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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Police report lodged against Anwar

The Gombak Action Front, a non-government organisation in Gombak, today lodged a police report against Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, alleging that he is a threat to national security and country’s stability.

Its secretary-general Mohd Mustafa Latiff lodged the report at Batu 6 Police Station in Gombak at 10.35am.

The front represents several bodies including the Gombak District Youth Council, Rukun Tetangga Gombak Setia, and the Persatuan Silatcekak Malaysia (Gombak branch).

Speaking to reporters after lodging the report, Mustafa said the report was to urge the police to investigate Anwar under the Sedition Act and Internal Security Act (ISA) for his statements.

- nst

Anwar Says Pakatan Will Send Letter To Agong

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Wednesday (24 Sept) Pakatan Rakyat will send a letter to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on the transfer of power from Barisan Nasional to the opposition pact, and the request to convene a special parliament session.

Anwar, who is Permatang Pauh member of parliament and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor, also reiterated his claim that he had sufficient majority to form the new government.

"The letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is about a peaceful transfer of power and a special parliament session to table a no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

"We are still demanding that the prime minister respect the people's rights to choose us," he told reporters after attending the proceeding related to his sodomy case at the Sessions Court in Jalan Duta here Wednesday.

Anwar was accompanied by wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is PKR president and their daughter Nurul Izzah, who is Lembah Pantai MP.

On his letter asking the prime minister to convene the special parliament session, Anwar said Abdullah did not give any response except for a statement he made through the media that he had rejected it.

Anwar also refused to reveal the names of the MPs whom he claimed to be crossing over to Pakatan Rakyat.

"I have the majority. The deadline (to form the new government) is no longer an issue," he said.

- Bernama

Anwar drops deadline for govt takeover

KUALA LUMPUR: After a couple of false starts, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has now ceased to set a deadline for Pakatan Rakyat to take over the government.

“It is not an issue of deadlines anymore. Who could have anticipated that the Prime Minister would refuse to hold an emergency Parliament session when we already have the numbers?” he told reporters at the Jalan Duta court complex on Wednesday after the hearing of his sodomy case.

He claimed this was the first time in the history of a democratic country that a Prime Minister has refused to see an opposition leader.

On Sept 15 at a rally, Anwar claimed the Opposition alliance was on track to take over the government the next day on Sept 16, which Pakatan leaders and supporters had dubbed “916.”

He had said that he had a sufficient number of Members of Parliament (MPs) willing to cross over to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, and would be releasing a list of names.

However, at a press conference on Sept 16 itself, Anwar said he would try and meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to discuss a peaceful transition of power.

Abdullah declined to meet him, which then led Anwar to ask for an emergency session of Parliament to move a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister.

Abdullah again refused to do so. Pakatan leaders now say they would seek an audience with the Yang DiPertuan Agung.

- The Star

Ku Li: Government and Umno have lost the plot

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 - The government and Umno are no longer viable and all Malaysians must come together to rectify the "dangerous situation" the country is in, former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said yesterday.

"The government, in its present form, and under the present leadership, led by the party to which I have given my life, are now structurally and inherently incapable of providing the direction and confidence that the country needs," he said in a statement yesterday.

The MP for Gua Musang and aspiring Umno presidential candidate said the country was facing a political and economic crisis because of a leadership vacuum and the country was in turmoil because the rule of law was uncertain and the Constitution was not being upheld.

"Everyone must come together in humility, beyond party politics, to hold an honest discussion, in the spirit of shared citizenship, to steer the country out of the crisis."

He said the political impasse was happening at a time of heightened economic, political and security challenges, noting that:

- The global economy faced the prospect of a meltdown on a scale last seen in the Great Depression of the last century and Malaysia, as a trading nation, was strongly exposed to its effects.

- The March 8 general election signalled a public sentiment that could not be ignored. Malaysians wanted fundamental change, and they wanted it now, whether from within the ruling coalition or from outside it. The Malaysian demographic had changed dramatically over the last 50 years with a more sophisticated, demanding electorate that had, rightly, lost patience with incompetence and dishonesty.

- The grievances of Sabah and Sarawak, which found only partial expression in the general election, remained unaddressed. This risked the very integrity of the Federation.

- Misunderstandings over race and religion were ripe for political exploitation, with potentially disastrous consequences.

He said the government now commands even less confidence than it did post-March 8; but rather than share the public's sense of urgency for change, the present office-holders had redoubled efforts to frustrate renewal, cut off reform, and silence criticism.

"This underscores the weakness of the administration and its lack of will to change," he said, citing the government's inability to respond to the economic crisis with even a basic plan of action."

Tengku Razaleigh said Umno's constitutional provision for the renewal of its leadership by triennial elections might have been expected to provide some hope of renewal. But instead of embracing this opportunity, the party leadership had retreated into the fantasy world of a "transition plan" which rides roughshod over the party's constitution and the rights of its members.

"This brazen attempt to treat public office and party trust as a private bequest between two individuals, one of whom wishes to hold office beyond his democratic mandate and the other to ascend without one, and the continuing effort to force feed the country with this notion, fools no one," he said.

"The 'transition plan' betrays a disturbing failure to grasp the meaning and purpose of public office. In a more mature society, persons who demonstrate and propagate such disregard for constitutional and democratic process would long ago have been disqualified from public life, let alone from national leadership. They do not seem to realise that the public rejects leaders who shun the open light of democratic contest in favour of staged plays and backroom plots."

"This and rampant money politics are destroying the rakyat's hope of national renewal via Umno. And behind the babble of a transition plan, the Prime Minister continues to be subverted by members of his own cabinet and subjected to thinly-cloaked power plays to force his resignation."

Tengku Razaleigh said all these were indications that the government was in a state of denial.

"The Opposition has made undeniable gains in the number of parliamentarians it commands and we are beginning to lose grip of the rule of law. The use of the Internal Security Act and of Sedition Laws to target particular individuals further erodes the credibility of the government."

"The recommendations of two Royal Commissions of Inquiry have also been ignored or watered down into insignificance."

"Political crises come and go, but the present crisis might well be the beginning of a cascade of failures leading to long-term instability and destruction, unless we all do something about it," he said.

Tengku Razaleigh added that there was now a credible threat that the government may fall though a vote of no confidence, or by some other constitutionally legitimate demonstration of parliamentary majority.

"After 51 years of rule by a single party, this is not a possibility that is well understood. It is justifiably viewed with trepidation. But neither sheer denial or inflated claims help the situation."

"Our actions exacerbate rather than calm the fear that stokes civil and racial strife. In the present context of a leadership struggle within Umno and against a strong Opposition, it is impossible to dispel the notion that these extreme measures are calculated to maintain certain individuals in power rather than to address verifiable threats to national security. Nothing does more to undermine the legitimacy of a government than plainly unjust acts. The ridiculous justifications given for some of the ISA detentions have further undermined public confidence that the awesome powers of state are in safe hands."

"We need to come together to find unity and direction out of this predicament. In doing so, we might turn our crisis into an opportunity and renew our unity and sense of direction as Malaysia."

- The Malaysian Insider

Takut punca PM enggan temui pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat - Anwar

KOTA BHARU, 23 Sept (Hrkh) - Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim memberitahu beberapa langkah lain terpaksa diambil berikutan keengganan Perdana Menteri Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bertemu dengan pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat.

Ketua Pembangkang itu melahirkan rasa dukacita terhadap keengganan Perdana Menteri bagi membincangkan perkara penting berkaitan politik negara.

"Saya tidak mengerti kenapa pertemuan yang begitu penting untuk rakyat ditolak. Kenapa Perdana Menteri sukar ditemui untuk berbincang dengan pembangkang.Image

"Janganlah kerana rasa takut kepada penyokong sendiri maka pertemuan itu ditolak, gunakan kedudukan dan kuasa kita sebagai seorang Perdana Menteri jangan sekali-kali dipengaruhi pihak lain," ujarnya pada persidangan media di sini, hari ini.

Sebelum itu beliau mengadakan pertemuan tertutup dengan Mursyidul Am PAS, Tuan Guru Dato' Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat dan Presiden PAS, Dato' Seri Tuan Abdul Hadi Awang di JKR 10.

Perdana Menteri baru-baru ini menolak untuk berjumpa dengan pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat selepas dihantar surat bagi diadakan pertemuan tersebut.

Anwar yang juga anggota parlimen Permatang Pauh berkata, selain menolak pertemuan dengan pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat, cadangan persidangan khas parlimen pada 13 Oktober depan juga tiada sebarang reaksi daripada Perdana Menteri.

