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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Free the Hindraf Five: Unfounded allegation of terror links [malaysiafm]

It is exactly one year since the Hindraf Five have been detained under
spurious charges of having links with the Tamil Tigers of Sri Langka. The
Barisan Nasional Government has had one whole year to substantiate this
allegation and lay to rest their case in this sordid affair. But, to date,
no evidence has been produced to convince doubting citizens that the
government had not lied about this allegation.

In the absence of any proof, the government's claim remains merely an
allegation. That being the case, there is no justification whatsoever for
holding them under the ISA. Their continued detention would be cruel, unjust
and unwarranted.

Aliran calls upon the BN government to free the Hindraf Five immediately as atonement for perpetuating a cruel and unjust act. Aliran also calls upon
the government to immediately release all the other ISA detainees and close down the Kamunting Detention Centre, which has become a national shame.

Aliran Executive Committee
13 December 2008

Those held under the ISA are defined as a group that has virtually no rights, so it is hardly surprising that prison guards treat them as less than human.

Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division.

I regard class differences as contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force.

Albert Einstein

Makkal SAKTHI Hunger Strike to Abolish ISA






Almighty God!! We humbly bow at your feet.   

Today (14th Dec 2008 ) Makkal Sakthi supporters launched a hunger strike until the UMNO regime acts on the plight of all Malaysians to Abolish the draconian ISA law, release all ISA detainees and allow their chairman Mr. P. Waythamoorthy for a save return to his beloved homeland.   

Almost 50 Makkal Sakthi supporters gathered at the Sri Maha Kaliamman Temple at B1 Kg .Sri Temenggong, Sri Gombak, Selangor today and commenced the hunger strike after paying homage to the Almighty Goddess Mother Sri Maha Kaliaman.   

National Coordinator, S.Jayathas said that a copy of the "Makkal Sakthi 18 Points Demand" was surrendered at the feet of Goddess Maha Kaali , seeking Her blessings to make the UMNO led BN government to repeal the ISA and address the 51 yrs of colonialization, discrimination and suppression against the minority Malaysians Indians.   

The supporters demanded immediate and unconditional release of the HINDRAF leaders together with the others detained under the ISA. They urged that KEMTA be shut down and questioned that "When America's president elect Barrack Obama can shut down Guatanamo Bay Centre, why can't the same done to KEMTA by the Malaysian Government.   

S. Jayathas further stated that the selective prosecution and double standards in recognizing the right to freedom of assembly, with those opposing government policies 

targeted for arrest and harsh crackdowns. 
  
Recently we celebrated World Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 1 says That all human being are born FREE and EQUAL in dignity and rights, but today in Malaysia this dosent take place instead racial discrimination continues. We the Malaysians want to see the change in our beloved country.  
 
Please Support our struggle to Abolish ISA.  

Valga Makkal SAKTHI 
Valga Uthaya SAKTHI   

S.JAYATHAS 

Makkal Sakthi 
National Coordinater
012 6362287

A passionate plea for help

Image

It has been narrated that the Prophet said: charity is not about giving away what you don’t need but what you treasure. And I leave it to you to decide if you want to give away what you don’t need or what you treasure in the spirit of the true teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Last night, I had dinner with some friends at the Italian restaurant in Centerpoint. When it came time to pay the bill the three of us fought for the honour. We almost became un-friends because of the ‘argument’ as to who should be allowed to pay for dinner. But when we summoned the headwaiter over, he shook his head and informed us that the bill had already been settled. And he pointed to a smiling family sitting inside the restaurant.

It is ever so often that I never get to pay for my meals. And I am not even taking into consideration the free meals the Malaysian government serves me in the Sungai Buloh Prison and the Kamunting Detention Centre. Total strangers just pick up my bills and after splurging myself silly I walk out of the place with my money still intact in my pocket. And many a time my hosts end up being guests of these strangers as well.

I have to admit that it is most touching and sometimes I find it difficult to smile. It is hard to appear cheerful when one is holding back the emotion of happiness to the point of tears. I suspect many a well-meaning stranger probably went away with the impression that I am not really that friendly after all, seeing that I appeared unhappy at their kind gesture. I certainly cannot cry in public. This will destroy the macho image that I am trying to portray. But even men cry when touched in the heart and I have so many times been touched in the heart by people who I have never met and who hug me and want to belanja me a meal.

I thank you, all you Malaysians who walked up to me to shake my hands, asked for my autograph, requested my permission to take a photograph with me, and much more. I know it is not me per se that you idolise -- because I certainly do not want to be idolised (it is un-Islamic to say the least) -- but that you feel you are contributing to the cause of making this a better Malaysia. And that is all that I am seeking, not to be put on a pedestal and hero-worshipped.

But, today, I am going to ask you to support me on a personal mission, which I am adopting as my latest cause.

There are many out there who have contributed to the cause of making this a better Malaysia. Many are faceless and nameless Malaysians who work quietly and aggressively behind the scenes in the effort to bring changes to Malaysia. One such family is, today, in need of help themselves.

This particular family is now going through their own crisis. Nevertheless, in spite of their predicament, they are still very much in the thick and thin of the struggle. But health problems, and financial problems brought on by their medical predicament, have brought hard times upon them. And it is time that fellow Malaysians rally to their side and assist in any small way that we can to help this family out of their predicament.

The mother of this family has been diagnosed with third-level cancer of the colon and rectum while, simultaneously, the father of the family has suffered a severe heart attack. But they do not have the financial means to seek proper medical treatment and we all know how much this can cost in this country. The total medical cost will be in excess of RM100,000 and, even then, the doctors do not guarantee anything because their cases are quite advanced and the doctors can only hope for the best and leave the rest to prayer.

The family borrowed heavily from friends and relatives for the mother’s operation in September 2008 (around the time I was detained under the Internal Security Act) and now she is surviving with a colostomy bag. But she is not out of the woods yet. She still has cancer. And over the next six months until April 2009 she will have to undergo 12 sessions of chemotherapy followed by five sessions of radiotherapy. The total cost will come to RM86,000.00.

The father of the house, who suffered the heart attack, has undergone an angiogram because, at that point of time, his heart was still very weak and the doctors felt he would not be strong enough to survive surgery. Furthermore, he needed about RM30,000.00 for the Angioplasty, Stent, bye-pass, etc., and he did not have the money for it.

In total, the family will need RM116,000.00 for their medical costs and there is no way they can manage this on their own. I appeal, therefore, to all Malaysians to come forward and help this activist family who did so much and worked very hard these last couple of years to contribute to a better Malaysia. They have done their bit for this country. It is now time we did our bit for them.

I am not asking you to break the bank or to go into debt. Do what you can within your means. The amount you give is not the issue. It is the thought that counts. Just give what you can afford and no need to do more than that. Let it be the cost of a glass of beer or a packet of cigarettes or whatever. So drink one glass less this week or smoke one packet less -- it may be good for you anyway -- and send the money to the family instead.

