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Friday, February 13, 2009

Inquest into actress’ death starts today

By M. Mageswari, The Star

The inquest into the mysterious death of actress K. Sujatha will begin today at the magistrates court here.

Sources familiar with the case said that magistrate Mohd Faizi Che Abu, sitting as the coroner, was expected to be informed of the witnesses to be called to testify in the proceedings.

“It will be a fact-finding mission on Sujatha’s death, including to determine the cause of death and witnesses who were present during and before her death.

“It is to find out more of the details, what had transpired during that period including if she had boyfriend problems,” the sources told The Star yesterday.

They said that 10 witnesses were expected to testify at the inquest.

Among them are Sujatha’s two brothers, two medical specialists and two general practitioners who had treated her at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang.

S. Vell Paari, the Maika Holdings chief executive officer and son of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who had denied rumours linking him to Sujatha’s death, will also be one of the key witnesses.

Sujatha had worked as Vell Paari’s secretary.

The sources added that Mohd Faizi would set the trial dates after being briefed by DPP Geethan Ram Vincent, who will be assisting the coroner in the inquest proceedings.

Sujatha, 29, who had acted in several Tamil dramas, movies and commercials, died at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang three days after she was admitted on June 25, 2007.

She was believed to have swallowed weedkiller at her apartment in Sentul.

Her death also resulted in PKR supreme council member S. Manikavasagam, who is also Kapar MP, lodging a police report on Aug 8, 2007 on behalf of Sujatha’s family at the Brickfieds police station and appealing to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan to form a task force to investigate the case.

It also saw former Sentul police chief ACP K. Kumaran filing a lawsuit against Manikavasagam and three others in relation to a news report on her death which allegedly defamed him.

That case is due to be heard at the High Court.

Najib crops up in alleged letter and photograph

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s alleged involvement in the murder case of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu cropped up again in the sedition trial of popular blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin today.

Defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo probed assistant director of the Interpol National Centre Bureau at Bukit Aman, Gan Tack Guan, on an apparent photograph of Najib seated at the table with Shaariibuu during her birthday party in the Mandarin Hotel in Singapore.

In addition to that, Gobind also quizzed Gan on a letter that was presumably signed by the deputy premier to support Shaariibuu’s visa application for entry into Malaysia.

The claims that were put forth were information that was derived from the alleged seditious article ‘Let’s send Altantuya’s murderers to hell’ posted on April 25, 2008 in the Malaysia Today website maintained by Raja Petra.

Gobind said that Uuriintuya Gal-Ochir, a Mongolian, alleged that there was no travel record of Altantuya and herself coming into Malaysia via Beijing, and she went on to say it has been deleted.

Gan agreed, but when asked whether the travel records were investigated, Gan said that he could not remember.

Contention on letter signed by Najib

The counsel then asked whether the cops had recorded statements from the Malaysian embassies in Mongolia, France, United Kingdom and Beijing during the span of the murder trial. Gan again replied that the police did not peruse for their statements.

“If the statement (in the article) that there is a letter from the deputy prime minister which supports Altantuya’s visa application was not investigated, you are not in the position to tell whether it is true or not,” said Gobind but Gan disagreed.

Gobind: Although it was not investigated, you said the statement in the article in your police report that it was fabricated?

Gan: Yes, it is fabricated by Raja Petra because during Altantuya’s murder investigation, there was no witness who came forward to testify on that matter. Therefore, in my opinion it was fabricated.

Gobind: You expect it to fall on your laps is it? As the investigating officer, shouldn’t you investigate the statement?

Gan: I got this fact when I was browsing the article which was written by Raja Petra, and I find that the facts were fabricated.

Gobind: Do you agree with that it would have been easy, to ask Najib whether he had written such a letter?

Gan: I don’t agree, that is not the issue. I found it to be fabricated.

Gobind: How did you know Najib did not write the letter, given the fact that you neither asked him nor officers from the various embassies?

Gan: The facts surfaced on the website before the fact came up in Altantuya’s murder investigation and no witness testified and therefore I supposed that the facts were fabricated.

As Gan repeatedly insisted that the part of the article was made up, Gobind cornered Gan saying that the report was false as Gan stated that the facts were fabricated but testified that he assumed the facts were indeed made up.

Another point that was also stressed by the defence was the statement by Altantuya’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg, who divulged the existence of a photograph.

Gobind: There is a statement that there is a photo taken during Altantuya’s birthday party in the Mandarin Hotel, Singapore. Do you agree you did not investigate this fact at all?

Gan: We did not investigate.

Gobind: At any point of time did you investigate the truth of the statement?

Gan: No.

Gobind: I put it to you are in no position to say that Najib did not attend Altantuya’s birthday party in Mandarin Hotel as alleged?

Gan: I don’t agree.

Gobind: You agree with me that it could have been easy to confirm this with Najib by merely asking him?

Gan: I don’t agree.

Gobind also asked Gan whether he had personally asked Oyunchimeg for a copy of the photograph, and Gan said that he did but it was not produced in court.

“I put it to you that you are lying when you said you asked the witness for the photograph … you are a compulsive liar,” accused Gobind.

The case has been postponed to Apr 23 to 24, as the judge requested for Gobind to get the notes which he used in reference to the Shaariibuu trial to be certified by the Shah Alam court, before submitting it as a reference material for the sedition trial.

Judge ordered stand down twice

The trial at the Petaling Jaya Session Court which resumed before judge Rozina Ayob was, however, interrupted twice after Gobind began badgering police witness Gan on the abetment charge against, now acquitted, Abdul Razak Baginda in the ongoing Shaariibuu murder trial in Shah Alam.

Gobind asked while cross-examining Gan, who was the chief investigating officer in that murder case, whether special action squad officers, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, who are being tried for Shaariibuu’s murder were paid to commit the crime.

Gan replied that the statement was untrue, and Gobind proceeded to ask “who was suspected of paying them off” but was interjected by Justice Rozina, who demanded for the relevancy of the questioned followed the objection of deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusof.

However, Gobind then suggested to Gan that Abdul Razak had paid the police officers to assassinate Altantuya, but Gan once again disagreed.

“I put it to put you that you are deliberately concealing material facts about this trial,” said Gobind but Gan disagreed.

CISS DERHAKALAH KAMU !

DARI JELEBU

Hishamuddin Rais

Apabila Hang Jebat bangun melawan Sultan Melaka itu bukan menderhaka. Hang Jebat membetulkan apa yang salah. Bendahara Melaka tidak membunuh Hang Tuah, walau pun telah dititahkan oleh Baginda Sultan. Tindakan Bendahara ini juga bukan menderhaka. Bendahara membuat pekara yang betul. Sultan Melaka yang salah.

Derhaka adalah satu konsep yang wujud dalam pembudayaan Melayu. Kita selalu mendengar Anak Derhaka. Konsep derhaka berkait rapat dengan perintah. Anak dikatakan derhaka terhadap ibu bapa jika TIDAK menurut perintah emak dan ayah.

Derhaka disini di gunakan untuk mendidik anak-anak agar mendengar cakap orang yang lebih tua. Atau nasihat dari orang yang lebih berpengalaman. Ianya adalah pagar budaya agar mereka yang lebih muda dan kurang berpengalaman tidak akan terjerumus membuat kesilapan.

Konsep pembudayaan Melayu untuk mendidik anak-anak ini telah 'dirampas' dan 'dirompak' oleh gulungan feudal Melayu untuk menerap dan memperkukuhkan kuasa feudal mereka terhadap manusia Melayu.

Sistem ekonomi feudal didalam dunia ini memiliki ciri dan pola yang sama. Sistem feudal muncul di zaman peralihan tamadun manusia, di zaman manusia mula hidup berkelompok dan berpuak-puak. Secara tersendiri dalam kelompok-kelompok ini akan lahir pemimpin, gedebe atau kepala. Mungkin kerana badannya sasa dan berani bertempur. Mungkin kerana dia memiliki bakat pimpinan. Kalau dalam budaya Melayu susuk ini pandai ilmu silat dan keilmuan batin.

