Friday, September 15, 2017

The Flag of Malaysia: Part 3 Meeting of the Conference of Rulers

The Flag of Malaysia: Part 3

Meeting of the Conference of Rulers


"The Conference agrees to accept the proposed Design No. 9 for the Flag of the Federation of Malaya subject to the Crescent and Star of the Flag being yellow instead of white in colour," minutes of the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of Rulers, Malay States on Wednesday and Thursday, 22 and 23 February, 1950, corresponding to 5th and 6th Jumadil-Awal 1369. (CO 537/9925. Political Developments: Minutes of the Proceedings of the Conference of Rulers)


The quote above came from the minutes of the Tenth meeting of the Conference of Rulers, Malay States held on 22 and 23 February, 1950 in Istana Selangor, Kuala Lumpur. However, the decision-making process not only involved the Malay Rulers but also the people and the Federal Legislative Council. It was quite a long-drawn process but in the final analysis, a good one.

The Conference of Rulers, Malay States was formed when the Federation of Malaya was inaugurated on 1 February, 1948. Historically, it had its beginning in 1895 when the Federated Malay States was formed, and a council comprising the Rulers of Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang, was formed initially called The Durbar. The Conference of Rulers is now part and parcel of the Parliamentary Democracy as practised in Malaysia.
Initially, the flag was in the agenda of the Ninth meeting of the Conference of Rulers. This was the original plan as it was the desire of the Federal Legislative Council to have the issue of the Flag of Malaya to be resolved quickly.
However, it was only during the Tenth meeting of the Conference of Rulers on 22 and 23 of Rebruary, 1950 that the decision on the flag of Malaya was taken. The two-day meeting was presided by the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Abu Bakar Ri'ayatuddin Al-muadzam Shah ibni Al-marhum Al-mu'tasim Billah Abdullah. All the Malay Rulers attended the meeting except the Sultan of Johore, who was represented by the Regent of Johor, Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim.

The Menteris Besar or Acting Menteris Besar of the nine States attended the meeting as Malay adviser to their highnesses the Rulers except Perak who was representd by the State Secretary, Inche' (sic) Mustapha Albakri bin Haji Hassan. The Governor of Penang and Malacca at that time were not members of this august body.

Others in attendance were: The High Commissioner, Sir Henry Lovell Goldsworthy Gurney, The Chief Secretary, Sir Alexander Theodore Newboult, and the Acting Attorney General, Mr. T. Brown.

Sir Henry Gurney informed the Malay Rulers that the Federal Legislative Council had taken an informal vote on the final two designs of the flag, with No. 1 getting 24 votes and No. 9 getting 47 votes. Sir Henry said if a formal vote were taken No. 9 would prevailed. The two designs were displayed on a board for the Rulers to view.
He explained that No. 9, had an eleven-pointed star and eleven stripes representing the nine Malay States and the two Settlements. Obviously, this was not the same design when it was revealed to the public. In the interim, changes had been made by changing the five-pointed star to eleven pointed-star.
Sir Henry addressed the Rulers: "We do not know what further views Your Highnesses have."
The Menteri Besar of Selangor, Raja Uda bin Raja Muhammad speaking for the other Menteris Besar, said: "May it please Your Highness, we the Menteri Menteri Besar all have agreed to design No. 9."
The Sultan of Kedah, Tunku Badlishah ibni Al-marhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah was the first Ruler to speak. His Highness suggested that the Crescent and the Star should be in yellow. "I think the Rulers consider yellow to be Royal," The Sultan said. The design on display showed the Crescent and the Star in white.
Sir Henry said: "Your Highness. There is nothing at present in the design to denote membership of the British Commonwealth except the colours red, white and blue."
The Sultan of Kedah pressed on: "All colours are represented there except yellow."
The Sultan of Perak agreed with design No.9, without any amendments. The Sultan's view was made known by the Perak State Secretary. The Sultan of Selangor agreed with the Sultan of Perak. So was the Sultan of Kelantan. Those for white appeared to gain ground.
Then, the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan spoke supporting the Sultan of Kedah's suggestion. This was followed by the Sultan of Terengganu who also supported the suggestion.
The Sultan of Pahang, who was presiding the meeting, indicated that he preferred the Star and Crescent to be in yellow. It was clear that following the Sultan of Pahang's "vote", yellow has an upper hand.
The Raja of Perlis brought up another issue. "I do not feel that it would be necessary to have an eleven star because the eleven stripes of the Flag already represent the nine Malay States and the two Settlements. I would, therefore, suggest that it should be a five-pointed star," the Raja said.
The Sultan of Johore, whose state flag has a five pointed star said: "I would prefer a five-pointed star in yellow."
As only two Rulers voiced their opinion on the eleven-pointed star, the issue was not carried.
At this stage, the Menteri Besar of Pahang, spoke: "I am commanded by His Highness the Sultan of Pahang to express the personal feeling of His Highness on this matter. His Highness agrees to design No 9 except that the Star and crescent to be in yellow instead of white."
Sir Henry Gurney intervened to say:" Would Their Highnesses the Sultan of Kelantan, the Sultan of Selangor and the Sultan of Perak have any objection to the Crescent and Star being in yellow?"
All three Sultans said they have no objection.
Sir Henry then said:" Well, Your Highnesses, my next step would be to move a formal motion in the Federal Legislative Council for the design No. 9 with the Crescent and Star in yellow. It is hoped that all the Malay members of the Legislative Council would support this."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Review of Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin's Book

