Share |

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Racial discord continues to bite in Malaysia

The man's ire was mixed with a large dose of resignation but he spoke with some hope about the future and was thankful for independent websites such as Malaysia Today, which provide a much freer forum for debate than the staid, government-friendly newspapers.

Ben Bland,

I'm currently in the sleepy river-side city of Kuching in Malaysian Borneo, enjoying a much-needed escape from the ardours of life in Singapore. But, while on the face of it, all seems well in the state of Sarawak, which is one of the most ethnically diverse parts of Malaysia, underneath the surface, the racial tensions are all too evident.

Malaysia is currently facing a deepening political crisis, with the resurgent opposition alliance led by Anwar Ibrahim determined to unseat the ruling coalition, which has controlled Malaysia since independence from the British. One of the key points of dispute between the two groups is the government's long-standing policy of positive discrimination for the Malay majority.

A number of Chinese people I spoke to in Kuching opened up very quickly (once they knew they were not being overheard) about their dissatisfaction with the current government and its affirmative action policy, which to them is nothing short of racism.

One middle-aged man, in particular, was extremely unhappy. He struck up a conversation with me while we were both sheltering from one of the immense rain storms that punctuate the rainy season in Borneo.

Once he was comfortable that there were no Malays (or police) listening in, he soon dispensed with the pleasantries and launched into a tirade against the government and the ruling Malay class. He told me one of his close relatives had been detained for six years without trial under the much-despised Internal Security Act for daring to suggest that Sarawak may be better off as an independent state.

The ISA, which is one of the least positive legacies of British colonial rule, allows the police to lock up anyone who they deem a threat to national security. In recent years, that has meant bloggers, MPs and opposition activists rather than terrorists or insurgents (for whom the ISA was originally intended).

The man's ire was mixed with a large dose of resignation but he spoke with some hope about the future and was thankful for independent websites such as Malaysia Today, which provide a much freer forum for debate than the staid, government-friendly newspapers.

Although Anwar has damaged his reputation with empty boasts about his ability to seize power, he is determined to oust the current government, as you might expect from someone who was imprisoned for five years on charges of corruption and sodomy that many think were trumped-up.

But the government has shown itself more than willing to stand its ground and the political and social tensions will only increase if the Malaysian economy continues to slow down, as most analysts expect.

Aljazeeras Riz Khan with Raja Petra & Others (Part 1)

Fong Po Kuan debating perpaduan negara (1 of 2)

Housewives angered at ban against airing laundry in public

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Fuming housewives and ruling party politicians are at war over a new ruling that bans laundry from being hung out from windows and on balconies of high-rise flats in the capital.

The ruling takes effect from Jan 1 and was announced by Prime Minister-designate Datuk Seri Najib Razak, a blue-blooded Anglophile who has an eye for finery, on Tuesday.

Najib said punishment for breaching the rules would be introduced later if persuasion fails. A City Hall spokesman said at present offenders usually would be fined from RM50 to RM150.

Najib, however, wants housewives to dry clothes in designated areas on the ground, inside their homes or use driers to be provided by developers of existing or future units.

He said the haphazard way of drying laundry was adversely affecting the country's image.

"We need to dry clothes [away] from public view," he told Bernama, the official news agency.

City Hall estimates nearly 65 per cent of the capital's 1.9 million people live in high-rises and most of them hang out their clothes from windows and on balconies. The situation is made worse by an additional 1 million foreign migrant workers who live in crammed one-room flats and also hang out their clothes to dry.

Tourists and better-off locals applaud the ban, but housewives are angry, saying the rule is a burden.

"We have to go up and down with our laundry and it is a burden," said Kamariah Busut, community head at the crammed high-rise Sri Sentosa flats south of the capital.

"This is just another one of the rules the bosses have thought up without consulting us," she said, adding a meeting would be held soon with opposition lawmakers to protest against the rule.

"These millionaires have many servants to do all their chores. They don't know how poor people live," she said.

"I cannot comply even if I want to," said Thamarai Soosaipillai, 69, another Sri Sentosa resident. "I am old and can't carry [much]. The lifts also break down frequently."

