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Monday, October 6, 2008

Raja Petra in PJ to face sedition charge

RPK’s sedition trial gets off the ground

October 6, 2008

The trial’s just recessed for lunch at 1.30pm and is due to resume at 2.30pm.

Started sharp at 9am, much to my surprise, presided over by Sessions Court Judge Justice Rozina Ayob.

Amarjit and Chandra are appearing for RPK.

The prosecution’s first witness, Harme Mohamed, the deputy director, international affairs, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, was offered as an expert witness on the A-Z of internet. He continues his evidence-in-chief in the afternoon.

The trial is expected to continue for the next few days, unless postponements are sought.

Will give you a follow-up report at the end of proceedings this evening.

Meanwhile I leave you with the photos taken at the court this morning.

In particular, I want to dedicate this post to the many beautiful people who were there this morning to lend love and support to RPK, Marina and the family.

You people are the absolute best that Malaysia has to offer.

________________________________________

The early ‘a little past 8′ birds.

Around 8.30am, Goh Keat Peng sounds the alarm that an unmarked van has pulled in and it might be that our hero is in the vehcle.

A crowd gathers close to the vehicle in anticipation.

RPK alights from the van amidst cheers of ‘Daulat Tuanku’ and remonstrationns that ‘you’ve got the wrong man inside’,

Shortly after, RPK’s lawyers, Amarjit and Chandra arrived.

James e-mailed me this photo of RPK in court. Thanks, James.

The many beautiful people who came. If you were at the court but are not featured here, I’m sorry. Ran out of space on my camera memory card.

DSAI di Mahkamah Esok

Sila hadir beramai-ramai untuk memberi sokongan kepada Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim esok 7hb Oktober 2008.

Tempat: Kompleks Mahkamah Jalan Duta (Mahkamah Sesyen)
Masa: 9.30 pagi
Tarikh: 7hb Oktober 2008 (Selasa)

PEJABAT DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

Abdullah disappointed over Hindraf stir at Raya open house

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today expressed disappointment over the commotion caused by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters at the Hari Raya open house at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Oct 1.

However, the prime minister said, there was no plan as of now to take stern action against them.

Abdullah said the Hindraf supporters were permitted to attend the open house, held by him and other Muslim Cabinet ministers, in the spirit of Hari Raya.

"Only one of them said 'Selamat Hari Raya' (greetings) to me. The rest said 'Abolish ISA' (Internal Security Act) and 'Free the Hindraf Leaders'," he said. Five Hindraf leaders, R. Kengadharan, M. Manoharan, V. Ganabatirau, P. Uthayakumar and K. Vasantha Kumar, are being detained under the ISA.

The prime minister said the behaviour of the Hindraf supporters reflected that they lacked the spirit of Hari Raya, a national festival in which every citizen participated.

Abdullah said the Hari Raya open house was held annually and there had been no problem or commotion all these years.

Asked what the police did during the commotion, he said the police monitored the situation and prohibited the Hindraf supporters from attending the open house.

"It was I who allowed them to attend, in the spirit of Hari Raya," he said.

The prime minister said he believed that the open house was for everyone and that no one should be prohibited from attending it.

"Why should I prevent any Malaysian group from coming to the open house. Even non-Malaysians came in huge numbers," he said. - Bernama

Nur Jazlan: Umno needs greater change than just the presidency

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 - Umno needs greater change than just removing the president to be relevant and further lead Malaysia, Datuk Nur Jazlan said today.

The surprise candidate for the Umno deputy presidency said the party needs thorough changes from bottom to top.

"We cannot afford to have the same people heading divisions and the top leadership from 20 years ago and still around for more years to come just shuffling their posts. The post is a platform for change, not to warm the seat and fend off change and challenges," the outspoken Pulai MP told The Malaysian Insider.

The son of former Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat said that the party needed to regain its "credibility to ensure social justice and the economy benefits all, that no one is denied their rights or mired in poverty in the nation from Kuala Perlis down to Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru and across the South China Sea through Kuching and to the eastern most tip in Semporna."

To achieve this, Nur Jazlan said that the civil service must be directed to implement the policies that have been set.

"The civil service have failed the people, the government and Umno. We need to take the lead to be more accountable.

"We do not need to shelter behind extra judicial laws as we all have arrived as Malaysians," said the former Umno Youth exco member who had called for president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to quit after the March 8 electoral debacle.

Nur Jazlan, who is also defending the chairmanship of the Pulai division, said that because the "voices of the president and the deputy are heard and followed," he would need to be in one of these positions to drive the changes.

"I'm not a part of the establishment but the voice of change and have some ideas to effect the change without being bogged down by baggage or inertia," he declared.

"The change needs no signals. I am decisive and proactive, not reactive or to wait for others to decide before I should decide.

Saying it was time for the young to take a leading role in the party, the Pulai division chief remarked that,

"The supreme council appears to like a herd of deer caught in the headlights of a train coming down the tracks. Everything they do now seem to be knee jerk reaction to events."

Hindraf lodges police report against Syed Hamid and Utusan Malaysia

Hindraf lodges police report against Syed Hamid and Utusan Malaysia

BUTTERWORTH, Oct 6 - Hindraf today lodged a police report against Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Utusan Malaysia daily.

Its coordinator R. Thanenthiran claimed that the daily's front page report on Oct 4, titled "Hindraf diberi amaran" (Hindraf warned), quoting Syed Hamid, was unfair and smack of racial undertones.

He also demanded that Syed Hamid apologise openly as his statement had hurt the feelings of Hindraf members.

