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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Karpal charged with sedition

Ali to appeal against Umno knock-out

MALACCA, March 18 - A week to crucial Umno polls that he has been barred from contesting, Datuk Seri Mohamed Ali Rustam said today he would appeal the decision as he had done no wrong.

Saying he accepted the decision with an open heart, Ali disclosed that he had refuted all allegations in the party's disciplinary board hearing.

The popular Melaka chief minister also apologised to his supporters and urged them to be calm and close ranks for the sake of party unity.

Despite being barred from contest, the party vice-presiden said he would attend the party's general assembly next week and would continue to work for the betterment of Umno.

The Umno disciplinary board yesterday said they found him guilty of breaching the party's ethics and barred him from contesting in the party's polls.

However, his positions and membership in the party is not affected and he remains as the chief minister and Umno vice-president in what is seen as a compromise due to his popularity.

Ali, who is said to be one of the stronger contender in the three-cornered contest for the number two post was found guilty under Article 10.1 of the party's code of ethics, whereby he was presumed guilty for the actions of third parties.

Three of his agents who included his political secretary Saadun Basirun were found guilty of vote buying and have been suspended for three years or one term.

The other two other are a committee member of Bukit Katil Umno division Rosli Hasan and its Puteri wing deputy head Zalina Ismail

Zaid urges King not to make Najib PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 - Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has made an impassioned plea to the King to not appoint Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister, and instead appoint someone else from Umno "to bring us back from the brink."

The former de facto law minister urged the King to used his judgment to appoint as PM someone who is "beyond reproach in his dealings both official and private," in a scathing attack on his former Cabinet and party colleague.

"A prime minister must have the confidence of the majority of the rakyat…For this to be the case there cannot be anything in the mind of the greater public that, correctly or otherwise, associates him with matters of criminality, wrongful action, improper conduct or abuses of power," he said in a speech to the Rotary Club here today.

Zaid's remarks will certainly put pressure on Najib as he prepares to take power first as Umno president next week before taking over from Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi as prime minister the following week.

The former minister's comments also come a day after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also piled on the pressure on Najib by saying he did not shine as a deputy prime minister and acknowledging the baggage he carries into the job.

In his speech, Zaid also made reference to what has been described as the kind of baggage that no other Malaysian leader had on entering office.

He has been linked on the internet and by political rivals to the brutal murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu although he has firmly denied involvement and there is no evidence to tie him to the death.

Najib's popularity rating also stands at just 41 per cent, according to a recent poll by the independent Merdeka Centre.

Zaid said that while he did not intend any accusation, he felt that Najib was not beyond reproach in the collective mind of the rakyat.

"The rakyat has doubts, fuelled by the unanswered allegations against him. It is not a mere trifle in the minds of the rakyat that despite a direct challenge from a member of parliament recently, the deputy prime minister remained silent," he said.

Zaid also cited the RM400 million in commissions reportedly paid by the Defence Ministry while Najib was minister for the procurement of submarines, and pointed out that Abdul Razak Baginda, the DPM's friend was an agent in the deal.

The Altantuya murder was also cited by Zaid, who pointed out that there were many unanswered questions which the public deserved to be told about.

He also described the recent power grab in Perak as an unmitigated disaster.

"They (the public) now equate him with the high-handed tactics that were employed to seize power.

"With all of this and more, how are we not to feel anxious? How are we to sleep peacefully at night?"

Zaid said that while the King is required under the Constitution to appoint the person who commands the confidence of the majority of the members of parliament, it is a matter for His Majesty's judgment.

"There is no constitutional obligation on His Majesty to appoint the president of Umno as the prime minister.

"There are still well qualified members of parliament from Umno who can be appointed PM to bring us back from the brink."- The Malaysian Insider

The cherry tree: the Malaysian version

Image

Remember the story of George Washington and the cherry tree? Well, we have a Malaysian version of that story. Someone sent me this e-mail but I really don’t know where it is from and who to credit this piece to -- but I thought it is hilarious enough to share it with you. Thanks to whoever wrote this.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Legend has it that George Washington, America's first president, chopped down a cherry tree in his youth. The story goes that George gives the tree a good swing and chops it down with an axe.

His father sees the damaged tree and asks his son if he knows who did the deed. George is quoted as bravely admitting the truth:

'I can't tell a lie. Pa, you know I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my axe.'

Below is a satire of how some Malaysian politicians circa 2008 may have reacted to the question:

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

- 'I did not cut down the tree, I was just taking a nap underneath it.'

Najib Razak

- 'I swear that I have never MET that tree.'

Hishammuddin Hussein Onn

- '...but I only own a keris, not axe, how to cut down the tree?'

Dr Mahathir Mohamad

- 'Apa nama cherry tree, yes, I chopped it down because I don't like the idea of Pak Lah sleeping under it.'

Chua Soi Lek

- 'Yes it was me, I resign as caretaker of this orchard.'

VK Lingam

- 'It could be me, it might have been me, but I don't think it's me.'

Anwar Ibrahim

- 'I did NOT do it, and I am not giving any DNA sample for you to plant on the axe handle.'

Mohd Khir Toyo

- 'The new state government should just trim the grass and not waste time asking who cut the tree.'

Ahmad Said (Terengganu MB)

- 'I chopped it because cherry trees are more expensive to maintain than durian trees.'

Azalina Othman

- 'The cherry tree is not included under my tourism MOU so I cut it down and besides there were unauthorised signboards put up around the tree.'

Shabery Cheek

- 'I challenge you to a debate on tree cutting.'

S Samy Velu

- 'I chopped it because Hindraf members were using it as a meeting point.'

Wira Ali Rustam

- 'We have planted durian trees for 50 years and we will plant them for another 50 years. We do not need cheery trees, apple trees, pear trees and all these other foreign trees.'

Rais Yatim

- 'You must see the bigger picture. Ahmad Said said cherry trees are expensive to maintain. Ali Rustam said they are against our national identity. And I needed to test my new axe. So, you see, it is a WIN-WIN situation all around.'

Sharir Samad

- 'I cut the tree because we could no longer afford to subsidise it.'

Karpal Singh

- 'The bigfoot creature did it.'

Bung Mokhtar

- 'The big monkey did it.'

Pandikar Amin Mulia

- 'There is nothing in the standing orders against chopping cherry trees......Kinabatangan duduk! Bukit Gelugor duduk!'

Khairy Jamaluddin

- I did not do it, neither did the Mat Rempits. By the way, what's a cherry tree?'

Lim Kit Siang

- 'Cherry tree also you don't know. You are an insult to Oxford!'

Nazri Abdul Aziz

- 'Racist, racist, racist! When we cut down durian trees nobody made a fuss. Now...'

Malaysian Citizens

- 'Oh for heavens sake! Somebody plant something before we all starve to death!'

VOTE BUYING - ISN'T IT CORRUPTION?


UMNO Disciplinary Board yesterday had found Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and MP for Rembau, Khairy Jamaluddin for vote buying in the forthcoming UMNO Elections.

But its surprising that Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam would still be the Malacca Chief Minister, while Khairy Jamaluddin, the MP for Rembau.

Vote buying means CORRUPTION and its an offence and these persons should be arrested and charged according to the laws of Malaysia.

Since they are UMNOputras, it seems UMNO Law has been applied, UMNOputras can do anything, but nothing happens.

Its time our UMNO-led Barisan Nasional federal government disclose to us why when its an offence, these persons are not arrested and charged and are able to keep their positions ?

BTN communal poison again

Yesterday, I received an indignant email from a recent participant in the course of the Biro Tata Negara (BTN), funded by taxpayers but acting as the propaganda arm of UMNO, pumping communal poison instead of spreading the message of national unity.

Despite criticisms against the BTN both in and out of Parliament, invariably followed by denials by the Minister or Deputy Minister concerned, it is clear from this email that BTN had not changed one whit its irresponsible ways.

