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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hindraf: Why the delay in Kugan case?

by Malaysiakini
Hindu Rights Action Force chairperson P Waythamoorthy is peeved with the government for not preferring any charges yet against police personnel involved in the death of detainee A Kugan.

"Kugan died in custody on Jan 20 and to date, more than a month now, no charge or arrest has been made on any police personnel," he said in a statement today.

"This condemnable approach taken by the government and the Attorney-General's Chambers in delaying the charge and arrest of involved policemen will only further agitate the public," he said.

p waythamoorthy and police 231107He added that the inaction undermined the public accountability and transparency of the government in relation to protection of human rights in Malaysia.

"The continuous callous attitude by the government against the Malaysian public in particular to the Malaysian Indians will only distance itself further from the public...

"Hindraf seeks immediate actions to be taken against the police personnel involved and not lip services from the AG's office in this matter.

"One month without any charge or arrest is just to long for a murder that took place in police custody unless there are ulterior hidden motive for the death of Kugan that otherwise could jeopardize the integrity and sanctity of the police force," he said.

Kugan, 23, was arrested on Jan 15 for suspected involvement in the theft of luxury cars in Sungai Chua, Kajang, and died at the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya five days later.

a kugan detention death funeral ummc to puchong 280109 18A video clip taken at the Serdang Hospital mortuary revealed severe lacerations on the body of deceased, prompting the family to allege foul play.

The incident also sparked off a huge public outcry with various quarters, including political parties holding demonstrations.

Following this, the Attorney-General re-classified the case as murder and 11 police personnel were reassigned to desk duty. However, nobody has been charged yet.

Independent probe on Kulim killing

Waythamoorthy, presently in London following a government crackdown on Hindraf in 2007, also condemned the killing of six people in a police shootout in Kulim last week.

The six, suspected to be criminals, were shot dead when the police raided a house owned by one of the victims.

Waythamoorthy said that based on the history of police action against alleged armed criminals and persons in custody, the Kulim shootout raised the question of the government's and the police force's integrity and transparency.

He said that all members of parliament should immediately table a motion in Parliament to set up an independent investigative body to conduct forensic and coroner's report in the Kulim killing to ensure transparency and accountability of the police force.

Those killed in the shootout were contract worker R Elangovan, 38; LS Santana, 34; contractor R Pannir, 28; crane driver S Vadivelan, 29; carpenter S Gurusamy, 50, and lorry attendant R Dilip Kumar, 20.

Police alleged that they were believed to be involved in several cases of armed robbery in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.

A team from the federal police headquarters was involved the 11pm operation on Feb 17 in the small town of Karangan, some 15km from Kulim.

Police claimed that they had no choice but to act in self-defence.

BN Stop Empty Promises , Proof it..

Malayskini reported thatDPM Najib as saying The government does not condone any extrajudicial killings and will look into complaints that the police were targeting Indian Malaysians in wake of the controversial shootings of six suspected criminals in Kulim, Kedah.

“This is a serious matter. We will look into it,” Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak told reporters after chairing the cabinet committee on Indian affairs in Parliament today.

This was the second meeting of the committee which was formed soon after the last general election to look into the affairs of the Indian community.

The 90-minute meeting today was also attended by MIC president S Samy Vellu and all three MIC parliamentarians - S Subramaniam, M Saravanan and K Devamany.

“If there are any individuals in any organisations who are abusing their powers, appropriate action will be taken against them,” said Najib.

Every time an election approach the BN leaders along with their mandores and cronies will try to bribe Malaysian in whatever way possible. After almost a year Cabinet committee on Indian affairs formed nothing viable been seen to be done for Indian committee. Only mere RM50 million allocation under Economy Stimulus package. Even that wasn’t disburse yet while MIC trying their level best the fund channel through them or to schools headed by their cronies.

Promise, Promise , Promise - That’s what Mahathir and Abdullah did and now Najib the following same rhythm when comes to Indian issues. It’s shows BN’s leaders interpretaion that Indian’s as half-witted

Prime Minister and Najib himself kept their mouth Zip locked when entire world crying seeking justice towards brutal murder of suspect A Kugan. It’s more then a month, no one been arrested yet.

What had they done on the followings :

1.A.Kugan Tortured and Beaten to Death




Circumstance of Death



20 Jan 2009

Jan 15. Kugan Ananthan was detained. Crime : suspected involvement in an international car theft syndicate.
Jan 20th 2009. Kugan a/l Ananthan, 22 year old guy, after being detained for 5days, was found dead. DEAD in a Subang Jaya police station. Selangor police chief immediately claimed that it was a sudden death, and tried linking it with asthma. His family says he has no asthmatic problem. Pictures revealed injuries to his body, fresh wounds

2. Malaysian police poured boiling water on B Prabakar




Circumstance of Torture and Abuse

B Prabakar


December 23, 2008

27years old car park attendant has alleged that he was tortured during interrogation by police who beat him with a rubber hose and splashed boiling hot water on his body.
B Prabakar said he was picked up from his work place at Sri Hartamas on Dec 23 and taken for interrogation at the Brickfields police district headquarters where he was repeatedly beaten, kicked and stepped-on by at least 10 police personnel.

