| ‘Syed Hamid can declare Hindraf illegal if he wishes but an organisation does not live or die at the whim of the government. They live and die by the will of the people.'|
On Gov't declares Hindraf an illegal organisation
Vetrivel: This is a Deepavalli gift for the Indians from BN after giving them a heartbreak last year.
BN is lucky as Hindraf follows Gandhi's peaceful ahimsa (non-violence) way but even then Hindraf is demonised and made to look as pure evil terrorists though everyone knows better.
If they were a terrorist group do you think their struggle will be peaceful and full of love while abiding by the laws of the land?
The Hindraf leaders are the only ones keeping the community in check after Indian families were beaten, mothers and children were tear-gassed and after baton sticks were used on grandfathers on that fateful day in history as the community stood in the streets like beggars only to be kicked and pushed further away.
From the first tear gas fired, the Hindraf leaders have taken responsibility for the community and for that some are in ISA and another is in self exile.
Indeed, BN is lucky, the intellectuals guiding the community are using all peaceful methods to move but how patient can this community be? Only time will tell.
Spirit Fox: Syed Hamid can declare Hindraf illegal if he wishes but an organisation does not live or die at the whim of the government. Like governments are supposed to - but in Malaysia, do not - organisations live and die by the will of the people.
An organization that loses credibility, no matter how much official backing it receives, can no more sustain itself than a man can live without food. It can just squeak along for a few months. But in the end, it dies a natural and ignominious death.
The alternative is an organisation that, while officially illegal, retains its credibility as a vehicle for the aspirations of the people. Such an organisation can survive indefinitely in a multitude of forms despite the harshest repression.
Witness the PLO and its struggle against the Zionist regime or the wartime Edelweiss Pirates against the odious apparatus of the Third Reich. These organisations can be declared illegal, their members hunted and hounded.
But they survive so long as they continue to embody the spirit and goals of the populace.
Syed Hamid can continue to blather but if the majority do not wish him to succeed, he cannot succeed. This would entail the endurance of the resistance - for all their empty strength, the government still has brute force at its beck and call - but I have no doubt that if the people are strong and willing, the government will fail.
Then Syed Hamid will have plenty of time to contemplate the words of a wise man, written over two centuries ago - that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed.
As for me, I have a little Hindraf flag which I got from our September 27 outing. I will wave that banner proudly until which time Syed Hamid sees fit to revoke this illegal and fatuous ruling or when the sinister agents of this fascist government pry it from my fingers.
Millionth Citizen: Do not think we are born yesterday, Syed Hamid. We can see and are used to seeing you and your cronies trying to divert our attention from the helicopter scandal -good try.
We can smell it coming a mile away. If you think what Hindraf did was wrong, by comparison, more of BN cronies should be in jail now. Correct Syed?
Marginalised: Mr Syed Hamid Albar, I'm very convinced that you never think. Let me tell you this. Your action is as good as banning the Indians.
And the conclusion is BN has now lost almost all of the Indian Malaysians' votes. Let's see what is the MIC's role in this. Pakatan, I would like to see your response too.
Crazy Nutty: If Hindraf is only now an illegal organisation, why put the Hindraf leaders under ISA last year?
Syed Hamid Albar's talk doesn't make sense. All Malaysians should judge for themselves what type of leaders we are having.
Simply putting people under the ISA. Shall we put him under the ISA instead?
Just World: Hindraf folks, continue with your struggle (for Malaysias democracy). Ban or no ban, do what is right for all Malaysians.
Just change your name to ‘Hindraf Baru' (like what Mahathir did to Umno did in 1988 - from Umno to Umno Baru).
John Johnson: Just wonderful, the home minister has done it again. He has decided that Hindraf is an illegal society. When are we going to wake up?
Here is a society that is only fighting for the rights of the marginalised Indians and this minister wants to ban it. His reasons? It is an ‘illegal' society and it is a ‘threat' to the nation. ...
What rubbish. These people are only fighting for equality, justice and equal opportunities. If the home minister is going to continue in this way, it is time to replace him.
He has stuck his foot in his own mouth at every opportunity he gets and he is actually an embarrassment to us all.
Sang Kancil: Syed Hamid Albar has made another stupid mistake by banning Hindraf. The government has labelled Hindraf as ‘racist', ‘terrorist' and regarded this group of innocent Malaysians as a ‘national threat'.
I put it to Syed Hamid, that you are the primary threat to national security. Umno is the most racist party in the world. Umno practices discriminatory laws. Umno leaders are confused between Umno, Malays, Utusan Malaysia and Islam.
That is the reason why Umno's Cheras Division has launched a fund called Tabung Azan. They claim that a case against Utusan Malaysia is humiliating Islam. How can this be?
challenge you Syed Hamid to sacked the Umno Cheras division chief.
On Hindraf's exiled leader lashes out at ban
Aiyaphaa: Yes, I too agree - the government's decision to ban the movement as a cowardly act. My only message is this:
To my belief, what was the first reason why BN fared very badly in the recent elections? Answer?: Hindraf
And why? Their huge demonstration opened not only many eyes of the Indians eye but also th eyes of many others.
And with this ban, does the government think they have solved the problem? The frustration will only increase
Friday, October 17, 2008
He said this in a written reply to Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali (PAS - Titiwangsa).
In a written reply in parliament to Dr Lo’ Lo’ of PAS, Syed Hamid said the beat base was located in a "dirty" area where there was a possibility of being exposed to contagious diseases. " The presence of criminals also posed a threat to the safety of police officers," he said.
Dr Mohd Hatta of PAS then suggested that Syed Hamid resign "if he is worried about the safety of police in that area. Maybe it would be better to put the beat base in army barracks,” he said. “The police are there to make a place safe. If they themselves are scared and run away, then how can we hope for others to want to be there?"
He adds, “And what is this about contagious diseases on Jalan Haji Taib? The only kind of contagious diseases that are present there are sexually-transmitted ones. Is the minister scared that his charges will contract such diseases?"
He probably never heard of "safe sex" either.
Read also my friend Shar101's take on this, here.
THE police are practising double standards when they deal with reports lodged by the public, Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh) stated in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
She said the police did not take long to haul her up under the Internal Security Act purely on rumours and malicious reporting.
"They never called me to the police station to question me. Instead, they arrested me under the ISA," she said during the debate on the budget.
However, she said, the reports she had lodged against Utusan Malaysia remained just that, while another report by Dr Maria Mahmood (Pas-Kota Raja) against the former Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo was gathering dust.
"What is the status of these reports? Are they going to investigate them?"
Kok touched on the controversial "YB J" short story published in Mingguan Malaysia last weekend. In the story, YB J, the principal character, is a politician who takes a stand against Islam and is shot at a political gathering.
The story is alleged to mirror events surrounding Kok's recent problem with the authorities.
She called on the Home Ministry to haul up the publisher for inciting violence.
