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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Paper 'planting assassination idea'

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) has accused the Malay newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, of planting the idea of assassinating members of parliament through a story published in Mingguan Malaysia, its Sunday edition.

Lim said the fictitious story entitled "Politik baru YB J" was aimed at Teresa Kok.

"The YB Josephine, who is the main character in the piece, actually referred to Teresa Kok," he said.

YB Josephine takes an anti-Islamic stand in the story and is killed by an alleged supporter at a function held in her stronghold.

The assassin approaches her on stage and then shoots her three times in the chest.

"I know it is creative licence, but the author had clearly planted the idea of political assassination. He was being inciteful," Kit Siang said during the debate on the budget.

"What would you say if the short story envisaged a minister being killed at the end of the story?

"Surely there would be hostile reaction from Barisan Nasional backbenchers."

Kok and Utusan Malaysia are currently locked in a dispute after the newspaper claimed that she had called for the Kinrara Mosque in Section 5, Bandar Kinrara in Puchong to tone down the volume of its call to prayer or Azan.

Kok was subsequently detained under the Internal Security Act for several days.

Upon her release, she filed a RM30 million suit for damages against the newspaper.

Lim, who waved a copy of the Oct 12 issue of Mingguan Malaysia as he spoke, said in the country's 51 years of independence, never had creative licence been used in this way to promote a violent idea.

At this point, Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) demanded to know how Lim came to the conclusion that the short story was aimed at Kok.

"If you ask 100 people who read the story, they would say that it refers to Teresa Kok, except you," replied Lim, saying that he wanted to know whether the authorities would investigate the matter.

"The backbenchers and opposition may have our differences but in the matter of assassination, it should be condemned by all of us."

Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (BN-Bintulu) felt that Lim was being dramatic.

"After all, five attempts have been made on me. Someone tried to run me off the road, but you never kicked up a fuss.

"You are only doing this because it is Kok," he said.

To this, Lim said that he could not kick up a fuss in Tiong's case because the latter had not highlighted the incident in the house.

- nst

Cops probe commotion at PM’s Raya open house

PETALING JAYA: Police have re­corded statements from three Hindraf organisers regarding a commotion at the Prime Minister and Cabinet members’ Hari Raya open house at the Putra World Trade Centre recently.

The three are S. Jayathas, 41, K. Shanti, in her 30s, and K. Selvam, 43. They were accompanied by their lawyers Latheefa Koya and N. Surendran.

Shanti is the wife of Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy who is in self-exile in London.

The three arrived at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters at 3pm yesterday where they gave their statements for an hour.

Surendran said the three were asked about 28 questions under Section 27 of the Police Act and Section 447 of the Penal Code.

“However, we chose to remain silent for each of the questions because we felt that the questions had nothing to do with the case we were being investigated under,” said Jayathas.

Surendran said the questioning was a form of intimidation and harassment against his clients who had gathered peacefully at the Prime Minister’s Hari Raya open house.

“It is absurd because for the first time in Malaysia someone is called in for questioning for attending a Hari Raya open house. We believe this is politically motivated and a clear case of police abuse of power,” he said.

He added that police did not mention whether there was a need for the three to present themselves again at the police headquarters for further questioning.

Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm (I) Datuk Abdul Samah Mat confirmed that police were investigating the case.

A group of 160 Hindraf and “Free Raja Petra Kamarudin” supporters were said to have allegedly caused a commotion at the Prime Minister’s open house before presenting him with a teddy bear and a Raya greeting card containing signatures requesting the release of detained Hindraf leaders.

- The Star

Malaysia’s Risk-Takers

The government’s promise not to censor the Internet has allowed bloggers more latitude than journalists working in other media. Now, with a leading blogger jailed, that freedom is in jeopardy.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia
The jailing of Raja Petra Kamarudin, a self-described risk-taker who has led Malaysia’s lively blogging culture, has come to symbolize the government’s new assault on Internet expression. On September 12, police raided Raja Petra’s residence, seized documents, and arrested the popular blogger under the draconian Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial.

Two weeks later, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar ordered the detention extended for two years on charges that Raja Petra published seditious and anti-Islamic articles on his blog, Malaysia Today. The government, signaling a wider crackdown on dissent, detained a newspaper journalist and an opposition politician the same day.

In the four years since he launched Malaysia Today, the 58-year-old Raja Petra has established a reputation for running news and commentary critical of the administration. This year, as the ruling party’s influence has slipped, the government has stepped up harassment of the blog’s founder. Raja Petra’s reporting on a politicized murder case led to several days of detention on sedition charges in May and, later, to three counts of criminal defamation. In August, government regulators ordered domestic Internet service providers to block Malaysia Today on grounds that the blog was publishing seditious material. The move also happened to coincide with Raja Petra’s plans to post real-time results of a special election eventually won by opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim.

Despite the government’s actions, Malaysia Today has managed to survive. Raja Petra got around the censorship order by publishing the blog on a mirror site and creating new Internet addresses in foreign countries. His wife, Marina Lee Abdullah, and colleagues have continued to publish since his imprisonment. And in a September 30 post written and smuggled out of prison, Raja Petra remained defiant as he described his conditions.

That attitude was on display when CPJ interviewed Raja Petra a month before his imprisonment. “I’ve been charged with everything from insulting Islam, the prime minister, the sultans—every known living thing,” he said, relaxing that day in a restaurant in the Bangsar neighborhood. “Islam makes it mandatory to oppose oppression. It’s your duty, and it’s what I’m doing.”


A former businessman turned political activist, Raja Petra started Malaysia Today in August 2004 in response to what he considered to be a chronic lack of critical coverage in the state-controlled mainstream media. The site runs commentary and news from three regular, pseudonymous writers. With a steady stream of hard-hitting reports, he claims a higher daily readership than most Malaysian newspapers.

Malaysia Today has been at the forefront of the country’s vibrant and proliferating blogosphere, which independent researchers, press freedom advocates, and journalists say has expanded the boundaries of Malaysian press freedom. News-driven blogs like Raja Petra’s have taken hard aim at the government and individual politicians, providing a sharp counterpoint to state-led television news and ruling party-influenced newspapers. “We take risks no one else takes,” Raja Petra told CPJ in August.

The Malaysian government has long held local newspapers and magazines in check through a renewable licensing system that has also led to arbitrary suspensions. National security laws such as the Internal Security Act, Sedition Act, and Official Secrets Act have instilled a culture of self-censorship at most news publications.

But a government pledge not to censor the Internet, first made in 1996, has allowed bloggers and online news sites to tackle tough issues the mainstream media habitually neglect. The no-censorship policy, developed by then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, was designed to lure foreign investment to the Multimedia Super Corridor project, a big ticket, state-led bid to incubate Malaysia’s own version of the Silicon Valley.

The country’s commitment to an open Internet appears to be in doubt now. With only a clutch of multinational companies in residence, the incubator project has failed to live up to commercial expectations. And as Malaysia’s blogosphere has grown in political significance, the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) has seen its own position weakened. In March elections, UMNO lost its two-thirds majority in parliament and control over five of the national federation’s 13 states. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and others have lashed with greater frequency against bloggers, claiming they publish false and libelous material.

The government’s actions against Malaysia Today were the first instances in which the government directly broke its no-censorship pledge, but journalists and human rights lawyers told CPJ that troubling signs had been coming throughout the year. “The government seems to be intent on creating a climate of fear, although with dubious procedures,” says Jun-E Tan, a doctoral student at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University who recently co-authored a book on Malaysian blogs and their impact on democratization.

Unconfirmed blog reports, for example, said that a hard-line UMNO faction working alongside the Science Ministry had explored closing YouTube and template blog sites such as Wordpress and Blogspot in the run-up to the March election. Around the same time, reports posted on several blogs said that UMNO’s youth wing had compiled a list of 30 local bloggers it considered potential threats to social stability.


Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek would not confirm or deny those reports. In e-mail comments made to CPJ before Raja Petra’s arrest, he said “the government encourages the growth of online journalism” and that Malaysia “was one of the freest environments on earth where blogs and bloggers are concerned, even compared with the United States, Britain, and Europe.”

“What we stress is accountability. … The government is, of course, concerned with anyone who is out to undermine the country’s peace and stability,” said Ahmad Shabery. “If the person who tries to incite racial discord happens to be a blogger, the government will act against him, not because he is a blogger, but because he is out to create trouble.”

