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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Anwar tarik diri, Azizah kekal presiden PKR

PKR kesal Obama tak rancang jumpa Anwar

Saudi woman continues fight to wed British beau

Saudi Gazette, Jeddah
A Saudi woman is standing firm in her decision to marry a British man against her family’s will. (File photo: Shutterstock)

A Saudi woman who has been barred from marrying a Briton by a Jeddah court has taken her legal battle to the Court of Appeals in Makkah.

A judge of the Jeddah General Court had initially refused to approve the marriage of the academic to a British aviation engineer, who is Muslim.

He made the ruling after the woman filed an adhl (male guardians preventing women from getting married) case against her family.

The judge based his decision on a saying by the Caliph Omar that he would only marry off women of “good breeds” to men of the same social standard.

Three judges at the Court of Appeals in Makkah will review and rule on her case in the next few days.

The father, who is objecting to his daughter marrying a foreigner, has asked one of his sons to represent him.

His daughter is standing firm in her decision to marry the British man.

She cited a number of Ahadith (prophetic sayings) by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asking families to allow their daughters to marry if they are satisfied with the ethics and religion of the suitors.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

Parents say 234 girls missing after mass kidnap by Islamic militants

The banned Islamist militant group Boko Haram was suspected to have carried out earlier attacks in northeast Nigeria
The banned Islamist militant group Boko Haram was suspected to have carried out earlier attacks in northeast Nigeria last week

Up to 234 girls are missing from a Nigerian school attacked last week by Islamic extremists - significantly more than the 85 reported by education officials, parents told the state governor today.

The higher figure came out a week after the kidnappings when the Borno state governor insisted a military escort take him to the town. Parents told the governor that officials would not listen to them when they drew up their list of names of missing children and the total reached 234.

Security officials warned governor Kashim Shettima that it was too dangerous for him to drive to Chibok, 80 miles from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and birthplace of the Boko Haram terrorist network blamed for the abductions.

State education spokesman Musa Inuwo Kubo and the principal of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School initially said that 129 science students were at the school to sit a physics exam when the abductors struck a week ago.

Twenty-eight pupils escaped from their captors between last Tuesday and Friday. Then another 16 were found to be day scholars who had returned to their homes in Chibok before the attack. That left 85 missing students, according to school officials.

The latest confusion comes after the military reported last week that all but eight of those abducted had been rescued - but then retracted the claim the following day.

Security sources have said they are in "hot pursuit" of the abductors, but so far they have not rescued any of the girls and young women, aged between 16 and 18.

Parents and other town residents have joined the search for the students in the Sambisa Forest which borders Chibok town and is a known hideout for the militants.

The kidnappings are believed to have been carried out by Nigeria's Islamic extremist rebels, known as Boko Haram.

Boko Haram - the name means "Western education is sinful" - is violently campaigning to establish an Islamic Sharia state in Nigeria, whose 170 million people are about half Muslim and half Christian.

It has been abducting some girls and young women in attacks on schools, villages and towns but last week's mass kidnapping is unprecedented. The extremists use the young women as porters, cooks and sex slaves, according to Nigerian officials.

Dr Mahathir should keep views on hudud to himself, says Muslim youth group

 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had shared his views on issues related to shariah law on Astro Awani, which earned a rebuke from the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia today. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 22, 2014. 
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had shared his views on issues related to shariah law on Astro Awani, which earned a rebuke from the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia today. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 22, 2014.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should be careful before making statements about shariah law because it could lead to Islam being viewed in a negative light, the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) said today.

Abim president Amidi Abdul Manan said the country’s longest-serving prime minister should be more careful about giving his views on issues related to shariah.

Amidi was referring to an interview on Astro Awani featuring Dr Mahathir on April 17, regarding the implementation of the Shariah Criminal Enactment 2 in Kelantan.

Amidi said Dr Mahathir had said it was unfair if different punishments were meted out to criminals for the same crime as it could cause confusion.

Dr Mahathir had given an example that many Muslims would be handicapped if their hands were cut off for stealing.

However, if non-Muslims were caught for theft, they were sentenced to two months’ jail, a far cry from having their hands cut off.

"Dr Mahathir appears to want to portray Islamic laws as being heavy, illogical and cruel."

Amidi said Dr Mahathir should understand that under hudud, the burden of proof was based on the principle of “beyond the shadow of a doubt”.

"This is far beyond the principle of 'beyond reasonable doubt' (in secular law) and at the same time, guarantees the rights of the accused.

"At the same time, it is also a warning and education to society. The beauty of Islamic law lies in the court process, proof and its administration," Amidi said.

He said Dr Mahathir's statement, which focused on the punishment meted, could create a negative perception towards hudud.

Amidi also took umbrage at Dr Mahathir's statement that punishment for adulterers was not contained in the Quran but only in the Hadith.

"It is clear that Dr Mahathir's statement is confusing and an attempt to deny that punishment for adulterers was not part of Islamic penalties.

"Dr Mahathir is also questioning the position of the Hadith as the next source of penalties meted out after the Quran.

"The Hadith is clearly the second source of penalties after the Quran with a firm commitment from Muslims about our undivided loyalty and obedience.

"So any confessions, admissions or behaviour is a manifestation of the Quran," Amidi said.

Abim said it was better if Dr Mahathir kept his thoughts on hudud to himself.

"This is for the good of Islam, as issuing statements which were inaccurate and wide off the mark merely puts the religion in a bad light.

"While Abim respects Dr Mahathir's past efforts to promote and lift Islam to greater heights, his recent comments are dangerous and confusing."

It is better if Dr Mahathir retracted his comments and statements, said Abim.

The deputy president of PAS Mohamad Sabu in commenting about the late Karpal Singh’s death and defending him said it was Dr Mahathir who had insulted the religion by belittling hudud, or the shariah punishment for serious crimes, adding that Karpal had never insulted the Islamic laws but merely defended the Federal Constitution.

“I am perplexed why Muslims react this way when it was Muslims themselves who insulted hudud, such as the statement by the former prime minister that if hudud was implemented in Kelantan, many Muslims would lose their limbs," Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, told The Malaysian Insider in a recent interview.

“Karpal had never insulted (hudud). He had only said that it was against the Constitution," said Mat Sabu.

Mat Sabu said he could not understand why Umno leaders who had come out strongly in opposition to PAS's plan to implement hudud in Kelantan had kept silent over Dr Mahathir's remarks.

“Why is it that when Muslims insulted hudud, I never heard any sharp comments from Umno leaders and the muftis?" – April 22, 2014.

Show respect to dead of other faiths, Muslims told

Jamil Khir Baharom, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic affairs, has reminded Muslims to show respect for the dead of other faiths.

“As humans we should respect one another... it is proper in matters pertaining to death that we respect one another in order to safeguard good relations,” Jamil told reporters today.

He said this when asked to comment on the derogatory remarks by BN’s Langkawi MP Nawawi Ahmad and and former Shah Alam BN candidate Zulkifli Noordin (right) on the death of the DAP’s Karpal Singh.

Jamil refused to comment specifically on these remarks, saying he had not seen what they had posted on social media.

Nawawi has since apologised and expressed regret for his Facebook posting, while Zulkifli changed his tune and commended Karpal’s legal prowess.

Asked if action should be taken against Nawawi and Zulkifli - who were widely vilified for their remarks - Jamil reiterated that he has not seen the postings and that “it is also not my responsibility”.

On April 17, following Karpal’s death in an early morning road accident, Nawawi had posted a collage of Karpal's body, alongside a news report quoting Karpal’s comment that the implementation of an Islamic state in Malaysia would only be possible "over my dead body".

However, he apologised last Sunday and went on to credit Netizens for having helped him see the error of his ways. He also explained that the posting had been a private one.

Zulkifli said "Allah made Karpal die" because he was against the implementation of hudud.

‘Scrap biometric system for Indian visa’

A travel association wants to know why the biometric requirement for Indian visa applies only for Malaysians.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Indian Tour and Travel Association (Mita) submitted a memorandum to the MIC today urging the party to intervene to abolish or postpone the biometric requirement for Indian visa.

The memorandum was handed to MIC secretary-general A Prakash Rao this afternoon.

Mita’s Special Task Force chairman A Sevaguru said the association had received negative feedback from the Indian community on the new system.

“The new system requires all applicants to be present in person at the Indian Visa Centre to have their biometric samples taken,” he said.

Sevaguru said Malaysians planning to go to India would find it difficult to travel to the city centre because many of them were living far away.

“The tourists will incur additional transport expenses to travel from rural areas to the city. They will also be forced to take leave from work,” he said.

Sevaguru also asked why the Indian government was only introducing the biometric system for Malaysia and not other countries.

The Indian government introduced the biometric visa for all Malaysians on April 1.

Under the new system, visa applicants will be identified by using fingerprint, iris scan and photo.

‘IGP ignorant of Child Act’

The Child Act does not distinguish between perpetrators who are family members and strangers.

PETALING JAYA: The police have the power to arrest without a warrant if a child’s life is in danger and the Inspector-General of Police’s (IGP) statement that a father does not kidnap his son is astonishing, said Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Advocacy officer Joshua Teh Honguan.

Teh said the police could do so under the Section 110 of the Child Act.

Muslim convert Izwan Viran Abdullah abducted his six-year-old son, Mithan, from his Hindu mother, S Deepa, on April 9 following the Seremban High Court decision to grant custody of their two children to the wife.

“The safety and well-being of two children is at stake as long as IGP Khalid Abu Bakar refuses to take any action against Izwan for abducting his son,” he said in a press statement today.

Teh said the abduction of children should be given the highest priority and urgent action must be taken.