"We know who it is aimed at despite scepticism from one BN MP (Datuk Bung Moktar Radin).
"The article asked for me to be shot and encourages violence against an MP."
Kok called for action against the writer, Datuk Chamil Wariya.
"A show-cause letter should be issued," she said.- nst
Azamin Amin, Harakah
Kerajaan digesa menubuhkan satu Suruhanjaya Diraja bagi menyiasat segala dakwaan dan tuduhan terhadap calon Perdana Menteri, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Ahli Parlimen Ipoh Timur, Lim Kit Siang berkata, negara dan rakyat tidak mahu mempunyai sorang Perdana Menteri yang menjadi bahan bualan dan ketawa masyarakat antarabangsa terhadap tuduhan yang belum lagi dibersihkan oleh beliau sendiri mahupun kerajaan sedia ada.
Katanya, tidak pernah berlaku dalam sejarah seorang Timbalan Perdana Menteri yang bakal memimpin negara mempunyai tuduhan sebanyak itu malahan segala dakwaan terhadapnya dianggap menakutkan.
"Mahukah kita ada seorang Perdana Menteri apabila menghadiri sidang antarabangsa menjadi objek ketawa, objek whisper (bisikan).
"Oh, itu orang terlibat dengan pembunuhan Mongolian Altantuya. Itu orang adalah commission submarine Scorpene. Itu adalah terlibat dengan komisen Sukhoi. Kita mahu ini dibersihkan,"tegasnya sewaktu membahaskan Rang Undang-undang Perbekalan 2009 (bajet)di dewan rakyat baru-baru ini.
Beliau di samping itu, turut mencabar ahli-ahli parlimen Barisan Nasional (BN) supaya bersetuju untuk menubuhkan suruhanjaya terbabit bagi membersihkan imej Najib sekaligus mengundang rasa hormat terhadap bakal Perdana Menteri itu.
"Kita mahu mengadakan siasatan terbuka royal commission enquiry terhadap segala tuduhan yang dibuat terhadap Timbalan Perdana Menteri supaya apabila beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri kita semua boleh merasa bangga ada seorang Perdana Menteri yang bersih seratus peratus atau sebaliknya," katanya.
Penasihat DAP itu juga turut mencadangkan supaya Parlimen membenarkan masa yang panjang untuk membahasakan isu nama baik Najib yang juga merangkapa Menteri Kewangan itu."Ini sangat serius. Sebab sebenarnya kita patut ada sesi satu atau dua hari untuk perbahasan satu perkara sahaja. Nama baik Dato' Seri Haji Mohd Najib. Nama baik dia. Sepatutnya full day debate bukan sesingkat ini," katanya.
Life would have been a lot safer for some people if Alexander Graham Bell had never invented that thing called the telephone. And if no one had come up with this modern day thing everyone calls the sms.
Najib and Shafee would agree.
Najib as good as admitted that the sms’s are for real when he said they were a private matter. In that process he fucked the fix-it-if-the-price-is-right hotshot lawyer as well. Now this Shaf-ted lawyer does not know where to hide his face. He’s told those who are still prepared to be seen with him that he’s not going to answer any more calls from dungu Najib.
Najib doesn’t give a fuck about losing this overpriced shyster, though. No, he’s got other things to worry about.
Sure, Badawi has announced that come March next year, he’s going to hand over the prime minister’s job to Najib. But Najib’s boys have reported back to him that Badawi’s not finished with Najib yet. No, Badawi is not to be trusted. Najib’s boys have picked up a strong scent of Najib’s dirt that Badawi’s boys are unleashing, bit by bit, so that come March Najib will be history.
Actually, Badawi’s announcement that he would not run for president of UMNO in March and would hand over the prime minister’s job to Najib then shocked his inner circle of friends and business cronies, including Kali-M- Ular, Kee Yong Wee and Idris, all of whom had seen Badawi just days before and had persuaded Badawi to stay on and fight. Well, they thought they had persuaded Badawi.
Actually they had. And Badawi had said he would fight. But as has happened many times of late, every time Badawi meets up with Najib with the intention of telling Najib that he can dream about ever becoming prime minister, Badawi seems to chicken out. And people have begun to ask whether this is because Najib’s dirt on Badawi is more potent than the dirt that Badawi has on Najib.
Actually that potent thing that Najib had over Badawi was this fella called Guruji who has now gone AWOL.
No, Najib’s not worried that the Shaf-ted one won’t take his calls or that Badawi’s boys are going to let loose all the dirt they have on him. But Najib’s really shit-scared now because he needs Guruji to work his magic for him and neutralize all his enemies.
Remember just before polling day in Permatang Pauh, Malaysia Today broke the story of Najib being ‘Muslim by birth, Hindu in practise ’, complete with the statutory declaration of Thagarajoo a/l Thangavelu, detailing out how both Najib and Rosmah were faithfully partaking in Hindu rituals?
Guruji is the ‘Mr Ji’ mentioned in Thagarajoo’s sd.
Yes, Guruji, Najib’s faith healer, spiritual leader and voodoo master, is nowhere to be found. He’s been packed off back to Chennai in India and Najib’s only just found out that all the hexes, spells and charms that Guruji cast on Badawi and several others were broken when Guruji crossed over the Indian Ocean enroute to Chennai.
Turns out that Guruji’s own sifu in Chennai found out that his protégé was abusing the powers that sifu had imparted and had summoned Guruji back. Guruji left without a word to Najib or Rosmah.
Actually, Guruji couldn’t have said a word to Najib or Rosmah before leaving. He doesn’t speak a word of English or Malay and neither of them speak Tamil. And so they’ve always had to communicate with the aid of intermediaries.
One of those intermediaries is Kenneth Eswaran, who’s already mentioned of in Thagarajoo’s sd.
The other, a woman, is very close to Rosmah.
Actually, it was Rosmah who first sought the services of Guruji. She told close friends that her nasi kangkang was no longer having the desired effect on Najib and C4 is not always readily available. However, both Rosmah and Najib are now so obsessed with Guruji’s powers and will not make any major decisions without first consulting him and getting him to work his magic. Until Guruji disappeared, not a single day went by when Najib and Rosmah were not in contact with Guruji through the intermediaries.
Now how do you suppose they kept in constant contact with Guruji?
You guessed it! That thing called the telephone!
Lots and lots of phones! Lots and lots of calls! And lots and lots of sms’s!
Okay, here’s the deal. I’ll match each little bit of dirt on Najib that Badawi’s boys roll out with a little bit of detail of my own.
ALSO READ: Najib: Muslim by birth, Hindu by practice
• Rulers: Don't question Malay rights
Following is the press statement in full issued by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Engku Tan Sri Ibrahim Engku Ngah.
OCT 17 - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi could be out of office by December and his plans to push through several important reforms for Malaysia could end up stillborn.