I read out the complaints in the email in Parliament yesterday during the debate on the 2008 Supplementary Estimates, viz:

Their purpose is to convey THEIR Message to us but I think they are absolutely wrong . It made us more irritable towards BN government and make us more stronger to vote opposition.

Here are their messages:

(1) Kontrak sosial about Kerakyatan and Hak Istimewa Orang Melayu
Effects : Non Malay should appreciate and cannot expect more . They use Malay toleransi us and also “Terhutang Budi terhadap mereka”

(2) The country is not safe after 308. The government is not strong enough to maintain the safety. The oppositions is creating chaos in the country . They give a lot of examples. If we continues like this , it might explode another 513 or war in Malaysia like in Iraq. They shows us the pictures and videos of Iraq. Therefore we need to vote BN for the peace

(3) To protect Islam and Malay special rights Malays have to bersepadu for Ketuuanan Melayu

(4) Indians and Chinese contribute nothing to this country. It is the non Malays who wants to join the pakatan that time and we beg for that. Throughtout the course they only emphasize on Malay’s contribution and say nothing on Non Malay.

(5) their perpaduan means Ketuanan Malay and never sama rata because they said this is according to Kontrak Sosial. They conducted every facts on Chinese Malay and Indian and not mentioning Malaysian .

(6) they claim oppositions is a spy from America and going to attack Malaysia soon

In allowing BTN to continue such communal poison in its courses, Umno and the other Barisan Nasional component parties are proving in Parliament, the Cabinet and to Malaysians at large that they continue to be blind, deaf and mute to the message of the March 2008 general election for reform and that they deserve further punishment by the Malaysian electorate.

The Price Of Nation Building

I was criticized recently for being biased in my view of the political landscape. The basis of this criticism was a perceived unwillingness on my part to be as critical of the opposition as I was of the government. As this was not the first time, and as I had read similar observations made of other commentators whom I view as being fairly objective, I spent some time reflecting on what it is I had written in the past and why. I also gave some thought to why it is I write.

I am not a member of a political party. I cannot even honestly say that I am a supporter of any particular party. It is true that I have in the past acted as a lawyer for some of the Pakatan Rakyat parties and for opposition members, my role in that regard was limited to that of an advocate. That I have not acted for the Barisan Nasional parties is easily explained by my not having ever been retained to do so.

As a general rule, I write when I have something to say about a particular issue of significance. My training and exposure affords me a perspective that may be of assistance to those seeking to form a view. A weekly column in the Malay Mail and a monthly column for the Malaysian Insider has made this process more regimented, providing the need for a much welcomed discipline on my part. Writing is a skill that requires practice, much like any other.

In writing, my desire to espouse a viewpoint is self-limited by a narrower interest in policy and frameworks, in particular legal and constitutional. I am concerned not so much with what people say or do but with the permissible limits of their doing so.

This has quite naturally focused my attention on matters of governance, primarily at the Federal level. Though I have written at times about matters within a particular state, my relatively infrequent commentary has been largely confined to matters of constitutionality. Notable instances have been comments on the so-called Trengganu crisis last year and more recently, the Perak affair.

Concerned as I am with matters of governance, it is not surprising that I have tended to scrutinize Executive action and its impact. In the nature of things, consideration of Executive action has in turn necessitated a deliberation of the politics underlying Executive action.

An aim to ensure comprehensive analysis has required examination of the agencies through which Executive dictate has been, or has been perceived to be, effected. This has unavoidably led to commentary on the police force and other federal agencies as well as the Judiciary and other constitutional bodies.

I will concede that much of this commentary has not been complimentary. This has however not been because I am anti-government. I do not condemn merely for the fact of what I condemn having been precipitated by the government. I condemn because what it is that I condemn is, in my view, wrong in principle and its long-term implications of grave concern. Being critical does not necessarily arise from the animosity that being anti-anything requires.

Take, for instance, the tabling of the motion to suspend the Member of Parliament for Puchong, Gobind Singh. The decision to allow for debate on the motion on an urgent basis was a matter within the discretion of the Speaker. It could be said that it was also within the discretion of the Speaker’s to not allow Gobind Singh to address the House despite the motion being aimed at him and carrying with it punitive consequences was also within his discretion. Having said that, it is my view that this decision of the Speaker was and is highly questionable for having manifestly denied Gobind Singh of his right to be heard in his own defence.

My criticism in this regard is not intended to reflect my being anti-Barisan or anti-government. It is instead borne out of a commitment to the fundamental principles upon which democracy was established in this country. I would hold the same view if the motion was against a Barisan Member of Parliament and he or she was denied an opportunity to be heard. The Rule of Law is not a matter of expediency.

Where I have asserted that the Executive has occasioned abuses of power, and no such assertions have been made against the opposition, at the Federal level the opposition has no such power to abuse. At the state level, in my view, no such abuse has been demonstrated. That is understandable; the Pakatan Rakyat state governments have no influence over federal agencies or constitutional bodies.

If the Pakatan were ever to form Federal Government, it would be the subject of scrutiny in very much the same way as the Barisan is at the moment. Civil society has promised that it will have higher expectations of the Pakatan. It has already set the tone with its scrutiny of the Pakatan state governments.

And where I have expressed a preference for the Pakatan, then it is only because I think that it is not as entrenched in its politics as the Barisan is and, unlike its counterpart, is still capable of distinguishing its own political needs from those of the nation as a whole. Though it is not without its own faults, it espouses ideals that the Barisan seems to have abandoned some time ago. To the great majority of this country, a strong and accountable system of democracy is more than just a matter of political convenience.

It is far too convenient to dismiss criticism for it being anti-government without regard to what it is that is being said. No government is infallible, least of all one that has virtually untrammeled powers. Confronting the painful realities is the only way in which we can progress, it is the price of nation building.

(Malay Mail; 17th March 2009)

MIS

Chilling Out With Karpal Singh

Distilling it to its essence, Karpal Singh is being prosecuted for stating a legal opinion and for indicating an intention to seek remedy from a court for his clients.

I was in court yesterday and had the benefit of hearing the charge read out to him. The charge of sedition is in respect of certain statements made during a press conference on 12th February 2009, held just after the Perak controversy erupted. These statements included the following excerpts reproduced by Malaysiakini:

"The allegedly seditious statement read out this morning was from a partial transcript of a press conference held at the law firm, during which Karpal had said Sultan Azlan Shah could be taken to court in his official capacity for authorising the removal of Pakatan Rakyat Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin.

Based on the underlined parts of the transcript, Karpal is alleged to have said: ‘With that ruling of the federal court which has stood the test of time for 32 years, beyond a pale of a doubt, the Sultan of Perak has contravened Article 16(6) of the constitution of the state of Perak.

‘In my view, until such time the assembly has invoked the provision of Article 33(1), both Mohd Osman Jailu and Jamaludin Mohd Radzi remained PKR assemblymen, together with Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong remaining with the DAP until her resignation letter was subjected to determination by the assembly pursuant to Article 33(1), thereby causing the Pakatan Rakyat to have 31 members in the assembly of 60 members.

It cannot therefore be said that the Sultan of Perak acted intra vires (when) in fact (he) acted ultra vires Article 16(6) when he determined that Menteri Besar (Mohd) Nizar Jamaludin had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the legislative assembly and was therefore required to tender resignation of the executive council over which he presided including his own resignation.

‘Clearly the Sultan of Perak cannot invoke his powers under Article 16(1) which states [His Royal Highness shall appoint an Executive Council] to appoint a Barisan Nasional executive council with a new menteri besar and a new government. The government of Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaludin still had constitutional supremacy and legitimacy. The actions of the Sultan of Perak are clearly premature.’

These statements give a sense of the nature of what Karpal said and of what the senior lawyer was trying to communicate. It would not be unreasonable to say that the nature of his observations was similar to that of the numerous opinions on the issue that were published at the time.