Speaking at a news conference after lodging the report at the Butterworth police station here, he claimed that the daily had twisted the facts about Hindraf's presence at the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Hari Raya open house in Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday.

Thanenthiran said Hidraf members had gone to the open house venue to hand over Hari Raya cards and to express the wishes that Hindraf leaders be released from detention.

Seberang Perai Utara OCPD ACP Zulkifli Alias, when contacted, confirmed that the police had received the report. - Bernama

Raja Petra sedition trial starts

Raja Petra Kamarudin arriving in handcuffs at the Petaling Jaya courts. - Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 -The trial of blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin, charged with publishing a seditious article in his blog, began at then Sessions Court here today, with an expert witness called to testify.

Harme Mohamed, who is deputy director of international affairs department-cum-director of security, trust and governance department, Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), was the first to be called.

In his testimony today, Harme, 39, told the court that it was Raja Petra who posted the article, "Let's Send the Altantuya Murderers to Hell", which was published in www.malaysia-today.net on April 25, this year.

The witness said he made the conclusion based on the MCMC's Computer Forensic Investigation Report which stated that Raja Petra's name was written in the article as the author, and the domain name was malaysia-today.net.

Harme was testifying during an examination-in-chief by Deputy Public Prosecutor Roslan Mat Nor.

To a question by Roslan on whether he knew the website's domain name administrator, Harme replied: "Based on the document, I do not know".

Raja Petra, 58, is alleged to have committed the offence at his residence, No: 5, Jalan BRP 5/5, Bukit Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh.

The article entitled "Let's Send the Altantuya Murderers to Hell" was published in www.malaysia-today.net on April 25.

The charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or up to three years' jail, or both upon conviction.

Raja Petra, who wore blue short-sleeved shirt, a pair of blue jeans and blue slippers, looked calm throughout the proceeding.

Meanwhile, during cross-examination by lawyer J. Chandra who represented Raja Petra, Harme said he had no other evidence to prove that it was indeed, Raja Petra who posted the article besides what was stated in the report.

He agreed that the report did not state any particulars concerning the date when the alleged seditious article were posted although it was mentioned in the said article.

Harme also agreed with a suggestion by Chandra that posting of that nature (through the website) could have been done by anyone having access to the username and password of the owner of the website.

Chandra: Since this is a popular website and can be viewed 24 hours (a day) and seven days a week, do you agree that the author or the owner is not there physically all the time to monitor it?

Harme: Yes.

Chandra: Are you aware that Raja Petra has been under remand since Sept 12?

Harme: Yes.

Chandra: Are you aware that since Sept 12, there have been several other postings on the website?

Harme: I have read one but cannot recall whether it was posted by Raja Petra.

Chandra: Who did the postings?

Harme: Maybe somebody else.

Roslan also informed the court that the prosecution had six or seven more witnesses to testify, adding that tomorrow, it would call two public witnesses to give their testimonies.

Hearing before Judge Rozina Ayob continues tomorrow. - Bernama

Release Hindraf 5, RPK and all ISA detainees by Deepavali - or leave Barisan Nasional

With the approach of their respective party conferences and elections, It is common nowadays to read of the fierce speeches and statements by leaders and ministers of MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other Barisan Nasional component parties, undertaking to learn from the mistakes of the past and pledging to stop being puppets or parrots of UMNO “Big Brother” and to speak up for the basic rights and interests of the people.

All these are political “sharp practices” – as the leaders and Ministers from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties are equally guilty as their Umno counterparts for the worsening multiple crisis of confidence in the past seven months because of their failure to insist on government reforms after the March 8 political tsunami.

Seven full months have passed since the March general elections – and it is not only the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and UMNO which have nothing to show, the MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties have also nothing to show in terms of long-needed reforms.

What is worse, things have gone from bad to worse as could be seen by the worsening multiple crisis of confidence, whether political, economic, educational, institutional, anti-corruption or nation-building.

In the last seven months, nation-building suffered a major setback when Umno leaders took communalism to a new height in drumming up slogans on “ketuanan Melayu” when all Malaysians should be focusing on “ketuanan rakat Malaysia” after more than half-a-century of nation-building.

UMNO Bukit Bendera division chief Ahmad Ismail’s “Chinese are penumpang” was the last straw, furnishing another completely unacceptable example of first-generation or second-generation locally-born “bumiputras” questioning the loyalty and patriotism of sixth or seven-generation locally-born “non-bumiputras”!

It was after the March 8 “political tsunami” that human rights and Internet freedoms suffered grievous blows when the Internal Security Act again became an instrument of political oppression when it was used to detain DAP MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, Sin Chew senior reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng and Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

It was also during the past seven months that nothing was done to free the Hindraf Five and the other ISA detainees from the draconian detention-without-trial law.

So what is the use of promising that in future, they will speak out vigorously for the rights and interests of Malaysians when in the past seven months, the leaders and Ministers of MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties have been equally guilty like their UMNO counterparts in not doing anything to initiate reforms to end these nation-building excesses and human rights abuses?

For a start, are all the leaders and Ministers of MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and other BN component parties prepared to take a common stand to demand for support from the Umno leaders and Ministers in Cabinet and the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council that the Hindraf Five should be released from ISA latest by Deepavali on October 28, that RPK and all other ISA detainees must similarly be released unconditionally?

Furthermore, that unless their Umno counterparts agree to the release of Hindraf Five, RPK and all other ISA detainees, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP and all other BN component parties must decide whether it serves any purpose for them to remain in Barisan Nasional.