Opposition lawmaker Tian Chua said the rule should not be hastily enforced without proper consultation. — South China Morning Post

Zaid stays out of Pakatan for now


By Shannon Teoh(themalaysiainsider)

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim will not be joining any political party despite the intense courting of Pakatan Rakyat parties PKR and DAP.

"I will not join any political party in the near future," he told reporters, saying that he wants his independence for now.

Zaid, who was sacked two days ago from Umno, said today he was a victim of double standards.

"I am shocked at the way I was sacked as I was not asked to show cause. Obviously, in Umno the rules apply only to some and not to others.

"In Umno, some people have made fun of and ridiculed Pak Lah," he said, referring to party president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"They even make racist remarks. But no action has been taken against them as they are very powerful people, so there are double standards."

Since his resignation from the Cabinet in September, speculation has been rife that he would be joining one of the PR parties.

Last weekend, he was seen attending a DAP dinner and the opening of the PKR annual congress.

These appearances led to his sacking from Umno on Tuesday night.

Zaid also claimed that he was sacked from Umno for his views, and not for attending opposition functions.

"They did not like me or my ideas. They resent my views and accommodating approach," he said.

He hit out at Umno for the "route it is taking now" that is harming racial harmony.

"Umno has become more ethnocentric and communitarian," he said.

He said that there have been many statements such as former Bukit Bendera divison chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail's reference to Chinese Malaysians as "immigrants" and Umno Youth chief hopeful Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's suggestion to close vernacular schools which were provocative.

"It is as if we do not want unity," he said, adding that Umno needs to look at the past, where it played a major role in achieving independence and forming Malaysia to solve these problems.

"Umno should be the provider, the one who takes care of everyone and has the trust of all communities. That is how we started, that is our achievement," he added.

He said that today, he could not see what Barisan Nasional parties had in common and if the governing coalition fractured, "there will be no economic stability if there is no political or social stability."

He said he would not consider rejoining the party, even if offered, if it continued along this path, doubting that it could change.

"But they have a new leader in March, I may be wrong. I do not want to say never, I am not a soothsayer," he said, referring to deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Razak who has been nominated for the top post in the upcoming party polls without contest.

IGP more a lobbyist for police mega projects than a police leader to keep crime low

(Limkitsiang)I am moving a censure motion against the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan by way of a RM10 cut motion for two reasons.

During the debate on the 2009 Budget and the winding-up by the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heong on 30th October 2008, I had asked but failed to get satisfactory reply on why the Inspector-General of Police had become the chief lobbyist for mega police projects like the proposed RM20 billion police helicopter deal to hire 34 helicopters from syarikat AsiaCopter for 30 years and the RM4.2 billion “E-Police Force Solution”, satu rangkaian sistem wireless digital sepenuhnya yang berasaskan teknologi informasi dan komunikasi (ICT) yang canggih dengan litupan selurah negara proposed by syarikat Web Power Sdn. Bhd when his chief duty as IGP is to ensure an efficient, professional and world-class police force to keep crime low to enable Malaysians, tourists and investors to feel safe in Malaysia.

Chor even denied that Musa had written a letter to the Second Finance Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, on 12th February 2007 endorsing the RM20 billion Asiacopter proposal to rent out 34 helicopters to the police for 30 years. I cannot understand how Chor could come to the House to deny that the IGP had sent a letter of endorsement and lobbying for AsiaCopter’s RM20 billion proposal to rent 34 helicopters to the police for 30 years, when Chor admitted that he had not asked the IGP whether there was such a letter.

Chor also made a bald denial that the IGP had endorsed the Web Power’s RM4.2 billion “E-Police Force Solution” proposal.

I have here a copy of the letter from the IGP to the Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop dated 12th February 2007 on the subject “Cadangan Kontrak Sewaan Helicopter Kepada Polis Diraja Malaysia Selama 30 Tahun Melalui Private Funding Initiative (PFI)”, where Musa gave his full endorsement for the proposal when he wrote:

“Kos sewaan yang dicadangkan didapati berpatutan dan bersesuaian dengan pelaburan yang akan dikeluarkan serta risiko peningkatan kos yang mungkin ditanggung oleh Syarikat AsiaCopter Sdn. Bhd dalam tempoh sewaan.

