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Monday, March 9, 2009

Assault On Legislature, Constitution Dead

Discussing the Perak situation with specificity is, by this stage, a difficult thing to do. So much has happened so quickly. Nuanced actions and counter-actions, some of it in uncertain legal terrain, and relatively scarce details have made it precarious to consider certain key events – the legal action against the Speaker and its incidents, for instance – with the depth that only certainty would allow for.

Having said that, whatever the specifics may be and whoever may be right as to the validity or legality of certain aspects of the unfolding saga, when considered from a broader perspective and with reference to the fundamentals of democracy, I do not think that the situation in Perak is very complicated at all. As Tengku Razaleigh recently observed, a chain-reaction of illegality has left Perak possibly without a legitimate government and the Constitution a dead piece of paper.

I was too young to fully appreciate the terrible impact on democracy that the events of 1987 and 1988 had. Understanding came later, as I learnt to see what needed to be seen: the supremacy of the Constitution, the separation of powers and the check and balance it is aimed at, the independence of the judiciary and, correspondingly, the legislature. But even as my awareness of what had happened and how it had happened increased, I rather naively found myself thinking that it was unlikely that we would ever see anything of the likes again. Those events had simply been too heinous and the injuries inflicted on this nation too serious to ignore, even by those who had been responsible and those who would possibly follow in their footsteps.

Or so I thought.

The savagery of what has happened in Perak and the utter disregard of consequence on the part of those orchestrating the campaign go far to show how foolish I was to have believed that all of us, without exception, recognize that some costs are too great and for that, even blind ambition has its limits. It is clear now that this is not necessarily the case; for some, even the nation itself is expendable.

In saying savagery, I recognize that there has been neither bloodshed nor preventive detentions, though it is still too early to say for sure that things will stay that way. The incitement carries on, and mobs are being driven to frenzy to the throb of the war drums. Amidst the calls for blood, bullets have been sent, a disabled parliamentarian assaulted and some of his colleagues battered. The police have apparently too much on their hands to move with the speed that they are capable of and, as such, as things stand serve no useful role as the deterrent that the situation sorely requires.

Violence has however been done; to the Federal and State constitutions, to the Rule of Law and to all that these fundamentals represent. War has been waged on democracy itself.

I can think of no other way to characterize events.

As thing stands, the Speaker is still the Speaker. He has been at all times vested with the full powers of his office and the discretion to exercise those powers. He may have committed mistakes in arriving at certain decisions, but those are matters for the Legislative Assembly itself or, where legal limits have been transgressed, for the courts whose powers in this regard are limited by reason of the separation of powers. Until corrected, the Speaker’s decisions stand, be they the acceptance of the resignation of the three members who crossed the floor, the issuing of the show cause notices to the alleged usurpers of power and the effecting of their suspension, or the calling of the emergency sessions of the Assembly.

And yet under the hand of the Executive, in a manner reminiscent of the locking up of the Supreme Court in 1988 the Legislative Assembly itself was put out of bounds to members of the Assembly, This was done at the instigation of the State Secretary, an officer of the executive and as such its representative, with the assistance of a police force duty bound to protect the system of governance and associated freedoms put in place by the constitutions of this nation.

In doing so, the Executive laid siege on the Legislature. The sight of the Federal Reserve Unit barring the way into the Legislative Assembly, fangs bared and water cannon poised, was as close a physical depiction of democracy being taken hostage as we will ever see. The underlying intention of the exercise brings this further into relief. It was apparent that the Assembly had to be prevented from meeting for as long as it took for the lawyers to do what they could in court. Injunctions against the Speaker had been applied for. Once these were granted, the process that the Speaker had started would be brought to a halt.

The fact that the injunctions had been applied for shows clearly how far democracy was subverted. The making of the applications underscores awareness on the part of those orchestrating the campaign that self-help was not permissible. The validity of the Speaker’s actions had to be tested before a court of law. If they were not needed, the injunctions would not have been sought.

Despite this appreciation of the obvious, the might of the state was brought to bear. A federal agency was brought in and tasked to do what it was not mandated by law to do: keep the Assembly at bay to protect the interest of a coalition of political parties.

There is no law that allows police officers to deny members of a legislative chamber access to that chamber for the business of Legislature. It is not for any police officer to unilaterally determine that the business being conducted is not within the ambit of the legislature, no matter who might say it is. What the police force did was not justified in law. No crime had been committed. Though the gathering masses was reason enough for a police presence, breaches of the peace did not occur nor were orders to disperse issued, unsurprising given that the focal point was the denial of access to the Legislative Assembly.

It is glaringly obvious that confronted with a scenario that left it vulnerable to a tactical maneuvering of legislative procedure, and an inability to resolve the imbroglio to advantage, the Barisan Nasional at the state and federal level collectively took the law into its own hands. The plan to capture Perak had run into a brick wall and rather than go around it, they decided to blow it up and everything else with it.

The situation is comparable to a hypothetical scenario in which Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament barricaded Parliament House to deny Barisan Nasional Members and the Speaker access so as to prevent them from legitimately making a law that they would otherwise have. The only difference is if that had occurred, the Barisan Nasional would have denounced the exercise as an attempted coup d’etat and punished those involved to the full extent of the law at its disposal.

It does not make any difference that that the Barisan Nasional forms the Federal government of the day and is in a position to direct the police force; like all other institutions, these institutions are bound to act constitutionally and in accordance with the law. Malaysia is still a democracy predicated on constitutional supremacy. The expectation that all affairs will be conducted to the exclusive convenience and the advantage of the Barisan Nasional and its leaders is more suited to a dictatorship in which the Rule of Law means nothing.

Through the last week Malaysians have borne witness to a shameless display of belligerence and arrogance. We have heard a senior minister describe the emergency session, held by necessity under that now immortalized rain-tree, as “uncivilized”. Another senior minister described the Speaker as a ‘boy’. Though in line with the other ridiculous observations of ambitious UMNO leaders that Malaysians have had to endure since the beginning of the Perak affair, they do little to mask the obvious; that the Barisan Nasional appears to see no limits to what it is permitted to do to achieve its objectives.

And if it could do this in one state, what is to stop it from acting in the same way in other states or at the federal level. Judging by the way in which it has responded to criticism over its actions these past few weeks, it would seem nothing much. It is manifest that the Barisan Nasional considers itself a law unto itself.

That is the painful truth that lies at the heart of Tengku Razaleigh’s declaration that the Constitution is dead.

(Malaysian Insider; 6th March 2009)

MIS

Haramkan Parakuat untuk Kesejahteraan Wanita

Kenyataan Media Ahli Parlimen Kelana Jaya, Gwo-Burne Loh pada 7 April 2009 di Kelana Jaya.

Haramkan Parakuat untuk Kesejahteraan Wanita

Wanita ialah aset kepada pembangunan negara dan sumbangan mereka tidak dapat dinafikan penting. Wanita berada di setiap tahap pengurusan dan terlibat dalam hampir semua industri. Namun, bagi pekerja ladang wanita, mereka berada dalam tekanan dan berada dalam persekitaran yang mengancam nyawa mereka. Mereka terdedah dengan ancaman pelbagai penyakit akibat daripada kerja yang mereka dipertanggungjawabkan.

Sempena Hari Wanita Sedunia yang jatuh ada 8 Mac ini, saya ingin menggesa agar Kerajaan Pusat mengambil pendirian tegas untuk terus mengharamkan penggunaan parakuat (racun serangga atau racun rumpai) di ladang-ladang terutama sekali di ladang kelapa sawit kerana penggunaan ini telah mengancam pekerja-pekerja ladang yang juga terdiri daripada kaum wanita.

Melalui kajian yang dibuat pada Januari 2009 oleh sebuah NGO antarabangsa, tugasan penyemburan racun serangga melibatkan 80 peratus kaum wanita dan mereka ini terdedah kepada pelbagai ancaman. Pekerja ladang yang ditugaskan untuk menyembur parakuat, akan memberi kesan kepada organ kehamilan mereka. Pekerja juga akan terdedah kepada penyakit kulit dan cacat kekal.

Mereka juga terdedah kepada penyakit barah dan sekiranya mereka hamil, sebarang penyakit yang mereka alami berpunca daripada parakuat akan dibawa oleh bayi mereka. Jangkitan tesebut berlaku daripada penyusuan badan.

Penggunaan parakuat telah pun diharamkan oleh majoriti negara di dunia. Lembaga Racun Malaysia pernah mengharamkan penggunaan racun serangga ini suatu ketika dahulu dan kemudian ditarik balik. Mereka sekarang dalam membuat penilaian semula mengenai perkara ini atas banyak kajian kes berlaku di serata dunia dan mengancam pekerja-pekerja kaum wanita.