"Sudahlah pertemuan ditolak, persidangan khas parlimen juga tak nak buat, mungkin takut ada undi tidak percaya, atau undi percaya," ujarnya.

Beliau juga berkata, Pakatan Rakyat membantah keras tindakan Menteri Dalam Negeri, Dato' Seri Syed Hamid Albar terus menahan penulis blog Malaysia-Today, Raja Petra Kamaruddin di bawah ISA kerana hanya mendedahkan kepincangan pemimpin kerajaan.

Image Katanya,?kerajaan sepatutnya membebaskan Raja Petra sebagaimana pembebasan yang dilakukan ke atas anggota Parlimen Seputih, Teresa Kok dan wartawan Sin Chew Daily, Tan Hoon Cheng yang juga turut ditahan di bawah ISA.

"Tindakan itu sebagai satu ugutan kerajaan untuk menakutkan rakyat. ISA sebenarnya akan memburukkan lagi imej pentadbiran pemimpin negara di bawah Barisan Nasional," katanya.

Ditanya pertemuan tertutup dengan dua pemimpin tertinggi PAS, beliau berkata, ia banyak menyentuh mengenai perkembangan semasa dan mencari titik pertemuan untuk meneruskan langkah-langkah lebih baik dalam parti.

Beliau juga tidak menafikan perbincangan ke arah pembentukan kerajaan baru. - mj _

Rais sokong jawatan presiden dipertanding

(MalaysiaKini) : Sudah tiba masanya bagi dua jawatan tertinggi dalam Umno - presiden dan timbalan presiden - dipertandingkan untuk memperkukuhkan proses demokrasi dalam parti, kata Menteri Luar Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

"Umno amat memerlukan proses demokrasi yang mantap dan saya berada dalam kumpulan di mana (jawatan) presiden dan timbalan presiden sepatutnya dicabar," katanya selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat 13 ketua misi Malaysia yang ditugaskan di Amerika di Kedutaan Malaysia di Washington.

"Mana-mana jawatan sepatutnya dipertandingkan – jawatan am tidak sepatutnya suci – Umno wajar melalui proses pengembalian kepada asal, kembali kepada caranya yang lama," katanya kepada Bernama.

Dua jawatan tertinggi parti tidak dibenarkan dipertandingkan selepas persaingan yang meninggalkan kesan mendalam pada 1987 - antara penyandang presiden Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah - yang menyaksikan parti berpecah.

Razaleigh selepas itu menubuhkan parti Semangat 46 yang turut disertai beberapa ahli utama parti termasuk Rais, namun kembali semula ke pangkuan Umno pada 1996.

Rais yang berhasrat bertanding jawatan naib presiden Umno dalam perhimpunan agung parti Disember ini, berkata "Proses pengembalian kepada asal" dalam Umno adalah sihat untuk parti.

"Jika keputusan dibuat oleh pemimpin-pemimpin sahaja, pasti akan mewujudkan akibat tertentu.

"Bagaimanapun, jika akar umbi diberikan peluang, dengan itu nilai demokrasi dapat diperkukuhkan," kata Rais yang juga ahli Parlimen Jelebu.

Beliau bagaimanapun yakin Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan timbalannya Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak akan dapat mengharungi "kesukaran" kemelut politik negara.

Mengenai Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yang didakwa di mahkamah bagi tuduhan liwat, Rais berkata penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) itu didakwa di mahkamah bagi menghadapi tindakan undang-undang mengikut Kanun Keseksaan dan ia tiada kena mengena dengan cita-cita politiknya.

"Tidak seperti di Eropah dan Amerika Syarikat, liwat merupakan perbuatan jenayah di Malaysia," katanya sebagai mengulas kritikan tajam terhadap kerajaan Malaysia oleh negara-negara Barat.

Anwar, yang merupakan ketua Pakatan Rakyat, menetapkan 16 September sebagai tarikh untuk mengambil alih kerajaan dengan mendakwa lebih 30 ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional telah menyertai partinya.

"Tarikh yang ditetapkannya itu telah datang dan berlalu dan ini akan menjejaskan kewibawaannya," kata Rais.

Mengenai Akta Keselamatan Negeri (ISA) yang kontroversi, Rais berkata adalah penting bagi ISA dinilai semula supaya selaras dengan prinsip hak asasi manusia (berhubung) dengan keadilan, pentadbiran undang-undang dan bidang kuasa mahkamah.

"Kita perlu kaji semula ISA untuk menangani pelbagai kritikan – aspek tertentu ISA boleh dinilai semula. Malaysia tidak boleh lagi berkata yang ia tidak boleh (kaji semula ISA)," katanya.

Harga minyak turun lagi 10 sen

KUALA LUMPUR (MalaysiaKini) : Harga minyak dijangka akan diturunkan lagi sebanyak 10 sen kepada RM2.45 seliter selepas pengurangan 15 sen bulan lalu.

Kerajaan dijangka akan mengumumkan secara rasmi petang ini, lapor laman web akhbar New Straits Times.

Perdana menteri semalam berkata beliau berharap harga petrol dan diesel dapat dikurangkan susulan harga minyak mentah dunia yang berada pada paras kira-kira AS$100 setong.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi berkata pengurangan harga akan dibincangkan dalam mesyuarat kabinet pagi ini.

"Perkara yang berkaitan dengan minyak, subsidi dan seumpamanya adalah perkara-perkara yang diputuskan di dalam kabinet.

"Dan lebih baiklah kita tunggu dulu daripada memberi sebarang bayangan berkaitan dengan perkara itu.

"Jika esok kita tengok ada, adalah, harap-harap begitulah (harga minyak turun)," katanya selepas mempengerusikan Mesyuarat Majlis Exco Ekonomi Kedua di Pusat Konvensyen Antarabangsa Putrajaya (PICC).

Anwar: Pakatan 'tidak tergesa-gesa' tukar k'jaan

KUALA LUMPUR (MalaysiaKini) : Setelah gagal dalam projeknya untuk mengambil alih kerajaan pada 16 September dan semalam, PKR mula mengendurkan langkahnya selepas bertemu tokoh-tokoh utama PAS dan DAP.

Ketua pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berkata pihaknya akan "terus mengejar matlamat kami dengan berhati-hati" dan "tidak terpancing untuk bertindak tergesa-gesa" yang boleh membawa keadaan tidak stabil dan tidak menentu dalam negara.

Seperti perdana menteri, penasihat PKR itu turut menafikan wujudnya rundingan antara Pakatan Rakyat dengan kerajaan melalui pihak ketiga bagi proses penggantian kerajaan pusat.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hari ini dilaporkan mengecam kenyataan ketua penerangan PKR Tian Chua yang dipetik sebagai berkata "orang tengah" kini sedang berbincang dalam langkah Pakatan Rakyat menumbangkan BN.

Abdullah menyifatkan kenyataan itu "paling gila" pernah didengarnya, Anwar pula berkata beliau "tidak tahu-menahu" tentang rundingan seumpama itu yang menurutnya sebagai "tersilap maklum".

Anwar mengadakan pertemuan tertutup dengan Menteri Besar Kelantan, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat dan Presiden PAS Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang di Kota Bharu semalam berhubung projek penggantian kuasa yang digembar-gemburnya akan berlaku menjelang 16 September lalu.

Setelah gagal berbuat demikian, mantan timbalan perdana menteri itu menggesa Abdullah mengadakan sidang khas Parlimen semalam untuk membincangkan perkara itu tetapi permohonan itu ditolak mentah-mentah oleh perdana menteri.

Anwar juga mengadakan pertemuan dengan Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng di Kuala Lumpur berhubung perkara yang sama malam tadi.

"Kami juga berbincang langkah-langkah seterusnya yang sepatutnya Pakatan Rakyat ambil dalam usaha membentuk kerajaan baru yang mencerminkan sokongan majoriti anggota-anggota parlimen," kata Anwar dalam satu kenyataan.

Beliau menyifatkan keengganan Abdullah mengadakan sidang tergempar Dewan Rakyat sebagai satu tindakan Umno "mensabotaj dan membantutkan proses demokrasi."

Pakatan Rakyat juga merancang menghadap Yang di-Pertuan Agong berhubung projek undi tidak percaya terhadap perdana menteri.

Bagaimanapun PKR semalam memberitahu Malaysiakini, surat sedemikian belum diutuskan kepada Istana Negara.