It is true that Karpal did go on to speak about the remedies that Nizar could see and explained that these could and would be procured by way of an action againt His Highness, Sultan Azlan Shah. Karpal however explained why this was so and pointed to precedent in the course of his explaining his position.

Looking at this in the objective and unemotional way that one assumes the authorities did, it seems that the State will no longer tolerate any expression of opinion concerning the Rulers, and presumably the other matters with which the offence of sedition is concerned. In this regard, section 3(1) of the Sedition Act defines a “seditious tendency” as a tendency:

(a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government;

(b) to excite the subjects of any Ruler or the inhabitants of any territory governed by any Government to attempt to procure in the territory of the Ruler or governed by the Government, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established;

(c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State;

(d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State;

(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia; or

(f) to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.

The impact of the decision to prosecute is yet to be fully understood, in part because the charge did not explain the seditious tendency that is the foundation of the charge. It does however appear that the prosecution case is founded on the statements having excited disaffection against His Highness, the Sultan or having questioned a matter of prerogative. Much has been said about the decision of the Sultan having been made pursuant to prerogative discretion.

How this will be reconciled with the proviso in section 3(2) is however not clear. This proviso reads as follows:

(2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1) an act, speech, words, publication or other things shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it has a tendency -

(a) to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures;

(b) to point out errors or defects in any Government or constitution as by law established (except in respect of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative referred to in subsection (1)(f) otherwise than in relation to the implementation of any provision relating thereto) or in legislation or in the administration of justice with a view to the remedying of the errors or defects;

(c) except in respect of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative referred to in subsection (1)(f) -

(i) to persuade the subjects of any Ruler or the inhabitants of any territory governed by any Government to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter in the territory of such Government as by law established; or

(ii) to point out, with a view to their removal, any matters producing or having a tendency to produce feelings of illwill and enmity between different races or classes of the population of the Federation,

if the act, speech, words, publication or other thing has not otherwise in fact a seditious tendency.

I recognize that the State has a duty to ensure the freedom to express is not abused. The right of the State to intervene is however limited to where intervention, and this must be by way of federal law, is necessary in the interests of democracy. Where this is the case, the extent of the intervention must be proportional to the threat that is sought to be dealt with. What this means is that the State cannot erect a complete barrier to expression, a state of affairs that the legislature recognized in enacting the proviso in section 3(2). Expression on sensitive issues is essential in certain circumstances.

The prosecution does not appear to have an easy case on its hands. It must show that Karpal's statements did disclose a seditious tendency and, if so, did not fall within the ambit of the proviso. From comments made by Karpal that have been carried by the media, it appears that he is not too worried in view of the way the sections are to be understood and applied. Seen from this perspective, it may be premature to say that the freedom of expression has been curtailed; a court is yet to make a decision on the subject.

Having said that, the decision to prosecute Karpal will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on free speech. Many will think that if Karpal could be prosecuted for stating a legal opinion, then it is possible that others may be charged for less. Against a backdrop of other individuals being charged for comments left on internet site, this would not be an unreasonable conclusion.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

11 summoned to testify in Balkis probe

The Sun

SHAH ALAM (March 17, 2009) : Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohammad Khir Toyo and his wife Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik are among 11 people summoned by the Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) to testify on discrepancies in the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and Members of Parliament Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis).

"All except one have appeared before the committee and given their statements. The one witness has not returned from abroad," Selangor State Assembly Speaker Teng Chang Khim told a press conference.

"Selcat will conduct its first public hearing from Monday to March 31 on all issues relating to Balkis and the policies and guidelines used by state-owned companies to sponsor and fund the organisation," he said.

Asked if the hearing is also about the "Balkis’ money transfer issue", Teng, who is also Selcat chairman, said:

"The ‘money transfer’ is not the issue now. The case is more on Balkis’ activities and how the state’s subsidiaries and other private companies sponsored these activities."

"The hearing is open to the media and public and will be live on webcast. Selcat has also invited some non-governmental organisations to observe the proceedings," he said.

Teng said the hearing would be conducted formally similar to court procedures where all witnesses would have to "angkat sumpah" and they would be fully protected by the standing law of the state.

He also urged anyone with any kind of information or evidence relating to the matter to submit details to the committee and be present at the hearing.

He said those who fail to appear after being summoned can be charged under Section 3 of the Contempt of the House Enactment 2008, including a jail term of not more than 12 months or a fine of not more than RM3,000 or both.

"Investigation on Balkis issues started immediately after Selcat was formed last May," said Teng, adding that another issue it probed was the state’s allocations for assemblymen which were exhausted by the former assemblymen before the 12th general election.

The committee comprises seven members including Teng (DAP-Sungai Pinang), Haniza Talha (PKR-Taman Medan), Saari Sungib (PAS-Hulu Kelang), Azmin Ali (PKR-Bukit Antarabangsa), Edward Lee (DAP-Bukit Gasing), Sulaiman Abdul Razak (BN-Permatang) and Ismail Sani (BN-Dusun Tua).

On April 24, 2008, theSun broke the story that Balkis members decided to dissolve the welfare body and transferred almost RM10 million from its bank accounts to its affiliate Bakti, the Federal Organisation of Wives of Ministers.

According to documents sighted by theSun, Balkis chairman Zaharah had on March 11, 2008, three days after the 12th general election, convened an extraordinary general meeting of the committee to dissolve Balkis and close its bank accounts.

The accounts were closed the following day with the money transferred to another account first and then to Bakti.

Two days later, (March 13), the former exco members of Balkis issued a notice of dissolution to the ROS, which included amending the constitution of Balkis and establishing a new organisation to prevent the current state government from taking over the organisation and its premises – Kompleks Wawasan Balkis.

Last week the Dewan was given information which indicated that Balkis had three "technical" visits to Disneyland , Tokyo, Hongkong and South Korea, and that in 2007 the association spent RM1.2 million on overseas trips.

Mustahil Umno-Bn Membawa Perubahan!

Setelah anaknya digantung tugas semalam, hari ini YB Karpal Singh pula dihadapkan dengan tuduhan menghasut, hanya kerana memberi pandangan profesional berhubung kedudukan Dato’ Seri Nizar sebagai Menteri Besar Perak yang sah. Saya rasa ramai sekali pakar perundangan yang memberi pandangan mereka berhubung isu tersebut, ada yang bersetuju, ada yang tidak.

Episod ini terjadi hanyalah kerana Singa Bukit Gelugor adalah Ahli Parlimen Pakatan Rakyat! Beliau cuba dialahkan dengan kekuasaan milik pemerintah, namun rakyat keseluruhan yang dahagakan Perubahan pastinya bersama wakil Pakatan Rakyat.

Hadir bersama pagi tadi di mahkamah ialah Saudara Kit Siang, Guan Eng, Tian Chua dan saya sendiri. Jelas perubahan yang dicanang seluruh negara adalah kepura-puraan Umno-Bn bagi meraih kembali sokongan rakyat.

Terpalit dengan pelbagai skandal penyalahgunaan kuasa juga rasuah, mustahil Umno-Bn mampu memangkin agenda perubahan. Baru sahaja pilihanraya umum yang lalu, rakyat menghantar mesej kepada penguasa, dan untuk kesekian kalinya, mereka memandang remeh mesej tersebut.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Corrupt Ali: Too dirty for Umno, but not too dirty for Melaka?

Placeholder post, hopefully to be updated later

theSun:

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak(pix) said today Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam will continue to serve as Malacca chief minister despite being barred from contesting in the Umno party polls for breaching party ethics in the party election campaign.

What bullshit!

You are declaring that Ali Rustam is guilty of corruption, of trying to buy votes. If this is true, how on God’s green earth can we continue to allow a man of no integrity, who *you* want us to believe is corrupt and guilty of abusing money to circumvent to democratic process, to run the state of Melaka?!?!