Sime Darby yang merupakan syarikat peladang minyak kelapa sawit yang terbesar di dunia mengiktiraf hak wanita dalam mendapat perlindungan daripada ancaman sedemikian. Dasar gender yang diluluskan pada 11 Ogos 2008 telah menyatakan dengan jelas hak-hak tersebut dan syarikat tersebut telah melaksanakannya sejak aswal 2008 sehingga kini. Ini merupakan tanggungjawab korporat sosial (CSR) yang perlu dicontohi oleh syarikat-syarikat perladangan yang lain.

Justeru, saya menyeru agar pihak berwajib menimbang semula dan mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap penggunaan parakuat yang mengancam golongan wanita. Ia selaras dengan piawai industry yang dinyataka oleh Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s Principles & Criteria yang mana keanggotaannya terdiri daripada pengeluar minyak kelapa sawit utama di dunia.

Selamat Hari Wanita 2009.

BN has its work cut out

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 – Yesterday marked the first anniversary of Malaysia’s historic 12th general election, when Malaysians voted in the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in five states and denied the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.

The results were hugely unexpected, with many marking PR because they wanted a different government. Others did it because they wanted to register protest votes to teach BN a lesson about what they perceived to be arrogance.

BN obtained 51.5 per cent of the popular vote, but only 49 per cent in the peninsula – a result subsequent surveys revealed voters could live with in spite of having the untested coalition rule in Kedah, Perak, Penang and Selangor, the last two being the jewels in the crown. Kelantan had already been under the opposition control.

A year is too short a time to judge the new state governments, especially when politicking reigned. But in the main, most seem willing to give PR the benefit of the doubt, believing them to be more sincere about good governance despite their lack of experience.

Since then, two by-elections have been held, both won convincingly by PR. Another three next month could prove even more telling.

Indeed, BN’s reluctance for fresh elections in Perak – the state it retook on the defection of three assemblymen from PR who turned “friendly” independents – despite the present constitutional impasse which has crippled the state administration underlines its fear of facing the electorate now.

“The chances are that we (BN) will lose badly in Perak,” was the frank analysis of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister and member of Umno, the dominant party within the BN coalition. “That seems to be why they are reluctant to have the Sultan dissolve the assembly.”

A year down the road, things are very different in BN and Umno in that Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak is already in the driver’s seat, taking over most of the duties that will be officially handed to him by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi later this month under a transition plan brokered after BN’s disastrous showing last year.

It is also very different in that if the economy was slowing last year, it was at least still growing. But a recession now beckons, with last year’s 4.6 per cent growth a distant memory, replaced by warnings the current slump will be deep and long.

If Abdullah was largely perceived as an inept finance minister, Najib’s turn at handling the portfolio will be closely watched.

That he has to deliver while fighting political fires on so many other fronts is far from reassuring.

After an initial six months in treasury, Najib will now have to demonstrate he has the plans and wherewithal to, if not arrest the decline, at least cushion some of the pain and to galvanise the people. To do this, he needs to inspire confidence.

This he can do by unveiling policies that demonstrate he understands the problems facing the economy along with a blueprint of how he proposes to overcome them.

The second stimulus package to be unveiled tomorrow could offer some clues as to whether he is on the right track.

A year after his coalition’s disastrous performance at the polls, BN’s popularity hasn’t improved.

At the moment, its best bet appears to be blunting simmering resentments by demonstrating it has the ability to make the economic crisis less stressful for all. – Business Times Singapore

Karpal tidak mahu sertai kerajaan pusat hasil lompat parti

mStar Online) - Pengerusi Kebangsaan DAP, Karpal Singh sama sekali tidak akan menyertai kerajaan persekutuan Pakatan Rakyat yang dibentuk menerusi tindakan melompat wakil rakyat Barisan Nasional (BN) yang pernah menjadi heboh September lalu.

"Saya telah menjelaskan dari awal lagi bahawa tindakan melompat parti seharusnya tidak dibenarkan dan sesuatu telah dilakukan mengenainya dan berharap kerajaan akan meminda Perlembagaan," kata Ahli Parlimen Bukit Gelugor itu dalam temu bual dengan Sunday Star yang disiarkan semalam.

Kata beliau, jika pindaan itu dibawa DAP akan menyokongnya.

"Saya tidak boleh dituduh bertindak kepentingan parti.

"Sebenarnya saya mempertahankan pendirian parti," kata beliau lagi.

Awal bulan lalu Karpal menggesa Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim supaya berhenti daripada memimpin ikatan pembangkang.

Ia merupakan kenyataan seumpama itu sejak Pakatan Rakyat ditubuhkan April lalu.

Karpal mendakwa Ketua Umum itu yang mencetuskan budaya melompat parti selain menjejaskan 'keharmonian' dalam Pakatan Rakyat.

Karpal berkata, tindakan membentuk sebuah kerajaan melalui jalan melompat parti adalah salah.

Sebab itu kata Karpal, beliau terpaksa membuat kenyataan mengenai soal berkenaan.

Jelas Karpal, apabila Setiausaha Agung DAP, Lim Guan Eng mengatakan tindakan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Bota, Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim menyertai akan memperkuatkan Pakatan, beliau berpendapat ia pandangan silap.

"Apabila Nasaruddin melompat masuk Pakatan, Lim Guang Eng, dan saya yakin beliau disalah petik, mengatakan bahawa ia akan memperkuatkan Pakatan.

"Dan, saya berpendapat bahawa ia silap. Bagaimana kita boleh menyokong tindakan melompat parti?

"Saya perlu membuat kenyataan terbuka bagi pihak parti dan dalam proses itu, saya pergi ke arah Anwar kerana saya merasakan adalah salah bagi membentuk sebuah kerajaan disebabkan tindakan melompat parti.

"Saya merasakan saya perlu mengatakan sesuatu (mengenainya)," kata beliau lagi.

Autopsy details are confidential until such time: Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad

(Bernama) -- Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad said the public must understand that details of an autopsy are confidential until such time they could be made public.

He said that when the time was right, the authorities would announce details of the autopsy in a court of law.

However, the public were under the misconception that the ministry was concealing information involving criminal cases, added Dr Abdul Latif.

He was speaking to reporters after officiating the launch of the ministry's corporate culture campaign here today.

The deputy minister noted that among the cases which had become "issues" with the public were the death of suspected car thief A. Kugan while in police custody and the alleged sodomy case involving PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's personal assistant Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

"There were many other cases before this, which could not be exposed even to the media, as a matter of medical ethics and professionalism.

Dr Abdul Latif said there were attempts by certain quarters to erode public confidence in the authorities for "concealing" information.

He said hundreds of post-mortems involving criminal cases had been conducted, whereby the details had remained confidential unless they were leaked.

"When this happened, action was taklen against those responsible, including referring them to the Ethics Committee of the Malaysian Medical Council under the Medical Profession Act 1971.

stimulating public relations

We now hear that the stimulus plan to be unveiled tomorrow may be worth the RM25-30 Billion that I and others think is necessary rather than the RM10 Billion as announced by the Deputy Minister of Finance in Parliament last week. Prior to this the quantum of the stimulus has been a closely guarded secret.

Has the government suddenly doubled or tripled the amount of the third stimulus package (the first being Valuecap and the second the RM7 Billion amount) within a week? Or was the disappointing announcement in Parliament last week part of of the old public-relations ploy in which a second stringer is set up to disappoint everyone and stoke a public outcry only for the hero to ride in on a white steedin the next scene?

We fritter away foreign and domestic confidence in our government’s ability to run the economy by attaching grave matters of policy to political timetables, and turning them into political stunts. Another way to say this is that it makes the government look incompetent and manipulative when the political and economic crisis we are in calls for competence and transparency.

Wow! MCA Minister and Deputy Minister publicly telling the “lame-duck” PM and UMNO President to buzz off!

By YB Lim Kit Siang

It was only last October that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi denied that “UMNO is big bully in Barisan Nasional” when he spoke at the MCA General Assembly.

This makes it all the more unusual the spectacle of a MCA Minister and Deputy Minister publicly tell the “lameduck” Prime Minister and UMNO President to “buzz off” as evident from the following news reports:

(1) New Sunday Times (8.3.09) “PM: Resolve language issue before it gets out of hand” -

KUALA LUMPUR: The prime minister wants the Education Ministry to decide quickly whether Science and Mathematics should continue to be taught in English.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the contentious issue should be resolved before it got out of hand.

“This issue has become bigger and more sensitive. I hope the ministry will make a decision on the matter fast.

“If not, the issue will become even bigger and the pressure from non-governmental organisations will continue,” he said after launching a fantasy novel written by 13-year-old Adam Umemoto titled Dragonfire Hammer.

(2) Asked to comment on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call for a quick decision on the policy’s future, Hishammuddin said only the cabinet could make the final decision.

He said his ministry was responsible for collecting and presenting facts and figures to the cabinet, which would then make a decision based on the findings of a 21/2-month study on the policy’s progress.

Hishammuddin said the outcome of the study, which was started after the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah results were released in December last year, would be presented to the cabinet “in the near future”.

