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Monday, September 29, 2008

Anwar tops Malaysia poll, economy dominates concerns

(Reuters) - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim scored better than the government's pick to become the next prime minister in an opinion poll which showed that worries over the economy dominated voter concerns.

Anwar is threatening to unseat the government that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years and the rise of the opposition since their success in elections in March has paralysed policy-making as top politicians from the government jostle for power.

The poll by the Merdeka Center published on Monday showed that for half of people questioned, the main concern in this country of 27 million people was the economy at a time when fuel prices have risen and inflation has surged to 27-year highs.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has offered to quit early to avoid a leadership challenge topped the poll, although his approval ratings continue to fall.

Asked who would make the better prime minister, 40 percent said Anwar and 34 percent said Najib Razak. Najib has been named as successor to Abdullah who scored 43 percent.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who was imprisoned on what he says were trumped up sodomy and corruption charges in the late 1990s was characterised as 'a strong and visionary leader' and 'a competent manager of the economy' by 51 percent of respondents in the poll of 1,003 voters.

He is facing new charges of sodomy which he denies.

Anwar has said that he has won over enough government MPs to oust Abdullah in a confidence vote in parliament and the prime minister on Friday said he would hand power to Najib, most likely in March.

Abdullah had earlier planned to hand over power in 2010.

Since becoming prime minister in 2004, Abdullah has failed to implement key pledges such as ending corruption and boosting the independence of the judiciary. The policy drift, along with rising racial tensions, has unsettled both party activists and investors.

NERVOUS MARKETS

A year ago just 25 percent of those questioned in a similar poll by Merdeka, an independent pollster, were worried about the economy in the poll a year ago compared with 50 percent now.

Markets are nervous over a prolonged transition.

'Political noise remains elevated, which we consider bearish for risky assets, including the ringgit, and bullish for government bonds,' ING said in its morning Asia research report.

ING forecasts that the ringgit will end this year at 3.55 to the dollar compared with 3.4410, a depreciation of over 3 percent. It has already fallen 3.7 percent this year.

The plan to hand power to Najib has also unsettled some in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the party that dominates the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

On Saturday, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister said the plan was 'extra constitutional' and said he would stand in the party polls.

Home Minister Syed Hamid said on Sunday said that the intense contest for party posts was causing splits in UMNO.

'We see that the heat is becoming more intense, as though there are instigators pitting one group against another,' he said, according to state news agency Bernama.

Traditionally the leader of UMNO is also the prime minister of Malaysia and under party rules, any contenders for UMNO president must garner 30 percent of total nominations to be eligible to run.

(Reporting by David Chance, editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

Amaran PAS: Tolak kerajaan pusat Pakatan jika majoriti bukan Islam

Posted by St Low (malaysia-today)
Monday, 29 September 2008 17:03

PETALING JAYA: Selepas tarikh 16 September berlalu tanpa kejutan, PAS pula mengulangi pendiriannya tidak akan menyertai kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat jika kerajaan baru persekutuan yang dicita-citakan, majoritinya dikuasai oleh wakil rakyat bukan Islam kelak.

Pendirian itu dinyatakan oleh Presidennya, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang pada Ceramah Isu-isu Semasa di Dungun, Terengganu minggu lalu.

Abdul Hadi yang juga Ahli Parlimen Marang lebih mengharapkan wakil rakyat Umno menyertai PAS jika mahu membina kekuatan orang Melayu dan Islam di negara ini.

Dipetik Harakah menerusi edisi terbaru bertarikh 29 September (hari ini), Abdul Hadi berkata, apabila jumlah wakil rakyat bukan Islam melebihi kerusi anggota Dewan Rakyat beragama Islam, maka PAS akan membuat keputusan - sedia menarik diri daripada kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat.

Kata beliau, PAS telah meletakkan syarat agar kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat itu dikuasai oleh wakil-wakil Islam Melayu.

Jika Islam tidak majoriti, bekas Ketua Pembangkang di Parlimen itu berkata, pembentukan kerajaan pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat tidak akan disertai oleh PAS.

"PAS akan tarik diri terang-terang jika tidak mendapat majoriti Islam. Itu syarat pertama," kata beliau.

Susulan pilihan raya umum ke-12 8 Mac lalu, Barisan Nasional (BN) mempunyai 140 kerusi di Dewan Rakyat manakala pembangkang pula 82 anggota.

Pakatan Rakyat yang terdiri daripada Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), DAP dan PAS masing-masing mempunyai 31, 28 dan 22 anggota Dewan Rakyat.

Salah satu parti komponen BN, Parti Maju Sabah (Sapp) telah keluar dan kini bertindak sebagai Bebas di Parlimen. Seorang lagi anggota Dewan Rakyat juga merupakan wakil Bebas.

Idea pembentukan kerajaan persekutuan pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat telah diutarakan oleh pembangkang pada 1 April lalu.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menetapkan 16 September yang lalu bagi mencapai sasaran tersebut.

Bagaimanapun tiada perkembangan menjelang 16 September, sebaliknya Pakatan Rakyat menerusi Anwar telah meminta agar Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mengadakan pertemuan dengan pembangkang bagi membincangkan peralihan kerajaan pusat secara aman.

Surat pertemuan itu ditandatangani Anwar, Abdul Hadi dan Penasihat DAP, Lim Kit Siang.

Kemudian Anwar meminta Abdullah memanggil sidang khas Parlimen pada 23 September.

Kedua-dua permintaan itu ditolak Abdullah dan tarikh baru Pakatan Rakyat membentuk kerajaan ialah 1 Oktober.

Syarat kedua yang ditentukan Abdul Hadi ialah kerajaan yang bakal dibentuk itu mesti sebuah kerajaan yang kukuh, bermakna terdiri daripada wakil rakyat yang konsisten (istiqamah).

"Kita (PAS) bersedia untuk mengubah kerajaan tetapi dengan syarat mestilah kerajaan itu lebih baik daripada yang sedia ada (BN).

"Kita tidak mahu berubah kepada yang lebih buruh tetap mesti lebih baik," kata Abdul Hadi.

Pada minggu lalu, Anwar telah mengadakan pertemuan dengan Menteri Besar Kelantan, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat dan Abdul Hadi di Kota Bharu bagi membincangkan perkembangan terbaru mengenai sasaran tersebut.

Difahamkan, dalam pertemuan itu Anwar sekali lagi memberi jaminan tidak akan meminggirkan PAS apabila Pakatan Rakyat membentuk kerajaan baru persekutuan.

