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Monday, December 15, 2008

P.Uthaya - Free them, I'll take full responsibility

'Free them, I'll take full responsibility'
Rahmah Ghazali Dec 14, 08 3:06pm

ISA detainee and banned movement Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar made a startling revelation last night when he vowed to take full responsibility for the fevents which led to the detention of his ‘fellow lawyer brothers’.

Delivering the message through his 14-year-old nephew V Prasad (right) at the anti-ISA forum in Klang, he said that he would take complete responsibility for the 18-point demands the group had submitted to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the administration capital Putrajaya in August last year.
"I stand by those demands made and urge the government to release my fellow lawyer brothers who merely acted in helping me and my brother (Hindu Rights Action Force chairperson) P Waythamoorthy in various matters in court.
"The three lawyers have suffered in prison for a year and there are no valid reasons for the government to hold them and they should be immediately released," said lawyer and Hindraf’s legal adviser Uthayakumar in his brief statement to the 250-strong crowd who had gathered at the PAS hall.

Uthayakumar was referring to lawyers M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau who were detained together with him on Dec 13 last year under the tough security law for allegedly carrying out activities which threatened national security.
The other Hindraf leader who has been detained is the movement’s organising secretary, T Vasanthakumar.

Forty-seven-year-old Uthayakumar is elder brother of self-exiled Hindraf chairperson Waythamoorthy, who is currently in London and is likely to face arrest under ISA should he return home.

‘One year in prison taught me to be strong’

As Prasad delivered his uncle’s message to the somber but high-spirited crowd, Uthayakumar also said that one year in prison has taught him to be strong.

"I’ve resolved to struggle for the rights of Malaysian Indians. The Umno government has cheated Malaysian Indians for more than 51 years and this has to come to an end," he said.

Uthayakumar also pointed out that it was crucial for the minority Indians to be united and speak in a single voice.
"With this single voice we should continue to push forward and I urge all of you to be prepared for a higher task of not only demanding our rights from this government but to also make yourselves available to serve the community in a positive way," Uthayakumar added.

As 2008 comes to a close, Uthayakumar urged Malaysians to dedicated themselves to serving the community in the new year.
"I urge all of you to come forward to join us in our next agenda to serve the public," he said.

IPF members stage protest

Najib moves to squelch dissent over reforms

By Leslie Lau (Themalaysianisider)
Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak met Barisan Nasional lawmakers in Parliament this morning and told them to back the two reform Bills introduced by the prime minister last week.

His meeting with the lawmakers was part of efforts to snuff out opposition from within the ranks which had built up in the week since Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tabled two Bills to set up the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

In recent days, a group of BN lawmakers had become increasingly restless over the rush in which they felt the two Bills were being rushed through Parliament, but they kept their opinions out of the public sphere.

A significant number of BN lawmakers also felt that while they accepted the need for reform, especially in the fight against graft, there were concerns that the MACC was being given powers which were too wide and arbitrary.

"It is almost draconian," one BN lawmaker told The Malaysian Insider.

Under the provisions of the MACC Bill, anti-corruption officers are given wide powers to question and arrest suspects. Certain legal presumptions are also being introduced to monitor the lifestyle of public officials.

Parliament began debating the MACC Bill this morning.

Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers have already said they are unhappy with certain aspects of the Bill, and have asked for more time to study it.

The Abdullah administration is also keen on getting support from PR lawmakers for the reforms as there were concerns about the unhappiness within the BN ranks.

One BN legislator from Sabah asked the DPM this morning about the rush in which the Bills were being introduced.

"These reforms were promised to the people before the last general election but were not introduced," the MP told Najib.

"Now we are being driven by one person's wishes. Why can't we have more time as long as we introduce them before the next general election?" he said.

The Malaysian Insider understands Najib did not give an answer to the question.

He only told the lawmakers to try to make sure the Bills were passed by this week.

Anwar wants more power for the MACC

By Debra Chong(themalaysianinsider)


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 - While Pakatan Rakyat today welcomed the Prime Minister's new Bill to fight corruption in Malaysia, it is resisting the federal government's effort to make it a law until certain changes are made to give more power to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The Opposition Leader wants the MACC to be given full discretion to charge in court those who have been investigated and found to have strong proof of corruption against them directly, instead of giving that power to the Attorney General's Chambers, as is done now.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told Parliament that the issue at stake is the integrity, authority, and qualification of the Attorney General (AG) and the judiciary.

He claimed that the AG held too much power, to the point that he could decide if a case would be taken to court or simply closed.

