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Thursday, January 15, 2009

HINDRAF- Media statement

Press Statement
HINDRAF – UMNO led cabinet and its bigotry.

In reference to the recent reporting in the mainstream media, criticism seems to mount against the report submitted by HINDRAF on the Malaysian Indian Minority Report and Human Rights Violations 2008 as the UMNO led cabinet seems more concerned in shutting out the truth.

HINDRAF stands by its report based on facts and figures reported in the said report and not the usual rhetoric by the popularized characters in the UMNO led mass media. The position taken by the cabinet and its coolies only begs a question on who does it really serves, themselves or the people.

There more than 30 violations and atrocities backed by researched news report and publication in this report which are purely factual but the cabinet is more concerned in its bigotry and self denial making rhetoric claims rather than addressing and tackling the issues put forward in the report.

Statement such as " we are deeply concerned with Waytha Moorthy's action as it would have harmful effects on what we have worked for and achieved during the past several months," by Dr Subra seems to be a veiled threat towards the Malaysian Indian community that they should keep quite and accept the lip service that had persevered for the last 52 years.

Rather than playing the mandore role in silence and submission, Samy & Subra should stand up for the Malaysian Indians and voice their concern for the systematic discrimination and marginalization of the Malaysian Indians and be a true representative of the society.

If UMNO disputes the report then I challenge them to have an open debate in these issues on a neutral ground ie in the UK or the USA.

The UMNO led government's relentless obstinate and zealous effort to shut out the grievances is nothing new but only to salvage its own dented ego although there are clear and present human right violations of the Malaysian Indian, yet salvaging one's own ego seems paramount against the cause of humanity.

The Malaysian Indians along with those who suffer in poverty and sidelined including the majority Muslims who had suffered enough under UMNO tyranny, definitely deserves a fairer government that listens to its society and tackle their issues without fear and favor.

HINDRAF calls for a United Malaysia that can rise and heed the voice for humanity irrespective of race, religion, color or creed to act upon those truth and reality that exist between us to forge us as a truly multicultural nation.


Waytha Moorthy

HINDRAF – Chairman
From Chennai

A fire raging out of control

Image

Let me repeat that. Malaysia already practices the Islamic law of Hudud, but only for Muslims. And we do not call them Hudud laws although in reality they are.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

A RELIGIOUS court has sentenced a Muslim woman to six strokes of the cane for drinking alcohol, possibly for the first time in Malaysia.

The Syariah High Court in Pahang also handed the same sentence to a man on Monday, and is due to make a decision on another woman in May.

Mohamad Nasir Mohamad, 38, a father of four, and waitress Noorazah Baharuddin, 22, were found drinking beer separately in pubs in July last year in central Pahang state, said reports released yesterday.

Nasir admitted that he had drunk beer at a pub in Cherating on July 11, while Noorazah was caught drinking at the pub where she worked, in Jalan Gambut.

Both were also fined RM5,000 each by the Pahang court on Monday.

The third accused was part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32. According to the New Straits Times, Kartika, a Singapore permanent resident, could not attend court as she is studying in Singapore.

Judge Abdul Rahman Yunus said that he had given the maximum fine and caning as a deterrent to other Muslims, but had spared them a jail sentence.

'The caning is to shame them and should be done at any of the prisons in the country,' he was quoted as saying by NST.

The case comes after two controversial fatwas, or edicts - one over tomboyish behaviour by women and the other concerning the practice of yoga - sparked intense public debate over decisions made by the country's top religious body.

Malaysia has a two-track legal system, with the civil courts operating alongside state-based syariah courts. Muslims are governed by syariah laws in family and personal matters, while ethnic Chinese, Indians and other races come under civil courts.

According to NST, this is the second time such a sentence has been handed down. In 2005, the same judge sentenced two Muslim brothers to six strokes of the cane after they were caught drinking.

However, the caning has yet to be carried out as the men are appealing against the decision.

Alcohol is widely available in Malaysia, and Muslims are rarely punished for consuming it.

'It's rare but it's within the law and Muslims are subject to such law in this country,' said lawyer Pawancheek Merican, a syariah law committee member of the Malaysian Bar Council.

MP Salahuddin Ayub, the youth chief of the opposition Islamic party PAS, said he 'agreed' with the court ruling.

'The ruling only concerns Muslims and it does not affect the non-Muslims. It is to remind the Muslims not to drink,' he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

************************************

The strategy is simple. The Malays are split 50:50. So the Chinese votes are needed to ensure that Barisan Nasional retains the Kuala Terengganu parliament seat in the 17 January 2009 by-election. And, to meet this objective, the Chinese must be made to hate PAS. And for them to hate PAS, they must be made to hate Islamic laws -- which PAS is alleged to be propagating.

Lighting fires is a dangerous game. Fires are known to rage out of control. And the ‘hate Islamic laws, therefore hate PAS’ fire is one such fire that can, and most probably will, rage out of control. Under normal situations this may not be so dicey. However, nowadays, there is nothing ‘normal’ about Islam. With the 911, Bali bombing, and more recently, the Mumbai massacre, and many more, Islam is beginning to become a four-letter word to non-Muslims.

And can we blame the non-Muslims? Islam appears to be behind most terrorist acts. Even the pirates in Somalia are pirating to finance their ‘Islamic Jihad’. Islam may be a mere victim of perception. It may be, as many argue, that the western media are embarking on a smear-Islam campaign. It could be true that there are many other terrorist acts perpetuated by non-Muslims, but which are not appearing on the radar screens of the western media. Nevertheless, Islam is currently the ‘bad boy’ of the western media. The jury is unanimous on this.

It is very easy, therefore, to demonise Islam. It does not take much to make people suspicious of anything that smacks of Islam. And Islamic laws, where numerous YouTube videos of ‘Islamic justice’ lend support to the argument about how brutal it can be, makes the job of those opposed to Islamic laws very easy indeed.

Barisan Nasional is one of those contributing to the demonising of Islam campaign. On the one hand, Umno, the head honcho of Barisan Nasional, claims to be the largest Islamic party in the world. To demonstrate how Islamic they are they launch the very confusing concept of Islam Hadhari, which many do not really know what it means yet. Then, on the other hand, they demonise Islamic laws in their fervour to demonise PAS.

But Barisan Nasional is not being candid about the matter. What they have failed to do is to explain that Hudud is just one of many Islamic laws. And Hudud is a law that deals with seven very specific crimes. But there are many other Islamic laws. And while Malaysia is yet to adopt the Hudud laws, since Independence, we have already adopted all the other Islamic laws and they are being implemented to the fullest.

Read today’s AFP news item above. The Syariah court convicted and sentenced Muslims for the crime of drinking liquor and this was done in accordance with Islamic laws. And this is not the first time Muslims have been arrested, put on trial, convicted and sentenced for drinking liquor. It has been happening since Independence.

Drinking liquor is not the only crime under Islam. Eating during the month of Ramadhan, close proximity, extra-marital sex, etc., are also crimes under Islam. But, under Islamic law, all these are considered crimes only for Muslims. Non-Muslims are not subjected to these laws.

Then there are other Syariah laws involving marriage, divorce, living together out of wedlock, conversion, inheritance, failure to attend Friday prayers, zakat, fitrah, apostasy, heresy, etc. There are specific Islamic laws for all these as well and all are implemented in Malaysia. Hudud is just another of the many Syariah laws that Malaysia already practices.