“Ingin dimaklumkan bahawa inisiatif ini bukan sahaja akan menguntungkan PDRM tetapi juga pihak Kerajaan. PDRM akan dapat meningkatkan produktiviti dan keberkesanan di dalam menjalankan tugas serta melicinkan operasi polis dalam mengekalkan ketenteraman awam dan keselamatan negara. Oleh itu saya menyokong penuh cadangan ini.”

I have also here a copy of the letter which Musa wrote to the Prime Minister dated 3rd November 2006 on “E-Police Force Solution – Letter of Intent”, hawking the RM4.2 billion proposal of Web Power Sdn. Bhd., pressing for the issue of an “Letter of Exclusive Intent” to the company by the government.

As I said in my budget speech on October 15, saya tidak masaalah dengan keinginan PDRM untuk membeli sistem teknologi yang boleh membantu mereka menjalankan siasatan jenayah, tetapi bagaimana Ketua Polis Negara boleh menghantar memohon dikeluarkan surat “Letter of Exclusive Intent” kepada syarikat Web Power Sdn. Bhd terus kepada Perdana Menteri dan tidak melalui Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri?

Prosedur yang patut dilakukan dalam apa-apa pembelian sepatutnya ialah Ketua Polis Negara harus menulis surat kepada Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian, Ketua Setiausaha kemudian menulis surat kepada Kementerian Kewangan, selepas diluluskan oleh Kementerian Kewangan, barulah Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri memanggil tender. Tetapi sekarang, Ketua Polis Negara terus ‘bypass’ Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian dan memohon dikeluarkan surat “letter of intent”nya terus kepada Perdana Menteri. Kenapakah ini berlaku? Kita dapati pihak KPN telah melanggar “standard operating procedure (SOP)” iaitu “go direct to minister by-pass your immediate boss (KSU)”.

At a time when crime in Malaysia has become endemic, with Malaysians losing their fundamental right to be free from crime and the fear of crime, an IGP who is more concerned about being a lobbyist for mega projects like the RM20 billion 30-year 34-police helicopter rental AsiaCopter proposal and the RM4.2 billion “E-Police Force Solution” Web Power proposal, even by-passing standard operating procedures, is not acceptable – even though both proposals did not take off.

This runs against the whole grain of the National Integrity Plan launched by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Abdullah five years ago.

There is another reason why Musa is not fit to continue as IGP and why this RM10 salary-cut motion.

[Speech (Part 1) in Parliament on Thursday, 4th December 2008 on the RM10-cut motion for the Inspector-General of Police in the 2009 Budget debate on the Home Ministry]

Zaid Ibrahim and UMNO

1. UMNO has now sacked Zaid Ibrahim from the party.

2. This is the man who was held in high esteem by UMNO President Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi so that from among hundreds of UMNO leaders of sorts, he chose Zaid Ibrahim, a dubious character who could not be accepted even by his own Kota Bahru division and was not made a candidate in the 2008 Election. It is known that Zaid was in Perth, Australia during the elections.

3. Seeing Zaid's behaviour toward UMNO lately, the rumours that he was supporting the opposition against the UMNO/Barisan Nasional candidate in the March 2008 Elections must have been true.

4. Now Zaid has left his benefactor with controversial issues which can only undermine the support for UMNO / Barisan Nasional whatever his benefactor may try to do. And Najib will inherit these headaches when he takes over.

5. Seems that I am not the only one to make wrong choices.

Photo of 2/12, Kaliamman Temple Demolishment, Taman Desa,KL

2/12, Kaliamman Temple at Taman Desa, Old Klang Road,KL been demolish by DBKL. According to Munusamy who is the temple Chairman say the temple been there for more then 15 years. DBKL paste a one week notice at the temple. He then went to DBKL and wanted to meet the enforcement but before he can meet, DBKL came and demolish the temple. Previously Datuk Saravanan gave assurance that there will be no more temple demolish in Wilayah but today we can see what happen. Munusamy lodge police report against DBKL. We urge that the temple to be rebuild and action taken DBKL enforcement.





TIME : 6.15 PM








Date : 5.12.2008
Time : 7.00 PM
Venue : Indian High Commission Damansara.

We invite all peace loving Malaysians to join us to condemn this violent and brutal attack on innocent people and to urge the Indian Government to take a more active role in combating Terrorism.