[Speech (2) at the 2,000-People Puchong DAP dinner at 14ms Puchong, Selangor on Sunday, 5th October 2008 at 10 pm]

Big trouble in Little India: MIC vs Pakatan

By CHRISTINA KOH

The Star, October 06 2008

IPOH: The city’s “Little India” is shaping out to be the scene of a battle for two political parties fighting for the right to hold their own grand Deepavali celebration.

One group is led by Perak executive councillor A. Sivanesan from Pakatan Rakyat, who is crossing swords with an equally determined Perak MIC chairman Datuk G. Rajoo over the matter.



Sivanesan, who is also state Health, Environment and Human Resource Committee chairman, said the state government had as of Monday rejected Rajoo’s application to hold the celebration at Little India.

Sivanesan said this was because Pakatan planned to have its own festival there with the feedback and participation of local hawkers, businessmen and organisations.

“In the past, Ipoh Barat MIC has never involved the public when the party organises the celebration. We’ve received complaints from the traders of Little India,” he claimed.

“This time however, the community will themselves decide with Pakatan how the celebration should be done,” he told reporters at the State Secretariat here on Monday.

Sivanesan also accused the MIC of having previous Deepavali celebrations to profit from the festival, such as through the sale of trading lots.

“But we (Pakatan) are not doing it to make money. As a veteran politician, Rajoo should understand that the final decision is in the hands of the state executive council,” he said.

“The council officers are mere civil servants who should take instruction from the state and perform accordingly,” he added.

A defiant Rajoo said Ipoh Barat MIC would carry on preparations for the Deepavali celebration, which it had been doing for the past 16 years.

Rajoo said the party had already received approval in May from the Ipoh City Council to have the week-long celebration in Little India.

“We paid RM2,600 (for the security deposit) and we were issued an official receipt. We’ve even received payment for 83 stalls from traders.

“Now all of a sudden, Sivanesan wants to have the celebration in the same place which is very unfair. We are not doing this illegally,” he said.

Rajoo argued that the council was an independent body and that Sivanesan should not have meddled in a lawfully approved event.

He also denied that the MIC never involved the public or held such events to make profit, adding that the party even subsidised the celebration so that the Indian traders and community could benefit.

“We are not money-minded. We are a non-profit body. We are running the celebration for the people,” he retorted.

THE BATTLE FOR THE UMNO DEPUTY PRESIDENT IS 'HEATING UP'


It is reported that many UMNO leaders are vying for the UMNO Deputy President position after the report that PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who is UMNO President will decide in 2 days time whether he will retain his presidency. Rumours among UMNO leaders are that Datuk Seri Abdullah is under tremendous pressure to 'leave' since the failures in March 8 general elections, recent Permatang Pauh by-elections and on the status of the countries weak economy and administration.

Since it is tradition that the Deputy President would assume the position of Deputy Prime Minister, if there is a vacancy, the list of candidates would be many, since UMNO leaders are in the race to fulfill their political ambitions.

While the UMNO president's position will only face veteran politician, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah or Ku Li, let be Datuk Seri Abdullah or Datuk Seri Najib trying to retain the position.

UMNO divisional elections will commence on October 9 while the general assembly will meet in March 2009 or earlier, December 2008.

But whatever the circumstances, UMNO elections has heated up and once the decision is know, it is expected to be immense.
photos courtesy of Agendadaily

PM DATUK SERI ABDULLAH TO DECIDE IN 2 DAYS

It was widely reported that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will decide in 2 days time whether he will contest for the UMNO presidency or vacate his position. Datuk Seri Abdullah informed while he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, after meeting the international advisory panel members for Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation that he will brief Barisan Nasional leaders at a BN Supreme Council meeting scheduled on Wednesday.

Will PM Datuk Seri Abdullah vacate his 'powerful' position under the current pressure when his duties and agenda are still unaccomplished?

It is anticipated that his deputy, DPM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak would succeed him if he resigns.

But there are rumours that Datuk Seri Abdullah would contest the presidency.

news n photo courtesy of Malaysiakini

RPK AT PJ SESSIONS COURT ON SEDITION CHARGES

It was reported that Raja Petra Kamaruddin or RPK, the purported editor of MalaysiaToday, who is currently serving a 2 year ISA detention at Kamunting had appeared at 8.25am today at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court to face charges of Sedition over the article published in MalaysiaToday entitled 'Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell' which is alleged to have contained nine paragraphs of seditious words. RPK was formally charged on May 6, 2008.

The Court was informed that he had committed the said offence at his home at Jalan BRP 5/5 in Bukit Rahman Putra in Sungai Buloh on April 25 and if convicted, he can be fined a maximum of RM5,000 or jailed up to three years or both under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act.

The trial commenced with its first witness Harme Mohamed, an information technology expert from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, who informed the court about websites and how they operate.

It was also reported that a crowd of more than 60 supporters wearing T-shirts bearing 'release RPK and Abolish ISA' were at the compound of the Court as early as 8am. Among the crowd were his wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, Lim Kit Siang and other Opposition politicians and bloggers.

RPK's sedition case

Raja Petra in PJ to face sedition charge
Oct 6, 08 9:15am

Internal Security Act detainee Raja Petra Kamarudin was bought to the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court this morning to face a sedition trial.

MCPX

The popular blogger arrived at the court in an unmarked police vehicle at about 8.30am. He was wearing a blue T-shirt with a white collar and a pair of blue jeans.

Raja Petra appeared thinner, with long hair and a beard. He also looked tired.