Anwar backs off power bid


The Singapore Straits Times in their breaking news reported that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim appeared to step back from ambitious claims that he was on the verge of taking power as he was bailed again on sodomy charges on Wednesday.

Datuk Seri Anwar has said repeatedly that he has won over sufficient defectors from the government to win power, but a self-imposed deadline of Sept 16 passed without result and his calls for a recall of parliament this week for a confidence vote were denied.

'We will proceed cautiously towards our goals and we agreed neither to be provoked into hasty action nor to take an irresponsible approach that would lead to instability and greater uncertainty in country,' Datuk Seri Anwar said in a statement issued after talks with one of his coalition partners.

Datuk Seri Anwar also denied that officials from his party had held talks with the government, contradicting a statement made by his spokesman on Tuesday.

He said removing the ruling coalition which has dominated Malaysian politics for half a century was an enormous task and that he wanted to do it smoothly and within the law.
'I appeal to Malaysian citizens, particularly those who want to see a change, to understand this and be a bit more patient because we do not want to transgress the constitution, rules and procedures,' he later told a press conference.

'It will take a lot of patience, a lot of resolve, to try and unravel this complex web controlled by a few cronies,' he said.

Datuk Seri Anwar has said repeatedly that he has 30 government defectors willing to side with his 82 MPs in the 222-member parliament. He has not named the MPs and his call for the recall of parliament was refused by Datuk Seri Abdullah who has dismissed his claims as a 'mirage'.

Datuk Seri Anwar also denied that officials from his party had held talks with the government, contradicting a statement made by his spokesman on Tuesday.

But he said he had written to the king to inform him of his actions so far, although he was not yet seeking an audience with the monarch, who would need to approve any change in government.

Datuk Seri Anwar dismissed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's claims that he was merely bluffing about the defectors, whose names he has refused to release.

'If they think I?m a liar, put it to the test and have a vote taken,' he said.

Parliament resumes on Oct 13 after a break for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan but even then the opposition faces procedural barriers to mounting a no-confidence vote.

After five decades of rule by the same governing coalition, Malaysia's political outlook has been made more risky by the success of the opposition in elections in March, when it won more than a third of parliamentary seats.

The 61-year-old former deputy prime minister is also fighting what he says are politically motivated charges of sodomy, a repeat of allegations which saw him convicted in the late 1990s and then imprisoned.

'You never know justice in this country,' Datuk Seri Anwar said as he entered the court on Wednesday.

The current case was adjourned until Oct 7 amid a legal wrangle over whether it should be transferred to a higher court.

Normally such serious charges are dealt with by a High Court judge, but Datuk Seri Anwar's lawyers, fearing the appointment of a judge who they believe might be biased against him, have opposed the move.

news courtesy of REUTERS, AFP via ST

ANWAR'S SODOMY TRANSFER CASE - TO KNOW ON 7 OCTOBER 2008


PKR and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was back in the Sessions Court today over the sodomy charge levelled against him by a former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan will know in two weeks whether the case will be transfered to a higher court.

Sessions judge SM Komathy Suppiah set October 7 for her decision after hearing arguments this morning from both the prosecution and the defence counsel on whether the case should be transferred to the High Court.

The prosecution had earlier sought permission for the matter to be transferred to the High Court.

However, the defence team objected to the transfer notice as it was signed by Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail. Their objection was on the basis that the AG should not have played any role in this case as he was being investigated following a complaint that the had tampered with evidence in Datuk Seri Anwar's cases 10 years ago.

news n photo courtesy of Malaysiakini

Perkembangan Terkini Perbicaraan DSAI 24 September 2008


8.30 pagi: Perkarangan mahkamah telahpun dibanjiri oleh ratusan penyokong dan wartawan dari media dalam serta luar negara. Perbicaraan dijangka bermula jam 10.00 pagi.

9.51 pagi: DSAI selamat tiba di perkarangan Mahkamah Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Duta. Kini sedang dikerumuni wartawan.

9.59 pagi: DSAI kini melangkah masuk ke Mahkamah Sesyen Kuala Lumpur, diiringi keluarga dan beberapa pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat.

10.05 pagi: Perbicaraan dimulakan.

11.24 pagi: sesi perbicaraan pagi ini tamat. Perbicaraan akan disambung pada 7hb Oktober. Hakim SM Komathy Suppiah akan menentukan samada kes ini akan dibawa ke Mahkamah Tinggi ataupun tidak.

Indigenous People: Respect rights of Orang Asli


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Indigenous People: Respect rights of Orang Asli
by Colin Nichoas, Coordinator Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, Subang Jaya

THE report "20,000ha gazetted for Orang Asli reserve" (New Sunday Times, Sept 21) and the accompanying stories suggest that the Department of Orang Asli Affairs is going on a campaign to promote itself as the godfather of the Orang Asli.

I can understand why it has to. The department has come under fire not just from the Orang Asli themselves but also from some government agencies whose attempts to help the Orang Asli have been frustrated by the department.

But it is one thing to blow your own trumpet and quite another if in doing so you mislead the public. For example, the department proclaims that "almost 20,000ha of land -- twice the size of Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the vast land surrounding it -- had been gazetted as Orang Asli reserve in Peninsular Malaysia".

The truth is that a decade ago, there was an additional 1,062 hectares of Orang Asli reserve which today has been lost. In fact, KLIA was the homeland of two Temuan settlements that were unwillingly resettled in swampland 40km away.

The department also boasts that 31,000 hectares of land had been approved for gazetting but have yet to be formally gazetted by the states. In fact much of these approvals were done in the 1960s and 1970s, but the paperwork for putting out a gazette notice has not been completed in all these cases.

As a result, due to the insecurity placed on their lands, the Orang Asli have lost 6,932ha of their traditional lands to others, often without them knowing it, let alone being consulted.

This prompted one Court of Appeal judge in the landmark Sagong Tasi land rights case to chastise the department for making the Orang Asli victims of the department's negligence in not adequately gazetting or under-gazetting Orang Asli lands.

The department admits that poverty and hardcore poverty remain a big problem for the Orang Asli. That a people making up only 0.6 per cent of the population should account for 20 per cent of the nation's hardcore poor (and 46 per cent of the nation's poor) should be a cause for concern, especially for a department responsible for the "protection, well-being and advancement" of the Orang Asli.

Yet, the basic structures that keep Orang Asli families in poverty are still in place.

A case in point is the agricultural development programmes that the department claims are a success.

RM30 million in dividends for 2008 may sound like a lot of money. But when divided by 10,000 households, and into monthly payments, it works out to only RM500 per month -- not enough to keep the household above the official poverty line.

But should it be so? Orang Asli who manage and sell their oil palm or rubber on their own smallholdings have been earning between RM2,000 and RM3,000 per month during the same period.

It is no wonder then that several Orang Asli communities have asked for these department-supervised "agricultural development projects" to be given back to them to manage on their own.

But they face resistance from the so-called management agencies who work on "we-do-everything-for-you-for-a-fat-fee" concept.

The Jakun community in Bekok have been forced to go to court to assert their right to work their own fields, after the former management refused to honour the end of the agreement period. Others, as in Betau and Buluh Nipis in Pahang, have been detained for wanting to assert their agricultural independence.

It is clear that the department is unable to see this fundamental flaw in the development programme of the Orang Asli and unable to see why many Orang Asli still live in poverty when they should not.

It is no wonder then that many Orang Asli have begun to assert their right to land and economic justice.

To accuse them of being easily influenced by outsiders working on private agendas or by non-governmental organisations only reflects the department's ignorance of the Orang Asli situation today. The Orang Asli and natives of Sabah and Sarawak (collectively referred to as the Orang Asal) are no longer timid people roaming the forest, waiting for official handouts.

They have participated actively in national and international forums and have made their demands clear. Orang Asal leaders have also been active in deliberations such as the UN Convention of Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as in several regional initiatives on issues involving indigenous peoples.

In fact, Jannie Lasimbang, an Orang Asal from Sabah, is one of the five experts sitting on the Geneva-based Expert Mechanism on Indigenous Peoples Rights established under the UN Human Rights Council.

If the department would open its eyes and ears, it would know that after 24 years of debate among indigenous peoples in the world, the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was finally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 13, 2007. Malaysia is a signatory to this convention.

The articles of the Declaration -- which speak of self-determination, recognition of land rights, and the need to get free, prior and informed consent before any activity involving indigenous peoples is conducted -- is now international customary law, which the government is obliged to follow.