Akhirnya di Kampong Hulu ada pemimpi muncul. Di Kampong Hilir ada juga gedebe kampong. Pemimpin atau gedebe ini ini diperlukan untuk memberi arah tauladan ketika bekerjasama, berseraya atau bergotong royong ke hutan mencari makanan, mencari rotan, membuat rumah beramai-ramai atau ke sawah bersama-sama. Yang menjadi kepala atau yang gedebe ini akhirnya di anggap menjadi Tok Penghulu.

Budaya ini masih dipakai lagi di kalangan Orang Asal. Pemimpin mereka di panggil Tok Batin. Tok Batin ialah Tok Penghulu untuk Orang Asal. Kalau di Negeri Sembilan mereka ini menjadi Kepala Adat atau Datuk Undang.

Apabila masyarakat mula berkembang maka kumpulan-kumpulan ini menjadi besar. Kadang kala mereka bersatu. Ada yang bersatu kerana perkahwinan. Ada yang bersatu kerana keperluan ekonomi yang memerlukan lebih ramai tenaga untuk membuka sawah atau ladang yang lebih luas. Atau mereka bersatu kerana ada musuh dari luar datang merampas tanaman, sawah padi atau anak isteri mereka.

Dari sinilah munculnya mukim, daerah, wilayah dan akhirnya menjadi negeri. Kalau kita membaca buku Sejarah Negeri Sembilan, Sejarah Perak, Sejarah Kelantan – kita akan temui pergaduhan antara wilayah-wilayah ini. Kepala Tok Batin Negeri Sembilan bergaduh dengan Tok Batin Johor. Mereka berebut harta, tanah dan kekayaan. Akhirnya gedebe Negeri Sembilan 'derhaka' tidak lagi mahu menurut cakap dan 'arahan' gedebe Johor.

Harta dan kekayaan yang di rampas dan terkumpul menjadikan gedebe, Tok Batin atau Tok Penghuu ini berupaya untuk mengupah lebih ramai orang untuk bekerja di tanah hartanya. Jika ada pula tanah yang subur akan di teroka lagi oleh orang-orang upahan. Maka harta gedebe ini semakin banyak. Akhirya dengan harta yang banyak Tok Batin, Gedebe atau Tok Penghulu ini mendirikan bala tentera untuk menawan lebih banyak lagi tanah adan harta.

Dari sinilah timbulnya konsep Raja atau Sultan. Gedebe-gebebe ini kerana memiliki harta dan tentera lalu mengakui diri mereka sebagai Raja. Untuk terus menakut-nakutkan orang kampong di buat pelbagai cerita-cerita karut bahawa Raja ini keturunan dari Atas Angin, atau dari dunia kayangan atau seperti Raja Jepun mengakui mewakili Tuhan di atas dunia ini. Semua ini karut marut.

Dalam budaya feudal Melayu ditimbulkan pula konsep tulah – ertinya tidak boleh melawan kuasa Raja. Kalau melawan akan tulah. Bila tulah rakyat biasa akan sakit dan ubatnya kadangkala di cadangkan oleh bomoh ialah meminum air basuh kaki Raja. Lihatlah bertapa lebong dan kelentongnya gedebe-gedebe yang mengakui jadi raja ini. Ini berlaku di Tanah Melayu 600 atau 500 tahun dahulu. Justeru semua ini di terima pakai oleh manusia Melayu pada ketika itu.

Apabila penjajah British datang mereka melihat Raja-Raja ini boleh dijadikan orang perantaraan atau kadangkala jadi kuda tunggangan untuk diarah ke hulu ke hilir oleh British. British menggunakan Raja Raja Melayu sebagai orang tengah untuk melembutkan hati Melayu agar manusia Melayu tidak bangun memberontak melawan penjajah.

Marilah kita sama-sama ketawa kerana Raja-Raja yang dikatakan berdaulat ini tiba-tiba hilang daulatnya bila berhadapan dengan tentera British. Daulat Raja Melayu tidak boleh memakan Mat Salleh. Tulah Raja Melayu pun tidak 'mengeras' kepada Mat Salleh. Tidak ada soldadu British yang jatuh sakit kerana tulah Raja Melayu.

Mat Salleh sampai kiamat pun tidak akan meminum air basuh kaki Raja Untuk mereka ini kerja orang gila. Terbukti tidak ada daulat raja disini. Daulat sebenarnya ialah soldadu dan alat tentera British yang lebih canggih dari keris dan tombak Raja Melayu. Bom dan senapang British adalah daulat dan kuasa. Terbukti daulat dan tulah ini hanyalah cerita karut marut.

Justeru, penjajah British telah memecahkan tembelang daulat Raja, keramat Raja dan segala macam cerita-cerita karut tentang Raja-Raja Melayu. Akhirnya apa yang tinggal hanyalah slogan – Orang Melayu Pantang Derhaka Terhadap Raja.

Pantang Derhaka Terhadap Raja ini di jual kepada manusia Melayu kerana hendak membodek British. Ini kerana ada Gedebe-Gedebe Melayu dan penyokong-penyokongnya telah berani bangun mengangkat senjata melawan British. Ciss, pantang Melayu derhaka pada Rajanya adalah slogan karut yang digunakan agar manusia Melayu mengikut Raja yang kini telah menjadi pengikut dan pembodek British.

Ciss, Melayu Pantang Derhaka disini bermakna Melayu jangan melawan kuasa British.

Pada hari ini tahun 2009 konsep tidak boleh derhaka terhadap Raja terbukti konsep karut. Pembudayaan Melayu telah berubah jauh dari 500 tahun dahulu. Kita sebagai manusia – Melayu, Cina, India atau sesiapa sahaja - memang di larang untuk TIDAK MENDERHAKA tetapi bukan kepada Raja. Kita sebagai manusia tidak boleh menderhaka terhadap kebenaran dan keadilan. Kita sebagai manusia tidak boleh derhaka terhadap Yang Maha Esa.

Hang Jebat tidak derhaka. Jebat telah melakukan apa yang wajib dilakukan kerana Sultan Melaka telah menjadi zalim dan memerintah mengikut kata hati. Datok Bendahara tidak mengikut titah Sultan Melaka untuk membunuh Hang Tuah kerana Bendahara sedar Sultan berada dipihak yang salah.

Yang salah tetap salah. Yang benar tetap benar. Jika Ayah yang salah maka ayah wajib di tegur. Ibu yang salah maka ibu wajib di ingatkan. Jika Adik Kecil yang betul maka Adik Kecil wajib didengari. Salah dan benar bukan kerana derajat, umur atau kerana dia Datok, Tun, Hukam , Hakim, Batang Seri atau Sultan.

Kebenaran dan keadilan bukan di monopoli oleh Raja, Sultan, Czar, Emperor atau Maharaja. Kebenaran dan keadilan adalah milik semua. Kita tidak perlu takut untuk menderhaka kalau kita menderhaka demi kebenaran dan keadilan. Malah dalam hidup ini kita diwajibkan menderhaka dan digalakan menderhaka demi kebenaran. Menderhakalah beramai-ramai jika menderhaka ini untuk kebaikan ramai.

Perak impasse moves to the courts

By Shannon Teoh and Adib Zalkapli-The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin's Pakatan Rakyat administration is naming newly sworn-in Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the sole defendant in a suit filed here today to declare the Barisan Nasional government illegal.

Nizar is seeking to have his administration declared the legitimate government in Perak, and by naming only Zambry, his legal team appears to be targeting the new MB as a focal point in the power grab instead of the Perak Sultan.

This strategy is designed to deflect attention from Sultan Azlan Shah, who has come under heavy criticisms for deciding to effectively dismiss Nizar, which is something some constitutional experts argues he does not have a right to do, and to appoint a new MB from BN.

Umno and BN are now attempting to galvanise Malay support in particular behind the Malay Rulers and to portray PR leaders as traitors.

At the Kuala Lumpur court complex here this morning, Nizar led a group of about 50 supporters in chants of "Hidup Rakyat" as he walked in to file the court case.

RPK defamation case to be heard in Sessions Court, rules High Court

By Debra Chong-The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin will be tried for criminal defamation in the Sessions Court, the High Court ruled today.