We would thereafter proceed to Court Hill Pillayar Temple at 8.15 pm to offer prayers for all those innocent victims who lost their lives and seek the blessings of the divine to give their families the courage and strength to overcome the great loss of their loved ones. May we join hand in prayers – for those souls rest in peace.

Kindly bring along a candle for the vigil at the Indian High commission. Ghee lamps would be provided at the Court Hill Temple.

Let us all Unite in a single prayer and show our support to condemn violence and terrorism.

For further details please contact Mr.Jayathas 012-6362287

P.Waytha Moorthy



Clinton Lecture in Malaysia on 6/12/2008

243 Hanworth Road
Hounslow Middxnews

The Honorable President Bill Clinton
William J. Clinton Foundation
55 West 125th Street
New York NY 10027
United States of America
20th November 2008

Dear Mr. Clinton

Clinton Lecture in Malaysia on 6/12/2008

Ethnic Minority Indians segregated and excluded from National mainstream development of Malaysia

This is root cause of slavery and poverty
Appointment to meet your good self in Malaysia

We refer to the above matter and to the public lecture your good self is to present in Malaysia on the 6th day of December 2008.

Malaysia has successfully projected itself as a modern and progressive country with the tallest twin towers. However the mere 8% ethnic minority Indian community have been segregated and excluded from the mainstream national development and causing about 70% of them to be mired in poverty and remaining in the low income group and 90% being in the daily and monthly wage earning group (New Straits Times 25/11/08 at page 14).

May we seek your kind indulgence to also consider addressing some of the critical Indian problems in your lecture which would help draw attention to their day to day pain and suffering.

Article 8 of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution provides for equality before the law while Article 153 provides for a reasonable proportion of the civil service jobs, land, permits, scholarships, places in institutions of higher education etc to be reserved for the Malay Muslims. However the UMNO controlled Malaysian government which has been ruling continuously for the last 51 years since independence in 1957, in the name of Article 153 implements and practices an institutionalised racism, religious extremism and racial and religious extremism and racial and religious extremism and racial and religious supremacy to the brim resulting in the following consequences to the said Indian Community as follows: -

1. Slavery among the Indians who are made to toil from dawn to dusk with no salary and workers benefits sometimes having to go on one meal per day of watered down rice and in instances women and children have been made sex slaves. Children who do not work are beaten up so badly before the helpless mother until one boy almost died. These enslaved children are not allowed to attend school (New Straits Times 15/9/2008) at pages 12 and 13).

2. Birth Certificates and Identity Cards are denied to 50,000 (Editorial New Straits Times 23/10/08 at page 23)(our estimate is 150,000) mostly Malaysian born Indians which in turn denies them admission even into Primary Schools and to receive medical treatment in government hospitals, are denied jobs, upward mobility opportunities, driving licences, bank account and face problems in almost every aspect of life. They are made to become stateless.

3. Equal educational opportunities right from the Kemas Kindergarten (New Straits Times 14/10/08 at page 8) to fully residential, elite technical schools and science \junior colleges are almost 99.0% excluded to the Indians simply by reason of their not being a Malay Muslim.

4. For show only about 1% of the Indians are admitted to the civil service (New Straits Times 13/6/08 at page 14) 1.7% Indians granted scholarships to study overseas (New Straits Times 16/5/08 at page 6) Merely 1% admitted to Public Universities

5. 370 out of the 523 about 70% (New Straits Times 11/6/08 at page 24) Tamil (ethnic Indian) primary schools are not fully government aided schools and most looking like cow sheds. Of the 7,800 teachers (New Straits Times 30/6/08 page 24 teaching about 150,000 primary school children, 1400 (Tamil Nesan 16/6/08 at page 15) are untrained teachers and are refused formal Diploma level training let alone being graduate teachers as in the Malay Muslim schools. The per student allocation for Tamil schools is a mere RM10.55 but for the Malay Muslim
schools it is about 300% higher at RM33.31 (Sempurithi Magazine August 2008 at page 47.)

6. In the government linked companies, corporate, commercial, banking and the private sector the top Executive and \upper \management level jobs are excluded to about 99% of the deserving Indians.

7. In the Mid Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the 2009 National Budget despite a whopping allocation of RM230 Billion (New Straits Times 27/6/08 at headlines) and RM207.9 Billion (New Straits Times 29/8/08 headlines respectively there has been zero allocation for especially the poor and under privileged Indians.