3. N. Logeswaran 10-year-old , abused by Malaysian Police in Police station.




Circumstance of Tortured and Abuse

N. Logeswaran


August 5, 2008

The ethnic Indian mother of a 10-year-old boy has accused the police of torturing her son, slapping and choking him and scalding his leg while questioning him for allegedly stealing his school teacher’s purse. The incident occurred Aug 5 after N. Logeswaran was taken to a police station at Kampar near Ipoh in Perak state, even though the purse, money (containing RM 700 - roughly $200) and other documents were not found on the boy.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) deputy chairman M. Sarasvathy, who took up his case, submitted a memorandum to the Perak police Tuesday alleging that the police, in order to get the boy to confess, slapped him on his face while two policemen tried to choke him.
“They even tried to melt some plastic on the boy’s private parts,” said Sarasvathy, outside the Perak police contingent headquarters, The Star newspaper said Wednesday.
Logeswaran’s mother P. Santhi said her son suffered head injuries as a result of the police beating.

“The police also took out a parang (dagger) and a pistol to threaten the boy,” Saraswathy said, adding that Logeswaran was also handcuffed and locked up in a dark room.
“He is now traumatised by the incident,” said Sarasvathy, adding that he suffered injuries on the back of his head, wrists and leg after the ordeal.
Logeswaran was picked up from his school at 12.30 p.m. last Wednesday and was only released at 10.45 p.m. the same day. His parents were not informed about the incident.
He was taken to the Kampar Hospital at 11 p.m. after complaining of headaches and after he started vomiting, said Sarasvathy.

He was transferred to Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun at midnight for observation and was discharged Monday.

4. 24 years old Mariammah was manhandled by Malaysian Police




Circumstance of Torture and Abuse



April 17, 2008

IPOH (17/4) – A young girl launched police report against a Police Officer and other Police Personnel’s on the complaint that she was manhandled, usage of vulgar words and sexually harassed while she was under investigation at the Police Station at Ipoh . The 24 years old women stated in her report that the police picked up her from Balai Police Menglembu on the 02/04/08 at 02.00am after she made a Police report stating her motorbike no: AGJ 102 was missing. Mariammah, a mother of 2, was remanded for 2 weeks to help on a murder case on which, usage of the missing motorbike in the murder case.
The Policeman who came with other male officers arrested her and took her with police car with male police officers only. She was remanded till 13/04/08 and the Police officers started to torture her since 05/04/08 till 08/04/08 for no reason. Mariamah also alleged that the Policeman also kicked her back and hips several times and blindfolded her when this beating was taking place. Also she says the police forced her to admit that her husband was involved in the murder case which happens few days earlier before her arrest. The Police arrested and forced her to agree with the accusation. After few hours another policeman came and tortured her verbally and told her she would be striped naked if did not agreed.
Soon after she was released on 13/04/08, she came to Ipoh Barat office to inform the incident and asked Mr.Kulasegaran (DAP - Ipoh Barat) for help. Mr.Kula, with his secretary, took her to lodge a police report and at that time, the computers were all down! After half an hour when a senior police officer came, the system was on again.

5. Indian Youth Tortured In Rawang Police Station




Circumstance of Torture and Abuse

2 Indian Youth

January 6, 2008


6. ISA Detainee Sanjeev Kumar Tortured Brutaly by Malaysian Police




Circumstance of Torture and Abuse

Sanjeev Kumar Krishnan


March 21, 2008

Sanjeev detained under ISA and physically, sexually and emotionally tortured.

An initial police report had been filed by Sanjeev Kumar at the Taiping Police Station in April 2008, after he was warded at the Taiping Hospital upon receiving such brutal treatment in the camp, which included being forced to drink urine, eat stale food and being subjected to physical abuse such as being sodomized by a broom.

The first report seems to be left unheeded. Sanjeev is now semi-paralysed and wheel chair bound, and has still not received the required medical attention.

7. 19 year old M Vijaya Varman beaten in police custody




Circumstance of Torture and Abuse

M Vijaya Varman


January 4, 2007

Factory worker 19 year old M Vijaya Varman was rudely awakened in his home in Kuala Selangor by seven policemen at 2am, the morning of Jan 4. Despite the lack of a warrant, he was arrested in connection with the theft of electrical cables.

The cops handcuffed him, dragged him into the van, drove around and simply put, proceeded to beat the shit out of him over a period of four hours.

Excerpts from his police report:

Tangan saya telah digari dibelakang ibubapa saya telah bertanya kepada mereka sebab saya di tahan tetapi mereka enggan menjawab soalan tersebut. Kemudiannya saya terus dibawa menaiki sebuah van berwarna putih semasa didalam perjalanan keluar daripada kawasan perumahan taman seri Kuantan, saya telah dipukul oleh CID-CID tersebut.

Van tersebut telah berhenti berhampiran dengan sebuah pub/karaoke di pasir panjang. Kemudian mereka terus membelasah saya dan menyoal saya di mana kawan-kawan saya yang lain yang telah dituduh mencuri kabel. Mereka terus mendesak sambil memukul saya supaya mengakui perbuatan tersebut. Selepas itu saya dibawa ke lokasi lain dan mereka terus memukul saya.

8. Disabled Murugan Rajoo, 36 forced to urinate in pants by Selayang Municipal Council Malaysian




Circumstance of Torture and Abuse

Murugan Rajoo


January 4, 2007

Murugan Rajoo, 36, was born without legs. On Jan 4, he was detained by the Selayang Municipal Council for over an hour, and forced to urinate in his pants.
Sequence of events: Mr. Murugan (front row in light blue shirt with hands raised) is a petty trader without a license who claims he first applied for one about 3 years ago. On Jan 4, his motorcyle-stall was confiscated by Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) officers, leaving Mr. Murugan stranded by the roadside.
Later that day, he went to reclaim his motorcycle from the MPS Rawang branch. There, he was confined by enforcement officers for an hour, and when he wanted to use the bathroom, the officers allegedly made fun of his lack of legs and refused to show him where the bathroom was, forcing him to urinate in his pants publicly.
The inhumane suffering and humiliation did not end there.
A number of civil society groups representing the differently able organised a group of 30 individuals to protest this cruel insult to even the most basic human dignity at the MPS headquarters, and prepared a memorandum for council president, Yang Dipertua Zainal Abidin Azim.
When they arrive, the group and its wheelchair bound participants were told they could meet the president, but that he refused to come down and see them; they would have to come up to the 9th floor to see him :|

10. Suresh Kunsekaran Found Hanged With Saree In Women Cell, In Bukit Sentosa Police Station




Circumstance of Death

Suresh Kunasekaran


October 27, 2006

Suresh was found dead, hanged with a saree from the window of a lock-up in the Bukit Sentosa police station, Serendah, on Friday about 2pm.

