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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bringing up the dead

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

SUNGAI PETANI, April 1 – The Home Ministry’s directive banning Pakatan Rakyat leaders from mentioning Altantuya Shaariibuu at their rallies did not stop Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from bringing up the dead at the Bukit Selambau by-election campaign.

Speaking at his campaign stop here last night, the Opposition Leader told thousands of people present at a public rally that only Pakatan Rakyat leaders stood up against the authorities when Kugan Ananthan died in police custody last January.

“I want the Indians to be solidly behind us. When Kugan was beaten up, I spoke up. From Pas, Husam also spoke up. Did you hear any Umno leaders saying anything?” Anwar asked the multiracial crowd.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim being mobbed by the waiting media as he arrives at Bukit Selambau, his first stop in the triple by-election campaign. – Pix by Shannon Teoh

“When the Umno assembly was held for three days, did you hear them talking about the Indian?”

He also ridiculed MIC’s plan to make a comeback through the by-election after suffering its worst electoral performance in March last year.

“If MIC wants to help the Indians, they should tell Umno now and speak up against them,” he said.

With the by-election campaign marred by internal bickering over the selection of S. Manikumar to contest under PKR’s ticket, Anwar last night defended the party’s choice, which he claimed was made after a lengthy process.

“Yes, he is only 35, he does not have much experience but he is clean,” said Anwar.

“I told him that he will be the representative for the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. This is not about one or two candidates, but it is matter of principle,” he added.

Anwar also reiterated his promise that the federal opposition would continue to fight for the release of the five Hindraf leaders who are currently held under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The selection of Manikumar has drawn strong opposition from the party ranks which resulted in a resignation of its Jerai division chief B. Kalaivanar and Hindraf had also said that it is boycotting the by-election and expected a large number of Indians which formed 30 per cent of the voters not to turn up on polling day.

The race for the state seat is between Manikumar, MIC’s Datuk S. Ganesan and 13 independents with polling set for April 7.

Exit PM Pak Lah, enter Tun Abdullah

tmi-n.jpgKUALA LUMPUR, April 1 - The Yang DiPertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin is to award Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with the Tun title after he submits his resignation as prime minister on Thursday.

It is also understood that the Abdullah’s wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah will also receive a similar title.

The prime minister’s predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Siti Hasmah Ali also received similar titles when Dr Mahathir retired in 2003.

The Tun title is the most senior federal award and is divided into the Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (SMN) or Seri Setia Mahkota (SSM), Malaysia’s fourth and fifth highest awards respectively. There can be only 25 living people with the SMN and 35 with the SSM at any one time. (The nation’s highest award is the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) which was started in 1960.)

Abdullah announced last Saturday that he would submit his resignation letter on April 2 after his Umno party confirmed Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak as party president.

The prime minister said he would step down and make way for his deputy in a power transfer following the ruling Barisan Nasional’s disastrous results in Election 2008.

While the King has yet to formally accept Abdullah’s resignation, invitations have been sent out to all federal ministers, deputy ministers, state menteris besars and chief ministers to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

Najib has not said anything about his confirmation as the country’s sixth prime minister, saying he was awaiting the official announcement.

His selection also confirms the prophecy that the first initials of Malaysia’s first six premiers will form first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s name.

DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang today said the early invitations to Najib’s swearing in, which was confirmed by Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, raised the question whether the King’s royal prerogative to appoint the next prime minister has been overlooked or disregarded.

“What happens if the Yang di Pertuan Agong does not consent to Abdullah’s desire to resign or needs time to discharge his royal prerogative?” the Ipoh Timur MP asked in a statement today.

“In the circumstances, isn’t it presumptuous as well as contempt for the royal prerogative of the Yang di Pertuan Agong to appoint the prime minister as provided by the constitution to proceed with the swearing-in ceremony for Najib to become the new prime minister when the Yang di Pertuan Agong has not met Abdullah and given his consent for Abdullah’s resignation?”

Lim said both Abdullah and Najib should explain these extraordinary developments.

Big Napoleons in MOH

Letters
by mnoria

Big Napoleons in MOH acting like mafia warlords to sabotage the Health Ministry’s official announcements

I hope the Malaysian public have not forgotten the plight of House Officers or young trainee doctors:
1. Forced to work non-stop 36 hours, on-call duty for 24 hours and need to continue with another 12-hour regular, routine duties.