So, as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, Malaysia is already an Islamic State and already practices Islamic laws. Almost all the Islamic laws are applicable in Malaysia. There is only one Islamic law that is yet to be adopted. And this is the Islamic law of Hudud. And the reason the Islamic law of Hudud has not been adopted is because Malaysia already has common laws to cover these seven crimes under Hudud law. So, since we already have common laws to take care of these seven crimes, the Islamic law of Hudud is not required.

The argument is simple. Islamic laws apply only to Muslims. But the seven crimes under Hudud cannot apply only to Muslims because it is also a crime if perpetuated by non-Muslims. Therefore, the Islamic law of Hudud, which will only apply to Muslims, cannot be adopted. Non-Muslims also need to be punished for these seven crimes. That is why Malaysia needs to use common law and not Hudud law or else the non-Muslims will escape punishment.

Amongst these seven crimes under Hudud are: robbery, theft, false accusation of adultery, rebellion against the state, drinking alcohol, apostasy, and extra-marital sex.

Now, notice one thing here. Three of the seven are already being practiced. Under Syariah law, drinking alcohol, apostasy, and extra-marital sex are already crimes for Muslims. Muslims, since the time of Independence and up to today, are being punished under the Syariah law for the crimes of drinking alcohol, apostasy, and extra-marital sex. This means Malaysia already practices the Hudud law. So why is Barisan Nasional hiding this fact from Malaysians, in particular from the non-Muslims?

Let me repeat that. Malaysia already practices the Islamic law of Hudud, but only for Muslims. And we do not call them Hudud laws although in reality they are.

As for robbery, theft and rebellion against the state, these too are crimes in Malaysia. The only thing is Malaysia is applying common law and not the Islamic law of Hudud for these crimes. Nevertheless, you will still be put to death for rebellion against the state like what happened to the Al Maunah group -- they were all hanged. And if you commit robbery with a gun, you will also be put to death. In fact, you will also be put to death for drug trafficking, whereas this is not a crime under Hudud.

In that sense, common law is actually more brutal than Hudud. Common law will impose the death sentence for armed robbery whereas Hudud will only impose the death sentence if you kill during that robbery. And if you are caught with a gun, even though you did not commit any crime with it, you will be put to death. Islam, however, guarantees citizens the right to bear arms, just like in the US. So, in this respect, Hudud is more humane. Under Hudud, you do not die if you are caught with a gun. Under common law you do.

My piece is not in defence of the Islamic law of Hudud, or otherwise. I am not even saying that I support the implementation of Hudud. What I am trying to demonstrate here is that the Islamic law of Hudud has not been properly explained and that the government is demonising Hudud just so that they can demonise PAS. The government has also not explained that three of the seven crimes under Hudud are already crimes for Muslims and that Muslims have been convicted for these crimes over the last 52 years since Independence.

Furthermore, Malaysia has made it a crime, punishable by death, for crimes that Hudud does not regard as crimes. On top of that, crimes that do not attract the death sentence under Hudud are punishable by death under Malaysia’s common law. As much as Hudud may be seen as brutal, the reality of the situation is that Malaysia’s common laws, in some situations, are more brutal.

And Hudud, for sure, does not allow for detention without trial, which under Malaysia’s common law is allowed. That, alone, places Hudud above common law. And rebellion against the state, which under common law attracts the death sentence, is not punishable by death under Hudud. The rebel will be given the option to lay down his arms and if he does he is forgiven and allowed back into society. Chin Peng must be wishing that Malaysia practices Hudud and not common law. Under the Islamic law of Hudud he would be allowed back into Malaysia. Instead, Chin Peng has been barred from returning to Malaysia and is currently engaged in a court battle with the Malaysian government to get them to lift the ban on him returning to his homeland.

The campaign to demonise Islamic laws in the hope that PAS will be demonised is not good for the image of Islam. Most non-Muslims already fear Islam. And we can’t blame them for that. What we need is a campaign to explain Islam so that non-Muslims would not have this misconception that Islam is dangerous. But the government is doing the reverse. And then we wonder why Islam is a four-letter word to non-Muslims. Do we really need to wonder?

Anyway, as I said in another piece, the Hudud issue is a non-issue. So why is Barisan Nasional still playing up the issue? DAP, PKR and PAS have entered into an agreement that any policy decisions require a consensus of the three Pakatan Rakyat partners. It is all or nothing. And the Islamic State and the Islamic law of Hudud is a policy matter. So all three have to agree on this issue or else it will not be done.

KT By-election: The One Sided Nightly News

We want changes now , not in the afterworld.

The following is a response to a letter from Kim Quek in Malaysiakini which I have appended below.
At the outset, I would like to say that even though I offer different opinions than our erstwhile Mr. Kim Quek, I am myself a strong proponent of regime change in our country. There are significant assumptions in Mr.Kim Quek's arguments that need to be dealt with. The conclusions may be the same, but the assumptions are vastly different.

In Kim Quek's words - Let us start our deliberation by first asking this question: Has there been a government policy to deliberately marginalize the Indian community? Kim Quek says no.
Take this case – a young girl has no birth certificate for no fault of hers and gets all As in her UPSR, something she was able to attain because of some sympathetic Headmaster in one of the Tamil primary schools. She is refused admission to secondary school. Denying any human being a right to basic education is the denial of a very fundamental right in any century, in any country, let alone in the 21st century and in this up and coming Malaysia.

Mr. Kim Quek, I ask you, is this act of denying this little girl her fundamental right acceptable even in the least, because it is not deliberate policy.

Even then, if this were an isolated case, I could agree with you, that we can overlook it because it was one of those inadvertent occurrences. But if this multiplies time and time again in many similar situations where the Government bureaucracy systematically looks for opportunities to deny the poor Indians a chance to a citizen's basic human right, is that still to be considered not deliberate policy.

The bureaucracy is an extension of UMNO, brought into existence in its present form so that the state policy of apartheid like discrimination can be systematically applied. This is well known. Is that not deliberate policy but just the working of an incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy. Politicians will have us believe that, it is so convenient an argument. Why, Mr.Kim Quek are you using the same argument?

Mr. Kim Quek, you are going to come running back and say, "Oh no, that is not what I meant. What I meant was that there was no deliberate policy on the part of the government to marginalize just the Indians" Well, Mr. Kim Quek, I say to you, when the hill slopes of Bukit Antarabangsa slid down the other day, that was not because of a deliberate policy. But does it matter…the people have lost their homes. Afterwards it is academic whether it was deliberate policy or otherwise, the problem happened because the system worked to make that problem happen - the system that was deliberately created.

Likewise when there is such a large problem simmering with the marginalization of the Indians and for so long and continues in spite of such loud feedbacks, can you still say it is not deliberate. When the powers that be continue to turn a deaf ear to the problem and provide lip service at best after all that has happened. Mr.Kim Quek, is that still not deliberate. I can only conclude from all of this that it is not that you have not understood it in this manner, you just prefer to see it the way you do. Mr.Kim Quek, this is where your underlying assumptions are exposed.