8. To compound matters even the opposition parties, NGOS, civil society and the media chose to abandon the Indians as they draw very little political mileage, have almost zero economic clout and draw almost zero foreign funding or help.

9. The Indians become so vulnerable that in one day alone six Indians whom the police deem ‘suspects’ are shot dead in broad daylight (New Straits Times 3/9/08 at page 12, Utusan Malaysia 3/9/08 at page 5 and TV3 News bulletin at 8.00 pm on 3/9/08.)

10. Over the past twenty-five years a new “Indian criminal class” has been created by the system as a result of no or very little upward mobility opportunities even though they are prepared to work hard. 60% of the prisoners in police lock ups and prisons are of ethnic Indian. One Indian could end up killing another Indian friend when he had refused to pay back a debt of a mere RM50.00 (USD 13.00) such is the pressure of life for the many Indians.

11. The weakest among them end up committing suicide. In just one day alone six Indians committed suicide (New Straits Times 14/4/08) due to largely poverty and poverty related problems.

We have raised the aforesaid problems on very strong terms after having written hundreds of letters, Memorandums, Protest Notes etc to the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Attorney General, Inspector General of Police etc and running into thousands of pages. For raising the same four of our Hindraf lawyers have been arrested and detained without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act for almost one year now since the 13th day of December 2007. Our chairman Mr P Waytha Moorthy was forced to seek asylum and is now living in exile in London. Hundreds of mere peaceful assemblers were arrested, detained and prosecuted for unlawful assembly and even a false charge of attempted murder.

Finally on 15/10/2008 our very NGO i.e. HINDRAF was declared unlawful and outlawed for good. Even the Sessions Court Judge who had dismissed the sedition charges against three HINDRAF lawyers was removed arbitrarily and in turn prosecuted for some trumped up criminal charges.

HINDRAF civil rights lawyer of sixteen years standing and frontline campaigner P. Uthayakumar in trying to draw the Commonwealth Heads of Governments attention wrote to the British Prime Minister exposing the “ethnic cleansing” of Kampung Medan from the 8th day of March 2001 for fifteen days in a row where the Indians were specifically targeted and five Indians were killed and one hundred over suffered grevious bodily injuries.

Despite this tragedy being Malaysia’s worst human rights tragedy, and despite our scores of written requests the Government had refused to hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry, refused to present a White paper in Parliament. The Chief Justice had refused to initiate Inquests into the death of the five Indians and the Attorney General had refused to seriously prosecute for the five murders and the one hundred over cases of causing grevious bodily harm. In short there was a whole scale cover up.

In the same letter to Mr Gordon Brown Mr P Uthayakumar had also highlighted that in every three weeks one Hindu temple was ruthlessly demolished in Malaysia.

For exposing these and other atrocities Mr P Uthayakumar was in turn arrested on his way to his legal office, prosecuted for a second charge of sedition and was released on RM50,000-00 court bail, rearrested right outside court, again detained overnight. Upon release P. Uthayakumar was again arrested from his legal firm on 13/12/2007 and for about one year now has been detained without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act on false and politically motivated charges. The courts have rejected four applications for his release vide habeas corpus applications. This is the classical workings of law, order and the administration of justice in Malaysia.

During your visit to Malaysia we would also be grateful if your good self could make time to meet us.

Thank you for your kind attention in this matter.

Yours faithfully

P. Waytha Moorthy
Currently in London

Dr Chua questioned by cops over Ketuanan Melayu

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Police are now entering the fray in the public debate over Ketuanan Melayu when they questioned MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek over his remarks on the issue.

The former Health Minister had his statement recorded at the Sunway police this morning.

He was interviewed by police for “41 minutes and 22 seconds”, a surprisingly jovial Dr Chua told reporters this afternoon.

“They quizzed me on my specific reference to Ketuanan Melayu and why I used it and whether it was used to incite hate and tension between races,” he said at a press conference in the MCA headquarters.

On Nov 27, Dr Chua had spoken on the terminology Ketuanan Melayu used as the basis of power-sharing in Barisan Nasional (BN) at the Kancil Awards for the advertising industry.