That’s clearly how the government views the likes of Raja Petra. Last year, the blogger ran a 12-part series on corruption among police, particularly alleged links to organized crime syndicates. Before that, he ran a series of investigative reports on alleged nepotism involving Abdullah and son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin, deputy chief of UMNO’s youth wing.

“I have deep throats both inside and outside government,” Raja Petra told CPJ before his imprisonment. Yet neither those sources nor his lineage to one of Malaysia’s main royal families has shielded him from government harassment. Since launching his blog, Raja Petra says he has been hauled in for police questioning more times than he can remember. He has also received anonymous death threats on his cell phone, although he said he doesn’t take the calls too seriously.

“I’m a risk-taker, not a troublemaker,” he said in August. “We see how far we can go with what the government considers a crime and see if we can get away with it.” Now, as Raja Petra sits in solitary confinement, the Malaysian government appears to have responded.


Shawn W. Crispin is a Bangkok-based journalist and consultant to CPJ’s Asia Program.
http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2008/Malaysia/Malaysia08.html

Claims of modern day slavery in estates

GEMAS, Oct 15 — Recent news reports claimed that there were at least five forced labour cases in Negeri Sembilan estates but only three made it to the court due to the lack of evidence.

Absence of crucial evidence like the birth certificate that could verify the victims as Malaysian citizens had made the cases failed to ‘hold water’ in the courts of justice, said the English newspaper.

Incidents of forced labour happened when unscrupulous contractors or agents took the advantage when recruiting workers for jobs in the estates.

The irony is that most of the victims were Malaysians, and not foreigners as initially believed, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.

Poverty and illiteracy have further compounded this problem, resulting in what can be described as modern day slavery as what had been claimed to had occurred in an estate Sungai Senarut in Gemas, close to the Negeri Sembilan-Johor border.

A similar incident was reported in Jempol, not far from here.

MINISTER’S ATTENTION

These reports on modern day slavery have drawn the attention from the minister.

When approached by Bernama, Subramaniam said three reports on such cases had came to his attention and he had issued a directive reminding workers’ recruitment agencies to be registered with the ministry.

"They should be registered (with the ministry) and so far some 30 per cent had registered with us and the whole process is expected to be completed by the year end”, he said.

Subramaniam said he had also issued a directive requiring all estate owners to keep proper documentation of their workers’ particulars like their salary slip and that on deductions for the Social Security Organisation (Socso) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

"With these measures, we should be able to clamp down on forced labour and enable the police to take action with the evidence available.

"Previously it was difficult (for the authorities to take action), as even though reports were made but there were lack of evidence", he said.

ISOLATED INCIDENTS

Subramanian said there were some 200 workers’ recruitment agencies nationwide and the incidents of forced labour were isolated cases.

So far such cases were reported to have occurred in only two or three estates, he said.

Whether the workers were recruited by middlemen or direct by the estate owners, Subramaniam reminded the employers that the workers should be well treated and given the privileges and benefits due to them.

Meanwhile the Segamat MI divisional head, A. Nadarajah, told Bernama that the forced labour case reported at the Sungai Senarut estate involved allegations that the workers were forced to work beyond their working ours and they were also assaulted.

However the police did not find any evidence that could support the allegations, he said. — Bernama

Court orders NS ruler to pay US1million to bank

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 15 - The Special Court which was set up to hear cases involving royalty today ordered the Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja'afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman, to pay US$1 million (RM3.4million) to Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad (SCBMB) after ruling that Tuanku Ja'afar has to honour the terms in a letter of credit.

Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who sat with Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Alaudin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, and Federal Court judges Datuk Arifin Zakaria and Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin unanimously allowed the bank's suit against the former king.

The court also dismissed Tuanku Ja'afar's counter-suit against the bank for a declaration that the bank was not entitled in law to uplift his fixed deposit to settle the sum of US$1 million.

The suit arose after Tuanku Ja'afar, on or about Feb 12, 1999, established through SCBMB a standby letter of credit valued at US$1 million made in favour of the Connecticut Bank of Commerce (CBC) in the United States for credit facilities to be extended to a U.S company called Texas Encore LLC (TEC).

According to the bank's counsel, Robert Lazar, the bank was entitled to withdraw the said amount from Tuanku Ja'afar fixed deposit. - Bernama

The RM 2.4 billion Telecom HSBB (High Speed Broadband) subsidy

Why is Telekom subsidised with RM2.4 billion of tax payer’s money for the HSBB project when an alternative proposal do not require subsidy? Why wasn’t there an open tender to choose the best proposal?

Why does the govt think Telekom is the best company to role out HSSB in spite of the fact that Telekom failed to achieve the national objective of high internet penetration after more than 10 years?

Simple economics will tell that a competitive environment will produce the results the country wants.

Besides failure to deliver the numbers (high internet and broadband penetration) and despite the fact that Telekom is a laughing stock because TMnet is well known for bad quality of service, the govt persist to award the next generation broadband project to Telekom.

HSBT (High Speed Broadband Technology Sdn Bhd) has offered to build a similar network without subsidy. Even if the govt deem HSBT inexperienced to carry out such a large project, wouldn’t the fact that their not requiring a subsidy tell them a subsidy may not be required?

Why then does the govt. need to provide public funds especially in this financially troubled time? The money will be better spent on the rakyat.

Since public money is involved, why wasn’t there an open tender? The govt should justify the rationale and provide details.

To make it worse, Telekom’s HSSB network is only a partially open network when it is known globally that such an infrastructure should be open and accessible to other broadband providers such as in S’pore. Furthermore, the govt did not have specific terms for the sharing of the HSSB network with other service providers.

Telekom has said screening will be done to allow competition that adds value to the industry, country and consumer. The term ’screening’ is bad enough while the part on adding value is open to interpretation.

A similar initiative, “Equal access plan for fixed line phone” introduced a decade ago supposedly to encourage competition in the ISP industry failed miserably. It played to Telekom’s hand to stunt the rise of serious competitors.

It is amazing that the govt continued to allow Telekom to use vague words when Telekom has shown this bad faith previously. Doesn’t the govt learn?

In spite of openly talking about increasing internet penetration and quality, the failure of Telekom to deliver still encourages the govt to dish out the same and to support Telekom further. There is no real competition for broadband in the country.

Can anyone say that Telekom’s 95% share of the market shows M’sia has liberalised the broadband service provider industry effectively?

What the country needs to propel itself forward in the information age is true liberalisation and not simply pay lip service to it. The HSSB project awarded to Telekom will only strengthen their already dominant position.

Will the govt force Telekom to adopt open access where any service provider can use the HSSB network to reach their customers when it is constructed? This is the way to create competition to provide the best service at reasonable prices, vital in order to develop the content and IT industry here.

A few questions to conclude:

• Isn’t the RM2.4 billion subsidy unfair, Telekom is already too dominant?

• Why allow Telekom to defer third party full access to the HSSB network for 7 years when Telekom is already the dominant player? It will be their right if they funded it 100% themselves but with public funds, there should be no delay at all.

• Will the govt listen to all stakeholders – the public, IT industry and broadband industry as to the best way forward for the HSSB project through a study because it is now a public project with public funds involved?

• Why is the govt protecting the revenue of one entity Telekom when true liberalisation will develop the industry, potentially returning revenue many times more for the country?

• Will the govt put in a proviso in the agreement with Telekom HSSB project to ensure open access to all service providers at reasonable price that includes annual audit by a third party? Failing this, will the govt ensure since there is interest, for at least one more HSSB provider within a year? Competition must be created.

Hindraf never insult

Hindraf did not and will not ever insult our Malay Brethren - we are all one - Anak Bangsa Malaysia.

Two similar occasions, one was the PWTC Open House hosted by our PM, the other Hari Raya Open House hosted by Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and yet how different the treatment…

The very same 6years old Vwaishnavi, daughter of Hindraf chairman P.Waythamoorthy with the almost similar home made, Hari Raya greeting card carrying the same message accompanied by a teddy bear. The same Hindraf supporters of approximately 200 members, in their now familiar, orange Tee shirts. The very same occasion of Hari Raya open house but only this time hosted by the opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur on 12th October 2008.

