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Monday, March 2, 2009

Yoga For Kids

By Melati Mohd Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 (Bernama) -- Like the adults, children today are under tremendous stress.

Not only they have busy parents, their daily routine too is packed!

Homework, endless after-school activities and the pressure to score as many 'A's as possible in examinations all add up to their stressful life and makes them miserable.

And just like the adults, kids today too can turn to Yoga to help them relax.

COMPLEX HEALTH CHALLENGES

"Kids today are facing many of the same complex health challenges as adults including depression, obesity, high blood pressure and anxiety.

"The side effects of medication and invasive procedures can be daunting for children and their parents," said the yoga master from Ancient Yoga Consulting (AYC), Elanggovan Thanggavilo, 37 in an interview with Bernama here recently.

According to him, the ancient science of yoga therapy may be the new way to help kids to stay healthy and active.

"I have found that the yoga can help to counter these pressures. When children learn the techniques for self-health, relaxation and inner fulfilment, they can navigate challenges with a little more ease," he explained.

In general, he said, yoga therapy has been widely accepted as an effective method of treatment for a variety of ailments, largely due to its unique ability to treat a person mentally, emotionally and physically.

In fact, he said, yoga is now made mandatory in the Western schools and in the schools of some Asian nations like China, Japan and India.

AYC KIDS YOGA PROGRAMME

Elanggovan who started learning yoga at a tender age of 11 said the therapist at AYC yoga has come up with a special programme for kids that can be practised at home.

"Yoga can become a part of a child's life like brushing the teeth daily. Yoga therapy takes it a step further by tailoring the kind of toothbrush used and the technique by which the child brushes," he explained.

He added that kids as young as two years can attend yoga classes.

"Practising yoga at a young age can enhance self-esteem and awareness of the body.

"Fostering cooperation and compassion instead of opposition is a great gift to our children," explained Elanggovan.

According to him, children derive enormous benefits from yoga.

"Kids (2-6) and children between the ages of 7-12 are introduced to yoga in a very effective manner. Concepts like duty, awareness, self-expression and self-confidence are taught through games, stories and discussions.

"Exercise, meditation, relaxation and concentration techniques are effectively dealt with during such workshops," he added.

According to this yoga master, the richness of yogic techniques when taught systematically and consistently to the kids over a period of time can bring far reaching results in their being and personality.

"Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination and body awareness. This training would also make a stronger foundation for them as they grow up as adults," he added.

VALUE OF YOGA POSTURES 'ASANA'

According to Elanggovan, when the yogis developed the yoga postures (asanas) thousands of years ago, they still lived close to the natural world.

The yogis, he said used animals and plants for inspiration, for example the sting of a scorpion, the grace of a swan and the stature and strength of a tree.

He said when children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking its qualities.

"When they assume the pose of a lion (Simha Asana) for example, they experience not only the power and behaviour of the lion but also their own sense of power.

"Upon practising Gradu Asana (Eagle/Hawk Pose), the kids will be able to sharpen their view and mind. The physical movements introduce them to the true meaning of yoga," said Elanggovan.

LOTS OF SATISFACTION

Yoga with children, said Elanggovan offers many possibilities to exchange wisdom, share good times and lay the foundation for a lifelong practice.

"All that's needed is a little flexibility on the adults' part, as I quickly found out when I first started teaching yoga to pre-schoolers, yoga for children is quite different than yoga for adults," he said.

Elanggovan's first experience teaching yoga to kids between the ages of two and six years and a group of primary school children (75 of them) took place five years ago at his hometown, Klang.

"But after two classes with a group of two to six year olds, I had to seriously evaluate my approach. I had to learn to let go the very practice I had been preaching for years," he explained.

Among the changes made were introducing the use of music and notes besides a more fun approach in teaching.

"I also prepare a revision form for parents to monitor their children doing their training at home.

"A special seminar is also held for parents and guardians so that they can better monitor their children," he said.

According to Elanggovan, AYC recently launched a special workshop for nursery and primary school teachers to help teach and guide yoga for kids.

Those who are keen on this yoga program can contact Elanggovan at 012-9188619 or e-mail at elanggovan@ancientyogaconsulting.com.

For detailed information on yoga, please visit www.ancientyogaconsulting.com.

Perak’s political drama heightens - The Nut Graph

By Deborah Loh
deborahloh@thenutgraph.com

THE political drama in Perak, which has escalated from one height to another, is set to spike tomorrow with an emergency state assembly sitting to vote on two motions related to the state's constitutional crisis.

However, even if the emergency sitting is successful, it would not immediately solve the impasse. It would, in fact, be the latest in a series of planned steps by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to turn the matter back to Perak's ruler, Sultan Azlan Shah, in the hopes of forcing a snap poll.

The two motions expected at the emergency sitting are to reaffirm support for the PR's Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak menteri besar, and to seek dissolution of the state assembly.

Speaker V Sivakumar, the DAP assemblyperson for Tronoh, invoked Standing Orders to call for the emergency sitting. As the all-powerful speaker of the state assembly, he is the PR's trump card in the state's political impasse despite the Barisan Nasional (BN) having taken over the state government.

Sivakumar has already flexed his muscles by suspending the BN's Menteri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six executive councillors. They will not be allowed to enter the assembly for the emergency sitting. Neither will the three independents who left the PR to support the BN be allowed into the state assembly, as Sivakumar deems their resignations from their state seats effective.

With 10 representatives on the BN's side out, the numbers in the 59-seat state assembly would be in the PR's favour at 27 to 21. The PR's 28th seat is Sivakumar's, who, as speaker, cannot vote.


Zambry with his executive councillors and special advisers

Back to the palace

Barring any attempts of forced entry by Zambry and the BN excos into the state assembly house, and any potential ruckus or situation that may thwart the emergency sitting, Nizar will quite easily be given the vote of confidence as MB.

Following that, two scenarios could take place.

One, Nizar could quickly seek an audience with Sultan Azlan to request the dissolution of the assembly.

Two, the impasse would continue because Zambry and the BN would certainly not take affirmation of Nizar as the legitimate MB sitting down.

Nizar may opt not to hurry to the palace seeking the assembly's dissolution, but be content to let the deadlock and the uncertainty drag on until the assembly's next sitting, which must be called by May.

The limbo could be intentional to force Sultan Azlan to call both Zambry and Nizar for an audience to decide a way out of the situation.

"Under the present circumstances, the ruler could call both parties to the dispute, he could consult both menteris besar and ask them if they feel fresh elections would be the best way out," says Mohamed Asri Othman, the Perak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) legal adviser.

"The sultan cannot decide alone; he must take into account relevant factors through listening to both sides," Asri adds.

Appealing to the sultan's discretion

It appears that the latest situation is being engineered by the PR, which has the upper hand in the house through the speaker. The intention would be to appeal to the sultan's personal discretionary powers that he has under Article 18, Clause 2 of the Perak Constitution.

Such discretion is applicable to two functions, namely, the appointment of a menteri besar, and the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of the state legislative assembly.

According to the clause, the sultan's personal discretion is allowed when deciding whether to dissolve the assembly upon request by the menteri besar.