Quoting a famous veteran lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse, Anwar noted that it was not a must for the AG to report to the Prime Minister, Cabinet or Parliament, not even "for the failure of a number of high-profile prosecutions, which commenced with much fanfare but ended up being a waste of funds."

"There is a need to limit the powers of the Attorney General because he acts as the chief legal advisor to the government and also as the chief prosecutor," Anwar stressed.
The 63-year-old, who spent six years in jail on corruption charges, has repeatedly accused the current AG Tan Sri Gani Patail of abusing his authority in sending him to prison.

"Reform cannot be carried out without first solving the problem of the large amount of power held by the AG," the Permatang Pauh MP said.

The solution, he suggests, is for MACC to have two separate arms: one to investigate and the other to charge in court those who have been investigated.

Among a laundry list of other changes, Anwar said the appointment of the MACC chief must be made more transparent.

He suggests that it be done based on the recommendation of a Special Parliamentary Committee on the MACC instead of by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Anwar also wants the terms for informants under Sections 27 and 28 to be reviewed, claiming that heavy punishments would stop people from blowing the whistle on corrupt persons in future.

Of rights, royalty and language

ImageThe Nut Graph

translation by Jacqueline Ann Surin

SIMILAR to the other press, the 6 Dec 2008 Bukit Antarabangsa landslide dominated the news in the Malay press between 5 and 12 Dec. But several other issues were also highlighted in the Malay press. These were primarily about Malay rights, the royalty, and the Malay language.

On 10 Dec, Berita Harian published a column titled Pemimpin Cina, India dulu lebih hormat hak Melayu by Mohd Ayop Abd Razid, who argued that the non-Malays of the early Merdeka days were more respectful of Malay rights than the non-Malays today.

"Non-Malay leaders of before had the right perception and understanding of the position of the Malays," Mohd Ayop said, citing former MIC president Tun VT Sambanthan and former MCA president Tun Tan Siew Sin.

"[Both these leaders] criticised non-Malay politicians of that era such as KL Devaser and SM Yong who questioned the special rights of Malays that were enshrined in the constitution," Mohd Ayop said.

Mohd Ayop said Sambanthan, one of the founding leaders of independent Malaya, argued in 1957 that the Malays, who were being called "first class citizens" by critics, were actually poor and disempowered.

Tan also defended the Malays, Mohd Ayop said. "Among others, he told the non-Malays not to hope for and ask the Malays to give up what belonged to them. Tan's view was that the Malays were economically backward and needed help."

Mohd Ayop said that for 50 years after independence, ketuanan Melayu was not questioned but suddenly it was being criticised by non-Malay leaders including Umno's political allies.

"We would not be surprised if these voices were from the opposition which claims it wants to uphold equality and fairness. But questions arise when these criticisms are from Umno's allies who have before this agreed to and accepted the implementation of the New Economic Policy," he said.

Noting that Malay equity ownership in 2006 was only 19.4% compared with Chinese ownership of more than 40%, Mohd Ayop questioned why these allies would express views that were hurtful to the Malays. "Is this to pressure Umno or to provoke the Malays?"

Mohd Ayop is the head of the media communications unit of the Information Ministry's special issues department.

A royal question

"We have to ask ourselves why we are raising this issue (ketuanan Melayu). I don't understand. I don't know how to answer the question," Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, said in a 7 Dec exclusive interview with Mingguan Malaysia.

The sultan was asked what was the best way to respond to non-Malay Malaysian questioning of ketuanan Melayu, in the interview titled Jangan dendam sampai mati.

Sultan Sharafuddin pointed out that the rulers were Malays, so there was no need for Malay Malaysians to raise the issue of ketuanan Melayu. "For me, we need to focus on other more important issues such as education, the economy and Malay income. These issues must be fought for properly and correctly. Not by raising old issues which don't resolve anything."

In a front-page excerpt of the interview, the ruler also said it was up to the people and Parliament to return the Malay rulers' immunity. "If the people feel it's my right, I will accept it and do my very best. Whatever it is, let the people and Parliament decide because it was Parliament which removed our immunity. And that, too, was initiated by a Malay," he said.

The sultan said he himself would not ask for the immunity to be restored, saying that his role was to fulfil his oath to protect his state and its citizens to the best of his abilities.

He added that it was perhaps more suitable to introduce conditional immunity. "I don't agree that I should have the immunity to not pay my debts or to beat people up," he said.

However, the sultan said the rulers should have immunity to voice their views so that they could not be taken to court for expressing their opinions.

Defending the language

In a 9 Dec Utusan Malaysia report, Lucut keistimewaan peguam tidak fasih bahasa Melayu, three interviewees said lawyers who were not proficient in Malay should be stripped of their privileges.