As the supporters began to gather outside Sultan Sulaiman Club, our Muslim brothers who were passing by smiled and waved at us. In return Hindraf supporters wished them "Selamat Hari Raya bang”. Police officers on duty too were greeted Selamat Hari Raya by the Hindraf supporters, some of them wished us back while some just smiled and waved. What a contrast from the reception we got from the policemen on duty at PWTC? Were these officers the same ones who stopped and bullied us at PWTC? On whose orders?

Similar to our attendance at PWTC on the 1st of October 2008, Vwaishnnavi and her mother Mrs.Shanti took the lead into the club together with the Kapar MP YB Manikavasagam. The moment we stepped into the compound YB Zuraida Kamaruddin, the Ampang MP welcomed us . There was an announcement made to mark our presence and thousands of our Malaysian Muslim brothers cheered, clapped and welcomed us into the hall. Among the MPs who welcomed us were YB Tian Chua , YB Sivarasah ,YB Nurul Izzah and I might have missed some of the other hospitable YB's. Minta Maaf.



YB Anwar Ibrahim and Datin Wan Azizah who came in after prayers welcomed the hundreds of the Hindraf supporters with a welcoming smile .They shook hands with each and every one of us. We greeted them "Selamat Hari Raya, Release all ISA detainees and Abolish ISA". Datuk Seri confidently said "sure I will" to me and I believe to the rest as well. To digress a bit, no body says "Makkal Shakti" with so much conviction, encouragement and yet these powerful words of "Peoples'Power" is expressed with gentleness by Kak Wan – truly a woman of substance!! They accepted the same home made card and the teddy bear from little Vwaishnnavi.

Yet what a difference on how we were received by the two hosts and how it was reported by media, Hindraf had been demonized for attending the PWTC open house on 1st October 2008.

Frankly, we never anticipated the shameful way we were treated during the Hari Raya Open House hosted by none other than the PM of Malaysia and his cabinet ministers at PWTC.

Malaysians were fully aware of intentions of getting our Hindraf leaders out before Deepavali so that they may celebrate this auspicious occasion with their family. We are also serious about getting our brother RPK and other ISA detainees released. All of which was turned, twisted , manipulated and propagated by the powers that be.

Hindraf was accused as "Biadap" , "Kurang Ajar" "Pengacau" and the most heart breaking "Insulting Islam and Muslims of this country". This was further compounded with 4 Hindraf supporters being summoned to the Dang Wangi Police station for merely attending the open house of the Prime Minister.

They were charged for illegal gathering?? and trespassing?? at PM's Open House. By the way, we even informed Senior Officers in Putra Jaya on 22nd Sept 2008, that Vwaishnnavi and some of us Hindraf supporters would be at the Open House, PM's secretary assured us that we would be welcome at the open house. Additionally, wasn't the PM's invitation to the open house extended to all Malaysians?

So then why PM Sir, were we consistently provoked ever since we stepped into PWTC premises? You yourself saw how the hand made Hari Raya card by six years old Vwaishnnavi was torn by your officials? This wasn't a petition or a memo. A simple self made Hari Raya Greeting card offered to you by a Malaysian Child was taken over by dozens of police officers who stormed in to confiscate and rip it apart, what an insult to the Indian children and the entire Malaysian community!!

Why then did you say we did not greet you? You and your advisors, the police insulted us Indians, every step of our way in the Open House. Are we not correct to assume that the Hari Raya Open House was paid by us Malaysian Tax payers? So then, why were we so badly treated at our own Malaysian open house? Mr PM, don't you consider us Hindraf supporters as Malaysians?

Is it wrong for us to ask you to release our Hindraf leaders, RPK and other ISA detainees, who are in prison, without you giving us any valid reasons for their imprisonment? So many Malaysians of all races concur with us that the draconian ISA law should be abolished, even members of your own cabinet voiced it out, so what's so wrong about us voicing our democratic right at our own Malaysian Open House??

Then again, why didn't Datuk Seri Anwar , Datin Wan Azizah , rest of the YBs and VIPs present at Sultan Sulaiman Club think that Hindraf as Biadap , Kurang Ajar , pengacau. Our Malay brothers there never commented or felt that Hindraf had insulted theMuslims, by attending this open house in our orange colored Tee shirts with a simple home made Raya greeting card and a teddy bear?? By the way we still asked that ISA be abolished and detainees released, yet what a contrast in treatment we received at PWTC ?

The Main stream media especially the Malay newspapers under your control has blamed and accused us for unruly behavior, labeled our women and children as trouble makers and said Hindraf supporters never respected Hari Raya. The Almighty God knows the truth and you too should let all Malaysians know the truth, that we conducted ourselves with decorum, even though we were initially stopped and not allowed to meet you.

You all with your propaganda had Hindraf demonized, some of you even wanted the society deregistered, do you think you can kill the spirit of Hindraf?? Sorry, we are not just a society, we are a united in spirit, not just Indians, but every Anak Bangsa Malaysia, and this spirit can never die, it will continue until we are accorded due respect as Malaysian citizens.



One may ask why we chose the Hari Raya Open House, our answer Mr Prime Minister is that you have just avoided all our calls to meet you in your office or elsewhere. We have no other choice but to state our request at this open house, we wanted you to look us in the eyes so that we can directly tell you to release our leaders, RPK and other detainees. That's all. So cut out the condemnation and lies about our behaviour.

Many guests who were at the PWTC open house did not even know that we were present. Categorically we did not create any ruckus or commotion, full familes came in support. We are the ones who feel insulted that you did not treat us Malaysian citizens with due respect of a courteous host, especially as one would expect from a person of your stature.

I might not be a scholar on religion, but I can definitely say what the Prime Minister , the deputy prime minister, the home minister , the information minister, the tourism minister, Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister and rest of the ministers have said against Hindraf on and after the 1st of October 2008 Hari Raya Open House at PWTC - untruths, insincerity and lies are never condoned and unacceptable by any religion!!

Sambulingam Wisvalingam

Hindraf National Co-ordination team

14th October 2008.

Cops grill Hindraf leaders


Anwar calls for a fresh budget

Govt ‘in denial’: Anwar

Straits Times

By Hazlin Hassan, Malaysia Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday attacked the government’s budget for next year, saying it was ‘irrelevant’ in the wake of the current global meltdown.

Making his first speech in Parliament in more than 10 years, he said about 44 per cent of government revenue in the 2009 budget was based on crude oil prices being at US$125, whereas oil is now at US$80.

The former deputy prime minister and finance minister spoke from the opposition benches, claiming that there had been a capital flight of RM125 billion (S$53 billion) in the first half of the year.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the new finance minister, had announced foreign direct investments of only RM31 billion, he added.

The opposition leader slammed government leaders whom he accused of ’sleeping in broad daylight’ and of being in a ’state of denial’ as the world’s economy collapsed.

‘If the new finance minister is truly responsible, he must table a new budget,’ he said, adding that the government must review spending on mega-projects and roll out plans to handle any effects of the global turmoil.

Datuk Seri Najib took over the post of finance minister last month from Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. Datuk Seri Abdullah had presented the 2009 budget at the end of August.

Datuk Seri Anwar said even neighbouring Singapore, with its robust economy, has fallen into a recession while Malaysia continues to insist it is able to weather the storm.

Both Mr Najib and Mr Abdullah were absent when Mr Anwar spoke.

Mr Abdullah told reporters elsewhere that the Malaysian banking system is not facing a liquidity crunch like banks in the United States and Europe.

He said Malaysia is ‘not going into recession at the moment’.

‘We have some very strong economic fundamentals. And we have very strong reserves. Our trade surplus is still strong…Our savings are also very high,’ he added.

The RM208 billion budget announced by Mr Abdullah in August outlined higher development spending that is expected to boost the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of gross domestic product this year and 3.6 per cent in 2009.

Mr Anwar told a news conference during a Parliament break: ‘My concern is they are still in a state of denial. A responsible position would be to say, okay, we are having this crisis, it may come to recession, it may not come to recession, but we have to handle it.’

He claimed Mr Najib was preoccupied with approving projects worth billions of ringgit without tender instead of working to tackle the economic situation.

Mr Anwar pointed to ‘mega’ deals such as the RM11.3 billion high-speed broadband project, the controversial purchase of PT Bank Internasional Indonesia by Maybank, and the purchase of 12 new helicopters for the Defence Ministry worth RM1.5 billion.