He had been picked up by a patrol car and taken to the station about 11.30am after he was confronted by two policemen on motorcycles near his Taman Teratai home.

His mother, Liew Kiew, 47, said police informed them that a post-mortem at Kuala Kubu Baru Hospital showed he had committed suicide.

She was told of her eldest son’s death by police about eight hours later, at midnight. When their questions went unanswered, the family lodged a report at the Hulu Selangor police headquarters on Saturday.

Siva Subramaniam and Suresh ’s father, R. Kunasekaran, 47, a dispatch rider, visited the lock-up where Suresh was found hanged.

Siva said: ” I want the police to answer several questions..

“How did the saree get into the lock-up? Assuming that the deceased managed to bring the saree into the lock-up, what were the police doing? Aren’t they supposed to monitor detainees? Secondly, what could have pushed the deceased to commit suicide only a few hours after being detained?

“Thirdly, why the delay in informing the family of his death?”

11. Ravichandran Ramayah died under Malaysian Police custody




Circumstance of Death

Ravichandran Ramayah


December , 2004

In October, Ravichandran Ramayah, 38, died a week after being arrested and detained by the Penang North East Police Station. Family members claimed that medical needs were not provided to Ravichandran even though it was clear that his condition was very poor when he appeared in the Magistrate’s Court for remand proceedings.

The deceased then could only walk with the help of family members, causing the magistrate to order that he be brought to a hospital for medical attention. However, the police instead took the deceased to the Penang Prison, where he eventually died. State Police Chief Deputy Commissioner Othman Talib said that no wrongdoing had been committed on the part of the police.


And The Latest : 6 Indians Gunned Down By Malaysian Police .

Police brutality alone wasn’t the problem faced by Malaysian Indian. It’s pure discrimination at all level including Economy participation

KL to relax some pro-Malay policies

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 – Malaysia will relax some of its pro-Malay economic policies as part of a major stimulus package to keep the economy from faltering further, Minister of International Trade and Industry Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday.

This is likely to be announced in the second package on March10, that will be bigger than the RM7 billion (S$2.9 billion) one unveiled last November.

Analysts have suggested that it could be between RM10 billion and RM15 billion.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin declined to give details but said the Cabinet has agreed to liberalise the rules for foreign investment, including the bumiputera equity requirements.

“It has been agreed upon by the Cabinet, and would be announced soon. Even in the FIC (Foreign Investment Committee) where one of the important components is the bumiputera equity. That is also being looked at, and there will be a slight change,” he told reporters. The services sector would also be liberalised.

The local media had reported that the government was likely to scrap the guidelines for the retail sector, with the exception of hypermarkets.

Under the guidelines, retailers and restaurants were required to have 30 per cent bumiputera equity participation if they had more than 15 per cent foreign shareholding. They were also required to have boards, management and staff reflecting the demographics of Malaysia. It had never been fully implemented.

Certain aspects of the controversial pro-Malay policy had already been relaxed, notably in the manufacturing sector where foreigners can have full ownership. The main remaining quota is the 30 per cent Malay equity ownership for public-listed companies. This was relaxed a little last year, with the quota now implemented only for new listings.

Muhyiddin defended the 40-year-old policy as having been “one of the best” for Malaysia’s needs, but acknowledged its flaws in implementation.

He said it was being liberalised gradually but will not be lifted fully until Malaysia was ready for it.

However, he said once it was rolled back, it would not be reimposed.

In general, the policy assists the majority Malay community in the economic sector through share quotas, soft loans and preference for government tenders. It also gives them a helping hand in educational opportunities.

Some Malaysians, including top banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, the brother of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, had called for the policy to be scrapped.

Muhyiddin said the full impact of the economic crisis had yet to be felt in Malaysia, adding that it was bracing itself for a fall in exports this year due to slowing demand for its products.

“The best could be 0.5 per cent (rise). We fear that it might be a minus range of 3 per cent to 4 per cent,” he said.

Exports fell 14.9 per cent from a year earlier last December.

Muhyiddin is seen as one of Malaysia’s rising political stars as he is the front-runner for the deputy president’s post in Umno. He is up against two candidates in next month’s party election.

By convention, Umno’s deputy president is also Malaysia’s deputy prime minister.

Muhyiddin said it was imperative for Umno to change to win back the hearts of the people, but acknowledged that it was an uphill task to get its members to realise they can no longer be self- serving.

“There is a need for more political training ... something that we have not paid attention to for a while. Time is not on our side.” – The Straits Times

Tee Keat says party won’t back Soi Lek

By Shannon Teoh-The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 - MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has described talk that an extraordinary general meeting was being planned to oust him as mere speculation, as the second biggest Barisan Nasional (BN) party was rocked today by an escalation of hostilities between its top two leaders.

Met in Parliament today, he avoided answering any questions directly from reporters regarding news that an EGM was being planned by supporters of deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

“That is your perception and I am entitled to mine,” Ong said when asked what whether an EGM was being called because members had lost faith in him.