To Muslims, I have this to say. It has been narrated that the Prophet said: charity is not about giving away what you don’t need but what you treasure. And I leave it to you to decide if you want to give away what you don’t need or what you treasure in the spirit of the true teachings of Prophet Muhammad. Maybe the ‘no pain, no gain’ slogan most aptly describes what the Prophet meant. So, can we, as Muslims, ‘give till it hurts’?

Muslims have just celebrated the Festival of the Sacrifice (Hari Raya Korban) while the Christians will soon be celebrating Christmas. When better than now to live the spirit of Korban and Christmas in the real sense of the word? Let us demonstrate what stuff Malaysians are made of by raising this money in the soonest possible time. I shall later publish copies of the bank statement to show the amount of money that has come in plus copies of the hospital bills to show how the money was spent. It shall all be transparent and above board.

To those who desire to contribute to this cause of mine, the bank account of their son, KEVIN A/L MICHAL JOSEPH, is 1124-4704-3083 (Maybank).

ISA must be repealed, say former detainees

(The Star) - The Internal Secu­rity Act (ISA) should be repealed once and for all, former detainees said.

Irene Xavier, a 57-year-old women’s rights activist said she was more hopeful now that the Act could be repealed within her lifetime.

"ISA has no place at all in Malaysia" - Irene Xavier

She was one of 106 people de­tained during Operasi Lalang in 1987.

“Before 1987, I was convinced that changes were very difficult.

“But the March 2008 general election results were a big surprise and, even though the ISA has not gone, there are now more and more people who are convinced that it is a bad law and has to go,” she said in an interview at the Amnesty Inter­national Malaysia office here.

Xavier said that upon her release she had to choose whether to continue her struggle to fight for workers’ rights and the detention convinced her that she should continue.

Amnesty International Malaysia had a letter-writing marathon to mark International Human Rights Day yesterday.

She said she used to think that young people were only interested in enjoying themselves but this year changed that perception.

“I am more hopeful now that the ISA will be repealed. ISA has no place at all in Malaysia,” she added.

On whether the ISA was relevant in light of terrorists attacks, she said nobody should be detained without due process.

“Until the country can trust an individual leader to be really fair and just, we cannot have such a law,’’ she said.

Another detainee, Parti Sosialis Malaysia president Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim, said the Government was still in denial over the March 2008 general election.

Dr Nasir, now the Kota Damansara state assemblyman, was also detained during Operasi Lalang. He said people could be detained under the ISA at a person’s whim and fancy.

“Usually dictators favour the ISA because they can bypass all the laws and don’t need the constitution,” he said.

Syed Hamid angry with Malaysia Today

(The Star) - The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) is only looking from its perspective when it called for the Internal Security Act to be reviewed, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said.

He said the Government was looking at the issue at a much wider perspective and had to take into consideration the interest of the public.

Speaking to reporters after launching Desa Damai, a drug rehab centre, Syed Hamid said Suhakam should submit its views and grouses and the Government would look at them.

He also hit out at Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, whom he said had published a satirical mock interview with him. (See article here).

“It is very irresponsible and the article misleads the people,” he said, adding that the article was written to make him look stupid.

Syed Hamid also said the Govern­ment was still looking at the possibility of employing rehabilitated drug addicts.

Currently, the private sector is leading the way in employing rehabilitated drug addicts.

He said the only obstacle was that at present the General Orders restricted former drug addicts from being taken back into the civil service.

Dr M dilihat perlekeh Najib lagi

(Hrkh) - Kalau dahulu tindakan Timbalan Perdana Menteri yang juga Menteri Kewangan, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak membentang pakej ransangan ekonomi bernilai RM7 bilion dianggap menghina Parlimen, Jumaat lalu Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pula meremehkan pakej tersebut.

Malaysian Insider melaporkan, bekas Perdana Menteri menolak pakej rangsangan RM7 bilion itu sambil berkata, dengan membelanjakan beberapa bilion ringgit sahaja tidak akan membawa kesan dalam menghadapi kelembapan ekonomi.

Kenyataan itu dilihat sebagai memperlekehkan kebolehan Najib untuk menghadapi krisis ekonomi.

Kepada Dr Mahathir, pakej RM7 bilion Najib itu tidak seberapa adan tidak mencukupi untuk menangani masalah-masalah yang akan dihadapi negara ini.

Sebelum ini, beliau yang menyifatkan Najib tidak cekap menyatakan ketidakyakinannya kepada kemampuan Najib menghadapi cabaran berikutan kemelesetan ekonomi global

"Saya tidak yakin (bakal Presiden Amerika Syarikat, Barack) Obama (mampu kemelesetan ekonomi global), dan bagaimana pula Najib? Kerana ini terlalu besar untuk Najib. Terlalu besar untuk Obama," kata bekas Perdana Menteri.

Bukan sekadar dalam bidang ekonomi, malah dalam bidang politik pun Dr Mahathir tidak yakin kepada Najib yang disifatkannya tidak menunjukkan sebarang kekuatan dalam bidang politik.

Najib juga, katanya, lebih bersifat seorang pengikut dari seorang pemimpin.

Beliau berkata demikian dalam temubual khas dengan Riz Khan dari stesen TV Al-Jazeera.

Pandangan tersebut adalah lanjutan dari pelbagai pandangan negatif bekas Perdana Menteri itu terhadap Najib yang dijangka akan menjadi Perdana Menteri tidak lama selepas beliau disahkan sebagai Presiden Umno Mac ini.

Sebelum ini, Dr Mahathir menyatakan beliau tidak yakin peralihan kuasa di dalam Umno akan memulihkan parti itu.

Beliau tidak yakin gejala rasuah dan politik wang dalam Umno dapat dibendung meskipun Najib Tun Razak bakal menjadi Perdana Menteri dan Presiden Umno.

"Apakah dengan peralihan kuasa itu dapat memulihkan parti? Saya tidak boleh yakin lagi kerana saya belum lagi nampak Najib mampu menyelesaikan masalah rasuah dan politik wang," katanya.

Bekas Presiden Umno itu berkata, gejala itu agak sukar dikawal kerana rasuah telah menjadi satu budaya di kalangan ahli-ahli Umno yang mahukan sesuatu jawatan terutamanya menjelang perhimpunan Agung Umno pada Mac depan.

Dr Mahathir juga menganggap peralihan kuasa adalah sia-sia apabila Najib menyatakan beliau mahu meneruskan polisi-polisi yang dilaksanakan oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"Najib menyatakan bahawa beliau akan meneruskan Islam Hadhari. Ini bukan petanda yang baik kerana ia menunjukkan peralihan yang berlaku hanya peralihan bentuk tubuh badan sahaja, bukan polisi-polisi.

"Para pengundi tidak suka polisi-polisi yang dibawa oleh Abdullah, oleh itu mereka akan terus menolak Umno. Oleh itu, peralihan itu sia-sia sahaja," The Star memetik beliau berkata.

Dr Mahathir bukan sahaja berkali-kali menyatakan ketidakyakinannya kepada Najib, malah beliau menyifatkan bakal pewaris takhta Umno itu sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri yang tidak cekap kerana tidak mempunyai pendirian sendiri dan sering mengikut kata Perdana Menteri.