Title of Book:Tokoh dan Akhbar Melayu: Penebus Peminggiran Melayu
Author: Mazlan Nordin
Publisher: UKM Press
Year Published: 2009
ISBN: 9789679429152
In the market: August , 2009

Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin, 84, was awarded The Most Eminent Journalist of UKM, authored the book entitled Tokoh dan Akbar Melayu: Penebus Peminggiran Melayu. The book is expected to be in the market by August 2009.

For Tan Sri Mazlan, who worked as a journalist
for the last 50 years, the book is his labour of love.
He started researching about several prominent journalists before his time while serving as a resident writer at the School of Media and Communication Studies from 2004-2006.
His research include Abdullah Munsyi , Ibrahim Yaacob, Rahim Kajai, Ishak Haji Muhammad, Ahmad Boestamam, and A Samad Ismail. Each of them has special stories about them not normally known by the people.
This book, for the first time (if not mistaken) recognised Abdullah Munsyi as a journalist. Abdullah Munsyi was an editor of Bustan Ariffin magazine (1821-1822), making him the first Malay journalist. Bustan Ariffin was a magazine containing the teaching of Christianity, which was edited together with a Christian priest.
Tan Sri Mazlan served in Utusan Melayu, and Voice of America. He returned to Utusan Melayu, before moving to Berita Harian. Later, he served in Bernama, thence to Utusan Melayu and back to Bernama as its Chairman.
People at his age whould prefer to relax and retire, but not Tan Sri Mazlan. He not only continue to write as a columnist, but is trying to compile his column called Personally Speaking in the New Straits Times and another book about Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
Unievrsiti Kebangsaan Malaysia has awarded him the Honorary PhD in Communication for his contributions to journalism in 2005.
He was awarded the Most Eminent Journalist by Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) in 2002.

Tuanku Muhriz , the new Chancellor of UKM

The Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir will be proclaimed as the new Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia on 21 July 2009. Tuanku Muhriz is the third Chancellor after Tuanku Jaafar ibni AlMarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman who passed away recently. Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was the first Chancellor of UKM.

On the same day, the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will received his Honorary PhD (Civilisational Islam) degree from Tuanku Muhriz.

Two UKM graduates helmed media organisations

Two Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia graduates have been appointed to senior positions in the media organisations.
Datuk Ibrahim Yahaya, who obtained his masters degree in communication management from the School of Media and Communication Studies, was appointed the Director General of Broadcasting, atthe Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture from March 16, 2009.
While Mior Kamarulbaid bin Kamarul Shahid who obtained a similar masters degree was appointed the Group Editor of Berita Harian from July 7, 2009.
Datuk Ibrahim previously worked as a journalist withv Berita Harian, editor of TV3, Berita Publishing, media consultant of RM and advisor to the Minister of Information. Datuk Ibrahim, popularly known as Tiger among friends is a blogger at
Similarly, Mior Kamarulbaid served in Berita Harian as a journalist before being appointed as its Deputy Group Editor. After leaving Berita Harian he worked with TVUmno and was an editor with Millejium Publications.
Mior was among several people involved in the restructuring of editorial positions in NSTP after Datuk Johan Jaaffar was appointed the Executive Chairman of Media Prima and the rejoining of Dato' Ahmad Talib as Executive Director, News and Editorial Operations. Dato' Ahmad is also a blogger at
Mustafa Omar, who is now the Group Editor of Harian Metro/Metro Ahad, was a master student in the communication management programme but withdrew from the programme because of work commitment.
Datuk Ibrahim Yahaya is the first outsider to be appointed to the post. Previously, the position was filled by government servants.
Apart from the two, another UKM graduate is Dato' Wong Chun Wai who graduated in Social Science and History. He is now the Group Chied Editor of the Star Publications. Dato' Wong is also a blogger at
Several UKM graduates in Communication are holding positions in broadcasting and print media, including at TV3 (Azmi Atan, Rosli Abu Hassan, Phang Chinn Fei, Junaidi Suboh), NTV7 (Abdul Ghani Ahmad) Utusan Malaysia (Zulkifli Jalil, Abdul Razak Din), RTM (Sabri Mansor), and Mstar (Dr G Manimaran). There are many more which escaped memory when writing this piece.

Congratulations to all of you. Pay us a visit when you are free.

Abolish ISA?

Cattleya: First bloom from my mini garden

If all people can be as pure as this orchid, I think laws are irrelevant.