About 60 of his supporters were present in the court compound. Some wore T-shirts calling for his release.

Also seen were some opposition leaders, led by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu.

Raja Petra's wife Marina Lee Abdullah was also present.

The trial started with the first witness Harme Mohamed, an information technology expert from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, informing the court about websites and how these are operated.

The sedition trial is fixed for a week over Raja Petra's article entitled 'Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' which he posted on Malaysia Today on April 25. He was charged on May 6.

Justice Rozina Ayob is presiding over the case.

Raja Petra was served with a two-year detention order on Sept 22 and is being held at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.

He appeared in good spirits during a break in the trial this morning, smiling and joking with his family and friends. However he was not interested in talking to reporters.

Old Clip: Raja Petra slams Racial Politics

50% bumi quota for homes will ‘cripple’ Kedah economy

Sunday, 05 October 2008

Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak©The Star
by V. Chandrasekaran

SUNGAI PETANI: The Kedah Government’s move to increase bumiputra quota in housing schemes from 30% to 50% will cripple the housing and related industries in the state.

Gurun assemblyman Dr Leong Yong Kong said this would lead to unemployment and cause serious damage to the state’s economy.

“The new requirement will discourage private developers from undertaking new housing schemes,“ he said.

He said even with the current 30% quota system, private housing developers were having problems selling units.

The state government should carry out a survey to find out why Malays could not buy houses or shoplots in private housing schemes, he said.

“It should then come up with solutions to help them instead of imposing a higher housing quota,” he said, commenting on Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak’s recent statement on a new bumiputra quota in housing schemes from 30% to 50% effective Sept 1.

On Saturday, Azizan said the state government would get government-linked companies to build affordable homes for Kedah if private developers were reluctant to do so.

Abdullah’s Pivotal “Non-Decision”

by M. Bakri Musa

There are three possible decisions that Abdullah Badawi could make on or by October 9, 2008, ahead of his party’s divisional meetings. One, he could bravely declare that he will defend his post; two, announce his resignation; and three, waffle and leave it up in the air, effectively a “non-decision.”

This third option would be more in character with him. Throughout his tenure Abdullah has shown a singular inability to make even the simplest decisions. He would defer them until the last minute when the decision would be forced upon him, as the other choices would have been effectively taken away by changed circumstances.

With the third choice, Abdullah, with advice from his “bright” advisors, would of course frame or “spin” it not as a “non-decision;” rather he would dress it up in a language more in tune with our culture. He would for example “leave his fate to Allah,” or for his “party members to decide.” This would also be a classic Abdullah’s non-decision and “flip-flop!”

This option is also nothing more than a diluted form or an attempt for a more acceptable and less confrontational version of the first choice. Former Tun Mahathir, who knows a bit more about Abdullah, had predicted that Abdullah would not give up his position. Mahathir would be wrong if he were to think that Abdullah would boldly declare his intentions to stay on, that is, go with the first option.

The first option would also be out of character for Abdullah as it would mean an inevitable confrontation with his party leaders, specifically UMNO Supreme Council members who had earlier given him an ultimatum. If there is any certainty about Abdullah, it is that he would do anything to avoid a confrontation, especially with his party members.

That has been the bane of his administration. Abdullah came in boldly proclaiming to end corruption. With the first resistance from UMNO warlords used to plump government contracts san competition, he waffled. Likewise with his “determination” to set up the much-needed Police Commission. That project is still in the air years later because of persistent opposition by senior leadership in the police force.

The decision that millions of Malaysians and I are hoping for is that Abdullah will gracefully announce his resignation, that is, the first choice. Were he to do that, it would give all his critics including severe ones like me a chance to finally praise the man. It would certainly be a brave decision from him. It would portray him as a leader who has the interest of the nation at heart, of a leader who puts the future of Malaysia ahead that of his own, as well of his family’s and cronies’ ambitions.

This painful decision could only come after the most difficult self-introspection. More significantly, it would require him to dismiss the advice of those closest to him. For this reason I believe that this would not be the decision he would make this week.

On a practical level, it would also mean Abdullah giving up those luxurious perks of his office that he has become accustomed to, if not relished. It is more than just having an opulent corporate jet at his disposal; it is all the attention and adulation he is currently getting from his staff, ministers, civil servants, and finally, the people. I recently saw a picture of Rais Yatim, one of Abdullah’s senior ministers, bowing low and very deferentially towards Abdullah while kissing his hand! That is heavy stuff!

More to the point, as Henry Kissinger once observed, power is the most powerful aphrodisiac. With a new wife (albeit a divorcee) at his side, and with Abdullah in his late 60s, this is not a minor consideration.

In a more profound level, by resigning now Abdullah would go on record as being the shortest serving Prime Minister of Malaysia. He is also mindful of the accompanying opinion that invariably would be associated with him, of being the least effective leader of the country. I am certain his advisors, and others whose fate is tied to him, would not too subtly remind Abdullah of these realities in an attempt to dissuade him from resigning.

Gracefully resigning now would require much of Abdullah. It would require of him to acknowledge the worsening situation in the nation as a consequence of his ineffective leadership. Not many of us are courageous enough to face up to our own limitations. This task is made that much more difficult as there would be plenty of folks around him and whom he holds dear telling him otherwise.

Self-examination and serious introspection are not and have never been Abdullah’s strong suits. Meaning, this option is out for Abdullah.

Consequences of “Non-Decision”

Abdullah and his advisors will, as usual, be oblivious of the devastating consequences of his hanging on. For UMNO, it would mean further turmoil and fractious upcoming divisional meetings and the twice-postponed General Assembly; for the nation, continued and rapid decline.