International customary law also recognises native title, i.e. the right of the Orang Asli to own their traditional lands which they hold by custom. Our courts have also recognised native title based on common law.

Thus, for the director-general to brush aside native customary rights as being the prerogative of the Borneo states only, frightens me into thinking that more and more Orang Asli lands are going to be lost.

It is time for the Department of Orang Asli Affairs to raise its awareness to the level of the Orang Asli and to work towards justice.

30,000 stateless Indians in limbo


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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

30,000 stateless Indians in limbo

KUALA LUMPUR: The government was urged yesterday to set up a special unit to cut red tape in the National Registration Department and solve the plight of about 30,000 stateless members of the Indian community.

Technicalities over birth registrations are causing endless suffering for these people, depriving them of proper education and jobs, and subjecting them to the threat of deportation, a politician said.

MIC Youth chief T. Mohan said the MIC was overwhelmed with cases of stateless people, currently handling more than 500 cases.

"The irony is that whenever we highlight individual cases in the media, NRD's response in solving the cases is fast.

"People who go through the normal process of applying to the NRD are made to wait for decades.

"Thus, the urgent need to set up a special unit to handle these cases," added Mohan, who highlighted several cases of stateless people at his office here yesterday.

He cited the case of A. Sakthivel, 28, the offspring of a Malaysian father and Indian mother, who needs urgent help as the Immigration Department had ordered him to leave Malaysia by Oct 2.

Sakthivel was born in India but his late father, M. Annamalai, failed to register his birth with the Malaysian High Commission there.

While his four siblings are Malaysian citizens, unemployed Sakthivel had been in the country on a student passport, which his father had to renew annually.

"After my father's death in 2001, my passport was not renewed and on Sept 3, when I went to the Immigration Department, I was given a month to leave the country," Sakthivel said. "I'm at a loss as my family is here and I have no one in India."

College student N. Kavitha, 24, carries a red identity card although her biological mother and father were Malaysians.

For some reason, the NRD omitted the names and IC numbers of her biological parents in her birth certificate (BC), printing the particulars at the back of the document instead.

"When my adoptive parents applied for my IC, I was given a red IC as the NRD refused to acknowledge the details of my biological parents printed at the back of my BC," she said.

"I could not get a place in a public university or get a scholarship although I'm now being raised by my widowed mother."

Housewife Margaret Perinayaga, 52, who got a red IC because her mother's IC number was not entered in her BC, is still waiting for an answer to her appeal for a blue IC from the NRD.

All eyes on MCA Ministers in Cabinet today - censure Hamid for RPK ISA detention and harassment of Wee Meng Chee?

The formal detention of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) hours before his habeas corpus application hearing at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday is a gross violation of human rights, a blatant abuse of power and downright contempt of court by the Home Minister and a travesty of the rule of law in Malaysia.

One would have expected that being a lawyer by training, the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar would have greater regard, respect and understanding of the principles of a just of rule and would not do anything to frustrate the legal process as in RPK’s habeas corpus application hearing yesterday. But Hamid has proved everyone wrong.

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail should explain whether he was privy to the Home Minister’s decision on Monday night to frustrate the legal process over RPK’s habeas corpus application hearing yesterday challenging the police detention under Section 73 of the Internal Security Act (ISA) by the simple but most cynical and irresponsible expedient of the Minister signing a formal detention order under Section 8 of the ISA.

Was the Attorney-General consulted and his agreement sought to this irresponsible ploy to frustrate RPK’s habeas corpus application and did he advise the Home Minister against such flagrant contempt of court and to trust in the impartiality and integrity of the judicial system to pronounce on the legality of the police detention of RPK under the ISA under Section 73?

Whose idea was it that the Home Minister should abuse his powers to expedite the formal detention of RPK under Section 8 of the ISA in order to frustrate RPK’s habeas corpus application, when RPK had been detained for only 10 days under Section 73 which provides for a 60-day police custodial detention?

All eyes are on the four MCA Ministers in Cabinet today – will they censure Hamid and demand immediate release of RPK under ISA?

This is because MCA Ministers and leaders have been going to town in the past few days declaring that the MCA will continue its call for the repeal or review of the ISA, in particular the comprehensive review of the draconian law to ensure that the ISA is applied strictly to cases relating to terrorism and subversive elements to prevent possible abuse of the law.

As the MCA Ministers and leaders have declared that RPK is not a suitable case for ISA detention, Malaysians want to know what the four MCA Ministers are going to do in Cabinet apart from making statements in the newspapers.

Are the MCA Ministers prepared to spearhead a decision in Cabinet dissociating Ministers from the contempt of court perpetrated by Hamid in his abuse of power under Section 8 of the ISA to frustrate RPK’s habeas corpus application as well as to demand the immediate release of RPK from Kamunting Detention Centre under the ISA?

The MCA Ministers should also raise in this morning’s Cabinet meeting the three-hour questioning of rapper Wee Meng Chee and express disapproval for any vindictive action against Wee for his “Negarakuku” rap video and to demand immediate end of police harassment of Wee.

If the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers are not prepared to take action against the suspended Umno Bukit Bendera Chairman Datuk Ahmad Ismail for his offensive, provocative and racist “penumpang” reference to the Chinese in Malaysia, what justification can the police give for the harassment of Wee as subjecting him to questioning and possible prosecution under the Sedition Act?

Umno leaders clueless of Malaysians' desires

COMMENTARY

SEPT 24 - With each passing day, it gets clearer that Umno politicians are clueless about what Malaysians desire.

Everyone of them - Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Najib Abdul Razak, Muhyiddin Yassin, Syed Hamid Albar, Muhammad Muhammad Taib, Hishammuddin Hussein - speaks about the need for the ruling party to adapt to the new environment and aspirations of better educated Malaysians.

Some of them even toss around the word reform like a six-letter Frisbee. But their idea of reform in anchored firmly on their world view and their value system.

That is why every Umno minister during the last week's Cabinet minister shot down the plan of reviewing the Internal Security Act, the law which allows detention without trial. Defending the hardline position, Syed Hamid, the Home Minister, said that preventive laws were still needed for people to live in peace and security.

Other Umno ministers have argued that the silent majority were in favour of tough laws, and that the agitation for a review of the ISA was the work of Opposition politicians and a sprinkling of non-governmental organizations.

They are wide off the mark. A survey by the Merdeka Centre, a polling agency, showed that the majority of Malaysians do not believe that it is necessary to use the ISA to safeguard national security.

Some 3,600 people were polled (49 per cent Malays, 31 per cent Chinese, 8 per cent Indians, 6 per cent Sabah Bumiputeras and 6 per cent Sarawak Bumiputeras). Seventy-per cent of the respondents disagreed that it is "necessary to detain people without trial to safeguard national security.''

When broken down to each race these were the findings: Malays - 71 per cent disagreed with that it was necessary to use ISA to safeguard national security; Chinese ( 79 per cent); Indians (90 per cent), Sabah Bumiputera (71 per cent) and Sarawak Bumputera (66 per cent).

In short, the vast majority of Malaysians do not believe that the government was justified in wielding the ISA against the Hindraf 5, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and others.

This sentiment against the detention without trial also explains why Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his comrades in Pakatan Rakyat have been spectacularly successful in drawing large crowds to anti-ISA gatherings.The Opposition gets it.

Yes, Malaysian want peace and stability but they are not going to accept this at any cost. More so from a government that has failed miserably in its attempt to explain why the ISA was used on a journalist and a DAP MP.

Umno does not get it. It is still using all the old assumptions about the country. And this navel gazing disease has spread beyond those who hold ministerial positions.

Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Chik presented a stout defence of the New Economic Policy in Mingguan Malaysia on Sunday.

It was complete with the usual warnings to non-Malays about trying to usurp the special privileges of the Malays.

He also warned Malays against being duped by Anwar's Malaysian Economic Agenda, stopping short of painting a doomsday scenario for the race if the Opposition icon came to power. Perhaps his view is informed only by his close circles of friends in Umno, maybe his officials in his division in Malacca.

The Merdeka Centre survey shows that 58 per cent Malays say that as original inhabitants of this country, the Malays should be accorded with special rights and privileges while 40 per cent say that people should be accorded the same rights in Malaysia regardless of race or religion.

In short, while the majority of Malays want special privileges for the race to continue, significant numbers have no qualms about treating, other communities equally.