Malaysiakini pernah melaporkan Dr Mahathir menganggap Najib "lemah dan pengecut". Dari pendedahan Dr Mahathir juga, Malaysiakini melaporkan Najib dibayangi "budak-budak Tingkat Empat (Jabatan Perdana Menteri)".

Ketika membentangkan pakej ransangan RM7 bilion itu sebelum ini, Penasihat DAP, Lim Kit Siang menyifatkan Najib melakukan penghinaan besar ke atas institusi Parlimen apabila Menteri Kewangan itu tidak mematuhi prosedur Parlimen yang betul.

Ketua Pemuda PAS, Salahuddin Ayub pula kesal apabila tindakan Najib itu bukan sahaja dibiarkan malah dipertahankan sedangkan perkara itu bukan sahaja sesuatu yang tidak pernah berlaku sebelum ini malah bercanggah dengan pearuran Dewan Rakyat.

Ketika beliau sepatutnya menggulung perbahasan Bajet 2009, Najib tiba-tiba membentangkan pakej dorongan ekonomi bernilai RM7 bilion.

Tindakannya itu mencetuskan kekecohan di Dewan Rakyat apabila ahli-ahli Parlimen Pakatan Rakyat (PR) memprotes tindakan itu yang menurut mereka bertentangan dengan perkara 66(15) peraturan Parlimen.

Is Yoga a threat to Islam?

The funny thing is that yoga is actually a heritage of our ancestors. It has gained a remarkable international reputation due to its universal appeal and message.

Iyan Nurmansyah, The Jakatra Post

When a Malaysian friend told me that Malaysia's National Fatwa Council had declared that "yoga is forbidden for Muslims", I honestly thought he was joking. It was, therefore, surreal for me to see this topic being discussed in the editorial section of this paper.

However, I then began to question whether I and many of my Muslims friend had become closeted Hindus after practicing yoga for years.

As an enthusiast of Ashtanga Yoga, I wondered which part of it has caused some kind of irritation to these ulemas.

If we translate plainly, Surya Namaskara, which is central to the practice of ashtanga yoga, means Sun Salutation. To claim that performing this movement indicates that a Muslim yoga practitioner worships Surya/Ravi (the Sun God), instead of Allah is an insult to our intelligence.

While performing this movement, practitioners concentrate on their bodily movements and breathing. No yoga instructor is trying to corrupt the Muslim practitioner's mind by suggesting we chant something like "let us pray to the Sun God, and may He give us health and wealth" or something similar.

The very reason why many have argued that yoga is an exercise, which can give us peace of mind, is not because the Sun God plays its trick (or responds), but because during the whole process we concentrate solely on our breathing and the flexibility of our body.

Unlike many competitive sports in which we have to focus not only on ourselves, but also on how to defeat our opponents, yoga is extremely noncompetitive. Practitioners only have to pose and move according to their own bodily ability and flexibility. They do not need to worry whether someone next to them is fitter and suppler.

In a life where most of us are conditioned that it is important to be number one and to be the best whether we admit it or not (i.e. being the best student, having the best job, adhering to the best religion on earth, living in the best country of the world or whatever), practicing yoga is a kind of bliss.

At least for a while, yoga practitioners only focus on how precious their body, mind and breathing are. There is no need to feel that we have to win, to defeat or to be much better than everybody around us.

It is true that there is a part in the exercise in which practitioners chant a mantra. For example, in the yoga class that I sometimes attend, we chant Mantra Mangala.

However, it is wrong to simply translate the Mantra Mangala as a chant directed to Mangala (Mars/the God of War). Instead of throwing accusations that this sort of chanting could potentially make Muslims question their faith, we should actually focus on the content of the chanting itself.

More or less, the chanting includes words such as "may there be peace on earth; may all human beings be prosperous and live in harmony; may the welfare of all people be protected" and so on.

This is a universal message that I believe people from all religions -- be they Muslims, Hindus, Christians or Buddhists -- are familiar with. If one refuses to see this chanting as something which has a universal value, at least chanting that is better than rehearsing words which would potentially lead people to attack others who do not share their beliefs.

The universality of yoga can also be seen by the variety of participants who join the classes. In my own experience, it is hardly that yoga classes are dominated by Hindus as some rather foolishly think. In fact, there are always people from widely different cultural and religious backgrounds in these classes.

The funny thing is that yoga is actually a heritage of our ancestors. It has gained a remarkable international reputation due to its universal appeal and message. Indonesians should actually feel closer to it, instead of treating it as some kind of alien exercise that can corrupt our minds.

It is not my place to criticize the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) for debating the practice of yoga. However, it is appropriate to question whether this move will even further distance many Muslims from others. Another question is of course whether some actually regard the essence of universality itself a threat against the exclusivity of their faith.

The writer holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the School of Social Science and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex.

Mukhriz makes life difficult for BN in battle for key Kampung Cina vote

By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA TERENGGANU, Dec 14 - Situated in the middle of Kuala Terengganu town, Kampung Cina, the area with the highest concentration of Chinese in the Parliamentary constituency, may decide which party wins the seat.

And Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's recent remarks about abolishing vernacular schools appears to be turning into a major issue that could swing the voters there who are traditional Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters away from from the ruling coalition.

The DAP has already promised to send national party leaders to campaign for the Pakatan Rakyat candidate with the aim to attract the Chinese voters' attention to national issues affecting the community.

Close to 9,000 out of the 80,000 voters in the east coast seat are Chinese and the BN candidate in the last general election Datuk Razali Ismail won by a small margin of only 628 votes.

But local Umno leaders met after an election preparation meeting recently expressed confidence that the community would remain loyal to the ruling coalition just like in the previous election where the sole Chinese assemblyman from the MCA Toh Chia Yaw won the Bandar state seat by 1,142 votes.

"Just get the head the rest will just follow and support us," said a Kuala Terengganu division member, ruling out the possibility that the Chinese voters in the constituency would emulate their west coast counterparts.

But some Chinese voters in the heart of the town appeared to be uncomfortable with remarks made by Umno leaders that touch on the community, in particular Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's call for vernacular schools to be replaced with a single school system.

Businessman Yen King Seng says that people are angry with talk of doing away with vernacular schools. - Picture by Choo Choy May

"I can understand why such statements were made, because the Umno elections are coming but it made people angry," said a businessman in Kampung Cina, Yen King Seng, who claimed to be a life member of MCA but is now disappointed with the party.

"They are so dirty that nobody can get any worse, anyone fielded by BN here will lose," added Yen expressing his confidence that the Islamist party Pas would do well in the Chinese area.

"We are not publicly showing our dissatisfaction. Just wait for the polling day," said Yen.

However another Kuala Terengganu native Pauline Yang believes that the vernacular school issue would not have much effect on the Chinese voters' sentiment but still she did not understand why anyone would want Chinese schools to be closed.

"I don't understand the timing of the statement, as it was made at a time when they have lost the support of the Chinese. I'm not angry just confused," said the teacher who is a BN supporter.

She believes that the issue was just a storm in a teacup and it would not lead to implementation.