This is consistent with Article 16(6) of the state constitution, whereby the MB can request the ruler to dissolve the assembly. This is what Nizar tried to do earlier, but failed.

There is another provision that touches on dissolution as well: Article 36(2) which simply states, "His royal highness may prorogue or dissolve the legislative assembly".

Although Article 36(2) does not specify any conditions (such as a request by the MB) for the dissolution, it is still deemed by some legal experts to be discretionary power subject to Clause 2.

"'Dissolve' as stated in 36(2) is discretionary according to the wording of Clause 2, where consenting to dissolution is based on request," says Universiti Teknologi Mara's constitutional law expert Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

"As a general rule, the sultan acts on advice except for areas where discretionary power is mentioned, such as under Clause 2, where a request for dissolution must be made," he explains.

Says Mohamed Asri: "As a constitutional monarch, he has to act on the advice of the menteri besar. If the ruler decides unilaterally, then he would be an absolute monarch."

Based on their explanations, this means the ruler can still only decide whether or not to dissolve the assembly, upon on the request for dissolution from the menteri besar. It does not mean he can decide on his own, independent of any request, to dissolve the assembly.


Nizar
In this context, if Nizar succeeds in being affirmed as MB in the emergency sitting tomorrow, he would have legitimate grounds to seek an audience with the sultan.

Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari of the International Islamic University says the sultan's role is as a facilitator of democracy.

"The sultan, as protector of the constitution, [has] to facilitate democracy and not otherwise. He needs a government that has a clear mandate, so in dissolving the assembly, he would be assisting democracy to establish that clear mandate," says the law lecturer.

Obstacle course

There are kinks in PR's plan, though, and that is the suit Nizar has filed against Zambry to declare himself as the legitimate MB.

It's not inconceivable to think that the sultan might prefer to wait for the court's decision before deciding to grant either side, or both, an audience to discuss the assembly's dissolution, or the next course of action.

The BN, too, is planning a counterstrike by seeking the opinion of a Queen's Counsel in London on the validity of Zambry's and the excos' suspensions, and Nizar's suit against Zambry.

As inevitable as snap polls look, the road to elections is still littered with many mines that the PR must dodge

New legal drama in Perak- Malaysiakini

Lawyers representing the Perak Barisan Nasional has served a legal summons on state assembly speaker V Sivakumar this morning, it was learnt today.

slim majority in perak update 040209The summons indicated an intention by the BN Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir to seek an injunction to stop the emergency sitting of the state assembly tomorrow.

The hearing is expected to take place at the Ipoh High Court this afternoon.

At the same time, BN exco member Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid has served notice to refer Sivakumar to the state assembly's rights and privileges committee.

The notice was served to Sivakumar's political secretary at 11am.

Sivakumar is accused of abusing his power and committing contempt in showing disloyalty to the Sultan of Perak.

Powerful committee chaired by speaker

Zahir later told reporters that Sivakumar was referred to the committee over his suspension of Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six exco members.

perak constitution section 72 subsection 1 standing orders of the legislative assemblyThe rights and privileges committee, at its meeting last month, resolved to suspend the new Perak MB and his entire cabinet.

According to the state assembly Standing Order 72(1), the speaker is the chair of the powerful committee.

Sivakumar has called for an emergency assembly sitting tomorrow but had not sent out notices of the meeting to Zambry and his exco members.

Invitations were also not given to the three former Pakatan representatives who are now "BN-friendly" Independents.

Let's wait and see

When contacted for comment, Sivakumar said he had not seen any summons supposedly served on him.

"Yes I've heard about it through SMSes and all but I don't know for sure," he said.

"Let them do it. Let's wait and see," he added.

Pre-emptive strike in Perak

BY Malaysia Insider

IPOH, March 2 — Lawyers representing Perak mentri besar Datuk Dr Zambry Kadir and his executive council will file for an injunction this afternoon at the High Court in Ipoh in an attempt to lift the suspension orders preventing them from attending the state assembly.

Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid, one of Zambry’s executive council members, has also served notice that he will refer Speaker V. Sivakumar to the legislature’s rights and privileges committee.

According to the notice, Mohd Zahir is accusing Sivakumar of abusing his power to commit contempt by showing disloyalty to the Perak Sultan.

Article 47 of the state constitution was cited. The article sets out the oath of allegiance which each state assemblyman has to take when sworn into the assembly.

The attempt to refer Sivakumar to the rights and privileges committee is but just one of a host of tactics and strategies the BN government is employing as it faces the prospect of an emergency sitting of the assembly tomorrow which could see it being ousted by a no-confidence vote.

A summons was expected to be served on Speaker V. Sivakumar this morning in relation to the court action, but this did not happened.

BN lawyers are believed to be busy putting together legal documents supporting their attempt to have the suspensions of Zambry and his executive council lifted.

They are expected to present their arguments at the Ipoh High Court this afternoon.

The legal action is unprecedented because the courts are not usually allowed to review decisions of the legislature and do not usually have jurisdiction over proceedings of the assembly because of the doctrine of separation of powers.

Kelantan Sultan saddened by split among Muslims

KOTA BHARU, March 2 — The Sultan of Kelantan, Tuanku Ismail Petra Sultan Yahya Petra, has expressed concern over the divisions among Muslims which he said should be addressed urgently.

He said that of late, Muslims were facing challenges on multiple fronts including politics, economy and social as well as delinquency among teenagers.

“The split is indeed saddening and should be urgently resolved,” he said when opening the Kelantan Dakwah Month at the Balai Islam, here, last night.

Also present were the Raja Perempuan of Kelantan, Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

The Sultan therefore called on the Dakwah Month organiser to give greater emphasis on strengthening unity among Muslims.

On the propagation of Islam, Tuanku Ismail Petra said, two aspects should be given attention, namely the propagation of the religion among Muslims themselves, and those outside the religion so that they get to understand Islam and prevent prejudice towards the religion.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid called on Muslims to look at the propagation of Islam in a wider context and not just limited to delivering ceramah in mosques. He said that it should also cover all activities among the society.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid presented RM160,750 cheque from the federal government through the Malaysian Islamic Da'wah Foundation (Yadim) for the state government. — Bernama

Threats used to stop nominations, says Muthu

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — MIC presidential aspirant Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan today claimed that certain quarters in the party were using threats and underhand tactics to ensure that he did not obtain the 50 nominations needed to contest the MIC top post.

He said some leaders in the party were threatening the branch chairmen not to nominate him for the top post or their branches would face closure for various reasons.

“All sorts of threats are being used. These underhand tactics are to ensure that I do not receive enough number of nominations to fight for the president’s post. If the election is not fair, then there is no point in contesting,” he told Bernama.

Muthupalaniappan late last year announced his intention to contest the party top post. He will face incumbent president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who had also announced that he would defend the post. The MIC chief has been at the helm of the largest Indian-based political party since 1979.

Under the party constitution, a presidential aspirant needs to obtain 50 nominations, and each nomination must have one proposer and five seconders, to be eligible to contest. All proposers and seconders must be branch chairmen.

