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Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8 anniversary special: Tony Pua

For Anwar, it is still about reforms

By Adib Zalkapli- The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Mar 8 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today reaffirmed PKR’s and Pakatan Rakyat’s commitment to its reform agenda and slammed the government for not acting earlier to face the economic crisis.

Addressing thousands of party members today to mark the first anniversary of the March 8 elections which saw PR parties win five states and deny the Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament, he also warned his audience to prepare themselves for when Datuk Seri Najib Razak takes over the premiership.

“A new prime minister waits in the ranks, not as a reformer, but to continue to take this nation down the same destructive path,” said Anwar.

He said the government had been slow to react to the global recession, and expressed concern that the stimulus packages being put together now would result in money “ending up in the wrong hands.”

The Opposition Leader spent a good part of the speech trying to get the party faithful to focus on the reform agenda.

He asked PR party leaders to do their best to engage ordinary Malaysians to join the parties in a common movement to achieve more justice.

“You must call on people to be part of this birth of nationalism.

“We must build this nation upon the principles of justice, fair play and opportunities for all,” he said.

He also spoke of the success of PR-led state governments in fulfilling its promises.

“Kedah, which like Kelantan is one of the more economically challenged regions of the country, has dramatically increased its savings through greater efficiency and transparency, freeing up much needed resources to allocate to development projects and social welfare activities,” said Anwar.

“This has also created an environment more attractive to foreign investment, which in Penang doubled in just one year and in Perak increased to RM3.4 billion. In Selangor it has reached its highest point in nine years, RM11.87 billion,” he added.

Anwar also told party leaders not to be apologetic when promoting equality.

“Why do we have to be apologetic and say sorry for helping the poor Chinese,” said Anwar referring to the PR-led Perak government which awarded freehold land titles to new villagers in the state.

Demo anti-PPSMI dihujani gas polis

Dictated Message from P.Waytha Moorthy

Dear HINDRAF supporters

The article below was dictated by P.Waytha Moorthy from his bedside at a hospital in London to his wife on March 5, 2009.
After 6 days in the critical coronary care unit I was taken to the ccu ward yesterday evening under anaesthesia. I didn’t even realise where my new bed was. However the next morning when I was woken up about 8am for breakfast by hospital staff, I suddenly realised there were brightness all over. It was only then did I realised that it was the morning sun shining into the ward and I suddenly became excited at the thought of seeing the Sun “again”.
I slowly got out of my bed and dragged myself towards the window. It was a painful walk (my groin area was painful as a result of the procedure) BUT IT WAS WORTH THE AGONY. I SAW THE SUNLIGHT AFTER 6 DAYS. I felt thrilled and missed the outside world but within minutes my conscious thoughts swinged to our Lawyers who are unlawfully incarcerated at Kamunting and their lost of freedom.
A new strength and vigor enthralled me for I am now more than ever keen to get better and get out of this place to continue my work for them and the marginalized Indian community.
My thoughts then went to the 6 Human Beings who were brutally shot dead by our own Royal Malaysian Police Force in Kulim recently. How inhumane has our Police Force become? Many questions crosses my mind especially having read on the witness account that the Police had instructed the neighbour who returned home to get into his house and not come out until instructed.

The account of the neighbour clearly shows that the Police had premeditated intention to kill all the Kulim 6 inside the house but thank god they spared the life of the 4 women.

Who the 4 are and what they have to say remains a mystery and believe me it would be kept away from the public forever. By now I believe the Police would have obtained their “under duress confession” that they are “aware” of the involvement of the Kulim 6 in “armed” robberies.
My memory goes back to the incident many years ago when the Al – Maunah gang stormed into an army camp and robbed them of firearms and grenades and eventually they landed in Bukit Jenalik. Imagine after days of siege of the hill all the culprits were apprehended alive. When that was possible, why not for the Kulim 6?
What prevented the Police from calling for back up and apprehending them alive? I for one do not believe that the Kulim 6 were armed and I sincerely believe the two firearms were planted in the premises. But of course the Police say that they had to shoot in self-defence but why the needs to shoot 6 when only 2 were “allegedly armed”.
Apparently they were involved in the smelting of gold that were obtained by unlawful means. What was the amount that was recovered at the scene and where is the complainant?
By the time our very “Learned” Attorney General instructs an inquest into the case many years would have passed by and the Police would have had all the opportunity to cover their asses’ by then. I say this from my own personal experience of handling many cases involving death in police custody and the unofficial shoot to kill policy.
Believe me during the said inquest the magistrate who would conduct the inquest would collude with the Police. Believe me that the DPP’s appearing at the inquest purportedly representing the Public interest would end up representing the interest of the Police and in one occasion the DPP who was present even openly said that she was representing the Police when she should have been acting in the interest of the Public.
I have even staged a walkout from an inquest in a particular case when an STPM student was shot dead for being “suspected criminal who is an expert in firearms” because it was blatantly clear that the Magistrate was colluding with the Police and Attorney General’s chambers to hide crucial evidence.
Upon my appeal to the High Court for revision of the magistrate’s refusal to follow proper proceedings, The Learned High Court judge, after almost more than 6 months instead of hearing the matter (which is a public interest matter), turned down my application for revision by merely writing a “2 line” reply.
As a result the family had lost confidence that the truth would ever come out of the inquest and had instructed me to withdraw from representing her family. I had no choice but to walk out and the “public inquiry” was happily concluded within the fraternity of the police, Attorney General’s Chambers and the Magistrate.
I know the truth on the brutal murder of the Kulim 6 would never come out and the whole system would conspire to cover the Police who are “RAJA DI MALAYSIA”. I realise the above words are seditious and are not going to help me return to Malaysia but what choice do I have. This is the truth and I have to speak the truth.
With a heavy heart I said my Surya Namaskaram prayers and slowly walked back to my 7x3 bed.
When will ever the truth and justice be upheld in the Malaysian system in the interest of the public???
Can someone please pass my condolences to the families of the Kulim 6 who were killed by the police? I am unsure when this note would reach you guys but I am ever more determined to fully commit myself for the cause of TRUTH and JUSTICE IN
MALAYSIA.
P.Waythamoorthy
HINDRAF – Chairman

Historic day as Pokok Demokrasi is officially recognised - by Anilnetto

the-tree
The morning sunlight filters through the branches, lending an enchanted and mystical appearance to the fabled tree

the-plaque
It’s official: The marble plaque beneath the Democracy Tree (Click to enlarge) Photos by Kinta Kid

Kinta Kid reports from the Democracy Tree, Ipoh:

Perak leaders gathered at the base of the ‘Democracy Tree’ this morning to officiate a plaque highlighting what transpired on 3 March 2009.

The black marble plaque with gold-plated inscription explains the events of the morning of 3 March:

…when 27 state assemblymen were locked out undemocratically from the house by the police and the FRU under instructions of the State Secretary… At 10.00am the Speaker of the House YB V Sivakumar then instructed the assembly to adjourn to the tree to deliberate the motions of the agenda… By 10.35am all motions were passed following full traditional procedures….

Another five raintrees were planted this morning and each sapling had a title, Amanah (Accountable/Trustworthy), Adil (Justice), Telus (Transparency), Kebajikan (Welfare) and Wibawa (Competence).