2. Extension of the period of their houseman-ship into two-years from the previous one year only.

The voices of grouses and protests died down totally after:
1. Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai announced that trainee doctors would now get a day off after carrying out their 24-hour on-call duty.

2. Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican announced an automatic promotion to grade UD44 upon completion of their two-year houseman-ship.

Please refer to the following two news reports from the Star newspapers for the details:
1. The Star, 18th. December 2008, Thursday, reported
Day off after 24-hour duty for trainee doctors

2. Promotions for house officers in govt hospitals
By IZATUN SHARI in The Stars.

But the situation of the trainee doctors on the ground in the hospitals around Malaysia is totally different. There seems to have a hidden black hand of the Big Napoleons in MOH destroying and acting the true spirit and intentions of those announcements. They are acting like powerful local mafia warlords to sabotage the Health Ministry’s top two officers’ public announcements.

House Officers are discouraged from resting after 24-hr duty by forcing the following regulations:
1. If rest after 24-hr duty, RM100.00 overtime fees are forfeited. Because they rest the following day after the 24-hr duty, they are not entitled for the overtime they already worked. Their 16-hr over time just disappeared because they choose to rest the following 8-hr duty.

(Yes, we all know that HOs are forced to work 12-hr every day without any overtime payment. We all accepted this as part of our training but anyway our normal working hours must be 8-hr only. We are not complaining about this minor thing.)

2. If always choose to rest after 24-hr duty; the HO got the punishment of extension for months for not fulfilling the expected length of working hours in the particular ward. And this irresponsible extension by the medical authorities had given much resentment amongst HOs and it also effected the other HOs who need to do more on-call duties because of disruption of roasters and schedules.

3. The prospect of getting the much hyped automatic promotion to grade UD44 upon completion of their two-year houseman-ship in 2010 by the house officers in government hospitals is also dashed by the revelations of the need to sit for the examinations, need applications and also subject to the scoring of marks given by superiors according to their performances.

So there is practically no improvement of the working conditions for the HOs at all and there is much discontents amongst them especially as they felt that MOH authorities were doing lip service or just twisting their tongues for political reasons only. If anyone tries to fight back, there is a danger of black listing and definite powerful revenge responses from the MOH authorities who are acting as big mafia gangsters.

The incoming new Cabinet should look into this kind of problems created by Big Napoleons, not only in the MOH but in almost every ministry, who always act like mafia war lords to sabotage the Government’s official announcements and policy guidelines.

Proper Rules and regulations are good but these should not degenerate into Bureaucratic Red tapes that would have a negative effect on the image of the government.

TQ
Mohd. Nor Ibrahim bin Abdullah

Bkt Selambau: Anwar uses creative “indoor ceramah”

bkt-selambau-012

Indoor ceramah, outdoor crowd: Anwar speaks from the covered corridor of a shoplot while the crowd listens from the street outside - Photo by Anil Netto

Pakatan politicians are using creative means to overcome various restrictions.

Take for instance the police restriction on ceramah in “public places” in Kedah, which effectively bans open-air public rallies.

The restrictions confine the ceramah to indoor locations. So the Pakatan politicians are now stretching the definition of “indoors”. While the politicians addressing the crowd are now indoors - in shophouses or inside private premises, the crowds spill out to the streets or fields outside the indoor locations.

Last night in Aman Jaya, Bukit Selambau, for instance, Anwar and other speakers addressed a crowd of about 2,000 from a shoplot. While technically Anwar was in a covered area - at the entrance to a shoplot, which is being used as the PKR operations centre for the polling area - his audience was gathered all around outside the shoplot, some even sitting on the service road and others standing further away across a monsoon drain next to the main road.

Later, Anwar and his entourage, followed by youths with flags on motorbikes, headed to a house about a kilometre away and held another “indoor ceramah”. Inside the premises of the private residence, he stood on a covered stage and addressed some 5,000 people gathered outside on a field across the road from the house, the field being slightly below road level.

Earlier, at the shoplot, a couple of speakers poked fun at the restrictions on mentioning Altantuya. “What are they afraid of?” they asked. The crowd chuckled.