He was, however, accused of questioning the sovereignty of Malay rulers, Malay rights and Bahasa Malaysia as the national language.

On Monday, the Young Malay Graduates Movement (GGMM), a Malay rights group, demanded Dr Chua pay RM2 million in compensation for allegedly questioning the special position of the Malays.

This led to Dr Chua calling a press conference to clarify his statement, where he pointed out he was not challenging any of these rights but merely saying that the phrase Ketuanan Melayu had been exploited by some parties as it gave the impression that BN component parties were slaves to Umno.

Racial tension has been on the rise recently especially between Malays and Chinese due to the public debate on Ketuanan Melayu.

Umno Youth chief candidate, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, had also on Monday suggested that the education system be unified into one where the main medium of instruction would be Bahasa Malaysia, thereby abolishing vernacular schools.

This has led to widespread condemnation from both Pakatan Rakyat and BN leaders and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had to put an end to the bickering yesterday by stating that vernacular schools would remain for as long as the Chinese and Indians wanted them.

Yesterday, BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi suggested that the coalition would develop a mechanism for sensitive issues such as those pertaining to race to be discussed internally.

“I think that’s a good idea,” Dr Chua said.-Themalaysianinsider

AG’s chambers ordered ACA, police to investigate Lingam video report

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — The Attorney-General’s Chambers has ordered the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and police to carry out investigations into the findings of the royal commission on the V.K. Lingam video clip.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the ACA had carried out further investigations on several individuals recommended by the commission from the aspects of graft and power abuse.

“The ACA investigation focuses on two things, namely Tun Eusoff Chin’s holiday in New Zealand with V.K. Lingam and on judges’ appointment.

“The investigation on the holiday has been completed and the investigation papers have been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for study and decision,” he said in a written reply to Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju).

He said the ACA had also completed the investigation on judges’ appointment and the investigation papers were being scrutinised by the ACA senior federal counsel. — Bernama

RPK: 99pc of rumours become fact in Malaysia

By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor

(Themalaysianinsider) KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 – Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin said tonight that 99% of the rumours he reports on his website eventually turn out to be true.

Defending himself from a caller on a special interview with Riz Khan on satellite television station Al Jazeera who asked why he persisted in writing about rumours, he said time and time again he had been proven right with his stories.

“I have always been told that two things sell and that is sex and politics. And sex involving politics sells even more,” he quipped.

He also denied the perception that Malaysia Today was an opposition mouthpiece, pointing out that he had been critical of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as well.

Raja Petra added that he would also not consider playing a role in government if PR succeeded in toppling Barisan Nasional (BN).

“I do not wish to be in government. I wish to be in a pressure group. I have joked that if Pakatan forms the government I will then join Umno,” he said.

Besides Raja Petra, the other guests on the show were playwright Jo Kukathas and journalist Kee Thuan Chye.

All three guests offered their respective views on a gamut of issues from censorship and the media to the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar also joined the discussion by telephone and made a stout defence of the ISA.

Offering the government’s condolences to the people of India over the recent Mumbai attacks, he justified the continued existence of the ISA by saying the law was the reason why Malaysia had not suffered any major terrorist attacks.

He also contended that it was only what he described as a vocal minority of Malaysians who were against the ISA while the majority wanted safety and order in society.

Kukathas responded, however, to the minister’s arguments by pointing out that most of those who were ever arrested under the ISA were not terrorists.

Hindu shrine demolished in Malaysia despite ban order

Kuala Lumpur (PTI): A 15-year-old Hindu shrine has been demolished by the city authorities in Kuala Lumpur even after an order by the Territories ministry banning the destruction of any temple without allocating alternate site.

The latest demolition of a shrine in Taman Desa, Seputeh, on Tuesday has raged anger among the Hindu community, who are now asking questions to explain the demolition act, media reports said here on Wednesday.

makkalosai 031208

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) authorities had apparently issued a notice about the action to be taken in October and pasted the message on the temple's wall, reports added.

The notice was not handed over to the shrine authorities.

Leading ethnic Indian leader and President of the Malaysian Indian Congress, Samy Vellu, has asked the city authorities to explain their action and has warned of personally taking up the matter to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Deputy Federal Territories Minister M Saravanan said he was upset over the demolition and would meet Federal Territories minister Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique on Wednesday.

