Thursday, November 13, 2008
By Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — The parliamentary caucus on the integrity and independence of the judiciary mooted by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which will hold its first meeting at lunch time today, received support from an unexpected source — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
Aziz, the minister in charge of parliamentary affairs as well as the de facto Law Minister replacing Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, told reporters in Parliament this morning that he would be attending the caucus meeting.
"Yes, I'll be attending today. I support the caucus for integrity. Integrity, it is very important," he said, paving the way for what is hoped will finally culminate in a full-fledged bipartisanship in Parliament.
Opposition MPs had attempted to form a bipartisan parliamentary caucus against the Internal Security Act in September when one of their own, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, was arrested and detained a week under the law.
However, the only Barisan Nasional member they managed to pull into the caucus then was Zaid, who was a senator then.
Nazri today urged his fellow MPs from both the BN government and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition to show their support for the caucus on integrity.
"Everybody should aspire to be of the highest integrity, regardless of BN or opposition," he added.
UPDATEDBy Debra Chong
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Nazri Aziz admitted today he had made a mistake in saying last week that five former Supreme Court judges, the main characters in the 1988 judicial crisis, were not sacked.
He told reporters in Parliament today they were indeed sacked.
The minister also disclosed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had written to the Chief Secretary asking the government to pay their pensions on grounds of compassion.
His admission today comes after both his predecessor Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad disputed his retelling of the 1988 judicial crisis.
"They were sacked, it is true," he said.
Nazri said he had made the statement based on the assumption that people who had been sacked were not entitled to receive any pension, which the five judges had.
He explained that he had ordered the Cabinet secretariat to continue investigations into the matter even after making the statement in the House.
This week, he found out that the King in 1988 had written a letter of appeal to the Chief Secretary to the Government asking that the judges who had been sacked be given their pensions on grounds of compassion.
"I regret if my statement in Parliament maybe had caused some difficulty to someone, but it was not deliberate," he said, stopping short of apologising.
He was quick to point out that he had made the error because the information had not been "publicised". This prompted him to highlight the need for full disclosure of the facts including, in this case, the amount of ex-gratia payment received by the judges.
"Whatever that we do, we should inform the public, including the ex-gratia payment, because the money belongs to the rakyat," said Nazri.
"We should not make agreements with the judges. There is no question of not revealing," he added.
He pointed out that doing so was an example of double standards. However, he refused to be drawn into an argument of whether the government had been wrong in dismissing the judges from their positions.
"Whether the sacking is right or wrong, that is not my problem," he said.
A LOT has been said on the matter involving former lord president Tun Salleh Abas and other judges following the ex-gratia payment of RM10.5 million, including RM5 million to Salleh.
I am not disputing whatever sum that he got but the government, and especially former law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, should not try to make out as if Salleh had been victimised. For if the statements by Zaid and others are to be believed, the payment is a restitution for what they (especially Salleh) went through 20 years ago, the inference being that he had been unfairly treated and had not been given the due process he was entitled to.
Thus, the suggestion by Noramtaz Abdullah (“It’s time to set the record straight”— N S T, Nov 11) that the government should reveal all is in order.
To put things in perspective, I would like to cite the chronology of events leading to the “sacking” as mentioned in the booklet The Unrebutted Charges Against Tun Salleh Abas, an extract from the book Judicial Misconduct by Peter Alderidge Williams QC.
It gives a different picture of the events leading to the convening of the tribunal. This is the chronology of events according to Williams.
What sparked the incident was a letter from Salleh to the then king on March 26, 1988.
On May 27, 1988, in the presence of the deputy prime minister and the chief secretary to the government, the prime minister informed Salleh that the king wished him to step down, that is, retire as the lord president, because of the letters he had sent to the rulers.
May 28, 1988: Salleh signed the letter of resignation.
May 29: Salleh withdrew his resignation by letter and held a press conference.
June 2: Through the newspapers, Salleh made a request for a public hearing of a tribu n a l .
June 3: Through the newspapers, Salleh requested that the tribunal consist of “per - sons of high judicial standing”.
June 9: The prime minister made a second representation to the king alleging further misconduct by Salleh based upon Salleh’s undignified use of the press.
June 11: Members of the tribunal were appointed pursuant to the Constitution by the king.
June 14: Salleh was served with a list of the charges against him.
June 17: Salleh was served with a set of rules setting out the procedure the tribunal would follow.