Police kept a discreet presence and did not attempt to disperse the crowd at these two locations.

As for the suspensions of the permits of Suara Keadilan and Harakah, PKR and Pas reportedly plan to release one-off publications, Suara Keamanan and Hujah, which do not require permits unlike regular publications.

Pak Lah's final interview with the media as PM

The Star
by Royce Cheah

Q:
How do you feel about the way Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad turned up at the Umno general assembly? It was supposed to be your grand farewell, But he stole the show.

They’ve known me for a long time, so what. When your time’s up , it’s time to go. I do not demand too much. That is my behaviour. No fanfare necessary. What has been done has been done.

Q: Did the two of you say anything to each other?

Was so rushed. I don’t remember anymore. Not very significant.

Q: Best achievement?


Winning the 2004 election

Q: Greatest regret?

Worst election result in 2008

Q: After so many PMs. We have gone through so many stages of development. Where have you taken us in these six years. How much progress?

The emphasis has been given, especially with emergence of the young generation, on human capital. People did not care about this before me. To add value to workers.

For people to learn/relearn and unlearn. I have done Islamic studies - and it is all about improving yourself. Muslims were ahead of their time before. It surpassed a lot of what was done by previous civilizations. Ahead of their time with inspiration from the Quran.

But if you stop, you do not progress anymore and if you forget, then decadence will set in.

It is also about reducing disparity in many forms. Not just income - some are better educated, some are not. There is also disparity in economic sectors - agriculture for example.

Progress doesn’t necessarily mean focus on industrialisation. As the country develops - services sector is the focus. But that’s also why I promoted agriculture. We look at it as a base for the development of agro-based industry in a big way. It’s not just about planting. We’re talking about food security policy. It’s a new approach. When we have this together with the corridor development. It will help bridge disparity.

We don’t want pockets here and there without development.

Also, if you want to compare with Singapore. Talk about Klang Valley or Kuala Lumpur against Singapore. You can’t compare the whole country with Singapore then lament the fact we can’t do well. You cannot compare it like that and then make the conclusion that we are terrible and they are better. It should take into account complexity, land size, population and so on. Singapore is also almost a one-race population. I’m not here to talk badly about others. But if you want to compare. Compare correctly.

In the end it is about equitable distribution of quality opportunities and not just about handouts. We cannot just help people with handouts. There are times we have to, for example the social safety net.

If there is no equitable quality opportunities - then it is discrimination. This government cannot be accused of that.

Otherwise everyone will go to KL. We have to distribute and decentralise. Which then leads to quality of life which has been the struggle of mankind throughout history.

Q: You talked about progress Muslims made in earlier years and how we must emulate their efforts. But we must examine the Islam practised then. It was so free, lots of freedom to research, to think and implement. When you introduced Islam Hadhari, I thought this would bring it back to that era. But under you, Islam has gone to be more repressive. Just look at the lectures given by the ustaz on RTM1, they are so narrow and parochial.

It is a big problem - overseas the idea is welcome. Even Indonesia. But here it is all in a mess. Because we are fighting each other politically. Some PAS members do not like the idea. It is a battle that goes on. Changing of the mind. To do anything like that is not easy.

I have given myself that role. When I talk about democracy and freedom of discourse, it is not an easy job to do. But you have to allow people to enjoy it.

When people like it, the freedom, they think it is very nice. But I would have managed it better. I think up to now, nobody can silence the papers anymore. I don’t like the word takut (scared). Takut is not the way. Being reasonable is very important as well as being correct. Scaring does not work.

Q; Do you regret being more open?

I do not regret. but maybe I could have given more guidance. Like slowing it down when it was too fast. But now there is this unfettered freedom. Expression can come in any form. But I think you realise there has to be some control. You can impose the control on youself. Depends on what kind of values you have. Freedom, but wanting to do pornographic things, that’s not the kind of freedom I would like to see. Must have some values and self-respect. Freedom cannot be exercised without some moral limitation.

Then you are creating a big problem. You are creating anarchy.

Q: Has the freedom been a political asset for the Opposition?