"I have an understanding with the Federal Territories Minister that no existing temples would be demolished unless an alternative site has been given. If there was any development on the land, then the temple would be relocated," he said.

Multi-religious and multi-ethnic Malaysia has a eight per cent ethnic Indian population a majority of whom are Tamil Hindus.

Saravanan has asked Hindus to give the ministry a day or two before the issue could be resolve amicably.

Beranilah Menuntut Perubahan!

Agenda perubahan Umno terbukti hanya satu helah politik semata. Episod pemecatan Datuk Zaid Ibrahim mengesahkan agenda perubahan yang diwar-warkan Umno hanya merupakan The Great Illusion. Ini mengingatkan saya kepada karya Norman Angell, juga dengan judul yang sama, diterbitkan sejurus sebelum Perang Dunia Pertama meletus.

Perubahan memerlukan komitmen yang tuntas dan berlandaskan kesedaran murni bagi membebaskan negara dari kebobrokan yang sudah lama mengakar. Keberanian Datuk Zaid untuk membongkar akar keboborokan yang mereput ini serta kesediaan beliau untuk melintas sempadan kepartian demi menyokong usaha memansuhkan ISA dan memastikan keluhuran perlembagaan dihormati, harus dipuji, namun apa yang terjadi; beliau dipecat kerana apa yang beliau yakini.

Pemecatan Datuk Zaid harus menjadi peringatan serta indikasi buat semua bahawa Perubahan bukanlah hanya untuk meraih keuntungan politik. Laungan untuk melaksanakan Perubahan mestilah seiring dengan usaha untuk menjayakannya. Laungan kosong pasti tidak akan disambut rakyat. Saya percaya tuntutan kepada Perubahan pasti lebih memuncak.


UMNO and MCA at loggerheads over “Ketuanan Melayu”

source: The Malaysian Insider

December 3, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR — The ethnic gamesmanship that has dominated the political airwaves in recent weeks is exposing the deep strains in the Barisan Nasional government and highlights the dilemma the multi-racial coalition faces on how to deal with an increasingly sophisticated electorate.

Leaders from two of the coalition’s most senior members, UMNO and the MCA, have been locked in a shouting match on the touchy subject of “Malay supremacy”, while a junior member, the People’s Progressive Party, has threatened to pull out of the coalition if the government does not repeal its tough security laws.

Adding to the mounting dissonance is this week’s call by Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, the son of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for the closure of vernacular schools, which he blames for the growing polarisation in Malaysian society. Government politicians have brushed off the debate as part of the coalition’s competitive politics.

“I wouldn’t read too much into all of this. UMNO is heading into its own election and leaders vying for position are playing the race card, while MCA is responding to these noises because they feel they need to recover lost ground with the Chinese,” says a member of UMNO’s policymaking supreme council, who is also contesting in the party’s internal elections in March, 2009.

But several political analysts and businessmen are not so sanguine. “The statements are becoming very shrill and contrived,” says Khoo Boo Teik, who teaches political science in University Sains Malaysia in Penang.He argues that tensions in the BN on the issue of race reflect the coalition’s inability to confront and deal with the stunning setbacks it suffered during the March 2008 general election.

“The (BN) component parties have become more insular because they believe (it) will help them regain lost ground, which I think is misplaced and a dangerous trend,” he says.

The opposition alliance, led by former deputy premier Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, wrested control of five state assemblies and raised its representation in Parliament to deny the BN its customary two-thirds majority in the Lower House.

Analysts believe that the stunning erosion of support was because Malaysians, including the country’s ethnic Malays who have traditionally supported UMNO, have grown tired of the BN’s paternalistic brand of politics and are demanding greater transparency in government.

In an interview with Al Jazeera this week, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is set to take over the premiership in March, acknowledged that the BN was facing its most serious challenge after 50 years in power.

“I realise there is a new Malaysia that has evolved and changed. Malaysian society is now more mature and demands more openness,” he said, adding that “if we do not change or reform, then it is quite possible that the electorate will decide to end BN rule.” But for the moment, Najib’s concerns are not being shared by his colleagues in the BN.

In recent weeks, senior Umno leaders have chastised their counterparts in BN for raising questions over the community’s special economic rights and their dominant role in national politics.

