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Monday, March 23, 2009

Samy Vellu retains top post uncontested

In plantations and town halls, Nizar soldiers on

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, March 23 — The only visible sign that the heat was getting to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, the impeccably groomed man who stoutly maintains he is the lawful menteri besar of Perak, were the little beads of sweat on his prominent Adam's apple.

As usual, he was garbed smartly in a loose-fitting silk shirt - green this time - pressed black trousers and polished black leather shoes with not a strand of hair sticking out from his left side
parting.

He stood in the shade of the now famous rain tree at the corner of Persiaran Istana, where an extraordinary auction took place yesterday morning to raise funds for a bigger, more lasting monument to democracy.

The Pakatan Rakyat alliance was selling five shards of the "democracy plaque" that had been erected under the tree to mark an equally extraordinary emergency meeting of the Perak legislative assembly 20 days ago.

As the bidding for the last piece of broken black marble memorabilia shot past the RM10,000 mark, even Nizar's normally stern visage cracked.

His eyebrows shot skywards, his eyes widened and catching this reporter's eye, he flashed a toothy grin and a barely perceptible thumbs-up as if saying, "I can't believe this. This is fantastic!"

It was a moment of pure elation.

After being unceremoniously booted out from his mentri besar's office, Nizar would certainly have felt "jubilant, victorious" surrounded by such generous supporters, as he told The Malaysian Insider the previous night after a late ceramah in Taman Chempaka.

The state assemblyman for Pasir Panjang has been diligently touring Perak for the past one and a half months since his "fall" from grace and power.

Having been mentri besar for 10 months, it seems a most bitter pill for him to swallow to be forced to return to the campaign trail just when he managed to rouse the local government from their many years of complacency.

Yet strangely, it would seem the turn of events has bolstered his popularity to a level greater than when he was freshly-appointed.

Everywhere Nizar goes, he is greeted warmly by men, women and children of all races rushing to shake his hands or at the very least, snap a picture with him. They consider it an honour to do so, judging by the grins that threaten to split their faces in half afterwards.

Tangaragie Papu, a 56-year-old Ipoh retiree, pointed out the irony in the Ipoh City Council's swift removal of the "democracy plaque".

"For years they've been slow to do things, but they improved after Nizar came in. And now, see how quickly they remove the democracy plaque," said Tangaragie, who had dropped by Persiaran Istana last Saturday afternoon to take pictures of the tree with his 21-year-old
daughter based in Shah Alam.

Nizar, a trained engineer, has reacted pragmatically to the constitutional crisis. That does not mean he is not angry at his situation or that he does not rant at his arch-rivals, whom he has
consistently accused of taking the word "derhaka" (Malay for treason) used during his audience with Sultan Azlan Shah out of context and insidiously staging a coup d'etat against him.

His speeches often begin with a quote from the Holy Quran, a single line from Surah 17, verse 81, which touches on the night journey.

"Truth has come and falsehood is vanished, verily falsehood by nature is bound to perish," Nizar opens at every single ceramah, reminding his Malay, Chinese and Indian audience not only of the perceived injustice done to him, but of his religious background as a party member of Pas.

His schedule is packed day and night with his side's explanation of why, despite having elected Pakatan Rakyat into the state office last year, the Barisan Nasional is now ruling the state.

On Thursday night, he was in Bukit Gantang, coaxing the voters to choose wisely in the upcoming by-elections next month.

On Friday night, he was in Pasir Salak, delivering a fiery message to thousands of Malays and a sprinkling of Chinese villagers in the middle of an oil palm plantation.

On Saturday, with a phalanx of outriders on Harley Davidson motorcycles, scooters and the humble "kapchai" leading the entourage, he ripped through the orang asli settlements on the outskirts of Ipoh in the afternoon and a Chinese residential neighbourhood at night.

And yesterday, he launched the auction in the morning before zooming off to Selangor to speak with the outstation Perakian community in the afternoon and landing up back in Sungai Siput after dark.

While the Pas Unit Amal team that forms his security detail snatch a quick nap in between ceramah sessions, punctured by the frenetic pace they must follow to keep his punishing schedule, Nizar always appears energetic, even after midnight. The only giveaway is the bulging bags under his eyes.

But Nizar feels he owes a duty to the 54 per cent of Perakians who voted in the PR alliance last March.

As he explained in a fiery lecture to the villagers of Chenderong Balai, they had cast their vote for "change" and it was his duty as the mentri besar to protect their "rights", not because he craves to
stay in power.

In a few short hours, the Federal Court in Putrajaya will decide who is the lawful mentri besar of the silver state.

Regardless of the verdict, in the court of public opinion, Nizar is a winner.

MCA Youth Chief slams Dr. M

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani- The Malaysian Insider

Kuala Lumpur, March 23 - MCA Youth Chief Datuk Dr. Wee Ka Siong today condemned Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for saying the Malay community was under threat and for his attack on Chinese educationists.

Yesterday Dr Mahathir called the Chinese educationist group Dong Jiao Zong (DJZ) racists who practised apartheid.

"That is apartheid, not us. We proposed that everyone study together in one school then only can you have bangsa Malaysia.

"They did not want to mix with the other races especially the Malays. They did not want their children to mix with Malays and that is apartheid, not us," Dr. Mahathir had said.

Wee believes that Dr. Mahathir's statement was baseless and that he had ulterior motives when he made it.

"If the Chinese educationists do not like to mingle with the Malay community, I would like to inform him that almost 90 per cent of the students that finish their primary school at SJKC ( Chinese vernacular schools) enrol into national secondary schools, " he explained.

Dr Mahathir's administration had proposed the formation of Vision Schools to group national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools in one single compound, but his idea was opposed by DJZ and only a few such institutions were ever set up.

The MCA Youth Chief refused to acknowledge that the government had failed in integrating the different races and gave the Youth Integration program as an example of government efforts.

He mentioned that national unity should not be measured against the failure or success of the Wawasan school but racial integration should be examined at all educational levels including in universities.

Wee also defended Chinese vernacular schools and said, "SJKC (Chinese vernacular schools) syllabus is created by the Ministry of Education, we sing the same national anthem and swear to the same national principles (Rukun Negara)."

When he was asked about The Malaysian Insider's report that Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein plans to show the keris during the opening ceremony for the Umno youth assembly, he declined to make any direct comments.

"I would not make any comments regarding any speculation. When the time comes then I will give my response.

"I am confident since the last few years that public reaction will be taken in consideration because we are a multi-racial county.

In Barisan Nasional, we respect each other's rights to hold a general assembly and we wont get involved. But we must be aware of the current political scenario and what will be political scenario after party elections," he replied.

PKR names Jawah Gerang for Batang Ai

BATANG AI, March 23 - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) today picked former five-term Lubok Antu MP Jawah Gerang for the Batang Ai by-election.

He will face Malcolm Mussen from Barisan Nasional in the state seat contest.

Nomination day is March 29 and the by election is April 7, together with by-elections forthe Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat and Bukit Selambau state seat.

The outspoken Dayak politician was first elected to the Lubok Antu seat in a by-election in early 1990. He was returned unopposed in the general election the same year, and again in the 1995 elections.

In 1999, he beat David Jemut of Parti Keadilan Nasional.

The Universiti Malaya economics graduate and former supreme council member of the de-registered Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was forced to relinquish the seat in the 2008 general elections as it was given to former native court judge William Nyallau Badak of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), which he did not join as he was at odds with its president Datuk Seri Dr James Masing.

He beat Nyallau, who stood as an independent candidate, with a majority of 2,035 votes in 2004.

Umno leaders to ask Registrar of Societies to defer party election

(Suara KeADILan) - Two Umno branch leaders Kadar Shah Sulaiman and Mazlan Harun plan to lodge a complaint with the Registrar of Societies today and seek a postponement of the party’s annual assembly and election slated to begin tomorrow.

“We want to postpone the annual assembly and election until all the cases of money politics involving all the Umno leaders contesting for office this year have been completed,” Kadar Shah told TVantara.

Both he and Mazlan will complain against the disqualification of vice president Mohd Ali Rustam from contesting the deputy president’s post and the warning letter issued to Youth chief aspirant Khairy Jamaluddin.

“I and Mazlan will go to the ROS today (at 2 pm) and complain about the two cases. We want to know why Ali Rustam was barred but is still allowed to attend the assembly and cast his vote.

“The same with Khairy. How come he was found guilty but no action was taken. Is a letter of warning enough?,” Kadar said.

Both Ali and Khairy were among the 15 Umno members found guilty of breaching party ethics. Another 14 were cleared, including former Selangor menteri besar Mohd Khir Toyo, who is also contesting the Youth chief post.

Karpal akui tidak bersalah menghasut

Pengerusi DAP Karpal Singh sekali lagi mengaku tidak bersalah di Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur atas pertuduhan menghasut berhubung cadangannya untuk menyaman Sultan Perak.