High Court judge Justice Zainal Azman Ab Aziz dismissed Raja Petra's application made last November for the case against him to be moved back to the magistrate's court where the monetary penalty, should he be convicted, is limited to a maximum fine of RM10,000.

He also ordered the case be moved back to the Sessions Court for the trial dates to be set.

"We shall file an appeal," Raja Petra's lawyer J. Chandra told reporters outside the courtroom later.

Chandra said it was a matter of importance that needed the "authoritative decision of the Federal Court" as it touched on constitutional issues.

He noted that Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution expressly provides that all persons are equal before the law and deserve its equal protection.

The editor of the online news site Malaysia Today was charged in the magistrate's court on July 17 last year with defaming Datin Rosmah Mansor, wife of the Deputy Prime Minister, acting Kol Abdul Aziz Buyong and his wife Kol Norhayati Hassan in a statutory declaration he made at the civil High Court here a month earlier.

Raja Petra was to have been tried in the same court. But the Attorney-General applied to transfer the case to the Sessions Court for the sake of "public interest".

The blogger, often at odds with the establishment, objected to this move.

Subsequently, he filed a request with the High Court to move it back to the original courtroom on the grounds that the magistrate's court order to transfer the case to the Sessions Court contravened Section 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

If Raja Petra is found guilty of defamation, under Section 500 of the Penal Code, he can be punished with jail up to two years and a fine or both for each count of the offence.

However, the law does not state the limit of the fine.

In the magistrate's court, the highest he can be fined is RM10,000. In the Sessions Court, there is no ceiling to the fine.

No end in sight to Perak standoff

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — The political stand-off in Perak is unlikely to end soon as opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat keeps up the pressure despite former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin's decision to leave his official residence.

PR filed a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in Ipoh yesterday against new Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, accusing him of abusing his power by appointing three advisers and a state information chief with state executive councillor status.

Nizar said he would file a suit in Kuala Lumpur High Court today to seek legal redress on Zambry's appointment. He said moving out did not mean that he or PR had conceded defeat to Barisan Nasional.

His state government was toppled when three opposition lawmakers and an assemblyman quit PR and pledged their support for BN.

BN's move is seen as a coup by the people and has upset many, including some Malays who had been supporting Umno until the polls last March.

The Perak community, dominated by the Malays, is now divided, with half of them disagreeing with the way the new state government was formed.

A survey released ahead of two key by-elections by the independent body Merdeka Centre, showed that 59 per cent of the 238 Malays interviewed supported the call for fresh polls.

The Election Commission will announce the dates today for the Bukit Gantang poll in Perak and the Bukit Selambau by-election in Kedah, which fell vacant after the death of an MP and the resignation of an assemblyman.

Survey also found that 74 per cent of 504 Perak voters felt the assembly should be dissolved, while 76 per cent said “the people, through elections” should decide on forming government. Sixty-two per cent of the respondents felt that the role of the palace — by ordering Nizar to resign — “does not reflect the will of the people of Perak”. — The Straits Times

Nomination day immediately after Umno assembly ends

The Election Commission has fixed 29 March as nomination day and polling day on 7 April for both the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections.

Nomination day thus falls a day after the Umno general assembly concludes on 28 March.

How convenient for Umno that the by-elections are scheduled for after its general assembly.

Najib is thus spared the embarrassment of leading the BN to two more possible by-election defeats ahead of the Umno assembly.

For the Kuala Terengganu by-election, the Election Commission announced on 5 December 2008 that polling day would be 17 January 2009. That’s a gap of 43 days.

This time the announcement is made today, 13 February, for polling day on 7 April. That’s a gap of 53 days, one of the longest in recent times. That’s cutting it close to the maximum 60 days allowed.

Commodified elected reps

by KW Mak The Nut Graph

THE joke in town now is that everyone should join the political parties DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) for a RM10 fee, run for office, and then wait for the big payoff.

Both parties deserve to be the butt of such jokes since the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak was due to the resignation of three individuals from these two parties, who are now pledging support for the Barisan Nasional (BN). The other assemblyperson who hopped out and then back into Umno was a BN elected representative to begin with.

This column will not debate whether the Perak Sultan's decision not to dissolve the state assembly was constitutionally right or wrong. Rather, the point I'd like to make is that with the political developments in Perak, the people are learning that they cannot place blind faith in a political party. Neither can they trust their elected representatives to adhere to the principles of the party he or she contested under.

Party flaws

Of the four assemblypersons who hopped, it is rather unfortunate and unfair that only Jelapang assemblyperson Hee Yit Foong, formerly from the DAP, has evoked such strong public condemnation. Most likely because she is a woman, violent and sexist language and acts have also been targeted at her.

Some people blame Hee's greed and an alleged payoff she received amounting to millions of ringgit. Others blame the arrogance of Beruas Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Pantai Remis assemblyperson Nga Kor Ming, both from the DAP, for Hee's betrayal. This argument seems to be substantiated by DAP MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan who claimed that Perak DAP has numerous problems that caused the betrayal to take place.

Whatever the reasons for her decision to leave the DAP, Hee will have to contend with the persecution against her good self for a long time to come.

And while people look for someone to blame, the fact of the matter is that DAP itself lacks a democratic approach in solving its internal party disputes.

Without a mechanism to allow for dissenting views to be debated and resolved amicably, this is the likely scenario. The party leadership will probably continue resorting to using pre-signed resignation letters and threatening their assemblypersons with expulsion when things spiral out of control.

A party's need to resort to pre-signed resignation letters shows that the political party is unable to vet and trust its own members. And since the BN has shown that the rules of the game can be redefined, with or without pre-signed resignation letters, these safeguards may be quite useless.

Redirecting energies

Elected representatives are supposed to be leaders in their own right and not commodities to be traded and bargained for. Yet the reality is that they are treated as such by political parties in both the BN and Pakatan Rakyat.

Hee's 22 years in the DAP meant nothing when it was time to really demonstrate her loyalties. This only justifies the view that some politicians are really no more than commodities who can be traded.

For certain, Pakatan Rakyat will need to field more credible individuals to run for office in the future. The public will certainly be more wary of future candidates and will scrutinise the person more closely for fear of a repeat of the Perak crisis.

As it is, the leadership qualities of many of our elected representatives are in question. Their oratory skills may be good, but good leaders listen as well as they preach.

Energies spent worrying about traitors should be channelled to more constructive use, like grooming the leaders who will run for office. Leaders who can provide constructive criticism to the party and articulate the people's needs are what the rakyat need.

No short cuts

Perak has shown us that there can be no short cuts when it comes to providing good governance. Pakatan Rakyat has another four years to prove they are capable of governing well and to groom their respective political leaders.

Can they reform themselves and provide the people credible and principled leaders and hence, stability?

Or will the Pakatan Rakyat leadership continue to explore the option of frog-hopping politicians as a viable strategy towards forming and running government?

KW Mak is a DAP-appointed councillor in the Petaling Jaya City Council. He believes the people are the ones who will ultimately pay the price for the politicking between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

Malaysia Again Stamps Mark In Islamic World

By Yong Soo Heong

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 (Bernama) -- When the 8th Islamic Conference of Information Ministers (ICIM) under the auspices of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) ended in Rabat, Morocco, late last month, Malaysia again stamped its mark in the Islamic world as far as providing concrete solutions was concerned.

Led by Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, the Malaysian delegation managed to move two important proposals into further action.

The first was to hold a film festival among OIC countries and the second was to train and equip Palestinians in the New Media.

Malaysia has been entrusted by OIC Secretary-General Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to get the film festival proposal moving.

A working group comprising Syria, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, Morocco and Malaysia will look into the hosting of the festival, aimed at creating a market place for creative industries in the OIC.

Shabery explained that a film festival would fire the imagination of film produccers and directors as well as other people in the creative industries to produce works for international audiences and get better returns on their investments and efforts.

He said it was not good enough to only produce works just for local audiences.

In addition, Shabery said, the proliferation of good quality films, documentaries and other local content would also help fill the additional available airtime slots when RTM would have more channels under its on-going digitalisation programme.