“On 3 March, history was made. Five days later. on 8 March ada lima anak (it has five ‘children’),” Nizar quipped, to the laughter of all present.

telus
One for the album: Pokok demokrasi and its five saplings are already inspiring Malaysians

The ceremony was also attended by MP Lim Kit Siang and Sg Siput MP Jeyakumar Devaraj. All in, there would have been 300 people, mostly press and assembly members that turned up. After the ceremony though, families were already taking photos with the tree and saplings in the background.

Pakatan Perak firm and planted

Five saplings symbolising the five pillars of PR - justice, transparency, trustworthiness, welfare and integrity being planted by Nizar Jamaluddin, who was affirmed as 'menteri besar' during the "tree assembly," led his executive council and several assemblymen along with DAP supremo and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang.

IPOH, March 8 - Before a crowd of hundreds, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Perak commemorated the rain tree that shaded their March 3 state assembly outside the state secretariat building this morning.

Assembling at 10am, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who was affirmed as menteri besar during the "tree assembly," led his executive council and several assemblymen along with DAP supremo and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang in a dedication ceremony for the "Tree of Democracy".

He placed a plaque directly under it in remembrance of the March 3 assembly, which read "This monument is here to commemorate the assembly that was held under this tree on March 3, 2009.

It is a sign that Pakatan Rakyat has practiced democracy but it has been stolen by Umno and Barisan Nasional."

The ceremony also saw the planting of five saplings, to symbolise the five pillars of PR - justice, transparency, trustworthiness, welfare and integrity.

Yesterday, one of PR's exco members, Nga Kor Ming, had said that the commemoration was important as it was Perak's own "Magna Carta," in reference to the English legal charter which established constitutional law in most of the English-speaking world.

The ceremony also kickstarted PR's one-year anniversary celebrations, which continue later today when Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim addresses supporters in Shah Alam.

Nizar also added today, that the monument would also serve as a "new tourist attraction," seeing as how in the past five days, many locals and foreign visitors have stopped to pose for pictures under the tree.

Nizar also told reporters that he would send a letter to the palace on Tuesday to inform the Sultan of the three motions that were resolved in Tuesday's sitting - that he was affirmed as menteri besar, that the state assembly be dissolved and adopting the decision of the Privileges Committee to suspend Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir and his six exco members from the assembly.

The crowd that gathered there seemed in good spirits and appeared to be uplifted by PR's continued insistence that it is the legitimate government and cheered the PR leaders throughout the 45-minute ceremony.-The Malaysian Insider

Freedom of opinion and speech in Islam: your Sunday sermon

Image

The concept of freedom of opinion as applied by the Prophet is mentioned in various verses of the Quran revealed in both Mekah and Medina. The total freedom of opinion and speech is a principle that was guaranteed by Islam since the beginning of the revelation.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

This is what the Star reported today in its news item: Stand as MP then, Malay traders tell Raja Petra.

Online news portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin should be an MP if he wants to criticise the Government and royalty, says a Malay industrialist group. Malay Businessmen and Industrialists Association of Malaysia (Perdasama) president Datuk Moehamad Izat Emir said Raja Petra’s constant criticism of the Government was bad for the economy and discouraged foreign investments.

“He should contest in the next election if he feels the people support him. Parliament is the place for him to voice out, not by throwing stones from outside and hiding his hand afterwards,” Moehamad told a press conference at Perdasama headquarters yesterday.

He was referring to an open letter to former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin purportedly written by Raja Petra and posted on his news portal Malaysia Today, encouraging Nizar to continue his struggle to reclaim his position.

Moehamad urged the Government to take action before more Malaysians follow Raja Petra’s footsteps as this could further erode political stability, investor confidence and public harmony.

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

I really don’t expect Izat to understand why I do not wish to become a MP or ADUN or whatever. DAP has, in fact, offered me a place in the party if I wish to hold public office. YB Ronnie Liu, the Pakatan Rakyat EXCO Member in the Selangor State Government, can testify to this.

I just laughed and brushed off the idea. Ronnie, in fact, blames me for DAP not being able to become the Deputy Menteri Besar of Selangor. The problem is DAP does not have a Malay ADUN and he thought, if I had contested the recent general election, then DAP could have offered me the post of Deputy MB seeing that I would be the only Malay they have.

I can’t pretend I was not thrilled with the idea, and deeply honoured as well, that Ronnie thought I was Deputy MB material. But I told him, as much as I was thrilled and honoured, I was, however, not in the least interested. He then tried offering me some other positions and I refused all those as well. I mean: having Saudara Karpal Singh, who I greatly respect, as one loose cannon in DAP is bad enough. Imagine me and Sam Haris and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and maybe Malik Imtiaz, Bernard Khoo (Zorro), Azhar Harun, and a half dozen other Bloggers all in DAP. Menda gak?….kecoh…..bising bangau, as the Terengganu people would say.

Is this the face of a Wakil Rakyat?

Hey, I love my lifestyle and make no bones about it (even my daughter and son-in-law are perturbed about my 1960s lifestyle). As a Wakil Rakyat I can’t any longer be as outrageous as I am now. And what am I going to do with my Hippie beads and my Paris Hilton DVD collection and my pipe and cigars all that other ‘unorthodox’ culture that I practice? You mean I actually got to wear a bush jacket? Pleeeeeeez.

Anyway, while many Muslims are Muslims by birth or by ritual or in name only, I am Muslim by Akidah. And if a Muslim had any Akidah then he or she would understand the heavy responsibility one carries as a Wakil Rakyat. And if they understand this then they would never want to be a Wakil Rakyat in 1,000 years and for any amount of money.

A Wakil Rakyat is God’s representative here on earth. He or she is a trustee of God. And a trustee of God who breaches this trust has sinned against God. But God is forever forgiving and can forgive your trespasses against Him. It is your trespasses against humankind that God can never forgive.

Imagine come Judgement Day when you face God to be judged for all that you have done here on earth and your long list of sins the thickness of twenty volumes of Encyclopaedia Britanica are laid out before you and you are called to answer for these sins. And imagine if all your sins involve breaching God’s trust as a Wakil Rakyat and involve violations against humankind. God can forgive you for the first but never for the second.

Yes, you go to Hell not for gambling or drinking beer or for not praying. You go to Hell because you did not serve the people you were supposed to serve as a Wakil Rakyat. No way, Jose. That is not the fate that I desire. A Wakil Rakyat is such a heavy responsibility that I just can’t understand why people would bribe voters and delegates just to win positions. I mean: it is bad enough these people are bribing, but they are bribing so that they can go to Hell. Hey, you can go to Hell for free without having to pay a cent, like me.

But I don’t expect Izat to understand all this. This involves Akidah and I don’t expect him to understand the word, let alone the concept. This was the man who scolded his brother, Rahmat, because his brother had gone for his prayers and Izat was irritated that they had an appointment with a Datuk and were now late because his brother went to pray. “The appointment with the Datuk is more important than your prayers,” Izat scolded Rahmat. Rahmat decided, soon after that, that he would no longer work for his brother.

Being in a political party -- any political party -- means I can no longer speak freely. As a party leader and Wakil Raykat I would have to toe the party line. And that is something I can never do. Islam is about freedom of opinion and free speech. You just can’t separate Islam from freedom of opinion and free speech. To deny one freedom of opinion and free speech would mean to deny Islam itself. If freedom of opinion and free speech ceases to exist, then Islam would cease to exist as well. That is the long and short of it all.