Kes peguam terkenal itu akan disebut di mahkamah yang sama 22 April ini.

Karpal, yang juga ahli parlimen Bukit Gelugor, berhasrat mengambil tindakan terhadap Sultan Azlan Shah sewaktu memuncak krisis rampasan kuasa BN daripada Pakatan Rakyat, Februari lalu.

Pada 17 Mac, beliau juga tidak mengaku bersalah di Mahkamah Sesyen dan kes tersebut dipindahkan ke Mahkamah Tinggi dengan persetujuan pihak pendakwaan dan pembelaan.

Beliau didakwa mengeluarkan kata-kata hasutan pada sidang akhbar
berkaitan keputusan Sultan Perak di firmanya Tetuan Karpal Singh & Co, Jalan Pudu Lama, Kuala Lumpur antara tengah hari dan 12.30 tengah hari pada 6 Feb.

Karpal Singh dituduh bawah Seksyen 4(1)(b) Akta Hasutan dan jika sabit kesalahan, beliau boleh dikenakan denda maksimum RM5,000 atau tiga tahun penjara atau kedua-duanya.

Pihak pendakwaan diwakili timbalan pendakwaraya Manoj Kurup , sementara Karpal mewakili dirinya sendiri dengan dibantu 10 peguam lagi, termasuk empat anaknya: Gobind Singh Deo, Jagdeep Singh Deo, Sangeet Kaur Deo dan Ram Karpal Deo.

Pesuruhjaya Kehakiman Azman Abdullah membenarkan ikat jamin RM2,000 dengan dua orang penjamin.

Hail The Father of Unity

Sheih Kickdefella

goodnight-lah1

Somewhere in February 2007, about ten of the most sought after Malay bloggers were called to attend a meeting, few blocks from Bukit Aman.

In bloggers term those days, this is the most secretive meeting ever arranged amongst blogger. Nobody knew who else would attend and who organised the meeting.

As I sat there, I saw all the Malay big guns in the local blogosphere scene plus one non-blogger who sat quietly at one corner.

The agenda is to topple Abdullah from his premiership using a well fine tune orchestrated informal movement within the bloggers circle.

Each and everyone who had spoken on that particular night, somehow, taken unrequested oath and swore that they are doing this with clear conscience that it is about sending Abdullah’s packing in PRU 12 and not about bringing Barisan Nasional down.

I did the same when it was my turn to speak. Nevertheless, somehow I was told that we must make sure Barisan Nasional will not win Kelantan because this will be the morale booster for Abdullah.

With that, our first aim is to campaign for young Malaysia to register themselves as voters. We know they are the strength of the oppositions. The strength of the blogs and the influence of the ten bloggers have overpowered the might of UMNO mercenary bloggers.

We also strategized our posting by creating chain of issues against Abdullah’s lifestyle, character, attitude and policies.

Somehow, miracles happens, the more we were attacked, the more support we got, the more we were blocked, the more people willing to take over our role and blog. And the opposition fast riding on us.

One main important issue about this group of ten is that, most of us were UMNO members and one PKR and one blogger without any political link.

Through the blog, we had managed to brand Abdullah as a liar.

The point of this posting is not about taking glory from what had happen. What actually happen, why it happen and how it happen is not an agenda anymore? What I want to highlight is how Abdullah had managed to unite us.

This is the asset that we are fast losing. No other leader post March 8, 2008 has the weaknesses that can unite us.

Uniting us is Abdullah’s weaknesses but Abdullah will forever be remembered as our strength.

Losing Abdullah has fast becoming a curse to the blogosphere. I have seen enough of how we become disunited and started to cannibalise each other.

We used to put the blame on Monsterball for spreading the seed of disunity but the truth is, we are what we are. What had happened to us was a miracle, united by what we perceived as the weaknesses of a man named Abdullah.

However, what we actually perceived as his weaknesses is actually his strength. Blogosphere will never be same again.

Post Abdullah will see warlords amongst blogger, trying to force their agenda onto the LCD screen of the reader. Post Abdullah will see warlords amongst blogger trying to force their political agenda and their favourite politician onto the net. Post Abdullah will see cyber warfare filled with civil wars where those once brothers and sisters pushing the enter key to post their barbaric act for us to read.

I have seen it started and it made me sad. I have seen civil war between my blogging-brothers and amongst those who pioneered the Malaysia Blogosphere Brotherhood. I have even see my brothers using the mainstream media, television, magazine and even facebook to lash at their cyber buddies.

Perhaps, this is the prelude of what to expect from the Najib’s era. Barbaric local cyber scene as a reaction to the appointment of a barbarian leader.

I have started missing Abdullah. And for that brotherhood he had given to the Malaysian Blogger, I wish to thank him.

Hobson’s Choice And Scraping The Barrel

by Tunku Abdul Aziz

Najib Abdul Razak will be remembered as the most controversial prime ministerial aspirant this nation has ever known. The deadweight political baggage he is lugging around, as he sets his course on what he fervently hopes will be the last lap to the best address in the country, is enough to make a grown man cry, but not Najib, the single minded man of destiny according to his wife, Rosmah.

He seems to take his travails in his stride. Is he not, again, according to Rosmah, predestined to occupy the highest political office in the land? I am inclined to think that there may be some truth in what Rosmah has been saying about his destiny because she has already begun, to preen herself, so the gossip goes, to play the part of Malaysia’s First Lady.

Unfortunately for her, and others who might harbour a similar ambition in the deep recesses of their fantasy, our country is a monarchy, albeit a constitutional one (may it always remain that way) and as such, the First Lady is our queen, not the wife of the prime minister. Her confident prediction of Najib’s political ascendancy and immortality could, in the event, prove to be just a little premature given the murky political waters he is wading through.

“The PM governs; the king rules! The queen is the First Lady.”

It is not my intention enumerate the reasons for Najib’s unprecedented unpopularity. Many serious allegations of moral and ethical lapses have appeared on local blogs as well as in foreign publications. Rightly or wrongly, he has been cast as someone unappealing, and these negative perceptions look set to feed on him. They can only be reversed by his clearing his name in the court of law.

Najib is an intelligent man, and he must surely know that many people do not trust him and that he cannot govern this country effectively with so much ill will surrounding his person. In his beleaguered state and feeling, no doubt, under constant siege there is, many of us fear, no knowing what diabolical measures he will resort to, including using the Internal Security Act, to silence his critics. I hope Najib will take early steps to assure the citizens of this country that the little crumbs of freedom that Pak Lah has grudgingly thrown at us will not be swept away. He has a monumental task to convince us that he really, despite all indications to the contrary, believes in the rule of law. He has to show that he can be trusted to do the right thing by us.

I am greatly amused to read that our irrepressible former prime minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad the selective amnesiac has proffered gratuitous advice, as is his wont, to “young Najib” who is starting out in the serious business of governance on the importance of choosing the right people to serve as his cabinet colleagues. What sort of people did Tun himself pick when he ran this country for 22 years? Men and women of great moral and ethical rectitude?

I believe Najib knows what he needs to do to survive the next general elections. The luckless man will be scraping the bottom of the barrel to find men and women of integrity whose main interest as politicians is service in the public interest. We wish him well as he goes about putting his team together. It does seem me that Najib might yet turn out to be a great prime minister by doing the opposite of what Tun Mahathir did when he held sway over this country. He should distance himself from the great meddler and be his own man for once.

Najib will need to be less of an Umno top brass and more of a Malaysian nationalist by putting the interests of the country first and last. Malaysia after the political machinations of nearly three decades is divided as never before on all fronts, and it is time we settled down to a period of calm reflection and introspection. We cannot hope to achieve sustainability of purpose as a united, prosperous and peaceful nation by blind indulgence in policies that we know to be unjust and unfair, policies that are inimical to the future well being of our people.

We cannot survive as a nation in social, political and economic terms unless this country is governed with equity and justice for all. We need another unprincipled politician like we need a hole in the head. However, we need desperately a statesmanlike politician (a contradiction in terms, be that as it may) who has broad appeal not because he embodies and personifies the politics of patronage that sustained Mahathirism of unhappy memory but because he knows instinctively that integrity, and all that it stands for, in governance is the only way forward for this country of ours.

Najib has his work cut out for him, and I wish him well as our next head of government. He governs; the king rules! The queen is the First Lady.

“People’s YB” backs Tg Bunga residents’ position - Anil Netto

tanjung-bunga-016

Tanjung Bunga state assembly member, Teh Yee Cheu, says his position is simple: No cutting of steep hill slopes - Photos by Anil Netto

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Tanjung Bunga residents protesting at the bottom of the steep hill slope along Solok Tan Jit Seng

When the Tanjung Bunga protesters invited their elected rep, Teh Yee Cheu of the DAP, to say a few words at their “coffee party” yesterday, they introduced him as “the people’s YB”.