"Having more channels means providing more opportunities for local creative people to produce content locally," he said."But they also have to produce good quality content so that their works can be sold overseas as well."

In terms of training and equipping Palestinians in the New Media, Malaysia will contact the Palestinian embassy in Kuala Lumpur to establish the lines of communications so that this effort could be undertaken.

The move is to enable Palestinians, who may be hampered by the Israeli regime, to tell about the real situation and hardship in their homeland to the outside world through the New Media.

At the ICIM meeting, Malaysia was also named as part of a ministerial supervisory sub-committee comprising Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Senegal, Syria and Morocco to evaluate a development action plan to deal with the external media with the aim of correcting possible distortions of Islam and the ummah.

This sub-committee will study the use of the services of a team of specialised experts to address the non-Islamic world in a language that is easily understood.

Meanwhile, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Morocco have pledged to work closer with Malaysia in the field of media and information. The pledge was made during Shabery's bilateral meetings with Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Hosein Safar Harandi, Saudi Arabia's Culture and Information Minister Dr Iyad Ameen Madani and Morocco's Minister of Communication Khalid Naciri.

At their meetings, they stressed on the need for Bernama and RTM to step up cooperation with counterparts in their respective countries.

During Shabery's meeting with Harandi, the latter also expressed the hope that Malaysia would be able to provide a suitable candidate to head the Jeddah-based Islamic Broadcasting Union (IBU)

The Observatory

GMP bidas media perkecil kempen mansuh PPSMI

Vacant exco posts to lure Pakatan ADUNs

MACC report filed against new MB

You know what the 3 Aduns did last March?

newspaperban

In tandem with the rapid fire developments in Perak, the media itself is also being cast an intriguing role. Even whilst it reports, it has become a topic reported about too.

The Home Ministry seized almost 20,000 copies of Suara Keadilan which frontpaged the Perak constitutional crisis, PKR information chief Tian Chua told a press conference yesterday.


Copies of Harakah bearing the banner headline ‘SPR memihak BN’ (Election Commission sides with BN) were seized in a few states as well. Malaysiakini reported that distributors have been warned not to sell the PAS bi-weekly newsletter.

The Home Ministry confirmed that it launched an operation to seize the publications – a move questioned by Tian Chua who challenged: “Tell us why. You can’t just go around confiscating from distributors”.

Media watchdogs would be similarly keen to hear the official reasons given on why Suara Keadilan (Feb 4-11) and Harakah (Feb 6-8) warrant seizure. If the ministry could provide an explanation as to what content was deemed unacceptable, then the same set of criteria might be applied to the less than satisfactory mainstream media.

As it is, the authorities’ high-handed ban only deprives Malaysians of their right to information, and comparing news coverage with mainstream spin.

No informed citizenry

Perak cabar SPR ke mahkamah’ (Perak challenges EC to court) was the front page story in the Suara Keadilan issue confiscated by the authorities. The newsletter’s other articles touched on a range of issues arising from the Umno takeover, which the federal government does not care to have Malaysians – the PKR party organ claims a circulation of 150,000 – learn more about.

Police ban on political ceramah in Perak is another obstruction to information dissemination as Pakatan Rakyat has been going on roadshows to clarify how it was toppled, seeing as the coalition has little access or avenues through the much vaunted ‘proper channels’ for their say.

Malaysiakini conducted a straw poll asking, ‘Do you agree or disagree with Sultan Azlan Shah in the transfer of power in Perak?’ The survey drew some 40,000 respondents; 88 percent were against the Sultan’s decision. Interestingly enough, 2.4 percent or 932 individuals answered: ‘Don’t know’.

The ‘dunnos’ could have been better informed to hold an opinion if our country harboured a freer media climate.

Harakah – February edition seized – contained two articles illuminating on a factor that provides food for thought. One was a full page interview with Perak PAS head of information Ustaz Misbahul Munir Masduki who is political secretary to embattled Menteri Besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Misbahul revealed that the two PKR and one DAP state assemblymen (Aduns) for Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang respectively had in March 2008 signed a pledge of loyalty to Nizar upon the insistence of Perak Crown Prince Raja Nazrin Shah as a pre-condition for the ruling house installing a Pakatan state government, following the closely fought 12th general election.

A page two story in the same Harakah paper quoted Perak PAS state commissioner Ustaz Ahmad Awang as accusing the defecting Aduns of ‘treason’ to the Sultan when they broke their oath of loyalty to Nizar (as contained in the March 2008 written pledge submitted to the sovereign).

Raising this moral point throws an ethical dimension into the current debate of legalities and technicalities hotly contended by legal experts and political pundits.

BN and Pakatan in Perak are deadlocked at 28 seats each, with three held by the newly declared ‘independents’ – Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu and Hee Yit Foong – tilting the balance of power.

Only 10 months ago in their undertakings to Raja Nazrin, the trio had promised their support to Nizar and Pakatan. What is to say the same crossover-three’s-company might not present themselves before the royals in, say, 10 months from now with another change of heart?

Furthermore, two of the ‘independent’ Aduns are presently dancing a tango with the court on corruption charges and the possibility of having to vacate their seats if guilty still hangs in the air. It is indeed a strange definition of ‘independence’ if these Aduns throwing their lot with BN have assured the palace that they would vote along the ‘dacing’ party line on all occasions.

But in any case, blessings had been given Umno to proceed to form a new state government on short order and Umno’s Zambry Abdul Kadir sworn in as Menteri Besar at equally lightning speed.

Election lessons from Israel

In this Perak episode, Malaysians have earned ourselves the distinction of being far, far more efficient than the Jews, and this is truly something to shout about.

Israel held its election on Tuesday and as I write this, nearly all the votes have been counted. Kadima, the party led by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, won 28 seats. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party Likud won 27.

Well, what do you know? In a previous column in Malaysiakini, I did say Malaysia is somewhat like Israel in some ways.

Kadima snagged the largest number of seats but Livni may miss the cut to be appointed Prime Minister. Just like how DAP won the biggest seat total under Pakatan colours (Umno held the most seats as a single party) but its state chairman Ngeh Koo Ham did not get to become Chief Minister.

The post of Israeli PM may go Netanyahu’s way instead if he can cobble together a coalition from the right wing bloc, and commanding the Knesset majority plus the confidence of president Shimon Peres.

Peres will give the leader of the party he believes has the best chance of success up to 42 days to form government. A month-and-half to work out a solution when the opposing parties are evenly tied seems a reasonable period of time.

In Perak, its monarchy upholds “the principles of justice based on the sovereignty of the law, emphasising solidarity, cooperation, consensus and consultation”.

In Perak’s quicksilver democracy, the Umno state government was formed in a mere day and apparently without the said ‘cooperation, consensus and consultation’, as evidenced by the immediate political fallout.

In Perak, the residents have been suffering roadblocks and an intimidating police presence. In the rest of Malaysia, we suffer mental blocks when discussions are clamped down by threats of ‘treason’ from Umno and its redoubtable keris-waving Youth wing.

Syabas, Sivakumar ..

mentaries and reflections by g. krishnan

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Syabas, Sivakumar

In all the hub-hub, and rightly so, about the crisis in Perak, one story that had gone somewhat un-dissected has been the resignation of three high-ranking office-bearers of the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) following the absurd drivel spewed by its so-called president KK Eswaran when he attempted to clearly earn some table scraps from the UMNO/BN regime by publicly attacking Hindraf’s chairperson P Waythamoorthy and Suhakam commissioner Denison Jayasooria.

Now comes further development that the Malaysian Indian Business Association (MIBA), has decided to ‘sever’ its ties with this Eswaran character and MAICCI, the organisation which as some would see it, he’s attempted to convert into a little fiefdom for his own political ambitions.

Where there is smoke, there’s often fire. And you can rest assured this is one of those situations where there has probably been a raging fire underway in the Indian business community certainly following Eswaran’s stunt from some days back of politicising MAICCI in a blatant and self-serving manner. I for one congratulate MIBA – and its president P. Sivakumar – for its decision to distance itself from an entity that has been highjacked and been clearly diseased and badly degenerating due to a few transparently incapable bunch driven more by a wider political agenda than by the specific dictates and mission of MAICCI itself.