I know, now many so-called Islamists will argue that Akidah is about praying, fasting, paying your tithes, going to Mekah and all that. To these people I say: bullshit. That is not Akidah. That is amalan (practice). And those are mere rituals. Even horses, penguins, seals, elephants, tigers, dogs, and whatnot can be taught to do tricks. This does not mean they all know why they are doing these tricks. They only know that if they do them then they get rewarded with food. So they do them….but for food.

Those rituals that many Muslims perform are also for rewards -- mostly the reward of Heaven and to avoid punishment, meaning Hell. Assuming you get nothing and suffer nothing if you either do or do not do them, then 90% or more of Muslims would dump all the rituals. That is how ‘sincere’ these fakes are. They do not perform these rituals for God. They perform them for their own sakes, for the ‘rewards’ and to avoid punishment.

Okay, now take a look at this:




Did you notice that Malaysia is number 132 on the list of countries that suppress freedom of opinion and speech? Even countries like Nigeria, Colombia, Cambodia, Algeria, Angola, Bolivia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Burundi, Senegal, Haiti, Zambia, Botswana, Serbia, etc., are all ranked above Malaysia.

Now, Malaysia is supposed to be a Muslim country with Islam as the official religion of the country. And the leaders of UMNO (the dominant partner in the ruling coalition), which claims to be the largest Islamic party in the world, are also all Muslims. Should not this country, therefore, be setting an example to the rest of the Muslim world?

In the first place, do Malaysian Muslims even understand the position of freedom of opinion and speech as espoused by Islam? Below is an extract of a 40-page paper written by Ahmed Mansour, which I feel Malay-Muslims, in particular Izat, should read and try to understand.

This is what Ahmed Mansour said:

Freedom of opinion refers to man’s total freedom of creed and thinking, as well as his freedom of declaring and expressing his point of view peacefully, without using a weapon. This definition of the concept of freedom of opinion is taken from verses of the Quran that are concerned with confirming the total freedom of opinion, and the application by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) of these verses in his time with people around him.

The concept of freedom of opinion as applied by the Prophet is mentioned in various verses of the Quran revealed in both Mekah and Medina. The total freedom of opinion and speech is a principle that was guaranteed by Islam since the beginning of the revelation, and applied by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and some of his successors (Caliphs). Yet, this freedom had been forbidden during the time of the Umayyad Caliphate. Then the Abbassids came along and introduced a theocratic concept of governing the state. That concept was justified by religious texts opposed to the Quran, but was mischievously ‘credited’ to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through so-called Hadith created to justify the actions of the government.

Man’s freedom of opinion is the origin of his existence, God’s creation of the universe, and the idea of the hereafter. This is how far the roots of freedom of opinion in Islam go. And this puts an end to every pretext of people supporting suppression of opinion in the name of religion.

If man wants to be free, he will be, and if he wants to be a slave to another man or any thought, he will be too. What is important is man is able to choose, and through choice, man can use his freedom however he wants. However, man will choose to be a non-believer, and deny his inner instinct and God’s existence when others try to dominate him with their human laws and seize his right of being a non-believer. To this extent, God Almighty created man with free will. And man’s free thought can lead him to deny the existence of God, the Almighty.

God did not authorise some people to punish, in His name, others just because they have different opinions or because they disbelieve in God. And those who proclaim their right to punish others spoil the case from its roots and play the role of God - as there is no god but Him. They dominate what God Almighty wanted to control as He created human mind free without restraints, able to think with no limits, and believe or disbelieve if it wants. They fake God’s religion and assault His powers that He saved for Himself to practice in the Hereafter, on grounds that there is no need for punishment and reckoning in the hereafter, as long as there is a compulsion in faith and religion. They form a bad, extreme, bloody, stubborn and fusty image of God’s religion, and contribute to get most people away from it. This bad image has nothing to do with God’s religion. It is their image and religion that is entirely opposing to God’s religion.

Because they are the real enemies of God, He legislated militancy against them, not to force people to get into Islam, but to assure people’s right of faith or infidelity, as well as their right to get rid of the domination of insincere religious leaders. The insincere religious leaders (priesthood advocates) are those who pretend to be talking in the name of God, and controlling - in His name - people’s minds and thoughts. Islam fought them with the legislation of militancy. Yet the insincere religious leaders of Abbassids and Sheiks succeeded in reversing these concepts and misrepresented Islam.

When we read the Holy Quran we find that God, the creator of the universe, doesn’t want to force people to believe in Him, His books, and messengers. And because God created people with free will, he conducts a dialogue with them to believe if they want to believe, and not because of force and compulsion used against them. As insincere religious leaders refuse to have a dialogue with people, and instead issue decrees condemning them -- because they have opinions that are different with theirs -- as being disbelievers and renegades, God conducts a dialogue with His worshippers, Adam’s sons, to convince them that He is the only God who has no companions.

When we think about the verses of the Quran and look at ourselves, we feel sorry for what some of us, who bear the banner of Islam, do. They impose their own opinions and suppress others the right to express their opinions. Moreover, they offend and hurt these people through deeds and words. And they proclaim these people as disbelievers who must be killed, thinking they are fighting for the cause of God. If they properly considered the verses of Quran, they would find that they are repeating the deeds of the tribe of Quraish at the time of the Prophet (pbuh).

The problem is that some people grant themselves an authority higher than that of the Prophet.

In his book (Jame’a Bayan Al Elm Wa Fadleh Fadlan Kamelan) under the title of (Bab Zekr Karaheyat Al Elm Wa Takhleedah Fil Souhouf), Al Kortoby said that the Prophet ordered: “don’t attribute anything to me but what was mentioned in Quran”. He added that Zaid Bin Thabet said to Mouaweya that the Prophet (pbuh) ordered people not to write down any of his Hadith. Al Kortoby also said that there were various narrations that asserted that Omar, Abi Saad Al Khadry, and Ibn Massoud refused to write down the Prophet’s Hadith. Ibn Saad, the Prophet’s closest companion, didn’t narrate any of the Prophet’s Hadith.

The Abbassid Caliph used those Hadith as a pretext to kill his enemies keeping his religious title of Mahdy, Hady or Rasheed without giving anyone a chance to practice his freedom of opinion. The Abbassid religious insincerity wasn’t limited to the suppression of religious and political opinion. It was extended to include scientific research and intellectual teachings. Many people sought to get closer to the Abbassid Caliphs through the invention of new narrations, interpretations and laws and attributed them to Ibn Abbass, the higher grandfather of Abbassid caliphs. Those innovations acquired a kind of sanctuary and its discussion attracted the Caliphs’ anger.

The suppression of intellectual and scientific opinion increased when Al Mamoun tried to impose his own point of view concerning the issue of interpreting the Quran. And despite his open-mindedness and patience, Al Mamoun couldn’t resist the Abbassid influence. He tortured Ibn Hanbal and killed Ahmad Bin Nasr Al Kozaey when they rejected his opinions. The story began in the month of Rabee Al Awal, 218 hijri, when Al Mamoun issued a publication in which he ordered Islamic lawyers to embrace a creed that said that Quran was created by God after He created the universe and threatened whoever rejected that.

These threats soon caused some scholars like Ibn Saad, Abou Muslim, Yazeed Bin Harwoon, Yehia Ibn Maeen and Abou Khothayma to submit. When they were released, Al Mamoun ordered the arrest of other scholars such as Ibn Hanbal to force them to agree that the Quran was created after the Universe. They all agreed except Ibn Hanbal and another three. Two of them retreated while Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Nouh kept insisting on opposing the idea that the Quran was created after the Universe. Before his death, Al Mamoun charged his successor with the investigation of the case. Ibn Hanbal was tortured for a long time and then and died from his wounds after he was released.

