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Saturday, December 13, 2008

HOUSE OF LORDS BRIEFING ON THE PLIGHT OF MALAYSIAN ETHNIC INDIAN COMMUNIT

HOUSE OF LORDS BRIEFING ON THE PLIGHT OF MALAYSIAN ETHNIC INDIAN COMMUNITY - 8TH DECEMBER 2008 A NEW BEGINNING ON THE CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT THE ATROCITIES OF UMNO GOVERNMENT AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL.

British Conservative party's Shadow Minister for Education and a member of the House of Lords Baroness Verma of Leicester today (Dec 8, 2008) hosted a briefing on the plight of minority Indian rights of Malaysia.

The briefing was held at the House of Lords on behalf of the Friends of Minority Communities in Malaysia.

The purpose of the briefing was for members of the House of Lords and House of Commons to obtain a true picture on the plights of the ethnic minority Indian community in Malaysia.

Baroness Verma had extended invitation to key personalities from Malaysian as well as from the USA.

The speakers were the Director of Public Policy of the Hindu American Foundation Ishani Chowdhury, the Director of Centre for Public Policy Studies (Malaysia) Tricia Yeoh, Human Rights Advocate (Malaysia) P Waythamoorthy and the editor of Malaysiakini.com K Kabilan.

"This is an important event that emphasizes the need to sustain focus on a nation that continues to discriminate against the minority Hindu population by judicial onslaughts, educational impediments and temple destruction," Ms Chowdhury told the briefing.

"The Malaysian government needs to work with its peaceful and productive minority community and address these legitimate grievances. Only then can it ensure true upliftment of its people and progress as a multi-ethnic nation," she added.

Ms Yeoh said that Indians in Malaysia were excluded from the mainstream, were mismanaged, and was a misunderstood community.

She said that there were an estimated 40,000 unregistered Indian children nationwide and as a result they were excluded from examinations, university, scholarships, access to healthcare, business and employment.

"The Indian participation in the civil sector has also dwindled in recent years. Their representation in civil service stood at 7.2% in 2006 and now it is on 2.8%," she said.

Ms Yeoh also touched on the various Malaysian government measures and efforts to solve the Indian problems.

Kabilan spoke about the plight of the plantation workers in Malaysia, stating that their condition had largely remained unchanged since independence in 1957.

"Issues such as wages, housing rights, education and healthcare are still there," he said.

"In 1941 and then in 1946, there were reports published which stated that these plantation workers wanted a better wage structure, an improvement of living quarters, a proper healthcare and a proper education.

"Malaysiakini did a story on bonded laborers’ two years ago and we found out that these workers were still in want of the same things which were originally sought in 1941," he added.

He also said that the measures implemented by the government had been insufficient in addressing the problems faced by these plantation workers.

Waythamoorthy, who is also the chairperson of the Hindraf, spoke on the marginalisation of the Indian community for the past 50 years.

"And for speaking up these issues, five Hindraf leaders have been detained under the draconian Internal Security Act which provided for detention without trial," he said.

He urged the Baroness to look into the sorry situation of the Indian community in Malaysia and to influence British politicians to raise their concerns to the Malaysian government.

"We will continue in highlighting the grievances of this community in the international arena as the local government is not keen to meet us and address the issues," he said in the briefing.

Representatives of Civil societies within the UK also attended the briefing which included Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, European Centre for Human Rights Studies, The Law Society of England and Wales. Community leaders of the local Hindu/Indian community pledged their support and agreed to take up the matter further with the European Parliament members.

It's not over yet for Razak Baginda

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 – Lawyer and politician Karpal Singh is determined to drag Abdul Razak Baginda back into the dock.

Karpal told The Malaysian Insider today that he plans to apply for a judicial review of Abdul Razak's recent murder acquittal at the Shah Alam High Court near here next week.

He is acting under orders from the victim's father who was not happy at all with the court's decision to free Abdul Razak.

Abdul Razak was recently acquitted of abetting in the murder of his Mongolian mistress Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The attempt to review the acquittal will bring what is surely unwanted attention to the case for Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Abdul Razak was a close confidante of the DPM, and despite constant denials and the lack of any concrete evidence otherwise, Najib has been accused of being linked to the murder.

This has cast a cloud over his impending rise by next March to become Umno president and prime minister.

Meanwhile, the victim's father Dr Shaariibuu Setev is also planning on suing the Malaysian government, Abdul Razak and the two policemen who are still on trial for the murder for RM100 million in damages over his daughter's death.