(Oh yeah, I forgot, that’s because we allow exactly such men to run the federal government too)

My parents are from Melaka, and I must personally take grave offense at such an insult.

This also reminds me of Perak. If those two guys who jumped are corrupt, then why take them. If they’re innocent, it means you set them up!

Grrr.

Gotta run, but to be updated later I hope.

Ali Rustam Appealing Against Umno Decision

MELAKA, March 18 (Bernama) -- Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam is appealing the Umno Disciplinary Board's decision barring him from contesting for the post of deputy president in the party elections next week.

"The appeal letter will be submitted today," the Umno vice-president told reporters at his residence, Seri Bendahara, here today.

Present were his wife, Datin Seri Asmah Abdul Rahman, Melaka Umno leaders and his supporters.

Umno Disciplinary Board chairman Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen announced the decision yesterday after the board found Mohd Ali guilty of involvement in money politics.

Mohd Ali said that if his appeal was accepted he would be able to contest the post.

He said he would also submit the appeal letter to Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Asked how he felt about the punishment he said:" I have emphasised to the Disciplinary Board Committee that I'm innocent but the committee found me guilty, so I accept that with an open heart."

"I received the decision after returning from Ipoh yesterday. I did not expect it (punishment) but I accept it with an open heart."

On the different punishment meted out on Khairy Jamaluddin, the candidate for the Umno Youth chief's post who was let off with a warning, he said there was no need to compare because the method employed and the reason for the decision were also different.

Asked whether it was a conspiracy against him, he said he did not think so.

Mohd Ali said he would definitely attend the Umno general assembly in Kuala Lumpur on March 24-28.

Religion A Protection Against Possible Suicide Bid

Oleh Melati Mohd Ariff

This is the second of a three-part series on suicide

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Bernama) -- Suicidal crisis may happen to individuals who feel emotional or physical pain that they believe is intolerable, inescapable or interminable, according to the National Suicide Registry Malaysia (NSRM) principal investigator Dr Nor Hayati Ali.

The consultant psychiatrist and head of Kajang Hospital's Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health said 'intolerable' means when the emotional or physical pain exceeds the person's threshold while 'inescapable' is when the person believes that there is no way out to solve the particular problem that is producing the pain.

As for 'interminable', it means the individual expects that the situation producing the intense pain will not change on its own accord.

This reflects on the attitude of 'hopelessness', which is a strong predictor of suicidal risk, she said in an interview with Bernama here.

Dr Nor Hayati said religion and spiritual faith appears to have a protective effect on possible suicide cases.

"Religion promotes righteous conducts and the belief that God will not forsake us, which acts as an antidote towards hopelessness. However if a patient is inflicted by mental disorders or an overwhelming life event, this might affect the person's ability to make a choice," she said.

According to Dr Nor Hayati, at this stage the role of family members, close friends and the society is of utmost importance to ensure that the person does not feel isolated and given assistance.

GATEKEEPER TRAINING

Dr Nor Hayati further explained that studies had shown that one of the most promising methods of suicide prevention is what is called as the 'gatekeeper' training.

Gatekeepers are people who may come into contact with suicidal individuals in their daily work, such as police officers, religious officers, custodial (prison officers) personnel, teachers and school staff, social workers and doctors.

Very often, these individuals receive little or no specific training in the identification of suicide risk and how to help suicidal individuals.

Gatekeeper training involves not only information about assessing risk and intervening with suicidal people, but generally provides information on referral and help available from other services within their community, including treatment for depression, alcoholism and drug abuse.

Dr Nor Hayati also said the Health Ministry has taken measures towards suicide prevention, one of which is to encourage responsible reporting by the media.

"Individuals who may have previously contemplated suicide but rejected it as a course of action on the grounds of its negative consequences, might be inclined to inhibit the behaviour if they witnessed a model whose suicide was presented as acceptable by the media," she said.

This phenomenon is called "copycat suicide" or the "contagion effect."

According to her, it is pertinent for the newspapers to refrain from making sensational or too-detailed reports on cases of attempted or committed suicides.

YOUR MIND YOUR HEALTH

World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease.

Hence, Dr Nor Hayati said mental health, which refers to the function of the mind, is a vital component of an individual's health. "

"Individuals with good mental health always feel good about themselves. They also feel comfortable with others including in their personal relationships and are able to meet the demands of life," she explained.

She explained that individuals with poor mental health tend to be unhappy, vulnerable, and uncertain about their present life or future and have low self-esteem apart from feeling isolated from the society.

Such individuals also have feelings of being overwhelmed by adverse life events and often feel that life pressures are uncontrollable.

"Depression is a physical disease that affect the brain, causing chemical imbalance in areas controlling our biological and social functions," she said.

According to her, studies in "quality of life" showed that depression has a more serious impact on one's ability to function, namely remembering things, making decisions or going to work when compared to other chronic diseases.

Dr Nor Hayati said if a person is too ill to recognise his or her difficulties, the individual's family and friends are encouraged to assist in getting the necessary treatment.

ACCESS TO TREATMENT

Dr Nor Hayati also acknowledged that the negative perception on people with mental health difficulties might cause them to be reluctant to ask for help.

However the situation is expected to change gradually as more scientific evidences have shown that mental disorders have a biological basis in the brain, and is not just 'spiritual weakness'.

"In most cases, they can be diagnosed and treated. And there is a wide range of medications that are available in health facilities in Malaysia that can be used to treat depression. Left untreated, it can cause suffering to the individual, family and community," she said.

Dr Nor Hayati said: "If a suicidal person turns to you for help, it is likely that the person believes that you are more caring, more informed about coping with misfortune, and more willing to protect the individual's confidentiality. No matter how negative the manner and content of the talk, the person has a positive view of you.

"There are hundreds of modest steps we can take to improve our response to suicidal people and to make it easier for them to seek help. Taking these modest steps can save many lives and reduce a great deal of human suffering," said Dr Nor Hayati.

EVERYONE HAS A ROLE

Dr Nor Hayati believes that everyone has a role to play and she supports the Health Ministry's efforts in collaborating with other agencies that offer help to suicidal people such as the 'Befrienders'.

"With more data produced by the NSRM, hopefully we can disseminate a basic understanding of the factors that heighten a person's risk of becoming mentally ill and factors that increase a person's risk of attempting suicide in Malaysia', she said.

She said specific knowledge must also be provided on where to send people who are at high risk for further assessment and treatment, and the importance of the follow-up.

Helping people to learn skills in problem solving, conflict resolution and non-violent handling of disputes also contributes towards preventing suicide bids.

Muhyiddin: Najib needs a strong deputy

Nazri: MPs can't abuse their privileges

Anwar Ibrahim on BCC World News


Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim appears on BBC World News to discuss the progress made by Pakatan Rakyat since the 2008 General Election and the shortcomings of the RM 60Bn stimulus package announced recently.

OFFICE OF DATUK SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

Suspension and Sedition Merely UMNO’s Cheap Politics - MPkapar

The phrase Singh is King had irked UMNO not only his youths whom mobbed DAP Stalwart YB Karpal Singh at Parliament house.

Today YB Karpal was charged under another Draconic Sedition Act just for merely expressing his legal opinion as Advocate that the decision of a ruler in the area of constitutional law can be questioned in court.

This also proof that Hundreds of police reports works out immediately compare to a single police as Malaysian very prone for pushing. Compare to Murders of Sujatha that took almost two years for an Inquest and A Kugan’s custodial death, prosecution made excellent job in charging YB Karpal. Hats Off, Attorney General.

While, I’m waiting when Attorney General will take stern Action against Standard Chartered Bank for taking legal action against late Negeri Sembilan Yang di Pertuan Besar DYMM Tuanku Jaafar.