Yesterday's Demo




Dr Hassan memberi tahu bahawa Polis telah bersetuju untuk mengiringi dan menyediakan pengangkutan ke Istana Negara untuk tujuh orang wakil NGO yang akan menyerahkan memorandum kepada wakil Istana.

Dr Hassan juga mengesahkan bahawa para penyokong tidak dibenarkan berarak ke Istana Negara dan perhimpunan hanya terhad di kawasan Masjid Negara. Tapi beliau menambah bahawa para penyokong yang ingin ke Istana Negara boleh lah menaiki kenderaan masing2 kerana sukar bagi Polis untuk membezakan mereka dari para2 pelancong yang ramai di Kuala Lumpur.

Pak Samad bercerita mengenai perlu nya orang Melayu melestarikan Bahasa Melayu. Jika tidak Melayu dan ketamadunan nya sekali belum tentu akan bertahan 50 tahun akan datang.

Bila ditanya apakah tindakan selanjutnya jika kerajaan enggan beralah, Pak Samad berkata nasib kerajaan BN akan ditentukan di peti undi akan datang.

Hadi Awang pun turut sama berjamaah Zohor. Tapi kelibat beliau tidak kelihatan dalam perarakan ke Istana

See more photos on
http://minaq-jinggo.fotopages.com/?entry=1816122

LIVE: Anwar speaks on Ketuanan Rakyat


Anwar is due to address the nation ‘live’ at 4.30pm from the MBSA building in Shah Alam. He is expected to speak about “ketuanan rakyat” to mark the first anniversary of the watershed 2008 general election.

The Tiger (or Lion) roars on

by M. Veera Pandiyan & Rashvinjeet S. Bedi

He may be physically disabled but veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh remains ever fiery in Parliament. He makes no apologies for his brazen style and says it is still very much a jungle in there.

A FRAMED copy of American statesman Dean Alfange’s creed, “I do not choose to be a common man”, hangs above the landing leading to Karpal Singh’s office in Jalan Pudu Lama, Kuala Lumpur.

The last three lines read: “I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say - ‘This, with God’s help, I have done.’ ”



Like the plaques and accolades adorning the walls of the office, the poster was a gift of gratitude from a client. It is a fitting description for the veteran lawyer and politician known as the “Tiger of Jelutong (his former Parliamentary constituency)”.

Throughout his legal and political career spanning more than three decades, Karpal Singh has been no stranger to controversy and defiance, even after being bound to a wheelchair after a 2005 road accident.

The 68-year-old chairman of DAP made the news again last week when a group of Selangor Umno Youth members mobbed him and demanded an apology from him for alleging that the movement had sent live bullets to him.

In a recent interview with Sunday Star, Karpal Singh, who is currently MP for Bukit Gelugor, gave his views on a wide range of subjects and issues.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

>Are you going to take action against the Sultan of Perak?

>No, I did not say that I was going to take any action. I think the way it has been reported was that I was personally going to take action against the Sultan. What I said was, I was asked to look into the position when the crisis arose and my advice was, the Sultan could be taken to court.

I still stick by that view. It’s very simple if you look at Article 181(2) of the Federal Constitution.

It states that no proceedings whatsoever shall be brought against the Ruler of a state in his personal capacity except in the Special Court.

In other words, in his personal capacity he can be sued only in the Special Court and nowhere else. If it’s the official capacity, there is no bar to it. The Constitution does not say in his personal or official capacity. So it’s on an elementary principle.

I don’t know why I have been sort of being pushed from pillar to post for suggesting what is in fact the legal remedy.

That was my advice to the Government but it was not taken.

>You have filed other cases against reigning Kings.

>Yes. In fact I filed a case against the Sultan of Johor when he was Yang di-Pertuan Agong because I felt it was right and could be done. I lost, but that’s not the point. It was done.

I filed a case against the Sultan of Selangor, and later the Sultan of Pahang in the Special Court where a Singaporean lady sued him for defamation. It was a 4-1 decision. I lost on the ground that a Singaporean could not sue the King or Sultan in this country.

It has been done. I don’t see why everyone is baying for my blood.

>Maybe the noise has been made because of certain coming elections?

>That’s quite obvious. But they ought not to do it in that manner. When they demonstrate, my staff and family are affected. In fact I was told that police were surrounding my office that morning. I said never mind, I will come. My staff felt threatened. I told her to stay inside and not to go out.

When I came here, I saw the FRU and police around. My God, the noise they made here. The FRU was with them and tried to stop them. They had banners abusing me. I didn’t start anything. I was doing my job as MP.

I may say things a little controversial sometimes but that’s in the course of my duties. I’m entitled to my opinion, and others may not agree with what I have to say. Parliament is the forum where they should take me on, not the streets.

>You have used the word celaka (damn) in Parliament several times in the past. You even used it on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Some say you have a fascination for this word.

I remember in 1991 there was a by-election in Prai and I stood for the by-election there. Prai has about 40% to 45% Indian voters and we were poised to win because that was the time in 1990 when DAP garnered 14 seats and nearly formed the Government. And Anwar was reported to have gone to the Prai area and told the Indians there, ‘why vote for Karpal Singh who murdered Indira Gandhi.’ Yes, I lost. When I came back to Parliament, I went for him. I said celaka and asked how dare he say that.

>What does the word mean to you?

>It depends on the context. I would like to just leave it at that because Khairy Jamaluddin dared me to repeat it outside. Come into Parliament and take me on there.

Could you have gone overboard by accusing the Umno Youth of sending you the bullets?

I don’t wish to go into that. It’s not an appropriate forum.

>Some people say provocation is your style of politics. For example, you threw a book in the assembly at the Speaker (the late Ooi Ean Kwong who was in DAP but crossed over).

>Yes, I got him on his chest.

>You are not apologising for your style?

>No, that’s my style and that’s the way I do it. I’m quite different in the courts. You can ask any judge. It’s different in court. There’s intellectual argument. In Parliament, it’s a jungle out there. It’s the survival of the fittest and there are no holds barred. It’s as simple as that.

>Were you saddened by the confrontation?

>I feel outraged that this kind of thing can happen in Parliament. And the IGP says that the police have no power, it is the Sergeant-at-Arms.

I don’t know how the IGP could conjure up that kind of argument. The Sergeant-at-Arms is only for the chamber of the Dewan Rakyat during proceedings, not within the precincts of Parliament.

What if there is a murder in the precincts of Parliament? If you get shot, the police can’t do anything? Come on. The IGP should have more sense than this. I don’t think he has impressed anyone including himself with that statement.

>Some have advised you to hold your tongue, speak wisely and be statesmanlike to remain relevant in Malaysian politics. What are your comments?

>I have a different style. I’m not a statesman. I’m a politician and politicians don’t necessarily have to be statesmen. Of course, as they grow old they become statesmen. I might well become a statesman someday but I’m still young. I’m not that old. I don’t talk all the time, only when necessary. I’m a very quiet man by nature. In fact my mother nicknamed me Gandhi because of my passive resistance type of attitude in the family.

Pakatan Rakyat issues

>Can PR be workable given the ideological differences?

>It has been a thorn in the side of the Pakatan all the while. In fact way back to the Gagasan Rakyat days in 1999, Kit Siang and I were booted out practically from very safe seats in Penang.