It should be noted that as most Indian business leaders are well aware, MAICCI’s politicisation doesn’t end at the doorstop of this Eswaran character. As a matter of fact, the footprints lead all the way to Menara Manickavasagam off Jalan Ipoh – if you catch my drift. And Eswaran’s calculated tirade – not unlike Samy Vellu’s self-serving crusade to resurrect his image - seems to have blown up on his own face.

It seems evident now that like dealing with a malignant cancerous tumour, radical surgery is the only realistic option of salvaging MAICCI from certain destruction. Perhaps the stance taken by the ex-MAICCI office-bearers and now Sivakumar’s bold statement to sever its ties with MAICCI will help propel the ethical, conscientious, and self-respecting within the Indian business community to get behind individuals such as Sivakumar and to clean up the rot - and the sickness that has come with that rot.

The Indian business community needs to show a little backbone and fight the cancer within MAICCI - really, any less will simply not suffice.

G. Krishnan

Inquest on “Was Sujatha Murdered?”

Title: Sujatha Case Inquest
Location: Kuala Lumpur Majistrate Court 2 (Criminal)
Description: YB Manikavasagam to attend Sujatha’s Murder Case Inquest at Kuala Lumpur Majistrate Court together with his Lawyer. The Case to be heared by Coroner Mohd Faizi bin Abu
Start Time: 9:00
Date: 2009-02-13
End Time: 13:00

Sujatha, 29, had died under mysterious circumstances on June 25 two years ago at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang.

She had worked as a secretary to MIC president S Samy Vellu’s son, Vel Paari in his capacity as chief executive officer of the party’s investment arm Maika Holdings.

The Star reported that Actress K. Sujatha called her uncle two days before she was admitted to the hospital, sounding worried and allegedly telling him there were people trying to harm her.

“Sujatha promised to call me if she needed any help but she never did,” said the businessman, in his 40s, who wished to be known as Selvam.

The 29-year-old woman, who had acted in several Tamil dramas, movies and commercials, died at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang on June 25 of weedkiller poisoning.

Meanwhile Kuala Lumpur CID chief SAC II Ku Chin Wa confirmed with Malaysiakini on Sept 29.2007 that investigation papers have already been submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers last month. Prosecutors would now have to determine whether anyone would be charged in court over Sujatha’s death or whether police have to probe further into the case.

However, up to date no one been arrested or charged in relation Sujatha’s death. Attorney General’s Chamber yet to decide either she was Murdered or Suicidal. The Case was initially investigated by then Sentul OCPD ACP K Kumaran whom Manikavasagam alleged has close link with accused family.

Suspicious further arose when Sujatha was taken to Klang GH some 40 kms away from where she found unconsious despite Kuala Lumpur General Hospital just within minutes away. It’s Velpari’s Cousin whom treated Sujatha at Klang General Hospital.

Despite 2 years had passed the question whether She was Murdered or Not still remain unanswered. The Silent of AG’s chamber further enhance possibility of High Level cover up.

AG’s Chamber finally decided to setup an Inquest on ” Was Sujatha Murdered” on persistent pressure of Manikavasagam. Though the act seen as Buying Time to let accused fled free, Manikavasagam believe this will surely bring lot of High Profile persons Dark Side out.

In case you weren’t sure... hear it from the people of Perak

IPOH, FEB 12 — If the Barisan Nasional and the Perak royal household had any lingering doubts about negative public sentiment towards the change of the state government, here is a message: doubt no more.

A survey of registered voters in Perak on Feb 8 showed that:

• 74 per cent of the respondents feel that the state assembly should have been dissolved after the defection of the three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers

• 76 per cent of the respondents felt that the "people, through elections, should decide on who forms the government"

• 62 per cent of the respondents felt that the "role of the palace in this decision" means it does not recognise the will of the people

• 66 per cent of the respondents do not accept state governments formed through the defection of state assemblymen

• 59 per cent of the respondents feel that the political crisis in Perak would decrease support for Barisan Nasional.

Taken together, the poll by the Merdeka Centre suggests that Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and the BN may occupy the seat of government but a significant number of Perakians may not accept their legitimacy to hold power.

The political crisis unfolded in Perak when three Pakatan Rakyat legislators became independents and said that they would back the BN.

This wiped away the three-seat majority which enabled Pakatan Rakyat to rule the state since March last year.

After interviewing the three and the 28 BN representatives, Sultan Azlan Shah decided that BN had the majority in the state assembly. This was a controversial decision given that Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and Pakatan Rakyat felt that the correct decision should have been for the Ruler to allow for the state assembly to be dissolved for fresh elections.

There is a roiling debate even among lawyers on the Sultan's decision, with the majority saying that he should have either agreed to the dissolution of the House or held off making any decision until a vote of no confidence against Nizar was taken in the assembly.

The survey findings indicate that many Perak voters also feel that the Ruler may have erred.

Some 507 registered voters were interviewed by telephone and the sampling was done randomly. The margin of error was about 4.5 per cent.

Western nations slam Malaysia over rights record

GENEVA, Feb 12 — Several Western nations took Malaysia to task yesterday over its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at an United Nations human rights record review.

Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands were among the nations that expressed “concerns” for refugees and asylum-seekers detained in Malaysia, as they called on Kuala Lumpur to develop legislation that distinguishes asylum seekers from other migrants.

“We note serious problems faced by refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Malaysia... that is linked to a lack of clarity on their status in the country,” agencies quoted Belgium’s representative as telling the UN Human Rights Council during a universal periodic review session.

Under universal periodic review, all 192 member states of the United Nations have their human rights record vetted by the council once every four years. The session is based on three reports, one submitted by the country under review and two summaries compiled by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

The high commissioner’s report noted the lack of national legislation on refugees as well as absence of laws on the rights of migrant workers.

In addition, it said, “many asylum seeking and refugee children, among them Muslim children from a nearby country, including the Rohingya refugee children who had lived in Malaysia since 1990s, lacked access to formal education”.

Malaysia’s foreign ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa said in his opening remarks that Malaysia prosecutes only refugees who have committed crimes.

Foreign workers are accorded the same rights as local workers, and the rights of illegal immigrants are protected, he told the council.

Human rights groups have accused Malaysia of mistreating millions of foreign workers who live there, as well as asylum-seekers, including thousands from nearby Myanmar, which is under military rule.

Human Rights Watch had singled out Malaysia’s Rela for allegedly beating, threatening and extorting money from migrants and asylum-seekers.

During the session, Chile and France also encouraged Malaysia to eliminate discrimination due to sexual orientation and to “respect the human rights of all individuals, including homosexuals”.

Selangor scrambling to quash rumours of defections

By Neville Spykerman-The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Feb 12 — After losing Perak to cross-overs, Pakatan Rakyat is scrambling to quash rumours of defections in Selangor as their Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah battled that perception and allegations of being arrested for khalwat (close proximity)

However, the PKR assemblyman, who is known to be elusive even to his constituents, strongly denied all the allegations of khalwat and jumping to Barisan Nasional.

“The rumours are not true. I am fully committed to PKR and continuing my work as an assemblyman.” said Badrul Hisham, who is considering legal action against the media who falsely reported that he was defecting.

He disclosed that he had met with the PKR leadership to explain his stand and promised to improve his weaknesses in the country’s richest and most industrialised state.

Meanwhile Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is scheduled to meet all Pakatan Rakyat MPs and assemblymen for a dialogue at his official residence in Shah Alam tonight amid swirling rumours of defections. He is expected to get everyone to commit to the electoral pact comprising PKR, DAP and Pas.

While Badrul Hisham has confirmed his attendance, Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam told The Malaysian Insider that he would be staying away, ratcheting up the dispute he has with Selangor Pakatan Rakyat and his disappointment with Khalid.

“I am staying away for personal reasons which is mainly my disappointment with the state leadership,” he said but confirmed he had no intention of leaving PKR to turn independent as he had threatened at the end of 2008.