Asset is not the word. To me, I have not been saying enough on this. Maybe in my retirement I will talk like this. Not to criticise Najib. But there has to be at some stage political education for all. For everybody, not only for BN or Umno. How we exercise freedom, freedom of speech and press freedom. Its all part of politics.

How to handle race relations. The young generation is coming up, with no sense of history. No real understanding of the reason why we must have this and must have that and as such what is being said by them is confused.

But I’m not saying it has to be cast in stone. What is the reason to change? If you want to change, it has to be change for the better.

Q: Why did you give freedom for such long time considering what was happening?

I’m not the type of person that when something goes out of line - slam - I shut them up. I can do that, but I’m not like that.

Q: Have people misused the freedom to some extent?

Yes. Some groups have used this freedom and used this freedom as protection. Throwing stones, etc, behind this freedom. These are cowards. Correct names but false IC numbers on whatever they sign off on. It is the exercising of the freedom to lie. Is that genuine freedom? Or abuse of freedom?

Q: Do you think you could have done more if Tun Dr Mahathir had not started to attack you very early on. Do you think you could have handled him better by not scrapping the crooked bridge to Singapore?

To him the bridge was more important than anything else. The rest (of what he said in public) was an elaboration of attacking me.

He did say that if the bridge was built he would stop attacking. So I stopped it and the rest is just him elaborating.

Q: Why didn’t you stop the bridge immediately when you took over?

I did not come in with a pre-conceived idea about that, That I would stop it. This is one issue that Cabinet discussed repeatedly. There was no money, deficit was up and we want to spend on the bridge?

People are watching the deficit. It was at 5.3%. If deficit goes up, do you think we’ll have the money for the stimulus package? We were at 3.2% that’s why it could go up to 4.8%.

Q: On hindsight, do you think you could have handled him better?

Maybe maybe maybe. But I just don’t care. How many times did I respond to him? Very rarely.

Q: When the transition of power took place, was there any agreement between you and Datuk Seri Najib? Will you become angry if he doesn’t do what was promised?

No-lah, I will not. I will not. I will not.

I just work on the basis of believing that if you do something that is good, if it continues to bring good, then there is no good reason why it should be stopped. There will be adjustment, maybe approach it differently. If you have a policy that takes 20 or 30 years to achieve results, along the way there will be a lot of adjustments.

Don’t change the main policy, but just how we get there.

Do you think we can reach Vision 2020 with the kind of problems we are having?

It will be so difficult. We have to double up our efforts.

Q: I think in your six years, there are a lot of missed opportunities. You won such a huge mandate, so many things you could have done.

Yes, missed opportunities in the sense that I could not do many things I wanted to do.

My election manifesto was actually a plan for the second half of Vision 2020. I never had any ambition to be there to declare that Malaysia is a developed country. I expect continuity.

Q: What stopped you from achieving some of the things?

I’ve been doing (things). Some I started earlier and some started later. You cannot implement the entire 2004 manifesto. In the beginning, it was so difficult. I don’t want to force it and create havoc. I’ve chosen a lot of things that have to do with changing of the mind and attitude.

Somebody actually wrote to me to tell me to do things that are visible and not invisible things.

Q: Do you think it’s fair to judge you based on six years when Tun Dr Mahathir’s first six years were difficult?

His first six years were terrible. Well, a little bit longer would have been greater. But it’s not the long and short of it, it’s what you can do in that period.

Q: You said you won’t be the interfering ex-PM, but you are still the MP. First-time in the history of Malaysia. How would you perform your role as legislator?

I would expect an MP to be supportive of the government to which he belongs, that is generally speaking. But there are certain things that if you are not happy, you can always chat over a cup of tea. I even do that with my ministers. I hate to scold people in front of anyone. I don’t do that.

I call and have a chat. Then some people cry. That’s how I deal. I don’t like it because God says if we embarrass people, then we will be embarassed.

Q: I find that you are soft-hearted. You do things to make people happy. Say if people come to your house, then you will entertain them. Then people elsewhere are waiting for you at another place.

That is one of my weakest (traits). My late wife used to scold me. She would say go, people are waiting for you. You entertain them, people are waiting for you there.

These people did not make an appointment with you. After this I won’t have that problem anymore.

Q: Will you miss these visits?