June 21: Anthony Lester’s application to be admitted to the court for the purpose of defending Salleh was granted with the attorney-general offering no objection.
June 27: Salleh’s solicitors were informed that the tribunal hearing would proceed on June 29 and that Salleh had permission to be represented by his solicitors and Lester.
June 29: The tribunal convened but counsel for Salleh informed the tribunal that Salleh would not participate in the proceedings. Counsel for Salleh applied unsuccessfully for a week’s adjournment.
July 7: The tribunal completed its report for the king but did not submit it.
Williams said it was clear from the summary that a some fancy footwork was going on behind the scenes and the least important matter that seemed to be commanding Salleh’s attention was the actual confrontation and squaring up with the charges preferred against him.
Thus, a reading of the book gives an insight into the incident and gives the impression that Salleh was not as innocent as some people h ave made him out to be, that is, being victimised.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 – The government today relaxed the 30 per cent bumiputera equity ownership for companies seeking to be listed but have yet to fulfil the quota requirement.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the relaxation, which would take effect immediately, was to ensure that the Malaysian capital investment market stays progressive and competitive.
He said that the companies concerned had to take specific steps and under the reorganisation, needed to heed the conditions of the National Development Policy (NDP) while continuing to offer the shares to institutions and bumiputera investors approved by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
He said, however, that the shares that were not subscribed could be offered to other bumiputeras as part of the share voting process.
“I wish to stress that the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity participation at the point of listing will continue to be enforced. However, there will be a slight change in terms of the methodology,” he told reporters after visiting the Securities Commission (SC) here today.
“This means that more individual bumiputeras could apply for the shares concerned. If the shares offered to individual bumiputeras are still not fully subscribed, then the company concerned is deemed to have fulfilled the 30 per cent bumiputera equity,” he said.
Asked whether this move would jeopardise the effort to attain 30 per cent bumiputera equity overall, he said the action would allow other bumiputera individuals to participate and take up the public balloting.
“There are two tiers. After the two cuts, if the shares are still not taken up, it is only fair to allow the companies to be listed. Otherwise, there will be a huge uncertainty for them,” he said.
The SC chairman Datuk Seri Zarinah Anwar said to date, seven companies had yet to fulfil the share ownership conditions.
She said these companies’ representative had met the SC and had been given time to fulfil the condition.
“The share prices of these companies today have gone below their IPO pricing. Of course, it does not make sense then to compel bumiputeras to subscribe as they will be able to buy the shares cheaper from the market,” she said. – Bernama
PUTRAJAYA, Nov 12 - Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today suggested the Internal Security Act (ISA) should be used against corrupt Umno members.
He also backed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the best candidate in the race for the Umno deputy presidency while suggesting that the other two challengers are involved in money politics.
"That's a good way to use ISA, not for some writer who writes nonsense," he said of corrupt Umno members and also in an apparent reference to Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, who was released recently from ISA detention.
Dr Mahathir, who has become increasingly vocal in recent weeks, said there is "a strong possibility that Umno deputy presidential candidates are involved in money politics."
"Because some people who were at the bottom during the first week, suddenly shot up," said Mahathir when asked to comment whether the contest for the Umno deputy presidency is tainted with money politics.
The contest for the party's deputy presidency is now a three way tussle between Muhyiddin, who garnered 92 nominations, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib.
Ali and Muhammad received the minimum nominations, 39 on the last weekend of the Umno divisional meetings. Ali now has 48 nominations while Muhammad, 45.
"Everybody knows that Umno leaders are using money, when the election comes, the people will reject them. Not everyone is but the majority is. So you can be an Umno leader, but the people will reject you. When we have lost, there is no point in becoming Umno president," said Mahathir.
"Who wants to elect somebody who bought his way up," he added
"When you know somebody who has got very bad history and still getting support. That history I think has relevance to the support," he said when asked about the three cornered fight for the deputy presidency.
However he said among all the three candidates, Muhyiddin is the most qualified.
He recommended that all party leaders be investigated and removed from the party if found guilty.
"We need to clean up the party. Now you see the opposition is very quiet and Umno is seen as a very corrupt party, so opposition will talk about how they are not corrupt," said Mahathir.
He said that Umno leaders who are involved in money politics should be thrown into prison.
(Anilnetto) Selangor state exco member Ronnie Liu has been detained or arrested, according to two sources.
He is believed to have been arrested in Shah Alam for obstructing MPSJ officials from carrying out their duties during an anti-vice raid on a hotel in Puchong last year.