Unless… unless he summons from somewhere the spirit and ability to fight off a new campaign by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other senior Umno officials to get him to step down earlier than the March transition date.
The Umno vice-president flagged off the push by saying that he did not agree with the pushing back party elections from December to March.
“The campaign period is the longest in years and has never happened before. We will be on the campaign trail for four months compared to one month previously. All this because we want to accommodate the so-called transition plan," he said.
When asked whether it would be better to bring forward the Umno elections from March 2009, he played coy, saying that he would leave the matter to Abdullah and Datuk Seri Najib Razak to decide.
Abdullah’s supporters expected his political enemies in Umno to agitate for his early removal even though Najib, Muhyiddin and the rest of the Umno Supreme Council endorsed the March transition plan. They warned Abdullah that as soon as he made public his intention not to defend the party president’s position, there would be a move to shorten the transition period from March to December or January.
They cautioned him that several senior Umno leaders were uninterested and even alarmed by his desire to reform the judiciary and strengthen the Anti-Corruption Agency, believing that strengthening the institutions would undermine Umno.
But Abdullah – either because he was weighed down by the constant speculation over his future or because he genuinely feared that contesting the party polls could split Umno – still went ahead and announced on Oct 8 that he would not defend his party president’s position.
Even as late as last week, government officials told him that he had only one or two months to push through his reforms before the conservative forces in Umno pushed him out.
Now his supporters and some government officials worry that Najib will once again talk about a groundswell of discontent against the transition plan and persuade him to stand down earlier.
Will he fight to stay on to complete the reforms? Privately, he has said that he wants to ensure that, before he retires, the Judicial Appointments Commission is set up; the Anti-Corruption Commission is formed and legislation on the special tribunal on enforcement agencies is passed by Parliament.
Work has been going on behind the scenes to speed up the drafting of legislation covering these reforms.
But this is the reality: his power and standing in Umno weakens by the day. The party warlords and some ministers, born and bred on the concept of power and patronage, are deserting him. They know that there is little that he can do to influence their wealth or political fortunes.
Worse yet, they are not interested in his reforms. Against this backdrop, what are the odds on Abdullah fighting the “party momentum” and staying on until March? Slim to none.Unless… unless he takes his platform of reform outside Umno and makes the Opposition and Malaysian public his allies. Abdullah versus Umno - now that's an interesting proposition. But time is not on his side.-themalaysianinsider
OKT 17 — Tidak ada sesiapa yang perlu mempertikaikan kontrak sosial antara kaum yang telah mewujudkan Malaysia merdeka lebih 50 tahun lalu. Ia adalah tolak ansur yang telah diterima ramai sejak lebih setengah abad.
Oleh itu, keputusan mesyuarat Majlis Raja-Raja ke-215 yang meminta semua pihak tidak mempertikaikan kontrak sosial adalah pengulangan pendirian wajar yang telah pun dipersetujui bersama antara kaum. Memang ia patut disokong.
Namun, apa yang dipersoalkan selama ini adalah penyalahgunaan tafsiran dan penyelewengan kontrak berkenaan yang mempunyai kaitan rapat dengan Perkara 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan berhubung keistimewaan Melayu.
Malah, Prof Diraja Dr Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid pernah membangkitkan isu itu apabila beliau menyatakan istilah "kontrak sosial" dalam konteks politik hari ini digunakan oleh ahli-ahli politik untuk kepentingan mereka.
Dalam satu forum pada Mei lalu, tokoh akademik itu menjelaskan kontrak itu sebenarnya justifikasi kepada tindakan afirmatif untuk membantu golongan miskin memperolehi peluang dalam beberapa bidang termasuk pendidikan.
Dalam hal ini, apa yang dimaksudkan oleh Majlis Raja-Raja ialah menghormati Perlembagaan kerana ia adalah persetujuan bersama bapa-bapa Merdeka dalam usaha mewujudkan sebuah negara berdaulat pada 1957.
Tetapi hari ini apabila kontrak sosial dibangkitkan di celah-celah kemelut politik, ia lebih jelas menjurus kepada permainan politik kaum. Agenda ini sering digunakan oleh Umno sebagai tulang belakang parti pemerintah Barisan Nasional untuk menolak kritikan terhadap kelemahan pentadbiran kerajaan.
Apa yang berlaku selama ini adalah parti-parti pembangkang, malah parti-parti komponen BN sendiri telah mempertikaikan penyalahgunaan kuasa, penyelewengan dan diskriminasi kaum oleh pimpinan Umno, dan bukannya mengkritik Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Namun untuk mengalih pandangan rakyat, terutamanya orang Melayu, Umno sering berselinding di sebalik kontrak sosial sebagaimana yang dijelaskan oleh Ungku Aziz, agar tidak ada sesiapa yang berani mara untuk menentang "lembu suci" itu.
Inilah masalah yang sering dihadapi oleh pengkritik-pengkritik Umno, termasuk pemimpin politik Melayu dari pelbagai parti lain. Dengan bertopengkan perkauman, kepimpinan Umno telah menggunakan manipulasi politik untuk menjerat sesiapa sahaja yang menegur mereka dengan menyorong ke arah kontrak sosial.
Mesej Umno mudah sahaja — mengkritik Umno bererti mencabar kontrak sosial, dan ini membawa maksud menentang Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Sedangkan rekod penyelewengan dan manipulasi Umno terhadap kontrak sosial dan Perlembagaan telah menjalar jauh ke dalam masyarakat sehingga menimbulkan barah perkauman; menyemai rasa benci antara kaum.
Yang tragis, ada juga pemimpin Melayu dalam Parti Keadilan Rakyat dan Pas yang terperangkap dengan politik perkauman Melayu ciptaan Umno sehinggakan slogan Ketuanan Rakyat — keadilan untuk semua kaum dan agama — seolah-olah diketepikan atas nama perpaduan Melayu.
Apakah ini bermakna Ketuanan Rakyat — sebagai alternatif kepada Ketuanan Melayu — yang dilaungkan oleh Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan lenyap ditenggelami politik perkauman Umno?
Walaupun PKR, Pas dan DAP meraikan kemenangan tsunami politik Mac 8, semangat perkauman di kalangan rakyat masih menebal. Anwar seolah-olah semakin hilang pengaruh di segi membanteras ketuanan kaum kerana selain DAP, dua lagi parti sahabat Pakatan Rakyat lebih banyak berdiam diri apabila berdepan dengan isu-isu berasaskan Melayu.
Sehinggakan Pas yang melaungkan slogan Islam Untuk Semua turut merasa bersalah apabila dicabar Umno berhubung keistimewaan orang Melayu. Apakah pemimpin-pemimpin Pas sendiri tidak yakin dengan ideologi agama mereka sehingga tunduk dengan tekanan perkauman?