He also slammed Mr Abdullah and Mr Najib for not being present during the debate, calling it a ’sheer arrogance of power’.

Mr Anwar was returned to Parliament after winning back his old seat in Penang in a by-election in August. He has been appointed by the opposition parties as Parliamentary Opposition Leader.

His targeting of Mr Najib is seen as a strategy to weaken the leader who has been anointed as the next prime minister when Mr Abdullah steps down next year.

Last week, the opposition said it may table a vote of no-confidence against the PM this week but yesterday Mr Anwar indicated it may abandon the plan in order to focus on the budget for now.

Not in support of Utusan Malaysia

Defamation Suits - ISA of the Opposition?

A letter from Mansor Bin Puteh

Dear Rocky,

I am not writing in support for Utusan Malaysia and its reporter, Mohd Zaini Hassan or anyone, but for fairplay and for the unfettered freedom of the press and of expression. They know how to defend themselves and the freedom of the press and of free speech.

But what I am utterly speechless is, how come there is no blogger or member of the ‘liberal’ crowd who is organizing a candle-light vigil to support and press for the freedom of the press and of freedom?

Have the stores run out of candles? Have the supporters of the freedom of the press and of expression and bloggers and their supporters run out of candles to light?

Where are they, the liberals and democrats amongst the Malaysia, especially those who have been vocal to the point of annoyance and who demand these freedoms?

And where is the National Union of Journalists or NUJ? When is its president, Norlida Daud going to ‘ambush’ Teresa Kok and Karpal Singh to demand that they withdraw their suits against anyone or to stop using the defamation suits as the ‘ISA’ of the opposition?

What if their party is able to form the federal government, don’t you think that they, too, would want to take such drastic and even ‘draconian’ actions against anyone who do not write or speak like them?

Can’t they find their way to berate the journalists and newspapers for having uttered what they consider to be disparaging and defamatory remarks against them the same way that these papers have been said to have done that to them?

American president George W Bush has been called by many names, by the media all over the world; if he take similar actions, surely, he can’t call himself a leader who supports the freedom of the press and of expression.

Suing anyone for RM30 million is serious business by any account. It is aimed to put the person who loses the case in permanent disability and castration much like the persons who are in detention under the ISA.

Therefore, by anyone’s rough calculations there is no difference in the ISA than filing a defamation suit.

Now it seems that the opposition only has the defamation suits to use and they are using them to their full advantage and to get wide publicity which they could otherwise not get, unless if they go around to put up road signs in Mandarin or Tamil, a habit that they decided to stop with the arrest of the three under the last ISA roundout.

I am sure those who had wanted to put up more of the same road signs elsewhere, have now not given it a serious thought anymore. Why stop doing that if they think it is good for the multiracial society?

And when is Teresa going to put out more of these road signs?

But if they come to power and are able to introduce new laws will they not want to ban anyone from filing defamation suits since it is against the spirit of the freedom of the press and of expression?

Look at America or the United Kingdom and many other countries in the West, or for that matter, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, for instance; how many of the national leaders from both sides, have instituted defamation suits against anyone?

If the Malaysian politicians who are members of parliament can withstand insults and disparaging remarks that are uttered against them al the time in parliament, so surely, they can also withstand those that are hurled against them outside of it.

Is it because the members of parliament are immune to prosecution for whatever they say in parliament that the other members are not able to do anything about it?

If this the case, why not also allow the members of the public and especially, members of the press the same rights and immunity, since they are also in the same business, just to be fair and liberal? What’s the difference being in parliament and in the public anyway?

I was speechless again when I heard on television that there is one opposition member of parliament who said that freedom of the press has its limits! Was he serious?

There is no such thing. Freedom of the press and of expression do not have their limits. If there are limits, then there is no such freedoms in the first place.

They cannot say that and expect anyone else to respect them for their stand; it’s the weird form of the freedom of the press and of expression.

Maybe all of them are still in the happy Raya mood, and have their stomach full of ‘ketupat’ and ‘rendang’ and are ‘ketupat’ and ‘rendang’ – drunk.

Let’s hope once they have cleared this that they would want to bring out their candles and light them outside of the Utusan office in Jalan Chan Sow Lin.

I do subscribe to the freedom of the press and of expression, especially those whose skins have become so thick that cutting them with razor blades would not hurt them at all.

In fact, they won’t even mind to show the scars, that they can get from the cuts as a ‘badge of honor’; the more scars they have the better their reputation is.

There is no such a thing as a bad or negative publicity.

If those who had lost in any elections including those in the party had any real ‘reputation’, they would not stayed in politics, having lost in the elections even once before.

Yet, with their ‘thick skin’ and being so shameless, they still pursued.


Thank You.-Rocky's bru

Najib denies allegations of abuse, says SMS was private

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 - Datuk Seri Najib Razak has denied any abuse of power in relation to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder investigations and the government's acquisition of 12 Eurocopter helicopters.

But he did not deny the text message exchanges between him and a lawyer at the heart of the allegations were genuine. He said the SMS exchanges were a private matter.

"Why do I need to comment? There is no abuse of power," the deputy prime minister said.

Malaysia Today carried a report detailing what it alleged was an exchange of text messages between Najib and Datuk Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Abdul Razak Baginda, the close associate of Najib who was eventually charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of Altantuya in 2006.

In one SMS, Najib allegedly tells the lawyer that Razak — his advisor — "will face a tentative charge but all is not lost".

Malaysia Today said this message raises some questions about Najib's role in the case. "Why did he mention "tentative" charge and that "all is not lost" for RB (Razak Baginda)? How would Najib know this before Razak was charged? These are important questions which will have ramifications, not just on this case but far beyond," a posting on the website said.

However, Najib would neither confirm nor deny that the supposed SMS exchange between him and Shafee were genuine.

"It doesn't really matter. The important thing is there is no abuse of power," he said.

"No need, no need, it is private. Whatever it is, the prime minister has said enough," he continued in the same tone.

"Why should it be of major concern? The important thing is if there is abuse of power and, if you read it carefully, there is no abuse of power, period," Najib reasoned .

On the issue of the RM2.3 billion Eurocopter deal claimed by the opposition to cost more than other tenders, he merely stated that a full explanation would be given in Parliament.

"Whatever the opposition said is not true," he said dismissively. "We will give you the facts later

Suspend controversial Eurocopter contract, says Lim

Suspend controversial Eurocopter contract, says Lim

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 - Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang has urged the government to suspend the purchase of Eurocopters for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in light of the controversy surrounding it.

The senior DAP leader attacked the government for not being transparent in awarding the contract. He noted that news reports said the government had set aside RM1.93 billion to buy an initial fleet of 12 helicopters, which are to be in service for the next 40 years.

He pointed out that the Eurocopter Cougar EC725 cost as much as RM1.256 billion and there were less extravagant options available. The Sikorsky helicopters cost RM1.145 billion and the Russian-made Kazan helicopters MI-172 cost much less at RM1.061 billion.

The Eurocopter model chosen was actually a modified and upgraded version of a 40-year-old helicopter, Lim noted while debating the 2009 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He said the government may as well have kept the Nuri helicopters the Eurocopter was meant to replace and just upgrade them with similar technical specifications.

"It will only cost a fraction of a new aircraft, especially taking into account the Sikorsky offer," Lim said.

He claimed that representatives from Sikorsky had offered to buy the old Nuris in exchange for being awarded the contract.

Lim urged the government to follow the proper procurement ethics before making out the contract. He claimed that the government did not adhere to standard international practice when evaluating the aircraft.

Teresa Kok unfazed by Utusan attack

Teresa Kok unfazed by Utusan attack

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 – Seputeh lawmaker Teresa Kok was surprised to learn today that she had been made the target of an assassination in a thinly-veiled plot of a short story publised in a weekend edition of the Malay-language newspaper Utusan Malaysia last Sunday.

She told The Malaysian Insider that she found out when fellow legislator for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang brought it up in the House late this evening.

She had not read the story herself, only skimmed through it, she said.

She declined to comment on the piece of fiction.

"My lawyers have advised me against making anymore statements against them," she said, referring to her three counsels - Sankara Nair, Karpal Singh, Param Cumareswamy - in her RM30 million defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia.