In case reader forget about the case , here is excerpt from Straits Times “A MALAYSIAN court ordered the country’s former king on Wednesday to settle a US$1 million (S$1.46 million) debt to a bank in a landmark verdict that ended a centuries-old tradition shielding the country’s royal sultans from legal prosecution.

The case brought by Standard Chartered Bank against Tuanku Jaafar Tuanku Abdul Rahman was the first trial involving a Malaysian monarch since a 1993 constitutional amendment dissolved the immunity of state rulers from criminal and civil lawsuits.

‘This would be an ordinary case but what is exceptional is that it involves a ruler,’ the bank’s lawyer”

Just a day before, Malaysian Parliament broke a record by adapting a resolution within 24 hours upon submission. Despite standing order requesting 7 days notice, Speaker allowed Motion calling suspension of another opposition MP, YB Gobind Singh. Even my few motions was rejected after 2 days upon submission.

Why so rush? Does suspension of YB Gobind more important then Perak Constitutional affairs, or financial crisis hitting harder on Malaysia ? Does shouting “ a murdered” inside parliament house will effect countries harmony then racial remarks by ruling government member of Parliaments . Even, Ministers had done committed such disharmony remarks inside parliament previously.

All this just a CHEAP POLITICAL Tactic by UMNO. As their General Assembly approaching, in order to gain support from their Delegates all this been done. Further, as by election agenda during upcoming three by elections.

That’s the level of Tolerance shown by UMNO to fellow Malaysian. If they capable in manipulating Members of Parliament and well respected Advocate just think WHAT WILL THEY ABLE to ordinary Rakyat.

Sujatha’s Inquest A Done Deal Drama - MPKapar

I’m dissappointed on Coroner’s decision in rejecting our request to participation in the cross-examination of the witnesses. I can predict the verdict “possibly not a MURDER”.

Previously on Francis Udayappan Inquest , the coroner allow lawyers to cross examine witnesses. But in Sujatha’s case my counsels are bared from asking questions or cross examine key witnesses.

How can we determine whether Sujatha was murdered or not just by relying to one sided witnesses answers. Look at the questions thrown by DPP to main accused Vell Paari. Did you had any affairs with Sujatha? Well, who in the world will admit such allegation openly expect ex Health Minister ? That’s too due to submerge of Video . Look what happen to Gobind Singh for asking DPM did you kill the Mongolian woman? The Investigating officers should by now have all this answers at their finger tip.

Let alone my legal Counsels I myself has the following doubts to be clarified :

a) Why Did Vellpaari rented Villa Putera Apartment for Sujatha prior She moved to newly brought SangSuria Condominium in Sentul ?

b) Vellpaari had been spotted at Villa Putera apartment. He was reported to visit Sujatha there mainly for PLEASURE purpose? Why the security personnel not called upon?

c) Vellpaari and Sujatha had travelled overseas together ? What’s the purpose and why doesn’t he choose Sujatha? I’m challenging Vellpaari to produce his passport together with Sujatha’s to proof they don’t travelled together?

d) Why he choose to purchase an Condominium to Sujatha when there are many other employees in Maika Holdings? Why such special treatment given to her?

e) Someone drank paraquat will surely collapse? How can Sujatha’s able to call out ? Why her brother studying in Australia calls Vellpaari not his parents or any of her /his friends?

f) Paraquat , a weed killer is sold in bulk packages not in small quantity packing similar cough Syrup mixture bottle. How does paraquat reach Sujatha who lives in Sang Suria Condonium which surely don’t grow weeds inside their compound?

g) Where were Tanusha Nair , Sujatha’s house mate at time of incident disappeared last two years but suddenly present during the inquest yesterday? Where were she went Sujatha reported to drank paraquat?

The most surprisings news :

1) Sujatha’s fathers statement that he does not believe that there was any foul play behind her death. Mr Krishnan contact myself to assist him seek justice on her daughther’s death. What made him to suddenly chance his mind ?

Probably within 2 years time gap since his daughter’s death he may had traded justice with Ms Money Dollar!!

2) Immediately after Sujatha’s death TAMIL NESAN reported VELLPAARI as saying Sujatha Died due to Cancer which she been suffering for long. I still has the paper cuttings.

Why suddenly he change his Statement yesterday to Sujatha accidentally Drank Paraquat ?

I strongly believe Sujatha was murdered by someone very very close to Ex Cabinet Minister Samyvelu’s Family member, and Vell Paari knows who is the KILLER.

Also wonder why first Investigation Police officer then Sentul OCPD wasn’t called for testifying yet?

Anyway, with all due respect to the law of land let’s see how man able to seek justice , if that still prevail in this case.

Sujatha inquest: Manikavasagam’s lawyers face uphill battle

Malaysiakini

S Manikavasagam’s lawyers will now have an uphill battle in lending credence to their clients’ allegations that there was foul play behind K Sujatha’s death as their request to participate in the cross-examination of witnesses in today’s inquest had been rejected by the court.

N Surendran, counsel for Manikavasagam , said their participation in the cross-examination of the witnesses is a key factor to the inquest in order to determine as to whether or not there was foul play behind Sujatha’s death.

Surendran explained that because Manikavasagam has been the person who make the allegations that there was foul-play behind the matter, it was important that the lawyers be given the opportunity to lend credence to the allegations made.

This can only be made possible if the lawyers are granted permission to cross-examine witnesses, which among others, include key witnesses implicated in the allegations like Vel Paari.
“It was due to Manikavasagam’s persistent pressuring through lodging several police reports that the inquest was made possible.

“He (Manikavasagam) can also face charges by the police because of the allegations that he had made and therefor he has significant interest in this inquest. It would only be right that the court grant us the right to participate,” Surendran added.

Coroner Mohd Fauzi Che Abu, however, argued that by lodging several police reports on the matter does not qualify Manikavasagam’s lawyers to participate in the proceedings.

Baffled by the objections
He however granted them the right to conduct a watching brief and to ask questions as long as it is limited to Manikavasagam alone.

Meanwhile, Manikavasagam’s lawyers said they were surprised by the fact that the objections to their request were made not only by the prosecutor, but also the counsel representing the deceased’s family.

Second counsel to Manikavasagam, Teluk Intan parliamentarian M Manogaran said he was baffled by the objections made by Sujatha’s family lawyer and suggested that “something was wrong”.

“Something is not right here. Don’t the family of the deceased want to know what really happened to their daughter? Is there complicity here?” he told reporters outside the court.

Today is the second day of the inquest where key witness Vel Paari will be called in to testify again. It is currently ongoing.

Also expected to take the stand today is Manikavasagam who claimed that Vel Paari is connected to Sujatha’s death.

Najib ‘did not shine’ — Dr M

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Malaysia’s incoming prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak needs to take swift action to reverse declining support for the government that has ruled for 51 years, influential ex-prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad told Reuters.

Mahathir was prime minister of this Southeast Asian country for 22 years until 2003, and his attacks on his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi helped catalyse opposition to Abdullah in the main ruling party which led to him quitting office early.

Najib will take power at the end of March and will have to deal with the worst economic downturn since the Asian financial crisis of 1998 as well as rebuilding a party tainted with corruption and still bruised by last year’s big election losses.

“A lot of people are uncertain. Having watched Najib’s performance as deputy (prime minister), he did not shine,” Mahathir said a week before the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), the main party in the ruling coalition, holds internal polls.

“Najib can do well, but we will have to see, because when I asked Abdullah to appoint him as deputy I had a lot of hope for him, but he did not perform the way I expected,” Mahathir said today.

Najib is standing unopposed to be Umno president, a post that traditionally carries with it the premiership, but there are tough battles for the deputy presidency and other top posts.

Mahathir did praise Najib’s action as finance minister in putting together a 60 billion ringgit package of spending to try to offset the looming recession, contrasting it with Abdullah’s performance as the previous finance minister.

However, Najib does arrive with the kind of baggage that no other Malaysian leader had on entering office.