"Anyone can talk but will it be agreed to by other leaders? And it didn't come from someone from Terengganu," said Yang but added that the presence of national DAP leaders such as its Secretary General Lim Guan Eng may change the voters preference.

"We have to be practical and look at the development brought by them," she added saying that she was happy with the progress made by the state after the BN took over the state from Pas in 2004.

A coffee shop owner, Hah Giok Chai, who would be voting for the third time this coming by-election, said the vernacular schools issue may have angered her but cannot say yet if it would influence her decision.

A batek shop situated in the midst of Kampung Cina does brisk business throughout the year. - Picture by Choo Choy May

"Of course I am angry but it's too early to tell, I have to look at the candidates," said Hah.

"I don't have to go, here one or two people going is enough. They will tell us what happen," she added.

But for Toh, who is also state Exco member, the uneasiness among the Chinese voters was aggravated by the media.

"Whatever said by Umno leaders is given prominent coverage," Toh told The Malaysian Insider.

"But look at the Pas opposition to street dance in Penang and some Pas leaders have been attending gatherings that oppose the rights of the non-Malays, but nobody says anything, Pas also talk differently in an all Malay crowd," said Toh adding that he hoped the Chinese voters would look at the bigger picture.

"Look at the PM and DPM, the decision makers, they are not against the non-Malays," he added.

However he agreed that the statement by the Jerlun MP on vernacular schools should not be made in the first place.

"National figures must know what to say and how to say it, anyway who is Mukhriz? He is just someone contesting in the Umno election," said Toh.

"If people are not happy with him, they should show their unhappiness in his constituency, not in Kuala Terengganu."

Hindraf activists launch protest

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 - About 20 Hindraf activists launched a protest fast on Sunday to demand the release of their leaders who have been imprisoned without trial for allegedly threatening racial stability.

The protesters began consuming only water outside a Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, but there was no consensus about how long they will continue the fast, said Mr S. Jayathas, a member of the Hindu Rights Action Force.

"We want the government to listen to us and look into our legitimate rights," Mr Jayathas said.

The group shot to prominence in November 2007 when it led tens of thousands of Indians in a rare street protest seeking an end to policies benefiting the Malay Muslim majority and to gain better opportunities for Indians, who form the bottom rung of Malaysia's social ladder.

The protest marks the first anniversary of the jailing of five of the group's leaders last December under a tough security law that allows indefinite detention without trial.

The government has also since banned the group, accusing it of inciting racial hatred.

Last year"s street rally was considered a watershed in the country's politics, emboldening Malaysians unhappy with the government and boosting opposition parties to spectacular gains in general elections in March.

Minority Indians and ethnic Chinese have recently become more vocal in speaking out against the government's decades-old policy that provide privileges in education, jobs and business to Malays, who comprise nearly two-thirds of Malaysia"s 27 million people. - AP

PPP may find itself out of BN sooner rather later

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 - The days of PPP, one of the founding members of the Barisan Nasional (BN), in the ruling coalition is numbered.

Last Tuesday, BN chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had made it clear that the party was free to quit the coalition if it wanted to.

Today the coalition secretary-general Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor suggested the coalition already had a replacement for PPP already lined up.

"I am looking forward to welcoming IPF who has always been our friend, as a mate soon," Tengku Adnan said when opening the Indian Progressive Front's annual meeting here today.

The IPF is a splinter party of the MIC, and was formed following a split between Tan Sr M G Pandithan and Datuk Seri S Samy Velly in the 1980s.

Last year it appeared that IPF members would rejoin the MIC fold when Pandithan made up with his old foe Samy Vellu, the MIC president. Soon after their reconciliation Pandithan died.

IPF's role as an Indian-based party was given a fillip today with Tengku Adnan's suggestion that its long standing application to join BN is now being seriously considered.

His remarks will place more pressure on Datuk M Kayveas and his PPP, which is multi-racial but Indian-dominated.

Kayveas made a populist move recently by promising to quit BN if the Internal Security Act (ISA), which has been criticised heavily for its alleged abuse by the government to detain political foes and not security threats, is not amended before the next general elections.

Momentum is not mounting within BN, and Umno in particular, for PPP to leave sooner rather than later.

An editorial in the Umno-owned Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of Utusan Malaysia, could not have made the message clearer with its heading "Leave, Kayveas."

"The threat by PPP president M Kayveas to quit BN if the government does not amend the ISA is too much," the newspaper said.

Utusan added that it was not the first time Kayveas had issued threats to the BN leadership, adding that the PPP leader had also been highly critical of certain government policies in the past.

The newspaper said PPP should be expelled from the coalition.

National unity cannot be taught in classrooms

ImageThe Malaysian Insider
by Leslie Lau

Dec 13 — As the debate rages over the existence of vernacular schools, the effect of such institutions on national unity and the countless arguments over their so-called superiority, I cannot help but think that the one element that appears to be missing from the discussion is how our attitudes and culture shape us.

I am the product of a Chinese education and if I am to be honest with myself I hated it. It is not because there was anything inherently wrong with the system. I attended Sam Tet in Ipoh. It was, and still is, one of the top Chinese schools in the country with one of the best academic records around.

We spoke English and Cantonese at home. My parents were not Chinese-educated. I found it difficult to cope with Mandarin.

Today, I can read Chinese newspapers. I can watch a Mandarin movie without depending on subtitles. I can sort of get by when I go to China. For that I am grateful.

And yes, I can read the menu in a Chinese restaurant. My dad used to tell me how he was always a little embarrassed he could not read the menu when he went out for dinner with his expatriate miner friends in Ipoh.

Do not get me wrong. I am not suggesting we get rid of Chinese schools.

As I look back on my time in Sam Tet, the one thing that is clear is that those among my classmates who scored highest in tests and examinations were those who worked hard at it.

It was their attitude that mattered. That was not a subject taught in Chinese schools.

The same can be said about who we made friends with.

Yes, most of the friends I had when I was growing up were Chinese. But that had probably more to do with the fact that Ipoh was and probably still is one of the most “Chinese” towns in Malaysia.

Still, one of the things I learned from my parents was that we made friends with everyone. Race was not an issue for me when I made friends.

Today, I have far more non-Chinese than Chinese friends. But that is not the point. Some of my best friends became my friends because we enjoyed each other’s company or because we shared common ideals.

Here’s the thing. My Chinese school background did not make me a racist, and neither will going to a national school make a Malay, or an Indian a racist.

The idea of national unity cannot be forced on a people. It really depends on one thing. And that is whether people believe in a country.

For the most part, that probably happens when there is a sense of belonging, fair play and opportunity.

And that comes from our attitudes toward each other.

Education is ultimately about providing the opportunity for knowledge. If Malaysians think our education system is failing us, we must examine why and then fix it.

I do not know whether the answer is to maintain the system we currently have or to have a single school system.

What I do know is that schools are not the place to fix the distrust and suspicion we have of each other as Malaysians.

To fix that, we have to change our attitudes

MACC and JAC Bills – postpone second reading from 4-6 weeks to allow fuller study/greater consensus by concerned stakeholders

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants to fulfill three reform pledges on anti-corruption, restore the independence of the judiciary and establish an efficient and professional world-class police service before he steps down from office next March.