I can fill my time with so many things. I can adjust to it.

Q: Easy to let go? Some don’t find it easy to let go.

There is this changing of roles in life. You start to be somebody, then you become somebody. Life is about changing roles. You go through life and you keep on changing roles. No need to lament the fact when you have to change the role. Accept it. What you do as a young man, what you do as an adult, what you do as an older man. If you accept this fact, as you progress and you know at every stage there is something you can do, you still lead a useful life. You can still contribute. The question is, what do you do with yourself.

If you want to tear your hair and scream. There is a lot you can do. That is your choice.

When you are PM, there are a lot of things that you miss. Sometimes you want to do certain things. You just miss those things.

Q: I hope you are prepared for this.

I don’t think I am going to be affected in anyway. The pomp and all that. Pomp and pageantry don’t matter.

Q: Write a book?

Haven’t thought about that

Q: All the roles you have played, which role have you enjoyed the most?

I enjoyed whatever I did. I was happy in the Ministries I worked in. The PM’s role was very exciting. I enjoyed it.

Ezam, Hentikanlah Temberang Anda!

Oleh Jegela Melayu

Saya ketawa besar ketika membaca laporan media berhubung dakwaan Ezam Mohd Noor bahawa Anwar Ibrahim (sewaktu menjadi Ketua Pemuda Umno Malaysia) pernah memberitahunya akan kecerdikan Najib Razak.

Apakah benar dakwaan Ezam ini? Atau sekadar pembohongan yang digunakannya untuk dijadikan modal hiburan pertunjukkan sarkis? Mari kita nilai sejauh mana dakwaan badut Umno yang bernama Ezam ini.

Berikut saya petik laporan dari mStar Online:

Ezam: Barisan baru Umno pasukan idaman Anwar dulu

Oleh G. MANIMARAN dan ZANARIAH ABD MUTALIB

TAIPING: Bekas Ketua Angkatan Muda Keadilan Rakyat, Ezam Mohd. Noor dalam kempen pilihan raya kecil di Bukit Gantang dan Bukit Selambau mendedahkan barisan pemimpin Umno baru sebenarnya merupakan pasukan idaman Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ketika berada dalam Umno.

Malah, Ezam dalam kempennya di Bukit Gantang kelmarin dan di Bukit Selambau malam tadi berkata, Anwar yang merupakan bekas Timbalan Presiden Umno pernah menganggap Presiden semasa, Datuk Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak sebagai “antara orang paling cerdik.”

“Saya pernah tanya Anwar masa beliau jadi Ketua Pemuda Umno, siapa yang paling beliau risau… beliau mengatakan nama Najib… dia kata Najib yang paling cerdik di kalangan barisan Pemuda.

“Anwar mengatakan kepada saya (semasa menjadi pembantu Anwar), Anwar berkata antara yang paling cerdik, yang beliau iktiraf ialah Najib (ketika itu Naib Ketua Pemuda Umno),” kata beliau ketika berceramah pada sesi Pidato Perdana di Taman Kaya dekat di sini malam kelmarin.

Ezam juga merupakan bekas Setiausaha Politik dan Setiausaha Sulit kepada Anwar, yang juga bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri, dipecat pada September 1998.

Ezam kembali ke pangkuan Umno Jun lalu.

Beliau merupakan antara penceramah tetamu tetap bagi Umno dalam pilihan raya kecil sejak persaingan di Parlimen Permatang Pauh Ogos lalu dan Parlimen Kuala Terengganu Januari lalu.

Anwar menambah, Timbalan Presiden, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin dan dua Naib Presiden, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi dan Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein adalah antara pemimpin Umno yang diakui oleh Anwar sebagai pemimpin-pemimpin bijak dan terbaik yang menjadi sebahagian dalam pasukan idamannya.

Oleh itu, katanya, Anwar dan pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat tidak harus mempertikaikan keupayaan kempimpinan baru ini.

“Kenapa dia (Anwar) protes Datuk Seri Najib? Sebab dia takut. Sebab apa dia paling takut Datuk Seri Najib? Sebab beliau adalah yang paling cerdik.

“Saya pernah tanya Anwar Ibrahim ketika dia menjadi Ketua Pemuda Umno dulu, Exco Pemuda Umno mana yang paling cerdik.