Instead, Ong tried to switch focus to the latest revelations that Dr Chua is now facing a police investigation for engaging in oral sex, which is illegal in Malaysia, based on the video footage of him engaged in having sex with his mistress which surfaced in late 2007.

Yesterday, Dr Chua was hauled up by police in Petaling Jaya for questioning, after a report was lodged by someone who claimed he had been posted a DVD which contained pornographic footage.

Dr Chua told police it was the same scene which was recorded with a secret camera in a hotel room in Johor that was circulated in 2007 and caused him to eventually resign as health minister in 2008.

Johor police did not press charges against Dr Chua then. The perpetrators were also never found, according to police.

Dr Chua says the renewed use of the footage appeared orchestrated to kill him off politically.

Asked today if he thought the party would back Dr Chua in the face of the renewed sex allegations, Ong said: “Do you think we should support something that is against the law?”

When asked if the police investigations was tied to the possibility of the EGM, Ong said that the press could “correlate it any way with anything you like.”

“If you are innocent, then you are innocent, what is there to argue about and blame the whole world except yourself?” he said, referring to Dr Chua’s accusations of political motivation behind the investigations.

“Since when do we need to respond speculation?” he said when asked if he was concerned about the EGM.

“People can spread half-truths and lies but I have crucial matters to attend to. When I say the party is on a path of transformation, I mean business,” he added.

Khalid strikes back

By Neville Spykerman-The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Feb 24 – The gloves have come off in the battle for Selangor.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who is being accused of abuse of power by Umno and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) has started to hit back at his detractors.

Yesterday, two top officials from state investment arm Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad (PNSB) were ordered to go on a month’s paid leave to facilitate investigations into “irregularities and weaknesses” in the company’s financial accounts.

The pair are chief executive Datin Khairiyah Abu Hassan and finance manager Nora Azmin Radzuan, who is also Selangor Puteri Umno chief.

The Malaysian Insider has learnt that among the irregularities detected in the financial accounts is non-disclosure of perks and bonuses paid to former top officials of PNSB, as well as declarations to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

Sources told The Malaysian Insider there was also a probe on irregularities in the financial accounts involving an RM159,250 Patek Philippe watch which was returned to PNSB by Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, the former Umno menteri besar.

The former menteri besar was initially given the gold watch as a sign of gratitude by the state investment agency before the March 8 general elections but it was reported that he declined to accept it.

The watch was reported to have been sold at the same price two months later but a probe is underway into the possibility of manipulation of PNSB’s accounts.

In a statement yesterday the state government indicated they were also investigating discrepancies in the sale and purchase of real estate in Mecca, between 2006 and 2007.

The Malaysian Insider has learnt that the state investment agency had purchased property in Saudi Arabia but these were later sold at cost price, without the knowledge of PNSB’s board.

Last Friday, the MACC revealed that there was strong evidence to show that Khalid had used state funds to purchase cattle for mosques in his parliamentary constituency and to pay for the maintenance of his personal car

But yesterday’s revelation of irregularities is an indication that Khalid is prepared to go toe-to-toe with Umno and this may mean more dirt on the previous administration may soon be exposed.

Oscar success for the 'Mozart of Madras'

AFP Feb 23 2009

Indian composer A.R. Rahman’s double Oscar win for “Slumdog Millionaire” is his highest accolade yet in a career that has taken him from provincial Indian cinema to the Hollywood red carpet.

In doing so, the 43-year-old once called “the Mozart of Madras” becomes only the third Indian to be honored by the Academy, just weeks after becoming the first person from the sub-continent to win a coveted Golden Globe.

Born A.S. Dileep Kumar in the southern city of Madras (now Chennai) on January 6, 1966, Allah Rakha Rahman’s father, R.K. Shekhar, was a musical director for movies in the Indian language of Malayalam.

The young Dileep’s father died when he was nine, prompting his mother to convert from Hindu to Islam and forcing Rahman into playing music to support his family.

Rahman, who also switched faiths, went on to write jingles and scores for Indian television and eventually set up a high-tech recording studio in his home city where he still lives and works.
His break into the Hindi-language film industry of Bollywood came in 1991 when he composed the music for the movie “Roja.” Its box office success won him plaudits among audiences and peers.

Leading Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar described Rahman’s composition as a “masterpiece.” Rahman has never looked back and is responsible for music on some of the biggest hits in Indian cinema in recent years and is thought to have sold more than 100 million albums.

The legendary Indian film singer Asha Bhosle once said he had “brought about a freshness, a new sound to film music.” Rahman’s move onto the world stage began in 2001, when British composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber asked him to compose the music for the musical “Bombay Dreams.” Work on the stage version of “Lord of the Rings” followed.

“Slumdog Millionaire” brought him even wider acclaim, with its versatile soundtrack fusing hip-hop and pulsing electronica, haunting ballads, instrumentals and upbeat Bollywood-style numbers.

Hard-working Rahman, a devout Muslim who composes only at night, is not one to court the limelight, preferring instead a simple life with his wife Saira and three children and working on charitable projects.

He even missed the wild celebrations with the cast and crew at the Indian premiere of “Slumdog” just after the film was nominated for 10 Oscars. He was putting the finished touches to music for a new movie.

The composer’s Golden Globes win, which he dedicated to India, was greeted with drums and dancing in movie-mad India. His Oscar win assures him of immortality.

India erupts in celebrations for 'Slumdog' Oscar wins

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- The collective cry throughout India of "Jai ho" (May you win) received a resounding answer when composer A.R. Rahman took home two Oscars for the movie "Slumdog Millionaire."