Tomorrow, Parliament is slated to start debate on the first of two of these reforms, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Bill.

DAP, just like the other component parties in Pakatan Rakyat, would want to give as much support as possible to ensure the accomplishment of these three reforms. However, we cannot give blanket support or endorse proposals which are inimical to these reform objectives.

MPs saw the MACC and the JAC Bills only on Wednesday and there have been increasing concerns and reservations about the provisions in these two Bills as to whether they would be able to further the objectives of having a truly independent anti-corruption body to spearhead an all-out war against corruption and the restoration of the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.

I have given notice to move five amendments to the MACC to provide greater fire-power in the battle against corruption, strengthen the independence of the MACC from the Executive and reinforce the oversight powers of Parliament.

For instance, I am proposing that we should emulate the Hong Kong anti-corruption law by making it an offence per se for a public officer to have possession of unexplained property, viz: new Section 16A on “Possession of unexplained property”:


(1) Any person who, being or having been the officer of a public body:

(a) maintains a standard of living above that which is commensurate with his present or past official emoluments; or

(b) is in control of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his present or past official emoluments,

shall, unless he gives a satisfactory explanation to the court as to how he was able to maintain such a standard of living or how such pecuniary resources or property came under his control, be guilty of an offence.

I am also proposing amendments to Sections 5 and 58 of the Bill to make it very clear that the Chief Commissioner of the MACC shall have all the powers of a Deputy Public Prosecutor under the Criminal Procedure Code and that a prosecution for an offence under the Act shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of the Chief Commissioner, instead of the Public Prosecutor as provided in the Bill.

I also propose that one of the five check-and-balance bodies for the MACC should be a Parliamentary Committee, whose membership should be appointed by Parliament rather than by the Prime Minister and that such a committee should be headed by an Opposition MP.

These are not the only concerns about the defects of the MACC Bill. Former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Shaikh Daud Shaikh Mohd Ismai, in an interview in New Sunday Times, have pointed to reservations in other provisions in the MACC Bill, in particular with regard to Sections 47 on “Legal obligation to give information”, Section 53 on “Admissibility of statements by accused persons” and Section 62 on “Defence statement” which greatly undermine the rights of an accused charged with corruption.

The JAC Bill also raises a hosts of questions and concerns, including the strong objection that (i) the Prime Minister can disregard the recommendations of the JAC; and (ii) the appointment procedure of judges in the new bill violates the Federal Constitution, particularly with regard to the appointment of judges for Sabah and Sarawak in Articles 122B and 161E(2).

Furthermore, there is the question as to why the MACC and JAC are not being created by way of constitutional amendments so that they are given constitutional status and importance.

These are all very weighty issues and the second reading of the MACC and JAC Bills should not be rushed through next week but should be deferred for four to six weeks till mid-January or early-February to allow for fuller study and greater consensus by all concerned stakeholders.

I agree that the MACC and JAC Bills should be passed by Parliament before Abdullah steps down as Prime Minister in March. This deadline can still be met with the second reading and passage of the two Bills by Parliament deferred for four to six weeks.

For this reason, I call on the Prime Minister to stand down the second reading of the MACC Bill when Parliament meets tomorrow, and this should apply to the JAC Bill as well. There are other government bills for Parliament to debate for next week’s Parliament.

(Speech at the opening of the Perak DAP State Convention at Heritage Hotel, Ipoh on Sunday, 14th December 2008)

JERIT CYCLIST NOW IN SELANGOR

Written by Administrator
Saturday, 13 December 2008

13 Dec 2008

Today the JERIT cyclists from south accomplished their mission in Negeri Sembilan. They left Kirby Estate to Nilai then to Pajam. They managed to leaflet in both towns before taking rest in Staffield Estate. Then they crossed border at Beranang. There was a roadblock in Beranang but no one was stopped. The cyclist team was welcomed by some residents in Kesuma Lakes and PSM Semenyih team. Tonight the cyclist will put up at PSM Semenyih office.

Meanwhile another team from North took some rest today at Kuala Woh (Tapah) waterfall. After that they proceed to south towards Tanjung Malim. Tonight they will be staying at the border town – Tanjung Malim.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 December 2008 )
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED –N9 (Negeri Sembilan)
Written by Administrator
Saturday, 13 December 2008

Friday, 12 December 2008

The day started with news reports that the Deputy IGP has declared that any member of public who participated in JERIT bicycle campaign would be considered a criminal offence. Besides that he also said that JERIT is not a registered body, it is exploiting children and being used by some political parties. All this accusation is familiar but we started the day with caution.

Some of our young cyclist had to go to Petronas station to have a bath. That was an interesting experience, they said. Breakfast arrived late but we started the cycling from DAP office in Seremban Jaya on time. Guna, the local State Assemblyman flagged off and the South team who then cycled towards the capital of Negeri Sembilan, Seremban to submit a memorandum to the Menteri Besar.

The team arrived within 50 minutes, a record time. Soon many DAP and PKR State Assemblyman arrived to give support. Members of Hindraf also lend their support. There was a very low key presence of police. I was relieved that the negotiation the day earlier with SB Chief Ang did materialize. He said that he will tell his boys to avoid confrontations and hoped for our assurance.

Soon we were told that Dato Firdaus Bin Harun, the MB's secretary will receive the memorandum. He was initially very reluctant to meet the campaigners. He asked for two reps to come up and pass him the memorandum. I then went up and convinced him that it would be in the best interest of the State Government for him to receive the memorandum. Failing which, all credit will go to the opposition who are very forthcoming in accepting the JERIT's demands.

He then came down. Soon the cyclist walked in. Two cyclist then rode their bicycle. Our banner unfolded and the memorandum was submitted. Kok Wei and Yogenderan passed the memorandum to the Chief Minister;s rep as well as to Anthony Loke, MP as well as the DAP State Opposition leader. We proceeded with a press conference to denounce the deputy IGP's statement and rode off from there.

The team then went to PAS Markas in Jalan Pantai for a rest and lunch. At 3pm, the team proceeded to Kirby estate via Labu Road. By now , our young cyclist team seem very confident in cycling, they seem to move faster, efficient and have became some sort of a pro. Our escort team led by Mani from PSM Seremban also marshaled the cyclist through the heavy Seremban town. It was a good day but it seems that the number of police following us after lunch had increased suddenly. We became a bit worried.

Upon arrival in Ladang Kirby, we stopped the police from entering the line side of workers. This created a big commotion as the Deputy SB Chief was very angry because our people stopped a police officer. An argument erupted and the police were talking about monitoring us and we spoke about encroachment of our freedom of movement and privacy. Later the police retreated and left and we were back in Ladang Kirby, one of our home town. We will not allow anyone to bully us in our own turf.

The cyclist still full of energy then went on to play football. That night, a meeting was held to share experience at the temple. The day ended late with more meetings but our mission to Negeri Sembilan had been accomplished as we have successfully handed the memorandum to the Chief Minister. It was "kathikai" – and oil lamps were put all round the estate. Our hearts were also lighted on this day as well went on well.