Of more interest to Rahim and his party members, is this finding: that 48 per cent of Malays polled felt that the NEP benefits only the rich and politically-connected. Four years ago, 60 per cent Malays felt that the NEP benefited ordinary Malays.

Today this percentage has dropped to 42 per cent.

So the next time Syed Hamid Albar or Rahim Thamby Chik presume that there are speaking on behalf of Malaysians or Malays, they would do well to their facts.

With every passing day, it appears that the view they represent is not the dominant view of the land.

No holds barred to shut RPK up

ANALYSIS

SEPT 24 - Raja Petra Kamaruddin holds almost nothing sacred and has had almost everyone scared with his writings.

That writings - a heady brew of facts, innuendos, speculation and hearsay - has now landed the Malaysia Today news portal editor two years in the Kamunting Detention Camp, sparking outrage for most and relief for those at the end of his scathing articles.

His detention is ostensibly for articles that have ridiculed Islam, Malaysia's official religion, leading the police to recommend incarceration under the Internal Security Act. "His articles could arouse anger among Muslims," Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar was quoted as saying by local newspapers.

Others suspect political motives, and possibly so if one reads the pro-government New Straits Times with its editorial today that says, "The extension of detention orders on Raja Petra Kamaruddin, however, state the case for the proposition. This infamous blogger's unalloyed contempt for the national administration -- and willingness to say anything to undermine it - had apparently won him legions of fans and cheerleaders, generating a self-reinforcing loop of calumny with which to lynch the government.

"His fate should be sobering to all such prospective rabble-rousers; they should remember that rabbles are inherently fickle," the editorial said in an allusion to the his many articles that criticise and castigate Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his government.

The government had earlier tried to shut the blogger popularly known as RPK up by blocking his Malaysia Today news portal but to little effect as the wily blogger had immediately set up mirror sites across the world - reflecting his ease with the medium and the authorities's lack of knowledge in dealing with cyberspace activism and news outlets.

The authorities then stuck to its tried and tested methods by bringing RPK in and sending him to Kamunting, making him an instant hero and martyr for freedom of expression and the press.

The Bar Council expressed that point when it said yesterday, "It confirms the impression that the ISA is being used for purposes other than national security. It is being used to stifle dissent."

"This is ridiculous. It is all a political move," said RPK's wife Marina Lee Abdullah.

"Incarcerating Raja Petra and others without affording them their due process is the height of injustice; and to do it during Ramadan is both cruel and vindictive. It is also an affront to our religious sensibility; the very act desecrates our holy month," Malaysian author and surgeon M.Bakri Musa said.

While RPK's detention is seen as a blow to the federal opposition which has relied much on cyber activists and non-governmental organisations to help prod the Barisan Nasional into a corner and perform badly in the last elections, the ruling coalition and its leaders will rejoice that their bugbear and constant thorn in the flesh has been put away.

His stay in Kamunting will help leaders like the government's prime minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak who has been the prominent blogger's target since Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu was killed in 2006 and the blame placed on people close to the deputy prime minister.

Najib, who just became Finance Minister after RPK was initially held for investigations under the ISA, has had his faith, fidelity and financial acumen questioned by the blogger's relentless vitriol in a stream of articles in the Malaysia Today news portal. The articles in his No Holds Barred column are now subject of sedition and criminal defamation cases.

Another Umno politician who has been a subject of Raja Petra's attention is Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, the party Youth deputy chief and prime minister's son-in-law, who is now aiming to contest for the Youth leader's post against a crowded field that includes Datuk Seri Khir Toyo and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

With RPK out of the way, these and other politicians in Umno can charge ahead knowing full well that their chief critic will not be there to dog their every step and snap at their heels.

Raja Petra himself summed up that sentiment when he told the BBC in his last known interview, "Over the last four years, Malaysia Today has been a real pain... The government has tried all sort of things - arrest, harassment, confiscation of computers, criminal charges and civil suits.

"They find that we do not let up and continue. I suppose the government is going for its last attempt, its last tango, to silence us."

Anwar: No contact with PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 - Opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he was unaware of any negotiation between the Pakatan Rakyat coalition and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Yesterday, PKR information chief, Tian Chua reportedly said that the federal opposition has been negotiating with Abdullah through intermediaries; the Prime Minister later issued a denial.

"I am not aware of any negotiations taking place between Pakatan Rakyat and the Prime Minister-statements made yesterday suggesting that a line of communication was open were misinformed," said Anwar in a statement.

However he is confident that the Pakatan Rakyat will soon form the federal government but did not provide any deadline.

"I along with my colleagues in Pakatan remain confident that the people's desire for change shall soon be attained. We will proceed cautiously towards our goals and we agreed neither to be provoked into hasty action nor to take an irresponsible approach that would lead to instability and greater uncertainty in country," said the Permatang Pauh MP.

Anwar also commented on the two meetings yesterday between him and Kelantan Menteri Besar, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Pas President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng.

"Kelantan Mentri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat and PAS President Haji Hadi Awang reaffirmed their commitment to the spirit and the goals of the coalition and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng expressed his satisfaction in the progress being made to strengthen and broaden the consensus among the Pakatan Rakyat parties and supporters from BN," he added.

He reiterated that Abdullah's refusal to convene an emergency session of Parliament was an act of sabotage.

"There is a crisis of confidence in the current leadership of the nation at a time when the Malaysian people are demanding solutions for the highest increases in prices in two decades, increasing joblessness and the dramatic decline in investor confidence," said Anwar.

It's unfair, says Raja Petra's wife

KUALA LUMPUR: Raja Petra Kamarudin's wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, claimed yesterday that the latest detention order on her husband was to preempt the hearing of his habeas corpus application on an earlier detention.

She said the order was unfair as it was signed at the "11th hour".

"They moved the goal post when we were about to strike," she said after proceedings at the High Court yesterday.

Marina said she was only told yesterday morning by a DSP Ibrahim from Bukit Aman that her husband was being sent to the Kamunting detention centre.

"This is ridiculous. It is all a political move," she said adding that a request will be made through Raja Petra's counsel, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, for a written order on the detention.

"Every time they shift, we will shift too," Marina added.

She said the second detention order under Section 8(1) of the Internal Security Act was expected as Raja Petra's lawyers had anticipated it.

Marina will be making arrangements to visit Raja Petra at Kamunting soon and hoped the authorities there will take into account his low blood pressure and weak heart condition.

- nst

MUSINGS WITH MARINA MAHATHIR

We need skills to select what is correct and feasible. A good leader will learn from a bad decision and not repeat it, nor ignore problems in the hope that they go away.

OUR choices in life are based on the knowledge we have. When we know little, then we make our choices based on that narrow field of knowledge.

For instance, when I was a child, all my friends and I could think of for our future careers were the usual: doctor, lawyer, teacher, maybe stewardess. None of us knew that such occupations as graphic designer or software engineer or even chief executive officer existed. Of course that was partly because there was not yet a need for such things. Furthermore, at the time, we were still limited by what we thought women could do, despite believing that women could do anything.

But our options are not just about having information but also in our ability to sieve through that information well. For instance, nowadays if we are ill, we will trawl through the Internet to find out more about our symptoms and to ascertain what treatments we should get.

But there is so much information out there that it is easy to be confused.

So we need skills to select what is correct and feasible. And if we are truly smart, we will not rely on just the Internet but use it to point towards people who can tell us more.

It is easy to think of individuals behaving in a particular way depending on what information they have. But do collections of individuals such as organisations or even governments act differently?

Ideally, such groups make decisions based on a consensus among them.

But there is always a leader and the leader often influences the rest of the members to make a decision that he or she prefers. It would be hard for a leader to lead if he or she doesn’t like the decision so there has to be a lot of negotiations before a compromise solution is arrived at.

But what if the leader is no good? What if the leader has limited access to information, relying only on what people tell him and then making decisions based on that? What if the information he gets is all wrong?

There is a good way for a leader to know whether he or she got the wrong information and then made the wrong decision. If they notice that people generally react badly, then the decision is probably wrong.

Sometimes people react badly to a good decision because they can’t understand why that decision was made. But then the leader must explain clearly why such an action needs to be taken.

Unfortunately, sometimes we have leaders who don’t notice or do not know that people are reacting badly.

Or, they might be told that people react badly because they are not so smart.

This gives the leader the idea that they must be correct so they repeat the same mistakes over and over again. People get angrier and angrier, yet the leader seems to think that everything is going fine.