But he will first have to address a memorandum on the results that would in turn be sent to the relevant ministries and agencies for feedback.

A final report would then be generated to be given to the cabinet to help it decide on the policy’s future, he added.

Hishammuddin urged calm and the public’s understanding to allow the government to make the right decision. (New Straits Times 9.3.09)

3. Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said those seeking to scrap the policy should check their facts before pointing fingers.

“We don’t make decisions on the behalf of the government. We are only the executing authority. The decision to use English for the teaching of Science and Mathematics was a collective decision made by the cabinet in 2002.”

He urged detractors of the policy to be patient until Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tabled a working paper on the matter.

Cabinet members are expected to make a decision based on the paper.

Wee, who was responding to Saturday’s march by some 5,000 protesters against the policy, added that Hishammuddin was upset by allegations made in a police report that he had a hidden agenda in pushing for the move.

“It’s as though people are not looking back into history. To set the record straight, Hishammuddin was appointed to the post in 2004 and he is just continuing an existing policy.” (NST 9.3.09)

4. “The final decision will only be made after a working paper has been presented to the Cabinet.” – MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat. (NST 9.3.09)

This is as good as the MCA Minister and Deputy Minister publicly rebuking Abdullah for not knowing what he was talking about on the subject.

But then, they are only following in the footsteps of the outgoing UMNO Youth Leader, UMNO National Vice President aspirant and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in publicly snubbing Abdullah’s call to the Education Ministry to “decide quickly” on the six-year controversy on the use of English to teach science and mathematics from Standard One.

Wow, it is indeed a sight to see – a MCA Minister and Deputy Minister publicly telling the lame-duck Prime Minister and UMNO President to buzz off, but this is done only in the comfort and security after a public snub to Abdullah by Hishammuddin!

How quickly Pak Lah has fallen in the public esteem of UMNO, MCA and other Barisan Nasional leaders although he is still in name the Prime Minister for the next few weeks!

The year of living dangerously

The Malaysian Insider

MARCH 8 - It has been a year of spectacular highs and shocking lows, a year of living dramatically, if not downright dangerously.

Yet, the past year has been remarkable not for scandalous behaviour and political theatre, but the manner in which an increasing number of Malaysians are taking responsibility for our nation's future. The most fundamental and important difference since March 8 cannot be found in political parties nor public institutions. Instead, it is the change that has occurred among us citizens.

Malaysian society grew up at an accelerated pace the past year, and the sense of entitlement that made whining in private such a part of our culture is beginning to give way to an eagerness to take action.

One year later, it is apt to pay tribute to us ordinary Malaysians who have collectively found our voice. While we might not always speak as one, no longer will we shut up while our country is mismanaged or exploited. So if you have stood up for victims of police brutality or ISA detainees in the face of intimidation and water cannons, I thank you.

If you have blogged about unpopular government initiatives like the privatisation of IJN or the construction of a new airport, I thank you too. If you refused to be cowed by violence and protested the illegal closing of a toll-free road, I would like to express my gratitude to you, even though I try to avoid the haphazard Cheras area as much as possible.

And if you have gone from being apathetic about the political process to discussing the issues of the day with your friends, family and neighbours, I salute you. You are more influential than any newspaper or television station. If your state assemblyperson was unfairly victimised, I would like to thank you for openly expressing your support for her.

If yours decided to jump ship and cause the collapse of your state government, well, I'm sorry to hear that. Yes, it's not unfair to wonder if some Pakatan Rakyat leaders are the same as their political rivals in BN. It's also true that the past year had been overwhelmed by a focus on political battles, many of which are trivial, as opposed to the many pressing issues related to governance.

And yes, it's true that a year on, while there have been many encouraging changes, our day-to-day lives have not been transformed in significant ways. In the scheme of things, 365 days isn't a lot of time, but it is long enough for some disappointment and pessimism to set in.

The euphoria of having made history has expectedly given way to a realisation that true fundamental change is an ongoing process, one that will still ultimately require a change in the federal government. Even then, it is no certainty.

Decades of entrenched interests and behaviours cannot be removed overnight. But we need to remember that being a part of the democratic process is not a phase nor a passing fad. It isn't limited to one year, or even one decade. Instead, it must be part of our culture, moving forward.

In the face of a new prime minister whose democratic credentials are questionable, it is all the more important that the spirit of the past year not only continues, but continues to grow. In the past year, Malaysians of all stripes and colours have increasingly staked our claim to this nation. The chaos of this transition to a functioning democracy can be a little tiring, but surely Malaysia is the better for it.

When we Malaysians argue, whether about language or university enrollment, we are arguing about what we stand for as a country, a debate that is as important as it is long overdue. One year later and beyond, we must continue to be bold in our support for things we believe in, whether it is the right for a state to own its own water resources or the right to due process.

Remember, if we don't speak for ourselves, someone else is speaking for us. If we don't continue to get involved, somebody else will. In fact, somebody probably already is.

For Anwar It Is Still About Reforms

From 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.

Thoudands of PR party members turned up to celebrate the anniversary of Pakatan Rakyat’s victory.
“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.

Don't Take Solidarity Lightly

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Bernama) -- Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin has called on the Muslims to appreciate the life history of Prophet Muhammad who had placed much emphasis on unity and solidarity to achieve excellence.

His Majesty said efforts to unite the community was an ongoing process in line with the demands and challenges of the 21st century.

"As such, all policies that are formulated to turn the country into a developed nation in future will not be achieved if the aspects of unity and solidarity are taken lightly by everyone.

"When a section of the population becomes greedy and places self-interest above others, ignoring noble values in pursuing material wealth, then various calamities will strike bringing destruction to the people and drawing the wrath of Allah," he said.

Tuanku Mizan said this at the National Level Maulidur Rasul Celebration at the Dataran Merdeka, here today. Also present were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The King said the appreciation of Islam, which had been translated through the history of its glorious era, had shown that the ummah had once united on the axis of truth.

During the Islamic glory, there was harmony, stability and consensus, he said.

Tuanku Mizan said Islam also prohibited all forms of malpractices, power abuse and discrimination and propagated peace, equality and mutual help.

His Majesty said Islam made it compulsory to protect and ensure equal rights for all strata of the society regardless whether they were Muslims or non-Muslims.

He also presented the Maulidur Rasul Awards to six recipients at the function.

The sole recipient of the Maulidur Rasul Premier Award 2009 was Professor Dr Sidek Baba from the Educational Institute of the International Islamic University (IIU), who also received RM50,000 in cash and a plaque.

The five recipients of the Maulidur Rasul Award were the secretary-general of the Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association (PPIM) Datuk Dr Maamor Osman, Syarikat Laksamana Nusantara Sdn Bhd managing director Mortadha Abdullah, Malaysian Caring Society president Mohd Yunus Pathi Mohd, student Muhammad Ahmad Zahid and special child Muhammad Haziq Samrat, who is paralysed from the waist downwards.

All the five received RM22,000 in cash and a plaque each.

The celebration today started with a procession comprising about 100,000 people who recited praises on the Prophet along the way. Those taking part in the procession were public and private sector employees, representatives from the non-governmental organisations, schools, public institutions of higher learning and training institutes, and representatives from the mosques.

Anwar: We will act on solid evidence

PENANG, March 8 — Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will act on allegations of corruption involving two state party leaders, if there was solid evidence.

He said the committee concerned would investigate the allegations by Kepala Batas PKR Youth chief Amizudin Ahmat.

“If there is solid evidence, then I would inform Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to act,” he told reporters after jointly lauching the Penang Free WiFi project with Lim, at the Sunway Cannival Mall in Seberang Jaya here today.

On Thursday, Amizudin had alleged that two state PKR leaders received bribes from a quarry company.

Meanwhile, Lim condemned the police action of firing tear gas canisters and deploying water cannons on a crowd which gathered to submit a memorandum to the King, on the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English.

It was reported today that the police took such action to disperse the crowd which marched from the National Mosque to the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — Bernama

Deaths in Custody

Now that a more reliable account of how Kugan died has been published following a second post mortem, Indians should now look to the prospect of having Syed Albar and even for that matter the Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and his chief of police issued with a warrant for their arrest.

This can be achieved in a number of ways. They include firstly obtaining the cover of a jurisdiction which is not Malaysian. An idependent jurisdiction like the criminal courts in the international courts of justice in the Hague by first proving that either local remedies have been pursued or are likely to be ineffective or denied. The latter is not difficult to do.

To achieve remeddies through the municipal courts for an Indian is near impossible. The Malaysian legal system has of its own material admitted to a system that discriminates, and from recent examples that discrimination takes on criminal dimensions with violent consequences for protagonists. Kugan's death is but one example. But I cite the examples of the body snatching, the kidnapping of children and the physical abuse of complainants at police stations whilst their captors and assailants are let of by the system including the courts through the interference of or wanton silence of government.

A warrant like that issued against the Darfur murderers in Sudan, Pinochette and other examples can be sought from the International Criminal Courts and then served on Badawi or Syed Albar when they do step outside off Malaysia if serving them in Malaysia proves too difficult.