“The children must be protected from harm as much as possible,” he added.

Teh said the IGP was ignorant of the law when he said “a father doesn’t kidnap his child”.

“The Child Act of 2001 does not distinguish between perpetrators who are family members and strangers.

“The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Malaysia is a signatory, makes it an obligation to protect the interest of the children,” he said.

Another advocacy officer Melissa Mohd Akhir urged the police to look into the well-being of Mithran.

“The child’s welfare and well-being is a priority and the police should investigate Mithran’s emotional and physical status,” she added.

Deepa is now in hiding for fear of Izwan coming back to kidnap her nine-year-old daughter, Sharmila.

Malaysians urged to protest Obama visit

Opposition figures say the US President will pressure Putrajaya to sign the controversial TPPA.

PETALING JAYA: Politicians associated with the parliamentary opposition have called for a public protest against US President Barrack Obama’s visit to Malaysia, saying it may result in more pressure being piled on Putrajaya to sign the controversial Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Leaders from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Pakatan Rakyat said today that Obama was coming to seek progress on the TPPA and would make it hard for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak not to sign the trade pact.

PSM treasurer A Sivarajan said in a press release that the US might even team up with Japan to pressure Malaysia.

“Obama is visiting Japan before Malaysia,” he said. “If he can do a deal in Japan, then the rest of the TPPA will probably be concluded quite quickly.

“With Japan on his side, Obama could threaten Najib that Malaysia will lose out if it still puts forward sensitive issues in the TPPA negotiations.”

He also said Obama, who is arriving this Saturday, might capitalise on the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the kidnapping case in Sabah to press its case.

“The US might offer security enhancement as a trade-off if Malaysia compromises on its red lines in the TPPA. The US regime has always used trade and security hand in hand to twist arms of nations to accept its economic hegemony

“PSM fears that the weak Najib Tun Razak would submit to Obama’s request.”

Sivarajan urged Malaysians to “rise in protest” against the TPPA.

“The rakyat will have to send a clear message to Obama that the minority BN government does not have the mandate to conclude the TPPA when Malaysians are saying no to TPPA,” he said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago of DAP said Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would dictate how far the TPPA could go.

“If Abe make some compromises and allow the Americans to have better market access to Japan, Obama will definitely bring that to Malaysia and push hard for Malaysia to accept TPPA,” he told FMT.

He urged the government to stand firm and agree only to terms that would benefit Malaysia.

“Malaysia should only sign a trade agreement that favours Malaysia, not one that compromises our market access and holds the government to ransom,” he said, referring to the proposed investor-state dispute tribunal under the TPPA.

Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin of PAS said Malaysia had lost its best opportunity to voluntarily exit the TPPA negotiations and was now being cornered to sign the pact.

“When you have the opportunity to withdraw, you should withdraw and listen to the voice of people,” he said in an interview with FMT.

“With Obama’s visit this weekend, TPPA will be a done deal.

“We don’t have a level playing field with the US. It is very difficult to say no in front of a superpower.”

Among other things, the TPPA seeks to extend medicine patents, strengthen intellectual property rights, allow participating counties to have better market access to one another and establish an international investor-state dispute tribunal.

Will PAS’ hudud create rift in BN?

Umno can choose to work with PAS on hudud as the Islamic party delivers them more seats than many BN component parties combined.

PAS has until June to table its private member’s bills in parliament to permit the Kelantan state government to implement hudud, but political parties from both divides are already agitated.

Pakatan Rakyat for one is definitely worried that the Barisan Alternatif episode in 2001 would recur.

Back then, DAP had to break ties with PAS due to the Islamic party’s insistence to push its Islamic agenda.

The ups and downs in politics saw DAP and PAS reeling back to the same table only after the opposition scored a breakthrough to deny BN its two-third majority in the 2008 general election.

Since then, with the growing number of progressive leaders in PAS and political pragmatism, PAS has toned down its Islamic appeal. But hudud remains a thorn in Pakatan’s flesh.

But the decisive moment will arrive in the coming months. Should PAS be able to table its bill and get it passed in parliament, DAP would have no choice but turn its back on PAS.

The fallout between the two will spell an end of Pakatan Rakyat coalition if the bill is passed. Nevertheless till then it is still safe.

Umno holds the trump card

This issue could bring a similar disaster to BN too.

Of late, Umno ministers like Jamil Khir Baharom and Razali Ibrahim have indicated that they are willing to work with PAS to allow Kelantan to impose hudud.

Going by the words of Razali, the deputy minister in Prime Minister Department, PAS can even count on all Umno lawmakers “to vote for the bill”.

Even progressive Umno leaders such as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Shahrir Samad said they are open to PAS tabling the bill.

Umno’s statement revealed a stark reality in today’s politics. First, Muslim lawmakers are duty bound by religion to support hudud, regardless which divide they are in.

More importantly, Umno can forsake most of its BN colleagues in place for PAS and still retain federal power.

Umno controls 88 seats in Parliament, whereas PAS has 21. With the help of Sarawak-based Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), which holds 14 seats, Umno can still form the federal government and have representatives all over the country.

On the contrary, other BN component parties are pretty much dependent on Umno to cling on to power.

MCA, MIC, Gerakan, Parti Bersatu Sabah and the other East Malaysia parties combined command only 31 seats. Even if they were to join forces with DAP and PKR they will still fall short of coming into power (99 seats).

As such Umno holds the superior bargaining power. It can create a major paradigm shift in politics in Malaysia if it decides so.

MCA, Gerakan dousing the fire

MCA, meanwhile hopes that Umno would see through PAS’ tactics and stands its ground.

“PAS’ position is very clear, it only wants to trap Umno (with the bill). All this while they have been calling Umno infidel, now they suddenly turn to Umno for favour as if they are so sincere,” said MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong.

PAS wants to look good among the traditional Malays, he told FMT, while DAP is opposing it because it cannot afford to lose its Chinese votes.

As such, he urged Umno to be smart and distance itself from the bill since it is mooted by the opposition.

“This is entirely a Pakatan internal affair. They cannot sort it out among themselves, let them fight and we should just watch at the side.

“I hope Umno will stick to the Federal Constitution, this was agreed upon by all parties since Independence,” he said.

Agreeing with Wee, Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong said his party would try its level best to convince Umno on the problems of hudud laws, should the bill be heard in parliament.

“A parallel legal system for Muslims will create a lot of conflicts in a multi-religious country like Malaysia, for example, in criminal cases involving Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.

Both MCA and Gerakan have said their MPs would definitely vote against the bill.

The bill could have far-reaching impact on the nation, changing the way justice is delivered as well as the political landscape.

Anyways, it could also end up like many other private member’s bill which never saw the light of day in parliament.

Leven Woon is a FMT team member.

ABIM calls for Dr. Mahathir to retract statement on hudud law

(Astro Awani) – The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) is concerned with the statement made by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad in regards to the implementation of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II and has asked for the former Prime Minister to retract his statement and to repent.

“Tun Mahathir as a respected leader of an Islamic country should be more careful in voicing out his opinion in matters relating to the syariah law,” said ABIM president Amidi Abdul Manan in a statement.

He was referring to a statement made by Dr. Mahathir published by various media including Astro AWANI on Apr 17.

In his statement, Dr Mahathir urged the Kelantan government to re-evaluate its plan to implement the syariah criminal law hudud and qisas in the state by emphasising on justice.

Dr. Mahathir said hudud and qisas emphasised on the types of punishment and not about serving justice.

He said the punishment also varied for a Muslim and a non-Muslim.

Using theft as an example, Dr Mahathir said that a Muslim who steals would have his hand chopped off while a non-Muslim will only be sent to prison.

“Fair or not?” asked Dr. Mahathir.

According to Amidi, Dr Mahathir’s statement could create confusion where “it may seem that an Islamic punishment is unreasonable and cruel”.

He explained that the burden of proof under the hudud law is tougher compared to the criminal law under the civil system.

“The beauty of Islamic laws lies in its trial, justification and management,” added Amidi.

ABIM is of the opinion that the statement made by Dr. Mahathir emphasising on the punishment could create negative perception towards the hudud law.

It also said that the resistance showed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat leaders may be due by the statement made by Dr. Mahathir.

The Kelantan state government took the step in response to the call made by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom at the Dewan Rakyat recently where he said the Federal government is ready to support any state which aims to execute the hudud and qisas law.

The Bill is expected to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat in June.

The technical committee of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II is expected to provide explanation on the bill to all members of parliament before the tabling of the Bill.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had earlier stated that the party’s stand on the implementation of the hudud law has not changed and he does not want the Kelantan government’s move to be exploited by BN.

Meanwhile, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had stressed that it would continue implementing the hudud law despite being opposed by Pakatan Rakyat as it “does not have an agreement with DAP and PKR” to not implement the Islamic law.

What next in Anwar sodomy II? – Kim Quek

Despite 85 pages of rhetoric, the Court of Appeal’s written judgment (the “Judgment”) convicting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy has failed to establish the only corroborative evidence of the charge – the DNA evidence.

This is a case of one man’s word against another, with no eyewitness to the incident.

Without establishing the DNA evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the Court of Appeal has no business to overturn the High Court judgment acquitting Anwar on ground of doubtful integrity of the DNA samples.

The crucial question to ask is: have the samples become vulnerable to tampering after the sealed plastic bag containing individual receptacles holding the samples was cut open by the investigating officer without authority and kept for prolong duration before delivering them to the chemist?

The prosecutor said no, reason being that the individual receptacles were also sealed, hence, the samples were protected.

Sample tampering irrefutable

But the catch is: while the plastic bag which was heat sealed was tamper-proof, the seals to the individual receptacles were not tamper-proof.