- mStar

Pemecatan Zul Hassan Disokong

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (KeADILan) menyokong keputusan Kerajaan Negeri Perak untuk memecat Ahli Majlis Daerah Perak Tengah, Zul Hassan ekoran kenyataannya yang mengaku terima habuan khidmat seks tetapi disifatkan sebagai "sedekah".

Kenyataan sedemikian telah memperlekehkan usaha Pakatan Rakyat ke arah pembentukan sebuah kerajaan yang menghormati kepercayaan rakyat. Bagaimanapun, tindakan Kerajaan Negeri Perak yang pantas dan tegas dalam menangani isu ini memperlihatkan kesungguhan Pakatan Rakyat bagi memastikan pegawai kerajaan benar-benar berpegang pada etika dan moral, dan bukan sekadar cakap kosong.

Zul Hassan yang juga ahli KeADILan akan dihadap ke Jawatankuasa Dislpin Parti untuk menjelaskan kenyataannya yang menyamakan habuan seks dengan "sedekah".

KeADILan berpendirian bahawa amat penting untuk pegawai tinggi berkelakuan baik agar menjadi teladan generasi muda. Maka kami menyokong penuh tindakan yang diambil ke atas Zul Hassan dan tindakan selainnya yang diambil ke atas sebarang salahlaku asalkan terdapat bukti kukuh.

Kami tidak akan bertoleransi dalam isu salahlaku yang melibatkan mana-mana pegawai kerajaan, tanpa mengira parti dan jawatan, sebaliknya mengatasinya dengan serius.

Akhirnya kami ingin mengesahkan bahawa Mohammad Imran Abdullah yang juga terlibat dalam skandal seks tersebut bukan ahli keADILan. (tamat)




DR WAN AZIZAH WAN ISMAIL
Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Please join this protest for RPK, HINDRAF & other ISA detainees

CLICK on this URL (below) and send a letter to those who signed RPK’s, HINDRAF’s and other ISA detainees detention orders. We plan to flood their emails with thousands of protest letters. Your letter can indeed make a difference. The letter on this website was drafted by the Abolish ISA Movement or GMI (Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA):

http://abolishisa.com/project1/abolishisa_login.php

This is a peaceful protest. It’s as simple as ABC - type your name, click on SEND (NOW!). Make sure you click on all four, and make sure your name is typed in when you do it.

Read at: http://sloone.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/please-join-this-protest-for-rpk-hindraf-other-isa-detainees/

Abdullah mahu mansuhkan kuota pencalonan Umno?

Abdual Aziz Mustafa, Harakah

Bekas Ahli Parlimen Parit Sulong, Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad mendedahkan bahawa Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sedang berusaha untuk memansuhkan kuota pencalonan di dalam Umno melalui Perhimpunan Agung Khas parti itu.

Abdullah mahu mengemukakan cadangan itu kerana tidak yakin memperolehi kuota pencalonan yang diperlukan, iaitu 58 pencalonan daripada bahagian untuk membolehkannya mempertahankan jawatan Presiden Umno, katanya.

Bekas Setiausaha Politik Tun Musa Hitam itu juga menyatakan maklumat yang yang baru diterimanya mengesahkan bahawa Abdullah "memang akan mencadangkan kepada Majlis Tertinggi (MT) Umno bagi menundakan persidangan perwakilan Umno bahagian daripada 9 Oktober 2008 kepada Februari 2009".

"Abdullah juga dijangka merujuk kepada MT Umno untuk mengadakan satu Perhimpunan Agung Khas Umno bagi memansuhkan kuota yang dikenakan kepada sesiapa yang berhasrat bertanding jawatan tertinggi dalam parti di peringkat bahagian dan pusat, termasuk Presiden, Timbalan Presiden, Naib-Naib Presiden dan ahli MT.

"Usaha ini membuktikan bahawa Abdullah akan meneruskan niatnya mempertahankan jawatan Presiden Umno. Tetapi, oleh kerana tidak yakin memperolehi kuota pencalonan yang diperlukan, iaitu 58 pencalonan daripada bahagian bagi jawatan Presiden, Abdullah pula berusaha untuk memansuhkan kuota itu menerusi Perhimpunan Agung Khas Umno," katanya.

Pembatalan kuota itu, katanya, jika dipersetujui oleh Perhimpunan Agung Khas Umno, akan menimbulkan anamoli kepada warga Umno yang bertanding jawatan di peringkat bahagian.

Ruhanie mempersoalkan, oleh kerana persidangan cawangan Umno di seluruh negara sudah berakhir baru-baru in dan mereka yang akan bertanding di peringkat bahagian sudah pun diketahui, adakah MT juga akan akur kepada saranan Abdullah dan memutuskan supaya pertandingan di peringkat bahagian tidak akan terikat dengan sistem kuota?

"Bagaimanapun, tafsirlah sendiri apakah erti dan implikasi kepada semua tindakan ini. Dan, bayangkanlah sendiri bagaimana bercelarunya keadaan berikutan perkembangan ini," katanya.

KENYATAAN MEDIA OLEH Y.B. S. MANIKAVASAGAM, AHLI PARLIMEN KAPAR BERHUBUNG ISU PEROBOHAN KUIL

Merujuk kepada Isu Perobohan Kuil Sri Maha Kalliaman, Ampang saya merasa amat kecewa akan terjadinya perkara sebegini dalam pemerintahan Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat di Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan. Ini menunjukkan kepincangan dalam pentadbiran Kerajaan Negeri Selangor yang memerlukan tindakan segera.

Sehubungan dengan itu saya mengesa YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor menubuhkan suatu Jawatankuasa khas untuk menyiasat kejadian ini serta mengambil tindakan keras keatas mereka yang bertanggungjawab atas keingkaran mematuhi arahan Kerajaan Negeri.

Selain dari itu Saya juga difahamkan bahawa MPAJ telah mengeluarkan notis baru untuk merobohkan kuil-kuil di Ampang yang mana pihak Kerajaan Negeri membatalkannya dengan segera.

Saya akan melepaskan Jawatan Sebagai *Timbalan Pengerusi Perhubungan Negeri Selangor Parti Keadilan Rakyat *sekiranya tiada sebarang tindakan keras diambil ke atas pegawai-pegawai MPAJ yang dilatih oleh Kerajaan Barisan Nasional serta tidak professional dalam melakukan tugasan mereka.

Walaubagaimanapun,saya akan terus bersama Parti Keadilan Rakyat sebagai Ahli Majlis Pimpinan Tertinggi serta Ahli Parlimen .