I was going for my sixth term in Jelutong and we had made it very clear in the common manifesto with Gagasan Rakyat at that time. We insisted that there would be no inclusion of the Islamic state. That was agreed upon.

Suddenly, two or three days before polling, (PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul) Hadi Awang announced in Terengganu that if they came into power there, they would have an Islamic state in Terengganu.

Can you imagine it? Malaysia is a federation. You can’t have each state having its own laws. And what was the result of that? We found it very difficult to explain to the constituents. They said: “You said everything was all right and agreed on a common manifesto. How come this man is saying otherwise?” That was it. We left the Gagasan Rakyat at the time and in 2004 we came back.

>Are you a tiger or a lion?

>I don’t know. They call me all sorts of things – lion, tiger. Actually, this tiger tag which has been put around my neck was because of something that happened in 1982. I was having an exchange of words with (Datuk Seri) Samy Vellu in Parliament. He said “I am a lion, you’re a tiger.” I said, I’m a lion by birthright (Singh means lion). But never mind you be the lion and I’ll be the tiger because in this country there are no lions. So from then onwards, the tag has stuck. Samy Vellu created it for me.

>What about your recent outburst? Some people say you should have gone through internal channels instead of the media.

>Yes, that charge has been made against me but I thought that you can’t bring up in a party what has publicly been announced. And unfortunately when (Datuk) Nasaruddin (Bota) crossed into PR, Lim Guan Eng – and I hope he was misquoted – said it would strengthen PR. And I thought that was wrong.

How could we support crossovers? I had to make a public stand on behalf of the party, and in the process I went for Anwar Ibrahim because I think it is wrong to form a government because of crossovers. I thought that I had to say something about it.

>What if Anwar had succeeded in doing so and PR formed the Federal government?

>I would not have taken part in such a government. I made it very clear even earlier that party hopping should be abolished and that something must be done about it and hoped the Government would move an amendment to the Constitution. The DAP will support it. I can’t be accused of going against the party. In fact, I was maintaining the party stand.

>Can PR exist without Anwar?

>Of course, I must admit that there is no one to equal Anwar as the position stands now to lead the PR. And I made it very clear in Parliament that what I had said earlier was my personal opinion. Likewise, he also offered an olive branch before I did.

>People are making comparisons between Barisan and PR. The fact that PR has to compromise just like the BN parties do. When it comes to the crunch what’s the difference?

>You see that’s why they say he may be a good lawyer but he’s a lousy politician. That has been a charge against me. But I think one should know that you can’t sacrifice principles for political expediency. That’s the stand I have taken and I won’t shift from that. They say in politics there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends, but I say there must be permanent principles. I must be able to look at myself in the mirror when I get up in the morning. You can’t twist and turn. That’s something that I have not been able to do and I have been criticised for it.

General matters

>You mentioned that Singh is King. Did you watch the movie?

I watched the movie and there is nothing like seeing a Sikh James Bond. It was very entertaining.

>Can you relate to any character in the movie?

>Not that I want to relate. I just came out that day and said look here, don’t play around with me – Singh is King. Then you find (Datuk) Mukhriz Mahathir saying that I have insulted the Rulers by saying that. Then what about Burger King? I think there should be a limit to these things. I did not mean it in any derogatory way. It was more to say don’t play around with me. I think it’s gone quite well with the people. They can laugh and it’s nothing beyond that to say that I have insulted the monarchy.

Siaran Langsung Pidato Kebangsaan “Ketuanan Rakyat”

Siaran Langsung Pidato Kebangsaan “Ketuanan Rakyat”

Butiran program:
Hari: Ahad 8hb Mac 2009
Masa: Jam 4.30 petang
Tempat: Wisma MBSA, Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan
http://www.justin.tv/tvmalaysia
Jikaanda mengalami masalah untuk menonton siaran langsung tersebut anda boleh ke www.tvantara.com
“Pidato Kebangsaan 2009” Annual National Address by Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim speech
We gather today not only to celebrate an auspicious anniversary, but to hail the triumph of an idea, an idea so sublime that people throughout history were willing to give their lives for it.

Its force was so great that we have to be reminded by Victor Hugo of its strength. This great French writer said: “Greater than the tread of mighty armies is an idea whose time has come.” Continue reading ‘Siaran Langsung Pidato Kebangsaan “Ketuanan Rakyat”’

BM for Science/Maths - Denouncing the violence, dissecting the issue

Once again, severe violence was visited upon people who gathered to make their feelings felt.

Every time something like this happens, it makes me cringe so deeply inside.

How many times have the rakyat proven that if you allow us to gather peacefully, events always finish without incident.

While those pandering to the other side of the fence talk about the politicisation of language, I think the more serious issue at hand is the continual use of the police to inflict severe violence against anyone who dares to protest against anything BN.

Why else would the cops make such a fuss over a simple gathering? Every time something even appears to threaten the hegemony of BN and give voice to rampant dissatisfaction, it’s tear gas, water cannons and very big, painful sticks for you.

No one was spared; not even the National Mosque, not even 76 year old poet laureates.

I’m so deeply angered.

The only encouragement is the 8,000 odd crowd today, who bravely faced almost certain harassment. I think the language issue was exacerbated by the extreme frustration many Malaysians feel about the ongoing political crises and scheduled ascension of Najib.

Now, on the issue of language. I used not to have much of an opinion in this matter, until a newfound friend brought up some points I found convincing.

The simple question is: what is the point of teaching Science and Maths in English?

Two possible answers appear most prominent.

1. To improve the standard of science and maths, as well as better prepare students for further education in the sciences.

2. To improve the standard of English in Malaysia.

Fully aware of the language I write this in even, allow me to reproduce in part my friend’s arguments.

I’ll start with number 2. I think it’s quite obvious that attempting to improve English among Malaysians by teaching more subjects in English adds to rather than subtracts from the problem. Grappling with concepts while grappling with language is a recipe for absolute confusion.

Everyone agrees that a higher standard of English is good for all - but would this really be the way to achieve it?

Onto number 1. The core value of learning science and mathematics lies in understanding principles and being able to apply structured, scientific thought.

I don’t have numbers, but let’s do a mental exercise and think about how many Malaysians throughout the country understand science and maths better now, using English as a medium, versus before, when BM was used?

Needless to say, native English speakers like me and members of the higher socioeconomic classes benefit greatly - everything just becomes easier for us. (BM was perhaps one of the hardest subjects to score in for many of my peers).

Conversely, everything becomes harder for the vastly larger numbers of students from rural areas and other communities where English is not spoken as extensively.

I might even go so far as to extrapolate and argue that teaching these subjects in English is elitist.

I know many who read this blog will not agree with me, but I invite you to think not just of those like us, but of the larger country as a whole.

I studied both subjects in BM, as did countless forms before me. Did I have a super hard time doing higher level studies in Science and Maths after Form 5? Did learning these subjects in BM prevent my peers and predecessors from getting into the best universities in the world?

It would appear not.

I think deep down, many with backgrounds similar to mine find BM to be… well, useless is probably the most honest word.

I don’t agree. I have always been proud of our language, and have tried not to let slip whatever limited facility I have with it. I feel much closer to it than Chinese or any other language.

While there’s plenty, plenty that can and should be done to improve the standard of English, I think Malay as a medium of instruction has worked just fine for a long time, and that we should both make an effort to understand the views of our brothers and sisters as well as always keep in mind the greater public good.

Parliamentary Immunity An Abused Privilege?