Jika ini berlarutan, usaha Pakatan Rakyat untuk membentuk masyarakat baru yang lebih bertolak ansur dan muhibah yang beteraskan keadilan akan berkubur begitu sahaja dibawa arus perkauman.
Kaum bukan Melayu sudah lama akur dengan pendirian Raja-Raja bahawa mereka tidak perlu "khuatir dan bimbang dengan hak-hak sah mereka tersebut telah dijamin mengikut Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan peruntukan-peruntukan yang terkandung dalam Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri-negeri di Malaysia yang termaktub dalam Perkara 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan" kerana ia sememangnya telah terjamin.
Namun yang dipersoalkan ialah muslihat Umno dalam manipulasinya untuk memastikan ketegangan kaum sentiasa di tahap yang tinggi. Selagi masyarakat Malaysia syak wasangka antara satu sama lain, Umno akan tetap relevan kerana kekuatannya bergantung kepada politik kaum.
Apabila kaum-kaum di Malaysia merasakan perbezaan warna kulit dan agama bukan lagi perkara penting yang boleh memisahkan tali silaturahim mereka, ia akan menjadi berita buruk buat Umno.
Tetapi Umno tetap gagah hari ini. Dan ini bererti politik perkauman masih menjadi pilihan ramai, termasuk kalangan tertentu dari parti-parti pembangkang Melayu. Apakah Ketuanan Rakyat akan kecundang di tangan Ketuanan Melayu?
UPDATE 2By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — The MCA will continue to back Umno as chairman of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
But outgoing MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai says a deputy chairman’s post should be created for the party.
“We support Umno to chair the BN. But we can add another deputy chairman so that one is filled by a leader from the MCA.”
He said this in his speech at the opening of the 45th MCA Youth General Assembly.
Stating that the March 8 general election showed that voters wanted political stability and racial harmony, he said that the BN needed to revise its structure.
“The structure must ensure that the position, importance and representation of all component parties are suitable.
“We understand the desire for reforms among voters. The ‘siege mentality’ that has always existed is no longer suitable,” he said.
Liow, who is running for vice-president in the party elections, added that the MCA has worked with other BN component parties since independence and has always contributed to the spirit and principle of multiracial cooperation.
His stand appears to be a reflection of pressure from party grassroots for a more assertive MCA within the BN framework.
The pressure towards a more vocal MCA stems from the party’s poor performance in the March general election.
Reform has become the catchphrase in the party’s election campaign, and various candidates have been scurrying to represent such a goal.
At a press conference later, Liow was asked if he was suggesting two deputy prime ministers as well.
“Let's reform BN first, then the government. One step at a time,” he said.
Quizzed on whether this would result in other parties such as the MIC or those from Sabah and Sarawak asking for a deputy chairman’s post as well or a rotation system among BN component parties, he clarified that his suggestion was aimed at starting reforms and other suggestions could be studied later.
“Based on the components, the MCA is the second largest party in the BN,” he said to explain this first step.
MCA deputy president Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, who will be retiring tomorrow, said the suggestion was “appropriate and timely” as “there is no hard and fast rule that says Umno must take up all the senior posts.”
He added that the suggestion was not without precedent, citing Tan Sri Michael Chen’s tenure as secretary-general when the BN was founded in 1974.
“The top leadership in the BN should look at this seriously if they want to have meaningful power-sharing,” he concluded.
BN and Umno Youth chairman Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein accepted that the suggestion was made in “the right spirit” of wanting to revitalise the coalition but that it needed to be discussed by the top leadership.
“There have been a lot of suggestions but we must ensure that the understanding and respect between components is maintained,” he told reporters after attending the opening of the MCA Youth General Assembly.
“It is not for BN Youth to decide,” he said, adding that this was the first time he had heard such a suggestion.
Also present was his counterpart from the People’s Progressive Party, T. Murugiah, who said he supported the suggestion “100 per cent”.
“But I would like to further suggest that there be three deputy chairmen,” he said.
He explained that one would be a Bumiputera, another a Chinese and the third one from the Indian community.
He also used the term “deputy prime minister” in describing his suggestion.
(Bravo Terence of the Sun, the first journalist to speak up against the irresponsible incitement for a culture of hatred, violence and terrorism in Malaysian politics - Chamil Wariya’s inexcusable, intolerable and unacceptable attack on MP for Seputeh and Selangor Senior Exco Teresa Kok in Chamil’s cerpen Politik baru YB J published in Mingguan Malaysia on Sunday. Terence has given me hope that all is not lost among Malaysian journalists, that there are still many honest and honourable newspaper men and women in the country)
Friday October 17 2008
by Terence Fernandez
IT IS uncommon for newspapers, media organisations as well as their journalists to criticise one another’s editorial policies or reports. Call it journalistic etiquette if you want.
However, there are the few but significant times when this decorum is disregarded. And this usually occurs when a member of the Fourth Estate breaches the norms and values of responsible journalism and risks bringing acceptable standards of reporting down to the recesses of gutter journalism. Thus when this happens, it is incumbent upon the press fraternity to speak up.
If we don’t do our house-cleaning, we are seen as condoning and even supporting the words and writings of those who use “freedom of the press” and their media tag as a façade to incite, provoke and inflame.
It does not take a heart surgeon to draw parallels between the main character in Chamil Wariya’s short story in Mingguan Malaysia on Sunday to a very real and sitting Member of Parliament. He wrote about a fictional controversial Member of Parliament who meets her end at the hand of an assassin. The events leading to her murder is eye-brow-raising similar to those experienced by the real MP. The similarities are too uncanny not to be deliberate. If anyone denies this, it is just a pitiable and cowardly attempt to hide from the truth.
The story depicts one YB J (Josephine), second term MP for the fictional constituency of Alam Maya and her push for non-race based politics which makes her out to be a chauvinist and racist who is against a certain community.
While being driven to a function where she is to meet 500 fellow young countrymen who had studied abroad, she has a monologue on the perception that she is a racist and seeks clarification from her driver Ahmad. He tells her that she “may or may not” be one, leaving her even more confused. Ahmad has his own monologue, which are imbued with images of suicide bombers and angels.
At the function, YB J is approached by a participant who assassinates her and takes his own life. On the assassin’s body is a note that reads it is better to end YB J’s life to ensure that this multiracial country continues to experience the peace and harmony it has enjoyed for so long.
Drawing parallels again, the story mentions the ruling coalition losing its two-thirds majority, ISA detentions, Molotov cocktail attacks and changing of street signs. Sheer coincidence? You’ve got to be kidding!
While we are all allowed (and in some cases guilty of using) creative licence, there are boundaries to observe – what with sedition laws, defamation suits and show-cause letters. Even so, I have yet to come across a journalist who in all sense of the word incites murder! This is definitely deliberate and deserves the highest condemnation from all members of the press and decent Malaysians who strive for peace and harmony.
And to think that this comes from someone with more than 35 years in the media business, having held key positions in media organisations and press groups is a stain on the journalistic community.