Saya juga sedia memainkan peranan penting sekiranya pimpinan Jawatankuasa Rumah Ibadat Bukan Islam Kerajaan Negeri Selangor merasai mereka dibebani kerja pentadbiran yang membedung daripada memenuhi hasrat rakyat.Kami telah menyarankan perkara-perkara diatas kepada YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Setiausaha Politik Menteri Besar Selangor semasa perbincangan yang diadakan pada pagi ini. Beliau berjanji tindakan wajar akan diambil selepas YAB Dato Menteri Besar meneliti laporan dari MPAJ.

Ingin dimaklumkan bahawa lima orang pemimpin Hindraf di tahan dibawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) dalam mempertahankan hak kebebasan agama. Tetapi tiada seorang pun pemimpin MIC samada daripada cawangan , bahagian, pusat pernah atau sanggup melepaskan jawatan mereka sehingga kini. dalam mempertahankan hak kebebasan agama. Mereka cuba mempolitikkan isu Kuil Sri Maha Kaliaman, Ampang padahal Dato Seri S. Samy Velu , President MIC serta Dato’ M Saravanan Timbalan Menteri Wilayah Persekutuan gagal menghalang DBKL dari merobohkan Kuil Sri Muneswarar Hindu Sentul baru-baru ini.

Member of Parliament Kapar, Malaysia

www.mpkapar.com

PKR rep quits over temple demolition

By Baradan Kuppusamy
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — The Indian community is rife with talk that Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam, a vocal defender of Indian rights, has resigned as Deputy Liaison Chairman of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Selangor with immediate effect.

All three Tamil dailies headlined stories today reporting his resignation in protest over the demolition of the Sri Maha Kaliamman temple in Ampang Jaya last week.

His aides said he handed the resignation letter to the PKR Selangor chairman this morning. However, Mike, as he is popularly known, later issued a statement saying his resignation will take effect unless action is taken against the errant municipal officials that demolished the temple.

"I will quit as deputy chairman of the PKR Selangor liaison committee if there is no strict against taken against the Majlis Perbandaraan Ampang Jaya officials who were trained by the Barisan Nasional government and who are not professional in carrying out their duties," he said in the statement, adding he has met the mentri besar's officials on the matter.

Manikavasagam called for an inquiry committee to investigate the incident and take action against the officials involved, adding he also understood that the municipal council has issued notices to demolish other temples despite the orders being cancelled.

But his website had an unattributed breaking news item confirming he has resigned in protest and wants an apology from the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council for demolishing the temple, a small structure that was about 30 years old and sitting on land classified as agricultural.

Manikavasagam's aides said he is demanding an apology from the council for breaking a promise that no temples would be demolished in Selangor without the approval of the PR-ruled state government.

In addition, his relationship with Selangor exco member Dr Xavier Jeyakumar has been heading south over this and other issues. Manikavasagam has previously claimed that Dr Xavier has failed to "defend the temples."

Dr Xavier said last week the Ampang temple was unregistered, but did not say that was the reason it was demolished. However, Indians were infuriated by the "unregistered" remark and that is said to be one of the reasons why Manikavasagam quit today.

Dr Xavier also urged Indians to look at the bigger picture of how PKR was helping Indians and not just attack the party for "failing to defend" temples.

Manikavasagam disagrees, saying "not registered" is unacceptable as that was the excuse given by the BN government to demolish scores of temples in the state and across the country.

"The majority of Indians voted PKR to save their temples and Tamil schools. If the temples are not registered, use your power as the new government and give the necessary registration," an aide told the Malaysian Insider.

"We voted opposition to protect our heritage, not for the new government to give us excuses," he said.

There are over 7,000 "temples" in Selangor - from roadside shrines to the Batu Caves temple complex - and many are deemed "illegal" because they are sitting on public land, road reserves or land classified as agricultural or commercial.

Two divisions to nominate Najib, Muhyiddin for top posts

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 - Days after the power transition deal was torn up, the Umno divisions in Cheras and Titiwangsa have decided to nominate Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the top two posts in the March party elections.

Umno Cheras division chief Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee and Umno Titiwangsa chief Datuk Suleiman Mohamad announced their decision at a breaking fast function in Cheras last night, the Agendadaily.com website reported today.

Among those at the function were Muhyiddin, Heritage Minister and Umno supreme council member Datuk Shafie Apdal, Umno Batu chief Datuk Yusof Hamid and several other KL leaders.

Umno Cheras is due to convene its meeting on Oct 12 while Umno Titiwangsa will meet six days later on Oct 18, party officials said.

"With the supreme council's decision to defer the polls, it goes without saying that the transition of power will happen. Our decision is in line with the supreme council's decision although Pak Lah has yet to announce his decision conclusively," Syed Ali was quoted as saying.

Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the postment last Friday, but said he would only disclose his decision whether to contest or not by Oct 9, when the divisional meetings begin.

"We think we don't have to wait for his announcement as the scenario is quite clear," Syed Ali added.

Syed Ali also dismissed the possibility that Abdullah could decide to defend his presidency. "How can that be... the situation will be complex and chaotic in Umno then," he said, adding the Prime Minister would not defend his post as the polls would otherwise not have been postponed.

Suleiman said Umno Titiwangsa had decided on the Najib-Muhyiddin team at a recent divisional meeting, adding he hoped the new leadership would strengthen the Ketuanan Melayu ideal.

The first Umno division to meet is Besut on Oct 11 while. Apart from Cheras, the others meeting on Oct 12 are Machang, Pontian, Pagoh, Batu Pahat, Kuantan, Shah Alam, Subang and Buki Gelugor and their nominations are eagerly awaited by all as an indication of the party's new leadership.

Only Gua Musang division chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has openly said he will contest the party presidency if he gets the required number of nominations. The Kelantan prince, who was Umno vice president and narrowly lost to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the presidency in the 1987 party polls that led to its deregistration, has criticised the transition deal and postponement of the elections.

Muhyiddin defended the supreme council's decision to defer the general assembly and polls, saying it was their right to do so under the party constitution.

He said all quarters have to put the postponement in the context of solving the problems of leadership change which led to the consensus of deferring the polls and general assembly.

Option 6 for Abdullah – Be a courageous reformist PM in his last six months in at least 10 areas which will be a lasting legacy for future Malaysians

Tonight, let us explore another option open to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, faced with an ultimatum by the Umno Supreme Council’s “926” emergency meeting that he abandon his mid-June 2010 power-transition plan and to relinquish his posts as Umno President and Prime Minister in March next year = his decision to be announced before the start of the Umno division meetings on October 9.