The implosion of UMNO is already inevitable; Abdullah’s hanging on would only hasten this. The decline of UMNO as an institution is not something I would celebrate, notwithstanding the party’s many detractors. Quite apart from it being one of the most enduring political parties, having been in power continuously for well over half a century – a record unmatched anywhere – it is also one of the few successful modern Malay institutions.

UMNO is still the largest Malay party with the strongest grassroots organizations. While not belittling PKR’s remarkable achievements in attracting young Malaysian especially Malay talents, UMNO still has many capable leaders despite the fact that they have been eclipsed by the more numerous corrupt and ineffectual ones.

UMNO’s accomplishments are many and we should not belittle them. It was instrumental in successfully leading the nation to independence, of besting a domestic communist insurgency, an achievement that has yet to be replicated anywhere else, and an earlier enlightened development policy of emphasizing growth with equity, now accepted as mainstream economic wisdom.

If that sounds like an obituary for UMNO, it is, and not a premature one at that!

The fact that these achievements have been corroded and corrupted by later leaders, especially during Abdullah’s tenure, does not in any way diminish those achievements. Instead they should be the inspiration and challenge for subsequent leaders to exceed those high expectations.

The reality under Abdullah is more ugly. While his apologists would claim that the present climate of political “openness” is Abdullah’s finest legacy, the reality is that he was an ineffective bystander. The present climate of openness has more to do with technology, in particular the Internet, than with Abdullah’s stated mission.

For that, it would be best if we were to ask the likes of Raja Petra Kamarudin, the “Hindraf Five,” and hundreds others incarcerated without trial under the ISA during Abdullah’s tenure. That is Abdullah’s real legacy, and the reason I do not look forward to this week when he will announce that he will not vacate his office

From tsunami to fire, Tg Bunga fisherfolk need your help

Four fishermen’s homes were damaged in the 26 July blaze

Faizal showing me his tiny home a few weeks before the fire

Now even that is gone: What’s left of Faizal’s home after the fire

In early July 2008, I wrote a blog entry ‘Where has all the tsunami money gone?’ highlighting the plight of several fisherfolk in Tanjung Bunga, victims of the 2004 tsunami that hit the shores of Penang. They were forced to relocate to temporary housing - actually, they were more like small cubicles in a longhouse on the beach - as they were unable to obtain lots in affordable flats built on the site of their former fishing village.

Now what little they had has literally gone up in ashes after fuel stored for their motorboats accidentally leaked and caught fire, seriously damaging four longhouse homes belonging to Faizal bin Mhd Yusuff, Ahmad bin Ismail, Ramli bin Din and Ismail on the night of 26 July 2008.

The fisherfolk received prompt assistance of RM300 from the Buddhist Tzu Chi group in Penang. They also received relief assistance of RM1,000 each from the Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah. The Penang Office for Human Development chipped in with close to RM10,000 to help the fisher folk replace their burnt nets so that they could go back to the sea as soon as possible.

Now the fishermen are hoping to rebuild their homes and repair the damage done. For that, they will need to raise a total of RM21,000.

They have opened a new account with two signatories, Ismail bin Din and Eustace Anthony Nonis.

Ismail bin Din (not one of the fire victims) is chairman of the Persatuan Nelayan Unit Tanjung Bunga while Eustace is chairman of the Penang Office for Human Development, which has done extensive work to assist marginalised communities in Penang. One of the fire victims, Faizal, is holding the savings account pass book, so the fisherfolk will know how much is going in and out of the account. All three of them will go to the bank when making withdrawals from the account, to ensure check and balance.

If you wish to help the fisher folk rebuild their homes, please go to any branch of Bank Simpanan Nasional and bank in a cheque or cash into account number 0713041000017034. Cheques should be made payable to either Eustace Anthony Nonis (IC no. 420704-07-5109) or Ismail bin Din.

If you prefer to mail a cheque, please make it payable to Eustace Anthony Nonis and mail it to him at the Penang Office for Human Development, Pusat Keuskupan Katolik, 290 Jalan Macalister, 10450 Penang. Please attach a note indicating it is for the Tanjung Bunga fishermen/fire victims. Payments sent by mail will be acknowledged.

Hope you will assist these fisherfolk. If you have made a contribution, do drop a note here in the comments section, so that Faizal, Eustace and Ismail can look out for it.

In connection with this, I believe the state government should consider setting up a Disaster Relief Fund to assist those who have lost their homes because of fire, floods or any other tragedy.

Journalist on trial for sedition in Malaysia

(AP) The editor of Malaysia's best-known anti-government news portal went on trial Monday for sedition for allegedly implying the deputy prime minister was involved in the murder of a young Mongolian woman.

Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin, who denies the allegation, is already in jail in a separate case under the Internal Security Act, a law that allows indefinite detention without trial.

The two cases against Raja Petra, who runs the popular Malaysia Today news site on his blog, have provoked an outcry against the government, with detractors accusing it of misusing the judiciary to crack down on critics and suppress freedom of speech.

"They are penalizing him twice ... It's double jeopardy. But his spirits are up," said Raja Petra's wife, Marina, at a district court where the frail-looking activist, wearing flip-flops and sporting stubble, was brought in handcuffs in a police van for the trial.

Dr M: No need for teams

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need for aspirants wanting to run in the Umno party elections next March to form any team, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.

Instead, he said, the newly-elected leaders must be prepared to work with one another for the good of the party.