The Indians in this country have to be spoken to and not spoken with, is an implicit assumption that you make – maybe it is so commonplace for the likes of you, that you may not even recognize that you are doing it. You do not really have the facts of the working class Indians daily life, nor do you care, as I understand from your treatment of the issue. For you, the Indian is needed only for his vote, and loss of it will mean rocking of the boat that is headed for change and which is going to benefit the likes of you, not the marginalized Indians themselves whom you seem to be speaking up for. So, you say the same things that have been told to the Indians for the last fifty years – be patient.

I say rubbish to all of that; time is not the issue here. Come 5 years from now, I do not see a substantial change happening, given the present drift. The issue here is the lack of will. Plain and simple – lack of will to do the things that are necessary to change the state of affairs.
There are so many things that a State government can do on a priority basis for the most marginalized. We cannot change the bureaucrats, but we can start setting up watchdog citizens committees to watch over the shoulders of the bureaucrats. We can start becoming more transparent on more issues, especially where it relates to the poor and the marginalized. State land can be more productively used by distributing it to the poor. Special scholarship schemes can be setup to pull in all the underemployed or currently unemployable youths in the 18 -25 category and places allocated to them in skills training institution, or special institutions be set up for this purpose, single mothersto be identified and treated on priority basis – but nothing like this is happening. Only excuses are being given for maintaining status quo. Nor do I see meaningful discussion going on in this respect. But then, it is always the numbers game after the elections. Marginalized Indians are too small a group to give priority to. What will the others say?

Mr. Kim Quek, I do not understand how suddenly you become an apologist for the perpetrators of this regime on this issue. If you are the parent of that little Indian lass maybe you will understand. But you are not and never can be. The least you can do is not masquerade.
You insult our intelligence when you say stupid things like" What is the solution to the Indian predicament then? Would it help by giving a few more government posts or contracts to Indians by a state government? While that will make a few Indians happy, it would not alleviate the prevailing poverty of Indians, who number almost two million."

You think this is rocket science that you are revealing here. You are not able to differentiate the symbols of the problem from the real problem. So, what is being done for the two million marginalized Indians now – you tell me Mr.Kim Quek. Every time this is the same stupid argument that is brought up. But nothing seems to be happening for the very poor people referred to in that argument. It is all just too convenient.

Then Mr.Kim Quek, you say" Under the circumstances, the best bet for marginalized Indians, and in fact for all Malaysians, is to work for the speedy realization of a Pakatan federal government, which will bring healing and genuine nation-building to the country." I tell you, Mr.Kim Quek you make a faulty assumption here – the Federal Government of the Pakatan will only be speedily and robustly realized when the poor and marginalized are truly taken care of now. Their vote is not to be given at the hint of the afterworld. It will be given for the here and now.

So, Mr. Kim Quek, please review your assumptions because we are all not going to get very far with your current assumptions – progressive as it may seem. We want, not just a change to the names of the parties that are in power. We want true change. Not promises of change – but change that we all can feel and appreciate.

Viva la Makkal.
United we stand
United we act.

Open letter to Indian leaders in Pakatan
Kim Quek | Jan 2, 09 11:30am Malaysiakini

In the light of recent grouses among certain Indian leaders against the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government for neglecting Indian interests, I am writing this open letter to share my thoughts.

Let us start with the Hindraf movement. The reason why this movement has won so much sympathy among all races is because it has expounded a truth – that Indians have been marginalised.

So we shall establish the first principle in this discourse – Indian Malaysians have been marginalised.

That, however, is the easy part. The real challenge is: how do we save the Indians from marginalisation?

Do we strengthen MIC so that it has a bigger say in Barisan Nasional? I don't think many like this idea, simply because it has not worked for 50 years.

Do we start a new Indian party just like S Nallakaruppan did when he broke off from PKR just before the Ijok by-election in April 2007? I think we can all agree that Nalla and his party have got no where, so better forget about this idea. It is common sense anyway that the proliferation of Indian parties can only weaken the Indian position.
Or do we continue the Hindraf struggle? That, of course, is a serious question, for which careful thoughts must be given.

Indians most neglected by gov't
Let us start our deliberation by first asking this question: Has there been a government policy to deliberately marginalise the Indian community?
In all honesty, I do not think so, despite my years of fierce criticism of the Umno-led BN government. For that matter, I do not think the government has targeted any racial group for marginalisation – be they Chinese, Indians or the natives of Sabah and Sarawak.
Marginalisation of large sections of Malaysians is a result of bad policies implemented by a corrupt leadership. The New Economic Policy, which symbolises Umno's racial agenda, actually started off on sound affirmative action principles to eradicate poverty and redress social and economic imbalance, but soon degenerated into a racist tool by Umno to amass wealth for its leaders and cronies through political hegemony.

Though the policy has largely uplifted the educational and economic status of Malays, Umno's corrupt and dictatorial rule on the back of its racist ideology has wrought devastating consequences – an authoritarian state torn by racial dissension where vast populations are impoverished through corruption, squandering and sheer incompetence.

As a result, all races have fallen victims to such misrule. Admittedly, Indians are among the most neglected, though ironically Malays constitute the biggest racial group in the impoverished category, while the natives of Sabah and Sarawak are stuck in a warped time zone of yesteryears with scant infrastructures and educational facilities to develop their economic potentials.
With this, we shall agree on the second principle of this discourse: Indians have not been singled out for marginalisation, but rather, they are part of the wider Malaysian society (save the Umnoputras) which has fallen victim to a corrupt elitist rule.

What is the solution to the Indian predicament then? Would it help by giving a few more government posts or contracts to Indians by a state government? While that will make a few Indians happy, it would not alleviate the prevailing poverty of Indians, who number almost two million.

Besides, the role that a state government can play in altering the political course of the nation is limited, as its authority covers only land matters and local councils, and its financial resources negligible compared to that of the federal government (the revenue of the richest state government of Selangor amounts to hardly 1% of the federal government revenue).
Problem cannot be solved in isolation Malaysia's problem is acute economic and political mismanagement, one consequence of which (among many) is manifested in the marginalisation of Indians. So the Indian problem cannot be solved in isolation, without changing national policies, which in turn can only take place by changing the national leadership.

The present national leadership is too entrenched with its addiction to easy wealth through racist protectionism and corrupt institutions to effect any meaningful change to the status quo. And without the necessary reforms to restore confidence and improve competitiveness and productivity, there is no way we can extricate ourselves from the current economic malaise.
This means all Malaysians – including Indians of course – will continue to suffer the economic hardships, more so in this turbulent time of unprecedented world financial and economic crisis.
With the nation plunging into deeper debts under current adverse economic conditions, and the incumbent power is even more determined to pursue its racist policy in order to strengthen its traditional electoral support base, what hope is there for Indians to improve their livelihood while Umno/BN continues to remain in power?

In contrast, Pakatan Rakyat's agenda to reinstate democracy and good governance and restore egalitarianism under the constitution whereby all citizens are guaranteed equal rights offers the best recipe to re-unite the races and turn the nation on the path of robust growth. That such an agenda has met with emphatic approval by the masses was demonstrated by the decisive swing of support accorded to Pakatan in the March 8, 2008 elections.