This may be described as his sixth option as I had last night referred to five options he would have to mull over in the next 12 days.

If Abdullah is not prepared to take on the Umno warlords by contesting for the Umno President’s post, be a lameduck Prime Minister for the next 12 months, immediately resign as Prime Minister, advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament to hold new general election or co-operate with Pakatan Rakyat to establish a new federal government, there is one more option open to him.

This is to accept the Umno Supreme Council ultimatum that his premiership ends by March next year but ending his hitherto lacklustre premiership in a blaze of glory in the final six months by leaving a lasting legacy for future Malaysians by being a courageous reformist Prime Minister.
Abdullah can begin his six-month programme of reform in the next Cabinet meeting by choosing to act in at least ten areas, viz:

1. Police – Establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) by the end of the year, based on the Bill proposed by the Royal Police Commission, in order to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class service to restore to Malaysians their fundamental freedom to be free from crime and the fear of crime.

2. No more foot-dragging with judicial reforms by ensuring that a Judicial Appointments Commission is established by the end of the year and that the country is not plunged into another era of judicial darkness and scandal with the appointment of the first Umno Chief Justice in the 51-year history of Malaysia.

3. A total revamp of the Anti-Corruption Agency, which has proved to be an utter failure with Malaysia’s Transparency International Corruption Perception Index plunging from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 in 2008, when we should have improved to at least No. 30 according to the National Integrity Plan – with the formation of a completely independent anti-corruption commission by the end of the year.

4. Far-reaching parliamentary reforms including the introduction of a full-fledged Parliamentary Select Committee system whereby every Ministry is shadowed by a Parliamentary Select Committee.

5. Repeal of draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act to ensure press freedom and an independent media.

6. Immediate release of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the Hindraf Five and all other Internal Security Act detainees and the repeal of the ISA.

7. Declaration of Malaysia Day on September 16 every year as a national public holiday.
8. 20% oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak to be devoted solely for the development of the people in the two states and not for the enrichment of a handful of political parasites.

9. Meritocracy as a national policy to reverse brain drain and to retain the best and brightest to transform Malaysia into a competitive global player in the international economic scene.

10. Full acceptance of “Bangsa Malaysia” as primary nation-building objective and not ketuanan Melayu or any other communal, retrogressive or obsolete concept.

[Speech (3) by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor Lim Kit Siang at the DAP “Abolish ISA” ceramah at Serdang, Selangor on Sunday, 28th September 2008 at 9 pm]

Trip to Kamunting to convey Raya greetings

(anilnetto.com)I have just been informed by the Bukit Bendera MP’s office that they, along with several Penang-based civil society activists, are planning a drive to the Kamunting Detention Centre in Taiping on the second day of Raya to convey their greetings to the ISA detainees:

Flowers, cards and gifts, if any, will be passed on to Raja Petra and the other ISA detainees to let them know that they are not forgotten on this special day. RPK’s wife Marina has been informed of the event and hope that she will also be able to join us. The Press will also be invited for this event.

Details of travel:

Date: Thursday, 2 October 2008

Meeting Place: DAP Bukit Bendera Service Centre, Wayton Court, Penang
Meet at 9.00am

Tesco, Penang
Meet at 9.15am

We shall begin our journey latest by 9.30am and arrive at the Kamunting Detention Centre by 11.00am latest. Here, we shall link up with those from other places like Taiping and and other parts of Perak.

Those interested, please register or inform our committee member Mr Ronnie Tan at 012-4277883

For the rest of you Selamat Hari Raya and have a safe journey home if you are hitting the roads.

Samy Lashes Hindraf national coordinator

Monday, September 29, 2008

MIC President Samy Vellu accused Hindraf national coordinator R.S Thanenthiren of conspiring to keep Hindraf 5, detained under Malaysian draconian internal security act, in prison so that he could collect donation and be the undisputed leader of the illegal organization, according to Makkal Osai Tamil daily.

“Hindraf leaders could have discussed with MIC on their demands for Indian community”



hindraf

“Hindraf leaders could have discussed with MIC on their demands for Indian community”

Did they tell us (MIC) about their demonstration?”

“We have 600,000 members. We would have sent 50,000 people if at all they (Hindraf) have invited us. I would have personally gone for the demonstration”, said Samy Vellu.

Samy seems to be contradicting to himself in the speech. While condemning Hindraf Leaders of seeking personal publicity, at the same time he said MIC will continue to voice for the release of Hindraf 5.

hindraf

Samy also revealed that Thanenthiren has contacted him for the first time on September 16, 2008 using the phone # 019 410 5283, when he was returning to Kuala Lumpur from Ipoh.

“Why must he talk to me? Isn’t he a great leader?”

“He thought that I will say: getting Hindraf 5 leaders release is difficult. Nothing is difficult for me. I get involve in things that can be resolved and not in thing that can’t be resolved”.

Samy continued his tirade against Thanenthiren, “He wants me to fail in my endeavor. He is behaving like an army general making public announcements but a time will come for him to apologize to the Indian community standing on his knee.”

“Yesterday, they held a candle light procession forgetting that it will affect the Hindraf 5”.

Samy ended his speech with his usual style quoting a great Hindu sage Thirunavukarasar, “naamarkum kudiyelam namanai anjom. We aren’t afraid of anyone”.

“A brave man dies only once but a coward dies hundred times.”

Now! who is the coward and who is the brave man?

hindraf

hindraf

pic: makkal osai 280908

GERAKAN MULLS CROSSOVER TO OPPOSITION

Parti GERAKAN Rakyat Malaysia seems to be having a serious internal crisis to the extend that its continued existence will only survive if it leaves the uncaring, ineffective, inefficient and corrupted Barisan Nasional coalition which administer the country.

This was reported by Acting President Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon.

However, the party has three options, one to join the Opposition, second to continue with BN and face a non-existence situation or thirdly, to be independent.

Tan Sri Koh claimed that if on sentiments alone, most of GERAKAN members want the party to immediately leave the BN since double standards are practiced, using Datuk Ahmad Ismail's case as an example where nothing was done by the ruling government, although he had provoked racial sentiments while innocent people were arrested and charged under ISA ( later two released) on these accounts.

But whatever the circumstances, the party will use the rational and objective analysis method to make a decision but it would not be that straightforward and a simplistic decision to make and would need some time.