He also cautioned the aspirants not to be carried away by the US presidential election where the candidates were required to have a running mate.

"This is not the United States. There is no need for a team.

"If we win, our team wins. To cooperate with those contesting against us will be difficult.

"We can contest whatever posts and we should be able to cooperate with whoever wins," Dr Mahathir said at a Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at his residence in Seri Kembangan near here.

He also welcomed the decision of a number of senior party members who made known their intention to vie for the deputy president's post, following anticipation that the incumbent, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, will go for the Umno president's post.

"That's good, as long as you don't play dirty. Don't bribe.

"We should show our ability. God-willing, the people will choose us.

"But if you use pressure or resort to arm-twisting, then it is not democracy."

On his plan to rejoin Umno, Dr Mahathir said he had not made any decision on which branch that he would join.

He said several party members who followed him in leaving the party on May 1 should be allowed to rejoin the party, too. -- Bernama

Rulers to pick new chief justice next week

By V. Anbalagan, NST

PUTRAJAYA: The Conference of Rulers will meet for three days in Kuala Terengganu next week to decide on a new chief justice following the compulsory retirement of Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad on Oct 17.

The rulers will also decide on the elevation of three judges to the Federal Court.

Under the Federal Constitution, the chief justice proposes names to the prime minister who would then forward a list to the Conference of Rulers for consultation.

The king appoints candidates on the advice of the prime minister.

By convention, Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zaki Azmi, the second in the judicial ladder, would be the front-runner for appointment to head the bench.
He was appointed to the Federal Court in September last year and two months later Zaki, now 63, was made Court of Appeal president.

However, some 25,000 people have signed a petition to the king to object to his elevation due to his involvement with Umno, including being chairman of the party's disciplinary board.

Bar Council vice-chairman Ragunath Kesavan said Zaki's past should not be held against him as there were candidates associated with political parties who were appointed as judicial officers.

He said recently appointed judicial commissioner Mohamed Ariff Md Yusof contested on a Pas ticket in the 2004 general election while retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Ariffin Jaka also stood under the opposition party's banner in the 1978 polls.

"The most important consideration is whether a chief justice will display judicial independence and uphold the oath of his office."

Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Shaikh Daud Shaikh Ismail said at one time the Conference of Rulers appeared to have acted like a rubber stamp in endorsing judicial appointments but this was not the case going by recent developments.

Last year, the rulers rejected the nominees proposed by former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.

Hamid was then appointed chief justice and Zaki as Court of Appeal president.

Shaikh Daud said this implied the rulers questioned the executive as they wanted the right candidates to be appointed.

"The Conference of Rulers may do the same thing again this time," he said.

"I believe that the public wants the Conference of Rulers to act in the interest of the nation. They will definitely get the support of the people," he said.

Other possible contenders for the post of chief justice are Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, 62, and Federal Court judge Datuk Arifin Zakaria, 60.

It appears most likely, Zaki will be promoted to chief justice, Alauddin to Court of Appeal president and Arifin to chief judge of Malaya.

On the appointments for the three vacancies in the Federal Court, retired Supreme Court judge Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin said, "if everything else is equal, then seniority should be the criterion for promoting existing Court of Appeal judges".

However, past appointments to the apex court had put seniority on the backburner.

Azmi said under normal circumstances the prime minister would follow the suggestions of the chief justice but nothing could stop him from getting additional names for consideration by the rulers.

The most senior judges in the Court of Appeal now are Datuk Gopal Sri Ram, Datuk Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff and Tengku Baharuddin Shah Tengku Mahmud.

MIC doesn’t agree with Hindraf’s methods, says Subra

KLANG: Both the MIC and Hindraf are fighting to get five of the group’s leaders freed from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention but they are using different approaches.

MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the party did not believe in methods adopted by Hindraf such as crowding the Hari Raya open house hosted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Muslim Cabinet ministers at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

“This sort of behaviour does not serve well for a united multiracial nation. It also does not reflect the true nature of our Indian culture,” he said.

Hindraf supporters had gone to the open house to present a teddy bear and card to Abdullah asking for the release of their leaders M. Mano­haran, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganaba­tirau, R. Keng­hadharan and K. Vasan­thakumar.

Dr Subramaniam said the group had created discomfort at the function.

He said everyone should emulate Opposition leaders such as DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who, despite political differences, attended open houses and joined the festivities in true Malaysian spirit.

Dr Subramaniam said the MIC would continue to talk to Abdullah, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Cabinet ministers to lobby for the release of the five.

He said the MIC pursued the matter on humanitarian grounds and because of pleas made to the party by the families of the detainees.

Meanwhile, Hindraf national event coordinator Kannan Ramasamy reiterated that they were invited to the open house and had been orderly.

He said Dr Subramaniam should have inquired about the actual situation before commenting on the conduct of the Hindraf members.

- The Star

Decision unlikely to bring peace to Umno

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 - Each year on the last Thursday before the end of the Ramadan fasting month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi leads evening vigil prayers that stretch till dawn the next day.

Following the vigil this year - as he huddled with close advisers and friends at the pre-fast (pre-dawn) meal referred to by Muslims as Sahur - the embattled leader said he had resolved, after hours of prayer, to declare at a meeting of top leaders of the ruling Umno that morning that he intended to defend his party presidency and stick to his 2010 retirement plan.

But Abdullah's resolve to stay in office quickly dissolved after a private session with his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak just before the Umno Supreme Council session.

During their discussion, the Premier was forced to reconsider his decision to defend the party presidency and bring forward his handover of power to March next year.