“I know people will talk and continue to speculate on my allegiances but my dispute is only with state leadership and not with the party,” Manikavasagam said.

Party insiders told The Malaysian Insider that the federal lawmaker felt slighted over what he viewed as the state leadership’s discrimination against him.

At the crux of the matter is funding.

Kapar is the largest constituency in the country yet Manikavasagam has not received direct funding from either the state or the Barisan Nasional federal government.

Only Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen are entitled to funds for small projects from the state while only Barisan Nasional MPs receive allocations from the federal government.

He is also sore at the state’s leaderships for dragging their feet on outstanding issues affecting his constituency.

The move to snub tonight’s meeting will further strain Manikavasagam’s relationship with the state’s leadership but it will have no impact

on the electoral pact’s hold over Selangor.

With 36 seats to Barisan Nasional’s 20 in the state assembly, the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government is stable at least for now.

Senior cop accused of being a ‘compulsive liar’ in RPK trial

By Debra Chong-The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, Feb 12 – A key witness in the sedition trial of controversial Malaysia Today blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin was accused of being a “compulsive liar” in court today.

The chief investigating officer, Superintendant Gan Tack Guan, who had made a police report against Raja Petra last year after reading the latter’s online article, “Let’s Send The Altantuya Murderers To Hell” which sparked the charge, returned to the witness stand this morning.

Gan was subjected to a barrage of questions by defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo over his findings about the claims made by Raja Petra on the alleged role played by Abdul Razak Baginda in the sensational murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Razak Baginda is a political analyst and said to be a close friend of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He was charged with abetting two police officers with killing Altantuya. The Shah Alam High Court acquitted him of the crime last October.

Last Tuesday, Gobind had cross-examined Gan in an attempt to establish that the sedition charge against Raja Petra — popularly known by his initials RPK — was “politically motivated”.

Picking up from where he left off, Gobind continued to question the former along the same vein.

However, Gan appeared to have difficulty in answering to Gobind’s satisfaction, particularly when the latter pressed him on his investigation regarding a photograph said to feature Najib together with the murder victim at her birthday celebration in a hotel in Singapore.

“I put it to you, you are in no position to say Najib Tun Razak did not attend Altantuya’s birthday party at the Mandarin hotel in Singapore as alleged,” Gobind suggested.

“I disagree,” Gan replied.

“You agree with me it would have been easy for you to confirm this by merely asking Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak?” Gobind asked.

“I disagree,” said Gan.

“Why disagree? Is it difficult to ask Datuk Seri Najib questions?” Gobind pushed.

“This issue arose on the website on April 25 and the witness that gave the testimony did not show the picture on the issue,” Gan, who is the Interpol National Centre Bureau assistant director based in Bukit Aman, countered.

“But you never asked her for a copy of the photograph, Superintendant?” Gobind asked, referring to a Mongolian witness in the Altantutya murder trial, Burmaa Oyunchimeg who had supposedly produced the visual record.

“We did ask but she did not produce,” Gan answered.

“Did you personally ask her?” Gobind interrogated.

“I can’t remember because it was not brought up in the case,” Gan replied, before adding: “I think yes.”

Gan’s slow response and cumulative vague replies to Gobind’s blunt interrogation seemed to annoy the defence lawyer, leading to a minor outburst.

“Make up your mind. You remember or not asking her?” Gobind thundered.

“Yes,” said Gan.

“I put it you, you are lying that you asked the witness for the photograph. You are a compulsive liar,” Gobind asked pointedly.

“No,” Gan stated.

Gobind’s inquisition was halted for the day before he could obtain an answer to the significance of the controversial photograph said to feature Najib and Altantuya together.

He had sought permission from Sessions Court judge Justice Rozina Ayob to introduce several documents from the Altantuya murder case into Raja Petra’s sedition trial.

But the judge ordered him to validate the documents first and adjourned the trial to April 23 and 24.

Meanwhile, Raja Petra, who has been slapped with multiple lawsuits, will return to the dock at the Kuala Lumpur High Court tomorrow for his criminal defamation charge.

Pakatan hits out at judicial leaks

By Lee Wei Lian-The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Feb 12 — Pakatan Rakyat senior state executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham today slammed a New Straits Times report quoting judicial sources that called its suit to declare vacant two state seats a “political ploy”, saying it was unacceptable for judicial services to leak information.

The report quoted the judicial sources as saying the suit filed by Pakatan Rakyat last week to prevent Barisan Nasional form taking over the state “was nothing but a mere eye wash to appease its supporters” and contained flaws to blame delays on the courts.

Responding to the allegations, Ngeh said Pakatan Rakyat has never accused the courts of any delay and that it was “untenable if the judiciary is leaking information”.

“If any supporting documents are needed, they must ask the applicant,” Ngeh told The Malaysian Insider.

“Based on the story in the NST, it looks like they have pre-judged the case as irregular. It creates an impression that they are leaking things out and that the court wants to be political.”

Ngeh also said if the sources are judges, they should be sacked. “Judges are not supposed to express views until they have heard both sides,” he pointed out.

The New Straits Times report quoting sources said the courts could not proceed with Pakatan’s civil suit based on the following grounds:

- No supporting affidavit was provided. Sources said that without an affidavit to support the originating summons (OS), the deputy registrar was not able to set a hearing date.

- No certificate of urgency was attached to the OS for the High Court to hear the matter urgently.

- Plaintiffs failed to extract sealed copies of the OS to be served to the three respondents. Until the copies are extracted and served, the High Court may not proceed with a hearing.

“There is no way the High Court can proceed given the flaws in the case,” the judicial sources said.

Ngeh responded that there was nothing legally wrong with the documents.

“Because of the urgency, we filed applications without affidavits because affidavits can be filed within 14 days,” he disclosed.

“The certificate of urgency can be filed anytime as and when necessary when we need to be heard immediately.,” the Perak DAP chief said, adding a Pakatan legal team had advised to stay the suit after it was filed last Friday.

“This speculation that we accuse the court of delays is purely a creation of parties out to damage the image and reputation of Pakatan Rakyat.

“The judicial’s role is to hear both sides before making a decision. The sources are disseminating a pre-judged opinion to the media which may border on contempt of court. I urge the chief justice to investigate the matter,” Ngeh said.

Pakatan claims unelected advisors ‘invaded’ Perak government

By Lee Wei Lian-The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — The Perak Pakatan Rakyat today claimed Barisan Nasional broke the law by appointing two unelected non-Bumiputeras in the state executive council in its attempt to plug a gap in ethnic representation in the overly Bumiputera coalition

Still reeling from defections that toppled it from the silver state, Pakatan Rakyat lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over Menteri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir’s move to appoint three advisors for ethnic and religious affairs and an information chief with state executive councillor status.

The Perak Barisan Nasionalis dominated by Bumiputeras with 27 from Umno and one from MCA. Three independents, who crossed from Pakatan Rakyat, have expressed support for Barisan Nasional in the 59-seat state assembly.

“The Perak government has been invaded by unelected people,” Pakatan Rakyat’s senior executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said in explaining the report with the MACC.

He said it was against the law to appoint advisors with executive councillor status, adding the advisors were brazen enough to occupy the office without being elected.

“BN is a law unto themselves. I feel ashamed for them,” Ngeh said.

In the report lodged by Perak DAP secretary Nga Kor Ming, the coalition complained Zambry’s move was illegal under the Perak state constitution and would cost the state an extra RM960,000 in emoluments a year when the world was in an economic crisis.

Perak’s Pakatan MB sues BN’s MB in KL tomorrow

The most talked about politician in Malaysia today… Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin

By Lee Wei Lian-The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Feb 12 — Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who maintains he is still Perak mentri besar, will file suit tomorrow to declare illegal the government of Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir, who was sworn-in by Sultan Azlan Shah last week in what has become a major constitutional quagmire.

The lawsuit will be filed at the Kuala Lumpur high court at 11.30 am.

Asked to rate his chances of winning the lawsuit, Nizar replied: “Our chances are very strong. Surveys show that 97 per cent of the rakyat want us back.”