The exacct technicalities that this process involves is not discussed here in any great detail.

The impact of such a warrant will be such that neither Albar nor Badawi would be too comfortable travelling beyond Asias's tyranical borders to say Australia, New Zealand, Europe or the Americas for the simple reason it would be an ignomimious occassion to be served for crimes against humanity as a sovereign leader.

Hindraf should now consider the use of such a means of putting the Malaysian government under pressure. Public pressure for the continued and unchecked murders of innocent Indians in custody of police for no rhyme or reason.If there was one and it were lawful, they would have dealt with it in an open court.

Gopal Raj Kumar

March 8 anniversary special: Sean Ang

Lagi bukti penglibatan Najib - Altantuya, AMK desak siasat Najib

(Suara keADILan) - ANGKATAN Muda KeADILan Malaysia meminta polis agar menyiasat pendedahan terbaru, sebuah akhbar Perancis, The French Liberation yang mengaitkan Timbalan Perdana Menteri Najib Tun Razak dan isterinya Rosmah Mansor serta Abdul Razak Baginda di dalam satu penerbitan artikel di akhbar tersebut.

Artikel berkenaan, ‘The Altantuya Shaaribuu’s Case: How and why she was killed?’ yang disiarkan pada 5 Mac lalu ditulis oleh Arnaud Dubus yang berpengkalan di Thailand mengaitkan kedua nama tersebut dikaitkan dengan komisyen berjumlah 114 Juta Euro sebagai pembelian kontrak kapal selam Tentera Laut Di Raja Malaysia (TLDM) sewaktu Najib menjawat Menteri Pertahanan.

Selain itu, artikel berkenaan juga dengan jelas menyebut nama seorang warganegara Mongolia, Altanyuya Shaaribuu - yang dibunuh kejam penghujung tahun 2006 di Malaysia yang dikatakan teman wanita Abdul Razak yang disebut sebagai seorang yang mempunyai hak ke atas komisyen 114 Juta Euro berkaitan dengan pembelian kapal selam oleh pihak TLDM.

“Keraguan timbul melalui laporan artikel tersebut apabila wartawan artikel telah menyatakan dengan jelas bagaimana kaitan di antara Altantuya, Abdul Razak dan Najib yang dikatakan mempunyai hubungkait rapat berkenaan dengan urusan pembelian kapal selam oleh pihak TLDM yang seterusnya mengakibatkan Altantuya Shaaribuu mati dibunuh oleh pihak Unit Tindakan Khas (UTK),” kata Ketua AMK Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.

Najib yang juga Timbalan Presiden Umno sebelum ini menafikan pernah mengenali atau bertemu wanita Mongolia itu yang mati dibunuh di sebuah belukar di Shah Alam.

Beliau turut bersumpah tidak pernah mengenali wanita itu sewaktu pada pilihanraya kecil Permatang Pauh, Ogos tahun lepas.

Shamsul berkata, Artikel berkenaan turut merujuk kepada satu Kenyataan Beramaran (Cautious Statement) yang dikatakan merakamkan percakapan tertuduh yang didakwa membunuh Altantuya Sirul Azhar Omar.

Rakaman terbabit mengaitkan kesemua individu iaitu Najib, Rosmah dan Abdul Razak mempunyai kaitan secara tidak langsung didalam urusan pemberian komisyen dan pembunuhan Altantuya.

“Sehubungan itu, saya berpandangan bahawa suatu siasatan menyeluruh perlu dibuat oleh PDRM terhadap Najib, Rosmah dan Abdul Razak mengenai isu komisyen berjumlah 114 Juta Euro dan pembunuhan Altantuya oleh pihak UTK (Sirul Azhar), berdasarkan artikel tersebut serta rakaman percakapan Sirul,” katanya di Luar Ibu Pejabat Polis Dang Wangi, 8 Mac lalu.

Laporan polis berkenaan dibuat di Ibu Pejabat Polis Dang Wangi, 8 Mac lalu yang turut dihadiri oleh Naib Ketua AMK, Khairul Annuar Ahmad Zainudin, Ketua AMK Wilayah Mat Zaman Tasi beberapa anggota Exco dan 50 penyokong AMK.

Selain cerita sensasi ini, wartawan Liberation turut mendedahkan saat-saat akhir kematian Altantuya berdasarkan dokumen yang didakwa diperolehi daripada polis Malaysia.

Arnaud Dubus melaporkan, Altantuya ditembak di sebelah pipi kiri dan kemudian pakaian mangsa ditanggalkan dan kemudian mayatnya dibungkus dalam beg plastik hitam.

Lebih kejam, Arnaud turut melaporkan Altantuya ditembak sekali lagi apabila tangannya dilihat masih bergerak.

Martabatkan ketuanan rakyat tanpa mengira keturunan

(Suara keADILan)- KETUA Umum KeADILan Anwar Ibrahim berkata ketuanan rakyat perlu tegak di atas prinsip persaudaraan sesama manusia, tanpa mengira warna kulit, keturunan, agama dan kepercayaan dam konteks Malaysia.

KETUANAN RAKYAT.. Anwar ketika memberi Pidato Kebangsaan di Shah Alam petang ini. Gambar Yuis/SK

Beliau memulakan ucapan pidato di Auditorium Majlis Bandaraya Shan Alam (MBSA) sempena ‘Pidato Kebangsaan Ketuanan Rakyat’ petang tadi dengan mengingati keputusan rakyat yang dibuat setahun yang lalu dan ketuanan rakyat tidak berkaitan tentang kekuasaan semata-mata.

Malaysia merupakan sebuah negara yang sangat kaya dengan kebudayaan punyai oleh masyarakat berbilang kaum. Maka kerajaan harus ditentukan oleh rakyatnya sendiri.

Fahaman ketuanan satu kaum yang disebarkan oleh Umno sungguh tidak berasas. Mereka dengan sengaja memesongkan maksud sebenar falsafah negara kebangsaan itu demi kepentingan segelintir yang memerintah.

“Rakyat ternyata lebih bijak dari peramal politik seperti tukang tenung politik yang meramalkan Barisan Nasional akan menang besar dan pencabar mereka akan kecundang,” kata Anwar

“Jentera dan dana yang digunakan oleh BN menggerunkan. Parti-parti Pakatan Rakyat - Keadilan, DAP dan Pas yang terpaksa berentap dengan segala kekurangan dana, jentera dan tekanan. Kita dihujani dengan pelbagai fitnah dan sekatan. Namun dengan segala keterbatasan tersebut rakyat telah menyebelahi kita, dan membuka lembaran baru dalam politik Malaysia,” jelas beliau.

Beliau juga menyentuk soal institusi parlimen di negara ini dengan berkata “Parlimen adalah institusi untuk menjaya dan melaksanakan prinsip ketuanan rakyat. Kita mahu parlimen benar-benar menyuarakan hasrat rakyat, membahaskan kepentingan rakyat,”

“Ketika membahaskan Belanjawan Negara yang dibentang oleh Perdana Menteri yang ketika itu Menteri Kewangan, kami telah menolak belanjawan tersebut kerana tidak mengambil kira iklim ekonomi dunia yang meleset parah berikutan kemelut ekonomi Amerika Syarikat,” beliau berkata.

Isu krisis ekonomi yang melanda negara ini, beliau menyatakan supaya kerajaan mengambil pendekatan baru yang lebih drastik untuk mengelakkan ekonomi Malaysia dari merudum.

“Menteri Kewangan dahulu dan Menteri Kewangan sekarang terus menafikan malah sering mengulangi bahawa asas ekonomi Malaysia kukuh. Hanya dua minggu yang lalu Menteri Kewangan bagaikan terpinga-pinga mengatakan tiada siapa yang menjangkakan ekonomi Malaysia akan menghadapi kegawatan seteruk sekarang,” telah beliau.

“Pakej ransangan awal lesap menjadi debu melainkan syarikat dan kontraktor terpilih. Pakej ransangan kedua masih kecil dan tidak berupaya memulih keyakinan,” katanya.

Belai memberi jaminan bahawa ahli-ahli parlimen akan menggegarkan Parlimen untuk memastikan persoalan rakyat didengar dan diselesaikan.

“Kita telah berulang kali menyebutkan mutu pendidikan kita yang merosot, kos kesihatan yang meningkat, harga barang yang melambung tinggi dan pengurusan negara yang tidak bersepadu dan pentadbiran yang kucar kacir.

Perkara mahkamah yang dibangkitkan adalah mahkamah dan institusi kehakiman dibentuk agar berlakunya tata hukum dan keteraturan yang adil dalam negara.

“Tetapi rakyat menyaksikan bagaimana mahkamah dinodai untuk mencapai nafsu dan cita-cita kotor penguasa. Maka rakyat bangun menuntut mahkamah dan sistem kehakiman dibersihkan dari noda kuasa pemerintah. Sehingga hari ini rakyat terus memperjuangankan cita-cita ini,” tegas Anwar lagi.