WE are now heading south and would reach Selangor tomorrow.

Sign off – Kirby estate 7am 13 December 2008

Notice Board


Himpunan Rakyat
"Kemuncak Kempen Rakyat Pengayuh Perubahan"
18 Dis 2008
Depan Bangunan Parlimen Malaysia


sebarang pengesahan / jadual program sila hubungi
0123696474 (NorAzizi)

Embassy Row: What is going on, Mr Prime Minister?

Embassy Row

James Morrison (Contact)

MALAYSIAN CONTROVERSY

Malaysian political insiders are aghast over reports that a former ambassador to the United States is lobbying to regain his old position in Washington and hoping to win diplomatic approval quietly from the outgoing Bush administration to avoid scrutiny from the Obama White House.

Abdul Khalid Ghazzali, ambassador here from 1999 to 2006, left Washington under a cloud because of his connections to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges a few months before Mr. Ghazzali returned to Malaysia and resigned from the foreign service.

The controversy erupted in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, after the Web blog, Malaysia Today, recently reported that Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi planned to reappoint Mr. Ghazzali. Members of Parliament later raised questions about the reports. A spokesman for the Malaysian Embassy in Washington said the government has made “no formal announcement” about a new ambassador.

Another blogger, Abu Muzamil Khan, claimed that the prime minister is trying to “sneak the appointment [through] during the [U.S.] presidential transition.”

In a 2006 news conference, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad admitted that Abramoff received $1.2 million to arrange a meeting between him and President Bush in 2002, but Mr. Mahathir insisted that none of the money came from the Malaysian government.

However, U.S. Senate investigators established links between Abramoff and the Malaysian Embassy while Mr. Ghazzali was ambassador. In a guilty plea, Abramoff admitted that the embassy paid money to a fake think tank, the American International Center, established by an associate of his in a Delaware beach house.

Mr. Khan, in an e-mail, added that political insiders are speculating that Mr. Ghazzali, who still claims close ties on Capitol Hill, is being sent back to Washington to “fend off the likely outcry that is expected as a new politically motivated show trial” begins against Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister under Mr. Mahathir who later led a democracy opposition movement.

In Washington, Ambassador Rajmah Hussain replaced Mr. Ghazzali in 2006 but returned to Malaysia earlier this year.

Leaders must take charge, says Dr M

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 13 — Leaders must be brave enough to take risks and decide on a suitable course of action when faced with challenges, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said that a credible and intelligent leader must be in the frontline to lead his subordinates and not just give orders from behind the scene.

He said leaders not only make rational decisions, but must also consider the views and sentiments of the community without putting aside what the majority wanted.

“What usually happens is, people are good leaders before they get power, but when they get it they change.

“Some think they can do whatever they want once they get power,” he said at the Leadership and Intercultural Relationship and Understanding programme with Multimedia University students at the Perdana Leadership Foundation today.

Dr Mahathir said that such leaders were only interested in personal gain and did not care much about fulfilling the country’s vision.

“It is important for leaders to always be aware of their surroundings. If not, they will lead without direction or purpose,” he said.

Citing a general at war as an example, Dr Mahathir said they must always be in the frontline, even if it meant putting their lives in danger.

“Being in the frontline we face all kinds of dangers and may be sacrificed, but that is the challenge and risk we need to bravely face.

“Those who lead from behind the scenes will not face the danger and they will not be aware of what their subordinates are going through. They will end up making decisions that are not sound or rational,” he said. — Bernama

Police tracking down Jerit campaign mastermind

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — The police will track down the mastermind behind the “cycling for change” campaign organised by an unregistered organisation known as the Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) or “oppressed people’s network”.

The campaign, in which a politician was allegedly involved, started early this month and would end next week with the handing over of a memorandum to the government.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said police would not compromise with any individual who organised the illegal activity.

“The activity gives rise to unlawful elements like mass gathering and rallying without permit,” he told reporters after opening the police sports carnival at the police training centre today.

He said the organiser had also allowed children to take part in the activity.

“The rally also creates disturbance to public order. So I’m advising members of the public not to get involved as action will be taken against them,” he added. — Bernama

In current form, JAC falls short of inspiring confidence

By Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

DEC 13 — The tabling of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2008 in Parliament is a momentous event for what it implies.

For far too long, civil society's concerns about the state of the judiciary had gone unaddressed by the Government. It seemed that the acknowledgments this would require, and their implications, were too problematic for the Barisan Nasional to generate the political will this would require.

Consequently, rather than deal with the situation Malaysians were emphatically told instead that all was fine. In this, warnings from various quarters and mounting indications that the institution was in a tailspin went unheeded. The nature and extent of injury this has caused to the institution and our system of law is something that we may never fully recover from without radical steps.

The value of the Bill is chiefly in what it allows Malaysians to do: to move forward and to start looking at solutions.

Though the rhetoric from the Government since March 8 has been welcome, there had been neither tangible acknowledgment of the need for reform nor any concrete indications that steps were going to be taken. The tabling of the Bill has however changed that and we are now on far firmer ground to do what needs to be done. In the same vein, it is also noteworthy that in promoting the establishment of an appointments commission, the Government has also conceded that the way in which judges had been appointed in the past had compromised the independence of the Judiciary.

The utility of the Bill must however be measured against its declared objectives. That the genesis of the Bill lies in the unfortunate events underlying the Lingam video inquiry cannot be ignored. These centred largely on the perceived absolute discretion of the Prime Minister to unilaterally determine the appointment and promotion of judges. I say perceived because there had been a time when the constitutional provision concerned had been understood to mean that the Prime Minister would defer to the choices of the leaders of the Judiciary whose advice would have been shaped through consultation with the leaders of the Bar. In this way, care had been taken to ensure that one person did not shape the Judiciary, even if that person was the Prime Minister. As the evidence that came to light during the Lingam video inquiry however showed, this had become the case over time.

In this context, for the proposed law to be effective it must substantially minimise, if not wholly extinguish, the risk of this reoccurring. In doing so, one would reasonably expect the Prime Minister's role to be circumscribed in such a way so as to impede autocratic decision making on his part.

Regrettably, the Bill does not achieve this and instead goes a long way to preserve the absolute discretion of the Prime Minister. It does this in several ways. Firstly, it is not clearly stated that the Prime Minister can only recommend for appointment those persons whose names have been put forward by the proposed JAC. This suggests that the Prime Minister is not bound to do so and can make his own recommendations.

Secondly, the composition of the proposed JAC is worrying for not only involving the leaders of the judiciary who, as experience has shown us, are not entirely immune from being beholden to their appointing authority, but also a Federal Court justice who might suffer from the same sense of obligation as his or her peers. Four other individuals who are appointed and can be removed at the sole discretion of the Prime Minister complete the JAC. It is evident that this scheme will not inspire much confidence, given our history.

There are other aspects that are equally indicative of a concentration of power in the Prime Minister over the make-up and functions of the proposed JAC. This is worrying for they collectively undermine the stated aim of the exercise for promoting rather than minimising the role of the Prime Minister. The scheme of the Bill is not easily reconciled with the independence that the proposed JAC would require in order to function effectively.