Teh walked up to the mike, and along the way, picked up a placard which read “No more Class 3 and 4 hill cutting”. Pointing to the placard, he told the residents that this was his position. It was clear that he was on the residents’ side and he told them to continue with their “parties”.

At Solok Tan Jit Seng, developer DynamicPro plans to build 25 three-storey town-houses on a hill-slope which residents claim has a gradient of over 65 degrees. That’s steep! (Class 3 is over 25 degrees and Class 4 over 35 degrees). The project site on the slope looks down on a row of houses, behind which stands the Tanjung Bunga school. Above the project site on the slope lies the precariously perched Pearl Hill apartments. Before the Appeals Board could decide on the residents’ concerns, several trees on the hill-slope were felled.

tanjung-bunga-020

The Pearl Hill apartments perched precariously above the project site.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was also invited, did not turn up. Instead, he made sure state exco member Phee Boon Poh, who recently assumed the environment portfolio, attended.

In contrast to Teh, Phee was more guarded when addressing the residents and said he would have to walk a “middle road” between the developers’ and the people’s interests and make an independent decision. He said if he openly sided with either party, he could be accused of corruption.

This prompted a disgusted placard-carrying protester to blurt out, “Political talk!” which Phee overheard. But the exco member remained non-committal, maintaining that the state government would need to consider all factors.

One resident, Ismail, said he was worried about the safety of the residents especially the children at the Tanjung Bunga school. Another resident told the state government reps to take back the message that the residents are not stupid. “Most of us voted for change on March 8 (last year) - you can ask the people here, many of them voted for the DAP - but we want to see change.”

Yet another resident said the issue of the state having to pay compensation to developers for projects terminated was a lame excuse. “There are ways and means of stopping these developers.” One of them suggested that the state authorities could impose tough restrictions on rock blasting and the height of retaining walls, making it all but impossible to proceed with the project. Or the state government could investigate how such a project was approved on such a steep hill slope in the first place.

Residents later took Phee for a tour of the area to show him how serious the Tanjung Bunga environmental problem is and some of the likely problems that could arise.

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The residents told Phee they worry another four high-rise apartment blocks could be coming up next to the existing four in Tanjung Bunga

Clearly, the state government will have to decide whose side they are on: the residents’ or the developers’ whose projects could pose a threat to public safety. The residents, for their part, are not about to accept any dangerous or unsustainable development lying down.

Don’t drag King into politics

The Nut Graph

PETALING JAYA, 22March 2009: A constitutional expert disagrees with an appeal to the King to appoint someone other than Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister.

Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi says the call, made by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to appoint someone else whom Malaysians can "trust and respect", would amount to dragging the King into politics.

It would be unconstitutional, Shad Saleem said, because the King has the discretion to appoint as prime minister the person who commands the confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament. And under present circumstances, Barisan Nasional still has the majority, even if it is less than two-thirds.

"It is not the role of the King to choose the best person [as prime minister]. That would involve the King in politics. The situation would then become the same as the Perak crisis," he said.

He said in Perak, there had been no vote of confidence taken in the legislative assembly to decide which person had commanded the majority support in order to be appointed menteri besar.

"In the Dewan Rakyat presently, whether the leader of the majority of the house is from a party, a coalition, or even a loose arrangement, the leader has the majority support. Whether he is suitable or not is irrelevant."

Shad Saleem was speaking at a public forum on 20 March titled Political Developments in Malaysia in Petaling Jaya.

He said the discretionary power of a state's ruler to appoint the menteri besar was not absolute, but rather, a "controlled discretionary function" guided by the legislative based on the majority support for an assemblyperson.

"The discretionary function is a structured discretion which has guidelines. If there is a clear-cut winner in the general election, then the Sultan has to appoint the head of that party as MB. That would be under normal circumstances.

"But if there is a hung assembly with no clear-cut majority, then the circumstances are different."

He said the best solution would be to put the matter back to a vote in the house.

Zaid's appeal to the King was also criticised by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who said it was "illogical".

Jawah Gerang Calon Pakatan Rakyat Untuk DUN Batang Ai

Sabentar tadi, di Hotel Grand Continental, Kuching saya telah mengumumkan Jawah Gerang sebagai calun Pakatan Rakyat dari KeADILan untuk bertanding dalam pilihan raya kecil DUN Batang Ai, 7 April ini.

Pengalaman saudara Jawah yang sebelum ini berkhidmat sebagai Ahli Parlimen Lubok Antu selama lima penggal jelas memperlihatkan kredibiliti beliau sebagai pemimpin rakyat di DUN Batang Ai yang komited.

Turut hadhir dalam majlis ini termasuklah saudara Dominique Ng, YB Violet (mewakili DAP) dan juga YB Gabriel Adit.

Juga diumumkan ialah pemilihan saudara Nicholas Bawin sebagai Pengarah Operasi Pilihan Raya. Ini jelas membuktikan betapa fitnah perpecahan yang dilempar BN sekadar omongan kosong yang berlalu ditiup angin.

Dengan sokongan masyarakat di Batang Ai yang begitu mengagumkan, ditambah pula dengan dukungan para bloggers yang komited memperjuangkan nilai pemberitaan seimbang dan telus, BN Sarawak pastinya terus gusar meranduk iltizam rakyat.

Harapan rakyat di seluruh Malaysia khususnya di Sarawak kepada Jawah Gerang adalah sangat tinggi. Kepada jentera petugas, ayuh perkemas dan tingkatkanlah usaha demi menggarap agenda perubahan!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Aussie Magistrate Does Not Buy KL Knifepoint Robbery Story

By Neville D'Cruz

MELBOURNE, March 23 (Bernama) -- A Diners Club Australia member has been ordered to pay an A$16,000 debt for jewellery he claimed he was forced to buy at knifepoint by a gang of four kidnappers in Kuala Lumpur.

Richard James Stocks, 35, detailed an ordeal that started last year in Kuala Lumpur with his kerbside abduction and ended in losing a courtroom fight to deny liability, The Age newspaper reported.

The IT consultant told the Melbourne Magistrate's Court that he was driven to various shopping centres in KL over seven hours by his captors on Feb 24, who "used me as a tool" to make or attempt purchases worth more than A$37,000.

His lawyer, Geoff Block, said Stocks' main concern was "the preservation of life and limb" while on a business trip.

"To achieve this, he had to comply with his captors' demands," Block said.

The newspaper said Stocks denied Diners Club counsel Mark Purvis' suggestion that the woman captured on CCTV footage with him at the stores was a "female acquaintance" he was shopping with.

He also denied Purvis' proposition that he had earlier been "placed in a compromising position" and then blackmailed to buy the jewellery but needed a story to tell his wife if she found out.

Stocks also disagreed with Purvis who suggested he had been a "willing participant" in the transactions but needed an explanation for his family, friends and employer why the items appeared on his Diners Club statement.

The court heard two transactions attempted by Stocks that day were declined before Diners Club allowed one for A$16,493, the newspaper said.

Stocks said he was robbed of his camera and accessories, an electronic game and a mobile phone - but not his wallet or a second phone - and was also forced to withdraw about A$700 from an ATM.

He said he had no recollection of buying or signing for the jewellery until told by Diners Club.

In finding for Diners Club, magistrate Peter Lauritsen described as "pathetic" Stocks' report to police and his behaviour as so bizarre that "I cannot accept that it's truthful".

Stocks were ordered to pay $16,493 to Diners Club and a total of $9,882 in interest and costs.

BN Components Responsible For The Leaders They Choose

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 (Bernama) -- Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties must be responsible for the leaders they choose to lead them, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.

"We don't interfere in the affairs of any BN component party. We leave it to their members to elect the leaders they think deserve their support through their internal process.

"We hope that the election of leaders in the BN component parties will have an impact on the respective parties...they should be responsible for the leaders they choose," the deputy prime minister told reporters after opening the bumiputera entrepreneurs symposium organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) here.

He was asked to comment on the election of Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu as MIC president for a record 11th consecutive term after more than 90 per cent of the nominations for his challenger, Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan, were rejected by the party's presidential election committee during nominations yesterday.

Asked whether Samy Vellu's election would further hamper the BN's efforts to gain the support of the Indian community, Najib said: "There are various opinions but he (Samy Vellu) has been elected by the MIC members so we have to accept it and we have to work hard to convince the Indian Community that the BN is serious about their interests.

The deputy prime minister said that the BN had in fact taken various measures towards this end, the latest being the aid given to repair Tamil primary schools as announced in the economic stimulus plan.

Asked whether Samy Vellu's election would affect the BN's chances in the April 7 Bukit Selambau by-election, he said: "We'll see the result then."

"But for now we are working hard and we must go down to the ground and meet all the voters and convince them that the BN has an agenda to fight for the interests of all races," he said, adding that the voters in Bukit Selambau could gauge how well their assemblyman from the opposition had served them since the general election in March last year.