“Peguam-peguam kita terus berhujah dimahkamah, mengemukakan hujah undang-undang dan budibicara agar mahkamah berdiri di atas prinsip hukum dan keadilan. Rakyat telah menyaksikan beberapa hakim yang berani, rakyat juga menyaksikan jumhur hakim yang tunduk kepada tekanan mereka penguasa,” katanya.

Menyentuh soal Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia yang sebaik dilancar menjadi momokan lembu dicucuk hidung dan Suruhanjaya Kehakiman tidak diyakini kewibawaannya.

“Suara rakyat yang sudah sekian lama dibungkam dan ditindas, meronta dan menjerit. Mereka turun ke jalan raya dengan aman yakin bahawa suara rakyat suara keramat. Mereka menuntut hak mereka yang dikurnia Maha Pencipta serta yang termaktub di dalam Perlembagaan,” jelasnya lagi.

“Kita tidak berkompromi sama sekali dengan rasuah, kita bersyukur lantaran langkah awalan tersebut, kita telah menjimatkan ratusan juta wang rakyat serta dapat mengagihkan Kita peluang yang lebih kepada peniaga-peniaga kecil dan sederhana terutamanya kepada Bumiputera,” tambah beliau.

Beliau membanding antar negeri-negeri Pakatan Rakyat iaitu seperti Kelantan yang mempunyai kadar rasuah dan kadar jenayah paling rendah. Malah dengan hasil mahsul negeri yang relatifnya kecil mereka mampu menjana program kebajikan rakyat yang boleh diteladani.

Di Pulau Pinang pelaburan meningkat dua kali ganda dalam setahun, di Perak meningkat kepada RM 3.4 billion. Pelaburan di Selangor mencacat tertinggi dalam 9 tahun, sebanyak RM 11.87 billion dan telah mencipta 30,000 pekerjaan baru untuk rakyat Malaysia.

Menteri Besar Selangor Khalid Ibrahim turut memberi tumpuan kepada program perumahan untuk rakyat terbanyak, memperbaiki sistem pengangkutan awam dan menangani kesesakan jalan yang semakin rumit.

“Selangor dan Perak telah mengurangkan beban rakyat dizaman kemelesetan ini dengan memberikan air percuma kepada rumah-rumah termiskin. Kerajaan Perak telah memberikan geran tanah kepada keluarga-keluarga yang layak secara adil termasuk untuk Orang Asli, Melayu dan Cina.”

“Kita percaya bahawa sumbangan terpenting yang boleh kita lakukan adalah untuk pendidikan anak-anak. Kita mahukan generasi akan datang bersaing di dalam ekonomi serantau dan dunia,” jelas anwar lagi.

Mengenai perjuangan bahasa Melayu, Anwar berkata, suatu ketika dahulu pelajar-pelajar sekolah menyanyikan lagu “Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa”.

“Perjuangan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa kebangsaan dan kemudiannya bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa ilmu bukan sahaja perjuangan orang Melayu, tetapi satu perjuangan kebangsaan, perjuangan membentuk rupa bangsa Malaysia yang bersatu padu,”

“Tetapi semalam mereka yang memperjuangan Bahasa Melayu ditembak dengan gas pemedih mata kerana mempertahankan bahasa melayu dan hak bahasa ibunda,” tambah Anwar mengakhiri ucapan pidato beliau.

Police seek several men for questioning over language protest

(The Star) - Police want to question PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa along with several MPs and assemblymen who were allegedly involved in the illegal assembly at Jalan Mahameru near Istana Negara.

According to Kuala Lumpur police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman none of the men have come forward to aid investigations so far.

“At the moment, we have yet to take any of their statements,” he said.

On Saturday, riot police fired tear gas at thousands of people who tried to march towards Istana Negara to protest against the policy of using English to teach Science and Mathematics.

Police also want to question Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution, Kuala Krai MP Dr Hatta Ramli and Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar along with Gapena’s Datuk A Samad Said, Datuk Hassan Ahmad and Dr Shaharil Md Zain over their alleged involvement in the illegal gathering.

DCP Muhammad Sabtu said that, so far, two men had been questioned under Section 353 of the Penal Code for attacking and using violence on a police officer and three others had been questioned under Section 27 of the Police Act for allegedly taking part in an illegal assembly.

“However, the five men have been released on bail,” he said.

The five questioned were among the 124 arrested at the protest march on Saturday. All were released after their details were taken.

Anwar pushes for change in key Malaysia by-elections

(AFP) – Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday urged party loyalists to continue the push for political change in Malaysia and strive for a win in three crucial by-elections next month.

Anwar also said the opposition alliance will continue to fight corruption and help the poor.

"Our aim is to build a prosperous country by establishing a stable and clean business environment that is competitive in the global economy.

"This would ensure that the poorest segments of society including the Malays and (other indigenous peoples) have access to economic opportunities and aid that trickles all the way down instead of disappearing long before it reaches them," Anwar said in his speech, according to the text that was made available on his blog.

Anwar was addressing a crowd of around 1,000 supporters at a meeting called to mark the anniversary of historic elections that gave the opposition unprecedented parliamentary strength.

He said deputy prime minister Najib Razak, who is expected to take power next month, would not be able to bring reform to the country.

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

"I am humbled by your support and your faith in us to set right what has been afoul for so many years in this nation," he added.

Anwar called on party members to work hard to ensure victory in the three by-elections slated to be held on April 7.

"If you voted for us in 2008 you were a part of history. Know that in the next election your vote will determine the future course of this nation. Don?t let that opportunity pass. I ask of all Malaysians who share in this dream to be part of the movement for change.

"Call them to join us in Bukit Gantang (Perak), Bukit Selambau (Kedah), and Batang Ai (Sarawak) where we will once again show that the people of Malaysia are united for change," he added, referring to the upcoming by-elections.

Analysts say the polls are a referendum on the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which suffered two morale-sapping parliamentary by-election defeats following last year's general elections, where the opposition seized control of five of Malaysia's 13 states and a third of parliamentary seats.

The elections are also a chance for the opposition alliance to re-assert itself after the loss of Perak in February due to defections, which triggered calls for Anwar's replacement.

My Kids Should Speak “England” Better

By Sheih Kickdefella

I hate my English. Ironically during schooldays, I always get the best result in English subject. As you all know, my ‘England’ is bad, so that will only mean one thing, the level of English amongst the student of my time are worst.

I get a lot of condemnation in this blog for my bad English. I knew many look down at me because I cannot write nor speak proper English. Those condemnation slowly creeps inside you and make you lose your confident to speak and write in English. But as I am not those who care much what people think of me, I managed to survive with just my broken ‘England’.

But I knew lots of bright Malays during my varsity times who had fail to develop their prospect further because of their inability to communicate in English.

It was during my varsity days that employers are complaining about the lack of English skills among the graduates are causing them their future. It took the government more than a decade later to try to better the problem and then implement the policy of teaching Science and Maths in English. I applauded the policy.

Until today I am a stern supporter of the policy. Unfortunately I once read in Utusan Malaysian in late 90’s, someone mention that Philippines master their English well but the remarkable thing they export from having able to speak proper English is only Philippines maids.

Those same mentalities are the one who fights with all the slogan such as “Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa” in the 70’s and cause such chaotic moments for my generation later. Now, it begins all over again.

I know, majority who demand to switch Science and Maths to Bahasa Malaysia admit the importance of English, however they seems to think that this policy will cause a lot of harm to the Malay Language and bad for the students as well.

Nevertheless, by demanding the switch they did not put forward any worth considering suggestion about how to help develop the English for the benefit of the students.

As parents, English is very important for my kids. If they can master Mandarin and Arab will be even better.

Personally, from what I have gone through, I made it clear to my kids, English is a must, Bahasa Malaysia is their mother tongue, and they will master it naturally.

I hope the government will not bow down to the political pressure to switch back Science and Maths to Bahasa Malaysia. But if the government in order to survive needs to make a popular decision, I hope they give the students and their parents an option.

I also supported the idea by a commenter to reintroduce English Medium School, I trust many parents are eager to enrol their kids to English Medium School. At least, those who wants to “Perkasakan Bahasa Melayu” will get what they wanted while parents like me, will get what we think best for our children.

Nevertheless, sorry to say, I did not see much sincerity in those parties who are putting the pressure on the government. Personally I believe it is all political and nationalistic. It is not representing the best interest of my kids’ future. It is all about the glory of Malay and Bahasa Melayu and for the politician, it is about getting few more votes.

Hishamuddin can count on me for support if his ministry chooses to maintain status quo

Raintree Assembly commemoration - Perak political crisis has gone on long enough

It was a simple but symbolic and historic ceremony – the commemoration of a plaque of democracy at the site of the Raintree Perak State Assembly on 3rd March 2009 by the legitimate Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, accompanied by Pakatan Rakyat Perak State Exco members, leaders as well as staunch defenders of democracy among the Perak public.