Though Pakatan's subsequent rule in the states has not brought dramatic changes on a national scale over the past nine months, its imprint of corruption-free and pro-rakyat political leadership is unmistakably stamped on every Pakatan-controlled state.
The impact of Pakatan's rules on the national scene is necessarily limited and gradual, due respectively to the limited jurisdiction and resources of state governments as explained earlier and to a bureaucracy fossilized by decades of corrupt rule. However, as sure as the sun rises, the wind of change brought by Pakatan will stay and intensify and it will soon sweep through Sabah and Sarawak to bring the federal government under Pakatan rule.

Should Hindraf continue its struggles?
Under the circumstances, the best bet for marginalised Indians, and in fact for all Malaysians, is to work for the speedy realisation of a Pakatan federal government, which will bring healing and genuine nation-building to the country.

To answer the earlier question whether the Hindraf movement should continue its struggles, the answer is, of course, yes. Hindraf has made valuable contribution towards Pakatan's success in the March 8 elections by wakening and bringing unity of purpose to the Indian community, there is no reason why they should not persevere until this country is free from the yoke of BN's oppressive and corrupt rule.

In fact, many Malaysians had been moved by the courage and sacrifice displayed by Hindraf, when thousands of supporters braved tear gas and water cannons to march from Batu Caves to Kuala Lumpur city center on that memorable day of Nov 25, 2007 to express solidarity for a common cause.

We hope the same indomitable spirit will continue to shine on the Malaysian political scene to contribute towards the evolvement of a non-communal and meritocratic society, where every citizen will be given equal opportunity to develop his potentials to the fullest.

Malaysian Indian minority and human rights violations annual report 2008

Karpal to CJ: Sue me for defamation

Anwar refuses to entertain questions on Ezam

Zaid Ibrahim joins in the fray for Pas


Going Green: Villagers in the outskirts of Kuala Terengganu express their support for Pas by dressing up this old (baby bicycle/rusty trishaw) in the emerald and white colours of the Islamist political party, which is represented in the by-election by five-time Wakaf Mempelam state assemblyman, Abdul Wahid Endut. – Picture by Choo Choy May

By Adib Zalkapli(Themalaysianinsider)

KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 14 — In yet another blow to Barisan Nasional’s attempt to rejuvenate itself after the March 8 political tsunami, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today declared his support for Pas’s campaign in the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by DAP at a Chinese restaurant here, the former Cabinet member said there was an urgent need for the people to reject race-based politics.

“You are very smart, so I don’t have to tell you who you should vote,” said Zaid while urging the people of Kuala Terengganu to end divisive politics.

“Things have changed... Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Nik Aziz and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders are working towards forging closer ties between the people,” he told the largely Chinese crowd.

“A political party that only helps its own race or group is not good for Malaysia, I hope Pakatan is serious about unity,” said Zaid.

He then ended his five-minute speech urging the voters to use their wisdom and not to be fooled when voting on Jan 17.

When met after the dinner, Zaid told reporters he had indeed endorsed Pas’s candidate Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman Abdul Wahid Endut.

However, he said this did not mean that he was joining any of the PR parties.

“I believe joining a political party is not urgent, but the message is,” he told reporters.

As a minister appointed by Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to oversee various judicial and legal reforms, Zaid often had to face opposition from his party and was accused of giving in to Pakatan Rakyat’s demands.

He resigned as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in September to protest the arrest of Selangor state executive councillor Teresa Kok under the Internal Security Act.

Zaid was sacked from Umno for breaching the party’s regulation, after he appeared at a DAP dinner and PKR’s annual national congress in late November.


THE QUESTION OF CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY - CHIEF JUSTICE TAN SRI ZAKI AZMI

The credibility, integrity and independence of the judiciary has been raised by many quarters locally and internationally and with this new development that was mentioned personally by the newly appointed Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Zaki Azmi after much controversy on his 'speedy' appointment, had on 7 November 2008 at a speech delivered by him at a Convention in Kuching, Sarawak where he claimed that he was personally involved in committing a corruption act as stated below:

"It took me six months to be nice, to bribe each and every individual to get back into their good books before our files were attended to. That was my personal experience, and I am telling this to all the clerks and all the registries to stop this nonsense". (as reported by the New Straits Times)

It was reported today that veteran lawyer and DAP Chairman Karpal Singh has challenged Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Azmi to sue him for defamation if his statements purporting Tan Sri Zaki to be guilty of corruption and of lying on the matter have been wrong and had delivered a letter today to this effect to the Yang DiPertuan Agong to review his appointment as Chief Justice basing on the above-mentioned factors.

Notably, a chief justice must be above suspicion and when this chief justice has publicly admitted guilt of corruption, and corruption is one of the most serious offences, rather than admitting and immediately resigning and owning up to his action, he remains to hold this position without having any sense of credibility and integrity.

This is very typical of an UMNOputra in their quest for position, money and power.

news n picture courtesy of Malaysiakini n Blog for Change

SUDDEN HIKE IN POSTAGE STAMP RATES

With the coming of the Chinese New Year celebration on 26 January 2009, and as usual among Malaysians to send greeting cards to their relatives and friends, were surprised to learn that the cost of postage stamp rates for sending these greeting cards had soured to 50 sen without prior notification from Pos Malaysia.

It was reported that MCA, a 'big brother' of the ruling Barisan Nasional government, when it had approached Pos Malaysia have not received a proper reply but some officials at Pos Malaysia have just quoted that the customers could take a risk to posting these greetings at old rates and take their chances on delivery.

The time has come for our 'uncaring, ineffective, inefficient, arrogant and corrupted' Barisan Nasional government to give the rakyat a clarification on how Pos Malaysia could raise their rates before government approval or that this BN government had given their permission but had fail to notify the rakyat of such a change.

The time have come for Malaysians to demand the BN government to RESIGN since with the current global recession faced, and with various assurances, a 'surprise and sudden' hike in rates seem to be made.

news courtesy of Malaysiakini

For starters, 5 reasons why MCA owes apology not only to Chinese voters in KT but to all Malaysians

In rejoinder to the demand by the MCA Vice President and Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai that the DAP apologise to the Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu for misleading them on the hudud issue, DAP had challenged MCA to a debate on “Who should apologise – MCA or DAP?” in Kuala Terengganu before the by-election on Saturday.

While DAP awaits the MCA response, let me give advance notice to the MCA leadership that there is a long catalogue of things MCA must apologise not only to the Malaysian Chinese in Kuala Terengganu but to all Malaysians, and it is most appropriate that this is done in Kuala Terengganu.

The catalogue of MCA failures and misdeeds range from the dismal performance of the current MCA leadership, the pathetic MCA record in Barisan Nasional, the shameful MCA failure to live up to the ideas and ideals of the MCA founding fathers like Tun Tan Cheng Lock to its shocking betrayal of the cardinal nation-building principles for Malaya and later Malaysia as embodied in the Merdeka “social contract” of 1957.

For a start, let me just cite five reasons why MCA owes not only the Malaysian Chinese but all Malaysians a fulsome apology.

Firstly, the failures of the present batch of MCA leaders in government.

1. RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout scandal. The continued cover-up of the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bail-out scandal by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat, although Ong had promised when he was appointed Transport Minister 10 months ago that he would “inform the rakyat about the true situation” about the PKFZ scandal.