If Chamil Wariya wants to use his position to curry favour with certain individuals or groups or to push a certain agenda, that is his business. But when one uses his pen to even suggest taking a life, this brings us to a whole new level of sewer journalism – the likes which we have not yet seen in this country.
The biggest tragedy of all is that he is the CEO of the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) – an organisation which among others preaches responsible journalism as an integral component of press freedom.
Apart from awarding the nation’s highest annual journalism honours, it also conducts courses for journalists young and old. So is this the kind of journalism espoused by the MPI to cadet reporters other media organisations entrust it to train and develop?
The MPI has often been accused of being partisan and a retirement home for out-of-work editors.
It is thus incumbent on the institute to ensure the reputation it has built (and salvaged) is not further tarnished by one of its highest office-bearers. What it should do now is to deliberate on Chamil Wariya’s association with the MPI. Turning a deaf ear or blind eye is merely sending the message that the country’s highest media establishment condones incitement to murder.
(Terence, who has just taken down his MPI award from the mantlepiece, hopes he will once again be able to display it proudly.)
Bye-bye, Abdullah. Closely followed by the exits of Kalimullah and now Patrick Lim from their current positions… All three fading away into the sunset - or is that the mirage of the Penang Global City Centre project?
This report from mysinchew/Straits Times/ANN:
Businessmen close to PM quit
Two businessmen close to Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi are quitting their positions, as an expected exodus of his inner circle begins.
The two men - New Straits Times Press (NSTP) deputy chairman Kalimullah Hassan and Equine Capital chairman Patrick Lim - have been attacked in the past by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, for allegedly benefiting from Abdullah’s reign.
News of their resignations from their respective companies comes just days after Abdullah’s announcement that he intended to step down as premier in March.
With deputy prime minister Najib Razak set to take over the premiership in five months’ time, the circle around him is expected to rise, political observers and bloggers say.
Kalimullah is also group executive chairman of ECM Libra Investment Bank, which has made headlines with major deals in the past few years.
But he is better known as the controversial editor-in-chief of the mainstream New Straits Times (NST) newspaper, and has been accused by Mahathir of being a key ’spin doctor’ for Abdullah.
Mahathir, who appointed Abdullah as his successor in 2003, has in recent years become his most bitter critic.
The former premier blames Kalimullah for allegedly blacking out his comments not only in the NST, but also in other mainstream media.
In a column in the NST on Friday (10 Oct), Kalimullah defended Abdullah’s short reign and harshly attacked critics such as Mahathir.
‘One thing Najib will not have to worry about is a predecessor breathing down his neck, slandering him, his Cabinet, his party colleagues, his family, aides and friends. Because, for all his weaknesses, Abdullah is a decent, religious man,’ Kalimullah said in the column.
So who will be next to go and who will replace them?
It appears that Equine will now come under new parties, and concerned Penangites will be watching them very, very closely to see what they have in store for the Penang Turf Club land.
Moreover, the status of the 300 acres in Batu Kawan, acquired by Equine’s associate company Abad Naluri, is still unclear. Has the land been paid for? How did the previous state administration award over 1,000 acres (including the 300 acres) of land to the obscure but ‘politically well connected’ Abad Naluri? These are questions that demand answers - but so far, the silence has been deafening.
The following is an excerpt of a report from The Edge on Patrick Lim’s departure from Equine. That reminds me, it was only some moons ago that The Edge had featured Patrick Lim on its front cover, trumpeting his ambitious plans for Equine and PGCC.
Patrick Lim cuts loose from Equine Capital
by Jose Barrock
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Patrick Lim Soo Kit, the controlling shareholder of property developer Equine Capital Bhd, stepped down late last week as the company’s chairman and executive director.
Speculation that Lim planned to leave the company had been circulating for months, after Equine’s RM20 billion Penang Global City Centre project was shelved. Equine’s associated company Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd was given the mandate to develop the mammoth project.
Lim’s stepping down has raised yet more questions surrounding the shareholding structure of the company, including what has happened to his 29% equity stake.
The equity interest was held via private vehicles Indera Muhibbah Sdn Bhd, Perharap Sdn Bhd, Temasya Permai Sdn Bhd, Insan Mayang Sdn Bhd and Duta Kembang Sdn Bhd, as well as under his wife Datin Wong Mun Yee’s name.
In April this year, rumours had it that Equine and Lim were about to part company and a new controlling shareholder would appear. The notion was dispelled by the company, as the parties that were purportedly affiliated to Datuk Lim Siew Choon of Malton Bhd were already in the company.
There has also been many shareholder changes in the company this year.
A blog posting urging the state authorities to probe the alleged sexual abuse of young Penan women in Sarawak’s Baram has angered Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang so much that he singled out the blogger for criticism at the state cabinet meeting yesterday.
The blogger, Joseph Tawie, a former police press liaison officer and now freelance writer, accused state leaders of trying to cover up the controversy in his blog, The Broken Shield.
“If there are some truth, then the truth will have an embarrassing effect on our (state) government leaders.”
According to rumours, the land has been given to a company owned by an individual who is related to a state government leader.
(Malaysiakini)A total of 27 people, including a local PAS leader and three women, were arrested in Kampung Baru Plentong Tengah, Johor Bahru, for attempting to stop the demolition of the squatter settlement.
Also arrested was the villagers' action committee chairperson Jameon Abdullah and secretary Taslim Nani.
Contacted on his mobile phone later, Taslim said they were taken to the Johor Raya police station. He also revealed that Sameon had fainted when the police arrested him.
According to Taslim, the police had arrested them when they held hands and formed a human barricade on the road leading to the village inhabited by about 2,400 people.
He said PAS Johor state liaison committee member Syed Othman Syed Abdullah was also picked up.
Predominantly Malay village
The demolition exercise was carried out after the developer Bukit Lenang Sdn Bhd obtained a court order.
Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) president Hassan Karim, who is also the lawyer representing the villagers, said the demolition was not expected as discussions are being held between the villagers and the developer.
He said that the houses which have been demolished so far are vacant units.
It is learnt that some 100 Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel and some 200 police personnel, including those in plainclothes, were deployed in the area.
The predominantly Malay Kampung Baru Plentong Tengah - considered similar to Kuala Lumpur's Kampung Baru - is believed to have been in existence for nearly three decades.
Meanwhile, lawyers John Fernandez, Kuna Nadesan and Mathews George are attempting to meet with those arrested.
When contacted earlier, Fernandez said the lawyers were not allowed to meet with the detainees or the investigating officer.
At about 8pm, all 27 were released on RM1,000 police bail each. They have been ordered to appear at the Johor Jaya police station on Oct 31.
Criticising the ban, he said the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat would capitalise on the issue and lure more Indian Malaysians into its fold.
Sivakumar also took Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to task for claiming that Hindraf had incited hatred between the races.