"I have filed a lawsuit against them. They have filed a lawsuit against me. I don't think I should speak about this anymore," she added.

Outwardly, she seemed unaffected by the story. But when asked if she planned to engage bodyguards to ensure her safety, she said: "Maybe outside. There are enough bodyguards inside Parliament."

Lim had read aloud an excerpt of the article penned by Datuk Chamil Wariya, a former magazine group editor, which described the assassination of a fictitious political figure called "YBJ" whom he alleged was modelled on Kok.

In the story, YBJ was killed by a youngster with a pistol, releasing several shots straight to her heart. Lim had mentioned the article in relation to national security issues while debating the 2009 Budget.

The senior DAP leader condemned the article and called on his fellow parliamentarians to make a strong stand against the established newspaper which he alleged was inciting its readers to kill a lawmaker.

Soi Lek wins... in empty stadium

By Shannon Teoh

PETALING JAYA, Oct 14 - Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek scored an emphatic but possibly empty victory in the MCA deputy presidential debate over rival Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.

Despite winning nearly every round of the debate, Chua's win was overshadowed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's (MCMC) "advice" to NTV7 not to televise the debate live but for the recording to pass censorship first before being televised
at a yet to be confirmed date.

"There is no sensitivity involved as it is a party election. But MCA matters affect Chinese Malaysians either directly or indirectly. The government should be more transparent and this only causes it to lose more credibility," the former health minister said, adding that such a last-minute decision must certainly involve the influence of "someone with a ministerial or government post."

Lim, on the other hand, refused to be drawn into such speculation and said that he would leave it to the press to find out.

However, he criticised the other two candidates - secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan and Tanjung deputy chief Lee Hack Teik - for not participating in the debate.

"It is unfair to have only two of us attack each other and expose each other's weaknesses," he said.

The debate itself saw Lim floundering from the get-go, presenting a manifesto geared to reposition MCA from welfare group to a political party. However, with the bilingual - Mandarin and English - format forcing the speakers to hurry through their points, the vice-president's rather casual pace prevented him from elaborating on his points.

He later told reporters that he was suffering from a cough but Chua showed little sympathy in ramming home his points.

"We do not apologise for being a mono-ethnic party but we must change the perception that MCA is an apologist for Umno. We must champion not just Chinese issues but national ones such as the judiciary and Hindraf."

Lim even failed to capitalise on a question on the requirement for a politician to have good moral standing. With Chua having resigned from all political positions in the beginning of the year due to a sex DVD scandal, Lim could only muster that at a golf game earlier, party members had told him that "if I'm ever involved in immoral activities, I would have to go."

The former vice-president on the other hand, said that he was running to allow the party to determine the basis of such a requirement: "I think this is the fairest way."

A question by panellist and MCA elder Tan Sri Michael Chen on whether the March 8 general elections debacle was caused by infighting saw both candidates dodging the question.

Chua preferred to dwell on the party's inability to articulate the concerns of the Chinese community due to the leadership's subservience to Umno but at least mentioned the "helicopter" dropping of candidates unfamiliar to local MCA members.

"Any candidate must be backed by the division if not it becomes difficult to move the election machinery."

Lim completely sidestepped the question, blaming the lack of transparency in the government and saying that a study had come up with a list of 20 issues although he did not elaborate on them.

The former deputy tourism minister finally made some headway when answering one of Chua's questions.

"Having two Chinese parties is a waste of resources," he said in reply to Chua's question on Lim's proposal to merge MCA with Gerakan, although he had to deal with Chua's interjection that Gerakan was infact multiracial.

"If for example, Umno makes proposal A and Gerakan counters with B and MCA, C, then it is a disorganised stand to Umno. By merging, we will become a united power bloc that can challenge Umno's superiority."

The former Petaling Jaya Selatan MP also managed Chua's query on the New Economic Policy well, insisting that "we have discussed this over and over but what is more important now is how we will tackle the current economic problem.

But Chua did even better when relating how he would garner the support of nearly a million new voters by the next general election, despite 80% of these first-timers voting for the opposition on Mar 8.

"It is a misconception that the old cannot attract the young. Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting was 40-something when he was president but he still did not get the young voters. Lim is older than Ka Ting," he pressed home.

In his wrap up, Lim meekly offered an olive branch to his opponent, saying that they were both good friends and the debate was a friendly one.

"There is no need for people to SMS in with their choice of winner," he joked.

Ironically, he was right, as it was clear that as far as public speaking is concerned, he was clearly out of his league.

Yet, with Ka Chuan representing what appears to be the majority status quo, the debate victory might only result in Chua grabbing a larger share of a split dissident vote this weekend.

Cops grill Hindraf leaders for trespassing, illegal assembly at open house

Hindraf supporters gather in front of the Dang Wangi police station to lend moral support. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 – Accompanied by dozens of supporters, three Hindraf leaders - S. Jayathas, K. Selvam and K. Shanti, wife of the movement's chairman, P. Waythamoorthy - presented themselves at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters to have their statements recorded today.

They are being investigated for illegal assembly and trespassing, under Section 27 of the Police Act and Section 447 of the Penal Code, during the Prime Minister's Hari Raya open house early this month.

Hindraf leaders and supporters had gone to the open house to present Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi with a teddy bear and a greeting card with a message urging the premier to release the five Hindraf leaders currently held under the ISA.

Notices asking the three to assist in the investigation were sent on Friday. They were questioned today by investigating officer ASP Sidney Clyde Jeremiah for more than an hour.

"This is an absurd, ridiculous abuse of police power and a blatant example of a politically motivated police investigation," said lawyer N. Surendran, who is representing the three.

"This is an intimidation, harassment, continuing another chapter in Hindraf's struggle for justice."

Jayathas greets Hindraf supporters after giving his statement at the Dang Wangi police station.

He said that the investigation shows the need to reform the police force. Surendran was also outraged by the questions thrown at the suspects.

"The questions echoed what the government leaders have been saying," he said. "The line of questioning confirms that the police are not independent and only serve their political masters."

According to Surendran, the trio were asked whether it was proper for them to attend the open house and whether they were in the right attire.

"I can confirm that no offence was committed, it was an open house and they were just exercising their democratic rights," he said.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya, who was also present, said her clients invoked Section 112 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code for all 28 questions asked by the police, which allows them to remain silent under questioning.

She added that none of the questions suggested any criminal act by her clients.

Short story on killing of Teresa Kok

Mingguan Malaysia
12.10.08
Politik baru YB J
Sastera
CERPEN
Oleh Chamil Wariya

PAGI itu resah YB Josephine, yang lebih mesra dengan panggilan YB J sukar dikawal. Sepanjang perjalanan menuju ke Dewan Perhimpunan Warga Cha di ibu kota, fikirannya terganggu. Tuduhan bahawa dia anti-Islam dan anti-Melayu sungguh-sungguh menghantui perasaannya sejak malam tadi lagi. Entah mengapa baru sekarang dia begitu, dia sendiri tidak tahu. Dia juga tidak pasti sama ada pemandunya, Ahmad, menyedari gelora jiwanya ketika itu. Kalau dia tahu pun, peduli apa, YB Josephine berbisik sendirian.

Pemandu itu memang sedia maklum pendirian politiknya tentang kepentingan kaumnya vis a vis orang Melayu. Dan dia tahu Ahmad menghormati pendiriannya, walaupun dilihat anti- Melayu, anti-Islam sebagai hak asasi tinggal dalam sebuah negara demokrasi. Bukankah kebebasan asasi itu dijamin oleh Perkara 5 hingga Perkara 13 Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Tetapi YB J akui demokrasi ada yang tidak sempurna dan kerap disalahgunakan oleh pihak yang berkuasa. Tetapi hakikat itu tidak menghalang rakyat menempatkan pembangkang di Dewan Rakyat. YB Josephine adalah salah seorang daripadanya.

Ah, tudahan dia anti-Islam, anti-Melayu tuduhan yang melulu bentak YB J seolah-olah mahu menyedapkan dirinya.. Ia juga tuduhan yang tidak berasas, hati kecilnya bersuara lagi. Dia meyakinkan dirinya bahawa kenyataankenyataan yang dibuatnya atas nama pelbagai kaum untuk memperjuangkan kepentingan kaumnya, bukan sesuatu yang rasis. Amensty International, organisasi hak asasi antarabangsa akan menyetujuinya. Begitu juga dengan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu. Ketua Pembangkang, di Parlimen pun tidak pernah menganggapnya rasis. Yang menganggapnya rasis hanya orang Melayu di dalam Parti Orang Melayu (POM).