The MIC president will be picked by some 3,700 branch chairmen nationwide. The party has fixed March 22 for the presidential nomination while polling is slated for April 12.

Quashing speculation that he would pull out of the contest, Muthupalaniappan said: “There is a lot of speculation that I will not stand but I will and shall contest.”

“They are trying to stop me by stopping people from nominating me,” he said, without disclosing any names.

“There is no level playing field. They have postponed the annual general meetings of some branches that supported me, especially in Negeri Sembilan, so that my supporters would be ineligible to vote.

“But there are branch leaders who are signing nominations for me...although many are scared of repercussions from the powers that be,” Muthupalaniappan

said.

The 68-year-old leader from Seremban hoped that the branch leaders would act according to the aspirations of the 600,000 MIC members and the community, which wanted to see change in the MIC top leadership. He also claimed that some MIC division leaders and state chairmen, who were supposed to be returning officers in the presidential elections, were involved in campaigning.

“Under the party constitution, division leaders and state chairmen are returning officers of the presidential election. If they are returning officers, they should not be allowed to campaign in the election. It is like the Election Commission campaigning in an election. That is wrong,” he added. — Bernama

Invest In Our People!

by M. Bakri Musa

Millions of Chinese had a rude awakening when they returned last month from celebrating their Lunar New Year in their villages. They discovered that the jobs they had in the cities before they left only a few weeks earlier had now disappeared. Tragic though that may be to them individually, the aggregate loss pales in comparison to that suffered by their government through its massive investments in the stocks of American companies and other paper assets like bonds and Treasury Notes.

If only the Chinese government had invested in its people, imagine the good that would do to them, and to China. If their government had spent the funds to build better schools, Chinese schoolchildren would not have dangerous physical facilities that collapse with the slightest tremor. Had those funds been used to build affordable apartments, the Chinese people would have been better housed. That would at least help alleviate their miserable existence.

The Chinese people suffered twice. First, they worked incredibly hard under intolerable conditions and insufferably meager wages so the West could enjoy inexpensive consumer goods. Then the foreign currencies earned by their government from the exports created through their hard work vanished with the downward spiral of Western economies.

When Western consumers could no longer afford to spend, the Chinese were forced to work under even harsher conditions so the products they make could be sold cheaper still. This is just a modern twist to the old “coolie” concept. In the early part of the last century, millions of indentured Chinese were brought to America to work on the gold mines and railways. Today the coolies remain in China; America brings in only the products of their hard labor.

China is not alone in engaging in this folly of investing abroad instead of in their people, so is the rest of Asia. Singapore lost a hundred billion dollars on its American investments. On a per capita basis, Singapore’s loss is massive and readily dwarfs that suffered by China.

Granted, Singaporeans live in a different universe from those folks in China, at least with respect to the creature comforts of life, though not in personal freedom. That notwithstanding, imagine how much better off Singaporeans would be if only their government had invested in them instead of being enamored by the fancy financial papers hustled by those Ivy League-educated white boys on Wall Street.

A Singaporean friend who owns a subsidiary in Silicon Valley lamented that the secretary to the head of his American company enjoys a lifestyle far better than his: larger home, a decent car, more social amenities, and better opportunities for her children. Meanwhile back in Singapore my friend has to make do with one of the pigeon holes of a home in those monotonous urban high-rises, and his children have to spend what little spare time they have in “cram schools.”

On another level, had Singapore invested those billions in nearby giant Indonesia instead of faraway America, imagine how much good it would do to the poor Indonesians. More pragmatically, a developed Indonesia would be a more high-value market for Singapore’s products and services. Besides, imagine the gratitude and goodwill created through such investments. You cannot put a monetary value to that. Indonesia desperately needs those investments; America could easily do without Singapore’s dollars.

Malaysia Fortuitously Spared

Fortunately in this current global crisis Malaysia is spared this tragic fate of losing its investments abroad. This is not the result of any brilliant foresight on the part of the nation’s leaders, rather the consequences of our own harrowing experience with the Asian economic crisis of 1997. For one, Malaysia has not yet fully recovered from that trauma and thus does not have the extra cash to be investing in any new and exotic financial instruments concocted in the West, those acronym-filled papers that are the “assets” of what former Finance Minister Tun Dain Zainudin derisively termed the “cowboy economics.”

For another, the capital controls implemented by Mahathir, though now largely dismantled, have left a deep impression on Malaysian economic managers, immunizing them against future meddling in such poorly understood foreign “investments.”

That has not always been the case. Prior to 1997, agencies of the Malaysian government were active players on the London Stock Market, as well as the London Metal Exchange and the Foreign Exchange Market.

It was at the London Stock Market that Malaysia executed its famous (or infamous, at least to the Brits) “Dawn Raid” on September 1981 that effectively nationalized the huge British plantation company, Guthrie. That was hailed as a brilliant move that also satisfied our national pride. It proved that we natives were fast learners and could be just as agile as those pros in the City, a much-needed confidence booster for those who require it periodically.

Malaysia’s brash attempt to corner the world’s tin market at the London Metal Exchange also involved mega sums. This time however, there was no rush to accept responsibility for this squandering of citizens’ precious funds. There were other colossal losses, including Bank Negara’s forex debacle, as well as the now defunct Bank Bumiputra’s many expensive foreign misadventures.

Again, I could only imagine the immense good had our government invested those precious funds in our people instead. Although average Malaysians have it considerably much better than the average Chinese, nonetheless our quality of life could always be improved.

Contrary to the soothing but misplaced assurances from our leaders, Malaysia cannot insulate itself from the current global economic storm. There is no “comfort zone.” Yes, Malaysia was fortunate enough not to have been entangled in those highly deceptive newfangled financial instruments with such fanciful acronyms. However, when our biggest trading partner and consumer of many of our commodities is in economic difficulties, rest assured that Malaysia will also inevitably be roped in.

Invest In What You Know

Like other countries, the Malaysian government has also introduced its own economic stimulus in an attempt to deal with the crisis. Our economists too have read Maynard Keynes and understood the rationale for counter cyclical public spending in a downturn.

Understanding the concept is one thing, translating it into reality in our local context is entirely another matter. The challenge is to make sure that our economic stimulus does indeed work, meaning it does spur the economy, and that our investments are indeed investments, meaning they would produce returns in excess of the capital expended.

At the height of the dotcom boom, the legendary American investor Warren Buffet was asked why he was not investing in that sector. He answered, “I invest only in things I know!”

I live in California and know that the real estate dynamics in San Francisco is radically different from that of San Bernardino, so I invest only in my community. I can at least follow the trend. Yet we have bankers in Singapore and Beijing pretending to be knowledgeable about real estate in the entire United States. That is the only explanation for their readily investing billions in securitized American mortgages!

Follow Warren Buffet’s maxim: Invest only in what you know. What do Malaysian leaders know? For one, more than any Western banker or Nobel prize-winning economist, our leaders know our people, their daily needs and living conditions. So invest in them, our people. For another, the economic “multiplier” of such spending is considerable; there is no such local multiplier when we invest in foreign stocks and other paper assets.