The Bukit Selambau seat fell vacant after state executive councillor V. Arumugan resigned last month. Nomination is on Sunday.

The BN has named Kedah MIC deputy head Datuk S. Ganeson, 49, as its candidate.

Dr M wants Khairy out

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has gone for the jugular, pressing the Umno delegates and incoming Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to freeze Khairy Jamaluddin out of the party and government.

This move by the former prime minister is the latest verbal volley against the son-in-law of his nemesis, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and appears to be a final push to improve Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's chances of being elected as the Umno Youth chief on Thursday.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the battle for the youth wing is turning out to be a fight between Khairy and Datuk Dr Khir Toyo, with Mukhriz trailing some way behind.

Though no longer an Umno member, Dr Mahathir carries considerable influence in the party and has been commenting on trend of money politics in Umno and the ineffectiveness of the party's disciplinary board to censure the culprits.

In his latest blog posting, he slammed the disciplinary tribunal for missing out on a great opportunity to bar candidates who had used money to buy votes.

"If they had done so, this would have improved the image of the party and there is a good chance that the party would win in the next general elections. But because tribunal has allowed candidates said to be corrupt to contest, there is a good chance that they will be elected to the
Supreme Council, '' he said.

He said that only Najib could save the party.

"When Dato Seri Najib forms the new government, he can reject these leaders and do not give them any positions in the Cabinet or government. I believe Dato Seri Abdullah will force Najib to pick certain individuals as Cabinet ministers.

"We of course know about the desire of someone to become the youngest Prime Minister. The fact is that even if he wins, his involvement in the government will cause voters to reject Barisan Nasional in the next general elections. If Dato Seri Najib picks the corrupt and certain people in his Cabinet, Umno will be destroyed, '' said Dr Mahathir, who believes that Khairy was the power behind the throne and person who influenced Abdullah to chart his own style of administration and undermine the former prime minister's legacy.

Ground reports suggest that either Khir Toyo or Khairy will emerge victorious on Thursday. Khir Toyo was cleared of graft by the disciplinary board while Khairy was warned but allowed to contest.

This latest posting by Dr Mahathir is a gentle reminder to Najib that the latter's choices for the Cabinet will have to be "endorsed'' and "sanctioned'' by the former prime minister.

Otherwise, Najib can expect to be criticized from the sidelines.

Dr Mahathir, who quit Umno in protest against Abdullah's leadership, is expected to attend the party's general assembly as an observer. He is also likely to be given an unofficial role in the new administration.

I am now persona non grata and living in exile

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As a loyal subject of the Sultan of Selangor, I bow my head and sembah in an act of loyalty. And as I have refused to abide to the wishes of the Selangor Palace for me to apologise and retract what I wrote, I am prepared to exile myself from Selangor and never set foot in Selangor again.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Dear Peter,

Assalamualaikum,

It would appear that you have misinterpreted my letter of 14th March 2009 to you.

In all fairness to your readers, I urge you to post the full text of the letter in your Blog.

Thank you and Wassalam,

Yours,
Aunty Fuziah

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

Dear Peter,

I am sending you this letter as you have not responded to my telephone calls nor to my telephone message inviting you to the house on Saturday afternoon to talk over family matters, particularly in connection with the open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, which you posted in your Blog on 2nd March 2009.

As you already know, I admire your ability to write and express your thoughts, ideas and comments about events in your Blog, especially your mastery of the English language. I have also often reminded you that truth should always prevail in communicating these things to the public. It is also not for you to decide ‘what is clearly lawful’.

Had Tok Uda been alive, he would have considered the content and manner of what you wrote in the open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, as a betrayal of the code of conduct and values which he had subscribed to, cherished and passed on to us. And for this to have come from his favourite grandson would certainly have made him collapse in a state of shock.

While Tok Uda, as a true Royalist had demanded loyalty and the upholding of family honour, tradition and adat, he had, on many occasions, also emphasised that we are entitled to our own personal views, accepted our sense and spirit of adventure, freedom of thought and action as you may well have known from the family history. But “RESPECT FOR THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY” or “UPHOLDING LAW AND ORDER“ was his cardinal principle, to be dearly valued and respected by the family at all times.

I believe that in the case of the open letter, you have crossed the line. Such writings would appear to be seditious. Therefore, for the sake of Tok Uda, and, in upholding the family honour, I feel that the only discourse open is to diffuse/redeem this and for you to apologise through your Blog to the rulers and the public.

We all love you Peter in our own small ways, but I have this task to keep the family together, so help me Peter. And so help me too, Ya-Allah.

With my personal good wishes and love to you and Marina and the family,
I remain,

Yours,

Aunty Fuziah

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

My Aunty, Raja Fuziah Tun Uda, was referring to my Open letter to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/18734/84/). In that piece of 2nd March 2009, I wrote as follows:

Dear Datuk Seri,

I am going to make this short and sweet. No more
cheong hei article from me.

They can lock the Perak State Assembly building if they want. The building is not important. If the building is inaccessible -- say like there is a flood or an earthquake brings it down -- does this mean the State Assembly can’t meet?

Of course it can. It can meet anywhere, not necessarily in that particular meeting.

Go find another meeting place, tonight, now itself, and hold the meeting there tomorrow. Pass a vote of confidence to support you as the Menteri Besar. Then pass all the other motions, including the motion to dissolve the Perak State Assembly. Then drive up to Bukit Chandan as soon as possible and inform Tuanku of the State Assembly’s decision.

If Tuanku refuses to comply with what is clearly lawful, then challenge him and, if necessary, trigger a Constitutional Crisis like never before seen in the 52-year history of this nation.

The people are ready. The next ‘revolution’ is not going to be a race riot a la May 13. It is going to be a class struggle. And I am with the Rakyat on this, never mind my so-called Royal background.

I speak as a Royal but speak for the Rakyat. And rest assured there are many other Royals who share my view. Don’t allow a handful of those who sit on the throne intimidate you into thinking that you are alone, representing the Rakyat, against the Monarchy. No, we are with you, as are many other Royals.

Grab the bull by the horns and bring it to its knees. And if this bull wears a crown so be it. The Rakyat have spoken. Don’t back down now. Go all the way or forever lose that advantage. And if you fail to go all the way, the Rakyat will never forgive you and you will lose our support till the end of time.

Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku.

Patek yang hina sembah Tuanku dan memohon perkenan agar Tuanku jangan kecewakan Rakyat. Hasrat Rakyat ialah untuk mencari kebenaran dan keadilan. Biarlah ini juga menjadi hasrat Tuanku.

Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku.


On 14th March, my Aunty sent me the e-mail above and my response to that can be read in the following piece called Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah (http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/19258/84/), which I wrote on 16th March.

At my Aunty’s request, I have published both e-mails. My stand, however, remains the same. I see no need to apologise to His Highness the Sultan of Perak, as I do not feel I have acted in a treasonous or seditious manner. I have already explained why I feel that way in my article of 16th March, so there is no necessity for me to repeat what I have already said.

I have been told by palace sources that the government wants to arrest me and charge me for treason. My lawyers have advised me that no such law exists. Nevertheless, they can charge me for ‘waging war against the King’, like how they charged the Al Maunah group -- who were subsequently found guilty and soon after that hanged in the Sungai Buloh Prison in October 2006.

My reluctance to apologise for what I wrote would certainly be interpreted as an act of defiance on my part. The government will also take the view that my two Internal Security Act detentions in 2001 and 2008 have not ‘done the trick’ and have instead made me more ‘difficult’. This would mean Internal Security Act detention is ‘wasted’ on me. The only way to silence me would be to charge me for ‘treason’ and then send me to the gallows to end my life.

I have no reason to believe they would not secure a conviction. My three ongoing trials and the way they keep ‘moving the goalposts’ every time they appear to be losing their case against me only strengthens this belief. I have written about this many times so I do not need, again, to go through the points of not only my concerns but that of my lawyers as well.

I do not believe that apologising, as my Aunty has asked me to, will change anything. The government will not spare me just because I have apologised. The only way I can be spared would be for me to renounce the opposition and announce that I am joining Umno. I would be expected to explain that I had erred in supporting the opposition and did not see, at the time, that the opposition is wrong and has been misleading Malaysians. Maybe, and I repeat, maybe only then will the government spare me.

But I will not do that. I can’t do that. I have come so far, 30 years to be exact -- the last ten years through the Reformasi Movement -- to now change my stand. Why would I take the trouble of spending more than half my life opposing the government and then, towards the end of my life, do a U-turn, especially if the purpose in doing so is to settle the many legal problems I am now facing?

I never intended to bring shame to my family, in particular to smear the name of my late Grandfather, Raja Sir Tun Uda. If my family feels embarrassed about my actions I apologise for that. But I offer no excuses for what I did. While I apologise for bringing shame to my family, I do not apologise for what I have done and will stand firm in defence of my actions.