Up till today, Ong is unable to answer the Five Questions about the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal which I had posed to him nine months ago after his public pledge to “tell all” about PKFZ, particularly about the history of impropriety in land transactions, illegal issue of Letters of Support, Cabinet bailouts and retrospective ratification of illegal decisions by the two previous Transport Ministers, Tun Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Chong Kong Choy although he had all the answers without having to await the outcome of the PricewaterhouseCooper audit report.

Let Ong answer the Five Questions about the RM4.6 billion PKFZ bailout scandal in Kuala Terengganu.

2. Worst dengue epidemic in Malaysia. Another MCA Ministerial failure, this time by the MCA Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, who had shown shocking indifference, unconcern and irresponsibility at the worst dengue epidemic in the nation’s history, recording the highest number of dengue cases and dengue deaths with 112 casualties last year.

3. Malaysians are no more safe in their own country. MCA boasts as the second most important party in the Barisan Nasional coalition. It has also a Deputy Home Minister. MCA must apologise and bear full responsibility for the serious breakdown of law-and-order in Malaysia, where with soaring crime, no one can feel safe any more in the country whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes, and Malaysian citizens, tourists and investors have lost the two fundamental rights to be free from crime and the fear of crime.

MCA must also come forward to apologise for


(i) failing to stand up for meaningful police reforms to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional and world-class police service dedicated to the three core functions to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and protect human rights as by implementing the key recommendation of the Royal Police Commission, establishing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC); and

(ii) the abuse of police powers like the recent arbitrary arrests under the Internal Security Act of Sin Chew senior reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng, DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin; the police harassment of Jerit cyclists demanding national reforms and the arrests of peaceful demonstrators against the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and Tamils in Sri Lanka.

4. Deteriorating education standards. Apart from being part of the Barisan Nasional government, MCA has also a Deputy Education Minister, pinning direct responsibility for the increasing educational woes in the country, with deteriorating educational standards as highlighted by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 results (blacked out by the Education Ministry for over a month), continuing “brain drain” of the best and brightest in Malaysia at all levels of education and the continued discrimination against Chinese and Tamil primary schools in terms of fair and equitable government funding and development for all schools.

MCA owes Malaysian Chinese and all Malaysians an apology for the Barisan Nasional government’s failure to fully appreciate that a country’s educational system is a key element in establishing competitive advantage in an increasingly global economy – highlighted by Malaysian universities falling out of the world’s top 200 Universities (Times Higher Education Supplement ranking) and even the world’s best 500 Universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong Univeristy ranking).

5. Corruption As part of Barisan Nasional, MCA cannot disclaim responsibility for the deplorable state of corruption in Malaysia, with Malaysia’s ranking on Transparency International Corruption Perception Index plunging from No. 23 in 1995 to No. 37 in 2003 and lower to No. 47 in 2008 - with the high risk of Malaysia falling below the 50th ranking in coming years. Is MCA prepared to apologise to the Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu and all Malaysians for such dismal record in accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance after half a century in power at the national level?

These five instances are just openers for there are many more reasons why MCA owes an abject apology not only to the Chinese voters in Kuala Terengganu but to all Malaysians for its dismal political record in government whether for the present or the past – which would be enumerated if MCA dares to accept the DAP challenge to a public debate in Kuala Terengganu on “Who should apologise – MCA or DAP?”

India's extended family

What India wants from its brethren abroad, and vice versa

THERE was a time when India’s government paid little attention to its diaspora—a vast extended family of about 25m people on whom the sun never sets. A 2001 report complained that the Indian public was unacquainted with the “kaleidoscopic traits of its Diaspora”, that the diaspora’s deep reserves of goodwill were “waiting to be tapped”, and that overseas Indians’ efforts to give something back to their mother country were stymied by “unresponsive policy”.

This negligence was perhaps understandable. India has never been short of people, and deep down, its policymakers may have felt they could afford to spare a few million to other nations. Whenever the country ran short of foreign exchange, it would rely on Indians abroad to deposit their pounds and dollars in Indian banks, or remit their riyals and dirhams to Indian families. Relatives would also expect a suitcase full of gifts from “foreign” (as the rest of the world was called) whenever their far-flung sons and daughters returned home. But that was about it. The diaspora expected little of India (that was why they left) and India in turn made few demands of them.

AFP Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greets delegates

That equation has changed. On January 9th, India concluded its seventh “Pravasi Bharatiya Divas”, the annual jamboree for NRIs (non-resident Indians) and PIOs (people of Indian origin, who are now citizens of another state). Over the two-day conference in balmy Chennai, it became clear that the mother country now expects rather a lot of its diaspora—and that some of them now have their own designs on it.

“You are our permanent ambassadors”, the delegates were told by one minister. India believes it would not have passed the Indo-American nuclear deal last year without their help behind the scenes. Barack Obama, then on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, told the International Herald Tribune in 2006 that “there appears to be a very co-ordinated effort to have every Indian-American person that I know contact me”.

At the Chennai conference, the minister for external affairs thanked delegates for their “tremendous support” in securing the deal, then asked for more. He urged them to press India’s case in the Doha round of global trade talks and called on them to carry India’s concerns about terrorism to the world stage.

That is not all: India also wants to make more of its diaspora’s financial muscle. It already receives more remittances from migrant workers than any other country: $27 billion in 2007, according to the World Bank. Its banks hold NRI accounts worth $38.7 billion. But India’s government is not yet satisfied. The diaspora’s collective economic output is as much as $400 billion a year, according to India’s Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs. But “the role of the Indian diaspora in India’s economic growth has been much less than what it is capable of,” he said in a speech in Seattle last year, according to the Economic Times, an Indian newspaper.

The government is keen for its diaspora to invest in long-term ventures, rather than just sending wire transfers and short-term remittances. China’s diaspora, it points out, accounted for more than half of that country’s inward investment during the 1990s, if Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are included. Colonel Harmit Singh Sethi, director of the new Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre in Delhi, is keen to help the diaspora invest back home. He shuffles a fistful of business cards he picked up at the Chennai bash. But many of them were from professionals eager to midwife investments by matching Indian companies with foreign money or technology, rather than from potential investors.

The diaspora seemed anxious not to disappoint their mother country. But the Chennai conference was also an opportunity for India’s “permanent ambassadors” to make a few demarches of their own. A gentleman from Kuwait wanted the right to cast ballots in Indian elections. A man from Saudi Arabia wanted India’s national carrier, Air India, to repatriate the deceased free of charge. A third simply wanted a bigger passport, with more pages for all the visas he collects on his travels. But the biggest contingent at the conference was from Malaysia—and they were not there to swap business cards.

The Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), a political group that Malaysia has banned, circulated a fiery report on the plight of Malaysia’s Indians, many of whom trace their roots to indentured labourers shipped to the peninsula three or four generations ago. It urged the Indian government to slap trade sanctions on Malaysia, including a boycott of the country’s palm oil, until Malaysia’s government stopped discriminating against the Indian minority. The report couched its demands in the same rhetoric invoked by the Indian government, appealing to the shared heritage of Indians.

But common descent does not translate into common cause. Before the day was over, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, the President of the Malaysian Indian Congress, called a press conference of his own to rubbish the report. Mr Vellu, a fixture at the conference, is one of the first recipients of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award in 2003, which honours notable members of the diaspora. But his political star is fading and his rivals for leadership of Malaysia’s Indian community were also out in force. One of them, the deputy chief minister of the Malaysian state of Penang, was recognised as the guest of honour at one of the smaller sessions.