What is worse is when a leader simply does not lead. He is slow to respond to any issue that comes up believing it to be minor and which would simply go away if he ignores it. But like the AIDS epidemic for example, denial or ignorance only helps it spread because nothing will be done to prevent it.

Then when it becomes too big a problem, instead of calmly assessing the issue and then deciding what to do, the leader strikes out with punitive measures. And then literally, strikes out.

Most people will accept any decision a leader makes as long as he can reasonably justify it. But what they won’t accept is when not only is the leader unable to justify the action but also gives reasons that insult the intelligence of people. And it’s never a good idea to insult people you owe your position to.

Thus we find ourselves in a position where we have to watch in horror as mistake after mistake is made. It is a bit like watching a car accident happening and feeling powerless to stop it. Except that it takes a while to realise that in fact you can stop it, and if you don’t, the victim of the accident will actually be you.

It is often said that we are the leaders we choose. The people we put in power are a reflection of ourselves, only better.

So what does it say when the people we put in give a poor image of ourselves? That somehow we are a nation of bumbling fools, stumbling from crisis to crisis without knowing what to do?

“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation,” said someone called William Arthur Wood.

- The Star

Opposition floats acquiring Kamunting camp to start ending ISA

By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng last night floated the possibility of Perak acquiring the Kamunting ISA detention camp as a start to ending the tough security law.

Lim, himself an ISA detainee in the 1987 crackdown, said the Pakatan Rakyat states can start a donation drive among Malaysians to help acquire the colonial-era camp in northern Perak.

"The state can acquire land for two reasons; economic development and for public purposes, but we have to study the law first," Lim told the Abolish ISA forum held at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here.

"The land can then be used for development of low-cost houses," the DAP secretary-general said.

"I am sure Malaysians want to contribute towards the effort to remove the stain of the ISA off Malaysia."

Lim said other Pakatan-ruled states could also help Perak to acquire the detention camp, although he admitted it could be a costly exercise.

Apart from Penang and Perak, the Pakatan Rakyat electoral pact of PKR, DAP and Pas also rule Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor. It also denied the ruling Barisan Nasional its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament by taking 82 seats.

Lim, who returned to Parliament as Bagan MP in the landmark March 8 elections, also promised to move a private member's Bill to abolish the ISA soon.

"Then we will see whether MCA leaders like Ong Tee Keat who spoke out against the ISA would support the Bill and whether Koh Tsu Koon would direct the two Gerakan MPs to support the Bill," he added.

Last week, MCA central committee had called for Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who was freed last Friday, and blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin to be released and charged in court if there was evidence.

The Chinese party also called for a comprehensive review of the ISA.

Raja Petra, who runs the popular Malaysia-Today news portal and is harshly critical of the Barisan Nasional government, has now been detained for two years under the ISA.

Earlier Lim in his speech welcomed Kok as the newest member of the ISA detainees club but quickly added the forum was to celebrate the Selangor exco member's freedom.

"We are also here tonight to celebrate the spirit of Raja Petra who remains with us," he said to loud cheers.

Raja Petra's wife Marina Lee also spoke at the forum and said she would visit her husband tomorrow at the Kamunting detention camp.

"I will tell him about the crowd tonight," she added.

- The Malaysian Insider

Pak Lah Desecrating Ramadan

Last week with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim threatening to bring down the administration through coaxing its members to cross over, Abdullah threw a veiled threat of resorting to the ISA to silence Anwar. Local and international pressures made Abdullah back off.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

M. Bakri Musa

When President Nixon ordered the bombing of Hanoi during Christmas of 1972, I knew then that his fate was sealed. I am not a Christian, but living in the West I am very much aware of the spiritual significance of Christmas. As such I found Nixon's action, coming from a self-professed Christian who regularly had Billy Graham pray with him in the White House, abominable beyond comprehension.

A Just God would not let such a barbaric action go unpunished. Sure enough, a few months later the Watergate scandal broke out that would ultimately lead to his resigning under threat of impeachment. This was less than two years after he won a landslide re-election victory.

As a Muslim I feel profoundly the spirituality of Ramadan. It was the month that Allah first revealed the Quran to His Last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w. That was a measure of His generosity upon us. It is said that the gates to Heaven are wide open, and to Hell closed shut, during this season, again reflecting His mercifulness during this blessed month.

We are expected to reciprocate this divine gift by being generous to our fellow beings. Ramadan is thus a season to be charitable, to be forgiving of each other and the seeking of forgiveness from others. All faiths have such a special period in their calendar when their followers are expected to be extra kind to and tolerant of their fellow human beings.

Imagine my horror, shared by many, when Prime Minister Abdullah, the self-declared Imam of Islam Hadhari, chose this particular month to incarcerate Raja Petra Kamaruddin and others under the draconian Internal Security Act that allows for detention without trial, or even the filing of charges.

I would have expected the reverse. That is, during Ramadan the Prime Minister would grant amnesty to deserving prisoners as a gesture of the government's generosity and charity of spirit.

I have yet to see this happen in Malaysia, or any other Muslim country for that matter. Instead we have the odious act of the police bundling up Raja Petra and others into prison, right in front of their families. Where in the Quran or the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., did Imam Abdullah find the justification for such a cruel act? Where is the spirit of generosity or sense of forgiveness demanded from each of us by our faith during this holy month?

As a Muslim Abdullah will be paying his zakat fitr (tithe) this Ramadan, and come Hari Raya he will be generous with his duit raya to the children calling upon the gates of Sri Perdana. That is the extent of his understanding of the concept of charity and generosity called for in our faith: simplistic, ritualistic, and materialistic. Those he jailed under the ISA or the millions made miserable through escalating living costs as a consequence of his economic policies never enter his heart.

ISA Unjust

Like Nixon before, I also expect Abdullah's latest inhuman act would also seal his fate. I do not know or care what or when his comeuppance would be but I do know that whenever I see an injustice being perpetrated, I am duty bound by my faith to respond.

I do not wish to sermonize and outdo our Imam of Islam Hadhari (he is already good at that and does it all too frequently), but I do know this. As per the teachings of our Prophet, s.a.w., when we see an injustice, we are to do whatever in our capacity to stop it. If we are unable to do so with our hands (that is, physically), then we are to use our tongue (voice our disapproval). Failing that, then at least acknowledge in our heart that we disapprove of it, though that would be the path least pleasing to Allah.

Incarcerating Raja Petra and others without affording them their due process is the height of injustice; and to do it during Ramadan is both cruel and vindictive. It is also an affront to our religious sensibility; the very act desecrates our holy month.

I do not recommend anyone attempting to physically stop the police as that would risk your being arrested too, or worse. We have to caution ourselves that where injustice or lawlessness is institutionalized, then the just and the lawful become victims.

There is something well within our ability to do, that is, voice our disapproval of the brutal ways of our government. Many have already done so last March and again last month at the ballot box. Unfortunately our leaders are slow learners, or refuse to learn the lesson. We have to keep teaching them.

There is now a petition circulating in cyberspace seeking the release of all those detained under the ISA. I urge all to sign it, as my family and I did. Writing this commentary is also my way of condemning Abdullah's brutish ways.

Last week with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim threatening to bring down the administration through coaxing its members to cross over, Abdullah threw a veiled threat of resorting to the ISA to silence Anwar. Local and international pressures made Abdullah back off.

If we can believe him, Home Minister Syed Hamid was not at all involved in the process. He proudly asserted that he did not "interfere" with the "professional" work of the police. To think that the precious freedom of our citizens could hinge on the judgment if not fancy of some functionary in the police department is truly shocking. For a minister to admit that he does not know what is going on in his department goes beyond incredulity; it is utter incompetence and gross dereliction of duty.

No man is perfect enough to be entrusted with the liberty and dignity of others, so asserted the Sudanese reformist Mahmoud Mohamad Taha. I certainly would not entrust my freedom to others, least of all characters like Abdullah and Syed Hamid. We need due process.

Raja Petra was held for supposedly "insulting Islam." Those police officers either have not read his articles, or if they did, could not understand them.

As Mufti of Perlis Datuk Asri Zainal Abidin so wisely noted, even Allah on the Day of Judgment would have us answer for our deeds before rendering judgment. Here we have a mere mortal in the person of the Imam of Islam Hadhari passing judgment on fellow citizens without first hearing their side.

Law professor Azmi Sharom said it best. "The arrest of Raja Petra, Kok and Tan shows that the law is so open to abuse that we have no other choice but to get rid of it. …. There can be no room for amendments. The ISA must go." Amen!