The Attorney General, on behalf of the federal government, has already asked Dr Shaariibuu to pay RM1 million “security for costs” while Abdul Razak is demanding half a million ringgit for the same reason.

Karpal explained that it was a standard safety action to take against those suing the government, especially if they are foreigners.

“It's their strategy, in case the applicant loses the suit and runs away,” he added.

However, the hearing for the civil suit is on hold until after the Shah Alam High Court delivers its verdict on the two accused in the murder.-Themalaysianinsider.

Lingam tape: No review of Commission findings (updated)

ImageThe Star

By M. Mageswari

KUALA LUMPUR: Two former Chief Justices, a prominent lawyer and two others failed to get a court order to challenge the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the V.K. Lingam video clip that implicated them.

High Court judge Justice Abdul Kadir Musa refused leave applications by the five for a judicial review of the findings.

The five are former Chief Justices Tun Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Barisan Nasional and Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Justice Abdul Kadir said he could not agree with the proposition that the findings of the Royal Commission were reviewable based on the common law of other countries being applicable in Malaysia.

“Our court should not import common law from other countries where the provisions of our laws are different, as decided in case laws,” he said.

In dismissing all the applications with costs, Justice Abdul Kadir said he was crystal clear that there was no decision ever made by the Royal Commission.

“They only conveyed their said findings in the report by submitting it (the report) to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong,” he said.

He said the findings should not be construed as decisions within the ambit of Order 53 Rule 2(4) of the Rules of the High Court 1980.

He said the Commissioners made their findings based on their inquiry into the facts made available to them.

“Such findings was never ever made known to any of the five applicants between the period of Jan 14 and May 19.

“Whatever happened after that period, especially as from the May 9 (the date the report was submitted to the King) is entirely beyond the control of those Commissioners,” he said.

He said it cannot be disputed that it was not the decision of the Royal Commission to make the report public.

The judge then allowed the preliminary objection by Senior Federal Counsel (SFC) Azizah Nawawi over the leave application by the five who wanted to quash the relevant parts of the report which implicated them.

“I have no doubt that public interest is involved, I rule that Attorney-General got necessary locus to oppose the application,” he said.

On July 16, SFC Azizah had argued that the Royal Commission did not make any binding or conclusive decisions and that its findings could not be reviewed.

Justice Abdul Kadir further said that “even though it cannot be denied that all the five applicants are adversely affected in a natural sense by those findings of the Royal Commission, they are nevertheless not so adversely affected within the context of Order 53.”

The Royal Commission had commenced its inquiry by way of a public hearing on Jan 14. It concluded on Feb 15 after hearing testimony from 21 witnesses and receiving more than 100 exhibits and over 15 statutory declarations.

The Royal Commission in May had found, among other things that the video clip was authentic. It found that Lingam was the person in the clip and was in a telephone conversation with Ahmad Fairuz.

It had recommended in its report for six persons to be investigated under the Sedition Act, Legal Profession Act, Official Secrets Act and Penal Code.

In asking for the review in August, Lingam said he had at least 12 reasons to persuade the High Court to consider reviewing the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

“The commission had acted in excess of jurisdiction by going beyond its terms of reference. It took into account irrelevant matters and completely lost its focus,” Lingam had said.

He had argued that the disparaging remarks made against him by commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shankar was clearly infected and tainted with bias when he (Mahadev) continued to “sit in participation and adjudication at the inquiry and made perverse findings” against him.

He said there were also apparent bias on the part of commissioners Prof Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim and Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong.

“There were breach of rules of natural justice when the commission did not allow Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, lawyer R. Sivarasa and Anwar’s personal assistant Sim Tze Tzin who were already summoned as witnesses to give evidence at the inquiry.

“The evidence of the three under cross-examination of my counsel would establish that the video clip was edited,’’ Lingam had said.

The Tale of PPP’s Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu And His Ultimatums.

Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu, later known as K.V.S Maniam and now Datuk M. Kayveas has issued an ultimatum to Barisan Nasional, threatening to withdraw from the coalition if Barisan Nasional fails to amend the Internal Security Act. Many have applauded this move. The rest associate him with a faulty radio, which often fails to strike the right frequency and has a volume that can reach the highest level at one point, and turn mute the very next. Truth to be spoken, I too, fail to understand this Supra Maniam.

Political analysts have formed a near consensus, claiming Kayveas’ controversial antics are driven by the motive of keeping the People’s Progressive Party within sight in the political radar. They believe that without these occasional outbursts, or rather mere sparks, Kayveas and his party may face the prospect of being wiped out from Barisan Nasional. Well, maybe not literally, but their voices may soon be insignificant.