By reaching out to its diaspora, then, India’s government risks becoming embroiled in their politics. Indeed, some scholars believe that India’s past neglect of its brethren abroad may have been a blessing in disguise. Because the Indian government failed to mobilise its diaspora, overseas Indians were rarely under suspicion from their host governments. Overseas Chinese, on the other hand, were long feared in South-East Asia and beyond as a potential fifth column for a powerful communist state that might want to export its revolution.

India’s government is keen for the diaspora to help fight its battles. But the diaspora too can play that game. Extended families can be warm and cosy. But sometimes relatives benefit from a little distance.

Cabinet concerned over Hindraf action overseas

Bernama, Jan 14 2009 --

The Cabinet is concerned over the oulawed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) discrediting Malaysia in foreign countries, including India, Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said here, today.

“The Cabinet is upset and wants the MIC to be proactive in correcting the wrong perception created by some people overseas, including Hindraf,” he said in a statement here.


Dr Subramaniam said Hindraf’s action at an international conference in Chennai, India recently was raised at the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Banned Hindraf chief P. Waytha Moorthy at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, better known as the Indian Diaspora Conference, last week through a booklet made various allegations against the Malaysian government, including alleging that it was bias against the Indian community living in the country.

The booklet entitled, “Malaysian Indian Minority and the Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2008” was distributed by Waytha Moorthy and several Hindraf supporters who attended the conference in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
Waytha Moorthy, who is now living in self exile in London, had among others, alleged that one Hindu temple was demolished every week in Malaysia and that the Malaysian government was committing atrocities against the Malaysian Indians.

He also called on the Indian government to impose trade sanctions against Malaysia and terminate all projects in India given to Malaysia companies through tenders.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also the MIC secretary-general, said the Cabinet today took a serious view of the allegations and wanted the MIC to counter the lies.

He said the Cabinet had asked the Foreign Ministry to find out how Waytha Moorthy, now residing in the United Kingdom, could travel freely to India usf Indians, we have achieved many breakthroughs, such as more Public Services Department (PSD) scholarships, employment in the civil service and many more.

“We are deeply concerned with Waytha Moorthy’s action as it would have harmful effects on what we have worked for and achieved during the past several months,” he said.

The minister said MIC would continue to give a correct picture of what the government had been doing for the Indian community, including at international forums.

First the Political Tsunami, now the East Coast Monsoon?

k-terengganu-by-election-030The Chinese in Kuala Terengganu turned up in numbers for the DAP dinner

2248: We make our way to Ocean Restaurant about 4km away. Here the DAP is hosting a large dinner for a few hundred guests. Outside, a couple of hundred other people are trying to peer through every open window and door. Perhaps 800 in all. At the main table are top DAP and Pas leaders. The response from the crowd seems positive.

We have seen enough; it doesn’t look as if the Pakatan will encounter any problems in securing the Chinese vote despite the mainstream media’s - and Karpal’s - best efforts in highlighting the Pas-DAP divide over the issue. As we walk to the car park, we hear a familiar voice on the microphone (was it Kit Siang?) inside the restaurant, “Jan 17 will be a tryst with destiny for the people of Kuala Terengganu.”

k-terengganu-by-election-016Anwar addressing a PKR ceramah at Pulau Kambing

2100: We land up at Pulau Kambing, KT, where a small PKR ceramah is in progress near some low-cost flats. Saifuddin Nasution is speaking and Anwar is about to arrive. The crowd is multi-ethnic.

Anwar’s plane is delayed, the talk goes, but then he shows up. He tells the crowd of about 500 that the hudud controversy is a non-issue. “The BN folks hate to see us united and want to split us. In the five Pakatan-ruled states, do you see any problem over this issue?”

He refers to the front-page story in the latest edition of the PKR newspaper, Suara Keadilan, which highlights Najib’s allegedly unfulfilled promises of allocations for mosques and other institutions made during the Permatang Pauh by-election. “Don’t be swayed by whatever they promise. If they offer you aid, take it and then vote for us!”

Pas youth chief Salahuddin Ayub address the crowd next and highlights the issue of the oil royalties and points out that Terengganu has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

We bump into a few media people and the conensus is that Pas has a 60:40 edge (optimistically) or a 55;45 edge (realistically).

An independent Chinese-language journalist who has been here right from the start of the campaign tells me she has been doing street polls. For the Chinese, she says, their concerns tends to centre on issues of accountability and corruption. “The hudud thing is not a big issue here.”

A DAP worker later seems to concur, suggesting it could be 50-plus:40-plus in favour of Pas.

This ties in neatly with what Kassim had told me a couple of hours ago.

2000: We stumble upon an open-air curry centre and order capati for dinner along with carrot-and-apple juice. I ask the Indian guy what his prediction.

“God knows,” he replies. I guess he has a point. He looks busy, as he furiously caters to his waiting customers, most of them Indian.

The capati is excellent. Dry and great texture.

Nearby, we spot a BN road-side operations stall. It appears empty. I look more closely. No, there is someone inside. He is watching television!

1900:Time for some dinner, so we head out to the streets. Walk up to a Pas election operations stall and run into a Pas supporter by the name of Kassim.

I ask him about the ceramah schedule. He eyes us curiously and I ask him who he thinks will win.

“Oh, Pas,” he replies.

And the majority this time?

Dua ribu,” he predicts, without hesitation.

What’s the difference this time compared to the 2008 general election?

“The last time we had a candidate from out of town (Mat Sabu); this time we have a local guy.”

And what do you think are the main issues?

“Corruption, wastage of public funds, poverty.”

How was the money wasted?

“The Monsoon Cup, the pasar warisan, which is more like a white elephant, the Crystal Mosque. That Crystal Mosque cost hundreds of millions,” says the Pas supporter, clad in Muslim attire. “We have enough mosques - what we need is aid for the poor. Look I can show you right here (in the middle of town), if you go further inside (off the main road), you can see the poor households.”

terengganu-by-election-008Along the road from Kota Bharu to Kuala Terengganu: The South China Sea lashes the East Coast. Will a political monsoon follow?

1817: I notice some hugely important comments by blog reader Pelanuk about poverty reduction in Terengganu:

…the fundamental fact of the matter is that Terengganu is a disaster zone (in terms of poverty reduction), and that’s the context.

1. At the per capita GDP level, Terengganu is way above the country average. Yet it has amongst the highest poverty rates in the country — and except for the five years under Pas, that “achievement” is all Umno’s, counting from the start of NEP in 1970. Now what does that tell you?

2. With the revision in the Poverty Level Income in 2004, at the peninsula-wide level, the poverty rate increased from 3.1 per cent to 3.6 per cent, i.e., by some 20 per cent, more or less in line with the increase in the PLI. But in the case of Terengganu, it increased by at least 50 per cent (if one takes the count from 2002 and assumes there was no decline between 2002 and 2004), and possibly doubled, if one assumes that it continued to decline at the same rate from 2002 to 2004…

Read the rest of this entry »

Kuala Terengganu: Antara persepsi, emosi dan realiti


Menjelang tarikh pengundian pilihan raya kecil P 036 atau parlimen Kuala Terengganu yang semakin hampir, belum ada parti sama ada Barisan Nasional (BN) ataupun PAS, berani mendabik dada mengaku sudah berjaya menambat hati 80,299 pengundi.