Composer A. R. Rahman, 'The Mozart of Madras,' celebrates his double Oscar win -- for Best Score and one for the song 'Jai Ho' from the film.

Composer A. R. Rahman, "The Mozart of Madras," celebrates his double Oscar win -- for Best Score and one for the song "Jai Ho" from the film.

Rahman's wins -- one for the song "Jai Ho" and the other for Best Score -- were just two reasons for Indians to erupt in boisterous celebrations Monday morning.

"Slumdog," which was shot in the streets and slums of Mumbai bagged eight golden statuettes in total, including one for Best Sound Mixing. Indian Resul Pookutty shared it with fellow sound editors who worked on the film.

"This is the finest hour of Indian cinema in the global scenario," said Anand Sharma, the country's junior external affairs minister.

Indians crowded around television sets in dorm rooms, restaurants and homes, exhaling in relief as Rahman's name was announced as the winner. They high-fived each other, hugged, shrieked and wept.

"I cannot describe this feeling," said Nikhil Jyonti, a Mumbai resident. "I'm bursting with pride for India."

In the Mumbai slum of Dharavi, where many of the scenes in "Slumdog" were shot, a television was set out for the street children to watch the ceremony. Few in the teeming slum of one million people had heard of the Oscars, but they knew Rahman's win was a source of pride for the country.

Danny Boyle's rags-to-riches film tells the story of a tea-boy at a Mumbai call center who earns a spot in the Indian version of the quiz show "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" He raises the suspicion of the show's host when, despite the lack of a formal education, he begins to answer the increasingly difficult questions with ease.

The movie also won four Golden Globes and a host of honors at other award shows.

While the overwhelming sentiment was one of pride Monday, the movie has faced backlash from many Indian movie critics who took exception to its depiction of Mumbai's underworld without highlighting any of the city's achievements.

Among the most notable criticisms was one offered by Amitabh Bachchan, considered the most successful movie star in Bollywood history, and a former real-life host of the Indian "Millionaire."

The film," he said, "projects India as the third world's dirty underbelly ... and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots."

But most Mumabikers, still reeling from a terrorist attack in their city in November, embraced the movie while looking for something positive to root for.

They found that in Rahman, a composer who has consistently broken barriers in his musical scores for dozens of Bollywood hits and is known as the "Mozart of Madras." Rahman has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide -- more than the Beatles -- but has remained relatively unknown in Europe and the United States.

Director Spike Lee used one of his songs in his 2006 heist film, "Inside Man."

Many hope the Oscar win will bring Rahman greater exposure. Rahman and Pookutty, however, aren't the first Indians with Academy Awards to their names.

In 1992, legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray received an honorary award for his contribution to world cinema. And in 1982, Bhanu Athaiya shared an Oscar for costume design for the movie "Gandhi."

Sarawak: “Don’t be fooled by crowd numbers, Anwar”

A by-election will soon be called in Sarawak after the death of the BN assembly member from Batang Ai, Dublin Unting. In the 2006 state elections, Unting defeated a Snap candidate, Nicholas Bawin Anggat, who has since joined PKR, by an 806-vote majority.

PKR must have received a boost from the reported 4,000 crowd that turned up in Bintulu to listen to Anwar. While the crowd size must have appeared encouraging to many, a former resident of Bintulu cautions Pakatan and Anwar not to get too carried away. They still have much work to do:

I read the report that Anwar Ibrahim drew a large crowd in Bintulu. That is good. But please realise that a large turnout does not mean support for Anwar in Sarawak’s case.

All the same, I believe many in Bintulu are not happy with the government as they have (one of) the highest assessment rates in Malaysia. I was posted there for four years (1997 - 2000).

Many people would come to town if there is an event, and so when Anwar was coming, they all came down in droves using kereta sapu. Even if there is a circus clown coming, the crowd would be the same.

Bintulu has seen the DAP under its wing. The DAP’s Chiew Chin Seng, the state assembly member for Kidurong, (is) a nice guy and his personality is what captured the rakyat’s support.

I remember on one occasion when we attended a function hosted by the state govt. Chiew was invited as I was too. He was seated in the “public” section while the BN YBs were seated on stage. When these BN YBs started their greetings, Chiew’s name was omitted. It was a pitiful sight.

When it was coffee break, they had two sections: one for the VIPs and the other for the audience. YB Chiew was queuing in the line for his coffee.

When the audience saw him, they immediately gave way for him, saying “YB dulu“.

He told them, never mind, he doesn’t mind queueing up.

When the whole audience (many Malays too even from Semenanjung) saw him, they all asked him to go first. It was a “commotion”. Many Malays were not too happy that the BN YBs treated another YB like that.

When the BN YBs saw that Chiew was so well received, only then did they come over to him and ask him to join them, which he declined politely.

He told the BN YBs he had many friends in the audience.

I can tell you he won a lot of respect from people who didn’t even know him. So, to Anwar’s team, don’t be fooled by the crowd numbers.


The last defence

Malay Mail

A HANDFUL of us believe that the Press is the last bulwark against the rising tide of irrationality, extremism and intolerance: When others rush to a conclusion, we alone must remain immobile; if others refuse to acknowledge a painful fact, then we alone must do so.

But nonetheless the Press cannot be a social or political platform. We aren’t wild-eyed prophets spouting
stories of doom, nor are we advertisers peddling cheap thrills of moral salvation.

We are merely instruments, and our puppeteer is Reason. Truth, as cadets in the profession ought to learn very quickly, is the best defence against those who would use the machinery of law, government, or even public opinion against us.

Of course no Press or media agency is ever truly free: We are slaves to interests, even if these are just our own little hobby-horses, and we differ from each other only in the degree of our adherence and how we
choose to go about our jobs.