Australian forensic pathologist Dr David Wells testified that the seals to the receptacles could be removed and resealed based on the materials used and the manner of sealing, after he had examined them.

Appeal Court judges of Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, Datuk and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who took the highly unusual step of appending their signatures to one single written document, dismissed Dr Wells’ claim by saying “he merely looked at the containers in court and gave his opinion solely from the manner in which these containers were sealed and the type of material used as seals. That was merely his opinion pure and simple”. (para 121 of the Judgment)

It was, of course, Dr Wells’ opinion. What else could he do other than expressing an opinion? If the seals were not readily removable, why didn’t the prosecution refute his claim? As a matter of fact, according to Anwar, who saw the receptacles in coAziah Aliurt, these seals consisted of only “ordinary and easily removable tapes and easily removable KL Hospital paper seals” as stated in his statement in dock.

Is that the reason Dr Wells’ testimony was not challenged in court? Would he have been let off the hook if in fact the claim was false, knowing the critical importance of the issue?

And why did Jude Pereira take the reckless step of cutting open the permanently sealed plastic bag? He said he wanted to put the receptacles into individual envelopes and re-label them. But that explanation was obviously phoney as rightly pointed out by High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah for the simple reason that each of the receptacles had already been clearly labelled by the hospital doctors and Pereira’s mission was merely to deliver them to the chemist withoMohamad Zabidin Mohd Diahut any input of his own.

Shockingly, despite the opening of the plastic bag had opened the gateway for meddling with the samples in the unsecured receptacles, the judges declared such unauthorised action as not amounting to tampering with the samples, even repeating Pereira’s incredible claim that he was merely following standard operation procedure (para 85).

Talking about SOP, is it also SOP to place the samples in Pereira’s personal steel cabinet for 42 hours instead of the police freezer, which was a beach of police standard practice, as well as defiance of KL Hospital forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Fong’s strict instruction that the samples be kept in freezer?

Why have the judges completely omitted to mention the defence claim that such prolong storage under room temperature would have damaged further the already much degraded samples?

Being a senior police officer familiar with forensic investigation, Pereira must have known that his reckless beach of discipline in his mishandling of the samples could fatally damage the integrity of the chain of custody as well as the quality of the DNA samples, both of which are of vital importance to the prosecution case.

Then why did he still do it? What was it so compelling that he had to take such risks? Why did he keep the samples to himself for 42 hours? If he was not up to something sinister, what was he up to?

Dubious DNA samples

Could that explain the miraculous phenomenon that the these samples were later found to have suffered no degradation at all, despite being retrieved 56 hours after alleged sodomy and stored for another 42 hours under room temperature, something unheard of?

The two Australian experts held the view from their long careers that semen collected 36 hours after ejaculation could hardly be successfully tested for the sperm’s DNA due to degradation.

DNA expert Dr Brian McDonald testified from his observation of test reports handed to him that the profiles of DNA tests for various samples taken from the rectum including those showing DNA of Male Y (which prosecution claims to be those of Anwar) showed no evidence of degradation.

This contradicted with the samples’ history, inferring that they might not be the same samples that were retrieved from complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s rectum by the hospital doctors 98 hours earlier.

In addition to such contradictions which cast serious doubt over the credibility of the DNA findings, the two Australian experts also pointed out many discrepancies, deficiencies and flaws of the chemist’s DNA reports and hospital doctors’ examination reports, including the exposure of the puzzling presence of DNA of multiple people extracted from Saiful’s rectum, which the chemist have overlooked, compounding the crisis of confidence in these reports.

These are, of course, serious challenges to the prosecution case, which stands or falls on the DNA evidence.

Slamming of experts childish

But instead of taking these Australian experts’ opinion head on with equally professional counter argument, the judges seem to have found a short cut by resorting to name-calling to devalue the Australians’ testimonies while simultaneously enhancing the status of statements made the government’s professionals.

Thus, the Australians have become “armchair experts” who have no practical experience (false, of course) to lend credibility to their argument, while the government chemists have “impeccable credentials” with competence in both the academic and practical fields.

The judges even went to the extent of concurring with lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah’s submission that the Australians’ evidence were “speculative and theoretical if not hypothetical, thus lacking in probative value” (para 142).

In contrast, the evidence of the two local chemists was described as factual and based on their own analysis of samples.

Then, using the premise of “lacking in probative value”, the judges in one sweeping stroke, rejected the Australians’ critical testimonies on all the critical issues, which are sample tampering, doubtful DNA reports and penile penetration (para 150).

Presto! Problem solved! The Australians’ unfavourable testimonies are set aside in favour of the affirmative ones submitted by government professionals. The prosecution case is thus saved.

But what is the truth?

Dr Wells, a forensic pathologist, specialises in sexual assault cases. He is head of Clinical Forensic Medicine at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Associate Professor in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash Unviersity, Member of the Advisory Panel – National Institute of Forensic Science, Member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine.

He has worked with World Health Organisation in establishing medico-legal services for victims of sexual violence in developing countries. He has written several books and articles on sexual violence and awarded the Order of Australia Medal. He has testified in all levels of courts where his testimonies have been accepted.

Dr Bian McDonald, holding a PhD in pathology, is a consultant molecular geneticist. He is a member of the Australian Forensic Science Society, member of the Australian Biomedical Society and served as committee member of the Human Genetics Society, a director of both DNA Consults and Molecular Genetics for the Sonic Clinical Institute. He was also a head geneticist officer in New South Wales. He has written books, papers and articles on the subject of DNA, a list of which fills up five pages.

Clearly, the above credentials speak for themselves, and show how utterly irresponsible is the act of rejecting those expert opinions en bloc with the cavalier and childish comment on those evidence being “mere opinion, speculative and theoretical”, which actually reflects the shallowness of the writer of the Judgment, whoever he is.

Penile penetration

On the subject of anal penile penetration, this is another major flaw of the prosecution case. All the four doctors who had examined Saiful had reported no sign of penetration, which contradicted the latter’s testimony that the “fast and furious” act had caused him pain.

Though the three government doctors later changed their tune, however, their revised views were based on the subsequent report issued by the chemist, who claimed the presence of semen of “Male Y” in Saiful’s rectum.

Such revised view had, of course, zero value, as the doctors’ report must be based on their own observations and not on subsequent reports issued by others.

Anwar’s statement in the dock

Was Anwar a coward, scared of being cross-examined in the witness stand as insinuated by the judges, when he chose to give an unsworn statement in dock as his defence?

Anyone who has read his 9,000-word statement which took him an hour and 20 minutes to deliver in court, could not have failed to be moved by the endless series of injustice he has suffered and his cries of despair that he would ever receive justice in the court.

The long litany of unjust treatment he had received at every step of his judicial defence as enumerated by him has proved beyond the slightest doubt that this is political persecution, not a criminal trial, where the verdict is a foregone conclusion.

There is no better testimony to that than the shock with which the world greeted the acquittal of Anwar at the High Court three years ago, as the proceedings of the trial had been so manifestly unfair and vindictive that no one expected an acquittal.


That the prosecutor and the judges did not let go the slightest opportunity to build up the perception of guilt against Anwar is seen in its dishonest inference that Anwar didn’t call alibi witnesses because they couldn’t have substantiated his story of innocence.

This is double injustice to Anwar, because it was the powers that be that had put a spoke to his alibi defence. Anwar said in his statement in dock: “My alibi witnesses made known to the prosecution were in fact included in the prosecution list of witnesses, which was not supplied to my lawyers. They were defence alibi witnesses. I am informed this is the first time this has been done.”

Anwar also gave the example of the owner of the condo where the alleged incidence took place, Hasanuddin Abd Hamid, who was harassed by the police for a total of 30 hours where his statements were video recorded. Another alibi witness, Fitria Dipan the maid, ironically offered by the prosecution, couldn’t even be traced.

Prosecution + defence v defence

A trial judge is supposed to be an umpire, taking a neutral position to weigh without prejudice the merits and demerits of facts and legal arguments presented by the prosecutor and the defence and deliver his decision at the end of the hearing strictly according to facts and relevant law, without fear or favour.

But this is distinctively not the case in the present trial. Reading through the Judgment, one can’t help but get the impression that there is an invisible dividing line separating the prosecutor and judges on one side and the defence on the other. With due respect, it looks like a joint effort to fix the respondent, and let the facts and law be damned.

In fact, the outcome of this trial was already self-evident when Anwar’s request to replace specially invited lead prosecutor Shafee was rejected all the way to the highest court. Being an Umno lawyer and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s confidante, Shafee’s role as prosecutor was to part of a political agenda.

Now that Anwar has appealed to the Federal Court, the nation will hold its breath at what will happen next.

Will it be another saving grace for the judiciary, or will it be another plunge that will trigger off a new phase of bruising conflict that will cause much suffering, but with the prospect of opening up a new era for the nation? – April 22, 2014.

* Kim Quek reads The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Opinion Perjuangan mendiang Karpal Singh vs perjuangan Umno dan BN

By Nur Jazlan,

Pertama sekali saya ingin mengucapkan takziah kepada keluarga mendiang bekas Pengerusi DAP, Ahli Parlimen Bukit Gelugor dan peguam terkenal, mendiang Karpal Singh terutamanya anak mendiang, Gobind Singh Deo yang juga Ahli Parlimen Puchong, atas kematian bapanya dalam kemalangan tragis pada awal pagi Jumaat lalu.

Sesungguhnya, mungkin ini kali pertama majlis pengebumian seorang tokoh pembangkang menerima penghormatan tertinggi daripada sebuah negeri dan kematian mendiang Karpal Singh diratapi bukan sahaja ahli keluarganya, rakan-rakan atau ahli DAP tetapi juga seluruh rakyat Malaysia.