Syariah Lawyers Association of Malaysia chairperson Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said this was important to uphold the status of Malay as the official language of the courts.

Among others, he said lawyers who were not fluent in Malay should not be allowed to argue in court.

"The issue of lawyers and judges who are not fluent in Malay should have ended 41 years ago when the main laws were translated into Malay," he said in an interview.

Former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Shaikh Daud Md Ismail said language courses should be held for lawyers, adding he was confident Malay would one day be the language for all court proceedings. "But it needs the cooperation of all lawyers and legal officers," he said.

They were responding to a commentary, Bahasa Melayu dalam mahkamah, by lawyer Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman in Mingguan Malaysia the day before. The commentary called for the comprehensive use of Malay in the courts to be speeded up.

Utusan Malaysia's 10 Dec editorial, titled Satu lagi usaha menghina Bahasa Kebangsaan, also argued that the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Act should be amended so that the institute of language and literature could take over enforcement of the language from local councils.

It noted that the proposal to use multi-lingual road signs in Taman Cempaka, Ipoh, Perak followed the move in George Town, Penang. Objecting vehemently to the proposal, the daily said it was clear the opposition leaders in these states, especially the non-Malays, had no respect for the constitution.

"If these actions and proposals are not controlled or fully objected to, we believe other areas controlled by the non-Malay opposition will make changes to road signs, too. We worry that, in the name of multiculturalism, other suggestions that violate the constitution will then be made."

Three dozen Jerit cyclists arrested

1453: The Jerit southern cycling team have been arrested near Bangi Lama.

Thirty six of the cyclists will now proceed to the Kajang police station (phone: 03-8736 2222 for more details).

Earlier, Jerit reported that the police wanted details of the cyclists to check with their parents whether they really gave their consent.

Kepercayaan kepada tuhan (Believe in God or Spirituality to the gods)

When I was in school, my teacher taught us that one of the five pillars of Rukun Negara was ‘ Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan’ , which meant “Belief in God”.

Some years later, an old man told me that if we don’t believe in God then it is an offence in Malaysia.

How do we ‘classify’ God?

Are there few ‘Gods’ or only one God? How come one religion says God has no form; another describes God as one with a big beard and sitting on a throne? Another religion says that God has several hands and arms (weapons). Yet another says we should do deity or idol worship. Then another says God has no form. A great incarnation that took place in India said that everything is void.

Confusion after confusion!

One topic but several philosophies!

In this world almost everywhere people are fighting for this. Is it a question mark matter?

As I am born Hindu I would like to say that in Bhagavatam there is this verse - brahmeti parameti bhagavaniti shabdyate (SB 1.2.11). It means “the Lord without form, or the God in your heart and the Lord with form as deity and idol is the true supreme God. So, we Hindus have been practising God without form since million years ago.

In this context I would like to point out that the name ‘Hindu’ that we are proud of is not actually our religion. We are from Sanatana Dharma.

What is the meaning of Dharma? Dharma means ‘way of life’. Is Sanatana Dharma is a religion? No, ours is not a religion like others.

There is a short story where in the riverbank of Sindu, there was a lot of civilised people living in India. When the Persian (Iranians) passed by, they could not pronounce the word Sindu, but pronounced it as ‘Hindu’.

The Guinness Book of World Record states that Hinduism is the oldest religion of the world. We are the so called Hindus, proud to have the name given by Persians but we don’t know our own way of life.

It is so disgusting.

Now in Malaysia temples where you worship deities or idols are being destroyed.

Is it because of government policy?

No, there are several proofs showing that their leaders in history have done it many years before. 360 idols where destroyed when they tried to establish a religion in the Middle East. So, is this new?

Now Hindraf has reported of the temple demolitions. Are we aware it has been an ongoing process for many years and we are always the victims? What have we done to save the situation? Do you think if you do something politically the problem will be solved?

Is this a policy of “Believe in God” or “Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan”?

Malaysia has a unique history, but this history has been carefully hidden.

Let us look at the facts. Many of us know that Parameswara was a Hindu king of the Srivijaya dynasty and was also the first king of Malacca. From this we know that fact that a government called Sri Vijaya from Indonesia was a Hindu government. There are many temples left by Hindus in Indonesia, the most famous one being Parambanan (Typical Shiva temple) near Jogjakarta. In the north (Thailand), there was an ancient Hindu government at Ayuthaya. The word ‘Ayuthaya’ mean birth place of Lord Rama in India. If we take Cambodia, there was a Hindu government known as the Khemer empire ruled by King Suryavarman II.

There are more historical instances I can relate but I’ll make it short.