Our leaders are aware of the deplorable conditions of our schools especially in rural areas. They also know that these children risk their lives daily in crossing rickety bridges to get to schools. When they return home, their houses are flimsily built and in an unhealthy environment. They also have poor access to healthcare. So why not invest in building new schools, bridges, clinics, and affordable public housing?

Similarly we all know that those rural children could not get good teachers. So why not invest in teacher training and provide greater incentives for teachers to serve in rural areas?

The beauty of such investments is that they generate values way over and above the capital and other efforts we put in. The benefits are also enduring, and indeed “recession-proof.” Should there be an economic downturn, the superb education those children had received would still be with them; likewise their good health. Indeed a populace that is healthy and better educated, and thus productive, is the best weapon against a downturn.

In the last budget, and also in the proposed additional stimulus, considerable sums were devoted to investing in the local stock market and in furthering the government’s already considerable involvement in the private sector. Come another recession or a market misjudgment, such “investments” could easily evaporate. We have already squandered hundreds of billions on Bank Bumiputra, State Development Corporations, and the myriad GLCs. All we have to show for such investments are some old, tattered letterheads. We have not even learned any useful lessons from those debacles.

Let the investment bankers, brokers and other middle men and paper shufflers invest in exotic financial assets; governments should invest in their people, and in infrastructures that would enhance their lives. Those are the only investments that are properly the purview of governments, not company stocks, foreign bonds, or fancy derivatives.

Investing in our people is also the only effective way to prepare them for the increasingly competitive world. More significantly for leaders, that would also ensure that come election time when citizens would make decisions about their future, our leaders would not be rudely awakened to find themselves without jobs.

MIED spat: Slanging match over missing millions turns vicious

By : Marc Lourdes
NST, March 02 2009

Samy Vellu: She's a desperate woman.
Chitrakala: Let police find the crook.

KUALA LUMPUR: The claws are out. Both sides have resorted to publicly calling each other a thief.

In what is becoming an increasingly venomous spat, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu accused former Maju Institute of Educational Development chief executive officer P. Chitrakala Vasu of being a "thief devoid of any morals".


His astonishing broadside came in the wake of a press conference held by Chitrakala on Saturday, during which she accused Samy Vellu of misdeeds and charged that "top officials" had dipped their fingers into the MIED kitty.

In a report lodged at the Shah Alam police station, Chitrakala said she was informed that many files were removed from the MIED office on Jan 2 on the instructions of a "top MIC official".
Samy Vellu said yesterday her comments were those of a desperate woman being investigated by police for criminal misappropriation of funds.

"There has never been a greater case of breach of trust by an employee of MIED.

"She is nothing more than a thief devoid of any morals and standards of decency.

"Let me say in no uncertain terms that she and others who are responsible for the misappropriation of MIED funds will be brought to book.

"No amount of threats and personal attacks on me will deter me from that cause."

Chitrakala was equally vocal in her criticism. When contacted, she said: "If that's what he wants to say, you can publish it. But only a thief will call somebody else a thief."

She voiced disappointment that most of the mainstream media only covered Samy Vellu's side of the story.

"If Samy Vellu says something, it will be in the news. So, let him say what he wants. I'll leave it to the police to find out who really is responsible for the money stolen from the Indian community.



"Let him deny that he hijacked MIED. Let him deny that he hijacked MIC.

"It makes me laugh to hear him calling me a thief. Why isn't he using the RM2 million collected for the 2004 tsunami victims to help the Sri Lankan Tamils now?

"At that time, he said the victims already had a lot of money and did not need any more. Why isn't he giving it to the suffering Tamils now?"

The spat between Samy Vellu and the 38-year-old mother of four revolves around the institute and cost overruns for its project -- the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) campus in Sungai Petani.

Last December, Tan Sri M. Mahalingam, a signatory of MIED cheques, was removed as MIC treasurer-general in a move described by Samy Vellu as part of an MIC rebranding exercise.

Chitrakala, who joined MIED as an accountant in the late 1990s, resigned in 2002. She was brought back on board in 2004 as its CEO.

MIED, whose core business is providing study loans, sourced millions of ringgit from the Indian community, received about RM300 million from the government and acquired a RM220 million loan from Bank Pembangunan Malaysia to build the AIMST campus.

The cost of construction ballooned from an initial RM230 million to close to RM500 million.

MIC's probe into the fiasco revealed the disappearance of RM5.25 million.

********
The Star

Monday March 2, 2009

Rama calls on Samy to explain scandals


PETALING JAYA: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has been asked to explain to the Indian community about several financial scandals linked to the party.

These include the Maika Holdings, Maju Institute of Educational Development and Koperasi Pekerja Jaya Berhad issues.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof P. Ramasamy said the community wanted to know what had happened to the funds.

“He (Samy Vellu) can choose a date and hold a meeting to explain this to the people,” he said.

He added that he would “expose some evidence” handed to him should Samy Vellu failed to clarify the scandals to the people before the Bukit Selambau by-election on April 7.

Ramasamy, who is also Batu Kawan MP and Prai state assemblyman, earlier challenged Samy Vellu to an open debate on contributions to the Indian community but the latter refused.

The controversy between Samy and Ramasamy erupted when the latter called for the Federal Government not to channel the RM70mil allocated to the Indian community through MIC, claiming that the party would mismanage the funds.

Ramasamy, had instead, suggested that the Government set up a trustee or disburse the money to the Indians through its agencies.

Bakal PM yang rendah IQ

Oleh Tok Iskandar

1 Mac 2009. Serangan bermula hari ini.Kesepakatan rakan-rakan bloggers ditagih untuk mencari segala kelemahan dan penyelewengan yang dilakukan pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO dan paparkan di dalam blog masing-masing agar MP-MP Pakatan Rakyat dapat bangkitkan perkara ini dalam parlimen, buat report polis dan SPRM.

Tok nak ulas kenyataan Najib semalam, sidang tergempar DUN Perak tidak boleh diadakan kerana perlu menunggu keputusan mahkamah. Tok tak tahu siapa penasihat Najib,Razak Baginda atau Zahid Hamidi, tapi janganlah memperbodohkan diri sendiri depan wartawan-wartawan. Kalau dah tak reti, eloklah diam sahaja. Sekarang satu dunia tahu bakal PM Malaysia IQnya rendah. Nampak sangat Najib tak yakin dengan status kerajaan BN di Perak. Lain kali kalau nak bertindak, berfikirlah dulu.

Apakah Najib akan menggunakan polis untuk menghalang sidang tergempar DUN Perak selasa ini..? Jika ini berlaku, rakyat terpaksa turun ke padang untuk membantah kezaliman yang dilakukan oleh UMNO-BN. Inilah yang diharapkan berlaku kerana UMNO-BN memang berhasrat untuk memerintah ke semua negeri Pakatan Rakyat jika darurat diisytiharkan.