At a press conference here today, the Pakatan Rakyat leaders declined to disclose specific reasons for filing the lawsuit in Kuala Lumpur instead of Ipoh other than saying that it was decided based on advice from their team of 12 lawyers.

Nizar urged members of the public who wished to gather in court tomorrow to show support for his government to exercise restraint and respect.

The mentri besar of the PR state government also said that he will leave his official residence in seven to ten days, marking the end of PR’s increasingly futile strategy of using the residence as a symbol of their legitimacy and the start of the legal phase of their struggle to be recognised as the rightful government of Perak.

Nizar said that he would move out, perhaps to a rented premise.

He stressed however, that the move was simply to abide by a letter that will be sent to him by the state secretariat to vacate the house. The move however, does not mean that PR has conceded the government. He said that he still considers the BN Perak state government illegal and his administration to be the rightful government.

He added that PR will continue to administer the state from the various party headquarters.

When asked if Zambry would be able to move in, Nizar said that if Zambry is “thick skinned enough to do so, it is his perrogative”.

Senior PR executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham explained that the decision was made in order to avoid attracting trouble even though they consider Nizar to be the rightful occupant of the official residence.

“As the rightful government, we feel we are still entitled to benefits but for the sake of the people, we do not want to create an ugly scene or unruly behaviour. We respect the law and the constitution. We would like the courts to take due course (to declare Pakatan Rakyat as the legitimate government).”

The Toyota Camry cars belonging to the state executive committee members will also be parked at the official residence beginning February 14. The state executive committee members will resort to other modes of transport.

“Public transport or motorcycles,” joked Nizar.

Nizar said that the cars will be parked there instead of at the state secretariat as he feels that is the proper place for state assets.

Patriotism and Hate-Speeches are Different Things

By Farish A. Noor

Nothing stirs the humbug soup better than spurious talk of patriotism and loyalty. The saddest thing of all is that more often than not whenever there is the rallying call to demonstrate one’s patriotism and to show one’s love for the nation, it comes from the most narrow-minded, chauvinistic and intolerant quarters of society.

This was demonstrated in Malaysia recently when political differences between the ruling National Front coalition led by the UMNO party and the opposition People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) spilled out onto the streets. In the wake of the take-over of the state assembly of the state of Perak by the National Front, several politicians of the People’s Alliance – including veteran opposition politicians like Karpal Singh of the Democratic Action Party and the former Chief Minister of the state Nizar Jamaluddin – cried foul over the means that were used to wrestle control of the state assembly from their hands. Complicating matters was the role of the Sultan of Perak who chose not to dissolve the Perak Assembly but instead allow for a new National Front-led state government in a matter of days.

Now from the wider perspective of world politics, the goings-on in the state of Perak somewhere in North Malaysia may not have even registered a blip on the international news radar. Indeed, years from now the historian may write on the episode and sum it up in one sentence, as an instance of power changing hands in a controversial manner.

But what is alarming was the reaction of the Youth Wing of the UMNO party that reacted to the protests of the opposition party leaders by condemning them for having the temerity to question the process and the role of the Sultan in the debacle.

Among the leaders of the UMNO Youth Wing who were present to further complicate the situation was Khairy Jamaluddin, son-in-law of the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who is stepping down from his post as Prime Minister by March this year. Speaking before a crowd of his loyal fans and supporters, Khairy was reported to have asked them “in the past, what did we do to traitors?” – to which they replied “Kill them!”

That chants for death and vengeance can be made in public like this and at a demonstration led by a politician said to have been educated at Oxford suggests that Malaysian politics has reached a new low of late. For a country that once aspired to attain ‘first world status’ and a ‘first world mentality’ – to quote Prime Minister Badawi, father-in-law to Khairy himself – there seems little to suggest that Malaysian politics today has evolved any further than the sorry standards of Bantuland.

When right-wing conservative politicians lead rallies that end with chants for death and retribution, we know that the normative operational rules of democratic politics have been breached and that we are now on a different playing field altogether. One is reminded of the hate-speeches of the Nazis and Fascists of Germany and Italy who likewise claimed the values of Patriotism and love of the nation as exclusively theirs; and who decried and condemned their opponents as the enemies of the state, worthy of banishment, exile, persecution, imprisonment and ultimately death.

Likewise we have seen the same sorry state of affairs in many an other failed state and dysfunctional polity where the democratic process is all but redundant and the rule of law usurped by the might of thugs and squads of goondas instead. Indonesia and the Philippines during the era of Suharto and Marcos witnessed the use of such right-wing stormtroopers who hounded the political enemies of their paymasters; and who were later responsible for a host of attacks, killings and disappearances. In Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto contributed to the slide in law and order when he too created his own para-military force to serve the interests of himself and his party; but which ultimately helped only to erode even further the credibility of the state and the process of law in the country.

Is Malaysia heading down the path of these countries too, then? Well thus far it can be surmised that an education at Oxford – sponsored or self-financed – certainly does not serve as a guarantee of a democratic outlook or a mature mindset. Had this been the behaviour of spotty teenagers suffering from hormonal imbalance, one could have dismissed the demonstrations in Perak as a case of stupid boys doing what stupid boys do. But this was a demonstration organised by a political party, led by an aspiring politician, who was savvy enough to realise the full import and gravity of the words he uttered, and cognisant of the emotional effect they were bound to have.

Hate speech is hate speech, even if it is cloaked in the guise of a misguided patriotism. The pressing need at the moment is for Malaysians to reclaim the value and meaning of patriotism again, and not let it be defined solely by those who equate patriotism with love of themselves, their party or their political interests. Should that come to pass, then hope will surely be lost.

Rulers can be sued - are judges, lawyers, law professors/lecturers to be charged for treason?

The police questioned DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh for two hours yesterday in connection with 89 reports which had been lodged against him nationwide for being disrespectful to the Sultan of Perak over the most simple proposition – that rulers in Malaysia’s system of constitutional monarchy can be taken to court in their official capacities.

This is the height of nonsense in the police and the Home Ministry!

Are all the law professors and lecturers in the Malaysian universities and colleges going to be questioned by the police for the crime of treason for teaching their students that rulers can be sued in court for their official capacities?

Are all the judges and the lawyers in the country going to be charged for treason for holding that rulers can be sued in their official capacities?

The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan should be fully aware of this simple legal proposition or they are simply not fit to continue for a single second in their high positions and in Hamid’s case, everyone must wonder how he got his law qualifications in the first place!

Why then are Hamid and Musa condoning and pandering to such criminal activities in lodging false police reports against Karpal, which under section 182 of the Penal Code, are crimes, as the offence of “false information, with intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person”, is liable on conviction to a penalty of six months’ jail, RM2,000 fine or both.

All the 89 persons who had lodged police reports against Karpal had committed the offence of giving false information under Section 182, and the police should have opened investigations to prosecute them, instead of questioning Karpal.

The “illegitimate” MCA Perak State Exco member, Dr. Mah Hang Soon is one of the 89 who should be investigated by the police and prosecuted under the Penal Code, for he had joined the Umno and Umno Youth extremists in lodging a false report against Karpal in his capacity as Perak MCA Youth leader.

The illegitimate MCA Perak Exco member and the other 88 who had lodged false reports against Karpal cannot be such simpletons that they do not know the law that rulers in Malaysia can be taken to court in their official capacities.

If they still have doubts, the illegitimate MCA Perak Exco member and the other miscreants need only refer to the article by Dr. Shad Faruqi, Professor of Law at UiTM, in the Star yesterday, “Legal turmoil over Perak defections” where he concluded:

Treason: Opinions are being expressed that to defy the Sultan and to threaten to go to court for defence of one’s legal rights amount to treason and a ground for deprivation of citizenship. There are fundamental misunderstandings here.

From day one of Merdeka, the King and the Sultans were open to civil suit for their official actions. They were only immune personally. In 1993 even the personal immunity was taken away.

In sum it is not a violation of the Constitution to resort to the courts to seek an authoritative opinion on one’s rights and duties. Where else does one go, what else does one do, if one has a claim?