A 2007 case?
Ronnie of course played a prominent role on Sunday, 9 November during the candlelight vigil and was one of the 23 arrested that night - but he was subsequently released. This is Ronnie with a victim of police brutality that night.
Lau Weng San in his blog says:
Then I was dragged into the truck while punched twice on my face. The police officers applied some yellow lotion on my wounds to avoid the breeding. I managed to recognise the plainclothes who beat me. I will lodge a police report against the injuries. Ronnie and I saw him in the police station just now and Ronnie went forward to ‘interrogate’ him, asking him about his name.
This time, Ronnie is expected to be released on bail at 4.00pm.
Bernama - Nov 12 2008
Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan has failed for the third time to get out of Kamunting after the High Court here today dismissed his application for a writ of habeas corpus.
Manoharan filed the application on Aug 8, challenging the validity of the detention order, dated Dec 13 last year, under Section 8(1) of the Internal Security Act (ISA).
In his affidavit, Manoharan said the Home Minister’s refusal to grant him permission to attend the Selangor State Legislative Assembly sittings on May 22, 23 and 26, forcing him to take leave, tarnishes the democratic process.
He also said he was not an individual who could pose a threat to the country as he was elected as an assemblyman in the March 8 general election.
Senior Federal Counsel Abdul Wahab Mohamad objected to Manoharan’s application, saying that the grounds forwarded had no nexus with the legality of the detention.
“It is a clear abuse of the process of the court to file the instant application for habeas corpus when an earlier application had been finally determined by the Federal Court,” he said.
Manoharan’s first bid for the writ of habeas corpus was dismissed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Dec 26, 2007. On May 14 this year, the Federal Court also ruled against him.
He then filed another application in Ipoh High Court but had it thrown out on Sept 8.
Earlier in today’s proceedings, counsel Sreedevi Naidu told the court that Manoharan wanted to appear and represent himself but the judge said: “After going through the affidavit, I find that there was no sufficient reason to allow him to appear and to represent himself in court.”
Seen in court were Ipoh Timur Member of Parliament Lim Kit Siang and blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin.
Bernama - Nov 12 2008
The man who wants to lock horns with Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to become the MIC supremo at the party’s presidential election in March, must first clear a major hurdle.
A presidential candidate needs 50 nominations and each nomination must be signed by a proposer and five seconders. All proposers and seconders must be branch chairmen.
Clarifying earlier media reports, MIC treasurer-general and 2006 party election steering committee member Tan Sri M. Mahalingam said all nominations could only be signed by branch chairmen and not branch office-bearers, as reported.
“The MIC presidential election by-laws stipulate that a candidate must obtain 50 nominations and each nomination paper must be signed by six branch chairmen (one proposer and five seconders). In total, 300 branch chairmen must sign the nomination papers of each candidate, to ensure he or she is eligible to contest,” he told Bernama.
He said the MIC central working committee (CWC) would most probably, within its next two meetings, decide on the composition of the new election steering committee entrusted to conduct the presidential polls.
“Everyone can rest assured that the committee, as usual, would comprise non-partisan personalities. They could be either former party leaders or those who have a standing in the community and party,” added Mahalingam.
Muthupalaniappan, fondly referred to as Muthu in party circles, is unperturbed.
Contacted by Bernama today, he said he was confident of getting the support of the 300 branch chairmen.
“They will support me. That is the situation on the ground. I should be able to get 300 branch chairmen to sign the nomination papers,” he said.
However, a party source revealed that the issue now would be whether branch elections would be held before or after the presidential election.
“If branch elections are concluded before the presidential election, then branch chairmen would not have to fear that their branches would be closed down if they supported Muthu.
“But if the presidential election is held before the branch election, then the other side (incumbent president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu) would know which branch chairman nominated Muthu, giving rise to a fear of persecution or witch-hunt.
“Their branches could even be closed down for various reasons, for being ’inactive’ and so on. They might even not be issued the ’B’ form by the headquarters to conduct branch meetings, thus nullifying or closing them down,” the source said.
According to party constitution, branch elections must be conducted every three years. The current term ends in mid-February, next year.
However, the CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body, could defer branch elections to give way to the presidential polls.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — MIC veteran Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan, who is one of those responsible for the rise of veteran president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu 20 years ago, confirmed today he will “definitely” contest against his former mentor in the presidential elections in March 2009.