There are some laudable aspects of the Bill. These include the creation of a duty on the Prime Minister to promote and protect the independence of the Judiciary as well as the characterisation of potential conflicts of interests on the part of members of the proposed JAC. These are however of no real value if the core of the Bill is not crystallised correctly.

As other more notable personalities have expressed, all indications point to a need for more comprehensive study and extensive debate. In attempting to give meaning to the independence of the Judiciary, a cornerstone of our system, we are defining an ideal. This is a process that allows for no compromises.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar is the current president of the National Human Rights Society, a lawyer and a former treasurer of the Bar Council. He has been involved in many of the landmark constitutional cases of the last decade and is in the forefront of efforts aimed at promoting the Rule of Law.

5 amendments to MACC Bill to strengthen MACC’s independence from Executive and reinforce Parliamentary oversight

If Hong Kong’s Number Two graft fighter is to be believed about what he said with regard to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill, Malaysia is on the threshold of greatness – to join the ranks of the world’s 20 or even 10 least corrupt countries!

The local media have been inundated with reports of the short visit of the deputy commissioner and operations head of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Daniel Li on the invitation of the Anti-Corruption Agency, heaping praises on the MACC Bill which is to be debated in Parliament on Monday.

Praising the government’s commitment in fighting the scourge of corruption, Li said the MACC was equal or better than the ICAC after which it was modelled.

He said he found the MACC Bill to be very comprehensive and very focused.

He said: “The affected area that it covers is wider than what the ICAC is covering in Hong Kong.”

He praised the government for being “faster than us in Hong Kong” in terms of developing strategies to combat corruption, adding:

“This shows that the authorities here are very much up to date with the problem. We in Hong Kong are still doing reviews and consultation but in Malaysia you have already done that by coming out with these recommendations.”

Li even said that there are some good idea in the MACC Bill which he would take back to Hong Kong.
If Li is to be believed, Malaysia is set to overtake Hong Kong in the Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) annual rankings as a least corrupt nation.

Since the start of the TI CPI annual rankings in 1995, Hong Kong had consistently been ranked among the world’s 20 least corrupt nations although the number of countries surveyed had increased more than four times from 41 nations in 1995 to 180 nations in 2008. Hong Kong was ranked No. 17 out of 41 nations in 1995. In 2008, it is ranked No. 12 out of 180 countries.

Malaysia has taken a different trajectory in the TI CPI surveys in the past 14 years, ranked a lowly No. 23 in 1995 but plunging lower to No. 47 in 2008!

If Li is right, then Malaysia is set not only to reverse this decline but also to surpass Hong Kong in international recognition as a least corrupt nation!

How many are there whether in Malaysia or outside who really share Li’s optimism about the MACC Bill and the government’s fight against corruption? I doubt there is even a handful of such people!

The MACC Bill is not the first time that Malaysia had modeled after Hong Kong’s ICAC. When the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 was passed by Parliament, the new anti-corruption law was also said to be patterned after Hong Kong’s ICAC.

What was the outcome of the first Malaysian attempt to emulate the ICAC? Malaysia’s corruption went from bad to worse, with Malaysia’s TI CPI going into a freefall from No. 32 to No. 47 this year!

Will Malaysia’s second attempt to model after Hong Kong’s ICAC suffer the same sad fate as the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 which is to be repealed and replaced by the MACC Bill?

All this means is that Li is an undoubted authority about the IACC and Hong Kong’s fight against corruption but a dubious authority about the MACC Bill and Malaysia’s fight against corruption.

I have yesterday given notice to Parliament to move five amendments to the MACC Bill to give greater safeguards to strengthen the MACC’s independence from the Executive and to reinforce Parliamentary oversight.

Komtar trees hacked and chopped

Before: Majestic trees provide shade for weary pedestrians next to the concrete jungle that is Komtar Photo by a concerned George Town resident

After: Going, going… and gone before you know it

They just can’t stand the sight of any greenery.

This was the scene at 3.30pm today outside Komtar, where about half a dozen trees lay mutilated as around them a crane and a bull-dozer snorted and grunted.

From what I understand, even simple tree pruning - let alone hacking and chopping - requires prior approval from the Penang Municipal Council. And from what I hear, an application was received by the Council yesterday, but before it could be approved… well, you can see what has happened.

Can the council and the state government confirm if it had given approval for the tree-cutting at their door-step?

Could we have some CAT here so that we know what is going on?

Says one upset George Town resident:

Whilst the rest of the planet is going green, Penang is still stuck in a 1970s mentality. So much for CAT; I think it’s CRAP (Continually Ruin Anything Pleasant).

It’s ironic. There was a talk on the expansion of the Botanic Gardens today. Expand one side, chop in the ‘heat island’ (trapped heat in built-up areas) on the other. These guys aren’t lining up for the Noble Peace Prize.

Apparently, some private firm is paying for this “beautification” project… If the state has approved this, why aren’t they showing the public the plans? Or have they?

Funny they did it on Friday, school holiday, etc. Metropole, here we go again. They must think we are thick, blind or really don’t care… just like them.

It’s a pity as some of the Komtar interior upgrading work looks fabulous, especially the entrance area to Maybank. The irony is that the cladding on top of the tiles in the lift lobby after the entrance bears a tree motif.

Meanwhile, the Esplanade has still not yet been repaired after the tennis fiasco.

NOTA UCAPAN DSAI PERBAHASAN RANG UNDANG-UNDANG AUKU

Nota Pembukaan:

Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.

1. Petikan tersebut saya ambil dari satu laporan yang dikeluarkan pada April Tahun 1983. Laporan yang dikenal sebagai A Nation At Risk itu bertujuan untuk menilai kualiti pendidikan di Amerika Syarikat ketika itu.

2. Petikan itu saya kira sangat penting untuk kita renungi kerana negara ini juga berada dalam keadaan yang genting.

3. Kualiti pendidikan yang merosot dan merudum merupakan antara faktor utama kepada kedudukan ekonomi yang terumbang ambing.

4. Di rantau ini kita melihat bagaimana negara negara yang dahulunya pertumbuhan ekonominya langsung tidak boleh dibandingkan dengan negara ini, sekarang mula mengorak langkah dan memintas pencapaian kita.

5. Namun kualiti pendidikan yang cemerlang bukan hanya untuk memenuhi tuntutan ekonomi semata. Kita harus menilai kualiti serta kedudukan pendidikan dari aspek intelektual dan kekuatan moral yang mengikat kuat fabrik sosial negara ini.

6. Kegagalan Institusi Pendidikan Tinggi melahirkan mahasiswa yang berfikiran kritis dan bebas akibat dari sekatan-sekatan yang wujud dari perlaksanaan AUKU ternyata membataskan perkembangan pemikiran kreatif dan inovatif.