Some chose this profession simply because there is nowhere else to go, just as many believe that Arts
graduates end up in the pitiable state of permanent hamburger flipping because they weren’t intelligent
enough for the Sciences. Too bad for them.

But it is true: Words, however potent, have little commercial value in this country unless they are put in
service to a product, a comedy script, or a political idea.

Some of us believe that this is exactly the reason why the Press bears such a fearful responsibility, and that the task of going to work each day must require wrestling with conscience, our own or those of others, if we are to remain true to what we do.

We often think ourselves clear sighted idealists, however paradoxical, and haughtily dismiss charges of
naïveté as the spineless nay-saying of lesser men and women: If we don’t stand up, who will? If we believe
the Press is being flushed down the toilet, then who will care enough to pull it out, if not ourselves?

With every measured argument don’t we set one more spark, however small, to the cold extinguished
tinder of good sense? And won’t we give that spark the breath of survival in the deepening twilight of reason?

With every word do we not arrest, even for the briefest moment, the total decline of our profession?

No, of course not. Our reason is eclipsed. All this is hyperbole and none of it is true.

At best, we preach to the converted. At worst, we falsely convince the young and inexperienced that there
is some honour left in our profession when all we do, with our talk of reason, moderation and honesty, is to hammer a fresh nail each day into the coffin of an already mouldering corpse.

“The truth is your best defence.”

This was one of the first things taught me by news editors Robert Ho and the late Donald Baptist when
I started in this work, and we managed to retain most of our dignity and self-respect by doing what we
needed with intelligence, finesse, and the conviction that our readers were not idiots.

But the times have changed. Fact has become indistinguishable from fiction and no one cares; fantasies
are realities and vice-versa, and still no one cares; and, having contributed to the wholesale dumbingdown
of an entire generation, I have come to suspect that anyone foolish enough to continue reading me is an
idiot after all.

The truth was my first defence. Now I hope it can still be my last. “A single word describes how we got to this point: Hypocrisy; and this is the danger of mounting the moral high-ground with no good reason.

The temptation to preach is great, and likewise also is the danger that we shall miss the woods for the trees.” I quote myself, from my column in this paper last Monday, for a reason:
My purpose was to induce widespread panic – not the kind that would land me in prison, but the deeper terror that should have had us all cowering in dread.

Where and when did we go off the rails? When did we decide that private conduct is a public issue simply
because the person under scrutiny is a public figure? And yet has recent debate not focused on the morality
on an individual at the expense of that individual’s basic expectations for common sense and decency?

Yes, the photographs of Elizabeth Wong are scandalous and compromising – but not to her. They
scandalise us. They compromise our principles – and if we but had the wit to perceive it, we should
apologise to the entire country for treating them like idiots and her as a common whore – for that is what
we did, is it not?

But wait, there is more:
“We must nip this sordid descent in the bud, for we would all be remiss in our duty as citizens if we allowed our public life to be overtaken by matters that should, by every conceivable standard of human decency, remain firmly private.”

Fine words, even if I say so myself (it took me some time to write them), and I stand by these words even if they have become mere lies.

● This is the last instalment of Open Society.

Serving justice, straight up

It took me a while to understand that in as much as contract, commercial, criminal, constitutional or any other field of law was important, the existence of a functioning system by which the law was applied and enforced was far more crucial. For without such a system, it would not matter at all that there were laws.

When I first graduated from law school, I believed that all things said and done we had such a system. I am almost certain now that we do not.

We have courts, some of them in very opulent buildings that are akin to palaces. We have judges at all levels, be it at the subordinate courts or into the dizzying heights of the judicial hierarchy. There is in place an Attorney General’s Chambers from which spring a number of federal counsel and deputy public prosecutors who represent the State in its legal endeavours. They are complimented by a host of lawyers who, together with their counterparts from the civil service, apply laws that have been duly enacted by legislative chambers and Parliament respectively.

Impressive, one could say. I however reserve my judgment. Just like cameras, there are “point and shoot” lawyers and judges, and there are the far more sophisticated and capable ones. Both serve their purpose but one category serves it far better, something to think about considering the legal system is one whose standard cannot be compromised for any reason at all. Lives, in the widest sense, are at stake. They are being put at risk by the kind of individuals being allowed into the system.

All this however does not directly answer the question of whether the system is one that is functioning effectively. In this, it must be understood that the ultimate arbiter of whether a legal system is effective is the public that the system is intended to serve. The level of public confidence in the system is the only yardstick by which this effectiveness can be measured.

The stark reality is that the average Malaysian entertains grave doubts about the integrity or competence or both of those who make up the system (and in this, I tar lawyers with the same brush). From a public confidence standpoint, it could be said that the system is not functioning.

We cannot blame them for so doubting. Controversy upon controversy, many of which were unnecessary and avoidable, have impacted. Suspicions have been given foundation by the findings and recommendations of a Royal Commission of Enquiry that lambasted the system and urged urgent corrective measures. One cannot fault the average Malaysian for thinking justice is no longer the sacrosanct quality that it is meant to be, having instead transformed into something pliable that can be moulded to convenience.

This has had ramifications it seems. Malaysians have no alternative but to take their cases to the courts, it is the only way in they can have their legal disputes resolved. Faced with a system that they have come to perceive as lopsided and pliable, it appears that they have attempted to improve, or at the very least even out, their odds where they have been able to do so. If the system were seen and understood to be unyielding, this would not be occurring.