I understand my family would now have to disown me. I can never be regarded as the grandson of Raja Sir Tun Uda -- or a grandson of Tengku Badariah binti al-Marhum Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah of the great-grandson of His Royal Highness Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah ibni Raja Muda Musa. As much as I am proud of my heritage, my love for my family is more important. And if I have to save my family by becoming an outcast then this is what I must do for the sake of my family.

Yes, I am the grandson of Raja Sir Tun Uda as well as the great-grandson of Sultan Ala'uddin Suleiman Shah. But I am a rakyat’s man. Just because of my royal lineage I can’t take the side of the palace when the rakyat has been wronged. Justice demands I stand on the side of truth. My personal affiliations and family loyalty can’t stand in the way of truth and justice.

I understand I am a Raja first and all others second. And, as a Raja, I am expected to take the stand as a Royalist and defend the palace whenever it is under attack. But that is just it. I did do that in the 1980s when Umno attacked the Rulers. Anwar Ibrahim, then, was in Umno and I turned my back on Anwar when he sided with Umno against the Rulers. I ‘disowned’ Anwar in spite of my earlier support for him when he did not defend the Rulers from Umno.

But I defended the Rulers and turned my back on Anwar not because I am a Raja and therefore must take the stand as a Royalist. I did so because the Rulers were being unfairly attacked and Umno, through the mainstream media, was spinning lies about the so-called misconduct of the Rulers. No doubt, some of the Rulers had misbehaved. But this does not warrant attacking all the Rulers, in particular those who were innocent and had done no wrong.

I paid a heavy price for that. I was then living and doing business in Terengganu. Umno Terengganu, at the behest of the Menteri Besar, went out of its way to bring me down. Eventually, my business was brought to ruin. Umno approached my foreign partners and told them that as long as they had Raja Petra as their partner their business prospects in Malaysia would be very bleak. After awhile, when they realised they were being blacklisted just because they had me as their partner, they ended our partnership and took new partners ‘recommended’ by Umno.

By 1994, I could hardly do any business anywhere in Malaysia. My name was untouchable. The very mention of my name meant you were doomed. The only option I had left was to close down all my businesses and retire, at the age of 44, into my new life as a writer. Umno ‘advised’ me to leave Terengganu, which I did, for my safety and that of my family.

I started writing for the cycling and motorcycling columns of The Star in the early 1990s. In 1994, when I had left Terengganu, I started my own website and wrote about political, social and economic issues. My time was spent staying at home churning out an article a day on various issues. My wife baked cookies, curry-puff and whatnot, which I went around on my motorcycle to sell.

At one stage we were so tight for cash we could no longer even buy new clothes. My wife had to be contented with hand-me-downs from my daughter and, for me, hand-me-downs from my son-in-law. To put food on the table (we ate once a day; dinner only) my wife sold rice in front of the mosque in Sungai Buloh.

One Friday, my wife could not sell even one plate of rice. She sat there for hours waiting for customers but no one bought any. I told me wife I needed to go home for a short while to write an article and left her in front of the mosque all alone. I lied. I just could not stand seeing her sit there with an anxious look on her face, wondering if she was going to sell anything that day. I went home and had a good cry. I cried like a baby, wondering if I had done the right thing in opposing the government and subject my family to this very uncertain future.

Yes, I paid the price for my ‘folly’ in opposing the government. I took a stand and suffered for it. But I never once went to my family to tell them of my problems. My family knew me as a successful businessman with plenty of money. The truth is, I was broke and could not afford to even feed or clothe my family. I suffered in silence. My family never knew what we were going through.

When the situation demanded it, I took the side of the Rulers against Umno. I even turned my back on my friends in Umno, people like Anwar Ibrahim who later became the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Those around Anwar became rich. I too could have become rich. But I chose to be poor on grounds of principle. I never sold my principles just to end my financial predicament.

When they sacked and eventually jailed Anwar, I rallied to his side. Yes, Anwar who had wronged the Rulers, as far as I was concerned. And for that I suffered arrest and detention, to add to my financial predicament, which was still unresolved at that time.

When I said in my 16th March 2009 article that I have earned the right to take the Rulers to task if they err or misbehave, I meant it. And I knew what I was saying when I wrote that. I had never shied away from pain. Even when the pain became unbearable I stood my ground. I just sneaked away and cried. But I never sold out my principles.

Today, my family is unhappy with me because I have acted treasonously towards the Sultan of Perak. Maybe, maybe I am treasonous. But I do not see it as treason. I am of the opinion that the Sultan has erred. And that is why I wanted Nizar to hold his ground and not back down -- which he did. And, most importantly, I have earned that right, the hard way, to take the Rulers to task if they err. And, this, I did.

As a loyal subject of the Sultan of Selangor (my late father has a certificate Kerabat Selangor), I bow my head and sembah in an act of loyalty. And as I have refused to abide to the wishes of the Selangor Palace for me to apologise and retract what I wrote, I am prepared to exile myself from Selangor and never set foot in Selangor again. That is what is expected from a loyal Kerabat Selangor who has acted treasonously (durhaka) and has incurred the wrath of the Sultan and the Selangor Royal Family.

As of today, I am persona non grata in Selangor and will live in exile outside Selangor. My decision is final and my stand is firm. There is not a soul on earth who can persuade me to change my stand.

Daulat Tuanku.

Najib hints at major Cabinet reshuffle

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 22 - Less than a month before being sworn in as Malaysia's sixth Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said his choice of ministers will determine the public's acceptance of his leadership.

"I will be judged based on two matters. Firstly, my Cabinet line up whether it will be well received by the people," said Najib tonight on a talk show programme Dialog@1.

"Secondly my maiden address as Prime Minister to outline the national agenda. If the two are accepted by the people, I believe they will be with us, if not we will be facing a tough time," he added.

Najib who is expected to be officially declared Umno president on Thursday has been under pressure to introduce a clean Cabinet, in particular from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He also admitted tonight that his honeymoon period as the prime minister would be less than 100 days.

"But I believe the people will give me a chance to show what I intend to do," said Najib.

He also revealed tonight that the Umno constitution would be amended this year but did not give further details.

"The following general assembly will be the assembly to amend the Umno constitution," said Najib while discussing the topic of reforming the party.

On the election of Umno leaders next week Najib said the party needs a balance between the need to have leaders with intellectual capability and those with strong grassroots support.

He also said there is a need to change the way party elections are conducted so that the Umno delegates at the general assembly reflect the aspirations of the Malay community.

Dr M says Malays are under threat

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani- The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 - Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad played the race card today, warning the Malays could lose their political power.

The former prime minister told a gathering of more than 1,000 at a rally organised by right wing Malay group Perkasa that the community was under threat from "various parties" which he did not specifically name.

He said that the Malays were being unfairly described as racists who practised apartheid but he contended that the community was only protecting their own rights.

"Malaysians have forgotten about the nation's history and have abused the kindness of the Malay people."

"Malays are even called immigrants in their own country. Other immigrants cannot be called immigrants. If anybody were to call them immigrants then they must apologize but no apologies are needed if they call Malays immigrants," he said.

Dr Mahathir instead accused the Chinese educationist group Dong Jiao Zong (DJZ) as racists who practised apartheid.

"That is apartheid, not us. We proposed that everyone study together in one school then only can you have bangsa Malaysia.

"But they did not want this. They did not want to mix with the other races especially the Malays. They did not want their children to mix with Malays and that is apartheid, not us."

Dr Mahathir's administration had proposed the formation of Vision Schools to group national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools in one single compound, but his idea was opposed by DJZ and only a few such institutions were ever set up.

The former prime minister also defended the rights of the Malays to speak up for themselves.

"I would like to say a little bit about the Malay people in Malaysia even though I might be accused of being racist. If the Malay people are not allowed to speak about their problems then they might become a race that do not have any rights in their own country.

"These dangers are true because we can already see the pressure and insults against our people when they are made as minorities in their own community," he explained.

Mahathir told the audience that Malays were lucky because they held political control in the country.
"Even though the Malays were divided by different political parties, there were able to unite and retain power. Malays were respected and feared but now they no longer control the country's power.

"Nowadays people no longer respect us. Whatever is asked by others, even if they are winners or losers and even if they are right or wrong, we have to entertain them. We must respect others, even a little mistake we must apologize on behalf of the Malay race

Does BN care about the constituents of Batang Ai?

Bu Haris Ibrahim

jetty

The photos below were taken from the jetty in the photograph above.

viewview2

view3view12

Most idyllic setting for a romantic weekend, no?

This is the artificial lake that was created with the flooding of a a huge area of land with the construction of the Batang Ai hydro-electric dam in 1982.

Don’t know about this?

Read more about this HERE.