“Aku juga bukan anti-Islam. Aku bukan anti Melayu,” pujuk hati YB J yang sudah dua penggal bergelar YB itu, mewakili Parti Bertindak Rakyat. Parti itu dianggotainya sejak berada di kampus lagi, walaupun Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti melarang para siswa membabitkan diri secara langsung dalam mana-mana organisasi siasah. Lagi pun penguatkuasaan undang-undang itu sekadar melepas batuk di tangga. Lebih dari itu, ia adalah satu lagi undang-undang lapuk, kata YB J.

Kata hatinya lagi: “Aku sekadar memperjuangkan kepentingan kaum aku, sama seperti pemimpin Melayu dalam POM memperjuangkan kepentingan bangsanya, sama seperti pemimpin Parti Orang Islam (POI) berjuang untuk bangsa menggunakan wajah Islamnya.”

Malah YB J berasakan kelantangannya memperjuangkan kepentingan kaumnya itulah yang telah membantunya menang kali kedua kerusi Parlimennya. Kali ini dengan majoriti yang lebih besar lagi. Apa yang membanggakan dia adalah perjuangan yang dianggap anti-Melayu dan anti-Islam itu kini turut disokong pengundi-pengundi Melayu di kawasan pilihan rayanya itu. Pada mulanya dia sendiri terkejut apabila dimaklumkan sebahagian besar pengundi Melayu yang merupakan 20 peratus keseluruhan pemilihan berdaftar dalam kawasan Parlimen Alam Maya telah memangkahnya.

Ini satu perkembangan luar biasa. Tidak mungkin mereka menyokong aku, bisik hatinya. Tetapi apabila dimaklumkan oleh para pekerja parti bahawa pengundi Melayu di semua peti undi telah beralih arah mendokongnya, dia menerimanya dengan fikiran terbuka. Baguslah kalau orang Melayu menerima perjuangan Malaysia Barunya.

Tidak puas hati bermonolog dengan perasaannya, YB J secara spontan berpaling kepada Ahmad, pemandunya yang sejak tadi tekun dengan tugasnya.

“Kamu fakir saya anti-Islam, anti-Melayu?”

Pertanyaan

Ahmad yang sudah menghampiri usia bersara itu tidak menjawab, seolah-olah dia tidak mendengar pertanyaan itu. Matanya tertumpu ke jalan raya. Tugasnya adalah untuk mempastikan YB J selamat ke majlis yang ingin dihadirinya. Dan tiba tepat pada waktunya. Majlis itu penting kerana YB J akan mengadakan dialog dengan generasi muda seketurunan dengannya yang belajar di luar negara tetapi kebetulan berada di tanah air kerana bercuti. Ahmad sendiri tidak pasti sama ada pelajar yang pernah mempersendakan lagu Negara Ku sewaktu menuntut di sebuah universiti di Seberang Laut turut berada dalam kelompok itu. Kalau pun ada, pemandu YB J tidak ambil pusing. Budak itu memang kurang ajar. Ada ke patut Malaysia dianggap sebagai Negara Kuku (ejaan Inggerisnya cuckoo) yang bermaksud gila. Dan kreativiti digunakan untuk menghalalkan perbuatan biadapnya itu. Cuma Ahmad berfikir kalau semua orang dibiarkan menghina lagu Kebangsaan dengan lirik yang memperlekehkan kehidupan orang Islam, dan atas nama kreativiti, maka kesannya terhadap perhubungan kaum adalah negatif.

Ahmad tidak tahu apakah yang sebenarnya mengganggu bosnya itu sejak dari tadi lagi. Dia jarang begitu. Ahmad dapat mengesan YB J lain macam sahaja pagi itu. Dia dapat membaca keresahan dan kegelisahan YB J. Seolah-olah ada sesuatu yang tidak kena walaupun apa yang sebenarnya berkocak di dalam diri YB J dia tidak pasti. Sepanjang ingatan Ahmad, YB J juga tidak pernah berbual dengannya tentang politik, apa lagi tentang isu-isu semasa - kecuali memberi arahan yang ada kaitan dengan perjalanan atau jadual kerja. YB J juga tidak bertanya sama ada dia mengundi pom atau parti apa pada pilihan raya yang lalu.

Lazimnya, sepanjang perjalanan, baik ke pejabat atau majlis-majlis rasmi dan tidak rasmi yang lain, YB J akan menghabiskan masa membaca akhbar atau membelek-belek fail. Tetapi pagi itu YB J lain macam sahaja. Dia kelihatan resah. Gelisah. Fikirannya juga seolah-olah tidak menentu. Apa yang dibuat serba tak kena. Sekejap dia membelek ucapan utama yang akan disampaikan sebentar lagi menghuraikan gagasan Politik Baru Malaysia Baru yang dipeloporinya. Sekejap dia membelek akhbar-akhbar yang memang menemani YB J ke mana juga dia pergi.

Ahmad cuba mencongak mungkin keresahan YB J ada kaitan dengan suhu politik negara sedang panas ketika itu. Bahangnya terasa di mana-mana. POM sendiri sedang menghadapi pergolakan yang hebat berkait dengan kepimpinannya. Pertarungan kepentingan puak-puak di dalam parti sedang mengambil tempatnya. Kalaulah tidak kerana kedudukan politik kerajaan agak lemah selepas kehilangan majoriti dua pertiga, sudah lama Operasi Lalang, seperti yang pernah dibuat pada 1987, dilaksanakan, agaknya. Mungkin juga tidak kerana di bawah kepimpinan sekarang, kerajaan mengambil sikap yang lebih liberal terhadap para pengkritiknya.

Ahmad juga terfikir mungkin perasaan YB J terganggu dengan tindakan kalangan yang tidak diketahui siapa mereka melempar bom petrol ke rumah keluarga ahli Parlimen Sepohon Beringin, Su Lan. Barangkali, fikir Ahmad, YB J, bimbang kejadian yang sama boleh menimpa diri atau keluarganya.

Mana tahu selepas keluarga Su Lan, bosnya YB J pula yang menjadi mangsa. Dan yang dilempar itu bom betul-betul. Meletup pula. Tidakkah nahas YB J. Sekonyong-konyong Ahmad terbayang kejadian letupan bom berani mati yang berlaku di Damsyik, Syria yang ditonton menerusi Buletin Utama di TV3 beberapa hari lalu. Kalau kejadian yang sudah menghiasi kehidupan harian di Iraq, Israel, Tebing Barat, Gaza atau Afghanistan itu menular di negara ini, alangkah malangnya bumi bertuah ini. Minta disimpang malaikat 44, Ahmad berkata sendirian di dalam hatinya.

Tetapi fikir Ahmad, amaran kalau tidak diendahkan berbahaya. Dia teringat apa yang diceritakan berlaku pada 13 Mei 1969. Bapanya menceritakan dalam tragedi selepas pilihan raya umum pada 10 Mei itu, orang Cina dan Melayu berbunuh-bunuhan. Perjuangan yang mahu menafikan hak-hak istimewa orang Melayu dan kaum bumiputera lain yang dijamin oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan, tidak dapat diterima oleh mereka. Kata-kata kesat dan menghina orang Melayu oleh para penyokong parti-parti pembangkang sewaktu berarak meraikan kemenangan besar di Kuala Lumpur dan bandar-bandar utama lain pada pilihan raya 1969 itu tidak dapat ditelan oleh orang Melayu. Parang yang terbiar tumpul selama ini diasah tajam. Dalam keadaan itu tercetuslah pergaduhan yang dahsyat menyebabkan Parlimen digantung dan pemerintahan darurat diisytiharkan. Negara diletakkan di bawah perintah berkurung. Ahmad sendiri belum lahir ketika itu. Tidak lama selepas itu, peralihan kuasa berlaku daripada Tunku Abdul Rahman kepada timbalannya, Tun Abdul Razak.

“Mat, saya ni anti-Melayu dan anti-Islam ke?,” YB J secara mendadak mengulang semula pertanyaannya apabila tiada jawapan daripada pemandunya.