Will GERAKAN leave the BN?

news n photo courtesy of Straits Times Singapore

KL pressed to repeal ISA

Saturday protest draws 2,000; group plans bigger rally at PM's open house.

KUALA LUMPUR: Protest groups and individuals are stepping up pressure on the Malaysian government to repeal harsh internal security laws, echoing the widespread outcry that marked the recent arrests under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Last Saturday marked one of the largest protests that have taken place in recent months, as more than 2,000 Malaysians from all walks of life staged a peaceful march through the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), as well as rights groups Suaram and the Abolish ISA Movement, they called for the removal of the ISA, which allows for detention without trial. They also wanted the release of 65 detainees.

Hindraf coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran said the ISA - first drafted half a century ago to fight communism - was outdated.

'If somebody has committed a crime, then they must be tried in an open court,' he told The Straits Times.

Next up, the group intends to keep up the pressure by gathering 10,000 supporters at Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's traditional open house in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday - the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

They are also planning to attend his open house in his Penang constituency of Kepala Batas on the second day of Hari Raya.

Earlier this month, the authorities detained three people under the ISA: a reporter and a lawmaker who were later released, as well as prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who was sentenced to a two-year detention order in the notorious Kamunting detention centre.

The last time the ISA was used was when five Hindraf leaders were detained in December last year, after the group staged a massive anti-government protest a month earlier.

The five were sent to Kamunting for two years, and Hindraf plans to hold a large gathering to commemorate the first anniversary of their arrest.

The authorities maintain that the ISA is needed to fight terrorism and threats to national security, but critics have long condemned it as outdated and a tool manipulated by the government to silence critics and the opposition.

The call to get rid of the Act has been championed for years by groups such as Suaram and the Abolish ISA Movement.

Apart from protests in the past years, they have held weekly candlelight vigils in Kuala Lumpur and Penang this month. They plan to organise more anti-ISA protests in the coming months, but have yet to finalise details.

Even individual activists are chipping in. Human rights lawyer and blogger Haris Ibrahim, for instance, recently launched a petition to free ISA detainees on his site, aiming to get one million signatures.

The petition currently has around 34,000 signatories.

'The use of such legislation violates the basic rights of detainees to due process and fair rule of law,' he said, adding that it strengthens the view that the government is losing control and embarking on desperate authoritarian measures.

Indeed, critics called the recent ISA arrests a 'crackdown', as it came just days before the opposition's Sept 16 deadline to topple the government, which never materialised.

All this backlash is increasing the pressure on the beleaguered Prime Minister to step down - and it appears that it will not let up.

'We will keep holding gatherings until all ISA detainees are released. The PM should listen to the people of Malaysia,' said Mr Thanenthiran.

hazlinh@sph.com.sgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

- Straits Times, Singapore

“916" Not A Failure

When (it appears less of an “if” now) Anwar Ibrahim takes over the government, he will face the monumental twin problems of undoing the damage wrecked upon our institutions as well as containing the inevitable implosion of UMNO.

Failure in either would effectively doom Anwar, Pakatan, and Malaysia. The good news is that both challenges could be handled simultaneously through the same strategy, and with the subsequent success benefiting all.

The blight on our institutions and governmental machinery, as well as the urgent need to rectify it, is well appreciated. Less recognized is the need to manage UMNO’s certain breakup.

For those who venture that UMNO’s fate is the least of Anwar’s (or our) concern, consider this. The tumultuous and unpredictable demise of the Soviet System may have ended the Cold War, but the world paid a severe price, one that could have been mitigated had the breakup been more orderly.

The world is still paying the price. There is the recurring nightmare that the Soviet’s old nuclear warheads might fall into unscrupulous hands. Those still unconvinced of the price being paid, just ask the Georgians and Ukrainians.

UMNO dominated Malaysia for over half a century; its implosion too will have unpredictable fallouts. If not skillfully managed, the consequences on Malaysia would be on a scale similar to that inflicted on Eastern Europe by the collapse of the Soviets.

READ MORE HERE: http://www.bakrimusa.com/archives/916-not-a-failure

Mukhriz: Perlu bersedia sekiranya PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah mempertahankan jawatan

Exco Pemuda UMNO Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir berkata ada kemungkinan PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi akan mengumumkan untuk mempertahankan jawatan Presiden UMNO menjelang Mesyuarat Agung Tahunan Bahagian yang akan bermula 9 Oktober 2008 ini. Ini mungkin berlaku walaupun MT UMNO pada mesyuarat tergempar Jumaat 26 September 2008 menerima cadangan ‘Plan Peralihan Kuasa’ dibawa kehadapan.

Oleh demikian, beliau mengesa ahli UMNO peringkat akar umbi untuk melakukan perkara yang sepatutnya dilakukan untuk menentukan hasrat ini digagalkan, sesuai dengan aspirasi majoriti akar umbi.

Beliau membuat penjelasan demikian dalam sidang media semasa majlis Buka Puasa Bersama Media yang dianjurkan di Restoran Seri Angkasa, Menara Kuala Lumpur petang ini.

Mukhriz merupakan pemimpin UMNO pertama yang mendesak PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah untuk meletakan jawatan dan berundur, setelah UMNO dan BN mengalami prestasi buruk dan kekalahan di 5 + 1 negeri masa Pilihanraya Umum ke XII 8 Mac 2008 dan UMNO kemudianya gagal meletakan Menteri Besar pilihan di dua buah negeri. Beliau juga meminta PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah menyerahkan kuasa kepada TPM Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak, satu gesan konsisten semenjak surat bertarikh 12 Mac 2008 itu.

PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah wajar berundur dan mengelakan agar UMNO mendapat malu sekiranya beliau terus juga untuk mempertahankan jawatan tetapi akan dikalahkan. UMNO tidak pernah menyaksikan seorang Presiden dikalahkan” dan bersetuju proses demokrasi perlu ujud tetapi dengan keadaan yang tidak mengaibkan parti.

READ MORE HERE: http://bigdogdotcom.wordpress.com/2008/09/28/mukhriz-perlu-bersedia-sekiranya-pm-flip-flop-abdullah-mempertahankan-jawatan/

Blame MIC for Temple Torn Down- Malaysiakini

MIC President Samy Velu seems to understand Malaysian Indian problem much better now then while serving as Cabinet Minister. It would be part of their rebranding exercise by following path taken by Pakatan Rakyat. He must realize that he is the main culprit to lead where Malaysian Indian is now.