Continue reading ‘NOTA UCAPAN DSAI PERBAHASAN RANG UNDANG-UNDANG AUKU’

Motherfuckers in the newsroom

I feel sorry for Lionel Morais. Not because I happen to know that his appointment as chief news editor of the New Straits Times was made without the current group editor's consent. I feel sorry for him because at a meeting with staff correspondents and bureau chiefs last Friday, he lost his cool. He's not known to be a short-tempered fella but that day Lionel just blew his top, and I feel sorry for him.

That he had been unhappy with the kind of attention that blogs like mine have been giving to the NST is now made obvious. He was particularly angry with NST journalists, especially staff correspondents and bureau chiefs, who have been leaking information to such blogs. He didn't have to mention Rocky's Bru ... I know whose blog he was referring to.

He call these informers "motherfuckers".

I know each and every one of the journalists at the meeting, including Lionel and Ah Chai, and I am sorry for them. I have spoken to each one at one time or another, on the phone and in person. I think it's unfair to call the people who talked to me and shared info with me "motherfuckers". They are not smuggling the next day's story to your rival papers. Journalists talk and exchange info, that's what we do, don't we?

After all, bro, you too have told me things about the NST's newsroom;. it's just that I decided not to blog about it. That - telling me those things about NST - doesn't make you a motherfucker in my book.

Nak menang tapi tingkah laku macam tak nak menang

Nak menang tapi tingkah laku macam tak nak menang

Setiap kali musim pilihan raya baik pilihan raya umum mahupun pilihan raya kecil, parti-parti yang bertanding akan menyuarakan keyakinan mereka akan meraih kemenangan. Para pemimpin dan pengikut parti akan melaungkan pelbagai slogan bagi membayangkan hasrat mereka untuk menang. Namun bagi Timbalan Presiden UMNO, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, laungan atau luahan kata-kata semangat seumpama itu tidak memadai kerana ia perlu disusuli dengan tekad dan tindakan. "Siapa nak kalah? semua mahu menang tetapi kadang-kadang kita luahkan saja UMNO akan menang atau saya nak menang tetapi amalan, perbuatan, tingkah laku kita tak cerminkan orang yang nak menang pilihan raya," katanya. Sehubungan itu, di samping mahukan agar keinginan untuk menang ada di dalam hati setiap ahli UMNO, beliau turut menegaskan keinginan itu perlu dibuktikan melalui kerjasama dan kesepakatan sesama ahli-ahli parti.

MALAYSIA Call for release of Hindu minority lawer arrested a year ago under security law

Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of Malaysian human rights lawyer P. Uthayakumar, who has been held since 13 December 2007 at Kamunting prison (northeast of Kuala Lumpur) under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for posting a letter he wrote to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on his website (http:// www.policewatchmalaysia.com).

"Uthayakumar's detention yet again shows to what degree the ISA is used to violate the principle of free expression," Reporters Without Borders said. "By allowing someone to be arrested and held without charge, this law enables the government to silence its opponents. We urge the authorities to release Uthayakumar, who just used his right to free speech."

Uthayakumar was arrested under article 8 of the ISA, which says: "If the [interior] minister is satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or the economic life thereof, he may make an order directing that person be detained for any period not exceeding two years." The detention order can be renewed indefinitely.

Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard wrote to the British prime minister on 3 November asking him "to intercede as quickly as possible and to press for Mr. Uthayakumar's release." The 10 Downing Street staff told Reporters Without Borders that the prime minister had "taken note of his request."

In his letter to Brown, dated 15 November 2007, Uthayakumar asked him to support a UN security council resolution condemning the Malaysian government's "atrocities" and "persecution" of the country's Hindu minority and referring the case to the International Criminal Court.

Urging Brown to act on behalf of Malaysia's Hindus, Uthayakumar wrote that: "Since independence in 1957, the Malaysian Indians have been permanently colonialised by the Islamic fundamentalists and Malay chauvinists of the (...) government." He also wrote that: "Every week one [Hindu-minority] person on average is killed in a shoot-to-kill policy and every two weeks one person is killed in police custody."

Aged 47, Uthayakumar has been campaigning for more than 10 years on behalf of Malaysia's Hindu minority and trying to alert public opinion about the deaths of Hindus in detention.

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MALAISIE
Un an de prison pour rien : Reporters sans frontières demande la libération de l'avocat Uthayakumar

Reporters sans frontières demande la libération de l'avocat malaisien Uthayakumar, détenu depuis le 13 décembre 2007 à la prison de Kamunting (nord-est de Kuala Lumpur) au nom de la loi sur la sécurité intérieure. Les autorités lui reprochent d'avoir publié sur son site Internet (http:// www.policewatchmalaysia.com), une lettre, datée du 15 novembre 2007, qu'il a fait parvenir au Premier ministre britannique, Gordon Brown.

"Cette détention montre une nouvelle fois à quel point la loi sur la sécurité intérieure porte atteinte au principe de liberté d'expression. En permettant d'arrêter et de garder un individu en détention sans chef d'accusation, cette loi sert à faire taire les opposants au gouvernement. Nous demandons aux autorités de libérer Uthayakumar, qui n'a fait qu'user de son droit à prendre publiquement la parole",a déclaré l'organisation.

Le 13 décembre 2007, Uthayakumar a été arrêté en vertu de l'article 8 de la loi sur la sécurité intérieure (Internal Security Act, ISA) après avoir rendu publique sur Internet une lettre à Gordon Brown. Cet article autorise le ministre [de l'Intérieur], s'il "pense que la détention d'une personne est nécessaire afin de l'empêcher de nuire à la sécurité intérieure de la Malaisie, à l'ordre public ou à son bon fonctionnement économique", à ordonner sa détention "pendant deux ans". Cet ordre est renouvelable indéfiniment.

Le 3 novembre, le secrétaire général de Reporters sans frontières, Jean-François Julliard, a fait parvenir un courrier au 10 Downing street, afin qu'il agisse en faveur de la libération de Me Uthayakumar. Le cabinet du Premier ministre britannique a confirmé à l'organisation qu'il "prenait acte de sa requête". Dans sa lettre, Jean-François Julliard demande à Gordon Brown d'"agir le plus vite possible en faveur de la libération de Me Uthayakumar".

Dans son courrier daté du 15 novembre 2007, Me Uthayakumar priait Gordon Brown de soutenir l'adoption d'une résolution du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU, condamnant les "atrocités et les "persécutions" perpétrées par le gouvernement malaisien à l'encontre de la minorité hindoue et de renvoyer l'affaire devant la Cour pénale internationale. Il lui demandait, par ailleurs, d'agir pour améliorer le sort des Hindous de Malaisie, victimes de la "colonisation permanente du fondamentalisme islamique et du chauvinisme malaisien, organisé par le gouvernement depuis l'indépendance du pays en 1957". Il relevait également que "chaque semaine, une personne [membre de cette communauté] en moyenne est tuée par les forces de l'ordre et, toutes les deux semaines, l'une d'entre elles meurt en détention".

Me Uthayakumar, 47 ans, milite depuis plus de dix ans en faveur des droits des minorités indiennes et tente d'alerter l'opinion sur les décès des prisonniers indiens en détention.

Clothilde Le Coz
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Internet Freedom desk
Reporters without borders

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