By Noor Hayati Muda

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Bernama) -- The reminder by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, for Members of Parliament to display exemplary behaviour in the Dewan Rakyat seems to have gone unheeded, at least by some of the MPs.

Hardly a week after the caution by the king when opening the current session of Parliament, words regarded as abusive including "celaka" (damn) were uttered in the Dewan Rakyat.

The same words, if used outside the august House, would have surely invited legal suits against the perpetrators.

However, the MPs who utter such words and statements are shielded from any legal action because they have immunity as provided for under Article 63 of the Constitution.

Perhaps a large section of the people in the country have become familiar with the demeanour of these MPs.

However, is it right for them to make use of their immunity to utter unparliamentary language, more so in the highest law-making council of the nation and in these times when technology can convey their action for the whole world to see at an instant?

There have been rumblings among the people irked by the behaviour of some of these MPs, with some suggesting that the immunity be clipped.

Foreign Minister and MP for Jelebu Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who agrees with the suggestion, said the demeanor could have been "inspired" by the live telecast of some of the proceedings in the Dewan Rakyat.

"They may want to portray their stature when debating on certain issues," he said.

The demeanour of some of the MPs gives the picture that they have unlimited immunity but the fact is, according to Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, there are restrictions.

"The objective of the immunity is to give as much leeway as possible to the MPs to debate on any issue without fear or worry of legal action by the targeted party in the course of the MPs discharging their duty in the House or its vicinity or even outside the House in relation to his/her duty as an MP.

"(But) the immunity is conditional. One of the conditions is related to the Sedition Act, a law which is associated with matters of national security such as treason. Then the immunity is not applicable," he told Bernama.

Wan Junaidi, who is the MP for Santubong, went on to say that an MP could not touch on several matters when speaking in Parliament.

"For example, matters which are pending in the courts, matters associated with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Malay Rulers, the Yang Dipertuas Negeri, judges and their commission and members of the commission, the armed forces council, and any commission established by the government under the constitution," he said.

He said that normally the MP who strayed beyond the boundary of the immunity would be reprimanded by the speaker or deputy speaker chairing the sitting then.

"Some say I am not firm enough for not taking other action on the basis of the powers vested in me but I hold to many references and views considering that the conditions providing for such action are tight," he said.

Wan Junaidi cited the example of "confusing the House" which has been raised many times by MPs under Standing Order 36(12).

"Before action can be taken, the speaker has to verify that the individual who made the statement knew that it was wrong and it was intentionally made with the purpose of confusing the House," he said.

If these conditions were fulfilled, then the MP can be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee, he said, adding that the Dewan Rakyat had the authority to send a person to jail.

"In accordance with Section 9 of the House of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, the Dewan Rakyat has the authority to send a person to jail or impose a custodial sentence. Under Section 9, a person who is found to have committed contempt of the House can be fined RM1,000 and if he cannot pay the fine, he can be detained until the fine is paid or the House is dissolved," he said.

Wan Junaidi said similar powers were provided for in the Standing Orders.

"The powers are wide but we rarely use them because we feel the spirit of democracy in the House must be safeguarded," he said.

Acknowledging that the situation in the Dewan Rakyat had not reached the extreme, Wan Junaidi said much of the unparliamentary language was hurled at one another by the MPs.

"It is most important to ensure that they do not insult the speaker. In other countries, it is prohibited to defy the speaker. In England, if the speaker stands up, every member will become silent no matter how noisy they had been.

"Here, unfortunately, no matter how high the speaker raises his voice, they still do not listen. But that does not matter, so long as things do not go to the extreme," he said.

In the history of Dewan Rakyat sessions, several MPs have been suspended for insulting the House and Speaker.

Among them are Bukit Gelugor MP and DAP chairman Karpal Singh who was suspended for six months in 2004 for refusing to abide by the decision of the then speaker, the late Tun Dr Mohamed Zahir Ismail.

Several Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs have also sparked off controversy by issuing statements degrading women. They include Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin.

Arguably, the demeanour of this MP tickles people in the public gallery but then MPs are not elected to be comedians and to turn the august House into a comedy theatre.

"Such people should not be given another chance. They should be removed at the next elections. The people have to act or such a situation will linger," said Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim.

The academic said the people should act because the MPs seem to have forgotten their fundamental duty, which was to take care of the people's welfare and not trade insults.

"My advice is for the people to be prudent and understand a candidate before giving him or her their vote," he said.

Dr Khoo said that based on the political situation in the country, the people required elected representatives of integrity who could ensure that their welfare was given priority.

"It would be pointless to clip their immunity because of importance is their integrity. If there is no integrity, the situation will remain unchanged," he said.

Undeniably, given the "chaos" in the House, the elected representatives do discharge their function as law-makers.

UPDATE ON WAYTHA MOORTHY’S CONDITION

THIS MAIL IS BEING SENT ON BEHALF OF MR WAYTHA MOORTHY - R.Shan

PRESS STATEMENT 7.3.09

HINDRAF Makkal Sakthi
P.Waythamoorthy had undergone an emergency angioplasty at a heart centre in London on March 2, 2009. During the said procedure, the cardiologist had found that he has a very rare heart condition known as Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC).

Doctors who treated Waytha Moorthy has found that he has a heart muscle disorder as a result of scar tissue and fatty formations and serious rhythm disturbance which in most cases can lead to ventricular fibrillation or sudden death. The progressive loss of muscle lead to thinning of the ventricular wall, dilation, and pump dysfunction. The above conditions are due to stress.

We can now confirm today that the Hospital has scheduled Monday 9th March 2009 as the date of the operation. He has been advised that he run the risk of complications during the said procedure which includes cardiac arrest, puncture of the heart and other related complications.
(Upon the request of family members, we are withholding the name of the hospital and urge his friends in the UK to understand his request for privacy).

In lieu of the risky heart operation that P.Waythamoorthy would undergo, and the subsequent need for him to be cared by his family member and loved ones, we call upon the Malaysian government to urgently and immediately address the following issues;

a. The Malaysian government to issue a new Malaysian passport to replace the revoked passport to P. Waytha Moorthy and this to be made available for him or his representative to collect from the Malaysian High Commission in London.

b. The Malaysian government guarantees the safe return of P.Waythamoorthy to allow him to recuperate with his family members and loved ones.

c. The Malaysian government guarantees that P.Waythamoorthy will not be subjected to any arrest, harassment or charges upon his return including under those under ISA.

d. The Malaysian government’s assurance and guarantee that he will be allowed to return to London for follow up checks and possible further operations.

e. Lastly, the Malaysian government’s unconditional guarantee that his life will be protected from any form of persecution upon his return and no harm shall befall him.

Thank you.

R. Thanendran
National coordinator

MAKKAL SAKTHI

Independent probe into two autopsy reports on Kugan

Two days back I wrote an article that the ruling party and police going to turn Kugan’s case upside dpwn. UMNO and police can do everything they want even they can bribe the judges and AG. The people of Malaysia are watching to their fun. It is not anymore fun for Malaysians. UMNO and BN going to be collapse in the next election. Poeple are being fed up with their dealing. If they don’t change now, Next election will be the answer. Here is the link for it:- http://national-express-malaysia.blogspot.com/2009/03/kugans-post-mortem.html

The Health Ministry will launch an independent probe into the two autopsy reports relating to the controversial death of 22-year-old suspected car thief, A Kugan, who died while in the custody of the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya on Jan 20.


a kugan detention death funeral ummc to puchong 280109Bernama reported that Health Ministery director-general Mohd Ismail Merican said the step was being taken to ensure impartiality following various allegations directed at the ministry over the matter.