What you need to know is that arising from the creation of this man-made lake, 21 Iban longhouse communities involving about 3,000 people were displaced from the area.

Blogger CKChew reported :

“…A study conducted by the Sarawak Museum in 1978-79 revealed that 52.3% of the people interviewed were unwilling to move and another 14.7% were uncertain. Of those who were prepared to move, one-third felt that they had no other option since the project is already decided and half felt that their leaders were probably acting in their best interest.

…The affected communities were involuntarily resettled in two phases in 1982 and 1984. Each family was compensated with RM8000 for their original home while they were required to pay another RM27,000 by monthly installment of RM120 for 25 years for the new house. This would total up to RM44,000 per unit. The new houses were constructed by the Sarawak Housing Development Corporation with design similar to the traditional longhouse. However, they are apparently smaller in size (half of their former house) and with poorer materials. The communities had since refused to pay the installments.

When their first moved to the new area the houses were not completed. They were forced to built temporary huts or squat underneath the still constructing longhouse. During a visit of NGO in 1983 many felt that they had been tricked:

“The government promised us free longhouses. But now we are charged RM27,000 per pintu (door) and have been asked to pay RM127 per month. Where are we to go for the money?”

“We were told we would get free electricity. Now they have put up meters in every door and they are charging us monthly.”

The submerged farmlands were compensated with RM600 per acre and those not submerged RM300 per acre. The people consider the amounts unfair. They also consider tree crop compensation insufficient, such as RM18 for rubber, RM25 for pepper, and RM77 for durian per plant”.

In 1985, NGO’s study found that the allocation is far insufficient for a decent living of a longhouse family. Further the cocoa crop had failed due to pest problem. Many of them went back to their old farm above the reservoir where they could farm as well as hunt and fish as they did before.

The women interviewed in 1989 express their deep fear about their future.

There is no land for our children, unlike the old place where land can be shared equally. Here, all the land belongs to the government except for the small piece of dusun which is not even enough for our own survival” (Utusan Konsumer Mid-Feb 1989)

NGO’s follow up visit in 1993 found that the farm land allocated for the families were yet given titles. The people were merely working for wages 15 days in a month for Salcra scheme. The people express harder live that members of the families were forced to look for job as far as Bintulu, Brunei, Johor Baru and Singapore, while other are compelled to fell new state land for paddy farming”.

Chew’s full report can be read HERE.

Malaysiakini, on 17th March, 2009, reported PKR prospective candidate for the forthcoming Batang Ai by-election, Nichloas Bawin, as urging the state government to honour its promise and to immediately issue land titles to 400 households from 20 longhouses that were resettled as a result of the construction of the Batang Ai hydro-electric dam in 1982.

“It seems that after so many years the people of these resettlements continue to remain neglected. Most of these promises were never implemented satisfactorily, if at all. I therefore urge the authorities to institute the issuing of land titles to their lots forthwith, give them more land, alleviate poverty and build more medical facilities,”, Bawin is reported to have said.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to ride with the other PKR possible candidate for this all-important by-election, Jawah Gerang from Sri Aman all the way to his longhouse .

jawah

We chatted at length about why he appeared to be making a comeback, and what he hoped to achieve for the people of Sarawak if he was nominated by the party and subsequently elected by the people of Batang Ai.

We exchanged thoughts on a subject close to my heart : anak Bangsa Malaysia.

He shared with me his concerns about the state of politics today.

He gave me some insight into the history of the Dayak community and their history.

I do not propose to narrate all of our discussion in this post as it would be somewhat premature, given that the party leadership has not as yet officially announced the name of the chosen candidate for the by-election.

When we reached his longhouse, I was rather taken aback as I was expecting to see the wooden structures that I have become accustomed to see in past pictorials.

Jawah explained that more and more longhouses are now made of brick and mortar to avoid a disaster if a fire should break out in the longhouse, as has happened in the past.

longhouseibanharvesting

Jawah told me that there were 156 longhouses within the constituency of Batang Ai.

I asked what was the average monthly family income of those who lived within his longhouse.

“RM2,000 per year”, he replied.

I was stunned.

“That’s a little more than RM150 a month”, I responded, quite shocked.

Jawah just stared back at me.

“What about the other 155 longhouses?”

“More or less the same”, he replied.

On my drive back to Kuching with the rest of the team, I pondered on the question whether the BN government that has ruled this state since independence truly has the well-being of its people.

I found the answer to this poser in a Malaysiakini report yesterday of the house in Ottawa owned by the present Chief Minister’s daughter’s and her husband, which is worth in excess of RM28 million.

courtesy of M'kini

courtesy of M'kini

Malaysians Say Corruption is UMNO’s Worst Flaw

Angus Reid Global Monitor

Many people in Malaysia say the governing party’s main problem lies in corrupt practices, according to a poll by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. 35 per cent of respondents cite corruption as the most serious flaw of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).

Being out of touch is second with 15 per cent, followed by having weak leaders with 12 per cent, having weak economic managers with 11 per cent, being arrogant also with 11 per cent, and being racist with 10 per cent.

UMNO—the biggest party in a coalition of 12 political factions known as the National Front (BN)—has formed the government after every election since the Asian country attained its independence from Britain in 1957.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in October 2003, after the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, who served for more than 22 years. In the March 2004 election, the National Front secured 198 of the 219 seats in the House of Representatives. Abdullah was sworn in as head of government with the biggest majority in three decades.

In the March 2008 ballot, the National Front won 140 seats in the legislature. The coalition’s share of the vote dropped drastically, from 64.4 per cent in 2004, to 50.27 per cent in 2008. According to Human Rights Watch, the most recent election was “grossly unfair” and marred by irregularities.

Last September, Abdullah announced he would step down in March 2009. Najib Razak—who currently serves as deputy prime minister and finance minister—is set to take over as head of government in early April.

On Mar. 12, Datuk Mohamad Norza Zakaria, a top member of UMNO, was charged by prosecutors with bribing people in exchange for their help in securing his post in the party’s Supreme Council in internal elections, which will be held at the end of March. Norza pleaded “non-guilty” and was later released on bail. He is due to appear before the court on Apr. 22.

Polling Data

Among the problems mentioned by people about the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), please choose two that you feel are most serious. (Average of mentions listed)

Corruption 35%
Out of touch 15%
Weak leaders 12%
Weak managers of the economy 11%
Arrogance 11%
Racist 10%
Not sure 1%
No response 4%

Source: Merdeka Center for Opinion Research
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,031 Malaysian adults, conducted from Feb. 4 to Feb. 16, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Parliament should be extended for another week/a special sitting in April to debate confidence motion on new PM

From Lim Kit Siang

The countdown has been reduced to four days for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be anointed as UMNO President in the UMNO General Assembly, as he has been nominated uncontested for the top Umno post.

The countdown for his ascension as the sixth Prime Minister will be slightly longer as guestimates are that the Prime Ministerial hand-over will take place either on April 2 or 3.

Except that there is growing and unprecedented nation-wide disquiet and even dismay that Najib would become the next Prime Minister despite the many unresolved allegations hounding and haunting him raising serious questions about his fitness, integrity and legitimacy to occupy the highest political office of the land, to the extent that it had found expression in the public domain by concerned and patriotic Malaysians – a completely new political phenomenon in the nation’s 52-year history as this had never happened before during the tenure of the first five Prime Ministers of Malaysia about their ordained successors.

The latest voice to join the increasing chorus of doubters, sceptics and cynics about the propriety, suitability and legitimacy for Najib to become the next Prime Minister is none other than Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who, when asked in a Malaysiakini interview about the recent call by the former Law Minister, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, that the Yang di Pertuan Agong should reject Najib if Umno puts him forward as Prime Minister to replace Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said “it is possible for the Yang di Pertuan Agong may not appoint Najib as Prime Minister despite being Umno president”.

Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution provides that the Yang di Pertuan Agong shall appoint a Prime Minister “who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence” of the Dewan Rakyat.

I agree with Tengku Razaleigh that there is nothing in the Malaysian Constitution that binds the Yang di Pertuan Agong to appoint Najib as the next Prime Minister just because he is the Umno President, as the critical issue is the ability to “command the confidence of the Dewan Rakyat”.

For this reason, the Dewan Rakyat should be extended for another week or a special sitting should be held in April to debate a confidence motion on the new Prime Minister.

There is a precedent for this as three decades ago, when the second Prime Minister, Tun Razak died of leukaemia in London on January 14, 1976 and Tun Hussein Onn was sworn in as his successor.

The first thing Tun Hussein did was to convene a special sitting of Parliament in less than a fortnight on January 27, 1976 which adopted a motion of confidence in the third Prime Minister.

For the past 51 years, the first meeting of Parliament every year, which would be declared open by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, would be in March or April going often into May, but this year, it was brought forward to February – to suit the convenience of the UMNO General Assembly and the power transition next week.