Manikavasagam further queried where was Samy Velu when authorities blown out Sivalingga in Tampin Negeri Sembilan? Why suddenly he raise his voice towards Pakatan Rakyat Government?. He should take the blame first for letting BN set proceedings.

Manikavasagam hope MPAJ will take immediate rectification by rebuilding the temple as promised in proper manner and avoid such mistake from repeating. He also called upon Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor to immediate chair a special meeting to brief all Presidents of Local Council explaining Pakatan Rakyat clear stand on place of worship.

My Head is on chop board now claim Manikavasagam as he need to answer voters and supporters on this incident. Though I’m disappointed with slowness in gazetting all histrocial place of worship I hope it will materialize soon.

Read more at: http://www.mpkapar.com/manikavasagam/posts/blame-mic-for-temple-torn-down-malaysiakini/

Manikavasagam Resigning

Y.B S. Manikavasagam , Member of Parliament Kapar says he is resigning as Deputy Liasion Chairman Parti Keadilan Rakyat Negeri Selangor with immediate effect.

S. Manikavasagam is expected to submit his resignation letter to Parti Keadilan Rakyat , Selangor Chief on Monday 29 Oct 2008.

It shows He is serious and committed in upholding the rights of all Human Being. When conveying this message at Kulai last night he says “I’m not like other leaders holding on position despite knowing Rakyat’s rejection”

Read at: http://www.mpkapar.com/manikavasagam/posts/breaking-news-manikavasagam-resigning/

A open letter to the Hindraf wives - Dr M Kalaivani and B.Buvaneswary

BA letter to the Hindraf wives - Dr M Kalaivani and B Buvaneswary.y by G. Kanchana (28/09/08)

I refer to the recent statements made by Dr M Kalaivani and B Buvaneswary, the wives of K Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau, which appeared in Malaysiakini on 26/09/08 and Tamil Nesan and Makkal Osai on 27/09/08 at front page, who said the struggle of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is different now compared to when it started under the leadership of the five who are currently under ISA detention, and that they were not comfortable with the direction in which the movement has taken.


The above statement comes from one who self admittedly says she was never involved in the Hindraf struggle. It also comes from the Hindraf wife who was the least seen to have participated in events organised by Hindraf after Nov 25th but sadly and suddenly decides to make an appearance and now comments on the direction Hindraf has taken.

Dr K further states that aside from the goal of obtaining the release of the Hindraf leaders, the utmost importance is that the Indian community's problems are alleviated and that both these goals can be affected without rallies planned by those now coordinating Hindraf activities. That on the contrary, the rallies may actually serve to harm the chances of the five's release.

Since you clearly state that you were never involved with Hindraf, It is not expected of you to be acquainted with, or understand the Hindraf struggle, its aspirations, its demands, its plans or the enormous works done and still carrying on to “alleviate” the problems faced by Indians. Your ignorance of Hindraf’s history, the ensuing rally that changed Malaysia and the loads of work being carried out in the name of justice, fairness and equality for the Indians forbids you from issuing any statement or opinion on the directions of Hindraf. These are reserved exclusively for those who have involved or participated either directly or indirectly in the struggle to obtain the 18 point demands which are so basic yet crucial and essential to the deprived Indians. “You have to be in it, to know it,…more so to comment on or criticise it”.

OR, are these comments specifically targeted to show your disapproval of the current leadership or those coordinating Hindraf activities. If goals can be affected without rallies and those behind these rallies are dubious then why were the respected Mr Kenghadharan and Mr Ganabatirau amongst those who initiated the Nov 25th Hindraf rally. Yet, you show your support of the Nov 25th rally under the leadership of the five Hindraf lawyers who are currently under ISA and one in exile. Dr K and Mrs G, if you disapprove of rallies you should disapprove of all rallies and not just those NOT organised by your husbands. As for Mrs G who contends that the rallies organised after the detention of the Hindraf five had deviated into becoming 'anti-government' rallies, well the Nov 25th 2007 rally was equally described as the mother of all rallies and equally ‘anti-government’ of which your husband Mr Ganabatirau was very much part of and paying a price for now. It is hypocritical of him (or yourself ) to now call for an end to such rallies, when he was amongst those who introduced to the entire nation how to take our plight to the streets. The 10,000 odd people who gathered at the candle light vigil/march on Sat 27/09/08 (yesterday) to show solidarity against ISA and infact the entire nation who supports the abolishment of ISA would not at all appreciate your new found criticism. It is a fact that in any civil society that practices true democracy, rallies are a norm and infact a healthy way for society to voice or show their grievances as opposed to suppression and oppression . It is quite often the case here that the police would assist such rallies and those in governance would take heed of such grievances. Article 10 of the Federal Constitution states clearly our rights to demonstrate peacefully.

As to the learned Dr K’s view’s on Hindraf’s plan to gather 10,000 people at PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Hari Raya open house, as ‘intimidation’ it is suggested she reads thoroughly the detailed explanation by Hindraf’s Chairman Mr P Waytha Moorthy (currently in London) in his article entitled “Are you prepared to be part of the neo passive democratisation, Revolution ” . This you can find in the website www.hindraf.org which serves to be very informative to those who have no understanding of Hindraf’s struggles. In this article Mr Waytha Moorthy clearly explains the rationale and basis of the visit to the Prime Minister which is far from Dr K’ s view of intimidation.

On whether or not Dr K support’s her husband or Hindraf the decision is entirely hers however the support or rather the lack of it, of someone remote to the movement is not detrimental to it. The support comes in the form of a burning desire nestled deep in the hearts of many who want to bring about changes. That alone is enough.

Curiosity begs the question on what other ways Dr K proposes to help the Indian community that has not already been attempted by Hindraf. It would be interesting to know how the Dr would deal with religious extremism by some who invade, disregard and intrude into the beliefs of others, or a solution to racist policies and discrimination that trample on the very basic rights of many especially Indians , or resolve the scores of injustices, unfairness and inequality that takes place day after day in areas of education, civil services, opportunities etc. Pray do let us know if you are able to come up with other definite ways of resolving these issues. Let us know how you would persuade an otherwise ignorant and arrogant government into acknowledging and “alleviate” the current plight of the Indians. Please be reminded that in your approach to the above, the Indians will no longer take peanuts but only settle for nothing less than wholesome permanent solutions which they believe are within their very basic rights as citizens of this country.