He stressed that the Health Ministry did not hide the facts and findings of the post-mortem conducted by the Serdang Hospital as had been reported by certain parties.

“The forensic pathologist from Serdang Hospital, who has over 20 years experience, had performed his duty ethically and professionally while conducting the post-mortem examination.

“Nevertheless, the ministry will be conducting a formal independent inquiry on both post-mortem reports in the interest of justice and fairplay and will inform the public of the outcome of the investigation," he said in a statement.

A controversy arose on the Serdang Hospital post-mortem after a second autopsy done at the request of the deceased's family at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) indicated Kugan's death was due to multi organ failure because of severe beating.

Need to refer to independent experts

Meanwhile, the Serdang Hospital report had stated that death was due to fluid accumulation in his lungs.

Mohd Ismail said forensic pathologists conducting post-mortem examinations may have differences in opinions as to the actual cause of death but what was important was that the findings during the examination should be almost similar as evidenced in this case, which for the lungs was pulmonary haemorrhage, edema and congestion.

On the difference in the cause of death, he said it needed to be referred to independent forensic experts, based on the findings of the two pathologists doing the post-mortems.

He also dismissed claims by Kugan's family, that the Serdang Hospital pathologist had listed 22 injuries on the body compared to the 40 additional injuries, burn marks and scratches indicated in the second report.

a kugan detention death funeral ummc to puchong 280109“The Serdang Hospital report showed 83 wounds and injuries. The description of each is more detailed in the Serdang Hospital report," he said, adding that the UMMC report was also not accurate as some of the wounds reported were caused by cutting during the first post-mortem examination.

He said the Serdang Hospital report made available to Kugan's family and published on the website was a comprehensive report while the record of the detailed findings and pictures taken during the first post-mortem were kept at the Serdang Hospital for court reference.

“It is not fair for anyone to make baseless allegations in this case as the Serdang Hospital pathologist had carried out his duties ethically and professionally," he said.

Mohd Ismail added that the ministry did not want discuss the cause of Kugan's death in the open and urged the public not to make any more baseless allegations until the responsible parties completed their investigations, including the ministry itself.

He further assured that the case would be given serious attention, but at the same time, he said the ministry hoped the public would be patient until the independent panel completed its job.

BN: Will it change?

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — It looks straightforward enough on paper, but the process to select the next deputy prime minister is casting a glaring light on the internal divisions and contradictions rife in Malaysia's biggest party.

The actual job at stake is the deputy presidency of Umno, which by convention comes with the deputy prime minister's post.

Probably the most qualified candidate is International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, but he is fighting a hard battle with Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ali Rustam.

Both are the front-runners, while Rural and Regional Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib is the dark horse on the outside.

The choice between Muhyiddin and Ali would seem obvious enough, but the 2,500 Umno delegates may not agree — and they hold the vote.

Ali, with his people's touch, is hugely popular at the grassroots level. There are countless stories of him turning up at hospitals in the wee hours to visit ill Umno members, something that counts for a lot with party delegates. But he is not seen as qualified for the senior post.

Umno's choice of leaders is frequently based on patronage, money, and the people's touch, but rarely on national considerations.

It has become seen as a party preoccupied with itself, and it is precisely this insularity that turned off many Malaysians and in turn sparked the serious backlash against Barisan Nasional in last March's pivotal general election.

It is, in two words, Umno's arrogance.

Sure, the voter rejection had stunned Umno and the BN, and sparked much soul searching. One year on, however, the coalition has yet to move forward.

It spent the year squabbling over its leadership. Repeated acknowledgements of problems were not matched by serious reforms.

Muhyiddin recently told the foreign media that Umno's top leadership was very aware that it had to change — or be changed. He also admitted that the party was perceived as self-serving and that there was a need for “political education”.

But, he added: “It's not easy.”

Indeed, it has not been. Even as the party acknowledged that it had alienated the non-Malay communities with its nationalist rhetoric, the actions of its members suggest that they have not really got the message.

There was the infamous occasion where a Penang Umno divisional leader called the Chinese “immigrants”. The party suspended him for three years, but the Chinese journalist who reported his speech was arrested.

The difficulty in overhauling Umno lies in the entrenched system of patronage which is, of course, linked to race. Many of its members depend on the party for their livelihood.

Money is its lifeline and race rhetoric its defence against change.

And while changing Umno is extraordinarily difficult, the other parties under the BN umbrella have not fared better.

The biggest Chinese party, the MCA, had a leadership change when former president Datuk Ong Ka Ting stepped down.

Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat won the race to take over but the party has since become mired in internal politicking, with the maverick Tee Keat embroiled in a power tussle with his deputy Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.

The MIC is also caught in a power tussle. Long-time president Datuk S. Samy Vellu has refused to relinquish his post, and his iron grip on the party makes it difficult for challengers to emerge.

Such internal squabbling has made it even harder for the BN to rebuild itself. It is showing signs of strain after one of its 13 partners — the small Sabah People's Party — walked out in anger over the failure to address the problems of Sabahans.

All in all, it has not been a good year for the BN.

While it has to go beyond cosmetic changes, it has little room to manoeuvre. There is wide consensus that Umno, which anchors the coalition, has to lead the way, and some suggestions have been proposed.

Muhyiddin, for instance, has devised a mechanism to allow more than just 2,500 Umno delegates to vote in party polls. His plan would enable some 100,000 members to have a say, making it almost impossible to bribe one's way to victory.

This would weaken the patronage system and in turn tone down the race rhetoric in Umno. It would also build a more equitable partnership with its coalition partners and give the BN a fighting chance to regain public confidence.

But so far, there has been no enthusiasm for such reforms within the party.

Adding to the BN's troubles is the dangerous perception that it can do nothing right. This will be extremely hard to combat. The coalition has set up several committees charged with rebranding, but has not made much headway.

Not that it has been sitting idly by watching as its political power drains away. The BN has been lighting fires for the opposition to fight in recent months, none more effective than its engineering of the toppling of the opposition state government in Perak.

But while this politicking has stymied the opposition's relentless advance, in the long term, the BN will have to revamp its tarnished reputation.

“Like nettles, these issues must be grasped with full consciousness that they are what they are,” Tee Keat had warned on the MCA's 60th anniversary.

But few have confidence that the BN has the will to do so.

In writing about the MCA's anniversary, political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said: “Political parties such as MCA, Gerakan and MIC have continued to operate in their own space and are largely ignorant of public perception.

“Their leaders think that they are still popular as long as they can command the support of delegates. This is a crucial misconception, as was proven in the last general election when dominant leaders were defeated.” — Straits Times

Samy Vellu was my inspiration but I regret the day I met him, says Chitrakalla

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — “He was my inspiration since I was 11 years old but now I regret the day I met him,” says P. Chitrakalla Vasu, the 38-year-old mother of four, referring to MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu with whom she is now involved in a furious “do-or-die” battle.

They had a long and fruitful relationship; he was the visionary and she was the woman who slogged to realise his dreams.

But today they are accusing each other of thievery, immorality and betrayal.

Samy Vellu, 73, has vowed to finish off Chitrakalla, the woman he put in place as chief executive of MIED, the education arm of the MIC.

He is accusing her of misappropriating MIED money.

She is accusing him of hijacking MIED and tsunami relief funds and betraying the trust of the Indian community.