So after seeing all this evidence our country Malaysia, which is in the centre of Sri Vijaya, Ayuthaya and Khmer has no history of Hindus living here before?

This is what we learn from Sejarah Melayu.

Malaysian historians wrote that before Parameswara took over Malacca, there were only fishermen in Malaysia. Do you think that it is a fact or it is same as temple demolition? They are cheating us. What kind of ‘Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan’ is this? Does the Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan refers only to the God they wanted?

Now let us look at the word Melayu. There was an article in on 13th December 2008 under the heading “Peta negara Champa dalam simpanan Peranchis”.

If you read the article carefully, it says that Champa is a country within Cambodia where the people there were the pioneer Malays who came to Tanah Melayu.

“Penghijrahan Melayu Champa secara besar-besaran ke Tanah Melayu. Bangsa Melayu Cham terawal bermula daripada Vietnam dan kemudian turun ke Kemboja”

Are they Hindus? If you read wikipedia about the ‘Melayu’ kingdom, it is said that the Melayu Kingdom is also known as Malayu, Dharmasraya Kingdom or the Jambi Kingdom.

Are they Hindus too? In Malaysia before independence or even after that we had many who were following the story of Mahabharata or Ramayana in the East Coast.

They were playing wayang kulit, telling the stories of Lord Rama or Krishna. Where are they now??? Are they Malays from Champa and Sri Vijaya?

In the present time, in the whole world, even in Iraq and Turkey, many people are practising yoga. No one can deny this. Is that a threat for Malaysians? Yoga has been practiced for many million years. It is going on and it will go on. No one can stop this with his or her political power, but the Malaysian government is thinking that it can do it.

Now even from our own view they (UMNO government) are slowly removing all our cultures and traditions. Don’t you think it is an ethnic or religious clearance? Is this the ‘Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan’ written in RUKUN NEGARA?

Now I am saying these last words for my dearest Sanatana Dharma brothers and sisters. If you are not going to follow your religion properly as they do, you are the one who is killing Sanatana Dharma, not them. First of all, meat eating is not your religion. Jesus even said Thou shall not kill. Sanatana Dharma said this in many places. Why you are crossing the borders of your religion?

Are you doing this for your tongue and lust satisfaction or are you doing this for killing your dharma? Answer all the questions above and change your self. Even if many Hindraf movements come when you don’t follow your religion properly, everything will become irreligion. That’s my opinion. (All the blue coloured words are link to the related article)

Saravanan Pitchan

Hindraf launches protest

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. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

(AP) KUALA LUMPUR - ABOUT 20 ethnic Indian Malaysian 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

BN ‘seriously considering’ IPF as member (updated)


KUALA LUMPUR: After 20 years of unwavering support towards Barisan Nasional, it looks like the Indian Progressive Front (IPF) may finally become a full-fledged member of the coalition.

At Barisan’s supreme council meeting on Tuesday, coalition chairman Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that it would seriously consider IPF’s long-standing application to become a member, as well as applications from several other smaller parties.

According to Barisan secretary-general Datuk Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Abdullah made the statement in his opening remarks at the meeting, indicating that there was a very real possibility of IPF being accepted.

“I am looking forward to welcoming IPF who has always been our friend, as a mate soon,” Tengku Adnan said when opening IPF's 16th annual meeting here on Sunday.

IPF president Puan Seri Jayashree Pandithan in her policy speech said that the party would continue to support and help Barisan although its membership application had yet to be approved.

Tengku Adnan said Barisan has always been thankful for the support shown by IPF all these years, especially during general and by-elections.

Adnan said he did not see many difficulties for IPF to be accepted as a member since it has always shared and believed in the Barisan spirit.

“As Barisan and Umno secretary-general, I fully support IPF’s application,” he added.

Earlier, the party’s AGM was marred by a ruckus involving a group of former members who were sacked for allegedly breaching the party’s Constitution, and their supporters.

The group, numbering between 100 and 200, had tried to force its way into the hotel where the meeting was taking place, while another group of members tried to block them.

There was pushing and shoving, prompting some members to call the police. The altercation ended about 45 minutes later following the arrival of several trucks of anti-riot police personnel.

Early this month, a group of the party leaders from Perak, led by assistant treasurer T. Thamothran, had lodged a police report against Jayashree, claiming she had acted beyond her powers as acting president.

The group, representing 20 of the 23 IPF divisions in the state, claimed that Jayashree had taken over the powers of party president when she was only an appointed acting president.

Several party’s members in Penang had also lodged similar reports.

Riz Khan - Mahathir Mohamad

Part 1

Part 2