If the traditional parliamentary time-table had not been interfered or trifled with, Parliament would currently be in session till next month or even May, and a confidence motion for a new Prime Minister would be an appropriate subject of current parliamentary agenda.

I therefore call for the present meeting of Parliament to be extended for another week or a special sitting should be held in April to debate a confidence motion on the new Prime Minister.

Chitrakala: MIED 3.5 Million Hijack

The Traveler, Sunday, March 22 2009

Mohan Thangarasu, MIC National youth chairman, Chitrakala’s business partner and rejected by Batu Caves state voters has issued a press statement responding to our report ‘Police to Arrest Top MIED 0fficial?’.

Regarding the Canteen contract and Security Services at Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST), I agree that no concrete evidences available to link Mohan Thangarasu of having any interest, directly or indirectly.

The information received was from a single source but admit the failure in not verifying the information independently.

Traveler regrets for the unintentional error committed without malice.

 mumtaz
pic: makkal osai
Interim MIED CEO Mumtaz Begam



Anyhow, the AIMST contracts are only side shows. The main show is the land purchase in Sungkai, Perak for National Service program, the hijack of 3.5 million MIED to fund to finance the purported ‘deal’ and the manner 9.2 million loan obtained from Affin Bank.

Instead of providing explanation, Mohan Thangarasu’s is issuing threats of law suits like a typical MIC politian to silence us. Even your president Samy Vellu issued similar warning to media on the AIMST issue days ago. What could one expect from people like him?

Remember Mohan Thangarasu, you are a public figure holding a national position in a political party, the MIED fund is public money raised from thousands of poor Indians and substantial funding came from the government, too. You have obtained government licenses, millions of loans from banks which are public institutions. Do every Indian-Malaysians have equal access?

Thus, we the people have the right to comment, criticize and scrutinize Mohan Thangarasu and Chitrakala business ‘deal’ in a fair manner. Traveler will continue to unearth MIED scandal until truth prevails.

Mohan Thangarasu never denied the following:

1. Mohan Thangarasu and Vikneswaran, former MIC youth leader, are business partners in running National Service Camp service in Semenyih, Selangor.

2. Mohan Thangarasu and Chitrakala are business partners in Silver line Sdn Bhd where 9.2 million loan was obtained from Affin Bank.

3. 3.5 million MIED money was used to purchase the land in Sungkai, Perak. Construction is in progress for National Service Camp.

“Truth is on my side. I’m prepared to face any eventualities and least worried about police arresting me”, said suspended MIED CEO Chitrakala Vasu, according to Makkal Osai Tamil daily report.

She dismissed the hijack of 3.5 million as baseless allegations.

 mohan
pic: thestar.com
Mohan Thangarasu

“The money was a loan from Dato Samy Vellu for National Service Camp fund which I have agreed to return in one year time”, she added.

Mohan Thangarasu is only aware of the purported loan from MIED on Feb 05. This is laughable considering Mohan Thangarasu’s strong ties with Chitrakala Vasu and her husband Vasu Kunjamboo in several companies.

Mohan Thangarasu says the ‘deal’ fell through and Chitrakala Vasu has taken back the money. Has she returned the money to MIED? If not, why?

Assuming, Samy Vellu really approved the loan as claimed by Chitrakala and also she rationalize it saying that MIED has given 9 million loan to Harnarayanan, MIED director a decade ago and a few thousand to Mumtaz Begam, the interim MIED, CEO.

Come on Chitrakala Vasu, two wrongs won’t make a right.

Mumtaz Begam, promptly denied MIED giving any loan to anyone in the past and she says MIED auditors have confirmed this (Makkal Osai, March 03 2009).

Now, who is telling the truth? Is it the suspended CEO or the interim CEO? Are we not entitled to know the truth?

Chitrakala Vasu is appealing to the media and internet portals to wait for the completion of police investigation. Police will take months to investigate, the court case will go on for a few years and who knows when things got worse both Samy Vellu and Chitrakala Vasu may hug each other and say they are ‘father and daughter’ and wish to ‘forget and forgive’ leaving the community suckers.

Lastly, Traveler like to assure Mohan Thangarasu that no MIC political aspirants are behind our report as he imagine or deliberately painting a political picture to divert attention.

Our interest is truth and justice for the Indian-Malaysians.


 silver

MIED 3.5 million hijacked to this company?

PEMILIHAN MAJLIS TERTINGGI UMNO


1. Perhatian rakyat Malaysia terutama orang Melayu ialah kepada peristiwa-peristiwa yang sedang berlaku dalam UMNO. Samada mereka ahli atau bukan ahli mereka tahu UMNO memainkan peranan yang besar dalam kehidupan mereka, dalam maju mundurnya Negara mereka.

2. Apa yang mereka lihat sehingga kini tidak menyenangkan hati mereka akan keupayaan UMNO dikekalkan.

3. UMNO yang telah perintah Negara ini dengan baik selama 50 tahun sekarang dilihat sebagai parti yang tidak bermaya.

4. Dalam hanya lima tahun dibawah pimpinan Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, parti UMNO sudah rosak dan menjadi amat lemah. Seiring dengan kelemahan parti, Kerajaan juga menjadi lemah dan kehidupan rakyat sudah tidak lagi sempurna.

5. Sekarang Abdullah berjanji akan letak jawatan pada hujung bulan ini dan Dato Seri Najib Razak akan mengambil alih jawatan Perdana Menteri. Apakah Najib akan dapat memulihkan UMNO sehingga jadi kuat semula? Ini menjadi satu tanda tanya.

6. Apa yang berlaku dalam proses pemilihan kepimpinan tidak menjadi petanda yang baik. Parti UMNO sudah jadi parti perasuah. Samada ahli atau pemimpin, semuanya utamakan kepentingan diri.

7. Sepatutnya pemilihan pemimpin yang baru akan meyakinkan rakyat yang UMNO bersedia untuk membasmi gejala rasuah. Tetapi yang berlaku menunjuk yang UMNO tidak mempedulikan pemulihan parti dan pencapaian kemenangan dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-13. Yang diutamakan ialah untuk menjadi pemimpin UMNO dengan apa cara sekalipun. Harapan mereka jika jadi pemimpin UMNO akan dapat jadi Menteri dan dapat kontrak dan lain-lain nikmat untuk diri sendiri.

8. Ternampak jelas yang pencalonan ahli-ahli Majlis Tertinggi yang dibuat oleh bahagian adalah hasil sogokan. Ramai yang dicalon diketahui umum telah beli undi. Dengan itu peluang pertama untuk memulih imej parti dikalangan rakyat sudah gagal kerana bahagian-bahagian utamakan sogokan. Peluang kedua untuk memulih imej parti juga tidak direbut. Sebenarnya Lembaga Disiplin dan Tribunal yang ditugas untuk membicara dan menghukum calon-calon yang dituduh terlibat dengan rasuah telah tidak menggunakan tugas mereka untuk memperbaiki imej parti. Sebaliknya Tribunal membuat keputusan yang menunjuk ia tidak bersungguh untuk menghukum mereka yang diketahui terlibat dengan rasuah. Dengan itu imej parti tidak terpulih dan menjadi lebih buruk.

9. Sekarang datang pula peranan para wakil untuk memulih imej parti dengan menolak calon yang dikenali mengguna wang untuk undi calon. Jika mereka tolak calon-calon ini, mereka akan sedikit sebanyak memulih imej parti dan kemungkinan parti akan menang dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-13.

10. Tetapi oleh kerana keputusan Tribunal membolehkan calon-calon yang diketahui korup bertanding, perwakilan mungkin akan pilih mereka ini untuk menganggotai Majlis Tertinggi. Apabila ini berlaku imej parti akan jadi lebih buruk dan besar kemungkinan parti akan dikalahkan dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-13.

11. Tetapi terdapat satu lagi peluang untuk imej parti dipulih. Apabila Kerajaan baru dibentuk oleh Dato Seri Najib, beliau boleh menolak pemimpin-pemimpin yang menang kerana rasuah daripada menganggotai Kabinet dan lain-lain jawatan Kerajaan pimpinannya. Jika sebaliknya Najib melantik orang yang diketahui menang kerana rasuah ke dalam Kerajaannya maka akan termusnahlah kepercayaan rakyat kepada Najib dan Kerajaannya. Tidak syak lagi yang UMNO dan Barisan Nasional akan kalah teruk dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-13.

12. Saya percaya Dato Seri Abdullah akan paksa Najib pilih orang tertentu untuk jadi Menteri Kabinet Najib. Kita tahu sangat keinginan orang ini menjadi Perdana Menteri termuda. Sebenarnya kalau pun dia menang, penyertaannya dalam Kerajaan akan menyebabkan pengundi tolak Barisan Nasional dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-13. Apatah lagi jika dia kalah dan masih lagi dapat tempat dalam Kerajaan.