2008 gave the historic date of “308” while 2009 has given “303” as another historic date in the Malaysian battle for democracy.

The commemoration of the marble plaque beneath the “Democracy Tree” and the planting of five sapling raintrees today is doubly significant, falling on the anniversary of the political tsunami of the 12th general election last year – which completely changed the political landscape by bringing the graph of possibility of change within reach of all Malaysians.

But I have only one message which I made at the media conference after the ceremony – that the Perak political crisis had gone on long enough and should be ended without any more delay, so that Perakians and Malaysians can unite as one people to face the worst global economic crisis in 80 years.

The Perak constitutional crisis, which has produced two Mentris Besar, can be ended within 30 days if Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat leaders can agree to a common solution – to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and hold state-wide general election to let the Perak voters decide on the state government they want.

Pakatan Rakyat fully accepts the results of such a state election.

The ball is in the court of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Prime Minister-in-waiting who personally orchestrated the unethical, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak – whether he is prepared to put national interests above personal, Umno and Barisan Nasional interests to end the Perak political crisis which has undermined national and international confidence in the legitimacy of his impending premiership and will cripple the second economic stimulus package he is to present to Parliament on Tuesday in the face of the global financial meltdown.

Unfinished business, one year after - Anilnetto

one-year-after-march-8-008

Sitting on a concrete and tar tennis court that should have been cleared from the badly scarred Esplanade: A relatively small crowd of 3,000 attended the Pakatan ceramah in Penang last night

Things that could have been done but weren’t:

  • Declaration of assets by state government leaders - Instead what we have heard are lame and shameful excuses for not doing so. It is now left to Parti Sosialis Malaysia to embarass the Pakatan parties: PSM is holding a ceremony on 12 March at the Selangor Chinese Town Hall to reveal the public declaration of the assets of its MP (Sungai Siput), its Selangor state assembly member, and a town councillor. Now, if the PSM can do that, why can’t the Pakatan parties? Of course, we won’t bother with the BN parties.
  • A roadmap and a timeframe for the restoration of local democracy (local elections) - Pakatan parties want Malaysians to vote them to power. But they have not told us how soon after they win power at the federal level will local council elections be revived. Will they also introduce elections for village and kampong heads? At the moment, the Pakatan parties seem content to follow the rotten BN system of appointing mainly party loyalists to town councils as a form of reward for their partisan support.
  • Mafrel’s GE13 election monitoring report - It’s been one year already, and Mafrel, the civil society election watchdog, has apparently not yet submitted its report to the Election Commission. This was a watershed election - so what’s delaying this report? Will it be submitted before the three by-elections in April?

Transkrip Pidato Kebangsaan “Ketuanan Rakyat”

Alhamdullillah, dan kita bersama hari ini mengingati keputusan rakyat yang dibuat setahun yang lalu.

Pada 8 Mac 2008, rakyat ternyata lebih bijak dari peramal, dukun dan pawang politik. Segala tukang tenung politik ini meramalkan Barisan Nasional akan menang besar dan pencabar mereka akan kecundang. Dan sebahagian besar tukang ramal ini, ada yang duduk di menara gading, ada yang menelek dari bangunan media, diupah oleh pemerintah untuk meramalkan kemenangan besar.

Jentera dan dana yang digunakan oleh Barisan Nasional menggerunkan. Parti-parti Pakatan Rakyat, KeADILan, DAP dan PAS terpaksa berentap dengan segala kekurangan dana, jentera dan tekanan. Kita dihujani dengan pelbagai fitnah dan sekatan. Namun dengan segala keterbatasan tersebut rakyat telah menyebelahi kita, dan membuka lembaran baru dalam politik Malaysia.

Maka sempena setahun peristiwa tersebut marilah kita ulangi ucapan penghargaan setingginya kepada rakyat Malaysia:

Terima Kasih Rakyat Malaysia;
Xie xie ma lai xi ya ren min Malaysia;
Makkal ellarukkum romba nandri;
Terima kase’ mangoh ngau rakyat Malaysia.

Prestasi Pakatan Rakyat

Dalam Pemasyhuran Kemerdekaan Tunku Abdul Rahman (1957) menyebutkan bahawa Malaysia, ketika itu Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, akan menjadi sebuah negara demokrasi mengikut cara parlimen.

Parlimen adalah berdaulat dan tempat suara rakyat bergema. Parlimen adalah institusi untuk menjaya dan melaksanakan prinsip ketuanan rakyat. Kita mahu parlimen benar-benar menyuarakan hasrat rakyat, membahaskan kepentingan rakyat.

Pada 13 Oktober 2008, ketika membahaskan Belanjawan Negara yang dibentang oleh Perdana Menteri yang ketika itu Menteri Kewangan, kami telah menolak belanjawan tersebut kerana tidak mengambil kira iklim ekonomi dunia yang meleset parah berikutan kemelut ekonomi Amerika Syarikat.

Kita meminta kerajaan mengambil pendekatan baru yang lebih drastik untuk mengelakkan ekonomi Malaysia dari merudum. Tetapi menteri kewangan dahulu dan menteri kewangan sekarang terus menafikan malah sering mengulangi bahawa asas ekonomi Malaysia kukuh. Hanya dua minggu yang lalu Menteri Kewangan bagaikan terpinga-pinga mengatakan tiada siapa yang menjangkakan ekonomi Malaysia akan menghadapi kegawatan seteruk sekarang. Pakej rangsangan awal lesap menjadi debu melainkan syarikat dan kontraktor terpilih. Pakej ransangan kedua masih kecil dan tidak berupaya memulih keyakinan. Izinkan saya menukilkan bait pantun ini:

Pergi ke Riau mencari arang,
Pulang membawa bunga angsana;
Negeri kini dirundung malang,
Khazanah hilang entah ke mana.

Insya-Allah, ahli-ahli parlimen kita akan menggegarkan Parlimen untuk memastikan persoalan rakyat didengar dan diselesaikan. Kita telah berulang kali menyebutkan mutu pendidikan kita yang merosot, kos kesihatan yang meningkat, harga barang yang melambung tinggi dan pengurusan negara yang tidak bersepadu dan pentadbiran yang kucar kacir.

Pencapaian Negeri-Negeri Pakatan Rakyat

Lebih satu dekad telah berlalu sejak meletusnya gerakan Reformasi, satu gerakan yang berlandaskan keinganan yang disebut dalam al-Qur’an melalui doa Nabi Syuaib - wa ma uridu illa islah mastat’tum - Dan tidak aku inginkan melainkan adalah melakukan islah- pembaharuan, reformasi - dengan segala daya upayaku.

Islah berasal dari kata ’salaah’ seperti yang dihuraikan oleh ahli bahasa, pembuat kamus, Ibnu Manzur, sebagai lawan kepada ‘fasad’, kebejatan. Maka gelombang kebangkitan rakyat sejak 10 tahun yang lalu adalah untuk melawan kefasadan, melawan kebejatan pemerintah, rasuah dan penyalahgunaan kuasa.

Mahkamah dan institusi kehakiman dibentuk agar berlakunya tata hukum dan keteraturan yang adil dalam negara. Tetapi rakyat menyaksikan bagaimana mahkamah dinodai untuk mencapai nafsu dan cita-cita kotor penguasa. Maka rakyat bangun menuntut mahkamah dan sistem kehakiman dibersihkan dari noda kuasa pemerintah.

Sehingga hari ini rakyat terus memperjuangankan cita-cita ini. Peguam-peguam kita terus berhujah di mahkamah, mengemukakan hujah undang-undang dan budibicara agar mahkamah berdiri di atas prinsip hukum dan keadilan. Rakyat telah menyaksikan beberapa hakim yang berani, rakyat juga menyaksikan jumhur hakim yang tunduk kepada tekanan mereka penguasa. Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia sebaik dilancar menjadi momokan lembu dicucuk hidung dan Suruhanjaya Kehakiman yidak diyakini kewibawaannya.

Suara rakyat yang sudah sekian lama dibungkam dan ditindas, meronta dan menjerit. Mereka turun ke jalan raya dengan aman, yakin bahawa suara rakyat suara keramat. Mereka menuntut hak mereka yang dikurnia Maha Pencipta serta yang termaktub di dalam Perlembagaan.

Sebelum ini kita berjuang, menggarap kefahaman akan apa sebenarnya erti perubahan itu, akan makna reformasi itu. Kita menentang rasuah dan ketidakadilan. Kita menuntut agar kehakiman bebas, kita mahu pendidikan serta kebudayaan dimartabatkan. Kita mahu pengurusan ekonomi yang cekap, tadbir urus yang beramanah dan berwibawa. Kita impikan sebuah negara yang makmur untuk semua.