Walaupun tidak mengenali mendiang Karpal Singh yang turut dikenali dengan gelaran ‘Tiger of Jelutong’ secara peribadi, tetapi saya amat kagum dengan kesungguhan serta perjuangan beliau yang tidak berbelah bahagi dalam sistem perundangan negara serta kancah politik negara.

Secara tidak langsung, perjuangan politik mendiang Karpal Singh selama 40 tahun lebih kurang sama dengan arwah ayahanda saya, Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat atau Tok Mat dan mereka juga adalah rakan ketika sama-sama menjadi Ahli Dewan Rakyat bermula sekitar tahun 70-an.

Jika ada yang beranggapan bahawa dengan pemergian mendiang Karpal Singh buat selama-lamanya akan mengubah hala tuju perjuangan parti DAP, saya tidak yakin ia akan berlaku memandangkan parti itu berada dalam ‘kelasnya’ tersendiri dalam kancah politik negara yang begitu mencabar.

Tambahan pula, dua anak mendiang iaitu Gobind dan Jagdeep adalah wakil rakyat DAP dan mempunyai kedudukan serta pengaruh dalam DAP sekaligus sudah pasti meneruskan legasi mendiang Karpal Singh.

Satu perkara yang paling menarik dalam perjuangan politik mendiang Karpal Singh sepanjang pemerhatian saya, adalah semangatnya yang tidak pernah memperjuangkan isu membabitkan sesuatu kaum secara khusus.

Sebaliknya, beliau sentiasa konsisten dengan perjuangan ke arah Malaysia yang lebih baik dan benar-benar bersikap sebagai seorang ahli pembangkang yang profesional dengan memberikan fakta serta hujah yang logik serta objektif berlandaskan apa yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Negara.

Kepetahan mendiang Karpal Singh di mahkamah langsung tidak tergugat ketika dalam sesi Dewan Rakyat dengan jelas mengkritik segala dasar kerajaan, terutama sekali yang berkaitan dengan undang-undang atau perkara yang dilihat membelakangkan undang-undang atau Perlembagaan Negara.

Disebabkan itu, walaupun berkerusi roda selepas terbabit dalam kemalangan jalan raya pada 2005, mendiang Karpal Singh terus menjadi idola, contoh serta ikutan perjuangan ahli-ahli Parlimen pembangkang yang muda dalam DAP yang terus gigih hadir ke Parlimen bagi memperjuangkan nasib rakyat.

Perjuangan inilah, yang bagi saya menyebabkan mendiang Karpal Singh sentiasa dihormati kawan serta lawan dan buktinya lebih 5,000 rakyat hadir bersama-sama memberikan penghormatan terakhir kepada mendiang Ahad lalu.

Status serta perjuangan beliau ini juga menyebabkan kerajaan DAP Pulau Pinang memberikan mendiang pengebumian negeri serta menamakan sebatang jalan di negeri itu dengan nama Karpal Singh bagi menghargai jasa serta pengorbanan mendiang.

Agaknya adakah perkara sama yang akan dilakukan kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) kepada pemimpin MIC yang ada sekarang, sebagaimana penghormatan yang diterima mendiang Karpal Singh terutama sekali jasa serta pengorbanannya terhadap kaum India.

Selain perjuangan mendiang yang sentiasa konsisten kepada ‘Malaysian Malaysia’ dan kesamarataan kaum berlandaskan Perlembangaan Negara, siapa yang boleh menafikan bahawa kepopularitian beliau juga menyebabkan banyak peguam-peguam menceburi bidang politik secara serius.

Secara tiba-tiba, begitu ramai peguam menjadi ahli pembangkang, sama ada daripada parti DAP atau PKR dan kebanyakan mereka ini, pada awalnya menggunakan landasan sebagai ahli jawatankuasa Majlis Peguam sebagai asas untuk berpolitik.

Sebenarnya, jika dikaji semula sejarah Majlis Peguam ini yang ditubuhkan melalui Akta Profesion Undang-Undang 1976, ramai Jawatankuasa dan Presiden yang dilantik begitu kritikal terhadap kerajaan.

Disebabkan ketidakpuasan hati kepada kerajaan yang dikatakan banyak membelakangkan undang-undang serta Perlembagaan Negara dalam menggubal dasar atau menjalankan pentadbiran negara, mereka-mereka (peguam) mengambil keputusan menceburi bidang politik secara serius dengan menjadi ahli politik sebelum dipilih rakyat menjadi Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri atau Ahli Parlimen.

Mungkin ramai tidak mengetahui bahawa sebenarnya, selain Majlis Peguam (Bar Council) terdapat sebuah lagi entiti yang lebih besar iaitu Badan Peguam Malaysia (Malaysian Bar).

Badan Peguam Malaysia ditubuhkan di bawah Seksyen 41 Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976 dan wajib dianggotai oleh semua Peguam di Semenanjung Malaysia menurut Seksyen 43 Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976, yang kini berjumlah lebih 15,000 orang.

Majlis Peguam pula ditubuhkan mengikut Seksyen 47 Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976 dan hanya dianggotai oleh 36 orang ahli Badan Peguam yang dipilih secara pengundian menurut Seksyen 50 dan Seksyen 70 (7) Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976.

Malah, menurut seksyen 64 (1) Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976, Mesyuarat Agung Tahunan (AGM) Badan Peguam hendaklah diadakan oleh Majlis Peguam sebelum bulan April pada setiap tahun.

Manakala, korum untuk AGM itu adalah 500 orang sahaja daripada ahli Badan Peguam yang berdaftar mengikut Seksyen 64 (4) Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976.

Badan Peguam Malaysia ini, secara tidak langsung boleh diibaratkan sebagai sebuah kereta tanpa pemandu kerana Majlis Peguam bertindak sebagai pemandunya dan sebenarnya, destinasi ‘kereta’ ditetapkan di dalam Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976, namun bergantunglah kepada pemandu kereta tersebut sama ada untuk mengikut arahan destinasi ataupun menyimpang daripada destinasi yang ditetapkan dalam akta.

‘Kesilapan’ kerajaan ketika menggubal undang-undang ini pada 1976, dengan bertujuan untuk mengekang pembabitan peguam dalam politik dan memberikan kelebihan kepada peguam Melayu tidak mencapai matlamat dan mempunyai impak negatif apabila lebih ramai peguam terbabit secara langsung dalam politik.

Mungkin disebabkan ‘lupa’ untuk meletakkan syarat bahawa Majlis Peguam perlu menjadi sebuah badan yang benar-benar bebas kini, badan berkenaan dilihat begitu pro-pembangkang dengan begitu lantang mengkritik kerajaan tetapi amat jarang sekali memuji dasar-dasar kerajaan.

Lebih memelikkan pada waktu kini, peguam-peguam ini, yang majoritinya berbangsa Melayu dilihat semakin menjauhi Umno malah, lebih gemar untuk mengambil pendirian yang neutral atau lebih pro-pembangkang.

Jika diperhatikan dalam tempoh dua penggal Pilihanraya Umum (PRU) lalu, berapa ramai peguam muda yang terpilih sebagai calon untuk Umno atau Barisan Nasional (BN) berbanding di pihak pembangkang.

Atas sebab itu, ramai pihak kini melabelkan Umno dan BN sebagai sebuah parti yang tidak lagi diminati oleh golongan profesional bukan sahaja di kalangan peguam, malahan doktor atau akauntan.

Kemungkinan ini juga yang menyebabkan Umno dan BN semakin hilang genggaman di kawasan bandar serta pinggir bandar apabila pembangkang menampilkan calon-calon muda yang profesional.

Kemunculan calon muda serta profesional ini, selari serta sesuai dengan citarasa masyarakat bandar serta pinggir bandar yang terdiri daripada golongan menengah rendah, atas serta elit yang majoritinya mendapat pendidikan sekurang-kurangnya bertaraf diploma.

Malah, perjuangan mendiang Karpal Singh seorang peguam terkenal juga mula dihayati pengundi di kawasan bandar serta pinggir bandar yang amat kritikal terhadap isu dalam kerajaan yang membabitkan penyelewengan kuasa, rasuah serta kronisme.

Semangat perjuangan mendiang Karpal Singh yang tidak pernah berubah sejak 40 tahun lalu inilah, yang menjadi semakin relevan dalam masyarakat Malaysia pada masa kini menyebabkan Umno serta BN semakin hilang kuasa di kawasan kritikal ini.

Sememangnya, dalam PRU14 lalu, Umno dan BN ada menampilkan calon muda tetapi bilangan profesional amat kurang berbanding daripada mereka yang ditawarkan parti pembangkang sebagai calon untuk rakyat.

Ramai pemimpin muda pembangkang kini menjadikan mendiang Karpal Singh sebagai idola politik mereka dan akan menjadikan diri mereka sebagai idola untuk pemimpin masa depan, tetapi keadaan itu jelas berbeza dalam Umno apabila kita jelas ketandusan golongan pemimpin muda untuk dijadikan idola bagi menjadi ‘penarik’ kepada golongan muda profesional di kawasan bandar dan luar bandar.

Saya turut melihat trend calon muda Umno dan BN yang terdiri daripada ahli perniagaan kurang ‘digemari’ pengundi di kawasan bandar dan pinggir bandar kerana mereka merasakan calon-calon ini mendapat sumber kekayaan daripada parti serta kerajaan dan tidak benar-benar ‘bersih’ selain mudah untuk pembangkang memutarbelitkan isu berkaitan diri calon-calon ini.