"How Najib and the rest got him to change his mind is a mystery to all of us," said a close associate of Abdullah, who added that the Premier felt betrayed by those he had trusted in Umno, including Najib, and their move to force him to speed up his retirement plans.

Over the past week, Abdullah had struggled with his closest advisers to work out a possible fightback that would have allowed him a more graceful exit.

But those plans were scrapped over the weekend, say close associates, and the Premier is expected to announce in the coming days his decision not to defend his presidency of Umno.

That move will pave the way for Najib's takeover of the party and the government in March next year, when the party will hold its own congress, which was originally slated for December.

However, the move is unlikely to bring peace to Umno, which dominates the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government and is still reeling from the electoral setbacks suffered during the March general election.

Najib, who enjoys widespread support within Umno, is not expected to face a challenge.

But there is already a spirited race for the party's deputy presidency among several of Umno's powerful warlords. Analysts say that a bruising campaign would only deflect the government's attention from pressing economic issues.

International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, currently the most senior of the party's three vice-presidents, is expected to declare his bid for Umno's No 2 job. He is expected to face a strong challenge from Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a minister in the Prime Minister's Department and formerly political secretary to Najib.

Other aspirants include Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam and former Selangor menteri besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

Umno officials also expect bitter battles for the youth movements and positions on the powerful Supreme Council.

Close aides of Abdullah say that by taking himself out of the potentially divisive party election, the Premier hopes to concentrate on implementing reforms in the country's battered judiciary and on giving more teeth to Malaysia's Anti-Corruption Agency so that it can fight the worsening graft in government.

But analysts wonder whether Umno will give Abdullah the opportunity to carry out these reforms, which would help repair his now-tattered legacy.

Umno divisions will begin month-long meetings this Thursday to nominate candidates for the party's upcoming election, and Najib is widely expected to sweep the majority of nominations for the presidency.

That in turn could prompt the party's warlords to force Abdullah to relinquish the premiership sooner, on grounds that it would allow Najib to consolidate his position in government and to concentrate on tackling economic issues and rebuilding the BN government.

However, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said he did not believe Abdullah would leave.

"He likes to change his position. As long as he does not make the announcement, I will not believe it," he was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insider website. - The Straits Times

Raja Petra sedition trial starts

Raja Petra sedition trial starts

PETALING JAYA, Oct 6 - Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, who is being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), was brought to the Sessions Court in Petaling Jaya this morning for his sedition trial.

The Malaysia Today editor, 58, who is being held at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak, was charged on May 6 over his online posting about the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

He claimed trial to publishing an allegedly seditious article on Malaysia Today, becoming the first blogger to be charged under the Sedition Act.

He is accused of publishing the article 'Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' which was alleged to have contained nine paragraphs of seditious words.

He is said to have committed the offence at his house in in Sungai Buloh on April 25.

If convicted, he can be fined a maximum of RM5,000 or jailed up to three years, or both.

MORE TO COME

Bertindak tegas elak Hindraf jadi lebih agresif

(Utusan Malaysia) KUALA LUMPUR 4 Okt. - Kerajaan digesa bertindak tegas terhadap Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) bagi mengelakkan anggota pertubuhan haram itu menjadi lebih agresif ekoran tindakan keterlaluan mereka.

Dekan Pasca-Siswazah dan Penyelidikan Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Prof. Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak berkata, kerajaan perlu melakukan sesuatu sebelum kumpulan itu bertindak lebih agresif.

Pengalaman beberapa kumpulan pelampau agama yang menjadi militan sebelum ini, katanya, harus dijadikan contoh.

"Kerajaan tidak perlu bertolak ansur dengan Hindraf memandangkan ia sebuah kumpulan haram yang bergerak atas dasar perkauman sempit dan membuat pelbagai dakwaan," kata Mohamed Mustafa kepada Mingguan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika mengulas tindakan anggota Hindraf 'menyerbu' di Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri Perdana Menteri dan Menteri-Menteri Kabinet beragama Islam di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra (PWTC) di sini Rabu lalu.

"Kumpulan itu memperjuangkan isu-isu politik berlandaskan satu agama dan satu kaum,'' jelasnya, sambil menambah matlamat tersebut berbahaya kepada hubungan kaum di negara ini.

Mohamed Mustafa memberitahu, sebelum ini kerajaan telah mengharamkan dan bertindak tegas ke atas beberapa kumpulan pelampau agama.

Justeru, kata beliau, tindakan yang sama perlu diambil terhadap Hindraf.

"Kadang-kadang manusia lupa kepada sejarah dan menuduh kerajaan tidak demokratik sedangkan kumpulan seperti Hindraf mempunyai saluran dan cara yang sah untuk membuat aduan dan rayuan," katanya.

Semalam, ketika mengulas kes penyokong Hindraf di PWTC, Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar memberi amaran kepada para pemimpin pertubuhan itu supaya "jangan melakukan provokasi yang melampau dan menakutkan."

Yang Dipertua Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim), Datuk Nakhaie Ahmad berkata, kerajaan perlu mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap mana-mana kumpulan pelampau baik Islam mahupun bukan Islam.

Menurut beliau, tindakan Hindraf tidak boleh dipandang ringan oleh masyarakat dan kaum lain.

"Anggota kumpulan itu perlu berhati-hati sebelum berlaku sesuatu yang hanya akan merugikan mereka akibat daripada perbuatan menimbulkan keadaan yang boleh menjurus kepada huru-hara dalam negara," katanya.