He has been linked on the internet blogs to a brutal murder of a Mongolian model, Altantuya Shariibuu. Although he has firmly denied involvement and there is no evidence to tie him to the death, he was challenged again in parliament last week over the issue by an opposition lawmaker.

His popularity rating stands at just 41 per cent, according to a recent poll by independent pollster the Merdeka Centre, and that is less than the 46 per cent enjoyed by Abdullah.

“Legally he has cleared his name (over Altantuya). But whether people will perceive that he has cleared his name or not is something he cannot decide,” Mahathir said.

One of the ways that Najib can fight back against negative perceptions is to stamp out corruption in Umno and the 13-party National Front coalition, Mahathir said.

“Today the problem with Umno is that people see it as a corrupt party and it has no credibility and they really look down on Umno as being irrelevant.”

If Umno fails to tackle corruption, Mahathir warned that it would lose power to the opposition and its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar was Mahathir’s chosen successor until he was sacked as deputy prime minister and convicted on what he says were trumped up sodomy and corruption charges at the end of the 1990s.

Anwar faces new sodomy charges in court that could see him jailed for 20 years, ending his political career.

“He (Anwar) is not to be trusted. He will do anything to become prime minister,” Mahathir said.

“During the time when he was my deputy, he was involved in cronyism. He supported a lot of his own people, they became very rich, because he gave contracts to them,” the former prime minister said. — Reuters

Muthu gets 51 nominations, showdown with Samy on - Malaysiakini

In a shocking development, MIC presidential aspirant M Muthupalaniappan has beaten the odds to garner the required nominations to take on S Samy Vellu for the top post.

MCPX

m muthuppalaniappan interview 171208 04Contacted by Malaysiakini this evening, the former MIC vice-president confirmed that he has bagged the nominations from the branch chairpersons.

"I am proud to announce that as of today, I have secured 51 nominations to enable me to qualify for the contest.

"In addition, I have received many more invitations by branch leaders all over the country to obtain their nominations," he said.

The minimum number of nominations required to run for the MIC party president post is 50.

As each nomination is proposed by one branch leader and seconded by five others, this translates to support from over 300 branch leaders for Muthupalaniappan.

samy vellu pc 120308 agitated"If the elections are held in a fair and just manner, my chances of winning are very, very good," said the Seremban-based lawyer.

MIC's all-powerful Central Executive Committee (CEC) has fixed March 22 for nominations and April 12 for the presidential elections.

The last time Samy Vellu, who has held the presidency for more than three decades, was challenged was in 1989 by his then deputy S Subramaniam.

Aims to reform the party

Meanwhile, Muthupalaniappan, said if elected, he will strive to revitalise and re-strengthen the party.

"I will reopen all branches that have been closed in the past, and ensure that all of them will function well to serve their respective communities.

"I will also strive to improve transparency within the party and encourage all branch leaders to carry out their duties without fear or fervour," he added.

m muthuppalaniappan interview 171208 03Muthupalaniappan also said he will limit the duration for the position of party president to two terms or six years to allow young leaders in the party a chance to bring reforms.

He also commented that many of the grassroots leaders in the party had expressed their hope for change and saw him as that potential agent for change.

"There are many Indian intellectuals and successful Indian businessmen in this country. I hope to reach out to them and invite them into our party so that they may be given an opportunity to help their poor brethren," he said.

Furthermore, the veteran politician also hopes to unite all Indian Malaysians under the flag of MIC so that "we may increase our bargaining power within the government."

He also attributed MIC's disastrous performance in the last elections to fielding the wrong candidates.

He believes that the party will be able to redeem itself by fielding more qualified candidates in the next general elections.

Malaysia headed for full-blown political crisis

Already, a major purge of all Abdullah loyalists is taking place as Umno gets ready to hold its party election and annual congress beginning Mar 25.

By Wong Choon Mei, Suara keADILan

Malaysia is headed for a full-blown political crisis that may take months to resolve, leaving economic troubles to warm on the back burner until that is done, financial analysts and political leaders warned today.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is already expecting a more repressive political climate that he fears may be shunned by international investors once Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi hands the baton over to his deputy Najib Abdul Razak in early April.

“There will be dirty hands in every single avenue, in Parliament, in the courts and we can also expect police intimidation against opposition politicians in this country,” said Anwar.

Not only is Najib battling Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition, he is also pulling out all the stops to stay on top at his own Umno party. His popularity has been sinking on fears that he may propagate the unpopular hardline policies of his mentor and ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad and former economic adviser Daim Zainuddin.

Adding to the deep distrust Malaysians feel for him are the string of graft allegations that have dogged his 33-year political career and more recently, Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor were accused of being involved in the commission and murder case of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Economy may have to take a backseat until the political equation is settled

Already, a major purge of all Abdullah loyalists is taking place as Umno gets ready to hold its party election and annual congress beginning Mar 25.

Mohd Ali Rustam, the frontrunner for the deputy presidency and backed by Abdullah, has been barred for participating in the polls for alleged involvement in vote-buying - paving the way for Muhyiddin Yassin, the International Trade Minister favoured by Najib, to become the next deputy prime minister.

“Umno is just about the oldest surviving political party in the country. It is also the largest and because it enjoyed absolute power during the past five decades, it has now become corrupted almost absolutely,” said Azrul Azwa, an economist at Bank Islam.

“The rot is really deep and it has to be dealt with before Malaysia can progress. If only, we can have general election tomorrow and banish Umno from the scene until it heals itself. But unfortunately, we can’t and frankly, I cannot see how any of the Umno leaders can at this point in time put aside their claim to power for the sake of the economy.”

Malaysia’s stock market has borne the brunt of the political punishment as investors - both local and overseas - shy away from putting in any serious money until the picture was clearer.

Not even an unprecedented RM60 billion fiscal stimulus package unveiled by Najib last week has shored up confidence.

In fact, that ‘x’ factor is probably at its lowest in years, thanks to his abuse of federal apparatus - such as the courts and the police - to carry out the political will of his party in north-western Perak state, where a fierce battle is being waged against the Pakatan for the control of the state government.

Foreign research house CLSA has warned that the national economy could contract by as much as 5 percent in 2009.

At the closing bell, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index had barely moved, at 841.87 points, with investors sidelined and selling into strength whenever opportunity arose.

The ringgit remained weak against the US dollar and depreciated against the Singapore dollar and the Euro . In morning trade, the ringgit hovered around 3.6690/6730 to the greenback compared with 3.6690/6740 a day ago. It fell against the Sing dollar - at 2.3926/3977 versus 2.3912/3969 - and against the euro - at 4.7708/7778 versus 4.7631/7707 - the day before.

Abdullah's Three Reforms

By LIM SUE GOAN/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily

End of last year, Parliament has passed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act and Judicial Appointments Commission Act, implementing two of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah's reform commitments. And the last reform, the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) Bill, has been tabled for its first reading at the Dewan Rakyat on 11 March.

Although the EAIC could carry out investigations on 21 enforcement agencies, including the police force, but it holds no prosecution power. The EAIC is basically a compromise, as under the strong opposition from the police, the government has shelved the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) plan suggested by the Royal Commission and now, they try to get more enforcement agencies involved. The so-called expanding the oversight of other agencies is in fact ineffective in checking and balancing the power of police.

Among the law enforcement agencies, the public have most contact with the police force. The police is responsible for the public order and holds a great deal of power at the same time. Under the circumstances of lacking check and balance, power abuse incidents and complaints could be heard from time to time.

Over the years, police treatment of suspects has always been a source of controversy. The death of suspected car thief A.Kugan who died in police custody has exposed that some police officers did not responsibly exercise their powers.

After Kugan's death, the authorities did not take seriously the possible abuse of violence. Instead, they turned their attention to the two deputy ministers and the family members of the deceased who entered the morgue without permission. After that, they found two different autopsy reports. There are a lot of questions begging for answers from the police and the Attorney General's Office.