Pembangkang akan terus menarik golongan muda profesional yang imej mereka ditampilkan dengan penuh idealisme serta mempunyai latar belakang ‘bersih’, tetapi dalam Umno proses ‘regeneration’ ini dengan pemimpin masa depan yang berkualiti dan bersih akan terbantut.

Justeru, saya bimbang jika jika sesuatu tidak dilakukan Umno dan BN untuk berubah dengan mencari golongan profesional muda terdiri daripada peguam, doktor atau akauntan yang sanggup ke depan mempertahankan parti dan kerajaan secara terang-terangan untuk berhadapan dengan pemimpin muda profesional daripada pembangkang, masyarakat akan semakin menjauhi parti sekaligus padah akan jelas menanti dalam PRU 14 empat tahun lagi. – 22 April, 2014.

*Artikel ini diambil daripada blog

* Ini adalah pendapat peribadi penulis dan tidak semestinya mewakili pandangan The Malaysian Insider.

Five Men Rob Japanese Vessel Of Diesel, Abduct Three Crew

PORT KLANG, April 23 (Bernama) -- Five men, two of them armed with pistols and one with a machete, siphoned off two million litres of diesel from a Japanese vessel about 16 nautical miles from Pulau Ketam here yesterday, marine police said.

It is learnt that in the 1 am incident, the robbers also abducted three of the 18 crew of the ship which was on its way from Singapore to Myanmar with five million litres of the fuel.

Port Klang Marine Police commanding officer DSP Norzaid Muhammad Said said the robbers siphoned off the fuel to two tankers, taking between seven and eight hours to do, after tying up the crew including the captain.

"They then left the ship," he said.

Norzaid said the captain, after freeing himself, informed the diesel supplier in Singapore of the robbery.

The supplier lodged a report at the Johor Baharu police station which relayed the information to the marine police in Port Klang, he said.

"We sent our personnel to the location and found the Japanese vessel at Pulau Angsa. The ship was brought to the North Port here for further investigation," he said.

Norzaid said the captain and crew remaining on the vessel did not suffer any injury.


Oleh: Dr Raja Ahmad Iskandar Al-Hiss

Saya menerima satu panggilan daripada sahabat saya iaitu Ketua Pemuda PAS Gerik, Mohamad Hamidi Ismail yang meminta pandangan tentang keadaan Pekan Kecil Pengkalan Hulu yang dahulunya sangat membangun ketika bekas Menteri Besar Perak menjadi ADUN Pengkalan Hulu iaitu Tan Sri Haji Mohammad Tajol Rosli Tan Sri Mohamed Ghazali.

Mengikut sejarah Pengkalan Hulu bermula sebagai pusat pentadbiran Negeri Reman (sebahagian daripada Negeri Patani) yang mana sempadan negerinya adalah Kedah dan Patani. Bagaimanapun, Raja Reman telah menceroboh Klian Intan dan mengusahakan perlombongan bijih timah di situ, sehinggalah tercetusnya beberapa siri pertikaian dengan Kerajaan Perak dan beberapa perjanjian yang diusahakan antara pihak Inggeris, Siam dan Perak.

Pada tahun 1902, Kerajaan Siam telah menghapuskan sistem pemerintahan beraja di Negeri Reman. Setelah itu, Kerajaan Siam telah menyerahkan daerah Hulu Perak kepada Kerajaan Perak. Istiadat penyerahan daerah Hulu Perak dilangsungkan di Kroh pada 16 Julai 1909. Pengkalan Hulu pada dahulunya dikenali sebagai Kroh. Sejarah nama Kroh bermula dengan sebuah sungai kecil yang mengalir melalui kawasan ini.

Sungai yang mengalir ini berpunca dari sebuah kampung yang bernama Selarong. Selarong bermaksud 'denai gajah' dalam bahasa Arab. Sungai ini menjadi tempat mandi dan berkubang gajah-gajah kepunyaan Raja Reman yang bilangannya menjangkau ratusan ekor. Bagi memudahkan gajah-gajah tersebut mandi, Raja Reman telah memerintahkan agar empangan dibina untuk membendung air.

Aliran sungai yang diempangkan itu menjadi sebuah tasik kecil dengan keadaan airnya yang sentiasa keruh. Disebabkan itulah bandar ini telah dinamakan sebagai Kroh pada masa dahulu. Pada 4 Januari 1984, semasa pemerintahan Sultan Perak ke-33 iaitu Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakkil Alallahi Shah (Sultan Idris Shah II), baginda telah berkenan meminda nama Kroh kepada Pengkalan Hulu kerana tempat ini menjadi tempat persinggahan apabila baginda berangkat ke daerah Hulu Perak.

Kini, tinggalan tasik kecil tersebut telah dibangunkan oleh pentadbiran daerah sebagai taman rekreasi yang dinamakan Taman Tasek Takong. Kaitan antara gajah dengan nama Kroh juga telah diabadikan menerusi logo Majlis Daerah Pengkalan Hulu, Perak Darul Ridzuan. Tetapi semua itu tinggal sejarah setelah Tan Sri Tajol Rosli tidak lagi menjadi ADUN dan Menteri Besar walaupun Barisan Nasional masih lagi memerintah Perak.

Atas nama rasionalisasi cawangan atau dengan mudah kata ‘tutup’, Maybank Pengkalan Hulu akan ditutup operasinya dengan rasminya pada 1 Mei ini. Hanya mesin ATM sahaja yang masih berfungsi dan tiada lagi kemudahan wang tunai deposit. Penduduk yang ingin menyimpan duit atau untuk berurusan dengan kaunter dimana Maybank yang paling dekat adalah di Baling.

Untuk makluman selain adanya Pejabat Maybank terdapat juga beberapa mesin ATM di Pengkalan Hulu. Terdapat juga mesin ATM di Petronas selain BSN di rumah kedai di depan Petronas dan ATM Bank Rakyat di pintu pagar Sekolah Teknik Pengkalan Hulu. Dan alasan penutupan kerana tiada pelaburan dan tiada pinjam peribadi oleh penduduk Pengkalan Hulu.

Di sinilah peranan Ahli-Ahli Majlis Daerah Pengkalan Hulu bagi memastikan pembangunan sekata di tempat mereka seiring dengan tempat-tempat lain. Malah ianya juga peranan penting wakil-wakil rakyat yang dilantik bagi mempertahankan dan memelihara kemudahan yang ada untuk khidmat rakyat dan ianya adalah satu pelan tindakan penting di kawasannya.

Saya melahirkan kekesalan kerana tiada pembelaan di Pengkalan Hulu dimana rakyat di sana memerlukan sebuah bank di sana. Di sana berdasarkan daftar pemilih terdapat 13,924 orang sebagai pemilih di DUN Pengkalan Hulu, manakala pecahan berdasarkan kaum iaitu Bangsa Melayu seramai 73 peratus, Bangsa Lain-Lain sebanyak 11 peratus dan 10 peratus adalan Bangsa Cina.

Persoalan biasa kepada yang mempunyai anak, bagaimana hendak menguruskan wang pelajaran anak-anak mereka dalam keadaan bank tiada di sana? Kesukaran dapat dilihat terutama masyarakat Melayu Pendalaman yang sukar menjalankan urusan harian mereka jika bank terlalu jauh. Dimanakah kelompok yang sepatutnya membantu mereka yang kini tersepit?

Sudah tentu jika Maybank di Pengkalan Hulu ditutup akan memberikan kesan kepada semua agensi kerajaan yang terlibat menggunakannya. Malah ianya akan memberikan kesan kepada industri pelancongan dan juga sempadan luar kita iaitu Negara Thailand. Sebenarnya penutupan ini akan menjejaskan banyak pihak dan adakah pihak yang terbabit sedar akan masalah ini?

Perkara penting yang perlu diambil kira, akan membahayakan penduduk di Pengkalan Hulu kerana mempunyai risiko kerana terdedah dengan acaman rompakan dan saman bilamana mereka terpaksa menyimpan wang tunai di kediaman ataupun kedai mereka. Saya cukup cemas memikirkan nasib yang terpaksa ditanggung oleh penduduk Pengkalan Hulu kini.

Bagi saya, sebelum ini ada pihak yang menjanjikan di dalam manifestonya pada Pilihan Raya Umum yang lalu untuk menyediakan kemudahan luar bandar terutamanya seperti di Pengkalan Hulu rupanya hanya tinggal retorik semata-mata dan hayalan buat mereka!

*Penulis adalah Ketua Pemuda PAS Perak dan juga Yang DiPertua PAS Kuala Kangsar, Bandar DiRaja

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2:35pm: Karpal Singh cremated after emotional farewell

Negotiations ongoing for Italian Jesuit's release in Syria

(ANSA) - Beirut, April 21 - Negotiations have been ongoing at various levels in Syria and outside the country for the liberation of Father Paolo Dall'Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest who went missing in the north of the country in July, for several months, ANSA sources said Monday. The sources close to the negotiations, who asked to remain anonymous, said that "there was comforting news about Dall'Oglio being alive" two weeks ago.

But they also stressed that "there can be no certainty about this, given the difficulty in penetrating the organisation that is keeping him prisoner". The sources added that Dall'Oglio is being held in northern Syria by a branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), an al-Qaeda-linked group led by fighters from Iraq and other countries. The Italian foreign ministry said Monday that it was maintaining "maximum confidentiality" about the case.

Pakistani accused of sexually assaulting an 11-yr-old Indian boy inside Dubai's mosque

A court in the UAE on Sunday adjourned till April 27 the hearing in a case relating to the attempted sexual assault on an 11-year-old Indian boy in a mosque in Dubai.