It is perception that fuels belief that the system is hardly working as it should. As a lawyer, this saddens me, not because I think it is an unfair assessment but because I can see why it is they might believe this to be the case. Over the last twenty years the Judiciary has taken a beating, inside and out. It seems like every Chief Justice since Tun Dzaiddin started his term with laudable declarations concerning the need for reform only to subsequently find that the problem areas were so entrenched that resolving them was neither easy nor possible in their limited terms of tenure. Promises unfulfilled have deepened distrust.

It is high time that those who manage the institutions in ours system of justice wake up to the hard truth that mere rhetoric and superficial changes will not serve any purpose in attempts to rebuild confidence. Efforts must be real and driven by a desire to deliver to Malaysians objective justice at its keenest. It is not enough to say that there are those in the system who do just that. Though that may be the case, there are seemingly those who do not. It must be understood why this is the case and what can be done. The situation is desperate and calls for extreme measures.

Crucially, the system must be seen to be delivering justice. It is a cardinal rule of justice that not only must it be done, it must be seen to be done. The appearance of impartiality is paramount in building public confidence in the system. In this, standards must be seen to be applied uniformly, without exception. Explanations as to why they are not, do not go very far in explaining away the fact that they are not.

Perception is key. Without the public having confidence in the system, justice will never be served.

(Malay Mail; 24th February 2009)
Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

Batang Ai State Assemblyman Dies

KUCHING, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) vice president Datuk Dublin Unting, 53, who is also Batang Ai state assembyman passed away at the Normah Medical Centre in Kuching at about 1.25 am today after suffering from a stroke, confirmed a PRS party source. He was Sarawak Assistant Minister for Sports and Agriculture.


RPK ISA Trial Putrajaya - positives

Haris once again blogged live from Putrajaya’s Palace of Justice earlier today.


Observations & reflections:

  • This is a “sidetrack” from the main appeal case by the Home minister on High Court decision allowing RPK’s release from ISA… to “complain” about the panel of judges’ behaviour last week in court.
  • Malik Imtiaz kicked ass again… DPP Tun Majid was a joke of a “learned” opponent.
  • The 3 judges on the panel today - Justices Richard Malanjum, Ariffin Zakaria and Alauddin Sheriff carried themselves impeccably… as compared to “the other 3″ of the actual appeal hearing (Nik Hashim, Zulkifli & Augustine Paul)… we didn’t feel like we had to throw shoes at them =]
  • There were RPK supporters who showed up in solidarity to pack 2 courtrooms…. but we could have definitely done better…. perhaps RPK’s latest posting gave many the idea that it’s not such a big deal today…. perhaps most people still choose to remain “silent supporters”…. perhaps it takes RPK to be thrown back into Kamunting before you guys show up in support again…. perhaps perhaps perhaps.
  • For those who showed up…. kudos!! They included YB Karpal Singh, Antares (great to see u, bro… all the way from Magick River!!), Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, Norlaila Othman (GMI) and some true blood anak bangsa Malaysia.

No, we have not gotten what we all want (the dismissal of Botak’s appeal)… but the fact that the judges reserved their judgement (instead of just throwing it out).. the fact that the case is now ajourned til further notice…. RPK has bought himself more freedom…

Malik Imtiaz commented “for the first time in weeks, I fell normal”…. poor guy was referring to his health… delCapo takes it as positive vibes… it was little, but it was a day of positives anyhow.

more pix within…


Lawyers Ashoke & Sreekant… ready for battle..


Supporters filled the gallery… & many had to wait outside


Malik Imtiaz swarmed by reporters (many who could not get in)


Azhar, Antares & Zorro - diversity in union


Who are you? Anak Bangsa Malaysia!!!

[Well Done uncle Robert in getting the banners ready!!]


Kak Laila of GMI, Wan Azizah, and Kak Nashita

3 lovely & strong ladies here to show support for RPK.

Police - Malaysian King (update with photo)


Today I tagged along with our Human Rights Activists who have been fighting Police Abuses for a long time – S. Jayathas, S. Surendran, YB S. Manikavasagam (MP for Kapar) and YB M.Manohar(MP for Teluk Intan). to find out what actually transpired when the 6 were killed by the Police in Kulim.

Ever since their killing the other day I have been very bothered by the event. The media shouted out “criminals” – as if that was the foregone truth. The Police had executed all 6 of them as if they were the Prosecutor, Judge and Executioner all in one and utterly above the law. It was not one, not two, it was six and it seems with impunity. Every one had their own view of the episode. But I needed some answers.

At the outset let me say that I am not condoning crimes or criminals, but there are so many questions that this incident raises that we need some good answers, and fast, as this situation seems to be spinning out of control – before the ink dries on one, another seems to happen. Kugan’s case before Prabakaran’s settled, and now the six before Kugan’s case is settled.

We visited the shootout site, the families of 3 of the deceased and spent some time with the neighbour at the shootout site. The picture that emerges is different than what the mainstream media has been putting out. The MSM paints a picture that the Police only returned fire after being shot at and that this turn of events was totally unavoidable and that they were dealing with a bunch of unscrupulous criminals.

Let me detail some of the facts we gathered before commenting on them. The scene of the shooting was in a small town of Karangan some 15km from Kulim. It was in a small house which was being renovated in one of the backroads of Karangan, a little off the main road of the town. The fence around the house was a tall wall made up of corrugated sheet – something you would do to cut off from view what was going on inside.

A very forthcoming neighbour told us that when he returned home from work that rainy night at around 10 or so he was met with a large group of police men in front of his house, who had already packed his family into the prayer room of his house in the event of stray bullets during the impending ambush. He was asked to get in with them. He only heard the frightening shootout that dreadful night from within his prayer room.