Besides, after the police officers have shot suspects to death during a round up, they have not been appropriately investigated by external bodies. For example, police shot dead six armed robbers in Sungai Petani by giving the reason of self-defence, which failed to convince the bereaved family members.

Some people may think that violence should be countered by violence, but the rule of law is more important to a civil society. The police should not simultaneously be the law enforcer and the judge.

Unfortunately, Abdullah did not insist enough on his reforms. The MACC is not responsible to the Parliament; the judiciary is still interfered with by the executive division and now, the course of the plan to reorganise the police force has changed.

A racist bites the dust, at last

Image

Remember what happened during the PPP Convention in Melaka back in October 2007? I am sure some of you probably can’t and many of your may have never even read the article posted in this same column back then. Never mind, for those who may have missed it or have forgotten about it, in commemoration of Ali Rustam’s banning from contesting the Umno party elections, I am republishing this piece.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Ali Rustam: Even God can’t sink Umno
The Corridors of Power, 19 October 2007

“This ship in unsinkable, even God Himself can’t sink it!” screamed the newspaper headlines just before the Titanic sailed off on its maiden voyage.

The sinking of the Titanic was certainly a great tragedy. They were so confident that even God Himself could never sink it they did not provide enough lifeboats for every passenger because they never thought they would need them. While the higher-paying first class passengers faced no problems finding a seat in the limited lifeboats, the poor rakyat who could not afford the luxuries accorded the first class passengers had only one choice; a watery grave. But it was not a tragedy for everyone though. Decades later they made a movie about the incident and grossed hundreds of millions while Celine Dion made tons of money from the theme song.

Anyway, what does this whole episode teach us? First, the poor rakyat is always at the bottom of the food chain. Second, never tempt fate. Fate just loves challenges and will never shy away from proving you wrong. And this is something Umno should learn. But Umno, being Umno, will never take advantage of lessons of the past. It will keep repeating history to the detriment of the party. And, today, Umno is saying that even God Himself can’t sink the party.

On 15 October 2007, the Chief Minister of Melaka, Mohd Ali Rustam, officiated the People’s Progressive Party’s state convention and he sang the same old tune, Umno is unsinkable and even God Himself can’t sink the party. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit what he said. But this was basically what he told the assembly of PPP leaders and members in a very long-winded manner -- one and a half hours to be exact.

Ali Rustam, the self-proclaimed ‘Senior Vice President’ of Umno -- actually there is no such post but he likes to address himself as such -- stood on stage in front of the entire hall filled with PPP leaders and members, and with fingers pointed said that PPP can leave Barisan Nasional. Leave today, or even tomorrow, said Ali Rustam, just don’t wait for the next election before leaving.

The PPP President and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk M. Kayveas, fidgeted in his seat, as did the entire hall. Ali Rustam was going berserk. He was reminiscent of Adolf Hitler jumping up and down, ranting and raving like a dog foaming at the mouth that had gone mad with rabies. Nobody reacted. Nobody could react. They were all too shocked to react and just sat there for the next one and a half hours as Ali Rustam told PPP and the entire non-Malay population of Malaysia that they are insignificant and Umno does not need them.

Ever wonder why Nazri Aziz told the Agong off and declared that he is nothing more than the Prime Minister’s clerk? The Prime Minister decides and the Agong just signs like a good little boy or else he will get sent to bed without any ice cream. Such is the arrogance of Umno. And if there were any doubts before this, 15 October 2007 laid that matter to rest once and for all when Ali Rustam repeated numerous times, “I was with Najib yesterday,” as if to send the message to all and sundry that he has Najib’s blessing to tell the Indians and Chinese that they can go back to India and China for all Umno cares.

Umno has ruled Malaysia for 50 years, said Ali Rustam, and they can rule for another 50 years more. And Umno does not need PPP, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, Sabah, Sarawak or anyone else to do this. Yes, and even God Himself can’t sink Umno like He could not sink the Titanic.

Ali Rustam should not tempt God or fate or whatever it is that he believes in. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is fond of relating the story of the mistake he made in 1969 when he told the Chinese he does not need their votes. 3,000 Chinese swung to PAS, said Mahathir. And Yusuf Rawa won that seat while the Grand Old Man of Malaysian politics was sent into temporary retirement. Even the great and very confident Mahathir will caution you about telling the non-Malay voters that you don’t need them. And surely Mahathir is a bigger man than Ali Rustam.

Well, that is probably what we think. But Ali Rustam does not think this way at all. He thinks he is the Chief Minister of the greatest nation on earth. Melaka is not part of Malaysia, said Ali Rustam, Malaysia is part of Melaka. This may sound strange to a student of history, and to ensure that you get a new twist to history, Ali Rustam warned the assembly that Melaka was once a great empire that included half of Thailand and half of Indonesia.

I thought that maybe in my old age my memory was beginning to fail me so I flipped through the pages of Joginder Singh Jessy’s and D.J. Muzaffar Tate’s ‘History of Malaya’ but could not find any reference to this. Maybe it is true, as they say, history is written by the victor, not the vanquished. But I was reading the history books written by Malayans and not those written by the Orang Puteh such as Stamford Raffles, R.O. Winsted, Barbara Watson, Leonard Y. Andaya or J. Kennedy.

Anyway, that just goes to show I am not really as clever as I thought I was. There are still many things about Malayan history that I am not aware of. And one thing that I was not aware of was that Melaka had once upon a time colonised half of Thailand and half of Indonesia. I suppose this is why Ali Rustam is the ‘Senior Vice President’ of Umno and I am not. In fact, Ali Rustam is so clever he can become the ‘Senior Vice President’ of Umno even when no such post exists.

Umno does not need any of the component members of Barisan Nasional, Ali Rustam went on. Umno has four million members and it can win the elections without the help of the rest of the component members of Barisan Nasional. Umno has been strong for 50 years and it will continue ruling this country for the next 50 years as well, Ali Rustam assured the assembly of PPP leaders and members.

PPP had better not ask for any seat in Melaka, Ali Rustam warned the assembly. If Perak wants to allow PPP a seat then that is up to the Perak Menteri Besar. That is his own decision and the party does not support him on this matter. After all, the Perak Menteri is a kaki bodek, said Ali Rustam to the shocked audience who could not believe they were hearing all this.

Maybe PPP was once a strong party, Ali Rustam added. When it joined Barisan Nasional it had four Parliament and 14 state seats. But that is an old story. Why bring up an old story? It is like Lee Kuan Yew talking about old stories. Now, Ali Rustam was shifting his aim to the Island State south of the border, across the Causeway. Lee Kuan Yew is an old man, argued Ali Rustam, insinuating that the Grand Old Man of Singapore was getting senile, and he is illogical. And to emphasis the point, Ali Rustam repeated, “Yesterday I was with Najib,” as if to again drive the point home that Najib is with him on this.

The punch line that Ali Rustam wanted to deliver to the assembly of PPP leaders and members is that the party is not going to be given any seat in Melaka. And to demonstrate that he meant business, he asked PPP to leave Barisan Nasional. Leave now! What are you waiting for? Leave now! You want a seat is it? No seat for you! Who says Umno needs the component members, especially PPP? PPP means nothing to us! Leave now!

And as if what he had said thus far was not shocking enough, Ali Rustam took a swipe at the Pahang Menteri Besar. If the Pahang Menteri Besar wants to give you a seat in Pahang then that is his problem. He is crazy and he does crazy things. He can give PPP a seat in Pahang. Why ask from the other states? And the icing on the cake was when Ali Rustam said that if the Prime Minister gives PPP a seat then he has no balls (pengecut). Tak boleh ikut cara dia, Ali Rustam boldly declared. Yes, since Malaysia is part of Melaka and not Melaka that is part of Malaysia, then this would certainly make sense.