Bukan Najib je tengah pening, Tok tengok kabinet pun pening sama. hari ni kata naikkan tol, esok kata tak jadi. Hari ni kata penganut Kristian boleh pakai nama Islam, esok tak boleh pulak. Polisi kerajaan BN yang sentiasa berubah ini menunjukkan ketidakstabilan kerajaan UMNO-BN yang ada sekarang. Rakyat keliru, pelabur asing pun keliru. Siapa yang jadi PM ketika ini, Pak Lah atau Najib. Masa tol naik, mesyuarat kabinet dipengerusikan Najib dan persepsi Pak Lah dah serah kuasa kepada Najib sudah menjadi perbualan hangat rakyat semua dan ramai yang tertanya-tanya kita ada dua PM ke? Nampaknya ramailah yang terpaksa telan panadol lepas ni. Kabinet tak naikkan harga panadol ke?

Tentang gerakan membantah PPSMI atau GMP, eloklah diperhebatkan kerana demo besar yang nak kita adakan tak sampai seminggu lagi, 7 Mac 2009 dan penyertaan kesatuan guru, persatuan mahasiswa dan kesatuan sekerja CEUPACS atau MTUC sungguh penting. Tok cadangkan kepada semua guru berminat boleh sms kepada Setiausaha NUTP negeri masing-masing nak mintak penjelasan sama ada NUTP sokong atau tidak PPSMI. Tok tengok NUTP sekarang macam tunggul mati. Bila dah dapat beribu-ribu sms Tok percaya NUTP akan sokong GMP dan jika NUTP bacul, guru-guru boleh gertak keluar daripada kesatuan itu atau lantik calon mereka untuk menentang kepimpinan NUTP sekarang yang mungkin pro UMNO-BN.

Rakan-rakan bloggers boleh paparkan no telefon Setiausaha NUTP negeri dalam blog masing-masing. Sepatutnya dalam isu ini NUTP di depan dan bukannya mendiamkan diri. MP Pakatan Rakyat, ADUN-ADUN, barisan pemuda, puteri dan seluruh ahli juga perlu menyertai demo ini sebagai perjuangan kita untuk masa depan anak cucu kita. Sokongan terbuka tokoh seperti Tun Saleh Abas, bekas Ketua Hakim Negara, Datuk Shahnon Ahmad, sasterawan negara dan lain-lain tokoh akademik juga diperlukan agar gerakan ini semakin berkembang dan mendapat sokongan padu daripada seluruh rakyat Malaysia.

Tok pelik bin hairan kenapa UMNO tak bantah. Kata pujangga bahasa jiwa bangsa. kalau dah bahasa dikuburkan, ke manakah identiti bangsa melayu. Cuba rakan-rakan bloggers siasat siapa yang mendapat tender membekalkan perisian, cd, buku-buku teks untuk sains dan matematik dalam bahasa Inggeris. Jika puak-puak UMNO yang dapat, memang patutlah mereka tak bantah dan pedulikan nasib bangsa Melayu kerana mulut mereka telah disuapkan dengan wang ringgit malaysia. Jelaslah selama ini UMNO hanya jual nama Melayu untuk hidup mewah.

Tok seperti rakyat Malaysia yang lain, nak tahu ketika negara dilanda kemelesetan ekonomi, berapa banyak bangunan pejabat pelajaran daerah di seluruh negara diperindahkan dan diperbesarkan ketika ada murid-murid miskin yang tidak mendapat bantuan biasiswa untuk melanjutkan pelajaran atau meneruskan pelajarannya. Cuba MP-MP Pakatan Rakyat ajukan soalan ini di parlimen dan tanyakan juga berapa banyak blok bangunan sekolah yang lewat disiapkan sehingga menyusahkan murid-murid.

Satu soalan cepu emas, berapa ramai pula guru-guru dan GB yang aktif memegang jawatan dalam UMNO-BN. selama ini sikap double standard kerajaan UMNO-BN sudah diketahui umum. Sokong dan pegang jawatan UMNO-BN boleh bagi kakitangan awam tapi sokong pembangkang tak boleh.

Senario politik yang berlaku dalam politik tanahair kebelakangan ini menjadi realiti kepada rakyat UMNO-BN takut kehilangan kuasanya. Bermula isu rampasan kuasa kerajaan negeri Perak daripada Pakatan Rakyat, ketakutan untuk membubarkan DUN Perak, isu ketuanan melayu dan derhaka kepada Raja-Raja Melayu dan paling mutakhir Sidang tergempar Dun Perak selasa ini.

Rakyat semakin bijak menilai dan mula mempersoalkan apakah pelan pemulihan ekonomi oleh kerajaan UMNO-BN. KDNK negara jatuh kepada 4.6% terburuk sejak 2001. Indeks Komposit BSKL merudum dan kadar pengangguran dikatakan mencecah 80 ribu orang. harga-harga barang keperluan makanan dijangkakan naik seperti gula akan naik 20 atau 30 sen sekilo. Tol juga diramalkan naik tetapi ditangguhkan kerajaan UMNO-BN kerana takut kalah dalam PRK di Bukit Gantang, Selambau dan Batang Ai. Jika kerajaan pusat berani mengambilalih pengurusan air negara, mengapa pula kerajaan pusat UMNO-BN tidak berani mengambilalih syarikat konsesi tol. Apakah kerana UMNO dan kroninya ada kepentingan di dalam syarikat konsesi tol ini. Eloklah SPRM siasat.

Tok dan rakyat dah nampak UMNO-BN takut hilang kuasa. Peluang terbaik memerintah negara adalah untuk isytiharkan darurat dan UMNO telah mula menjaja isu ini di kampung-kampung dan kepada golongan peneroka.

Tok juga nak peringatkan kepada semua MB dan KM Pakatan Rakyat supaya tidak menyimpan musuh dalam selimut dalam jentera pentadbiran negeri masing-masing. Nanti rahsia kerajaan negeri terbongkar dan paling tidak pun mereka akan buat surat layang menggunakan letter head Kerajaan Negeri. Di Kedah, tok heran kenapa pemuda UMNO negeri itu berkokok dalam TV3 suku tentang isu surat layang yang menghina sultan kedah. Kan surat tu ada setem dan bersampul, buat ajelah report polis. jangan sampai rakyat anggap polis sudah mesra UMNO dan bukan mesra rakyat sudah.

Ada yang beranggapan UMNO memperalatkan setiausaha Sultan membuat kerja-kerja keji ini dan eloklah polis siasat perkara ini. Rakyat dah semakin muak dengan budaya samseng UMNO sekarang yang cuba menghuru-harakan negara ini dah sudah sampai masanya mereka pula ditahan ISA. rakyat dah ada persepsi UMNO semacam dah ada cawangannya di balai polis. UMNO pergi lanyak MP Pakatan Rakyat, seorang OKU dalam parlimen boleh tapi rakyat demo depan balai polis kena sembur dengan air pemedih mata dan lanyak dengan FRU. Tak pasal-pasal ada pulak rakyat hantar keldai, baghal atau lembu buat report polis.

Ingatlah UMNO, Polis, SPR, SPRM, Mahkamah dan Sultan bukan hak cipta terpelihara mereka sahaja. Usah bongkak dan sesuka hati melanggar undang-undang negara semata-mata gilakan kuasa.