In 2007, in the eve of the People’s Progressive Party’s 54th anniversary, Kayveas was quoted as saying that his party would leave the Barisan Nasional coalition if they are not allowed to contest the number of seats they held prior to joining Barisan Nasional in 1972. This did not go down well with members of other Barisan Nasional component parties, and he was gunned down by the likes of Muhyiddin Yassin, Ali Rustam and Chua Soi Lek, amongst others. What transpired next was his change of tune, much to the dismay of even most People’s Progressive Party’s members. He claimed that it was only a request, and not a threat.

"All I did was make a request that the party be allowed to contest for seats it used to hold. It was a friendly request, short of begging. Never at any time did I issue an ultimatum to the Barisan Nasional.”- Datuk M. Kayveas as reported in the New Straits Times on 30 July 2007.


“I just said we would have to think about our future in the BN if we are not going anywhere. I don't think that is an ultimatum. Come on, we are in no position to give ultimatums to anyone."- Datuk M. Kayveas as reported in the Sun on 30 July 2007.

However, on the 30th of November 2008, Kayveas issued an ultimatum to Barisan Nasional.

PPP president M Kayveas today warned that his party will pull out of the Barisan Nasional coalition if the Internal Security Act (ISA) is not amended before the next elections.- Malaysiakini, 30 November 2008.

Kayveas’ statements appear to be constantly volatile. The merit of the case does not favor him either. He seems to be losing ground on both ends. His claim last year that the People’s Progressive Party should be allowed to contest seven parliamentary seats and twelve state seats in the 2008 General Elections simply because these were the numbers held by them before joining Barisan Nasional is far from justifiable. He conveniently ignored the situational and time-frame elements when making that claim.

At that point of time, People’s Progressive Party was a much respected party under the leadership of prominent figures such as the Seenivasagam brothers. Ipoh Municipality Council, under the People’s Progressive Party in the 1960s, was an exemplary model of local administration which was even highly regarded by Barisan Nasional leaders back then. Kayveas has certainly failed to live up to the legacy of the party’s past leaders. Yes, he may argue that it is a struggle to work under an oppressive system, and that had contributed to the downfall of People’s Progressive Party. But if that was the case, why didn’t he stand firm and make a stand when bullied by other Barisan Nasional component party leaders? In fact, what he did was change tunes to re-establish his ties with them. His flip-flops have been the cause of the public’s confidence in him to decline.

Back to his recent ultimatum to Barisan Nasional, in which he threatened to leave the coalition if the Internal Security Act is not amended by the next General Election. If the party feels that the Internal Security Act is an unjust law, they should push for an immediate amendment or repeal. The next General Election would only be in 2012/2013. Here we have a political leader, who is supposed to represent the people, suggesting that Barisan Nasional has about 4 years to consider the Act, despite acknowledging that those who had been unfairly detained would have to continue serving detention for at least as long as that, unless of course, Syed Hamid chooses to releases them.

It surprises me when people consider Kayveas a bold leader. He may be controversial, if compared with most other Barisan Nasional leaders but he has yet to prove that he is bold. If anything, he is more of a coward who often plays the safe game. For example, threatening to quit Barisan Nasional if the Internal Security Act is not amended, and at the same time, give them an unreasonable time span to consider their decision.

Abdullah Badawi has now made it clear that the Internal Security Act would not be amended, burying any ‘hopes’ left of Kayveas. Abdullah Badawi also said that the People’s Progressive Party was free to leave the coalition. This was decided at the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council Meeting on the 9th of December 2008. In an immediate reaction, T. Murugiah expressed shock over the statement made by the premier, but went on to say that “But I don't think Pak Lah meant what he said that we can leave because he's a nice man... but sometimes, what to do?”- Malaysiakini, 9th of December 2008.

How do we comprehend this? The Prime Minister has made his stand clear, but the People’s Progressive Party Youth Chairman tries to reinterpret it. Today, the Deputy President of People’s Progressive Party chaired an emergency meeting to discuss their future in their coalition following Abdullah Badawi’s statement. Many who are aligned with them were hoping for the party to leave the coalition and consolidate their position as a formidable party. The outcome of the meeting was that the party would stand by Kayveas. To be fair to them, they may not have opted for a critical decision due to Kayveas’ absence in the meeting.

Let’s watch and see what transpires when Kayveas is back from the States in a couple of weeks. Supra Maniam s/o Kolanda Velu, the party has backed you, and you now have the chance of taking the People’s Progressive Party back to the heights of its glorious heyday. The ball, I’m afraid, is now in your court.

by Argus Eye.