“It is better for BN component parties who continue to question history and established facts to join the opposition alliance,” Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, the country’s Education Minister and leader of the Umno Youth wing, said over the weekend in apparent reference to the MCA.

MCA’s newly elected deputy president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, who has been at the centre of the debate, stressed yesterday that he was not questioning the special position Malays enjoy in society as guaranteed in the Constitution.

“We must change the power-sharing concept in the BN as the term ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ (Malay supremacy) gives the impression that other parties in the BN are slaves,” he said. He added that the MCA accepts “the leadership of Malay leaders”.

“But it cannot be denied that certain parties exploit the term,” he told reporters. — The Straits Times

Zaid’s next move?

(Din Merican) Welcome Dato Zaid Ibrahim if you decide to join Parti KeADILan Rakyat. It is a real pity that UMNO does not appreciate a man of Zaid’s considerable talent and passion for the Rule of Law. UMNO only wants cheerleaders and sycophants, not individuals who can think and act with conviction. I personally hope Dato Zaid will join all of us in Pakatan Rakyat in common cause.

We need to restore the independence of the judiciary, uphold the constitution, rebuild the economy, reform the public services and our education system, fight corruption and abuse of power, and take our country forward. Harapan Baru untuk Malaysia (A New Dawn for Malaysia).—Din Merican

Anwar leaves it to Zaid to decide
Syed Jaymal Zahiid | December 3, 2008

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today said it was now up to Zaid Ibrahim to decide if he wanted to join PKR or any other opposition parties following UMNO’s decision to sack him yesterday.

The PKR leader also said that while he would welcome Zaid into the Pakatan alliance, it would, however, only be apt to give the former minister some time to reflect his current situation.

UMNO last night decided to sack Zaid after he was seen in the company of opposition leaders and at opposition events - the most recent being his presence at the PKR annual meeting last Saturday.

anwar hari raya open house kuala lumpur 121008 zaid ibrahim “It is his choice. He has been discussing with PKR leaders, DAP and PAS and they seem to be comfortable with him because we have seen him rather steadfast in defending the principles of human rights and very committed in his stance against draconian laws (like the) ISA.

“I think he is an asset to the nation. We welcome him to be more involved, we have been engaging in principle agendas together.

“We’ve had discussions but I don’t want to be seen to be pushing him in the direction. Let him have the space to reflect now that he has been unceremoniously dismissed as a member of UMNO,” Anwar told a press conference in Parliament this morning.

Asked if there was an attempt to convince Zaid to join Pakatan, Anwar said that there was never an issue of him trying to convince the ex-minister.

He added that Zaid shared common principles with the Pakatan parties as far as human rights and other issues were concerned.

Zaid has often been perceived as a renegade in UMNO and the government for his vocal criticism of various government policies, notably the judiciary and the ISA. In September, Zaid tendered his resignation as law minister in protest after a fallout with the government after it invoked the ISA to arrest several opposition figures.

To many UMNO leaders and members, his outspokenness against his own party and government was unacceptable.

They felt the final straw was Zaid’s attendance at the PKR congress last Saturday. The day before, he was seen at a DAP dinner in Penang.

His presence at the congress, as well as his statement that he was “keeping his options open”, further fuelled speculation that he had intentions of joining the opposition.

Sacking reflects UMNO’s intolerance

Commenting on the sacking, Anwar said that it was “extreme” and reflected on the lack of tolerance the Malay-based party had for differences in opinion.

“We have seen even in our parties people engaging with UMNO leaders, participating in functions and giving statements not particularly reflective of our party position but we speak to them and persuade them to tow the line.

“This only shows the intolerance of UMNO towards any difference of opinions and what is weird for me is that discussions with other parties should not be an issue but that is the party’s problem.

“We hope that Zaid would take this as a challenge and step into the arena,” said Anwar.

Echoing Anwar, veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang also said the decision to sack Zaid reflected poorly on UMNO and the prime minister-cum-UMNO president.

“There are more important things like corruption and money-politics in UMN0 to be discussed but the supreme council met to discuss Zaid’s presence in an opposition event.”

“The country is faced with an economic crisis, political crisis, nation-building crisis, credibility crisis and the only thing that they can worry about is Zaid. Something is very wrong and rotten with the UMNO leadership,” he said.