Sidang tergempar: Speaker dan S/U DUN bercanggah pendapat

Kemelut politik yang melanda negeri Perak, selepas Barisan Nasional (BN) menubuhkan kerajaan negeri baru awal bulan lalu, terus berlanjutan.

Hari ini, Setiausaha Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Perak, Abdullah Antong Sabri berkata cadangan Speaker V Sivakumar untuk memanggil satu sidang tergempar Selasa ini adalah tidak sah.

Katanya, ia tidak boleh diadakan kerana tidak mendapat perkenan
Sultan Perak berdasarkan Perintah Tetap Dewan Negeri serta
Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan.

Abdullah menegaskan demikian dalam satu kenyataan yang dikeluarkan di Kuala Lumpur hari ini.

Sebelum ini, Sivakumar dilaporkan berkata sidang tergempar itu tidak memerlukan perkenan Sultan Perak terlebih dahulu kerana notis 14 hari hanya perlu dikeluarkan dalam keadaan DUN bersidang biasa dan bukannya untuk sidang tergempar.

Sivakumar memanggil sidang tergempar itu untuk membincangkan dua notis usul yang diterimanya berhubung krisis peralihan kuasa
kerajaan negeri itu.

Bagaimanapun dalam reaksinya terhadap kenyataan Abdullah itu, Bernama memetik Sivakumar berkata sidang tergempar Dewan itu Selasa ini adalah sah dan akan diadakan seperti yang telah ditetapkan.

Sivakumar berkata beliau dengan pakar undang-undang perlembagaan telah meneliti peruntukan Undang-undang Tubuh dan Perintah-perintah Tetap Perak dan mendapati beliau mempunyai kuasa untuk memanggil sidang tergempar itu.

"Saya dimaklumkan dengan jelas oleh pakar-pakar perlembagaan bahawa memanggil persidangan Dewan secara tergempar adalah terletak dalam ruang lingkup bidang kuasa Speaker," katanya kepada pemberita di Ipoh hari ini.

Sehingga hari ini, Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin masih mengakui beliau merupakan menteri besar Perak yang sah.

Manakala menteri besar BN, Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir mengangkat sumpah awal bulan lalu, selepas BN menubuh kerajaan baru di negeri itu.

Abdullah dalam kenyataannya berkata mengikut Perintah Tetap Dewan Negeri (PT) 8(1) yang perlu dibaca bersama-sama dengan Perkara XXXVI(1) Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan berkehendakkan perkenan
Tuanku Sultan untuk memanggil apa-apa sidang Dewan Negeri sama ada dalam keadaan biasa atau tergempar.

Menurutnya, beliau telah menerima arahan dari Sivakumar supaya
mengeluarkan notis segera untuk mengadakan sidang tergempar DUN Selasa ini melalui urat Sivakumar yang bertarikh 25 Februari 2009 yang turut disertakan notis usul aripada Anggota Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Teja dan ADUN Titi Serong.

Abdullah berkata, walaupun ia sidang tergempar, "dalam apa jua pun keadaan, saya hendaklah menghantar notis bertulis tersebut berserta dengan warta pemasyhuran memanggil dewan kepada tiap-tiap anggota DUN menarik perhatian mereka kepada pemasyhuran tersebut.

"Permasyhuran memanggil dewan dibuat oleh DYMM (Duli Yang Maha Mulia) Sultan. Ini adalah berdasarkan PT 1 (Perintah Tetap DUN) yang mengatakan "maka Setiausaha Dewan hendaklah membacakan Pemasyhuran DYMM Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan memanggil mesyuarat.."

Kuasa mutlak

"PT 10 (1) mengatakan " Penggal Dewan hendaklah diadakan pada
waktu dan tempat sebagaimana yang ditetapkan oleh DYMM Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan dari semasa ke semasa melalui perisytiharan dalam Warta," katanya.

Beliau berkata berasaskan PT 10 (1) itu, kuasa mutlak untuk memanggil sidang DUN adalah kuasa Sultan Perak dan ia tidak boleh dipertikaikan.

"Ini adalah kerana Perkara XXXVI(1) Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Perak Darul Ridzuan memberi kuasa yang jelas kepada DYMM Sultan Perak untuk memanggil DUN bersidang," katanya.

Beliau berkata, Perkara XXXVI (1) memperuntuk "DYMM hendaklah dari semasa ke semasa memanggil bersidang Dewan Negeri itu dan tidaklah boleh membiarkan tempoh enam bulan berlalu di antara perjumpaan yang akhir lepas dalam satu persidangan dengan tarikh yang ditetapkan bagi perjumpaan yang pertama dalam persidangan yang di hadapan."

Abdullah berkata peruntukan di atas adalah peruntukan Perlembagaan yang merupakan Undang-Undang Tertinggi di negeri Perak dan jelas menunjukkan kuasa untuk memanggil sidang DUN adalah kuasa Sultan Perak.

Khamis lalu, Sivakumar menerima dua usul dengan yang pertama daripada ADUN Titi Serong, Khalil Idham Lim Abdullah daripada PAS, adalah bagi dewan menyatakan sokongan kepada Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin sebagai Menteri Besar, manakala usul kedua oleh Chang Lih Kang (PKR-Teja) yang memohon supaya dewan itu dibubarkan untuk membolehkan pilihanraya negeri diadakan.

Mengulas lanjut kenyataan Abdullah itu, Sivakumar sebaliknya menegaskan setiausaha DUN itu tidak mempunyai kuasa untuk
menafsir Perintah Tetap Dewan Negeri (PT) dan sebaliknya kewajipan beliau Abdullah) adalah hanya untuk mematuhi perintah dan arahan Speaker serta menjalankan tugas seperti yang termaktub dalam PT.

Speaker DUN Perak itu berkata Abdullah telah membuat tafsiran yang salah ke atas PT kerana PT 8 (1) jelas menyatakan notis bertulis menarik perhatian kepada pemasyhuran memanggil Dewan adalah tidak diperlukan, sebaliknya hanya memerlukan notis memanggil Dewan bersidang dikeluarkan dengan seberapa segera.

"Artikel 36 (1) Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Perak pula hanya digunapakai untuk permulaan sesuatu sesi Dewan ataupun apabila Dewan bermula selepas sesi itu tamat.

‘Allah’ is allowed for non-Muslims, says Nik Aziz

MARCH 1 – Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the Pas spiritual leader and one of the country’s most respected Muslim leaders, said today that non-Muslims should be allowed to use the word “Allah.”

But he said it was up to the federal government to decide whether to allow its use by non-Muslims.

“I do not want to interfere in this matter. Let the federal government decide,” he was quoted as saying by the national news agency Bernama in Kota Baru today.

The Pas leader was responding to the intense debate over the Catholic newspaper Herald’s law suit against the federal government’s decision to ban the use of the word “Allah” in its publication.

Yesterday, the Home Ministry rescinded a government gazette issued a day earlier which allowed the conditional use of the word in Christian publications.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said a mistake had been made and the government’s ban remained in force unless the courts decide otherwise.