God works in mysterious ways, so says our Quran. Nixon had his Watergate; Abdullah too will have his comeuppance. Whenever that comes, I pray that Allah would be merciful. There is no anger in me, only sadness.

Comments (51)Add Comment
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written by Kathy, September 24, 2008 05:38:18
It appears now that we are rapidly losing our one and only hope of reversing all the evil deeds of the govt., PR forming the new government. What hope is there left for Malaysia? We can't afford to wait till the next election. I was so full of hope after the March elections, but right now I am filled with despondence. Anwar and the Opposition have tried their best but it was not to be. What next for Malaysia?
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written by YMA_kuantan, September 24, 2008 05:48:10
May ALLAH bless you doc. GOD is with all of us, we are very sure of this. It's just a matter of time.
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written by Motherchell, September 24, 2008 06:00:21
Absolutely ! you are so right Bakri!

The only True and righteous Muslim is incarcerated, while the demented surrogates who claim they are the "guiding lights" with all the plunder walk free .

Its very sad our Rulers who are not only the Head of Islam, but Protectors for all Justice to his subjects, silent. It is now!!1----to counter the misguided few in Power to discipline and take back the Country to where it belongs!

The Imans , and all the Heads of religious Govt Depts, have never engaged in the reasoning with erudition of all that they said was wrong . Why ?? because they rather satisfy the Devil than God! Not one would have read all that Pete wrote . The shocking grand finale is a Minister who did not have proper intelligent nourishment the reactionary forces in check . This is treason!!!!

I'm very sure of the ANSWER from God soon!

Anwar to know on October 7 if case to be transferred to High Court


KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Sept - The Sessions Court here will decide on Oct 7 whether to allow or reject the prosecution's application to transfer Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy case to the High Court for trial.

Judge S.M.Komathy Suppiah needs two weeks to consider the submissions and authorities cited by both parties.

Anwar, 60, is charged with voluntarily committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature with his former aide, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26.

If convicted, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor faces a maximum 20 years jail under Section 377B of the Penal Code which also provides for whipping but it only applies to persons below the age of 50.

Anwar is free on a personal bond of RM20,000 without surety. - Bernama

Dr Mahathir still wants it his way

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — After Datuk Seri Najib Razak met Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last week, he was hopeful that the sniping from the sidelines against the party leadership would stop.

The Deputy Prime Minister discussed current political developments and the transition plan and pointed out that it could all become pear-shaped for Umno if animosity between its top names continued to fester.

Najib did not get a commitment that the verbal volleys from Dr Mahathir would cease but he was hopeful. He was wrong.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir lashed out at Abdullah and Najib, sensing that the transition plan could survive the pressure it has come under from party officials since the Permatang Pauh by-election defeat. He also turned on the Umno supreme council, saying that it had become the personal instrument of the party president.

Writing in his blog, he drew attention to the supreme council meeting last Thursday where several members including Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz urged Abdullah to short circuit his transition plan.

“It appears that the words used by some of the members were very strong. Rafidah Aziz even attacked the roles played by Abdullah's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin and the PM's son Kamaluddin.

“So harsh were the words used that Abdullah's face changed and he was reeling from the onslaught when Najib, ever the protector of Abdullah, stopped the proceedings. Najib promised he would speak on the matter with Abdullah.

“It seems that the other supreme council members were not happy as once again controversial council matters were made into private deals between Abdullah and Najib,” he said.

Since the March 8 general election, Dr Mahathir has been championing for Abdullah’s removal, saying that he must take responsibility for the electoral setback suffered by Barisan Nasional.

Initially, he promoted Najib as the successor but this relationship soured when the DPM accepted the transition plan which will see him take control of the party in 2010.

Najib’s commitment to the plan has wavered somewhat after the by-election defeat and he recently said that divisions should be the arbiter on whether Abdullah should contest the party elections in December and then hand over power to him later.

Abdullah’s supporters interpreted this statement as a signal from the DPM that he was willing to accept nominations from the divisions for the top post. The PM has since reiterated that he will contest the top post and his supporters have promised a no-holds-barred fight against any challenger, even Najib.

Dr Mahathir accused Abdullah of turning to his son Kamaluddin, son-in-law Khairy and even his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah for advice when faced with a tricky situation. It would be the same this time too, he said.

“It is well known that the family is enjoying the power and freedom to shape Abdullah's decisions based on their own personal interest i.e., to accumulate as much wealth as possible and to ensure Khairy's political ambitions, including to become the country's youngest Prime Minister,” said Dr Mahathir, who has attacked Abdullah publicly since 2006 after believing that his legacy in the country was being diminished by his successor.

He noted that by the time Abdullah meets Najib, the former would have been briefed by his family on what to say.

“And Najib being Najib would then accept Abdullah's solution to the problem. In this case he would want to insist on staying until June 2010 or maybe a short while before. Najib would then have the task of selling this solution to the supreme council,” said Dr Mahathir.

The former prime minister’s tirade against the supreme council is surprising because when he was the party president he ruled supreme over the council. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim found this out after he was sacked from government in September 1998.

Anwar has always said that he never received a fair hearing from the council, which presumed him guilty of abuse of power and sodomy even before the court case.

Comments on Samy Vellu on Release Hindraf 5






JK: Samy, we know you have been trying hard to get the Hindraf 5 out. But we also know that you kept silent when the order for their detention under the ISA was given out. All this would not have happened if you had done your job.
Seeing DAP leaders going all out to secure the release of Teresa Kok would have struck a chord with you. Are you now feeling guilty for not doing all you could to secure the release of the Hindraf 5?
You can’t run away from the fact that the majority of Indians in the country have not had a fair chance in life, all because of your weak leadership.
There is no use shouting yourself hoarse now. No one is listening to you. If they didn’t listen when u had a position in cabinet, do you think they will listen now that you have no position and was rejected by voters?
You have missed the boat Samy, it's too late.


Rocky: Really Samy you need to face reality. The government will not do what you say or ask of them, more so after you failed to deliver the Indian vote during the last general election. You claim that Indians are returning to MIC. Really? Just look at the Permatang Pauh by-election, who did the Indians vote for? I don’t think it was BN.
It is really time for you to make way for another leader and even then the Indians may not come back to MIC. In your mind, you are the only leader who can lead and make the changes which you have not been able to do for the last 20 odd years.
Releasing the Hindarf 5 will also not win MIC any support because the Indians have woken up. They know that they are better of not having an Indian party representing them. As you can see, there are more Indian MPs after March 8 and this is possible thanks to multiracial parties like PKR and DAP.
What has MIC done for the Indians? Nothing! You have failed as a leader. MIC doesn't need rebranding, it needs an overhaul. So please leave the Hindraf 5 alone because you were nowhere when they needed help, in fact you were against them. You say MIC cares, but the question is for whom?


GV: Samy Vellu was recently quoted as saying,"Hundreds throng MIC offices daily". What does he mean by hundreds? 100, 200 or 900? As an ex-minister, he should be able to provide facts and figures.
He also said many want to return to the party. How many exactly?
Only MIC can help the Indians? Of course, because only MIC is being given the funds by the government. So, obviously the Indians will go to MIC hoping to get some help. But how many people actually end up getting the help? One out of 100? 5 out of 100?
He also admitted to not using the Internet and electronic media to reach out to the Indian community. Since when do we depend on these two methods to reach out? Doing the right things for the Indian community is itself reaching out to the community. Why was it not done prior to the March 2008 elections?
Finally, MIC does not need re-branding. MIC is not a brand to be sold. It is a representation of the Indian community in this country. It needs to re-engineer itself and become part of society, instead of being an organisation which strives to manage the Indian community.
It is time the MIC leadership takes accountability of their failure and stop acting as though the community has understood them wrongly. It is not the Indian community that failed MIC in the recent election, it is MIC that has failed the Indians. MIC leadership must understand one thing: the Indians are out of the estates.


27 Sept, 7pm - Candle Vigil to release Hindraf 5 and all other detainee of ISA








Hi all Malaysians,

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi calls upon all Malaysians to stand in unity in peace thru Candle Vigil to seek the immediate release of Hindraf 5 leaders, RPK and all other detainees of ISA.

The event will be held as below :-

Date / Time : 27th Sept 2008 ( Saturday ) at 7.00 pm

Venue : Dataran Merdeka, KL
Let us show our solidarity and unity in demanding the repeal of draconian ISA.
Pls bring along a candle and the Hindraf small flag (if have).
Any queries pls do email admin.hindraf@gmail.com or call 012 636 2287

Say NO to ISA !!