Why are Samy Vellu’s efforts so appreciated ? Why so much gratitude to the person many see as “the cause behind Indian struggle today” and the person who at times openly justified ISA detention alongside the PM and who has many unanswered questions hanging over his head. Why should no individual question the integrity of any such leaders or individuals from any party or question why they are asking for the release of the Hindraf leaders but the same integrity is questioned of the Hindraf coordinators and supporters who most sincerely and steadfastly from Dec 13th 2007 (the day of arrest) have pro actively and fearlessly campaigned, spoken without hypocriticism, actively organised nationwide peaceful assemblies, convoy’s and marches, condemned the ISA arrest by way of media statements, press conferences and letters to editors for the release of the Hindraf lawyers and all others detained under the ISA. Why no such similar and specific appreciation or gratitude to Hindraf, it’s coordinators and supporters who have and are genuinely fighting for the release of your husbands.

As for thanking the government for having looked after your husband , I guess you are equally thankful to the government for detaining well respected lawyers (including your husband ) for merely championing the rights of those marginalised and discriminated under the cruel and draconian ISA which was solely meant for the communist and terrorist that attempted to overthrow the government through violent and forceful means. You must be thankful to the government for forcing human rights lawyers to be attired in the same washed out and torn prison clothes day after day where they had been used to suits and ties not long ago, you must be thankful to the government for serving them “bun manis and kopi oh” where they would have preferred to come home to the sweet smells of “sambar and chutney”. Or are you thankful to the government that they are sleeping on 1” foam laid on cement floor in humid surroundings where they otherwise may have laid on original Dunlop mattresses with the air-conditioner on with you of course beside!!!!
Come on Dr you must know better!

In your eagerness for the return of your husbands (God bless that they do come home to you soon) there is no need to undermine, tarnish or disrepute the very same movement and principles they stood for, not so long ago.

Vaalga Hindraf! May it persevere and overcome all turbulence and turmoil!!!

Peguam Syarie kesal - 4 negeri belum gubal undang-undang kawal pengembangan agama lain

Monday, 29 September 2008

Peguam Syarie kesal - 4 negeri belum gubal undang-undang kawal pengembangan agama lain©Utusan Malaysia
Oleh Herman Hamid and Faizah Izzani Zakaria

KUALA LUMPUR 28 Sept. – Persatuan Peguam Syarie Malaysia (PGSM) kesal kerana sehingga kini empat negeri yang telah diarahkan menggubal undang-undang bagi mengawal atau menyekat pengembangan iktikad atau kepercayaan agama lain di kalangan orang Islam masih belum berbuat demikian.

Presiden PGSM, Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar berkata, isu tersebut sudah berlarutan lebih dua tahun sejak Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mengarahkan negeri berkenaan iaitu Pulau Pinang, Sabah, Sarawak dan Wilayah Persekutuan segera berbuat demikian.

‘‘Apa yang saya nampak macam tidak ada apa-apa pergerakan termasuk di Wilayah Persekutuan sendiri kecuali beberapa kenyataan daripada pemimpin negeri-negeri berkenaan yang menyatakan persetujuan mereka.

‘‘Tiada penjelasan diberikan mengapa banyak masa diambil untuk menggubal undang-undang tersebut. Saya pun tidak tahu kajian apa lagi yang hendak dibuat,’’ katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia, di sini hari ini.

Pada Ogos 2006, Perdana Menteri mengarahkan empat kerajaan negeri mengambil tindakan yang sesuai untuk menggubal undang-undang bagi mengawal atau menyekat pengembangan apa-apa iktikad atau kepercayaan agama lain di kalangan orang Islam.

Pada masa ini semua negeri beraja - Perlis, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor dan Terengganu serta Melaka sudah menjalankan kuasa itu melalui enakmen negeri masing-masing.

Kelantan adalah negeri paling awal berbuat demikian pada tahun 1981 dan paling akhir ialah Johor pada tahun 1991.

Berdasarkan laporan akhbar, pelaksanaan dan penguatkuasaan undang-undang itu dikatakan amat mengecewakan kerana hampir tiada rekod menunjukkan undang-undang berkenaan pernah dilaksanakan.

Antara kesalahan yang disebut pada undang-undang ini ialah memujuk, mempengaruhi, memaksa atau menghasut seorang Islam untuk menjadi seorang pengikut atau anggota suatu agama bukan Islam.

Turut dianggap sebagai kesalahan ialah mendedahkan seorang yang beragama Islam di bawah umur lapan belas tahun kepada pengaruh-pengaruh suatu agama bukan Islam dan menghantar atau menyerahkan terbitan-terbitan mengenai apa-apa agama bukan Islam kepada seorang yang beragama Islam.

Sementara itu, Zainul menegaskan apa yang lebih penting pada enakmen itu ialah untuk menjadikannya lebih berkesan daripada sudut penguatkuasaan.

Kata beliau, kekurangan itu dapat dilihat bagaimana setakat ini bukan sahaja masyarakat umum kurang mengetahuinya tetapi di kalangan penguat kuasa sendiri juga tidak begitu arif mengenainya.

``Penguat kuasa enakmen ini bukan penguat kuasa agama tetapi pihak polis kerana ia melibatkan pengawalan terhadap mereka yang bukan beragama Islam,’’ jelasnya.

Sehubungan itu, beliau mencadangkan supaya pihak berkuasa menubuhkan sebuah unit khas dengan menempatkan pegawai dan anggota yang khusus bagi menguatkuasa enakmen itu.

Katanya, melihat kepada perkembangan kebelakangan ini apabila banyak isu yang menyentuh sensitiviti umat Islam berlaku, tentunya penguatkuasaan undang-undang itu menjadi semakin mustahak.

``Namun perlu ditegaskan bukan tujuan kita untuk meminta ada sesiapa yang ditangkap di bawah enakmen ini. Cuma kita mahu enakmen ini mampu menimbulkan kegerunan yang secara langsung menjadi satu bentuk pencegahan.

``Harus diingat enakmen ini mempunyai asas rapat dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan melalui Perkara 11 (4) yang membenarkan undang-undang digubal bagi mengawal dan menyekat pengembangan apa-apa iktikad atau kepercayaan agama lain di kalangan orang Islam,’’ jelasnya.

Pada perkembangan yang sama, Zainul Rijal menyarankan negeri lain supaya mencontohi Kelantan yang telah meningkatkan hukuman dalam enakmen tersebut.

Katanya, dengan pindaan yang dibuat pada tahun lalu, membolehkan Kelantan mengenakan hukuman denda tertinggi dan penjara paling lama antara negeri-negeri di Malaysia.