On Samy Vellu’s instruction, MIED has lodged several police reports against her. She has retaliated, lodging two reports against Samy Vellu in the tit-for-tat war.

Even as police investigate these allegations, their war has worsened with Chitrakalla boldly walking into Parliament lobby twice this week and openly hobnobbing with opposition MPs.

She has requested for an appointment to see Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to “complaint and tell all” about Samy Vellu.

“I need to see somebody higher up than Samy Vellu… if I don’t get to see him (Najib) I might see opposition leader Anwar (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim),” she said on Wednesday, daring Samy Vellu or anyone to stop her.

“I have nothing to hide, he (Samy Vellu) has everything to hide,” she said defiantly.

Their open war is the talk of the MIC and the country.

Yet at one time their relationship could not have been cosier and was the envy of Samy Vellu’s inner circle.

She had easy, open and instant access to Samy Vellu for over 15 years.

He openly showed his liking for her before everyone.

“The inner circle seeing their special relationship treated her as a queen… nobody dared to annoy her and everybody pleased her,” said a MIC insider, recalling the good times.

The man Chitrakalla hates so much today was more than a friend or a benefactor but was almost her godfather — a man who supported, defended and stood by her for over 20 years.

Ironically the first person to acknowledge Samy Vellu’s bounty is Chitrakalla herself.

“He financed my education, launched my career and got me started in business. He got for my husband contracts and licences. He was our greatest benefactor,” she said.

(She readily admits Samy Vellu personally met former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Najib to help get for her husband a Proton and a Perodua outlet and management of a National Service camp.)

“But it’s all over now,” Chitrakalla said in an interview with The Malaysian Insider this week, opening the door to her life story.

She talked about how she met Samy Vellu, how he inspired her, how he grew attached to her, and her 15 years as MIED CEO and the spark that exploded into a massive fallout between them that is now public knowledge.

“I hate him, I regret the day I met him and got sucked into his world,” she said, remembering the time as an 11-year-old when she met Samy Vellu in Ipoh in 1982.

She was a Standard Five student at a Tamil school in the city and was due to get an award for her excellent grades at a ceremony where Samy Vellu presided.

“I arrived late and the ceremony had ended. I did what children at my age do — I cried aloud,” she said. “Samy Vellu noticed and called me to come up to stage to receive the award.”

It was a pen.

“It was a magnanimous act. I was touched and inspired,” Chitrakalla said.

Chitrakalla says the MIC president has tarnished her name.

That was their first meeting and from then on Chitrakalla, whose father is a retired police clerk, followed Samy Vellu’s career in the newspapers and heard him speak every Sunday over radio.

“It was a joy listening to him. Few could match his command of the Tamil language, his oratory skills and powerful delivery,” she wrote, remembering her first encounter with him in a coffeetable book, “Samy Vellu, As We Know Him”, some 27 years later.

About 10 years after that first encounter their paths crossed again.

She was 21 and had won, for an Indian, a rare Mara scholarship to study accountancy in England. But there was one catch — she was bonded to work as a teacher of accountancy for five years.

“I wanted to work not teach and was in a dilemma and someone suggested I seek Samy Vellu’s help to get the scholarship without a bond,” she said.

Then, as is still the case now, it was easy for any person to see Samy Vellu, who opens his office to the public every Tuesday. One need only take a number, although the wait can be long because the queue is usually long.

“One Tuesday in March 1991 I parked myself at his office and waited to see the man who had been an inspiration to me since I was 11,” she said.

After some difficulties, she met Samy Vellu and narrated her problems. “He instantly picked up the telephone and called Mara and argued on my behalf to lift the bond. But they refused.”

“He put down the phone, look up to me and said ‘cancel the Mara scholarship, I will finance your studies’,” she said. “It was just like that.”

True enough Samy Vellu connected her to the Antah Bywater Foundation in London which paid for her studies. One of her prized possessions is a laminated copy of a personal cheque from Samy Vellu for RM750 which was to pay for a local examination with Systematic Business Training Centre.

“Just imagine the impact he made on me with that announcement,” she said. “He was my hero, a man of his words and a great benefactor. He respected my grades, recognised my talents and generously supported me.”

After that the student and benefactor went separate ways — she left for London, completed her studies and returned home in 1995 to land her first job as an accountant with a firm in Singapore.

During that time Samy Vellu was embroiled in Maika Holdings’ Telekoms share scandal from which, despite huge negative publicity, he managed to wriggle his way out.

One day in July 1995 their paths crossed again, this time at the Ipoh airport — she was leaving for Singapore and he was arriving from Kuala Lumpur.

“My father noticed him and urged me to say hello to him. We walked up to him and struck up a conversation. He remembered me, he remembered even my name,” she said.

Samy Vellu said he was looking for someone to run MIED and on the spot offered her the job.

“I declined but he was persistent and persuaded me by saying the Indian community stands to benefit if I take the job,” she said.

That’s how she started work at the MIC headquarters as MIED CEO and struck up an open and unique relationship with her benefactor that lasted through thick and thin for 15 years.

Their relationship was cosy enough for the tongues to wag.

“Persistent gossip dogged me that I was having an affair with Samy Vellu. I was not that type but people keep gossiping,” she said. “I was married and having children but the MIC culture was like that. The gossip got under my skin and I resigned in 2002,” she said.

But two years later she was back, persuaded again by Samy Vellu who argued he needed someone capable that he could trust to successfully complete the AIMST University project.

Their relationship blossomed once again and the university was completed in time and opened to students in July 2008 — for Samy Vellu the realisation of a cherished dream.

“I was happy to have realised it for him,” Chitrakalla said.

While the MIC inner circle happily gossiped about them, Chitrakalla kept a distance while continuing to serve Samy Vellu.

“Samy Vellu continued to enjoy and take delight in her presence. His demeanour showed he liked her tremendous especially as she was outspoken,” said a party insider.

But the circumstances suddenly changed, the good life came to an end and in the end bad blood soured their relationship.

The MIC’s massive defeat on March 8, 2008 with Samy Vellu himself biting the dust was the spark that eventually let to a fallout between them.

“He was insecure and saw enemies everywhere. He suspected everyone and the loyalties of the inner circle were all sorely tested,” she said.

This was also the time when Samy Vellu began to rely more on his son Vel Paari and less on other top leaders.

At the same time, insiders said, Chitrakalla and others in the inner circle realised the writing was on the wall for Samy Vellu and tried to move out of the large shadow he cast.

They had to consider a life without the protection and succour that was Samy Vellu. Some shifted political sides while others gave more attention to business.

In weeks after March 8 the role and influence of Vel Paari grew as the only person who could be trusted. It was also a time when MIC division leaders were speaking up against Samy Vellu and he suspected his deputy Datuk G. Palanivel of being behind a “rebellion” which eventually died a natural death.

“It got worst by the week and he started to question everything I did,” she said. “It finally dawned on me that with him relying so much on his son, my usefulness as MIED CEO was over.”

After that it was one stormy scene after another. “Soon I felt like the curry leaves you use to fry for its fragrance but discarded after the cooking is done,” Chitrakalla said.

“I feel like I have been cooked and now discarded. I am not needed anymore… my usefulness was over,” she said.

“If he had politely told me to leave I would have left without a murmur. But the manner he pushed me out, the way he picked a fight with me and the way he tarnished my name in private and public is unacceptable,” she said.

“That’s why I am taking him on… because I am a respectable woman, he has embarrassed me,” she said.