the election campaign in Penang. At the massive 60,000-strong rally at theHan Chiang school field a couple of nights ago, speakers slammed the project to loud applause from the crowd. So, it is clear that the opposition comes not just from the well-heeled residents neighbouring the Penang Turf Club. The PGCC Campaign Group makes clear its position on the proposal to develop the Turf Club land.
Judging by the number of election talks held in churches across the country and the enthusiastic response to critical speakers and opposition candidates, it appears likely that Christian voters will swing to the opposition this time, in sharp contrast to 2004. Our special correspondent reports on a lively forum held at the St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Petaling Jaya during which the BN candidates were heckled and jeered.
The syndrome of closing one eye to things illegal or improper, it appears, did not stop in Jasin, Melaka. Such a callous and irresponsible attitude seems to be contagious and is affecting other places in the country as well. And the free paper, theSun, should know this very well as it has been reporting and carrying commentaries that questioned certain actions or inaction of a number of local councils, particularly in Selangor, a state that claims to have reached to 'developed' status.