"Miba is unhappy to learn of the minister's version that Hindraf has been inciting hatred. This is not true, the focal point is about rights and equal treatment for all," he told Malaysiakini.
Sivakumar also disagreed with the minister over his assertion that Hindraf had tarnished the nation's image in the international arena.
"Miba feels that the arrest and continued detention without trial of the five Hindraf leaders and others under the Internal Security Act is the main reason the international community looks down on Malaysia.
"This is what that has damaged the reputation of the country in the eyes of the world," he said.
Last December, five Hindraf leaders, P Uthayakumar, R Kenghadharan, T Vasanthakumar, M Manoharan and V Ganabatirau were detained under the ISA shortly after a mammoth protest which saw some 30,000 Indian Malaysians taking to the streets of Kuala Lumpur in protest
Recently, the movement came under fire after its leaders and supporters visited Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Hari Raya open house to convey their opposition against the security law.
Meanwhile, Sivakumar felt that banning Hindraf would do little good for the ruling coalition as it failed to address the core issues.
"Banning Hindraf is one thing, but the mother of all Indian protests which happened in the March 8 general election, the Makkal Sakthi (people’s power), is the feeling of being sidelined under the New Economic Policy for far too long.
"It is about the desire to be treated equally and to be given a fair share of opportunities in the civil, business and education sectors as well as the need to respect their places of worship in terms of indiscriminate demolitions," he said.
"These are the grouses of the community, no one can imprison this spirit," he stressed.
On the same note, the Johor-based businessman called on all state leaders to emulate Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman in dealing with the problems faced by the Indian community.
Although he is a BN leader, Sivakumar said, the menteri besar has taken a personal approach to the woes faced by the community by continuously meeting with Indian-based NGOs and resolving their grievances.
"This is the best method of approach which all state heads should adopt. They should try to solve the problems of the grassroots irrespective of ethnicity," he added.
Let police and court decide
In a related development, Syed Hamid said the government would let the police and court to decide on the action to be taken against Hindraf.
He said the police would carry out a thorough investigation and it was up to the court to pass sentence if they were found guilty.
The government would not tolerate any extremist group regardless of race or religious background as the government had taken action against Al-Arqam, Al-Ma'unah and Kumpulan Militan Malaysia in the past, he said.
"The government's priority is to protect the security of Malaysians," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
The home minister reiterated that Hindraf activities had consistently broken laws, and their illegal demonstrations turned violent and incited racial hatred.
On the open house visit, he said: "They disseminated messages that could cause racial and religious tension. They created fear among the people. They even threatened people's lives."
"Although the government is willing to listen to the people's grievances and even utterances of unpleasant words, it cannot tolerate groups that propagate extremism and stir up racial and religious tension."
He said the Indian community was not neglected in this country as they were quite well represented with 14 Indian members of parliament, 21.4 percent in the legal fraternity, 18.4 percent in the field of medicine and their overall income was 1.2 times higher than the income of the Malays.
With regard to those living under the poverty line, the Indians comprised 2.9 percent, Chinese 0.6 percent and Malays 8.3 percent, he said.
Syed Hamid added that there was a ratio of one temple to 149 Hindus and one mosque to 2,300 Muslims in this country.
Asked why only now the government banned the group, he said the government had to first carry out a thorough investigation.
On the timing of the ban prior to Deepavali on Oct 27, the home minister said it was the duty of the government to protect peace and stability in this country at all times.
“Suhakam is of the opinion that a ban on Hindraft will not resolve the issues being championed by this group of individuals and therefore encourages the relevant agencies to address the genuine grievances which are socio-economic in nature,” said commissioners Simon Sipaun, Michael Yeoh and Denison Jayasooria in a joint statement.
They were concerned that the ban would further alienate the group from mainstream Malaysian society and asked for the ban to be rescinded.
The trio want the government to produce evidence of the movement being a threat to public order and morality - a feeling shared by others.
“It was cowardice and arrogance - a clampdown of genuine voices of dissent,” said DAP Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran.
“Its (18-point) demands should indeed be incorporated into the national socio-economic policy,” he said - critical of Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar for not informing Parliament beforehand.
Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong characterised it as the government “burying itself in the sand like an ostrich” and losing further Indian support.
"The government should understand that with or without Hindraf, the community was unhappy with the way their cultural, religious and basic needs were trampled on," he said.
Liew lambasted socio-economic policies which marginalised the lower income groups in Malaysia, making many Indians, Malays and Chinese living in abject poverty.
“The government had kow-towed to demands made by a small group of Umno right-wing advocates to ban Hindraf,” he said.
Civil rights activist and former Gerakan leader Dr Toh Kin Woon called it distasteful and ridiculous since they are banning a NGO struggling for disenfranchised Indians.
“If the federal government is sincere, it’ll find the root causes of Indian dissatisfaction, rather than to resort to such harsh actions,” he said.
Toh argued that poor Indians - not unlike other ethnicities - lack upward social mobility opportunities, and are mired in generational poverty. Therefore the government should work with Hindraf to address the issues.
“Declaring Hindraf illegal will not only resolve the problem, but exacerbate the situation,” he summed up.
Hindu Action Network (HAN) chief coordinator G Mugunthan asked Syed Hamid to clarify his decision.
“Hindraf was never an armed struggle. It was a harmless movement championing the cause of marginalised minorities and protesting against repressive security laws,” he said, repeating similar calls to revoke the ban.
Save Ourselves secretary BK Ong questioned the legal basis of the decision.
“Without such evidence, the charges are rather unfounded and libellous,” he said adding that the reasons behind the decision were questionable.
He postulated that if Syed Hamid was doing this because of Hindraf’s illegal assemblies, then Umno and PAS too should be banned for their NEP demonstrations in Penang and Bar Council’s forum intrusion in Kuala Lumpur respectively.
“Ban on Hindraf was blatant prejudice and injustice.
“Is this the sign of things to come after the Umno leadership change?” he asked.
“If the movement was a threat to national security, then former Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi’s Ahimsa movement should also be deemed as a terrorist organisation,” said United Hindu Religious Council (UHRC) deputy president AK Suppayah
He believes the ban was a bad omen for the BN federal government, just like how police brutality at the Nov 25 Hindraf rally last year led to their electoral losses in March.
Bayan Baru MCA division vice-chairperson Ooi Chuan Aik felt that the government should have adopted a softer approach.
Anti-ISA Movement (GMI) chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said the ban would not change the situation since the issue was about managing and engaging’ Hindraf and its demands.
Penang Makkal Sakti Welfare Association (Pemaswa) deputy chairperson MC Pitchay views the ban as part of government strategy to quell the community’s insurgence against injustice and discrimination.
“The government may have a hidden agenda to establish a camouflaged pro-BN NGO in Hindraf’s mould to hoodwink the Indian community,” he said.
PAS national unity chairperson Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa said the government should have dealt with the movement professionally and not politically, calling on the accusations against the movement to be heard in court.
He also invited Hindraf to move into mainstream civil rights struggles in the country and to appear less as an extreme Hindu movement.
Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader P Waythamoorthy today said that he was suspending all activities of the movement as a result of the ban by the government.
"I have instructed our coordinators to suspend all activities. I am also urging all our sympathisers and supporters not to take part in activities that is claimed to be organised by Hindraf from today onwards," he told Malaysiakini.
He urged them to await further instructions from him on the movement's next course of action.
"We are presently taking legal advice on this matter as well," he said.
Waythamoorthy also urged supporters to wear orange-coloured t-shirts over the weekends to show their support for Hindraf
Earlier in a statement, Waythamoorthy described the government's decision to ban the movement as a cowardly act.
“It is meant to suppress and oppress the minority Indian (Malaysian) community and the prime minister should step in and revoke the decision,” he said in a statement from his London base.
“Hindraf represents a very deep feeling experienced in the hearts and souls of millions of Indians both locally and internationally,” he added.
Waythamoorthy said the action proves that the government is running out of ideas in dealing with Hindraf and it underscores the notion that Malaysia is a police state.
The self-exiled leader said Hindraf’s struggle is to highlight the plight of Indian Malaysians who have been systematically marginalised, adding that the government does not understand this.
“Hindraf represents the Indian commoner, the hardworking oily-faced man who is made fun of in the streets, the man whom people step on, the man who walks past you, yet you notice him not.
“They all do not wither away with this illegal declaration. The government obviously has a primitive understanding of the situation. They cannot see a genuine problem within a significant section of Malaysian society."
ROS investigated Hindraf
The lawyer compared the movement with the French and American civil revolutions and, more pertinently, with the abolition of apartheid in South Africa.
He claimed that Hindraf’s struggle had raised the self-worth of all Malaysians.
“We demand dignity and equality for each and every Malaysian, which cannot be abandoned and diluted for the glory of the Umno-led government intent on stirring racial tension and maintaining the status quo,” Waythamoorthy added.
The government, however, has rejected claims that the ban is about the ethnicity or the faith of Hindraf followers.
“The government denies racial or religious bias in banning Hindraf. It is up to the police to decide what action to take against those associated with the movement,” English-language daily Star today quoted Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar as saying.
Announcing the ban yesterday, the minister explained that the decision was made after the Registrar of Societies investigated the movement, and his ministry found that “Hindraf had (been) and was being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality".
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, president of the national human rights society Hakam, said the ban was unnecessary and showed a lack of sensitivity to the minority community which shunned the government in March elections.
"Hindraf is more a wave of consciousness than an organisation and in declaring it illegal the government has possibly alienated the Indian community even more," he told AFP.
Koh: Listen to their woes
In a related development, Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon expressed hope that despite the ban on Hindraf, the cause of the movement will be given due attention by the authorities.
"The issues affecting the Indian community brought up by Hindraf and other NGOs should be quickly and properly addressed," he told a press conference at Parliament House today.
He said a cabinet committee on the Indian Malaysian community chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has already implemented a few policies, although the outcome will take time to be seen.
"We hope this (ban) will not stifle the freedom of expression by individuals, groups and legally registered organisations. It is an important hallmark for the society to allow for freedom of expression and association" stressed Koh.
He was met by reporters after attending a BN management committee meeting chaired by Najib. The deputy premier and other BN leaders left without speaking to reporters.
The meeting had discussed the rebranding of BN among other aspects, but Koh declined to reveal details.
Firstly, let me praise the new de facto Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for his prompt seven-hour response to my parliamentary speech on the 2009 budget yesterday on the outcome of investigations into Anwar Ibrahim’s police report against the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail for fabricating evidence over his “black eye” incident ten years ago.
Nazri’s prompt response should be an example to all Ministers with regard to serious allegations whether made in or outside Parliament if the government is serious about accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.
I raised many issues in my 2009 budget speech in the past two days which have caused a tsunami of crisis of confidence affecting the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister-in-waiting, the Attorney-General, the Inspector-General, the judiciary on a whole spectrum of issues whether on anti-corruption, human rights or nation-building.
For instance, I had called for the immediate resignation of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan for failing in his most important task to reduce crime and make Malaysians, investors and tourists feel safe again in the country, and instead, he appeared to be more interested in being a lobbyist or canvasser for mega police projects like the mega police helicopter and the RM4.2 billion wireless digital “E-Police Force Solution”.
I have also given other reasons for my call on Musa Hassan to resign as IGP to allow the Deputy Inspector-General Police to take over in order to boost the service morale of the police rank-and-file.
Why has there been no equally prompt response like my call for the resignation of Gani Patail to resign as Attorney-General in Parliament yesterday?
Similarly, I had called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to clear the Prime Minister-in-waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Razak from all the allegations and innuendos haunting and hounding him, including the C4-murder of Mongolian Altantunya Shariibuu, defence commissions for the French Scorpion submarines and the Russian Sukhoi jetfighters so that Malaysians, regardless of political differences, can feel proud of him as the nation’s sixth Prime Minister next March with regard to his undoubted honesty, reputation and integrity, why is there no prompt or instant response?
It has been reported from Barisan Nasional backbencher sources that Najib has this morning again denied any abuse of power in the Altantunya murder case – referring in particular to the exchange of SMS messages between him and Abdul Razak Baginda’s lawyer, Datuk Shafee Abdullah – the facts of which have not been denied by Najib.
Why then is Najib not prepared to take up the challenge to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to categorically clear him of all the allegations swirling around him – it is no exaggeration to say that no top political leader in the country in the nation’s 51-year-history had been haunted and hounded by so many allegations and all very serious ones as now the case with Najib?
If Najib has nothing to hide – and he has been making such an assertion – why is he not accepting the opportunity of a Royal Commission of Inquiry which would clearly him categorically and definitively, not only in the eyes of Malaysians but the international community?
Let me come now to Nazri’s response.
I said in Parliament yesterday that I have been informed that the Solicitor-General has come to the finding that the Attorney-General had abused his powers in the fabrication of evidence in Anwar’s “black eye” incident ten years ago.
Nazri denied and said that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is still investigating Anwar’s police reports on the matter against the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police.
What is pertinent is Nazri’s admission that he had not contacted the Solicitor-General.
Unless there is a stronger rebuttal, I stand by what I said in Parliament.
What is of public interest is why the authorities are taking so long to complete investigations into Anwar’s report against the Attorney-General and the outcome.-LimKitSiangBlog
The suit by L.Balasupramaniyam was filed at the High Court registry here by his counsel, R.S. N.Rayer.
In his statement of claim Balasupramaniyam said that the report lodged at the Seberang Jaya police station accused him and several others of threatening Nallakaruppan and his workers at the MIUP operations room between 9pm and 10pm on Aug 19.