Pesuruhjaya Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (Suhakam), Datuk S. Subramaniam pula meminta Hindraf menggunakan pendekatan perbincangan dan perundingan untuk mendapatkan sesuatu daripada pihak kerajaan.

Menurutnya, sewaktu menjadi Presiden Kongres Kesatuan Pekerja Di Dalam Perkhidmatan Awam (CUEPACS) dahulu, beliau mengamalkan cara rundingan dengan kerajaan untuk membincangkan apa juga masalah yang dihadapi.

"Apa yang diperoleh di meja rundingan bergantung kepada kebijaksanaan kita merundingkan perkara itu," jelasnya.

Bagi Suhakam pula, tegas beliau, pihaknya hanya melihat isu 68 orang yang ditahan di bawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) dari sudut hak asasi manusia.

Kata beliau, Suhakam akan menggunakan meja rundingan bagi menjaga kebajikan mereka yang ditahan di bawah ISA.

Pandamaran Anti-ISA rally & the Klang Declaration

Sunday, 05 October 2008

Reminder : RPK’s sedition trial starts tomorrow, 9am at the PJ Sessions Court. Please come and show support for this man who has selflessly stood up to champion truth and justice and the rights of every anak Bangsa Malaysia.

Please be there well before 9am and be part of the crowd that greets RPK as he is brought to court.

For directions to the court, go HERE.

We the people of Klang gathered at the ‘Sambutan Hari Raya Dengan Mangsa dan Keluarga ISA’ on 3rd October 2008, hereby resolve and demand that:

The BN government release Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Hindraf Five and all detainees immediately; 

The BN Government repeal the Internal Security Act 1960 in the next session of parliament… - excerpt from the Klang Declaration.

Read the Declaration in full in English, BM, or Mandarin by clicking on and enlarging the thumbnails below.

READ MORE HERE:
http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/

Dr M does not believe Pak Lah will leave

By Adip Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that he does not believe that Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi intends to announce his departure before the start of Umno divisional meetings on Oct 9. 

"He likes to change his position, so as long as he does not make the announcement I will not believe it," Dr Mahathir told reporters at his Hari Raya open house, here.

Abdullah and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak had indicated that the postponement of party polls to March next year was done to facilitate an earlier transition of power and the Prime Minister had promised to decide whether he would defend his presidency or not by Oct 9.

Dr Mahathir, who left Umno in May because of a lack of confidence in Abdullah's leadership, also revealed that his plan to rejoin the party has been derailed.

"When I left I set the condition to rejoin, but now there is another problem. I found out that when I resigned many members followed me," he said, adding that he hoped those who left with him would also be accepted by the party.

When asked whether he would join his former branch, Jitra in the Kubang Pasu division, he said that he is open to any suggestion.

On the announcement made by Umno leaders Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam to contest the deputy presidency, Dr Mahathir said it is a good trend but hoped the aspirants would adhere to democratic principles.

He also hoped that the candidates would not form teams in the party election.

"When you have teams and your team mates are defeated, it is going to be hard for you to work with leaders from the other team," said Dr Mahathir.

Meanwhile, Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir told reporters that it is not appropriate for Umno leaders to announce their candidacy for the party's top posts before Abdullah's announcement.
"Maybe those who announced their intention to contest are certain that the president will not defend his position," said Mukhriz, who is running for the Umno Youth chief post.

Sri Lanka urges LTTE surrender


 

The Sri Lankan military launched an

offensive against the Tamil Tigers over a year ago [File: Reuters]

(Al-Jazeera)Lieutenant-General Sarath Fonseka, the Sri Lankan army chief, has called on the leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to give themselves up as the military continues its advance towards their de facto capital.


The call came as fighting near Kilinochchi, the administrative headquarters for the Tamil Tigers in the north of the island, intensified on Sunday.

General Fonseka, in an interview with Sri Lanka's Observer Online, also urged all Tamil Tiger fighters to lay down their arms and cross over to government-controlled areas.

The Sri Lankan army began a major military offensive in the north just over a year ago in an attempt to finally defeat the Tamil Tigers after four decades of fighting. 


Town limits

"Troops are two kilometres away from Kilinochchi town limits," Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, a military spokesman, said on Sunday.

"People already have left Kilinochchi now so they are definitely east of the A9 road. That is why we have given them this safe passage," he said.


The A9 is the main north-south highway, and most of the Tiger-held ground is to its east towards the port of Mullaitivu. 

The military said that at least 29 Tamil Tigers and five soldiers were killed in the latest fighting around Kilinochchi. It also said in a statement that troops captured four Tamil Tiger bunkers after the battle.

The claims are impossible to independently verify as the war zone is off-limits to journalists and both sides routinely give differing figures. 

'No-fire area'

Nanayakkara said that the army has created a 10km square no-fire area to allow civilians to go south.

Aid workers say 200,000 people remain trapped in the line of fire because the Tigers have prevented some from leaving and others do not trust the army's promise of safe passage.

Gordon Weiss, a UN spokesman, said the first aid convoy since all aid agencies were ordered out last month had reached the conflict zone over the weekend, returning south of the frontline after delivering supplies.

The capture of Kilinochchi would be a major blow to the Tigers, who set up the town as the capital of their mini-state after taking the area from government forces 10 years ago.

LTTE fighters have not suffered such a setback since December 1995 when they lost the northern peninsula of Jaffna, which they considered their cultural capital.

Vipul Boteju, a retired army brigadier-general, said the success of the latest military campaign appeared to be due to the use of small groups along a broad front.

Past attempts to take Kilinochchi using large columns of soldiers had failed because the Tigers deployed suicide bombers against them.