Jentera kempen kedua-dua parti semakin gigih bersaing. Apa yang pasti calon BN, Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh dan calon PAS, Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut jauh meninggalkan calon Bebas, Azharudin Mamat @ Adam.

Cuaca lembab berterusan dan hujan hampir sepanjang hari sejak Jumaat lalu yang dijangka berterusan sehingga hari pengundian Sabtu ini sedikit sebanyak turut memberi kesan kepada aktiviti kempen selain ada poster, bendera dan sepanduk yang rosak.

Sepintas lalu, sejak penamaan calon dan permulaan kempen, tiada isu besar diketengahkan parti-parti yang bertanding.

Sama ada isu tempatan atau nasional, PAS dengan sokongan Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dan DAP seolah-olah ketandusan idea apabila ceramah dan kempen masih memperkatakan soal pemimpin BN rasuah, salah guna kuasa dan isu-isu kecil lain yang tidak relevan.

Di atas faktor itu, tidak hairanlah isu peribadi calon yang bertanding mendominasi kempen pembangkang walaupun Wan Ahmad Farid dan Abdul Wahid sudah berjanji bahawa mereka tidak akan melakukan serangan peribadi ketika berkempen.

Namun itu hanyalah janji antara mereka berdua. Realitinya, calon BN terus digasak dengan persepsi kononnya beliau seorang yang sombong, sukar didekati dan tidak mesra rakyat.

Apabila “BN Mesra Rakyat’ dijadikan asas kempen parti itu dalam pilihan raya kecil ini, ianya seakan mengiyakan persepsi sesetengah pihak terhadap karektor Wan Ahmad Farid.

Lebih malang lagi ada antara jentera kempen BN turut membawa persepsi serupa apabila bercakap sesama sendiri mengenai calon BN itu.

Ini sekaligus mengambarkan Wan Ahmad Farid berada di laluan sukar untuk mempertahankan kerusi parlimen Kuala Terengganu yang dimenangi arwah Datuk Razali Ismail pada pilihan raya umum Mac tahun lalu.

Mahu ataupun tidak, persepsi mengenai perwatakan Wan Ahmad Farid terus menghantui jentera kempen BN malah calon sendiri sudah melakukan pelbagai usaha bagi menepis gambaran imej buruk terhadapnya.

Ini sekaligus memberi banyak ruang kepada pemimpin parti pembangkang yang membantu calon PAS memainkan isu Wan Ahmaf Farid yang bukan sahaja dilihat tidak mesra tetapi tidak mendapat sokongan di kalangan pemimpin UMNO khususnya di Terengganu.

Bagi calon PAS pula, kehebatannya mempertahankan kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Wakaf Mempelam selepas beberapa penggal, dikhabarkan sebagai wakil rakyat yang mesra dan sanggup turun ke kubur menyambut jenazah.

Kelebihan Abdul Wahid adalah kerana sudah lama menjadi wakil rakyat dan tidak mustahil beliau dikenali orang ramai berbanding Wan Ahmad Farid yang belum pernah bertanding dalam pilihan raya ataupun dipilih sebagai wakil rakyat.

Persepsi pengundi terhadap calon BN dan calon PAS jelas berbeza. Ada antara mereka mengibaratkan kemesraan Abdul Wahid berbanding Wan Ahmad Farid ibarat ‘ langit dan bumi’.

Namun pertimbangan dan penilaian sedemikian hanya mainan emosi. Baik bagi calon BN mahupun PAS, masing-masing ada keistimewaan kerana Allah s.w.t memang menjadikan makhluk ini berbeza paras rupa, tingkah laku dan sebagainya.

Acap kali manusia melakukan kesilapan dengan menilai seseorang itu tanpa perkiraan waras sebaliknya membenarkan emosi membuat keputusan.

Mereka jarang mengambil kira pepatah, ‘ jangan menilai buku berdasarkan kulitnya.

Jelaslah, dalam pilihan raya kecil ini, persepsi dan emosi masih menguasai pemikiran pengundi dalam membuat keputusan tanpa mahu memikirkan realiti sebenarnya.

Sebab itulah juga satu kajiselidik pendapat umum mendapati pengundi mengutamakan kualiti calon daripada lain-lain faktor seperti isu dan parti-parti yang bertanding.

Kajiselidik yang dijalankan oleh Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, mendapat 77 peratus pengundi menyatakan kualiti calon 'amat penting, berbanding dengan 55 peratus bagi isu semasa dan 67 peratus bagi kemampuan parti.

Bagaimanpun hendak menilai kualiti Wan Ahmad Farid jika beliau tidak diberikan peluang menunjukkan dirinya yang sebenar?

Tidak adil jika pengundi-pengundi di Kuala Terengganu menghukum Wan Ahmad Farid semata-mata kerana persepsi dan emosi mereka tanpa menilai realiti sebenarnya.

Memang mudah memberikan pujian kepada Abdul Wahid yang dikatakan pandai mengambil hati pengundi di DUN Wakaf Mempelam. Tanyalah penyokong PAS, pasti cerita Abdul Wahid yang kerap muncul solat subuh di surau mahupun masjid dan sanggup masuk ke kubur menyambut jemazah diceritakan penuh bangga.

Namun, antara cerita menarik yang menjadi bahan kempen adalah kisah bagaimana Abdul Wahid dikatakan turun ke kubur menyambut jenazah seorang penduduk di kawasannya yang meninggal setelah lama sakit.

Si mati yang uzur adalah seorang penerima bantuan kebajikan selama 10 tahun tetapi kerana Abdul Wahid sanggup turun ke kubur, penduduk menganggap beliau wakil rakyat yang prihatin sedangkan si mati ketika hidupnya menerima bantuan kerajaan.

Kerana rakyat terlalu mudah bermain emosi, sikap calon PAS itu dianggap hebat, tetapi ini tak ubah seperti peribahasa, ‘lembu punya susu sapi dapat nama,’.

Jasa kerajaan membantu si mata ketika hayatnya dilupa dalam sekelip mata.

Mengulangi kenyataan Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, kerajaan sudah melaksanakan tanggungjawab kebajikan sejak seseorang itu mula lahir hingga ke liang lahad tanpa menguar-uarkannya.

Katanya, negara tidak perlu menggunakan label ‘negara berkebajikan’ kerana sesuatu itu dilaksanakan atas dasar tanggungjawab kepada rakyat oleh kerajaan yang memerintah.

Kini, dengan berbaki beberapa hari lagi sebelum pengundi membuat pilihan, mereka perlu sedar realiti bahawa mereka sebenarnya bukan memilih calon tetapi parti yang boleh memberikan khidmat kepada mereka.

Baik Wan Ahmad Farid mahupun Abdul Wahid, mereka mewakili parti yang sudah memberi janji-janji untuk menyediakan pelbagai kemudahan dan perkhidmatan kepada penduduk Parlimen Kuala Terengganu selepas diisytihar menang pada malam Sabtu ini.