Perjuangan kita berpaksikan ketuanan rakyat. Makanya pakatan yang kita cetuskan bersama selepas Pilihanraya Umum 12 (PRU) itu dinamakan Pakatan Rakyat. Kita kini mempunyai kesempatan untuk mengotakan apa yang sering dilaungkan. Kita sekarang wajib untuk menunjukkan wibawa kita kepada rakyat yang sama berkorban bukan sedikit meletakkan harapan kepada kita. Inilah waktunya untuk kita menunjukkan apa yang sebenarnya menjadi pemisah di antara kita Pakatan Rakyat dengan mereka - Barisan Nasional.

Di negeri-negeri PR kita telah membawa Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia. Tahniah kepada rakan-rakan Menteri-menteri Besar dan Ketua Menteri yang berikhtiar meredakan beban hidup rakyat dalam masa singkat. Iltizam kita untuk melaksana tata urus yang baik adalah paksi sistem pentadbiran.

Umpamanya kontrak diluluskan dengan lebih cekap dan telus. Tender adalah terbuka, cara memberi kontrak dalam gelap dan tempat ahli politik mengaut rasuah dari wang rakyat, sebagaimana yang dilakukan oleh pemerintahan BN, harus berlalu. Kita tidak berkompromi sama sekali dengan rasuah, kita bersyukur lantaran langkah awalan tersebut, kita telah menjimatkan ratusan juta wang rakyat serta dapat mengagihkan Kita peluang yang lebih kepada peniaga-peniaga kecil dan sederhana terutamanya kepada Bumiputera.

Kelantan dibawah Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz dan Kerajaan Negeri Kedah dibawah pimpinan Dato’ Seri Ustaz Azizan telah meningkatkan keupayaan menjimat belanja mengurus dan mengagihkan dana kepada rakyat.

Kelantan umpamanya adalah negeri yang mempunyai kadar rasuah dan kadar jenayah paling rendah. Malah dengan hasil mahsul negeri yang relatifnya kecil mereka mampu menjana program kebajikan rakyat yang boleh diteladani.

Di Pulau Pinang pelaburan meningkat dua kali ganda dalam setahun, di Perak meningkat kepada RM 3.4 bilion. Pelaburan di Selangor mencacat tertinggi dalam sembilan tahun, sebanyak RM 11.87 bilion dan telah mencipta 30 ribu pekerjaan baru untuk rakyat Malaysia.

Menteri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim turut memberi tumpuan kepada program perumahan untuk rakyat terbanyak, memperbaiki sistem pengangkutan awam dan menangani kesesakan jalan yang semakin rumit.

Pentadbiran beliau telah menyediakan bekalan sumber, Zon Hijau untuk menjadikan bandar-bandar di Selangor lebih selesa didiami, dan mengikuti langkan Kelantan dalam melancarkan, untuk pertama kalinya skim takaful/insran untuk warga tua, di mana RM 40 juta diperuntukan bagi kemudahan kesihatan untuk seramai 365,000 warga tua.

Di Pulau Pinang, pelaburan asing dalam tahun 2008 berjumlah RM 10.2 bilion, peningkatan 117% dari pemerintahan BN sebelumnya. Ini merupakan satu pencapaian yang memberangsangkan memandangkan kemelesetan ekonomi telah melanda seluruh dunia sejak tahun lepas lagi.

Kepimpinan Ketua Menteri YAB Lim Guan Eng dalam memandu ekonomi Pulau Pinang adalah mengikut landasan Ketelusan, Pertanggungjawaban dan Kewibawaan. Nilai-nilai ini telah membolehkan kerajaan negeri melatih dan memberi pekerjaan kepada ribuan rakyat. Menyedari langkah-langkah yang diambil mengambil masa untuk meningkatkan pendapatan kepimpinan Pakatan Pulau Pinang telah memberikan geran air berjumlah RM 17 juta kepada 170,000 rumah untuk mengurangkan beban golongan berpendapatan rendah di saat-saat getir ini.

Selangor dan Perak telah mengurangkan beban rakyat dizaman kemelesetan ini dengan memberikan air percuma kepada rumah-rumah termiskin. Kerajaan Perak telah memberikan geran tanah kepada keluarga-keluarga yang layak secara adil termasuk untuk Orang Asli, Melayu dan Cina.

Kita percaya bahawa sumbangan terpenting yang boleh kita lakukan adalah untuk pendidikan anak-anak. Kita mahukan generasi akan datang bersaing di dalam ekonomi serantau dan dunia. Kerajaan Negeri Pakatan Rakyat khususnya Selangor dan Kedah memberikan tumpuan dalam bidang pendidikan; memberikan prasarana untuk sekolah semua kumpulan etnik. Di Perak umpamanya 1000 hektar tanah diberikan untuk sekolah agama rakyat dan sekolah jenis kebangsaan Cina.

Makna Ketuanan Rakyat

Tidak sesiapa yang harus menyangkal asas pembentukan negara persekutuan Tanah Melayu, Sabah dan Sarawak sepertimana yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan. Namun setelah lima dekad Merdeka, terdapat hujahan dangkal dengan meniupkan slogan ketuanan kaum. Justeru itu kita wajar memberikan nafas baru kepada semangat Perlembagaan yang melakarkan dengan cermat kuasa rakyat.

Ketuanan rakyat yang kita maksudkan adalah demokrasi yang matang di bawah naungan raja beperlembagaan. Demokrasi yang matang adalah demokrasi dimana rakyatnya perkasa, jiwanya merdeka, akalnya pintar, tindakannya dipandu oleh prinsip moral dan idealisme. Demokrasi inilah yang kita perjuangkan. Pohon demokrasi ini akan kita suburkan dengan pembinaan institusi-institusi masyarakat madani, media yang bebas serta bertanggjung jawab dan perlaksanaan undang-udang dengan seadilnya.

Rakyat yang merdeka jiwanya, tinggi akal budinya sentiasa mahukan keadilan untuk semua. Orang Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, orang Ulu mahu mahu membina Malaysia yang boleh mereka banggakan.

Tidak ada rakyat Malaysia yang sebegitu rendah akal budinya yang mahukan keluhuran perlembagaan dinodai dan kedaulatan undang-undang dicabul oleh gerombolan perasuah dan perompak harta rakyat.

Justeru itu kita mahukan demokrasi yang matang, dan, manakala terdapat kebuntuan dan krisis berlarutan seperti yang berlaku di Perak, kewajarannya ialah untuk kembali kepada rakyat.

Persaudaraan Seluruh Manusia

Ketuanan rakyat ini tidak berkaitan tentang kekuasaan semata-mata. Dalam konteks Malaysia, ketuanan rakyat perlu tegak di atas prinsip persaudaraan sesama manusia, tanpa mengira warna kulit, keturunan, agama dan kepercayaan. Malaysia merupakan sebuah negara yang sangat kaya dengan kebudayaan disebabkan punya sebuah masyarakat berbilang kaum.

Mereka yang tidak mengenali sejarah akan terperangkap di dalam seribu perbezaan sedangkan Al-Quran al Karim menganjurkan konsep li ta’arafu; agar kamu saling kenal mengenal. Manakala bagi yang yakin dengan jatidiri mereka akan berusaha mengenali yang lain dan meraikan persamaan.

Kung Fu Tze di dalam Lun Yu Buku ke 4 Bab Yuen Yuen ada menukilkan “si hai zhi nie jie xiong di “yang membawa maksud “empat lautan terbentang luas, semua manusia bersaudara.”

Kita seharusnya menginsafi bagaimana sewaktu pemerintahan Kerajaan Ming, wujudnya penulis yang berupaya menulis serta memberi komentar mengenai agama Islam sehandal ulama muktabar dari Tanah Arab. Sekitar tahun 1642, Wang Daiyu [yang digelar Pemuka Agama Islam (Zhenhui Laoren) ketika itu] menulis Zhengjiao Zhenquan [Anotasi Asli Ajaran Murni (ortodoks)] hasil dari perbincangan dengan pemuka-pemuka ajaran Konfucius, Tao dan Buddhisme.

Karya perbandingan agama ini kemudiannya berulang kali diterbitkan semula sehinggalah yang terakhir pada tahun 1987 (teks otoritatif).

Khalifah Ali Abi Talib apabila ditanya tentang apakah jenis persaudaraan antara orang Islam dengan bukan Islam. Beliau jawab “Akhukum fil Insaniah” - mereka, yang bukan Islam, adalah saudara kamu dalam kemanusiaan. Ianya jelas menggambarkan prinsip persaudaraan ini.

Ungkapan Khalifah Ali ini adalah senada dan seirama dengan peribahasa Tamil: “Ontre Kulam Oruvane Thevan” (Satu Jiwa Kerana Kemanusiaan).

Patriotisme Sejati

Fahaman ketuanan satu kaum yang disebarkan oleh Umno sungguh tidak berasas. Mereka dengan sengaja memesongkan maksud sebenar falsafah negara kebangsaan itu demi kepentingan segelintir yang memerintah.