Ahmad, yang sejak tadi membisu seribu bahasa selamba menjawab: “Mungkin tidak YB.” Dia memberi jawapan berlapik. Maksudnya: Mungkin tidak, mungkin ya bergantung pada mata yang menilai.

“Apa maksud kamu mungkin tidak.”

” Ini soal persepsi YB. Persepsinya begitulah. Hakikatnya YB tidak membenci Melayu tidak juga membenci Islam. YB sekadar memperjuangkan kepentingan kaum YB. Tidak salah YB berbuat demikian. Kalau YB tidak memperjuangkan kepentingan kaum YB sendiri, siapa lagi. Tetapi cara YB itu barangkali disalahertikannya.”

“Maksud kamu?” Tanya YB J yang masih belum jelas lagi.

Bergantung

“Yalah, ia bergantung pada mata yang memandang. Bukan sahaja di kalangan orang Melayu, tetapi di kalangan bukan Melayu. YB kena ingat di kalangan bukan Melayu pun bukan semuanya menerima politik baru Malaysia baru YB. Kalau tidak masakan parti satu kaum seperti Parti Orang Cina (POC) masih boleh bertahan.”

“Apa maksud kamu. Saya tidak begitu jelas?”

“Yalah bagi YB perjuangan YB adalah pelbagai kaum. Tetapi dalam tindak tanduk, perjuangan pelbagai kaum YB itu tidak tertonjol. YB mahu menghapuskan tulisan jawi dan ganti dengan tulisan Cina . Bagi mereka itu bukan perjuangan pelbagai kaum. Ia perjuangan satu kaum. Kalau benar pelbagai kaum, YB patut mempertahankan tulisan jawi.” Ahmad memberanikan diri untuk memberikan pandangannya.

Mengesan bosnya ingin mendengar pandangannya lagi, Ahmad berkata: “Patutnya kalau YB benar-benar ingin menjadi pejuang pelbagai kaum, kepentingan orang Melayu jangan diketepikan sewaktu mengetengahkan kepentingan kaum Cina. YB perjuangkan kepentingan kedua-duanya sekali. Penerimaannya saya pasti berbeza. YB akan dilihat sebagai mahu menjaga kepentingan kaum YB, tetapi pada waktu yang sama tidak menafikan hak orang Melayu.”

Itu perjuangan POM dan POC, dengus YB J di dalam hatinya. Bosan aku dengan Si Ahmad ini, dia berkata sendirian. Aku penganjur politik baru dan tidak mahu terikat dengan kerangka politik lama, katanya lagi kepada dirinya.

Perbualan YB J dengan pemandunya habis di situ sahaja. Dia tidak mahu lagi mendengar pandangan karut pemandunya. Dia mahu terus melayan perasaan: Aku percaya pada Politik Baru Malaysia Baru, tegas YB J pada dirinya. Setiap warganegara, tanpa mengira apa keturunan mereka patut diberi hak yang sama mengikut undang-undang. Tidak ada bangsa yang patut diberi layanan istimewa. Tidak ada warga yang patut diberi darjat atau kelas kedua. Kita semua orang Malaysia.

YB J enggan melayan Ahmad lagi. Sebaliknya, dia membelek akhbar Utusan Malaysia yang secara rasmi diboikot oleh partinya. Perhatiannya tertumpu pada artikel berjudul Jangan Padam Rekod Negara yang ditulis oleh seorang generasi muda Cina yang menolak tesis politik baru Malaysia baru.

Ah, satu lagi propaganda yang memperlekehkan kaum aku, dengus hati YB J. Jangan-

jangan yang menulis artikel ini orang Melayu. Mereka masih menganggap kaum aku sebagai berketurunan pendatang. Tidak guna punya generasi baru. Dengus YB J. Bisik hatinya lagi: Betullah dulu nenek moyang aku berhijrah ke bumi bertuah ini untuk mencari kekayaan, membebaskan diri mereka daripada kemiskinan dan keperitan hidup di China. Itu dulu. Generasi Cina sekarang sudah menjadi warganegara Malaysia dan mereka hendaklah dilayan seperti warganegara Malaysia..

Dikejutkan

Sedang YB J asyik dengan lamunannya, dia dikejutkan dengan suara pemandunya yang memaklumkan, “Kita sudah sampai YB.”

Menunggu dia di luar ialah para penganjur dialog yang bakal berlangsung. Salah seorang daripada mereka membuka pintu kereta YB J, bersalaman dengannya dan memperkenalkannya dengan ahli jawatankuasa penganjur yang lain. Diiringi oleh mereka, YB J dibawa ke pentas. Menurut kiraannya ada 500 orang di dalam dewan pagi itu. Dia bangga dengan kehadiran begitu ramai anak bangsanya yang ingin bertemu dengannya. Apa yang lebih membanggakan YB J ialah mereka belajar luar negara dengan biayai sendiri, bukannya bantuan kerajaan.

Selepas ucapan-ucapan aluan oleh pengerusi penganjur selesai, YB J dijemput untuk memberi ucapannya. Inilah detik-detik yang ditunggu-tunggu oleh YB J. Gagasan politik baru Malaysia barunya akan dihebahkan kepada dunia bebas. Dia teringat buku Kee Thuan Chye yang berjudul 8 Mac The Day Malaysian Woke Up. Momentum rakyat Malaysia atau lebih tepat lagi warga bukan Melayu Malaysia yang sudah jaga dari lena itu mesti ditingkatkan. Pagi itu dia berazam untuk berbuat demikian.

Tetapi tanpa diketahui oleh YB J, di kalangan 500 orang generasi muda yang hadir pada pagi itu ada yang tidak setuju dengan pandangan politiknya itu. Salah seorang daripada mereka berazam untuk membetulkan penyimpangan politik YB J dengan caranya yang tersendiri.

Apabila YB J bangun untuk menuju ke rostrum ucapan, seorang anak muda dari belakang pentas berjalan tenang menuju ke arahnya. YB J tersenyum kepadanya. Dia menyangka anak muda seketurunan dengannya ingin mengiringinya ke rostrum atau bersalaman dengannya.

YB J menghulurkan tangan. Tiba-tiba YB J tergaman dan berdiri kaku. Dia tidak percaya dengan apa yang dilihatnya. Tergenggam erat pada tangan anak muda yang seolah-olah mahu membalas salam tangan yang dihulur itu ialah sepucuk pistol jenis Revolver yang betul-betul diajukan ke arah dada YB J.

Tanpa berkata apa-apa, anak muda itu melepaskan beberapa das tembakan. Salah satu daripadanya tepat mengenai jantung YB J. Dia rebah ke lantai.

Para hadirin menjadi panik. Mereka yang berada di atas pentas turut tergamam melihat apa yang berlaku. Kejadian menjadi hiruk-pikuk dan tidak terkawal. Pihak penganjur yang tidak menduga kejadian malang itu berlaku, tidak tahu berbuat apa-apa. Beberapa orang anggota polis berpakaian preman yang menjadi tetamu yang tidak diundang dalam majlis itu, meluru ke arah pentas. Rakan-rakan mereka yang berpakaian seragam yang berkawal di luar juga bergegas masuk ke dewan.

Tetapi belum sempat mereka berbuat apa-apa, kedengaran beberapa das tembakan lagi. Kali ini yang rebah adalah anak muda itu sendiri.

Apabila pihak polis tiba di tempat kejadian, kedua-dua mereka - YB J dan anak muda yang berpakaian kemas itu, sudah tidak lagi bernyawa.

Sewaktu pemeriksaan dibuat ke atas mayat anak muda yang tidak dikenali itu, terselit sehelai nota yang ditaip rapi, ditulis dalam bahasa Kebangsaan.

Ia berbunyi: YB Josephine adalah ancaman terhadap keharmonian. Lebih baik riwayatnya ditamatkan supaya masyarakat berbilang kaum boleh tinggal aman damai di negara bertuah ini. Saya berkorban untuk masa depan.

(I lambasted Mingguan Malaysia and Datuk Chamil Wariya for this irresponsible piece of literary licence for inciting the killing of Teresa Kok during my budget speech in Parliament today.

(I asked what would be the reaction of UMNO and BN MPs if the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister had been similarly targetted like Teresa in a cerpen like in Chamil’s irresponsible short story.)