13. Jika Dato Seri Najib memilih perasuah dan orang tertentu dalam Kerajaan pimpinannya, UMNO akan kalah dan terus hancur. Najib akan tinggal legasi sebagai pembunuh UMNO yang dihidupkan oleh ayahnya.

14. Ahli-ahli UMNO harus ingat tidak ada gunanya menjadi pemimpin UMNO, menjadi Presiden UMNO pun jika BN kalah dan tidak dapat tubuh Kerajaan.

15. Orang Melayu akan kutuk mereka yang telah hancurkan UMNO kerana mereka tamak dan mengkhianati bangsa dan negara.

Uthayakumar in pain, pushes for private treatment again - Malaysiakini

Family members of Hindraf legal advisor and ISA detainee P Uthayakumar are worried that his health was getting worse under detention.

His fiancée S Indradevi who visited him at the Kamunting detention centre in Taiping last week said that his foot injury had worsened and Uthayakumar himself looked very weak.

uthayakumar hindraf taiping hospital 170209 02"He looked very tired and weak. He could not walk properly and was in obvious pain," she told Malaysiakini.

She added that the swelling of his left foot, caused by a fractured toe, was getting worse.

"His foot looks very bad. It has blackened all over and the swelling is getting worse, causing him so much of discomfort. He could barely walk," she said.

Uthayakumar, a diabetic, has broken his toe on his left foot on Jan 31 while in detention.

She urged the authorities to immediately send Uthayakumar for treatment at a private hospital as he has requested.

"Uthayakumar has said previously that he does not want to be treated in the government hospital as he feared that the doctors would not give him proper treatment under instructions from the police.

"He wants to be admitted to the Gleneagles private hospital in Kuala Lumpur for immediate treatment," she said.

A new sharp pain

She also added that Uthayakumar had lodged a police report at the Kamunting detention centre on his worsening health condition, urging the authorities to send him to the hospital of his choice for treatment.

Malaysiakini was given access to his latest report dated March 18 in which the lawyer, detained under the Internal Security Act since Dec 13, 2007, admitted that his health condition was worrying.

uthayakumar_toe_06022009"On March 17, there was a new sharp pain in my left toe and I walk the most minimum possible," he said in his report.

He also claimed that by not sending him to the hospital of his choice for treatment, he believed that "the government is trying to kill me in prison".

This was Uthayakumar's fourth police report since he suffered the injury to his toe on Jan 31 this year.

He added that in the meantime he had been taken to the Taiping government hospital on two occasions - Feb 12 and Feb 17 - where the doctors had confirmed that his toe was fractured.

"But I was not given any medication or medical aide. I was just told that my toe would heal on its own," he said, adding that the pain has now become unbearable.

Not travelling for his court cases

Indradevi said that the authorities should act urgently in this matter as she was worried that if Uthayakumar's fractured toe was not given immediate treatment, there was a high risk of his leg having to be amputated.

"We don't want that to happen to him. He must be given treatment as per his wishes quickly," she said.

brickfields uthayakumar hindraf 280209 outside police stationShe also said that Uthayakumar has decided not to travel to Kuala Lumpur from Kamunting to attend his trials as the travelling was causing discomfort and pain to his fractured toe.

"Every time they bring him to KL, he is handcuffed and blindfolded. He is unable to control his fractured toe from hitting things in the vehicle. This causes him more pain.

"As such he has decided not to travel altogether for his cases," she said. Uthayakumar missed his sedition case in Kuala Lumpur last week as a result of this.

Uthayakumar and four other Hindraf leaders were arrested under the ISA in December 2007 for playing a role in organising mass protests against the government to highlight the marginalisation of Indians in this country.

Muthupalaniappan Cries Foul, Says Democracy Dead In MIC

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- Former MIC vice-president Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan, who failed in his bid today to contest the party top post, has declared that democracy is dead in the MIC.

He said this was evident from the fact that he had many of his nominations disqualified.

Muthupalaniappan had submitted 53 nominations supporting him at the party presidential nomination at the MIC headquarters this morning. Forty-eight of the 53 nominations were rejected due to non-compliance with the MIC constitution and the presidential election by-laws.

At the end of the day, he only had five valid nominations as opposed to incumbent president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu's 455. Samy Vellu was declared president of the party for the 11th consecutive term.

Under the party constitution, a presidential aspirant has to obtain 50 nominations, with each nomination needing one proposer and five seconders, to be eligible to contest. All proposers and seconders must be branch chairmen. The MIC president would have been picked by about 3,700 branch chairmen nationwide if there had been a contest.

Muthupalaniappan claimed that his bid for the presidency did not go down well with Samy Vellu from "day one" as he (Samy Vellu) wanted to win the top post unopposed to show MIC's counterparts in the Barisan Nasional (BN) that he was in control of the party and that party members wanted the 73-year-old leader as the president.

He claimed that branch chairmen who had signed his nomination forms had been asked to sign nomination forms also for Samy Vellu, thus making both nominations null and void.

He said that anticipating this, he had the branch chairmen nominating him to make a statutory declaration that they were nominating him for the post of president but the election steering committee rejected the declarations.

"In a true democracy, contest must be encouraged and not muted. This is the last straw. Democracy is truly dead in the MIC," he said.

Muthupalaniappan also claimed that he was given only 65 nomination forms by the MIC headquarters whereas Samy Vellu was given more than 550 forms.

He also said that according to the MIC constitution, division and state chiefs were returning officers in the presidential election and they should have been barred from being involved in any lobbying but this was not the case.

Arms deal link to death of model

A FRENCH arms company is at the centre of a deepening scandal involving the sale of three submarines, the murder of a beautiful Mongolian interpreter and the man most likely to become prime minister of Malaysia next month.

All three have been linked in a sensational sequence of revelations that has convinced many Malaysians that the woman was killed to silence her demands of a share in the rewards of the transaction.

The scandal exploded last week after the French newspaper Libération alleged that the submarines deal and the murder of Altantuya Shariibuu, 28, were connected.

A glamorous, cosmopolitan woman, Altantuya grew up in St Petersburg, spoke Russian, Chinese, Korean and English, moved in elite circles and has been dubbed “a Far Eastern Mata Hari”.

She became the mistress of a Malaysian political fixer and was allegedly trying to extort money from him at the time of her violent demise.

Two members of an elite Malaysian police unit that protects top politicians are on trial in Kuala Lumpur, accused of shooting her in the jungle and then blowing up her body with military explosives.

Azilah Hadri, 32, and Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, officers in the Special Branch, could go to the gallows if convicted of abducting and murdering Altantuya on October 19, 2006. A verdict is expected early next month.

Their trial is unfolding as Najib Razak, the country’s deputy prime minister, stands on the verge of taking over as premier after a ruling-party leadership election, due within days.

Najib was accused by a young opposition MP, Gobind Singh Deo, in parliament, of involvement in the murder. Deo was suspended by the Speaker for making the remark. The deputy prime minister has strongly denied any involvement.

Testimony in an earlier court case has established an intimate personal and financial connection between the dead woman and a close aide to Najib, who was minister of defence at the time of the submarine deal.

The aide, Abdul Razak Baginda, was acquitted by a court last November of being an accessory in the murder. He has since been working on a doctorate at Trinity College, Oxford.

Baginda admitted that the dead woman was his mistress for about a year and prosecutors said she had pestered him for money after their break-up.

Just before her death she arrived in Kuala Lumpur, accompanied by a Mongolian shaman, who was to put a curse on Baginda if he did not pay up.

Altantuya was dragged away from outside Baginda’s home by two Special Branch officers, but he was acquitted after maintaining that he never gave orders for her to be harmed.

The Libération exposé linking the murder to the shadowy world of arms contracts has embarrassed the French war-ship firm DCNS. Armaris, a firm now merged with DCNS, sold the three submarines to Malaysia in 2002 for £937m.

Attention has centred on why Armaris paid £107m to a Malaysian company called Perimekar in 2006.

Opposition leaders alleged in parliament that the payment was a “commission” for intermediaries and that Perimekar was secretly owned by Baginda. Najib replied that it was not a “commission” and that Perimekar was a “project services provider”.

Libération has alleged that Altantuya, who toured France with Baginda in a Ferrari, wining and dining at expensive restaurants, learnt of the payment. It said she was demanding $500,000 (£345,000).

DCNS has refused to comment. It is already the subject of a French judicial investigation into corrupt practices, thanks to a whistleblower who has detailed bribery and industrial espionage allegations.

Last week, efforts to contact Baginda, a self-styled political analyst, at his new home in Oxford were unsuccessful.

Najib has avoided public comment but his politically influential wife, Rosmah Mansor, told the French news agency AFP that she was “shocked” by attempts to link her husband and her to the case.

Additional reporting: Alex Yong in Kuala Lumpur