Tatkala gagah, pimpinan mereka banyak bergelut merebut kekayaan tetapi sebaiknya tergugat kekuasaan mereka beralih mengemis dukungan dengan laungan ketuanan Melayu. Walhasil penegasan kita mirip falsafah negara kebangsaan yang diungkap oleh almarhum Dr Burhanuddin al Helmy dalam karyanya yang berjudul Falsafah Kebangsaan Melayu (1954):

Kita hendak mendirikan negara kebangsaan Melayu di atas dasar kebangsaan, menurut keadilan dan kemanusiaan yang luas dan sama berhak dan adil, bukan sekali-kali kebangsaan yang sempit, jauh sejauh-jauhnya dari berbau perkauman dan perasaan kolot dan kuno.

Demikianlah nada pejuang bangsa tulen, berbeda dengan nasionalis baru yang melalak isu bangsa secara sempit di samping mempertahankan kezaliman dan mengaut keuntungan. Mana mungkin memperjuangkan kemurnian agama dengan menzalimi yang lain. Kini tibalah masanya kita merebut kembali erti perjuangan kemerdekaan; perjuangan yang bertunjangkan Ketuanan Rakyat.

Perjuangan Bahasa Melayu

Ambil sahaja persoalan bahasa Melayu. Suatu ketika dahulu pelajar-pelajar sekolah menyanyikan lagu “Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa”. Perjuangan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa kebangsaan dan kemudiannya bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa ilmu bukan sahaja perjuangan orang Melayu, tetapi satu perjuangan kebangsaan, perjuangan membentuk rupa bangsa Malaysia yang bersatu padu. Tetapi semalam mereka yang memperjuangan Bahasa Melayu ditembak dengan gas pemedih mata kerana mempertahankan Bahasa Melayu dan hak bahasa ibunda.

Penutup

Negara sekarang berhadapan dengan cabaran yang sugguh getir. Kita insaf dengan keadaan ekonomi yang menguncup dan kesan buruknya buat rakyat khususnya kalangan miskin. Pendekatan lama yang menangguk atau menggeruk di atas keperitan hidup rakyat miskin harus berubah. Pemerintah tidak wajar sekadar membantu meredakan sedikit beban rakyat tetapi tidak melepaskan mereka dari putaran ganas kemiskinan; supaya mereka mampu berdikari.

Cara yang diamalkan selama ini dengan memberikan bantuan kecil untuk mengekalkan kebergantungan “dependency syndrome” untuk tujuap politik murahan perlu ditamatkan. Pendekatan harus berubah kepada pinjaman kecil atau kredit mikro umpamanya buat masyarakat Melayu, bumiputera dan rakyat miskin lainnya. Kita perlu melakukan anjakan dalam dasar pembangunan desa dan pendekatan baru dalam menangani kemiskinan bandar.

Dasar membela rakyat termiskin dan terpinggir (affirmative action) bukanlah untuk menjadikan mereka khadam terhormat tetapi harus menjurus ke arah membebaskan mereka dari kebergantungan. Maka sungguh mengelirukan manakala kita diminta bersyukur dengan limpahan projek kecil tetapi dipadam kenyataan bahawa kos sara hidup dan jumlah pengangguran dijangka mencecah 400 ribu orang. Pertumbuhan ekonomi tidak terkesan di akhir tahun 2008. Ekspot januari 2009 mencatat kejatuhan paling teruk sepanjang 28 tahun (menguncup 32% berbanding tahun sebelumnya).

Kita kini harus menangani krisis ekonomi yang paling dahsyat dalam sejarah bangsa kita. Tetapi kita juga berdepan dengan rasuah, krisis undang-undang dan masalah hubungan kaum yang meruncing.

Segala krisis ini hanya boleh diselesaikan melalui agenda ekonomi yang mampu menggembeling seluruh kekuatan rakyat. Menangani kemelut ekonomi yang kian parah menuntut anjakan dari dasar lmbap yang tidak diyakini pelabur dan rakyat. Segala ransangan dana tidak akan berbekas tanpa perubahan sistem percukaian, perundangan dan pengagihan adil.

Justeru itu harus waspada dengan percubaan penguasa dengan menggunakan muslihat baru, memohon diredakan penggeseran politik dengan menumpukan kepada isu kegawatan ekonomi walhasil isu ekonomi tidak mungkin terlepas dari isu perencanaan ekonomi, ketelusan dan pertanggungjawaban.

Ini diperkukuhkan dengan perbicaraan yang dikaitkan dengan peralihan pimpinan negara. Peralihan malah tambah mencemaskan kerana terperangkap dengan dasar usang yang mencengkam kebebasan dan urusan ekonomi yang menjurus kepada rasuah dan penyelewengan.

Perhatikan saja hubungkait permasalahan ekonomi dengan pengurusan negara. Beban rakyat bertambah akibat kebocoran atau ketirisan - kos air, letrik dan tol meningkat. Ini juga berpunca akibat kecurangan dan perjanjian memihak kepada pemodal dan membebankan rakyat samada konsesi tol lebuhraya atau janakuasa bebas (IPP).

Kita semua pengembara menempuh jalan yang sama, dan berusaha memastikan Perubahan terlaksana. Sejarah menjadi saksi betapa ianya jalan berliku; penuh dengan segala macam cabaran dan tantangan. Kita mungkin diserang dari segala arah, wakil kita mungkin sahaja diculik, namun kita perlu mara dengan yakin.

Seandainya kita istiqamah dengan garis besar haluan perjuangan kita akan melaksanakan perubahan sedaya upaya, insya-Allah. Continue reading ‘Transkrip Pidato Kebangsaan “Ketuanan Rakyat”’

Mohammad Nizar Has No Right, Says Zambry

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has no right to seek consent from the Perak Sultan, Sultan Azlan Shah, to dissolve the Perak State Assembly, said Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

"Based on Article 16(6) of the Perak State Constitution, only the Menteri Besar has the right to appear before the Sultan to seek His Royal Highness' consent to dissolve the state assembly."

Zambry said this in a one-page statement faxed to Bernama here tonight following Mohammad Nizar's statement today that he would seek to meet Sultan Azlan Shah to present three resolutions, including calling for the dissolution of the state assembly, passed during an emergency state assembly sitting held by Pakatan Rakyat state assemblymen under a tree in Ipoh last Tuesday.

Mohammad Nizar, who is also Pasir Panjang assemblyman and the former Perak Menteri Besar, had said that he would submit a letter and related documents to the Perak Sultan on Tuesday.

"The statement by Mohammad Nizar was just to confuse the people, to disturb political stability in the state, and to insult and challenge the royal institution and power of the Perak Sultan," said Zambry in his statement.

Zambry also reminded that on Feb 6 he was sworn in as the rightful 11th Perak Menteri Besar, the appointment of which was consented by the Sultan.

"Mohammad Nizar has to accept the fact that the appointment of a Menteri Besar is the Perak Sultan's prerogative as provided for in Article 18(2)(a) of the Perak State Constitution.

Former Perak MB Seeks Audience With Perak Sultan

IPOH, March (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin will request for an audience with the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah to present three motions, including one to dissolve the state assembly, that were approved in a state assembly that convened under a tree last Tuesday.

He said his side would give a letter and documents related to 'tree assembly' to the Sultan on Tuesday.

"Earlier we were busy with court cases, tomorrow is a holiday so on Tuesday we will send a letter (to the Sultan of Perak)...will have an audience with Tuanku as soon as we get the green light," the former Menteri Besar of Perak told reporters after officiating a 'monument' in the form of a plaque under the rain tree at Medan Istana here where the state assembly convened.

Speaker V. Sivakumar called for the sitting, attended by 27 assemblymen from DAP, Pas and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), under the tree located about 100m from Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan after police barred him and the assemblymen from the building.

The three motions were expressing support for Mohammad Nizar as the menteri besar, calling for the dissolution of the state assembly to enable fresh elections to be held, and affirming the Speaker's decision to suspend Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his six state executive councillors from Barisan Nasional from the state assembly.

Mohammad Nizar earlier planted five trees of the same species at an open space nearby and the ceremony was attended by leaders and assemblymen from DAP, Pas and PKR.

"These trees are symbolic and represents our governing principles of justice, trust, transparency, authority and caring...it is also environmentally good in line with the greening policy. We hope the Ipoh City Council will not uproot these trees," he said.

Mohammad Nizar said the area where the tree assembly took place could be a tourist attraction as it was a historical location now.

Meanwhile, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang said the constitutional crisis faced by Perak should not be drawn out as the country could face a bigger crisis which was economic problems due to the global economic slump.

"Resolution of this issue is by letting the people choose a new government in a state election...this is the time for the Barisan Nasional and DAP, Pas and PKR to give priority to the people as a drawn out crisis will adversely affect the state and the people in facing the economic slowdown," he said.

Lim, who is also Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timur, said this was the time for all leaders to give priority to national interests by cooperating to face the global economic crisis for the overall good of the people.