Abolish ISA Movement has a new supporter in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia. This is perhaps the strongest voice yet in support of abolising the law seen by many as very restrictive and draconian.

No doubt the Government will take due cognizance of this new support. But the reality is whether the law, a remnant of the Malayan Emergency, is still relevant in the present circumstances.

The recent Jakarta bombing of two international hotels will not go unnoticed by the Government and rightly so.

In principle, I believe, under the present circumstances, many would agree that the law should remain but some amendments have to be made to the law to reduce its "harshness".

Prof Reginald Hugh Hickling, when he was at the AG Chambers, was responsible for drafting the ISA when Malaya wanted to end the 12-year Malayan Emergency in 1960. There were safeguards in the law but these safeguards were taken away over the years when amendments were made to the law.

In an obituary, New Straits Times said: In 1989, Hickling wrote, "I could not imagine then that the time would come when the power of detention, carefully and deliberately interlocked with Article 149 of the Constitution, would be used against political opponents, welfare workers and others dedicated to non-violent, peaceful activities." (See The Malayan Bar web portal, and NST, 28 February, 2007).

Hickling made it very clear that ISA was meant for "organised crime" as stated in its preamble.

Although in the past Hickling had questioned the application of the ISA, last year he spoke about his change of mind over the issue following worldwide terrorist attacks, the NST said.

In one of my meetings with Prof Hickling when he was in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and on his brief visits, I asked his view on repealing the ISA. He said the law that should be repealed was the Printing Presses and Publications Act. In his view, the PPPA would have a greater impact than the ISA, as the ISA affected a "small" number of people.

Probably in looking at the possibility of amending the ISA, the amendments made to the law should be revisited and to restore the "safeguards" provided for in the original law.

When the ISA was debated in Parliament in 1960, PAS President, Dato' Mohamed Asri Muda reminded the Government that the law was meant to combat Communism.

The archietct of ISA, Prof Hickling, passed away on Feb 11, 2007 in England at the age of 86.

Vision 2020: Perfect or Blurred Sight?

The term "Vision 2020" has created something not really intended in the actual plan. To be sure, the figure 2020 is a play of words, a pun. However, many thought it was the year Malaysia would achieve a developed nation status.

For instance, Edaris Abbu Bakri in his book Pengurusan Strategik: Konsep dan Aplikasi untuk Pendidikan, published by Utusan Publications and Distributors Sdn Berhad, 2004, took the year to be part of a vision.

On page 22, he described a vision as brief, compact, to the point and not more than 25 words. Additionally, he wrote, a good vision must answer questions such as WHAT, FOR WHOM, and WHEN. He made reference to Vision 2020 "which stated the year 2020 as the year to determine the success of the national vision."

The other meaning, a perfect sight, is more credible. Vision 2020 is a long-term target for Malaysia to achieve developed nation status. If it can be achieved in the year 2020, well and good, but under the current economic predicament, this is not likely to be. So it will go beyond the year 2020.

In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines VISION as the desired or intended future of a specific organisation or enterprise in terms of its fundamental objective and strategic direction. Vision is a long term objective.

WIKIPEDIA defines MISSION as the fundamental purpose of an organisation or an enterprise, basically describing why it exists. Mission is short-term objective.

Put simply, VISION is a dream, and MISSION is the programme for achieving the dream. As such, timeline is not part of a vision or a dream!

Before going further, let me paint a scenario.

Lively discussions are going on in the school corridors, meeting rooms and workshops all over the country. The subject matter being discussed by education administrators and teachers is how to improve and upgrade schools so the schools can be categoried as, among other things, "sekolah cemerlang" and "sekolah kluster". The coveted prize is to be a cluster school as the school will be more independent and there is a big reward of RM500,000 for the school.

Schools are working hard to produce excellent and consistent academic results, excellent co-curriculum activities, excellent environment, etc. etc. In short, a mini and silent "revolution" is taking place in the school system throughout the country. This can be only good for the nation.

Part of this process is for the schools, and education departments to come up with vision and mission statements. Therein, lies the problem. The term "Vision 2020" subliminally comes into play.

So the vision of a state education department is to be "Terbilang Pada Tahun 2010" (Excellent in the Year 2010). It can be argued that such a statement is more of a mission statement and not a vision statement. This is certainly not right.

Schools throughout the state are following the lead of the state education department by coming up with similar vision statement.

What happened come year 2010? If this excellent status is not achieved in the year 2010, schools or the state education department will need to change it to 2011 or 2012.

This confusion is worrisome. Teachers attending courses such as PTK are being taught that vision has a timeline. The implication may be larger than a simple confusion. It may affect this silent revolution.

Perhaps, the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister should look into this matter.

Double Historic Occassions for UKM on 21 July 2009

Today, the 21st of July 2009, is a historic day for Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir will be proclaimed the new Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. His Majesty is the third Chancellor after Tuanku Jaafar Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman, and Abdul Razak Hussein.
A second historic occassion is the awarding of the Honorary PhD degree to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia.