Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Many expressed surprise at the Judge having had the fortitude to rule as he did, going against the grain not being the easiest of options. Some were unfeelingly dismissive of the decision and its significance to Petra and his family, and to society as a whole. One of the theories advanced was that the decision to release Petra was engineered by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi as part of a campaign of political maneuvering against Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak. Others cynically suggested that it was typical of the lawyers involved, myself included, to have made self-servingly positive statements concerning the Judge and the decision as we had won the case.
These comments made me wonder. Have we really been so thoroughly wrung that all hope and optimism have been bled from us? Are we so broken that we are incapable of appreciating the tiny and not so tiny miracles that happen in our lives every day?
Last Friday, as the first sob of joy escaped captivity in a courtroom that had been stilled by uncertainty, as the first tears of redemption rolled down cheeks that had been numbed by countless disappointments, I was reminded again that it is our collective faith in what is right that has consistently forged the way forward. As the cheers erupted from the many Malaysian throats present, and the Judge attempted to restore order, I understood that as our ties together as a community have strengthened so too has that faith. I saw, as Alice Walker pointed out recently to Barack Obama, it is we who we have been waiting for.
It does not matter what those who scoff say, justice was done last Friday.
No matter what we call it or how we dress it up, detention without trial is cruel. Stripped of everything, a human being has only his or her dignity and conscience. It is to these most fundamental of elements that the right to fair trial and the presumption of innocence speak. It is these elements that preventive detention aims to destroy. They are torn apart in the same way that the lives of those detained and their families are.
The due process of law ensures that the number of people who get shut away erroneously is small. A person charged with a crime in this country has at least two tiers of appeal. His conviction would have been scrutinized at least three times by several judges. A person detained without trial is detained with the stroke of a pen wielded by a Minister who is presumed to be objective enough to do what he needs to do in a way that ensures there is no possibility of error.
Where is justice? If the reasoning of the Minister is to be accepted, it does not enter the picture.
The Minister contends that detentions are a matter left by the law entirely to his subjective discretion. This means, he reasons, if he decides that an individual is a threat to national security, a court has no option but to accept this as a truth. This being the case, there is no need for the Minister’s conclusion to be justified. Extrapolating this analysis, the Minister is not required to argue that the justice of the case favours continued detention without trial. Justice is as such not a feature of the analysis and injustice an irrelevant consideration.
The Judge obviously felt otherwise. His observation, made in the course of his reasoning, that the law could not be understood as empowering the Minister to arbitrarily detain individuals for reasons that had nothing to do with the statute such as, for instance, simply having red hair, was illuminating.
Was his reasoning correct? I would like to think so. The Judge merely applied the law as framed by the legislature and in doing so gave expression to the intention of the drafters of the law: limiting preventive detention to the kind of exceptional “terror” situations described. The Federal Court may however take a different view, just as it may of the points of submission we made that the Judge disagreed with. We will get to argue these again if an appeal is lodged.
Was I happy that the Judge decided the way he did? I would have been foolish not to be, not least for Petra being reunited with his family. Do I think positively of this Judge? Most certainly for having shown me that it is not audacious for any of us to hope as we do. Would I have been disappointed if we lost? I would have but far less than if the Judge had not given us the excellent hearing he did. As we left court on the day we presented arguments, all of us understood that we had had the hearing that all of us wanted: a fair one.
And to those who suggest that the Judge was influenced, I say this. You do a disservice to yourself and to this nation. Had you been in court, you would have seen as we did a Judge keeping the faith.
(Malik Imtiaz Sarwar was counsel to Raja Petra Kamarudin. He is the current President of the National Human Rights Society and blogs at www.malikimtiaz.blogspot.com)
THE Sri Maha Kaliamman Temple near Kampung Tasek Tambahan in Ampang has been demolished several times in its 19-year existence. Now it will be rebuilt for the third time -- once the Selangor government provides a new location.
Scores of non-Muslim places of worship have faced a similar fate, but with this issue swaying voters in the March 8 general election, both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat members are speaking up for them.
In the mid-1990s, then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ordered that the demolition of places of worship had to be approved by the respective menteri besar or chief minister, while he himself would decide on cases within the Federal Territory. But over the years, this directive has been ignored or forgotten.
Last year, the Hindu Sangam asked the Housing and Local Government Ministry to conduct the registration instead.
During the debate in Parliament today, I spoke on the controversy of the RM5 billion EPF loan to Valuecap to double its funds to RM10 billion to buy undervalued stocks and asked for a full and proper accounting of Valuecap since its establishment about six years ago.
I said that the Second Finance Minister, Datuk Nor Mohd Yakcop, who was at the time the Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, had announced when Valuecap Sdn. Bhd., was set up in early 2003, that it would be operating with RM10 billion funds – and that the cash for the RM10 billion had already been provided to Valuecap by the three equal owners, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP).
However, Valuecap actually had RM5 billion and not RM10 billion as stated publicly by Nor Mohd Yakcop.
I asked Nor Mohd, who is now Second Finance Minister and was in the House to shepherd through the Finance Ministry’s committee stage, to explain.
As Valuecap had never given any proper accounting of its performance in the past five to six years, I asked Nor Mohd to provide such information in his reply.
I also raised the opposition of the workers and in particular the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) to the government directive to EPF to advance the RM5 billion loan from workers’ savings to Valuecap to prop up the stock market.
Nor Mohd will start replying first thing tomorrow morning.
On the way out of Parliament after today’s meeting, I bumped into him and spoke to him about the need for full and proper accounting of Valuecap to Malaysian taxpayers as this had never been done before.
The Minister agreed, remarking that the government’s problem is that it had not explained enough.
We can look forward to the first full and proper accounting of Valuecap’s performance in the past five to six years in Parliament tomorrow!
2. Bahawa peguam terkemuka di Malaysia mendapat RM2 juta setahun amat memberangsangkan saya. Jelas sekali saya telah pilih karier yang salah kerana Perdana Menteri mendapat hanya RM240,000 setahun. Ini tentulah kerana tanggungjawab Perdana Menteri tidak seberat peguam, wallahua'lam.
3. Dakwaan Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, bekas Menteri Undang-undang tentang pendapatan peguam terkemuka tentulah diasaskan kepada pengetahuan dan pengalaman beliau sebagai pemilik firma guaman yang mempunyai 100 peguam. Saya tidak pernah baca berkenaan Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, bekas Menteri Undang-undang mempertahankan mana-mana penjenayah atau anak guam dalam mahkamah. Jadi saya tertanya-tanya daripada manakah datangnya pendapatan yang lumayan bagi firma guamannya dan sudah tentu dirinya sendiri.
5. Jika benar patutkah bekas Menteri ini tutup mata pencarian yang lumayan ini kepada peguam Bumiputera yang lain kerana ingin dikenali sebagai seorang yang liberal yang tolak Dasar Ekonomi Baru dengan peluang-peluang untuk Bumiputera?
6. Apa perlunya dasar-dasar DEB selepas kita sudah sampai ke atas? Buang sahajalah supaya orang lain tidak mendapat manfaat daripadanya.
7. Parti Keadilan sedang menggamit. Tempat tertentu boleh dikosongkan supaya calon baru dapat mengisinya. Duit tak penting. Apabila pendapatan sudah sebanyak RM2 juta setahun siapa perlu jawatan Menteri yang tidak menjanjikan pendapatan yang setanding?
8. Sesungguhnya politik adalah cahaya yang terang yang dapat mendedahkan banyak yang tersembunyi dan tidak ternampak atau diketahui dahulu.
9. Dalam cahaya politik yang terang-benderang kita dapat lihat dan kenal ramai orang yang kita tidak kenal dahulu.
In a press statement, the organiser of the vigil Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) also called on Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar to "take responsibility for his part in this fiasco to resign."
"We are deeply appalled by the unusual manner in which the police dispersed citizens in a peaceful gathering.
“Under 'more normal' circumstances, the police officer in charge would order the crowd to disperse within five minutes before taking any action," read the statement which was distributed during a press conference in Parliament today.
Speaking at the press conference, DAP MP Teresa Kok cited the case of a civilian who allegedly suffered injuries during the vigil held to commemorate the first anniversary of last November’s Bersih rally and to protest against the Internal Security Act.
"A 53-year-old woman named Dian Abdullah was attacked from behind by a few policemen, causing her to fall and injure the back of her head where she received stitches afterwards," claimed the parliamentarian, who also showed a photograph of the victim.
Vigil will continue
Another opposition MP, Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor) said the 'police violence' was unexpected and at the same time urged the home minister to resign.
"If they dispersed (the people) in such a violent act just to create fear among the public, it will never break our spirit to fight against this," he said.
The politicians also lashed out at the police chief for allowing 'violence' to be perpetrated against DAP leaders Tony Pua and Lau Weng San.
Blogger Haris Ibrahim, who was also present at the press conference, said the candlelight vigil has been taking place every Sunday for the past four weeks.
He vowed that it will continue until all ISA detainees are released and the draconian law is repealed.
"The Selangor state government should also take part in the gathering and they should protect those people who back their policy," he said.
'Police chief lied'
At a separate press conference held in the Parliament lobby this morning, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang took a swipe at the police chief for "lying to the public despite video evidence."
Yesterday, Khalid denied that the police dispersed the crowd when they were singing the national anthem even though a video recording showed otherwise.
"He is an outright liar, he was caught red-handed for lying because the police did disperse the crowd when they sang the national anthem and also without warnings," said Lim.
The veteran politician also said that Khalid should be held responsible for "violating the fundamental freedom of speech" in the country.
"For that, I am urging him to apologise to the public immediately for the lies," said Lim.
A total of 23 people were arrested during the vigil and 22 of them were freed the next morning. Another detainee is being held for further investigations into other cases.
A police computer forensic testified today that he could not find the article ‘Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' in the central processing unit (CPU) and notebook that was seized from blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin's home.
Wa'ie Iskal Kria Abdullah, 38, from the computer forensic division of the Commercial Crime Department also told the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court that he could not find any history of the two equipments being used to access Malaysia Today website between April 11 and April 26 this year.
Replying to questions from DPP Farhan Read, the witness said analysis done on the CPU and notebook revealed the notebook had administrator status to the Malaysia Today website.
Wa'ie Iskal said this showed that Raja Petra was administrator, a person who could gain full access to edit, delete and add anything to the website.
"I used the Solo 3 hardware and Encase software to retrieve data from the two machines seized," he said.
"At the times of testing, the Solo 3 and Encase are working fine."
The witness, who is the seventh produced by the prosecution, said the Solo 3 software was an equipment which would provide back-up to the original hard disk retrieved from the said items.
He was testifying at the trial of the Raja Petra, editor of the Malaysia Today website who is charged with sedition for allegedly writing the said article.
Deleted by user
Wa'ie Iskal said during his three day examination (May 2 to May 4, 2008) of the CPU and notebook, he could not find the said article as required by the investigating officer Mahfuz Abdul Majid
Farhan: What was the finding of your analysis by using Solo 3 and Encase?
Wa'ie Iskal: On examination of the CPU and notebook, I cannot find the said article ‘Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell'. I also found no data to show that the two equipments were used to access the Malaysia Today website between April 11 and April 26.
Farhan: Why can't you find data on possible access to the Malaysia Today website?
Wa'ie Iskal: I think the data (Internet history) has been deleted by the user.
Farhan: Why do you say that?
Wa'ie Iskal: I found a software which can be used to delete the data showing access to any site. It must have been used or set by the user to delete all temporary files between this date.
Hearing before Judge Rozina Ayob continues.
Raja Petra, 58, was charged with publishing a seditious article titled ‘Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' in Malaysia Today on April 25.
The charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years in jail or both.
The first and last time my dad belted me was when I sneaked out with my brother and some friends to swim at the Austin Pool (mountain stream) at the foothills of the Maxwell (now Larut) Hills. I lied but there were tell-tale evidence, like a wet pair of trousers. I learnt my lesson well…..if you wanna lie….make doubly sure that there are no evidence to expose you. Of course I deserved the punishment because for a 9 year old to take along his 7 year old brother for a swim at either the
I digressed but with a potent point. Lie if you have to, but do it INTELLIGENTLY, which some of us are stupidly incapable of. Like the CPO of Selangor.
I was not in PJ as I had to represent the group in
The PJ vigil was nearing the end but riot police broke up the gathering while some 300 people were singing the national anthem with the intention of dispersing immediately after. Despite video evidence, Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar has denied that the police moved in on participants at a candlelight vigil last night while they were singing the national anthem.
"That is what they (participants) are claiming," Khalid told reporters at the Petaling Jaya police district headquarters about midnight.
When told that there was a video recording of the police action, Khalid replied: “I am denying it.” (He is saying that even if there was video evidence he was going to lie about it…..and that’s somebody who took an oath to protect the rakyat. )
by Sharon Tan, THE EDGE
The opposition may table a private member’s bill to amend Article 121 (1) of the Federal Constitution that restores the court’s judicial power if the government fails to do so.
“It is an option that we are considering seriously. We would do it if the government does not do it,” said DAP member of parliament (MP) for Ipoh Barat, M Kulasegaran.
There has not been a private member’s bill since the 1970s. Any constitutional amendment would need two-thirds support of parliament, which means Barisan Nasional MPs would need to vote for it.
“In this country there is no procedure preference given to private member’s bill. If there is private member’s bill preference given, so many of my earlier application would have come up. It will never come up. It will be impossible to see the light of the day,” said Kulasegaran, adding that the opposition may still go ahead with the tabling of such a bill.
The original Article 121(1) conferred the “judicial power of the Federation” on the courts, but in an amendment in 1988, this was replaced by “judicial power vested” in the courts as “may be provided for by federal law”.
Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) MP for Subang, R Sivarasa, said passing a private member’s bill was virtually impossible without the blessing of the government.
“So forget about the Article 121 amendment. It is never going to happen. Westminster has moved on and we are still in the boondocks.
“Even our neighbours have moved on, like Indonesia, Thailand and (the) Philippines. The procedure in parliament does not entertain any proposals like motions or private member’s bills of the opposition,” he said adding that even though if they were to file a private member’s bill, the matter would never be debated.
Sivarasa said former minister in the prime minister’s department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim had spoken to the opposition about judicial reforms.
He said Zaid stirred the interest of all parties, including the Bar Council, which wanted to see the doctrine of separation of powers and rule of law restored.
“Zaid was talking to us about a serious reform of the judiciary — first a judicial appointment commission as a constitution commission which will necessitate amendment to the constitution. He was also talking about amendment to Article 121. Unfortunately with his departure, I think all that is gone,” he said.
He said the current minister in charge of the law portfolio, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, was not looking at a constitutional commission.
“Which means it is a body that nobody is going to take too seriously and the basic framework of PM appointing judges is not going to change. Zaid was talking to us. We didn’t agree with a lot of what he said but it was a serious process.
“It should be properly done, with consultations and it takes time. Do it with consultation as Zaid had started. Now he (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) seems to be rushing purely for political purposes,” said Sivarasa, adding that a non-constitutional commission would not have enough clout.
Meanwhile, Kulasegaran welcomed the decision by the judges in both Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s and Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin’s cases last Friday.
Judge SM Komathy Suppiah ruled in favour of Anwar last Friday when she found the transfer form (for the case to be transfered from Sessions Court to the High Court for trial) signed by Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail to be invalid.
The judge made the ruling as Abdullah had assured the nation that the AG would not be a part of the trial as the latter was being investigated for allegedly tampering with evidence in Anwar’s trial a decade ago.
In Raja Petra’s case, Judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad ruled his detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) as unconstitutional. He said the home minister had not followed the proper procedure under Section 8 of the ISA in issuing the detention order.
Wondering if other judges around the country would stand up against the executive branch of government, Kulasegaran said he hope for “some semblance of (the judiciary) coming to normalcy.” He added that there was a need of a thorough look at the appointment of judges to ensure that the process was transparent.
On Raja Petra’s case, Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said: “The decision of the learned High Court judge in the habeas corpus application of Raja Petra Kamarudin gives us hope that our judiciary has acted and will act with courage, integrity and independence when the liberty of an individual is threatened by the arbitrary use of power under the Internal Security Act 1960.”
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has predicted a dictatorial regime under Prime Minister-designate Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"If he comes into the picture, everything will be clamped down," he said to reporters in Parliament when told that the Finance Minister plans to roll out the RM7 billion stimulus package which Najib announced in Dewan Rakyat last Tuesday.
"It has not been approved by Parliament. It has not even been tabled," the Permatang Pauh MP said of the stimulus plan.
"The public is not even aware this is a problem as conveniently most mainstream newspapers have covered this up just to protect him.
"This is what we mean by arrogance of power, they control everything, dictate terms and monopolise the news and they can get away literally with murder," he said.
"This means you can anticipate the type of administration under Najib," Anwar said, referring to the transition plan whereby Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will hand over the reins to Najib after the March Umno polls.
Anwar's statement also reflected the opposition's insistence that Najib's speech last Tuesday, in which the stimulus package was announced, cannot be considered an approved policy.
"In the issue of tabling this revised budget, the fact is that it was not done according to procedures.
"If he says it will be disbursed in January, how do you disburse funds that have not been approved by Parliament?
"So I do not know from where, maybe from his savings," Anwar quipped.
Najib, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said earlier today that he expects the first projects under the stimulus package to "start to move on the ground" by the first quarter of 2009.
On Wednesday, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia had ruled that Najib's proposals were not part of the Budget to be debated at the committee stage.
However, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had insisted in Parliament that the monies allocated in the stimulus plan only required an administrative order from the ministry and were not considered an amendment to the Budget Bill.
"If you ask me what would I do in that position, last week after being told, I will just table it — what is the problem?" Anwar concluded.
KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10, 2008) : Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh tabled another urgent motion under Standing Order 18 requesting Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to discuss on the reported public admission in an English daily by Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Azmi that he had bribed court officials in 1987 when he was in private practice.
"His (Zaki’s) statement appearing in the New Straits Times on Nov 7 that he had bribed court staff when he was in private practice in 1987 and in the correction effect in the newspaper on Nov 9, he said that 'during that period there was corruption in order to get things done at the court registry, as I myself having done it'.
"Even this correction, if at all it is to be believed, render Zaki a person unfit to be chief justice as he was morally obliged to lodge a report against the corrupt court officials," he said.
Karpal added that Zaki had committed a serious offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1981, which required an in-depth investigation.
He also explained that there was no limitation period in prosecution of criminal cases and the acts of Zaki brought the judiciary into disrepute, contempt and public odium and his continued occupation of the chief justice office demanded debate in the Dewan Rakyat.
by Martin Jalleh
(MJ from the Shah Alam Court )
It was a very moving moment in time – one which your memory will forever hold and behold. I had thought that we only get to see this in a Disney movie. But it was happening right in a courtroom in Bolehland today (7 Nov. 2008).
The packed courtroom of Raja Petra (RPK) supporters could not contain their joy. They clapped and burst out into cries of excitement and elation even before Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad could finish delivering his judgment.
They were gently reprimanded by the judge that they were in a Court of Law. But for some it was impossible to be silent. You can’t be restrained when it is such a great and glorious victory! And so they whispered: “We have won! We have won! RPK is free!”
The judge ruled that the detention of RPK under the ISA was illegal (unconstitutional) and ordered his immediate release. The court found the (Home) minister had not followed proper procedure under Section 8 of the ISA.
As the judge left for his chambers, everyone sprung up…some with their clenched fists raised high in the air – speechless. Others grabbed the nearest person available to express their elation whether it be a stranger, supporter or Special Branch.
“Yes, yes, yes!” proclaimed Angela from Seremban who has attended every RPK-related court case with her son. Yes, justice is done; yes, the truth always wins; yes, let us continue the good fight!
“God bless the judge…What a brave judge! I hope nothing will happen to him and they won’t transfer him elsewhere…” a man who identified himself as Lim declared to his friends.
A visibly moved Ignatius Gomez, who was present with his wife and daughter to “lend our voices and presence to any movement that works towards the abolishment of the ‘barbaric’ ISA” proclaimed loudly: “Justice has prevailed!”
A Brave woman
Marina was moved to tears. She hugged their two daughters, Suraya and Sarah – who have been her sturdy support and who have kept a very brave smile for their mother in the long struggle for their father’s freedom.
Without any hesitation Marina reached out next in deep appreciation to RPK’s lawyers – a team of young, dedicated, daring, diligent and determined attorneys who, time and again, won the admiration and acknowledgement of everyone. Lead lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar’s brilliance and humility in court will remain etched in the memory of many.
In fact, the team, together with other lawyers who had come to show their support, adorned in their court attire, and in all their distinguished shapes and sizes, abandoned their stoic and sage-like disposition and spontaneously hugged each other. Alas, lawyers are human too!
Some of the supporters sat still and smiled to themselves. It was a judgment they found too difficult to believe! Or they wanted to relish the moment and watched, enthralled by the unreserved show of emotion of the rest.
The doors of the courtroom swung open. Marina came out of the court and as the sea of people stood behind, she thanked each and everyone who had played an unique and vital role to get her husband free.
Surely each person, for having stood up for justice, served as a tiny “ripple”, that when put together, made up that giant wave of change that no person (definitely not the Home Minister) nor the powers that be could stop.
Fighting back the tears Marina said: “Though I was hopeful I had not expected the decision. This is a very good sign that our country is changing and I hope that this change will continue…”
“I want to thank the lawyers, the supporters, the bloggers, the reporters…I am so overwhelmed by the decision that I am short of words….Thanks to the judge for his very courageous decision.”
The “celebration” continued on in the court’s foyer. It was only the beginning. The judge had ordered that RPK be brought (from Kamunting) before the court by 4pm, after which he would be released.
Free at last!
It was time for lunch, but none seemed hungry anymore. I followed a group of RPK supporters many of whom I was meeting for the first time. Robert Choo, a retired college lecturer told everyone: “Lunch is on me. Order anything you want. Very rarely do we get such a brave judgment!”
The diversity was amazing. It was a multi-racial group with ages ranging from 16 to 60 years. We were all middle-class. Except for the self-employed, the rest had to take leave to be in court. The group was predominantly women…very vocal ones too!
As I listened intently I realized the conversation was different from the usual. It was not centred on our obsession with food. They spoke about the candlelight vigils in Seremban, PJ and Ipoh . They shared their fears that RPK would be rearrested and what they could do to prevent it!
What made them want to attend the court case? What motivated them to take the risk? Why did they want to exchange a very comfortable and consumeristic existence for an involvement that is often thankless and even looked upon by the majority as being “stupid”?
It was much more than just giving support to RPK. They were angry with the arrogance and abuse of the BN government. They were fed up of being treated like kids and of a government trying to fool all the people all the time.
They expressed their disgust over desperate politicians playing the religious and racial card and gambling the country away. They looked forward to a new government of integrity, credibility and accountability.
They felt that it was time to take a stand, to say and do something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant…like just by being present in court – even though at times they found it hard to comprehend what was going on!
They realized they were not alone…and their growing solidarity has helped them to soldier on. They spoke of their proud association with Harris Ibrahim, Bernard Khoo and a host of frontline exemplary leaders. They saw in each other a comrade for justice and they displayed an obvious synergy that has freed them from the culture of fear.
Finally, the moment came – the man of the hour appeared…looking tired and even in a daze, still stunned by the court’s decision. As soon as he left the warm embrace of his wife and children, his supporters mobbed and moved him all the way into the courtroom!
Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy ordered RPK to be released. He thanked the lawyers of both sides for their professionalism. The crowd stood in deep respect and reverence as the brave judge left the courtroom.
They garlanded their hero. There was another round of hugs. Some looked up to the heavens in prayerful thanksgiving. Tears flowed freely in celebration of the freedom of one who cared and dared enough to write so that others may be free.
Raja Petra looked as though he was “holding court” on the front steps of the Shah Alam Court. No fetters could extinguish the fire and fervour in the man. It fact, it had fanned the flame in him: “”We have to fight all-out and get the ISA abolished!”
The peerless Patriot and Prince was fittingly driven away in a red Rolls Royce. As his supporters parted, it was obvious that they were not going to rest on their laurels. They were already talking of meeting in the candlelight vigils in Seremban and PJ.
It was truly a historic day of hugs, heart and hope. In contrast to the cavalier attitude of Syed Hamid in the recent ISA arrests, there was the calibre and courage of Syed Ahmad Helmy, a glimmer of hope in the judiciary.
Compared to the arrogance of the Umno-dominated government which believes that might is right, there was the humility of ordinary citizens who achieved the extraordinary in their multi-racial solidarity!
The Home Minister wants to appeal the judge’s decision – which he claims he respects! We understand. Umno’s internal security is threatened and it is rapidly losing its appeal. Further Syed Hamid wants to be very “appealing”, he is standing in the coming Umno elections.
Former de facto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim has said that Umno cannot change. And as can be seen from last night’s Anti-ISA gathering when the “uncivilized” police ran riot in the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre, the Police cannot change. They will continue to be arrogant.
Our hope for change lies in the rakyat. The people’s involvement in the process that resulted in RPK being free confirms this.
(10 Nov. 2008)
He said the police were only doing their job in ensuring that public order was maintained.
"In that situation, the police had to act as it is their responsibility to enforce the law and ensure public order is maintained," he told reporters at the parliament lobby.
Syed Hamid said he had yet to receive the full report on the incident and urged those involved to provide specific information if they were not satisfied with the way the authorities handled the situation.
Yesterday, police dispersed an illegal gathering of about 200 people at the Petaling Jaya civic centre and arrested 24 people including Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Phua, Selangor executive councillor Ronnie Liu and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San.
It was held in conjunction with the first anniversary of Bersih rally.
Also arrested were Malaysiakini videographer Syukri Mohamad. All of them were released on police bail this morning.
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan denied that those arrested at the gathering would be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
He said they would be investigated under the Police Act and not under the ISA as reported by blogs and text messages.
"They have been released on police bail this morning but they need to report to the police on Nov 24," he told reporters after opening the annual general meeting of police association here.
Musa said the organiser did not apply for permit to hold the event.
This was the first time that the police had moved in to disperse the gathering, which took place every Sunday since the four weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim condemned the police action.
"Tony Phua was present to support a movement towards a fair and clean election. This shows that the government is arrogant and does not respect the rights of members of parliament to express their views," he said.
Meanwhile Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said Pakatan Rakyat would discuss with police before organising any gathering in the future. - Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 10 - Veteran MIC leader Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan is mulling over throwing down the gauntlet for the post of MIC president.
This means the man might take on his one-time ally, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who has not been challenged for the top post for over a decade.
Speaking to Bernama, the former MIC vice-president said over the past two weeks, he met members and grassroots leaders and their "feedback has been encouraging".
"I would not be making any official confirmation on the matter now. My supporters and branch leaders feel that if I announce my intention now, then they would have to face the wrath of Samy Vellu who may choose to expel those who support me.
"I also feel that Samy Vellu should be challenged in the interest of MIC, the Barisan Nasional and the Malaysian Indian community," Muthupalaniappan said today.
Come March, the largest Indian party in the country would hold its presidential election, while the election of deputy president, three vice-president and 23 central working committee (CWC) seats would be held in September.
Samy Vellu has announced that he would defend the party top post and was initially, speculated to win the post uncontested.
However, Muthupalaniappan bid for the top post would see him throw a spanner in the works, if he manages to garner nominations from 50 branches.
The party constitution requires a presidential candidate to obtain at least 50 nominations from branches before he/she is allowed to contest for the top post.
Each nomination must be proposed by a branch office-bearer and seconded by five other branch office-bearers.
The branch office-bearers would cast their ballots to pick the MIC president, unlike for other national positions which would be decided by some 1,500 delegates to the party's general assembly.
"There is also apprehension among branch leaders that the president might use his influence to discourage them from nominating me for the top post. I have been advised to make an official stand only in two or three weeks.
"In the meantime, I would be consulting senior party leaders on my intention," said Muthupalaniappan who is known as Muthu in the party's inner circles.
The 68-year-old Seremban-based Muthupalaniappan, who is a lawyer by profession, was first elected to the MIC central working committee in 1979. The same year, he was appointed Negeri Sembilan MIC chief, and party Youth head.
He was made senator in 1980, and two years later, won the Si Rusa state assembly seat and was appointed to the Negeri Sembilan state executive council.
He contested the party vice-presidency in 1987 and 1991 but lost both bids.
Muthupalaniappan eventually landed a veep seat in 1997 but failed to retain the post at the party's 2000 and 2006 elections. - Bernama