A Pakistani technician, 57, identified only as DK, has been accused of raping the boy in a mosque's washroom Jan 9 this year, Gulf News reported.

The suspect took the boy to the washroom and then removed his trousers, the court heard.

When the defendant was about to have sex with the boy, the boy managed to open the door and escaped from the washroom of the mosque in Souq Al Hamriya, the newspaper report said.

The defendant, however, denied the charge before the Dubai Court of First Instance Sunday.

He contended that he only slapped the boy inside the washroom, where he was performing the ablution or washing himself before the prayers.

The boy's father testified to the prosecutors that the boy was terrified following the incident.

The matter was reported to the police immediately by the victim's father.

The accused was arrested after the victim's father spotted him near the mosque.

The boy also admitted that the defendant offered him money if he allowed him to have sex with him.

The prosecution appealed to the court to impose a life sentence on the defendant.

Raja bomoh kembali, dakwa gangguan puaka punca Karpal nahas

Raja Bomoh, atau nama sebenarnya Datuk Mahaguru Ibrahim Mat Zin kali ini menjalankan ritual di  KM3061.1 Lebuhraya Utara‎ Selatan (Plus) arah utara berhampiran Gua Tempurung kerana mengatakan gangguan puaka menyebabkan Karpal Singh nahas. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider, 20 April, 2014. 
Raja Bomoh, atau nama sebenarnya Datuk Mahaguru Ibrahim Mat Zin kali ini menjalankan ritual di KM3061.1 Lebuhraya Utara‎ Selatan (Plus) arah utara berhampiran Gua Tempurung kerana mengatakan gangguan puaka menyebabkan Karpal Singh nahas.

Selepas mengejutkan masyarakat dengan ritual yang dilakukan bagi meramal lokasi pesawat Malaysia Airlines MH370 di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA) Mac lalu, Raja bomoh kini mendakwa gangguan puaka menjadi punca nahas mendiang Karpal Singh, lapor portal Suara TV.

Raja bomoh, atau nama sebenarnya Datuk Mahaguru Ibrahim Mat Zin, 80 dikatakan melakukan ritual menghalau puaka di sekitar kawasan nahas ahli parlimen Bukit Gelugor itu.

Beliau berharap dengan ritual yang dilakukan ‎itu, dapat membantu pengguna lebuhraya melalui kawasan itu yang diganggu puaka.

‎"Semoga usaha yang saya lakukan itu akan dapat mengurangkan kemalangan jalan raya yang sering terjadi," katanya memetik daripada portal tersebut.

Khamis lalu, Karpal maut dalam kemalangan di KM3061.1 Lebuhraya Utara‎ Selatan (Plus) arah utara berhampiran Gua Tempurung.

Turut maut dalam kemalangan itu ialah pembantunya Micheal Cornelius Selvam Vellu, manakala anak mendiang, Ram Karpal dan pemandu kereta terselamat dan pembantu rumah mereka dilaporkan masih lagi dalam kritikal.

Insiden itu dipercayai berlaku apabila kenderaan MPV Toyota Alphard dinaiki mendiang, ‎bersama lima yang lain merempuh belakang lori yang membawa simen, besi, jubin di lorong kiri laluan dua lorong.

Terdahulu, gambar raja bomoh yang dilihat berjalan di sekitar kawasan nahas sambil memegang objek berupa mangkuk dipercayai sedang melakukan ritual menghalau gangguan puaka yang kini tersebar meluas di laman sosial.

Bomoh itu yang mendakwa terkenal di kalangan golongan kenamaan, berkata laluan Gua Tempurung itu sememangnya menjadi tempat bagi mahkluk halus mengganggu pemandu kenderaan, terutamanya waktu malam.

Pada Mac, bomoh itu mencetuskan kontroversi bukan sahaja dengan masyarakat negara, bahkan ke peringkat antarabangsa gara-gara ritual ala tikar terbang dengan disertai pembantunya yang memegang dua biji buah kelapa untuk mengesan lokasi pesawat MH370.

Ekoran tindakannya mendapat pelbagai reaksi termasuklah pemimpin Barisan Nasional (BN) apabila mengakui ritual dilakukan raja bomoh bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam.

Namun raja bomoh yang juga turut mendapat jolokan Bomoh 1 Malaysia, mempertahankan tindakannya dengan menyatakan ia melakukan mengikut apa yang disyariatkan dalam agama. – 20 April, 2014.

Probe ordered into repeated MAS flight troubles

MH192 The government has instructed an investigation into why Malaysia Airlines planes have faced a series of troubles recently, said Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi.

“We have ordered a probe on why there are a series of technical problems involving Malaysia Airlines planes,” he was quoted as saying in The Star.

The report added that the Transport Ministry will review the standard safety procedures before take-off for all flights following the latest Malaysia Airlines Flight MH192 incident.

Flight MH192 departed from KL International Airport at 10.09pm for Bangalore, India last night and was to arrive at 2.35am (Malaysian time).

It was forced to turn back to KL International Airport for an emergency landing after discovering the tyre of its right landing gear had exploded during take-off, but not before having to circle over the coast of Selangor for around four hours.

On March 24, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH066 bound for Incheon, South Korea was diverted to Hong Kong for an emergency landing after experiencing electrical failure.

On the 8th of that month, the airline lost Flight MH370 after it mysteriously cut off communications with tower controllers and flew into the unknown. A massive search operation in the Indian Ocean has yet to find the aircraft.

Meanwhile, police are looking into the possibility of sabotage in the MH192 incident.

"We will take the necessary steps to investigate," inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar told a press conference today.

Initially the question was posed to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was also present at the press conference at the Police Academy International Association Conference, but Zahid told Khalid to respond.

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left in photo) has asked the police to investigate elements of sabotage, as there have been many incidents of late involving the national carrier.

Hishammuddin said incidents such as the MH192 turn-back and emergency landing at KLIA last night should not have happened.

The minister said MAS would be tabling a report on the incident to the cabinet in two days, and said he was proud of the pilots and crew members who were calm and kept the passengers informed.

The affected passengers will board another MAS flight to transport them to Bangalore at 3.30pm today.

Meanwhile, Khalid (right) also confirmed that the victims abducted by armed terrorist in Semporna, Sabah are still safe.

"The victims are safe and we are investigating and getting cooperation from China and the Philippines," he said.

He was asked about developments on the kidnap that happened on April 3 at the Singamata resort that saw one Chinese tourist and a Philippine resort worker abducted.

Flight MH192 resumed its journey to Bangalore from KLIA at 3.35pm today using a different aircraft, according to Bernama.

A MAS spokesperson was quoted as saying that all 159 passengers on board last night’s aborted trip boarded the latest flight.

In a statement later today, MAS said Flight MH192 safely landed in Bangalore at 7.27pm (Malaysian time).

“Malaysia Airlines is currently preparing a report of the MH192 incident to be submitted to the Transport Ministry, Malaysia,” it said.
 Suspense as MH192 makes emergency landing
Passengers on board Malaysian Airlines (MAS) Flight MH192 faced a four-hour terror ride after the landing gear malfunctioned shortly after take-off.

This forced a turn back and several attempts at an emergency landing and several fly-bys over Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

At 2am, the plane successfully made an emergency landing. There were 166 people on board.

Flight MH192 departed at 10.09pm for the city of Bangalore in South India last night. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft was supposed to have arrived at 2.35am (Malaysian time) today.

In a press release after the plane had landed back at KLIA, MAS said the tyre of the right landing gear had burst during take-off.

"The captain was alerted by the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control that tyre debris were found on the runway and Malaysia Airlines Operations Control Centre (OCC) was immediately contacted, at 10.25pm.

"As safety is of utmost priority to Malaysia Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to KLIA," MAS said.

Accommodation for all passengers has been arranged in nearby hotels.

Flight MH192 will be retimed to depart KLIA at 3.30pm today and arrive Bangalore at 5pm the same day (8pm Malaysian time).

Earlier, some Malaysians were anxiously tuning in to aircraft tracking service FlightRadar24 and the live-stream of the air traffic control (ATC) radio conversation on the website
According to FlightRadar24, Flight MH192 then flew to just off the coast of Port Klang and began to fly in circles.

Not capable of mid-air fuel dumping
According to Boeing’s specifications, the 737-800 is not capable of dumping fuel in mid-air, meaning that it would have to burn off its fuel until the aircraft reaches an acceptable weight for a safe landing.
About 30 minutes later, it started to fly towards Port Dickson, and then turned to make an approach to the KLIA runway, but only ended up making a low pass over it for a visual check of its landing gear.
MH192 then went back to the vicinity of Port Klang and began to fly in circles again from about 11.25pm until 1.22am the next morning.

“Malaysian 192. According to one pilot and one engineer, your right main gear is not positioned correctly,” ATC told the pilots while the aircraft was still circling.
“Yeah, okay. Thanks!” the pilot replied, then continue to circle for hours before attempting a second approach on the runway but took off again without landing.
"Malaysian 192, can you confirm to land or another flight path?" the ATC tower radioed.
"Err… Turn left, turn left, turn left. Low," MH192 replied.
"Malaysian 192, roger that."

'Mayday, mayday, mayday'
As the aircraft made its series of left turns that would take it near Port Dickson for the third landing approach, MH192 radioed to check on preparations for a potential emergency.
ATC: Malaysian 192, we have just received a message. They are already foaming the runway for you.
MH192: How long do they need?
ATC: We'll advise.
MH192: All right, understood. Now it is mayday, mayday, mayday. We are landing (with) low fuel.
ATC: Malaysian 192, roger mayday."
The pilot sounded calm and composed - almost expressionless - even as he made the Mayday call.