Sementara itu, Timbalan Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Dr. Mashitah Ibrahim ketika diminta mengulas perkara tersebut berkata, kerajaan Persekutuan tidak boleh campur tangan dalam urusan kerajaan negeri berhubung perkara tersebut.

“Kita tiada kuasa untuk memaksa pihak berkaitan menggubal undang-undang itu kerana kuasa terletak di bawah kerajaan negeri terutama bagi negeri yang beraja.

“Apa yang boleh kita buat adalah kita meminta pihak berkaitan supaya mengambil perhatian perkara ini dengan segera kerana dalam keadaan hari ini, enakmen tersebut perlu diberikan perhatian,” jelasnya.

Beliau menambah, langkah itu perlu demi kepentingan dan masa depan umat Islam negara ini.

Over 60% of grassroots in Gerakan, MCA, MIC and over 80% of members of Sabah/Sarawak parties want to quit BN

The front-page headline in the evening edition of tomorrow’s Chinese newspapers is the speech by the Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon that at least 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan want the party to leave Barisan Nasional (BN) to be “relieved of the heavy emotional burden of BN”.

Speaking at the opening of the Federal Territory (FT) Gerakan Wanita and Youth delegates conference this morning, Koh said the Gerakan Central Committee would undertake a more objective and rational analysis of the “quit BN” sentiments in the party.

I dare say without much fear of contradiction that if given the opportunity to voice out, it is not just over 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan but also over 60 per cent of the membership in MCA and MIC would want their parties to leave Barisan Nasional – and the percentage will be even higher for many Barisan Nasional component parties in Sabah and Sarawak, easily exceeding 80%.

This is because the UMNOputra leadership, despite the major blow suffered by UMNO political hegemony in the March 8 general election by a multi-racial and multi-religious Pakatan Rakyat, has proved to be utterly insensitive, blind and deaf to the legitimate aspirations of all Malaysians, including ordinary Malays.

Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had immediately declared after the March 8 “political tsunami” that he had finally heard the message from the voters and would deliver the many reform pledges which he had failed to implement, things have gone from bad to worse with the widening and deepening of the multiple crisis of confidence in the country in the past seven months.

Recent events have highlighted the worsening multiple crisis of confidence on the political, economic, institutional and nation-building fronts like:

• The 2008 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development World Investment Report that Malaysia’s foreign direct investment outflows surpassed inflows last year - outflows surged by 82 per cent from 2006 to RM38 billion compared to inflows of RM29 billion, up 39 per cent. According to HLeBroking Research, foreign investors are exiting the country “at a worrying rate”, totaling RM125 billion for the first half of 2008.

• The plunge in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index from an all-time high of 1,524 points in January to 1,157 shortly after the March general election, to a two-year low of 963 on September 18.

• The 10-placing plunge in Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index during the five-year premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 in 2008;

• The recent gross abuse of the Internal Security Act in the arbitrary arrests of Sin Chew reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng, DAP MP and Senior Exco Teresa Kok (both since released) and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and the continued detention of the Hindraf Five and other ISA detainees.

• Malay chauvinism and communalism rearing their ugly heads – evidenced by the emphasis on ketuanan Melayu in direct conflict with the Vision 2020 objective of Bangsa Malaysia, which should focus on ketuanan rakyat Malaysia and the furore over Ahmad Ismail’s “penumpang” speech at the Permatang Pauh by-election.

With at least 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan wanting to quit BN, is Koh and the Gerakan party leadership going to respect and accept these grassroots sentiments or are they going to ride roughshod over these majority sentiments of the Gerakan grassroots by dismissing them as irrational and emotional?

This is of course a decision which would have to be decided by the Gerakan internally, but Malaysians at large are waiting and watching the outcome of the Gerakan “soul-searching”.

(Speech at the DAP “Abolish ISA” ceramah at Serdang, Selangor on Sunday, 28th September 2008 at 9 pm)

Political crisis paralysing economy, say analysts

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 - The political crisis in Malaysia since the March election that humiliated the ruling coalition, has stifled the stock market, deterred foreign investment and crimped growth forecasts.

And economic observers said that with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi still clinging on to power despite mounting calls for a speedy departure, there is no end in sight to the uncertainty.

Abdullah has said he may not seek re-election as the ruling party leader in internal polls next year, but the coalition also faces an unprecedented challenge from the opposition, which says it has the numbers to seize power.

The prospect of a messy change of government — the first in the history of Malaysia, which has been ruled by the Barisan Nasional coalition since independence in 1957 — is making investors very nervous.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, which reached an all-time high of 1,524 points in January, dived to 1,157 shortly after the March elections. On Sept 18, the bourse plunged to a two-year low of 963, and ended last week at 1,020.53, in a malaise worsened by the stream of bad news from Wall Street.

“It has been on a downtrend since the general elections and we expect it to remain so as there are no signs that the political situation is easing,” said Stephen Soo, a senior analyst at local brokerage TA Securities.

He said the political turmoil, combined with the turbulence in the US financial markets, offered “not much hope” for the market to revive before year-end. “Investor sentiment is still weak and foreign funds have been pulling out of the market. The political scenario is definitely a deterrent to foreigners.”

Citigroup chief economist for Singapore and Malaysia, Kit Wei Zheng, said the political situation has forced the ­government to resort to unsustainable policies that could widen the budget deficit. “When you have an unstable political situation, you are forced to make populist promises needed to secure power,” he said.

Abdullah’s 2009 budget offered tax cuts and sweeteners designed to restore support for the beleaguered coalition and spur growth in the face of a global slowdown. Kit said the premier’s flip-flop on petrol prices — with two cuts that partly reversed a deeply unpopular 41 per cent price hike in June — “is not a good signal to foreign investors.”

“As long as this political situation does not resolve itself, even if there is a global recovery, Malaysia might be passed by in favour of other destinations,” he said.

Despite the gloom, the Malaysian government’s forecasts remain relatively rosy. Deputy Premier Najib Razak, who last week took over the finance portfolio from Mr Abdullah as part of a succession plan, said the government still expected the economy to grow by about 5.7 per cent this year.

However, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research — a government think-tank — has cut its 2008 growth projection to 4.6 per cent, partly due to the domestic political turmoil. “The government has been unable to respond to the economic crisis with even a basic plan of action,” said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a veteran figure in the ruling party and one of Abdullah’s most vocal critics.

“Business confidence has plummeted as capital flees the country. 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,” he said in a statement last week. - Today