Ignorance of the law is however no defence for the commission of any crime. It may go to mitigation, and only if Dr. Mah and the other 88 are prepared to immediately admit remorse and withdraw their false reports forthwith.

Hamid and Musa have again made Malaysia into an international laughing stock. When are they going to make immediate amends?

If Hamid and Musa are not prepared to take immediate action against the 89 (including Dr. Mah) by opening police investigation papers against them, is the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail who is currently overseas, prepared to restore public confidence in the impartiality and professionalism of the law enforcement agencies by instituting criminal prosecutions against the 89 troublemakers the first thing he returns to his duties?

M'sians rebuff power grab

The Merdeka Centre research firm said that 66 percent of Perak residents it surveyed disapproved of using defectors to form a new government. -- PHOTO: AFP
KUALA LUMPUR - THE Malaysian ruling coalition's takeover of a northern state has been given the thumbs-down by voters, according to a poll released on Thursday ahead of two critical by-elections.

The by-elections, one for a seat in national parliament and the other for the state assembly in Kedah, are being seen as a referendum on the Barisan Nasional coalition's conduct in Perak state.

A new Barisan Nasional leadership was sworn into power there this week, despite objections from the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance, which lost its narrow majority when it was hit with four defections.

The Merdeka Centre research firm said that 66 percent of Perak residents it surveyed disapproved of using defectors to form a new government.

Seventy-four per cent of the 507 respondents said the assembly in Perak should have been dissolved and the people allowed to select a new government through a vote.

In a rare display of displeasure towards the state's highly respected sultan, who ordered the Pakatan government to quit, 62 per cent said his handling of the case 'does not reflect the will of the people of Perak'.

The findings came as the government prepares for a bruising contest over the national parliamentary seat in Perak, and the seat in the state assembly in far-northern Kedah state, which have both become vacant.

The opposition has said the votes will be a test of the Barisan Nasional's popularity and its conduct in Perak, where public protests greeted the installation of the new government.

Merdeka Centre pollster Ibrahim Suffian said however it was too early to gauge sentiment for the upcoming votes, which the Election Commission will fix dates for on Friday.

'Kedah is far away so we are not sure whether the sentiment is the same. Bukit Gantang (the Perak electorate) is in the same state but we won't know how far-reaching its impact until we conduct a separate survey,' he told AFP.

Barisan Nasional has been humiliated by the loss of two by-elections since putting in a dismal performance in general elections last March, and will be looking to prove it can claw back public support.

The votes are also a chance for the opposition alliance to re-assert itself after the loss of Perak, which triggered calls for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to quit. -- AFP

Banting Raja, captured on Tuesday, is a seasonal criminal

The Star, Feb 12 2009

SEPANG: One of Selangor’s most wanted criminals, Banting Raja, who was captured during a lorry hijacking on Tuesday is a seasoned criminal involved in at least 14 cases.

The criminal who is from Kuala Langat is wanted for numerous offences that included house break-ins, armed robberies and hijackings.

An accomplice who was caught along with him has seven past criminal cases.

The two were caught after their position was given away by a tracking system in the trailer.

The men, both 44, had hijacked the trailer, laden with plastic pellets and steel coils worth around RM150,000, at the Dengkil rest and recreation area at 3.20am, as its driver was sleeping.

The suspects smashed the driver’s side window with an iron rod before threatening the driver.

They then tied him up and put him in the back before driving off.

However, a lorry driver who witnessed the incident notified the police.

Police personnel from Sepang, Negri Sembilan and Alor Gajah intercepted the trailer at the 205th kilometre of the Alor Gajah road at around 5.30am.

Banting Raja and his accomplice tried to make a run for it, but were overpowered after a brief struggle.

Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday that police suspected the trailer driver may be involved in the hijacking and had remanded him.

**********

2009/02/12

Two former cell mates see their hijacking plans unravel
NST

SEPANG: While they were at the Simpang Renggam detention centre last year, they planned several hijacks.

The two former detainees put one of those plans into action early Tuesday.

Just over an hour later, police nabbed both men and recovered the lorry laden with plastic pallets and metal coils they had hijacked.

The duo, nicknamed "Banting Raja" and "Raja", were armed with parang and had taken the lorry at the Dengkil rest area of the North-South Expressway (NSE) at 3.20am after tying up the driver and putting him behind the driver's seat.

However, several people witnessed the incident and alerted police. The company which owned the lorry was also informed and tracked the vehicle using a global positioning system.
Selangor, Malacca and Negri Sembilan police mounted a joint ambush at Km205 of the NSE and nabbed the duo.

Sources said Banting Raja, 45, made a name for himself as a ruthless gangster in Banting. He had 14 previous convictions for various crimes.

Raja, 44, is from Kluang, Johor and has seven previous convictions.

He had been sent to the Pulau Jerejak penal colony for involvement in secret societies.

Sources said both men had been detained in Simpang Renggam last year and struck up a friendship.

Banting Raja was released in July last year while Raja was released in December.

Following their release, both men decided to put their plan into action.

Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday the lorry driver, 38, had also been detained to help with investigations.

All three men have been remanded until Feb 16.

The Plight of The Rohingya.

—PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —

Petaling Jaya, 12th February 2009.

Today we witness once again the unfolding of the consequences of the oppression of men by men. Oppressed peoples have the misfortune of being arbitrarily isolated from their own societies and rendered into minorities by a stroke of the pen in the hands of their erstwhile political overlords, the military junta.

The Muslims of Rohingnya are stark reminders of this unfortunate twist of historical fate.

With their plight ignored and their pleas for help falling on deaf ears, the Rohingya Muslims brave the high seas in search of a new tomorrow. The doors of Myanmar, their own homeland, are shut on them, the harbours are closed and their women are raped.

On this occasion, let us step back and reflect on the suffering of Rohingya. We call on the powers that be to take quick and decisive action to help alleviate their plight. Countries in Asean, neighbours of Myanmar as well as multilateral institutions can no longer remain oblivious to the humanitarian tragedy that is unfolding before their very eyes.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

PM Wants JPA To Make Dynamic Changes

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 12 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged the Public Service Department (PSD) to make dynamic changes, not only to its policy, but also in terms of services rendered to the public.

The Prime Minister said the PSD cannot remain contended but rather must start innovative and creative ways to enhance the quality of services and delivery system in line with the needs of the rakyat.

He added that the process of shoddy work and non-friendly services to the public must be reviewed and improved so that such services will become client oriented and friendly.

The requirement, challenges and needs of today have changed drastically and are far more different from the challenges faced 75 years ago because we have a more learned society with high expectations for quality, effective and prompt services.

"Globalisation also requires a country to be competitive and the private sector expects the PSD to provide a conducive business environment to remain competitive," he said after launching JPA's 75-year Diamond anniversary celebrations at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here today.

Abdullah also launched a book titled "Kuasa Tak Ketara, Pengaruh Tak Diheboh" which reflected the contributions made by former PSD director generals.

Also present at the ceremony were Melaka Chief Minister Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and PSD director general Tan Sri Ismail Adam.

The PSD was formed on Aug 22, 1934 in Singapore with the consent of the Malay Rulers and was then called Malayan Establishment Office before moving to Kuala Lumpur in 1954 and known as the Federation Establishment Office.

In 1967, its name was again changed to Establishment Office of Malaysia and on Aug 15, 1968 given the name Public Service Department.

Abdullah said since PSD has a very important role in moulding effective service personnel, its relevance was paramount to the country's success.

He said a PSD personnel must have a recognisable criteria in projecting a public service character that differs from the rest. It would not be suffice to have high qualifications, expertise and knowledge without good governance, human and ethical values in providing public services.

Malaysia's public services are comparatively better than many countries, especially in terms of job opportunities, salary, allowances and bonuses, he said.

As a former PSD staff, Abdullah expressed gratitude to the department for providing comprehensive training which has since become an asset for him in dispensing his duties today.

"I am very happy to be appointed a government officer and placed under PSD which is the best place to be and learn the do's and don'ts of public service" he said.

Abdullah also urged young PSD officers in service, to study the values of their job and responsibilities well and use their term in PSD to provide efficient services to the community and country.