The government had recently ordered a ban on the Herald's Malay edition until the court makes its decision, as part of conditions for it to be allowed to continue publishing in English, Chinese and Tamil.

Muslim groups have been up in arms over the Catholic newspaper’s use of the word “Allah” and were particularly upset when the ban was rescinded on Friday.

These Muslim groups have argued that allowing Christians to use the word “Allah” would cause confusion among Muslims.

They are also suspicious about the intent of Christians, with some accusing churches of trying to use the word “Allah” to convert Muslims.

However, the Catholic Church says the word “Allah” is being used by its members, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak, who are fluent only in the national language.

They also contend that “Allah” is the accurate translation for the word “God” as opposed to “Tuhan” which they use to mean “Lord.”

The church has also pointed to the fact that the word “Allah” is also used by Christians in the Middle East and in Indonesia.

Speaker says Standing Orders give him final say on interpretation

By Lee Wei Lian- The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, March 1 - Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar said this evening that a statement made by the state assembly secretary was made without his knowledge and permission and that the secretary has no powers to interpret Standing Orders.

He cited the legislature's Standing Orders 89 as giving him final say in any interpretation of the state assembly's Standing Orders. He also declared the emergency sitting on Tuesday as legal and will go on as scheduled.

The secretary of the state assembly, Abdullah Antong Sabri defied the speaker and issued a statement to the media this afternoon, where he declared the emergency sitting on Tuesday to be illegal as it has not received the consent of the Sultan of Perak, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the assembly and the state constitution.

"If the power to call a sitting can be taken from the speaker, what democratic values will future generations inherit?" said Sivakumar in his statement to the media. "We do not want our children to live in a half-baked democracy."

Observers have characterised the standoff between the house secretary and the speaker as a possible breakdown between the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.

"As far as rules are concerned, the secretary can only take orders from the speaker as head of the legislature and the sole authority to interpret standing orders," said Selangor State Assembly Speaker Teng Chang Kim.

"The only reason he would go against the speaker is if he is taking orders from the executive. This is a good case for instituting reforms to make the legislature truly independent of the executive."

DAP chairman Ngeh Koo Ham said that he has strong reasons to believe that the executive is forcing the secretary to defy the speaker.

"It is uncharacteristic of the clerk of the house to usurp the speaker and start interpreting the rules of assembly without knowledge or permission of the speaker," says Ngeh.

The Speaker's legal counsel team earlier today rebutted Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir's comments made yesterday that the speaker is acting ultra vires the state constitution and circumventing the Sultan of Perak.

Sivakumar's legal counsel, Augustine Anthony, said that as an adjourned sitting, the session is not dissolved or prorogued and therefore does not require the consent of the Sultan.

“The emergency sitting is the fourth meeting of the first session of the 12th assembly so he (the Speaker) has the power to call the meeting,” he said.

Emergency Sitting Is Lawful, Say Lawyers

(Bernama) -- An emergency sitting called by Perak Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar on March 3, to table two motions on the takeover of the state government is lawful.

His lawyer, Chan Kok Keong, said it was done in accordance to the state constitution and standing orders of the State Legislative Assembly.

Chan said the view was also shared by constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas whose opinion is that the Speaker was lawfully empowered to convene the Legislative Assembly on March 3, since the last meeting of the assembly in November, last year, was adjourned sine die and was not prorogued.

"If it was prorogued, only the Sultan of Perak can summon the Assembly," he told reporters at a press conference in his office here today.

Earlier today, Perak State Assembly Secretary Abdullah Antong Sabri, in a statement, said Sivakumar's move to call for the emergency sitting of the assembly was not legal.

He said this was because it had not received the consent from the Sultan of Perak, in accordance with the standing orders of the assembly and the state constitution.

Video - UMNO Youth goons obstructing and menacing Karpal in Parliament By

A video uploaded on youtube. By Lim Kit Siang

Irrefutable evidence showing UMNO Youth goons obstructing and menacing wheelchair-bound DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh in the precincts of Parliament last Thursday (26th February 2009) from carrying out his parliamentary duties.



MIC leader: MIED executive a 'desperate person'

Bernama, Mar 01 2009 -- A veteran MIC leader today lashed out at a senior executive of the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) saying that no amount of threats and personal attacks on him will deter him from ensuring that those responsible for the misappropriation of funds from the MIED be brought to justice.


"Let me say in no uncertain terms that those who are responsible for the misappropriation of funds of the MIED, will be brought to book," said the senior MIC politician, commenting on the police reports and allegations at a press conference by the senior executive of the party''s educational arm yesterday.

The senior MIED executive alleged that the senior MIC leader had misappropriated MIED funds, among other things. The executive lodged two police reports on the allegations at the Shah Alam state police headquarters yesterday morning.

Saying that he was not at all surprised by the allegations made by the MIED senior officer, the politican said the statements were that of "a desperate person, who was being investigated for criminal misappropriation of funds belonging to the Indian community".

**********
Straits Times
March 1, 2009
Samy Vellu transferred funds?
By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief

Kuala Lumpur - A former top officer of the Malaysian Indian Congress' (MIC) education arm yesterday alleged that party president S. Samy Vellu had transferred RM2 million (S$833,000) from government funds to a MIC welfare foundation.

Ms P. Chitrakala Vasu, who was asked to leave her post as chief executive of the Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED) last month, yesterday lodged a police report over the funds. She also lodged a report over her claim that 'lorry-loads' of files were removed from her former office.

In her report, quoted by the Malaysian Insider website, she claimed Datuk Seri Samy Vellu had asked her to place RM2 million in a fixed deposit in the account of YPS, a party foundation controlled by MIC.

Mr Samy Vellu, who was then Works Minister, was chairman of the YPS foundation, while Ms Chitrakala was the chief executive.

Ms Chitrakala said the money was still in the fixed deposit when she left her job, but she was making the report in case it goes missing. Her reports were the latest development in an ongoing saga which blew up early this year when she was asked to show cause by Mr Samy Vellu over discrepancies in the MIED accounts.

The MIC has set up a panel to investigate. It claimed RM5 million had been taken out from MIED's account.

Ms Chitrakala said she had done nothing wrong, and claimed that her troubles started when Mr Samy Vellu wanted to sever MIED's ties with MIC. She claimed that this would enable him to control MIED even if he lost the MIC presidency.

Nik Aziz says ‘bumiputera’ term is racist

MARCH 1 The Malaysian Insider– In extraordinary remarks today, Pas spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat said the use of the term “bumiputera” smacks of racism and deprived other races of government aid.

His comments, made in Kota Baru today, will certainly spark debate, especially since it comes from a Malay leader who is widely respected even by his foes in Barisan Nasional and Umno.

In calling the term bumiputera racist, he appears to be drawing a clear line between his Pas party and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) from that of Umno, which has been championing the special rights of Malays.

Nik Aziz’s remarks was made in response over growing criticism from the conservative spine of Umno against comments made by DAP’s Dr Boo Cheng Hau, the opposition leader in Johor.

Dr Boo was reported to have compared “bumiputeraism” with apartheid.