The shootout took place at around 10.30, a very noisy and frightening episode, narrated that neighbour. There did not seem to be any attempt by the Police to try to get the people they were seeking, out from the premises, by summoning them out first using hailers or some such device, before the shoot out. The shooting just happened. The neighbour knew nothing more till the bodies of the killed men were removed at somewhere between 4 and 5 am the next morning.

The first of the killed men, the one that the Police probably had a reason to get, the owner of the house where the shootout happened, was shot in the middle of the top of his head, top down it appeared, though his death certificate indicated he died due to shot wounds in his chest. The family of this victim, mentioned he had several more shots on the front side of his body – as if someone shot at him from the front. This individual, we were told by the family had no prior police record.


The second victim that we visited was someone who was actually working in Singapore for a company called SBS (maybe the Singapore Bus Company) who had come back to Kulim for a holiday. He was due to go back shortly and had a return ticket for that. His death certificate also indicated death due to shots in the chest. Apparently he had several shot wounds on the front side of his body also, as if shot from the front. He appeared to be a friend of the first victim. It is not clear from the little information we got that this person was at all a close accomplice or even a participant in any crime that may have been in the works. Of course, I am concluding this with very little information, but these are the facts as we got them from the family. The family was distraught, because this had damaged the standing of the family in the community, having their dead son branded a criminal. This victim also has no past criminal record, we were told by the family.

The third family we visited was that of a young chap of about 20. His family lives in a dilapidated little estate house in Padang Serai. He had seven siblings and it was obvious the family was just existing. This young chap it appears was working for the first victim assisting in the renovation of the house where the shootout happened. The parents did not seem to know much more about what he did. He was obviously not being paid very much, as he had just 2 days before the incident asked one of his family members for 20 ringgits. He had shot wounds on the forehead and it looked like the back of his head was all bloodied as if from an exiting bullet. He was dressed only in a towel at the time of his death. His parents even had difficulty putting together some money to buy him a shirt and a dhoty for his burial. 36 ringgits was all they had. They could not even afford the coffin in which he was ultimately buried. The Police disallowed the victims kin to examine the body when they tried to. The body was all bloodied in the front. This victim also has no past record, we were told.

To say the least, this was a carnage. It appears like we are in Gaza or in Iraq or in Afghanistan or even in SriLanka – the scale and method of killingsuggests nothing short of this. Let me ask, are we in one of these countries or is Malaysia descending there?.

It looks like Indian lives have become very cheap, very cheap in this country – the lives of anjing keeling, yes that’s what it is, the cheap lives of the anjings - that they can be wasted in this manner. Uthaykumar was so right!.

By all of this, I am in no way saying crime is alright. What I am saying is the way the problems of crime are being dealt with. Let me layout some perspectives for you all to consider:

1) What was the need to kill these people? They were not terrorists. They had no previous records. They were not murderers, surely not the mafia. They could have been easily arrested. In fact the first victim regularly stays is just a stone’s throw from the Police Station. Why were they not apprehended? Or why were they not given a chance to come out with their hands up to surrender themselves for arrest – even in war this is done?. Why were they not given this chance?

2) We understand there were a number of sharp shooters from around the country on hand for the job for the Police. This seem to indicate that this was planned kill event.

3) Why was it that the shot wounds were all in the front side of the victims – not any location on the body, but systematically on the front side?

4) One victim was shot on the top of the head, how could that happen in a normal exchange of fire. That seems to suggest some crouching position and a shot into the head, from the top.

5) Why were the victims not shot at on their legs or where they will not be killed but disabled on being shot?

6) Why were the kin of one of the victims denied their right to inspect the body?

7) If it was a shootout between the Police and the victims, only two could have had the guns, as the police produced two guns, why were the shot wounds so systematic in the chest and the heads on all three of the victims? We do not know about the other two victims – but I suspect they will show similarities.

In summary this ugly incident in the series of incidents of police killing and atrocities seem to emphasise the following issues.

a) The Police in Malaysia continue killing Indian crime suspects with impunity – taking upon themselves the role of Prosecutor, Judge and Executioner all in one. I am sure that the powers be know exactly what they are doing. So, we have to take it that they are trying to provoke a response from us so they can slam emergency rule snd set us all back?

b) The Police very urgently need to be Policed . That looks like a very remote possibility, as long as UMNO rules this country of ours. . See what’s happening to the reform driven MACC, it has become just another tool of UMNO. Any IPCMC will probably end up in that same rubbish bin. In any case this UMNO regime seems to be promoting Police brutality as a means of maintaining their hold on the levers of power.

c) So many crime suspects in Malaysia are from among the Indian community.? I think the answer to this has been already abundantly answered by Uthayakumar – this underclass of Indians are a direct result of the UMNO policies over the last 50 years of marginalizing Indians – neglecting the development of the Indian community. There does not yet seem to be any serious effort to get to the bottom of this problem.

d) The way the Police are shooting Indian crime suspects seem to give additional credence to the racist line of UMNO – the anjing keling line.. They seem to be wittingly or unwittingly creating a stereotype of the Indians in the country – despicable, troublecausing and uncouth Indian. What do you think the jibes of children in school reflect – when little Indian children are called “anjing keling” by their Malay classmates.
e) Poverty seems to be intertwined with all of this. Take the case of the third victim that we visited - what kind of money was he making for him to be lumped up and shot. Does this make sense, 20 years old, barely making a living and then shot in the middle. These are the youth of the country who should be nurtured and built up into the the human potential we so much need.

This is all very infuriating.

There comes a time when all of this has to stop. This cannot continue. UMNO , stop playing games and get on with doing something positive about the problem. If you do not know how, then get expert help, I am sure there are agencies around the world that can help. Or are we to take it that you just do not want to , and then the only way we can find some resolution to the problem is by replacing you, UMNO.