Two minutes later, Flight MH192 began a slow left turn and then made its final, successful, landing approach.
"Malaysia Airlines Flight MH192 that made an air turn-back towards KLIA has landed safely at 1:56am. Alhamdulillah (thank God)," MAS tweeted on its Twitter account.

(Putting a layer of fire-suppressant foam on the runway is a common form of preparation ahead of some types of emergency landings, particularly so-called 'belly landings' where landing gear is not used.

(However, the New Straits Times quoted Banting Fire and Rescue Department officer Malik Hamdan as saying that no foam was sprayed, since only one of the landing gears had malfunctioned. The report also said the aircraft managed to land normally.)

Umno sokong hudud untuk pecahbelahkan Pakatan, dakwa Saifuddin

Apabila Umno hilang dua pertiga majoriti, tiba-tiba mereka sokong Kelantan laksanakan hudud.

AMPANG JAYA : Setiausaha Agung PKR, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail mendakwa sokongan Umno terhadap hudud hanya semata-mata untuk memecahbelahkan parti komponen PR seperti mana yang berlaku kepada Barisan Alternatif pada 2004.

Katanya, apabila Umno hilang dua pertiga majoriti, ketika tiada tanda-tanda sokongan rakyat kembali pulih, tiba-tiba mereka sokong Kelantan laksanakan hudud.

“Saya percaya sokongan Umno itu hanya bertujuan memecahbelahkan PR,” dakwanya selepas berucap pada siri kempennya di Menara Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya, di sini, hari ini.

Jelasnya, satu masa dahulu, Barisan Alternatif (BA) berpecah akibat isu negara Islam yang dibangkitkan oleh Ketua Pembangkang ketika itu, Allahyarham Datuk Fadzil Mohd Noor namum tidak disepakati oleh DAP dan Keadilan.

“Semua orang tahu kesan politik pada 2004 itu adalah pencapaian terbaik Umno-BN di negara kita.

“Apa sahaja isu yang bertujuan dan ada potensi untuk memecahbelahkan PR, Umno akan mencuba seberapa daya mungkin,” dakwanya.

Tambahnya, lebih menghairankan lagi apabila sikap bermuka-muka pemimpin Umno-BN kian terserlah sedangkan mereka sebelum ini lantang menetang keras pelaksanaan hukum hudud.

“Saya tidak boleh padam dalam ingatan saya serangan menempelak hudud datang dari Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad…datang daripada (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) …hatta daripada Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) sendiri.

“Serangan luar biasa dengan alasan tidak adil sebab yang kena potong tangan orang Islam sahaja, akibatnya orang Islam tidak produktif, bukan Islam pula akan lebih maju di negara kita,” katanya lagi.

Sehubungan dengan itu, beliau berkata tindakan pemimpin tertinggi Umno-BN yang menyokong pelaksanaan hukum hudud di Kelantan sejak kebelakangan ini didakwa sekadar membawa agenda politik tersembunyi.

Saifuddin mendakwa sokongan terbuka pelbagai pihak termasuk timbalan perdana menteri sendiri tidak menunjukkan kesungguhan Umno-BN untuk melaksanakan hukum syariat itu.

“Sedetik pun saya tiada keyakinan Umno jujur untuk menyokong melaksanakan hukum hudud ini.

“Bagaimana dia (Umno) boleh menyokong Kelantan sedangkan mereka sendiri menolak hudud di Terengganu,” katanya

‘What was Sri Lankan minister doing here’

DAP leaders have criticised the government, particularly MIC leaders, for allowing the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary into the country.

KUALA LUMPUR: Penang deputy chief minister P Ramasamy criticised MIC leaders today for keeping mum on Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa’s visit to Malaysia, especially when the island state had killed 150,000 Tamils.

Gothabaya had told Malaysia to be wary of Tamil terrorists in the country.

Ramasamy criticised Gothabaya for making the statement at a forum organised by the Defence Ministry last week. The report was carried by a daily in India, The Hindu.

“I’m baffled by Gothabaya’s statement. Since the Tamil Tigers are not present in Malaysia, we can assume that the phrase was used to refer to local Tamil community, said Ramasamy in a press statement today.

He said Gothabaya’s visit was an embarassment to Malaysian Indians because the Sri Lankan government had killed nearly 150,000 Tamils in the island in its 26-year military campaign which ended in 2009.

Gothabaya is the brother of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

DAP MP M Kulasegaran urged the government to explain the motive of Gothabaya’s visit to Malaysia.

“Why did our government keep his visit a secret?” he asked.

Sungkai state assemblyman A Sivanesan criticised MIC president G Palanivel and his deputy, Dr S Subramaniam, for keeping mum on the matter.

“I am sure Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam are aware of Gothabaya’s visit since it must have been discussed in the Cabinet meeting.

“Being ministers representing the Indians, the duo should have objected to the decision,” he said.

Indians, Chinese imported to dispossess Malays of ‘birthright’, ISMA claims

(The Malay Mail) - Indians and Chinese were brought into Malaysia to weaken the Malay identity and undermine the community’s birthright to peninsular Malaysia on the pretext of multiculturalism, Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) said today.

Accusing the country’s previous British colonial masters of the conspiracy, the group pointed to a claimed 350-million strong “Malay people” purportedly rooted here to insist that peninsular Malaysia be identified as a Malay and Islamic state.

“Malaysia is a huge province which has been settled by the Malays and hold the Malay identity for over 60,000 years, and has embraced Islam for hundreds of years.

“History also showed that Borneo, including Sabah and Sarawak has the same identity,” ISMA vice-president Abdul Rahman Mat Dali (pic above) said on the group’s website here.

He also asserted that Malaysia was dubbed “The Cradle of Human Civilisation”. The nickname has been claimed by many areas worldwide, but is widely recognised to be either in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India, the Andes or Central America.

Despite ISMA’s assertions, however, it is estimated that there are only around 30 million ethnic Malays worldwide, primarily in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Indonesia’s latest census puts the country’s population at over 237 million, but only 9 million identify themselves as ethnic Malay.

“Malay” as a race was once an antiquated catch-all, used in the 19th and early 20th century, to describe the Austronesian peoples.

The largely-Christian Filipinos were also previously referred to as “Malays” in their textbooks.

Abdul Rahman claimed that the entry of the Chinese and Indians had been a “cunning and evil” conspiracy by the British to weaken the Malays who were opposed to its occupation.

Over time, Malays had been normalised to call the country a multicultural and multi-religious country, he said.

“Are the Malays ‘excessively kind’ and willing for the world to record in its history that the Malays is a race which does not have its own motherland. To live and procreate by squatting and homeless in a foreign land?”

“Islam has never blessed for a Muslim nation to have such shallow thoughts,” Abdul Rahman claimed.

In supporting the continuation of Malay special “rights”, ISMA had in its seminar and events suggested that the community were the original settlers of Malaysia, describing the native indigenous Orang Asli as sharing the same ethnic roots with the Malays.

The group had also suggested that ancient Malays had been one of the oldest civilisations in the world, which went on to spawn other current ethnic groups, but has since had their riches and knowledge stripped by foreign powers.

ISMA had suggested for Shariah to be the law of the land replacing the country’s existing dual-track legal system in last year, alleging that Malaysia has practised Islamic laws even since the times of the Malacca empire.

The Malays and Bumiputera make up the majority of Malaysia’s population at an estimated 67.4 per cent of the 28.3 million population, followed by the Chinese at 24.6 per cent, according to the most recent census at 2010.

Accelerated Anwar Case Seen as Insult to US

Numerous opposition figures also under intense court pressure as Obama heads to KL

Malaysian prosecutors are expected to ask the country’s highest court this Friday to increase the prison sentence meted out to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was judged guilty by an appellate court last month on sodomy charges.

The case is being taken to the Federal Court just two days before the arrival of US President Barack Obama on a state visit, an action seen as an insult to Washington.
Anwar currently faces five years in prison on the charge, which is rarely prosecuted in Malaysia and is widely seen as a crude attempt by the government to end his political career. The court is expected to act within two to six months after the referral.

Obama has no plans to see Anwar in Kuala Lumpur, officials said in Washington, although the opposition leader might meet with someone else in the presidential delegation. The case has been condemned by political leaders from the United States, Australia and other governments.  Anwar has long had many friends in Washington and he and his allies have assiduously courted US support in his long struggle against legal harassment.

Amnesty International and other rights groups have also condemned the charges against the country’s most prominent opposition figure. Most political observers in Kuala Lumpur fully expect the federal court to uphold the guilty verdict. Anwar himself is said to be bracing himself for a trip behind bars, his second after a widely-criticized guilty verdict for the same offense in 1999, which was eventually overturned.

Shortly before he died last week, Anwar’s lawyer, Karpal Singh, who was also an opposition leader, told reporters he had received new documents indicating prosecutors will seek the longer prison term.

"As Anwar is too old for whipping, they must feel five years is too light," Karpal told AFP.

The decision to act now against Anwar was met with puzzlement in Kuala Lumpur, with political analysts saying Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak values his relationship with Obama and looks forward to the reflected glow of the state visit to boost his own flagging popularity ratings. 

The action seems certain to further hurt Malaysia’s image, which in recent weeks has been hammered by its fumbling response to the March 8 loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with 239 people aboard. The government has also been hit by reports of growing racial and religious intolerance. 

Anwar was acquitted of the sodomy charge by the High Court in January 2012. Although appeals in Malaysia’s clogged court system often take years, the appellate court allegedly accelerated the government’s appeal against the acquittal. The theory is that doing so was a way to deny Anwar a chance to run for a seat in the state assembly of Selangor that would have allowed him to become the chief minister of the state, the country’s largest and most prosperous. 