Umno leaders have demanded an apology from Boo, and say his comments were a challenge to Malay rights and the constitution.

Umno’s Utusan Malaysia also described Boo’s remarks as a part of DAP’s agenda to form a republic.

But Nik Aziz was reported by Bernama as saying today that not only did the term smack of racism but deprived other races sharing similar rights and having the same identity cards of government assistance.

“In an election, other races are allowed to cast one vote, so are the bumiputera," he said.

Nik Abdul Aziz said the government should form a body to manage aid for the poor in the country and not cater only for a single group known as the bumiputera.

“I don’t like the (use of the) word bumiputera. What I like is (use of the word) poor, for all races,” he added.

He said the poor, regardless of their race, should be given assistance.

His statement appears to be also in line with Anwar Ibrahim’s concept of “Ketuanan Rakyat,” or supremacy of the people, which has been used to diffentiate PR parties from Umno’s “Ketuanan Melayu,” or Malay supremacy.

Tee Keat: Chinese no mere passengers in nation-building

The Sun
Giam Say Khoon and Loo Sim Ee

KUALA LUMPUR (March 1, 2009) : Malaysian Chinese are no mere passengers and the community is here to build a nation, says MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

"Therefore, the time has come for all races and religions to understand and respect each other, to put an end to the preaching of hate perpetrated by fanaticism.

"We must stand up to injustice and engage any other like-minded forces to seek redress on issues of public concerns. We have to be bold and loud if we have to," he said in his address at the party's 60th Anniversary celebration in the party headquarters today.

Ong said inter-racial relations must be unshackled from the zero-sum mentality where one community gains at the expense of another.

"We simply stand for the simple notion that a person is treated with equal concern and respect as a Malaysian."

He said party members and leaders must take immediate affirmative action to reimage and reinvent MCA to remain politically relevant not only in Barisan Nasional but also in the eyes of Malaysians.

"This, we must do in response to the public's demand for good governance and efficient public delivery. The MCA and BN have failed to live up to these expectations and this is why support has declined.

"MCA needs to listen to the public, and they want their voices to be heard. The voices echo from all walks of life, people with different colours speaking different languages carrying the same message. They ask for change," he said.

The first step, Ong suggested, is to take drastic actions to address the nation's economic woes, doing away with piecemeal and short-term solutions.

"We must promote micro-credit and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) financing for Malaysians. Transparency and accountability must be in order to replace red-tapes, delays and leakages that ruin our efforts to reduce income disparity," he said.

"Next, we must concentrate on politics and make the correct decisions that will bring impact to the future generation. Our party was a proactive partner in the struggle to gain independence.

"Premised on this spirit, our party needs to participate in mainstream politics, be courageous and expand our roles, ensuring that broader politics are multi-racial and just," he added.

In his presidential speech in Mandarin, Ong said the people had become very sensitive to racial harmony and that "we cannot allow irresponsible politicians to continue playing racial and religious cards, which will ultimately destroy the country".

"We live and own the land together, we are one of the masters of the nation who built the country together. So we will stand against power and resource monopoly and manipulation, simply because we are not squatters who came to share the gains of the country," he said.

Ong stressed that his suggested affirmative actions were "no mere rhetoric" and that "MCA will start with improving service standards, putting in place systems that will ensure promises are delivered.".

"We will reinvent ourselves and continue with the struggles against poverty, misery and ignorance. We will promote integrity, freedom, and the right to live a wholesome life one chooses in this country. We will not serve just a segment or a group, but all Malaysians," he added.

KEPERIHATINAN


1. Rakyat yang selalu mengguna jalan tol akan berasa lega kerana kenaikan tol yang diumumkan oleh Menteri Kabinet yang bertanggungjawab, Datuk Seri Mohd Zin akan dikaji semula oleh Kabinet.

2. Perdana Menteri telah mengarahkan Kabinet mengkaji semula kenaikan tol kerana "Apa yang dibincangkan dan diputuskan itu dibuat dua tiga minggu lalu dan sejak itu keadaan ekonomi menjadi bertambah buruk".

3. Apa gamaknya yang telah jadi kepada ekonomi Negara dalam jangka masa tiga minggu. Biasanya sebelum keputusan dibuat oleh Kabinet, maklumat berkenaan aliran ekonomi diberi oleh pakar-pakar untuk jangkasama yang agak panjang, sudah tentu lebih dari tiga minggu. Apakah pakar-pakar ini telah tergesa-gesa lari ke Perdana Menteri tiga minggu selepas keputusan dibuat oleh Kabinet untuk memaklumkan ekonomi merosot begitu teruk dan tol tidak boleh dinaikkan. Apakah mereka menjelaskan bahawa kajian semula tol akan membaikkan keadaan ekonomi. Atau apakah Perdana Menteri membawa perkara ini ke Kabinet dengan data yang cukup tentang keburukan ekonomi sebelum mengumumkan tol perlu dikaji semula. Atau apakah kenaikan ini tidak bijak dibuat semasa beliau masih Perdana Menteri. Tunggu orang lain naik jadi Perdana Menteri dan terpaksa menaikkan tol.

4. Atau apakah ini satu lagi manifestasi "flip-flop" Abdullah? Mungkinkah perletakan jawatan juga perlu dikaji dengan lebih mendalam apabila masanya hampir tiba. Ekonomi yang amat teruk boleh juga jadi satu alasan. Dapatkah ekonomi negara dipulih tanpa Dato Seri Abdullah?

5. Apa pandangan Tingkat Empat?

Peaceful Malaysians lodging police report met with violence and chemical water cannons

I am angry and dismayed again at the treatment Uthayakumar’s supporters got at Brickfield’s yesterday.

Will it always be the case that when those who BN doesn’t like come to make police reports, we are going to be chemical water cannoned?

Don’t the police ever learn that no recent gathering in Malaysia has broken out into spontaneous violence or unruly behaviour. Or perhaps, is it their ridiculous pride or trigger happy nervousness that gets intimidated too easily by peaceful gatherings?

That’s one thing. The other is: why is it so frikkin’ hard to get Uthayakumar some decent medical attention?

Is the government trying to punish the whole Indian community by denying one man proper medical attention and literally letting him rot?

Give the man the treatment he needs (and of course, release or charge him and all his fellow inmates), and what need is there to protest?

Grr.

Abdullah Reiterates Plans To Hand Over Premiership To Najib

HUA HIN (THAILAND), March 1 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today that he would stick to the plan to hand over the premiership to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak after the Umno election this month.

"Well there was this plan that I have made, so we have to follow the plan," he said at a press conference at the end of the 14th Asean Summit here.

Abdullah, who is also the UMNO President, said this when asked to comment on speculations that he would not relinquish the prime minister's post after the party election later this month.

Abdullah, who became the fifth prime minister in October, 2003, has declined to defend his party post.

Najib is set to take over the party leadership from Abdullah after being the sole contender for the UMNO presidency after nominations closed for the party's top positions late last year.

Traditionally, the Umno president also assumes the premiership, while the deputy president becomes the deputy prime minister.