Selepas 50 tahun merdeka, kerajaan BN sudah membuktikan keupayaan menyediakan segala keperluan asas kepada rakyat negara ini.

Walaupun parti pembangkang menjanjikan tawaran lebih menarik jika menang dan dapat memerintah negara, rakyat tidak boleh ‘membuang air di tempayan’ semata-mata mendengar guruh di langit.

Sebelum ini, PAS, PKR dan DAP memukul canang mengatakan mereka hebat, sebenarnya Tuhan sedang menguji mereka dengan kemenangan pada pilihan raya umum lalu.

PAS dapat mentadbir Kedah dan Perak, DAP di Pulau Pinang manakala PKR di Selangor selain Kelantan kekal di tangan PAS. Selepas 10 bulan, rakyat sendiri mendengar dan melihat bagaimana parti-parti tersebut mentadbir negeri-negeri berkenaan dengan pelbagai isu serta masalah.

Kegagalan menunaikan janji pilihan raya di Selangor, pemberiaan hak milik tanah 999 tahun di Perak, cadangan pembalakan di hutan simpan di Kedah dan macam-macam kestimewaan yang diberikan kepada penduduk Cina di Pulau Pinang memperlihatkan realiti betapa pembangkang mentadbir negeri sesuka hati mereka.

Realitinya rakyat negara ini berdepan situasi di mana PAS yang dulu menuduh UMNO kafir kerana berjuang bersama bukan Islam kini mereka ‘tidur sebantal’ dengan DAP serta pemimpin bukan Melayu dalam PKR.

Mereka juga menerima pemimpin yang berbohong sebagai ketua dan parti yang menolak hudud sebagai rakan.

Inilah realiti yang perlu difikirkan oleh pengundi-pengundi di Kuala Terengganu sebelum membuat keputusan sebelum mengundi PAS.

Dengan mengundi PAS, mereka sebenarnya mempercepatkan impian Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menjadi Perdana Menteri dan Lim Kit Siang sebagai timbalannya.

Bagi BN dan UMNO pula, pilihan raya kecil ini adalah medan maruah yang perlu dipertahankan kerana di depan dan di belakang ada api yang perlu dihadapi.

Ibarat kata, adat kampung, kampung di pertahankan, adat negeri, negeri dipertahankan dan adat parti, parti dipertahankan.

Sudah sampai masanya pengundi Melayu menyedari mengenai ancaman terhadap kuasa politik Melayu yang sudah mula terhakis selepas pilihan raya umum lalu.

Selepas Mac 2008, kuasa politik orang Melayu menjadi lemah kerana diancam oleh orang bukan Melayu.

Justru itu lupakan persepsi mengenai karektor Wan Ahmad Farid, jangan emosi kerana memburu pahala yang dijanjikan PAS jika mengundi parti itu tetapi berdepanlah realiti, hanya BN mampu menjanjikan masa depan lebih baik kepada generasi kita akan datang

TERRORISTS


1. I was shocked when a reporter asked me why I regard the Israelis as terrorists when it is the Muslims who blow themselves up so as to kill children. The Israelis are apparently not considered to be terrorists despite daily reports with pictures of the women, children and babies who have been killed and wounded.

2. Do the suicide bombers deliberately target children? Would they kill children if they could kill Israeli soldiers? What is their objective in killing children? Is it because they know it would win them the war?

3. I have no liking for people who resort to killing by blowing themselves up. But they are not regular soldiers who can be protected by tanks and powerful bombardment before they shoot and kill their victims. In fact the regular soldiers of the Israeli forces need not expose themselves to any danger as they choose their targets. They can shoot missiles from far off. Yet there can be no doubt that civilians including children have been deliberately killed by them in much greater numbers than the suicide bombers have ever done.

4. For the suicide bombers, fear of being discovered before they could blow themselves up must be very real. They have to control themselves and appear calm and innocent as they seek the most effective time and place to blow themselves up. The tension must be great for they know soon they would be dead, killed by the explosives they were carrying.

5. To get close to Israeli soldiers would be a great feat. The soldiers would not allow Arabs to get near them knowing that they might be suicide bombers. Not being able to go back with the bomb unexploded the bombers must blow themselves up somewhere.

6. Have they all targeted children? I don't think so. The Western media is biased and are controlled by Jews. The Israelis do not allow foreign Press reporters to see them killing the people of Gaza and elsewhere. The reports of the suicide bombers targeting children came from the Israelis. Can we believe them? Do we get any pictures of children being killed like the pictures we see of children in Gaza being killed?

7. In any case we know that the number of Israelis killed by suicide bombers or Hamas rockets are nothing compared to the nearly 1,000 Gazans confirmed killed so far. Even the Red Cross and other international agencies have condemned Israeli atrocities.

8. Yes the suicide bombers are terrorists. But they have no other choice. They don't have bomber and fighter planes, tanks, guns, rockets and chemical weapons to fight their enemies.

9. The Israelis are terrorists by choice. They have been trained to kill using powerful weapons. We see them killing on television and in pictures in newspapers.

10. The whole world condemns Israeli attacks. It is strange that a Malaysian reporter should think it is all the fault of the people of Gaza and Hamas.

Bin Laden message: Stop 'aggression' against Gaza

(CNN) -- Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has apparently released a new audio message calling for a jihad, or holy war, against Israel for its Gaza campaign.

Osama bin Laden, shown in an undated photo.

Osama bin Laden, shown in an undated photo.

The message is "an invitation" from bin Laden to take part in "jihad to stop the aggression against Gaza."

The audio message was posted on a radical Islamist Web site known for posting statements from bin Laden.

CNN could not independently confirm the authenticity of the message, but the speaker's voice was similar to recordings that bin Laden has made in the past.

The last time bin Laden released an audio message was in mid-May, timed to coincide with Israel's 60th anniversary. That message urged his followers to liberate Palestine.

Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza on December 27 to stop rocket strikes on southern Israel. The death toll in Gaza was nearing 1,000, including more than 300 children, according to Palestinian medical sources.

The Israeli toll stood at 13, including three civilians.

Bin Laden, whose approximate age is 51, is the head of al Qaeda terrorist network which was responsible for the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States that killed 2,751 people.

Bin Laden has been in hiding since the U.S. assault on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. government is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to bin Laden's capture.

President Bush, whose term ends next week, told CNN's Larry King on Tuesday that he remains optimistic that bin Laden would be found.

King asked Bush, "Are we ever going to find bin Laden?"

"Yes, of course, absolutely," Bush replied. "We've got a lot of people out there looking for him, a lot of assets. You can't run forever."

The message is important to the incoming U.S. president because it signifies that bin Laden is still "out there," said Tim Roemer, the former Democratic congressman from Indiana who served on both the congressional and the presidential September 11 commissions.

"It's a reminder of President-elect (Barack) Obama's inheritance of some of the difficult problems out there that he has to confront," said Roemer, who is president of the Center for National Policy.

"Al Qaeda is trying to be relevant with this tape," Roemer said. "They seek competition with Hamas, Hezbollah, the ongoing battle between Israel and the Palestinians ...

"This reminds us of what bin Laden said right after 9/11. He said it wasn't 19 Arab armies or 19 Arab states that attacked the United States. It was 19 post-graduate students. It reminds us how much the world has changed, and how many different threats are out there today."

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