Samy's Injunction Against Tamil Daily And Four Others Lift

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 (Bernama) -- The High Court here today dismissed an injunction obtained by MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu restraining the Tamil daily, Malaysia Nanban, and three others from publishing further alleged libellous articles about him.

Counsel for the four defendants, S. Arumugam, told reporters that Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat dismissed the injunction with costs in chambers on grounds that Samy Vellu had failed to satisfy the court on why he needed the injunction.


The other three defendants are the daily's editor, M. Maryanandy, journalist M. Yogalinggam and printer Aslita Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhie, Tengku Maimun allowed another defendant, former Klang MIC division chief P. Thiagarasan's application to lift the interim injunction obtained by Samy Vellu on Aug 1 which restrained him from publishing further alleged libellous articles about him, until the disposal of his suit.

The court fixed Dec 17 to hear submissions from both sides on a permanent injunction.

Samy Vellu filed a suit against the five on July 3 seeking RM10 million in damages for libel and other reliefs deemed fit by the court. In his statement of claim, he said Yogalinggam had written an article published in the daily on June 25 which contained libellous elements which had damaged his reputation among the Indian community and affected his credibility and good name. Yogalinggam, Maryanandy, Penerbitan Sahabat and Aslita Sdn Bhd, in their statements of defence, said that they had no specific knowledge of the whole content of the statement in the article except that it was made in an interview with Yogalingam.

They claimed qualified privilege, saying that the article was printed and published bona fide and with no malice.

-- BERNAM

Police To Meet Karpal Singh Over Statement On Probe Into Johor Assemblyman's Mur

JOHOR BAHARU, Oct 14 (Bernama) -- A Johor police officer is to meet with lawyer Karpal Singh over the latter's reported statement on the police investigation into the murder of former Tenggaroh state assemblyman Datuk S. Krishnasamy.

Johor Chief Police Officer Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said today Johor police legal officer DSP Kalwan Singh would meet with the Member of Parliament for Bukit Gelugor soon.


He said Kalwan Singh would obtain verification from Karpal Singh on his reported statement on Oct 7 that Krishnasamy's murder was politically motivated and that he would raise the case in parliament.

"If Karpal (Singh) says his statement is correct as reported in the media, then we will record a statement from Karpal (Singh) to assist police in the investigation into the murder," he told reporters at the Johor police headquarters.

At the news conference held by Karpal Singh, Krishnasamy's family had asked for an in-depth probe into the murder and stated that the case had not been settled even nine months after the murder and after police had hauled up several suspects.

The 61-year-old Krishnasamy was found dead in a lift at the Johor MIC building in Jalan Segget here on Jan 11 with a gunshot wound below his left eyebrow.

A man was seen leaving the area on a motorcycle after the then Johor MIC deputy chairman was shot at 2.10 pm.

Mohd Mokhtar said the police had picked up 13 people and recorded 56 statements in their investigation into the case.

"We have been doing our work. I ask anyone who has information to come forward to help in the investigation," he said.

-- BERNAMA

18-24 months global recession likely - and stagnation?

It looks as if we are staring at a 18-24 month global recession, at the very least - no thanks to the greed that was on display in Wall Street and among global capitalists, financial institutions and commodity speculators until recently.

The latest stock market rally on Wall Street is likely to be temporary as the underlying problems are still there. Drastic measures by central banks world-wide are needed to prevent a financial meltdown and a long period of stagnation like what happened in Japan. Already, such measures have been initiated in Europe and the US, but will they be enough to contain a further slide and an even longer stagnation?

The damage has been done, says economist Nouriel Roubini:

… major sources of future stress in the financial system remain; these include the risk of a CDS market blowout, the collapse of hundreds of hedge funds, the rising troubles of many insurance companies, the risk that other systemically important financial institutions are insolvent and in need of expensive rescue programs, the risk that some significant emerging market economies and some advanced ones too (Iceland) will experience a severe financial crisis, the ongoing process of deleveraging in illiquid financial markets that will continue the vicious circle of falling asset prices, margin calls, further deleveraging and further sales in illiquid markets that continues the cascading fall in asset prices, further downside risks to housing and to home prices.

A big problem now is that consumer spending has dropped drastically in the US and elsewhere. To solve this, greater government spending is required to benefit ordinary people, adds Roubini:

Since the private sector is not spending and since the first fiscal stimulus plan (tax rebates for households and tax incentives to firms) miserably failed as households and firms are saving rather than spending and investing it is necessary now to boost directly public consumption of goods and services via a massive spending program (a $300 bn fiscal stimulus): the federal government should have a plan to immediately spend in infrastructures and in new green technologies; also unemployment benefits should be sharply increased together with a targeted tax rebates only for lower income households at risk; and federal block grants should be given to state and local government to boost their infrastructure spending (roads, sewer systems, etc.). If the private sector does not spend and/or cannot spend old fashioned traditional Keynesian spending by the government is necessary. It is true that we are already having large and growing budget deficits; but $300 bn of public works is more effective and productive than spending $700 bn to buy toxic assets. If such fiscal stimulus plan is not rapidly implemented any improvement in the financial conditions of financial institution that the rescue plans will provide will be undermined – in a matter of six months – with an even sharper drop of aggregate demand that will make an already severe recession even more severe. So a fiscal stimulus plan is essential to restore – on a sustained basis – the viability and solvency of many impaired financial institutions. If Main Street goes bust in the next six months rescuing in the short run Wall Street will still lead Wall Street to go bust again as the real economy implodes further.

Might I add, if we spend on infrastructure, make sure it is environmentally friendly infrastructure that will really benefit the working class: public transport, government hospitals, schools in rural areas, rural bridges, ferries, sustainable/organic farming - and not white elephant or environmentally unsustainable projects.

The global economy is in a huge mess thanks to the high-flying corporate vultures and “business friendly” and “deregulation” policies, which largely benefited the elite and the wealthy. How East Asia is affected will depend very much on what kind of impact the global recession will have on China.

So far our standard traditional response in Malaysia when confronted with economic challenges has been to go scouring the globe in search of export-oriented “foreign investors” in the hope they can wave their magic wand and save us from doom and gloom. Christopher Wood, writing in Far Eastern Economic Review, says Asian governments must react constructively:

It is important that Asian policy makers—and most particularly Beijing—respond to the shock of the slowdown in U.S. consumption in a constructive way. This means increasing efforts to move their economies away from excessive reliance on export-led growth. If they react in the opposite way, and engage in competitive devaluations as they see their foreign-exchange reserves decline, they will only succeed in delaying the long-overdue rebalancing of their export-driven economies and could spark a global trade war.

Yes, move away from excessive reliance on export-led growth. We don’t have to look far to see what happens if we are too exposed to the vagaries of the global economic order: Singapore is already in recession.

It is time to focus on reconstructing and restructuring our domestic economy so that we become self-reliant, self-sustaining and capable of weathering the gathering storm around us.

PETROL AND DIESEL PRICES REDUCED EFFECTIVE MIDNIGHT

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad announced today from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah that the Prime Minister Department has decided that petrol and diesel will be reduced and for petrol RON97 will cost 15 sen less at RM2.30 per litre, while petrol RON92 will be 10 sen cheaper at RM2.20, while diesel will cost 20 sen less at RM2.20 a litre effective midnight.

This is the third reduction since the 41 per cent hike in petrol price to RM2.70 (from RM1.92) on June 5. The price of crude oil has fallen from a high of US$147 to US$83.73 a barrel due to concerns over the global financial crisis.
The oil price adjustments may be decided outside the cabinet to speed up the process and make sure the benefit is passed down to consumers as soon as possible.

Malaysiakini : MCMC bans live telecast of MCA debate

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has banned the live telecast on ntv7 the debate between two aspirants MCA deputy president candidates, Donald Lim and Chua Soi Lek tonight.

The debate was scheduled to take place at the Nanyang Siang Pau auditorium in Kelana Jaya at 8.30pm tonight.

In a statement ntv7 claim that the debate will be recorded and submitted to the Censorship Board for approval for telecast at a later date while apologising to their viewers and all parties involved in the organising of this project.

It was also noted that ntv7 did not elaborate the reason for the ban.

news n photo courtesy of Malaysiakini