He said that he was on a business trip to Thailand between Aug 18 and 20.
As a result of the report, he was detained for investigation at the Bandar Perda police station and released on Aug 23 on police bail.
Balasupramaniyam claimed that the detention had affected his image as a company director and subjected him to mental and emotional stress.
He is seeking special damages totalling RM10 million besides general, aggravated and exemplary damages.
Rayer told reporters that a notice of demand dated Sept 9 was sent to Nallakaruppan seeking a retraction of the allegation in the police report and a public apology.
The suit was filed after Nallakaruppan failed to do meet the demand within the specified period, he said.
MIC To Continue Efforts To Have Detained Hindraf Leaders Freed
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 (Bernama) -- MIC will continue efforts to secure the freedom of five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) who have been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) since December last year, said its president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu.
He said MIC was pursuing the matter on humanitarian grounds and also because of requests from the detainees' families.
"We are sympathetic to their plight," he told reporters after chairing a meeting of MIC's central working committee (CWC) at the party's headquarters here today.
Samy Vellu said this in response to the government's action in banning Hindraf yesterday.
The five detained are R. Kengadharan, 41, M. Manoharan, 47, V.Ganabatirau, 35, P. Uthayakumar, 47, and K. Vasantha Kumar, 35.
Asked if the ban would further erode support for the party, Samy Vellu said MIC had its own strength in fighting for the interests of the Indian community.
"I don't think anything will push the Indians away," he said.
He also disagreed that the ban had caused the community to "lose their voice", saying the government had formed a cabinet committee specifically to hear grievances and solve problems the community was facing.
Samy Vellu said he would be raising to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak several matters concerning the community including the situation of 22 Tamil schools planned to be built at a cost of RM30 million but now had encountered problems because the cost had risen to over RM100 million.
He added that the MIC would hold its Deepavali open house on Oct 27 at Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre here from 10am to 1pm.
Action On Hindraf Should Be Example To Others
TAWAU, Oct 16 (Bernama) -- The government's move to outlaw the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) should be a signal to organisations in the country to always follow the nation's laws, said Sabah Assistant Finance Minister Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan.
Supporting the action, although he felt it was late in coming, the Apas state assemblyman said if the government had not acted more serious problems could have arisen later.
"If the government did not act, it could lead to a bad situation, as the group can spark racial and religious tensions," said Tawfiq, who is also Tawau Umno division chief. He was speaking to Bernama here today.
He was commenting on Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar's statement that Hindraf had been banned.
According to Tawfiq, Hindraf supporters' disturbance at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Hari Raya open house was not Hindraf's first such act and it could cause racial and religious tensions if not dealt with early.
"Actually the government should have acted earlier but its give and take attitude was taken advantage of by Hindraf to become bolder," he said.
"There are a lot of coalitions and non-governmental organisations which have emerged and bring up all sorts of issues. It is strange why Hindraf has become the only target," said the Tumpat MP.
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar yesterday revealed the decision to ban the movement after the ministry was satisfied with the facts and evidence which showed that "Hindraf had (been) and was being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality".
Recently, Hindraf had come under fire for going to the ministerial Hari Raya 'open house' to deliver a message to free five of its leaders detained under the Internal Security Act.
According to Kamaruddin, this is the reason why the movement was banned.
"(But) their decision to make Hindraf an illegal body following the 'open house' visit is clearly against the principles of democracy and rights," he stressed.
Meanwhile, M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) also condemned the decision by submitting an emergency motion to Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia to discuss the matter.
The speaker said he will decide on this by Monday.
Next ISA target?
Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) who also present said Pakatan leaders are worried that more civil society activists could be targeted and detained under the ISA following the ban.
He said that Hindraf could follow in the heels of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), where more than 80 alleged supporters of the Islamic movement had been detained.
"This (the ban) is a threat to civil society. There could be a mass arrest of activists who can be classified as Hindraf supporters.
"Now we are worried if more people and civil society activists could be targeted and be detained under ISA. That is why we are very concerned," he added.
Kamaruddin said the ban could also become a smudge on democracy and the prime minister's reforms as the former has promised to do his best in his last five months in power.
"But now he has decided to take this drastic action on a peaceful open house move that was not something done in the middle of the night or creeping into the compound in his residence.
"There were also no reports of any violent act committed by them (Hindraf) towards anybody, let alone the prime minister that day," he added.
R Sivarasa, who also attended the press conference said the ban sends a "wrong and negative message about democracy in the country."
Other Pakatan leaders present at the press conference were Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Selatan), Hatta Ramli (PAS- Kuala Krai), M Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai) and S Manikavasagam (PKR-Kapar).-malaysiakini
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 - The campaign against Datuk Seri Najib Razak has taken racial and religious overtones.
Malaysia Today, the website once operated by jailed blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, published today what appeared to be a doctored picture of Najib performing religious rites dressed as a Hindu priest.
Accompanying the photograph was an article accusing Najib of using the services of a "faith healer, spiritual leader and voodoo master," known as Guruji.
This latest attack, posted anonymously, appears to be an attempt to drive a wedge between Najib and his most powerful constituency, the Malays.
By appealing to base racial instincts, the campaign against Najib invites comparisons to a similar strategy used successfully for the benefit of the Barisan Nasional coalition in 1990.
In the 1990 election campaign, with the Opposition apparently making inroads into BN strongholds, a photograph showing Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah wearing an East Malaysian headgear was widely distributed just days before polls.
The photograph of Tengku Razaleigh in the headgear, which bore motif similar to a crucifix, is credited with turning away significant numbers of Muslim votes from Semangat 46.
Now, Najib finds himself the brunt of what appears to be a similar campaign.
In the Malaysia Today article, he is alleged to be using Guruji to "neutralise" his enemies. It also alleges Najib and his wife are taking part in Hindu rituals.
The posting is the latest in what is turning into a campaign against Najib which has intensified since Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced he would not defend his Umno presidency next March.
Abdullah's decision appears to pave the way for Najib to become Umno president, and by convention the prime minister if BN remains in power.
Last week, the website posted a series of text message exchanges between Najib and Datuk Shafee Abdullah, the lawyer who initially represented Abdul Razak Baginda, who was eventually charged for abetment in the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Razak is a confidante of Najib and the SMS exchange appeared to imply the possibility that the deputy prime minister had interfered in investigations.
Najib has denied any abuse of power despite widespread criticism from Opposition parties who have called for an official investigation.
This week, a separate posting on Malaysia Today also published a letter from a local defence contractor alleging irregularities in the awarding of a contract to Eurocopter by the Defence Ministry while Najib was still the minister in charge.
PM Abdullah, who recently took over the defence portfolio, said yesterday he would be asking for a thorough briefing on the matter from Defence Ministry officials.
But despite the campaign against him, Najib remains the favourite candidate to become the next Umno president.