Until today, no one knows what triggered Ali Rustam’s outburst that 15 October 2007. It was as if the message to the Indians and Chinese is that Umno does not need them anymore. The latest poll shows that the non-Malay support for Barisan Nasional has gone below 50% while the Malay support is still above 70%. This would mean that the non-Malay parties in Barisan Nasional might not be able to deliver the votes if the general election is held within the next month or so.

Ali Rustam seems to feel that Umno ruled Malaysia for 50 years without any help or support from the non-Malays and that they can continue to do so another 50 years without any problems. Of late, Ali Rustam has been demonstrating his contempt for the non-Malays. His move to kill the pigs in Melaka and drive the Chinese pig farmers out of business is one case in point. He boasted to all and sundry that he wants to show the Chinese that he is the boss, something his predecessors were not able to and did not dare do. The pig farmers and their family and friends command a lot of votes and it is better that the government leaves them alone. All the Chief Ministers before this adopted this policy. But Ali Rustam wanted to show them that he decides and he calls the shots. And this is what he told the PPP convention that 15 October, “I decide.”

Ali Rustam believes that the Prime Minister will announce the dissolution of Parliament on 9 November followed by the general election on 25 November. If this happens then the Chinese would be with the opposition. Ali Rustam realises that how much you may court the Chinese it would be futile. Therefore, since you cannot get their support anyway, you might as well whack them. It makes no difference anyway.

Of course, many would ask why whack the Chinese? Well, PPP in Melaka is led by a Chinese and it would be Chinese and not Indians who matter, though the Indian support for PPP is nevertheless strong since it has a large Indian membership.

This is Ali Rustam’s version of keris waving. The fact that he repeated many times, “I was with Najib yesterday,” was his way of telling the world that he is Najib’s de facto number two. This means if Najib goes up to become the Prime Minister then he would be the Deputy Prime Minister. To become the number two in Umno is not up to the voters. It is up to the Umno divisions. So he must come out looking like a Malay hero from Melaka a la Hang Toh Ah and Hang Jer Baht, never mind that these two may have been Chinese rather than Malays. And this ranting and raving about Melaka once being an empire that ruled over half of Thailand and half of Indonesia fit nicely into the theme. But Ali Rustam probably thought that Kayveas and his PPP members are all illiterate rubber tappers who never read history when he said that Malaysia is part of Melaka and not Melaka that is part of Malaysia.

But why the need to repeat so many times that he was with Najib the day before? Every time he dropped a bombshell he would add that he was with Najib the day before. What was his message here? Was it that he was delivering Najib’s message or that Najib has endorsed what he is saying? Or is it to demonstrate that he is Najib’s number two?

Anyway, whatever it may be, Ali Rustam has made it very clear that Umno does not need anyone. Umno has managed 50 years without depending on anyone and it can carry on another 50 years without them. Is this Ali Rustam’s or Najib’ message: that if the component members do not deliver the votes then they will be kicked out of Barisan Nasional? When MCA did badly in 1969 it was proposed they leave the Alliance Party since the Chinese no longer support them. The only difference this time around is that Umno is telling them before instead of after the general election.

There is much speculation on who will be Najib’s Deputy when he takes over as Prime Minister. This question has been satisfactorily answered on 15 October 2007. Ali Rustam made it clear that he and not the Prime Minister makes the decisions. As far as Ali Rustam is concerned the Prime Minister pengecut, the Perak Menteri Besar is kaki bodek, while the Pahang Menteri Besar is gila who does crazy things. Yes, that leaves only him remaining as the most suitable candidate to become the next Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Hmm.....should I seriously consider migrating?

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Ali Rustam: PPP can leave BN – now
Malaysiakini, 20 October 2007

People’s Progressive Party (PPP) members are left reeling after receiving a political blow from Umno’s third most powerful leader during the Malacca PPP annual general assembly early this week.

At the assembly on Monday, Umno vice-president Mohd Ali Rustam delivered a scathing speech, which chided the PPP for “threatening” Barisan Nasional for more seats to contest in the coming general election

He also repeatedly stressed that PPP could leave the BN fold if it was unhappy.

This left many party members in a daze at how Mohd Ali - who was the guest of honour as Malacca chief minister - could utter such remarks.

“He came to our house, seemingly with the intention to humiliate us,” said a PPP source who attended the event.

Eyewitnesses said a handful of party members stormed out of the venue in protest, but that did not deter Mohd Ali.

“PPP can leave BN,” said Mohd Ali.

He then pointed at the stunned delegates and added: “All of you can leave. Either today or tomorrow. Why wait until the general election? What’s there to wait for?”

Mohd Ali also claimed that the Umno supreme council was unhappy with PPP for accepting former Umno members as their members.

He even asked if any of the delegates formerly with Umno, MCA, Gerakan and MIC to put up their hands.

Mohd Ali also took a dig at Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob for suggesting that PPP should ask every state for a seat to contest in.

“That's his business. As far as I am concerned - no seat in Malacca (for PPP),” he added.

When Mohd Ali wrapped up his tirade and declared the assembly open, PPP delegates refused to applaud.

Eyewitnesses reported that PPP president M Kayveas maintained his composure throughout the hour-long speech and was seen vigorously taking down notes.

When contacted, Kayveas said delegates were “disappointed and dejected” by the “unwarranted and undiplomatic” remarks uttered by Mohd Ali.

Kayveas said delegates were expecting inspiring speeches from Mohd Ali in order to prepare the party for the upcoming general election.

“(Instead) the chief minister's speech made the entire assembly feel like a funeral. As the third highest ranking in Umno, the consequences of his speech worries me,” he said.

He added that some remarks which Mohd Ali made regarding other BN component parties and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were also uncalled for.

According to media sources, Mohd Ali had asked journalists to exclude the hard-hitting part of his speech in their reports. He claimed these were only meant for the delegates.

It is uncertain if Mohd Ali’s speech would lead to souring ties between PPP and Umno.

However, there is already talks within PPP rank-and-file that the party may silently boycott Umno programmes and functions.

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Probe into Ali Rustam's speech
Terence Fernandez, The Sun

(Oct 23, 2007): The Prime Minister has asked his officers to verify complaints that Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam made disparaging remarks against other menteris besar at the Malacca People's Progressive Party (PPP)'s annual general assembly last week.

Sources said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had asked the officers to investigate complaints made by PPP members that the Umno vice-president had, besides asking the PPP to leave the Barisan Nasional, also insulted other BN and Umno leaders.

Mohd Ali, who opened the PPP state convention on Oct 15, had in his speech told the PPP that it could leave the coalition if it was not satisfied with the lack of seat allocation. What did not make the news was his alleged use of disparing remarks made about other leaders.

Following his speech, Mohd Ali told journalists covering the event that his remarks were meant for delegates and that they should not publish it.

"There is decorum to be practised among BN members. They don't go around talking bad about fellow members. So the PM is concerned about this," said a source. "The PM has already asked his aides and officers to investigate."

"We don't know how the PM is going to deal with it, but the findings will be discussed in closed doors at the Umno Supreme Council meeting since the alleged remarks were directed at Umno members," said another source, adding that the PM's aides are in the midst of obtaining a recording of the day’s events to verify the accusations.

“If proven true, Ali Rustam will be asked to explain and may face censure," the source added.

When contacted, PPP president M. Kayveas declined comment, merely saying he has informed Abdullah of Mohd Ali's remarks

ECONOMIC SITUATION WORRISOME


It needs to be noted that everything is NOT FINE in Malaysia. The above chart will tell the truth.

But surprise to many our UMNO-led Barisan Nasional government keeps distorting the true picture.

Dailies seem to focus on the on-coming UMNO Delegates Conference and the personalities contesting, rather than having full focus to combat the worrisome economic crisis.

Malaysians, be prepared for the worst!!!
news n picture courtesy of anilnetto.com