The REAL story of May 13 (part 3)

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They say those who forget history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. In light of the recent sabre-rattling by those in Umno and the warning by the Armed Forces Chief, Malaysia Today feels compelled to republish an old article by Raja Petra Kamarudin that was published in Harakah on 24 September 1999.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The move to push Tunku Abdul Rahman aside had started. They needed something to trigger off some form of resentment against the government. They needed the Malays to rise, and what better platform to exploit than a racial platform?

Prior to that, 11 Chinese prisoners were sentenced to death for killing a Malay prison warden in Pudu Jail. This was subsequently turned into a Malay-Chinese issue.

The Malays wanted the 11 Chinese punished. The Chinese wanted their death sentence commuted. And demonstrations were held in the Chinese dominated areas around Kuala Lumpur to pressure the government to pardon the 11. In one large demonstration outside Pudu Jail, the riot police had to be called in the break up the demonstration with teargas. That was my first experience with teargas, and I was only 19 then.

The government had no choice but to back down, thereby angering the Malays.

In another incident, some Chinese demonstrated in front of the United States Information Service (USIS) office and one demonstrator was shot dead by a panicking Malay policeman -- interpreted as another Malay-Chinese thing.

The Chinese wanted a funeral procession but the police would not grant them permission as they knew it would attract a huge crowd and the funeral would be turned into a demonstration instead. Tun Razak, however, told the police to grant them permission and ordered the police off the streets. The resulting "giant" parade built up tensions further.

The May 1969 General Elections were held soon after and the Alliance Party won only 40% of the votes resulting in it losing its two-thirds majority in Parliament. It also lost a couple of states to the opposition plus its two-thirds majority in others.

The opposition parties held "victory parades" which turned into a mud-slinging and name-calling session. The Malays were now really angry and decided to hold a victory parade of their own. Dato Harun, the then Chief Minister of Selangor, was given the task of managing this "event".

On May 13, the entire cabinet withdrew to Frazers Hill while the Malays prepared for trouble. People in the top echelon of the government and commerce were tipped off to get out of town or go home early and, by 3.00pm, the city was quite deserted of the elite except for the unknowing rakyat.

That same evening, racial riots exploded. Parliament was dissolved, thereby saving the Alliance government that no longer had a majority in Parliament, and power was transferred to Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak under the National Operations Council (NOC).

The Tunku was now powerless.

Mahathir then increased his attacks on the Tunku using race as his platform. He also called for MCA's expulsion from the Alliance to "punish" the Chinese. Instead, Dr Mahathir was expelled from Umno as the Utusan Malaysia newspaper report of 6 June 1969 reveals:

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KUALA LUMPUR 5 June - Some leading members of UMNO's Supreme Council have voiced their support for the decision by MCA leadership to exclude themselves from the Cabinet. Among them are Tan Sri Syed Jaafar Albar, Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad and Syed Nasir bin Ismail.

In a meeting with Utusan Malaysia, Tan Sri Syed Jaafar emphasised his disapproval of efforts made to ask MCA to re-enter the Cabinet.

"I do not agree with the way some Chinese chambers of commerce have stated their confidence and support of Tun Tan Siew Sin and their asking him to reconsider MCA's decision to withdraw from the Cabinet," he said.

According to him, the problem now was not the question of confidence towards Tun Tan Siew Sin as the MCA leader, but whether the Chinese supported the present policies of the Alliance.

"This is the matter that should be considered by these people who are making a big fuss about giving their support to Tun Tan Siew Sin today," he added.

Tan Sri Jaafar Albar also stated that the support given to Tun Tan Siew Sin by the Chinese Chambers of Commerce was not sufficient because support had to come from the majority of the Chinese population.

He stated that discussions about MCA's inclusion in the Cabinet should not be confined to the newspapers or to MCA alone because UMNO, as the backbone of the Alliance party, had not decided yet if MCA and MIC should be included in the Cabinet or if the Alliance should remain as it was then.

He said: "It is not only the duty of MCA to discuss this matter as if it is its own peculiar problem, but it should be the responsibility of all the Alliance leaders from the UMNO, MCA, and MIC."

However, he did not want to give his final views before the party met to discuss the matter.

Mahathir, who supported Tan Sri Syed Jaafar's statement, stressed that MCA leaders had to adhere to their earlier decision of not wanting to be included in the Cabinet.

He said that he agreed with the view of MCA leaders that they could not actually represent the people they claimed to represent.

According to Mahathir, the support given to Tun Tan Siew Sin by the Chinese chambers of commerce and other Chinese organisations could not be taken as support from the Chinese community as a whole to MCA because those organisations did not represent the desires of the Chinese community as a whole.

"If MCA wants to know whether they have the support of the Chinese, they have to wait for the next general election. Since this will take quite some time, it is no longer necessary for MCA to remain in the Cabinet," he emphasised.

Mahathir also said that MIC's position in the Cabinet should also be reconsidered.

Syed Nasir stressed that on the whole, the relationship between UMNO, MCA and MIC had to be reviewed to take in the changes which had taken place after the general elections.

"The people have expressed their needs and desires, and there is little point in pretending that the policies of the Alliance party are the best acceptable to them," he said.

In a Press Statement released by UMNO's Secretary General, Senu Abdul Rahman, reported by the Utusan Melayu newspaper on 6 June 1969, it said:

"Mahathir Mohamad ceases to be a member of the UMNO Supreme Council with effect from today, 12 July 1969.

This decision was taken following the wide distribution to the public of Mahathir's letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman, President of UMNO Malaysia.

Letters containing important matters should first be discussed by UMNO's Supreme Council, especially in view of the present situation in the country.

The action taken by Mahathir is seen to be in breach of the party's etiquette and is capable of damaging party solidarity and the government which the party supports."

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Mahathir replied to this in his letter to the Tengku dated 17th June 1969.

"Your opinions were based on stories you heard from people who surround you, and who tell you only what they think you like to hear or should hear. Permit me to tell you what the position, the thoughts and the opinions of the people are really, so that you can understand my motive for making that press statement.

You yourself told me that you have prevented a riot by commuting the death sentence of the 11 subversive Chinese. In truth this very action sparked the riots of 13 May, which resulted in the deaths of many, many more.

Your 'give and take' policy gives the Chinese everything they ask for. The climax was the commuting of the death sentence, which made the majority of the Malays angry. The Chinese on the other hand regarded you and the Alliance government as cowards and weaklings who could be pushed around.

That was why the Chinese and the Indians behaved outrageously toward the Malays on 12th May. If you had been spit in the face, called dirty names and shown obscene gestures and private parts, then you could understand how the Malays felt. The Malays whom you thought would never rebel went berserk, and they hate you for giving too much face. The responsibility of the deaths of these people, Muslim or Infidels, rests on the shoulders of the leader who holds views based on wrong assumptions.

I regret writing this letter, but I have to convey to you the feelings of the Malays. In truth the Malays whether they are UMNO or PMIP supporters really hate you, especially those who had lost homes, children and relatives, because of your 'give and take' policy.

They said you wanted to be known only as 'The Happy Prime Minister' even though others are suffering. They said that although the country was in a state of emergency you were engrossed playing poker with your Chinese friends. Even the policemen said that you were using official cars and police escorts to contact your poker gang.

Lately, another disturbing factor came to light. The Malays in the Civil Service, from Permanent Secretary downwards, Army Officers and the Malays in the Police Force have lost faith and respect for you. I know that the majority of them voted for the PMIP through mail ballots....

I wish to convey what the people really think, that is that it is high time you resign as our Prime Minister and UMNO leader.

I am fully aware of the powers you still hold and I remember too well the fate of AZIZ ISHAK. But I would be irresponsible if I do not explain what I have said earlier. Even if I am jailed, I have to say what I have already said.

Once more I wish to repeat that the statement I made [on the continued exclusion of the MCA from the Cabinet] is to prevent the Malays from hating the Government more and to stop the Chinese from abusing the dignity of the Malays. A bigger riot will occur if this is allowed. The military itself will be beyond control.

I pray to God it will open your heart to accept the truth bitter though it may be."

***************************************************

Soon after, the Tengku stepped aside and Tun Razak took over as Prime Minister. The opposition parties were invited to join the government and the Alliance gave way to the Barisan Nasional giving the government back their two-thirds majority in Parliament. Later on, of course, PAS left the BN to stay on as an opposition party.