If Anwar is jailed, it would be a major blow to the leadership of the three-party opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition. When Karpal, the chairman of the Democratic Action Party, was killed last week in a car accident he was appealing a guilty verdict for sedition, which would have cost him his seat in parliament.  Karpal’s funeral over the weekend ignited a huge groundswell of emotion, with an estimated 10,000 people attending his last rites in Penang.

Karpal’s death was met with ugly comments by some United Malays National Organization figures. One MP posted a picture online of Karpal’s blood-smeared face as he lay in the wreckage of his vehicle along with a newspaper clipping in which Karpal was quoted as saying “The creation of an Islamic state will only be over my dead body.”  Others posted tweets and Facebook comments saying Allah was responsible for Karpal’s death.

Other opposition leaders have also been put in the dock.  Tian Chua, Anwar’s colleague and vice president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), has been charged along with three others for allegedly making seditious speeches following the May 5 general election, supposedly calling for replacement of the elected government. They are student activist Muhammmad Safwan Anang Talib, Parti Islam se-Malaysia member Mohd Tamrin Abdul Ghafar, and opposition activist Haris Ibrahim.
In addition, Mohd Rafizi Ramli, one of Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s brightest stars, faces charges under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act for revealing the details of one of the country’s biggest scandals involving the National Feedlot Corporation and the misuse of a portion of a RM250 million soft loan to the family of UMNO women’s wing leader Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

Ambiga Sreenavasan, the former head of the Malaysian Bar Association, likened the charges against the top opposition leaders as an “Operation Lalang in the courts,” a reference to the 1987 crackdown by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad via the notorious Internal Security Act which put 106 individuals, most of them opposition figures, behind bars on indeterminate sentences,

Given the obedience of Malaysia’s court system to the ruling Barisan Nasional and particularly UMNO, guilty verdicts are expected in all of the cases. 

The three-party opposition coalition has been troubled almost since the time Anwar cobbled it together prior to the 2008 general election. It is made up of the predominantly Chinese Democratic Action Party, Anwar’s moderate and urban Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the predominantly rural Parti Islam se-Malaysia, or PAS, all with differing goals and philosophies.
In recent days, those competing philosophies have come to the fore with attempts by the PAS state government in Kelantan to impose strict hudud penalties under Shariah Law for theft, fornication, adultery, consumption of liquor and apostasy.  Both the DAP and the moderate urban Malays in PKR want nothing to do with hudud law.  It is also opposed by the Malaysian Chinese Association, the ethnic Chinese component of  the Barisan Nasional. 

Anwar has been able to juggle these competing interests to keep the coalition together, ending up with a 50.87 percent general election win over the Barisan in May of 2013. The result, despite the Barisan’s control of the electoral machinery, the mainstream press and television, shocked government leaders. The BN held on to parliament handily due to gerrymandered constituencies but the election badly weakened the ruling coalition, which lost virtually all of its support from ethnic Chinese and Indians.

With Anwar and the others facing jail, and Karpal Singh gone, it is unclear if there will be a strong enough leadership in the opposition coalition to maintain its already shaky cohesion. But regardless, the legal assault on the opposition is making the government few friends internationally and building no bridges at home.

A prominent Indian lawyer suggested to Asia Sentinel that the DAP could run Karpal Singh’s cat in the by-election to fill his seat in parliament.  Given the current outburst of sentiment over Karpal’s death, the cat would be certain to win, the man said, and demonstrate the depth of feeling against the Barisan.

Outpouring of grief and respect by sea of humanity at Karpal’s funeral reaffirmation of Malaysians’ support for justice, rule of law and democracy – the very ideals Karpal fought for in his whole life

The outpouring of grief and respect by a sea of humanity at Karpal Singh’s funeral in Penang yesterday was a reaffirmation of Malaysians’ support for justice, the rule of law and democracy – the very ideals which Karpal had fought for in his whole life.

For four days, Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, age or gender, grieved at the sudden and shocking death of Karpal at an accident at the North-South Expressway near Gua Tempurung.

The nation-wide grief and shock over Karpal’s death was so great and overwhelming that over these four days, the great tragedy of MH370 with 239 passengers and crew vanishing without any clue since March 8 and the shocking ESSCOM security situation with a tourist from China abducted at the Singamata Reef Resort off Semporna on April 2 were momentarily edged aside.

But Karpal, if still alive, would want proper closure for these two shocking events.

The tragedy of MH370 has entered into the 45th Day, still without any clue with no floating wreckage located after more than six weeks and no contact whatsoever after the Bluefin-21 AUV had completed its Mission 8 covering two-thirds of the focused underwater search area. Doubts are now bulking large as to whether all the civil and military search parties are looking in the right place as the MAS Boeing 777 did not end in the Indian Ocean.

In Sabah, there is no sign that the expensive “April Fool’s Joke” of Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) will cease, with the RM300 million ESSCOM shedding its notoriety as “toothless tiger” or “white elephant”.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim in Kota Kinabalu yesterday proposed a solution to ESSCOM’s impotence by creating three ESSCoM deputy director-general posts to enable it to function more effectively – to represent the three leading enforcement agencies, Malaysian Armed Forces, police and Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).

This is most extraordinary – as the suggestion has come more than one year too late, as in early April last year, the press reported the upgrading of the original position of Datuk Mohammed Mantek as ESSCOM Director to Director-General, who will be assisted by four “division directors who will helm four units, namely defence, security and public order, joint intelligence and public”.

All that Shahidan is suggesting is the upgrading of the four ESSCOM directors to three ESSCOM deputy director-general – leaving completely untouched the crux of the problem of ESSCOM being powerless with “no authority to command, direct or order any action” in ESSZONE whether by the army, police or the maritime agency.

His Ministerial colleague, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has meanwhile made a completely different suggestion – that ESSCOM command be rotated between the police and the army instead of being an independent body now.

It would appear that it is not only ESSCOM Director-General who is stricken with impotence with “no authority to command, direct or order any action” in ESSZONE, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the entire Cabinet are also stricken with “impotence” as they do not know what to do with ESSCOM despite the expenditure of over RM300 million to try to make Eastern Sabah safe not only to Sabahans but also to the tourists.

It has been reported that Karpal’s accident took place at the “black spot” of the North-South Expressway between Km291 and Km310.8 where at least 44 deaths had been reported from 2011 until Thursday’s accident involving Karpal, claiming two lives.
Police statistics revealed that there were 11 fatal accidents in 2011, 21 in 2012, 10 last year and two so far this year. The same statistics revealed that more than 100 people also suffered injuries in the accidents.

What action have the authorities, including the Ministry of Works and the NSE concessionaire PLUS Malaysia Bhd, to end the 20 km of “killer black spots” of the expressway near Gua Tempurung before more lives are lost through accidents?

Malaysian Bar offers legal aid to families of MH370 passengers, crew members

The Malaysian Insider

Malaysia's Bar Council is forming a team of lawyers to provide legal advice to the families of those on board the missing flight MH370, as lawyers from around the world offer their services to those seeking answers and compensation from the plane's mysterious disappearance.

Ribbeck Law Chartered has already offered to represent the families of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members onboard the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER in a RM4.95 billion suit but the American legal firm has failed to obtain legally information about the plane, which has yet to be found.

But Bar Council chairman Christopher Leong said legal assistance would be provided without charge as per its normal practice under the Legal Aid Scheme.

"The Bar Council Legal Aid team will be able to render preliminary legal advice to the family members of those onboard the plane if they require it," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Leong said legal advice would include issues pertaining to insurance, liability, procedure, possible causes of action and limitation period.

"If and when the families are ready to commence legal action, they will have to obtain the services of a legal firm which is prepared to take their case.

"The assistance by the Bar Council Legal Aid team will not include the filing of a civil suit or representing them," he added.

Leong said the availability of the council’s legal services would be conveyed to acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Chinese embassy so that the information could be relayed to the families.

Leong also said the Bar Council would act against American law firms if reports about them offering their services in Malaysia were true as it was illegal for them to provide any kind of service in Malaysia, including legal advice.

The foreigners would have violated Malaysian laws, including the Legal Profession Act, he said.

Last month, a Chicago-based firm reportedly sought to represent aggrieved families from China and Malaysia.

Last Saturday, a Houston-based law firm attempted to meet families at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur but the meeting cancelled at the last minute with no reason provided.

An advertisement calling on families to attend the meeting had earlier appeared in a local daily.

Leong pointed out Malaysia had laws against touting and the Bar Council would be looking into the conduct of these foreign firms.

The Malaysia Airlines jetliner left the KL International Airport bound for Beijing at 12.41am on March 8 but disappeared from radar about an hour later while over the South China Sea.

A total of 154 of the passengers were Chinese nationals and 50, including the crew, were Malaysians while the rest were from 13 other countries.

A multinational search for the Boeing 777-200 (9M-MRO) aircraft is ongoing in the southern Indian Ocean following satellite data revealing that the plane’s last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia,

Meanwhile, family and estate lawyer Jane Tai said the Montreal Convention, estate administration and probate issues would be relevant when the families obtained legal advice.

"One does not need to wait for seven years to obtain a death certificate," she said.

Tai said as long as there was credible evidence that someone who was missing would in all probability not be located again, then an application to court may be made.

She said the seven-year rule was only a presumption in a dispute whether a person was dead.

Tai said the government could also conduct an inquiry into missing persons like what was done when the lightning arrestor on top of Menara Umno in Penang toppled in June last, killing two people.

An inquest was held to investigate the circumstances of the death of one of the two people killed, whose body was never found.

"The Registrar of Births and Deaths must take into account the decision of a coroner in the inquiry," she added. – April 21, 2014.