“It’s on, I am ready to go,” Muthupalaniappan told The Malaysian Insider when contacted today.
“Party members are already calling me the Obama of MIC, the force to oust Samy and bring a major leadership change in the MIC,” he said. “There is an urgent need for a leadership change to bring back Indian support for the MIC.”
Datuk Muthu, as he is popularly known in the MIC, said he is fighting "independently and is not allied with any leaders."
"I am fighting on my own merits and on my own agenda which is for change," he said, denying speculation he is allied with and is the point man of yet unidentified MIC leaders to force out Samy Vellu.
"I shall and will bring change to MIC and to the community," he pledged.
Muthupalaniappan, 66, who claims he has received overwhelming support from the grassroots, is however fighting an uphill battle to defeat Samy Vellu.
One reason is the nomination system.
He needs 300 branches to support his challenge before he qualifies. Another is the counting system where the votes are counted at the divisional level and out of the limelight and consequently chances for votes to "stray" are high.
The last time Samy Vellu was challenged was in 1989 by then deputy Datuk S. Subramaniam, who lost narrowly and later alleged foul play.
Court affidavits were prepared to nullify the vote but the case did not proceed because of a deal struck between Samy Vellu and Subramaniam to move on.
Muthupalaniappan has pledged if he wins to re-admit all expelled MIC members and reinstate all the branches closed by Samy Vellu over the last two decades.
Muthupalaniappan was first elected to the MIC central working committee in 1979. The same year, he was appointed Negri Sembilan MIC chief and party Youth head.
He was made a senator in 1980 and two years later won the Si Rusa state seat and made a Negri Sembilan state executive councillor.
During this time he was a staunch Samy Vellu supporter and acquiesced in all the alleged "dirty tricks" done to keep Samy Vellu in power.
However their relationship soured and when he contested the party vice-presidency in 1987 and 1991, he lost both times after Samy Vellu withdrew his support.
Muthupalaniappan won as vice-president in 1997 on his own steam but could not retain the post in the party's 2000 and 2006 elections.
Samy Vellu has announced that he will defend the post he has held since 1979.
After March 8, we are more racial than ever. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told those who say the last General Election was a vote to reject race-based parties and politics to stop deluding themselves. "We have become more racial than ever since the last General Election. We debate about race every day, more than before," he said. In an off-the-cuff lecture on Bangsa Malaysia in Putrajaya this morning, he said if the outcome of the March general election was a rejection of racial politics, there would be less talk about race today. Instead, race has become a central issue since March. That election has stimulated discussion about little else other than race.
"And if PAS is not a race-based party, then I am not Mahathir Bin Mohamad," he said.
DAP not a race-based party? "Apart from some window-dressing, it's still the old DAP".
And PKR? "It is said to be Islamic, it's also pro-Hindraf, and pro-Chinese educationists. But that's because there is this man with many faces who leads the party. After him, who will lead the PKR? If it is led by a non-Malay, it will not have the support of the Malays."
Bangsa Malaysia without Bahasa Malaysia? Dr M also chided those who clamour for a Bangsa Malaysia but are unwilling to give due regards to the national language. These people, he said, should emulate Obama and children of migrant races in the US, Switzerland and Australia.
"Obama, who must be in some ways a descendant of a slave, is today US President. The blacks had tribes in Africa but after years in the US they all speak English. English is their mothertongue. The speak English at work, at school and at home. The same as the migrant Jews. They became naturalised American citizens. But they accpet that as Americans they must speak English."
I'm not Malay Malaysian. Dr M said Bangsa Malaysia exists but mostly among Malaysians abroad, he said. "I've met many Malaysians overseas. Those who approached me introduced themselves as Malaysians, not Chinese Malaysians or Indian Malaysians or Malay Malaysians. Just Malaysians.
"But back home here, they want to go to different schools."
Sekolah Wawasan. For a Bangsa Malaysia to be born, the current race-based schooling system must go. "This is the only country where we have different streams of schools: Chinese, Tamil and National schools. The Chinese educationists think their kids should not get any close to the kids from the national schools. Or they might turn into Chinese Mat rempits."
The idea of Sekolah Wawasan was to put the 3 schools in one campus. This will compel the children of different races to meet and interact with each other. Morning assembly would be held together. The pupils will be in one assembly. When they play, they'll play together. Not Chinese school vs National school.
"I must admit the Sekolah Wawasan concept did not get support, especially from the Chinese educationist groups. They don't want to have anything to do with the Malays."