“Anwar jawab Datuk Najib. Lepas Datuk Najib siapa? Dia jawab (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin dan sekarang ini tengok, Najib jadi Presiden dan Muhyiddin sebagai Timbalan Presiden,” katanya ketika berceramah di Sungai Lalang, Bukit Selambau di sini.

Apa yang pasti, Ezam telah menipu!

Setelah melakukan penyelidikan, fakta yang sebenarnya adalah Ezam mula bekerja dengan Anwar Ibrahim pada 1 November 1996.

Anwar Ibrahim melepaskan jawatan Ketua Pemuda Umno Malaysia dan menang jawatan Naib Presiden pada 24 April 1987.

Pada waktu itu Ezam baru berumur 20 tahun (1987) dan hanya menyertai Umno pada usia 26 tahun (1993).

Persoalannya, celah mana Ezam tanya Anwar Ibrahim sedangkan waktu Anwar menjadi Ketua Pemuda Umno Malaysia, Ezam masih lagi seorang budak hingusan?!

Sudahlah Ezam, hentikanlah temberang anda!

———-
Untuk mengetahui dengan lebih lanjut siapa sebenarnya Ezam Mohd Noor, boleh muat turun buku Babad Pengkhianatan Pendekar Jawa. Sila klik sini.

Acara Kempen di Bukit Rusa

Sekembalinya dari Bangkok saya terus ka Bukit Selambau untuk acara kempen di daerah mengundi Bukit Rusa.

Fitnah Umno-BN kononnya saya khianat membela Melayu dijawab tegas. Sepanjang berada dalam kerajaan, tak seinci pun tanah Melayu yang saya gadai! Saya turut menyentuh hal pendidikan di mana kita lihat Umno tetap angkuh dengan dasar PPSMI.

Sekali lagi diulang, agenda perjuangan Pakatan Rakyat ialah untuk menegak sistem yang adil dan melawan kezaliman termasuk barah rasuah.

Tanpa sedar, pimpinan Umno-BN terus konsisten menuduh kita walhal merekalah sebenarnya pengkhianat yang tanpa silu merompak khazanah negara, kononnya atas nama komisen!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Judge changed without reason in Nizar-Zambry suit. Remind you of Altantuya/Sodomy trial?

Malaysiakini:

The suit by ousted Perak Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin against BN’s Zambry Abd Kadir will be heard before a new judge tomorrow.

High Court judge Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim will be hearing the matter - starting with a leave application for the proper suit to follow - tomorrow afternoon at 2.30pm in Kuala Lumpur.

The matter was previously before justice Lau Bee Lan. No reasons have been given for the sudden transfer of the case, which was informed to the parties this morning.

How’s that for sketchy? >:(

Remind you of the constant swapping of judges and lawyers in the Altantuya (let me say it again, ALTANTUYA) murder trial?

Or perhaps the manner in which Anwar’s prosecutors fought tooth and nail just to get his trial out of Judge Komathy’s court? (incidentally hearing the lawyer’s human rights day march case)

One of the only interesting things google revealed on the new judge = a ruling by judge of that name made against PKR in Sarawak.

As for Lau Bee Lan, see Guan Sin’s previous take (also, I don’t think this is herlah :P )

How much money will Najib throw to keep his precious silver state? How many democratic principles will he burn?

Court To Hear Nizar's Application Tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 (Bernama) -- The High Court (Appeals and Special Powers) will hear tomorrow Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's application for leave to initiate proceedings to challenge the appointment of Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir as Perak Menteri Besar.

Justice Datuk Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim said the first issue to be decided in the application for judicial review was whether leave should be given.

He then ordered Mohammad Nizar's counsel, Sulaiman Abdullah, and senior federal counsel Datuk Kamaluddin Md Said, for the Attorney-General, to make their submissions at 2.30pm tomorrow.

The judicial review application was remitted to the High Court after the Federal Court on March 23 ruled that issues on the interpretation of Article 16 (6) of the Perak state constitution should be heard and decided by the High Court and could only be referred to the Federal Court by way of appeal.

The five-member panel ordered that the case be remitted to Justice Lau Bee Lan and set aside all orders made by the Court of Appeal on March 20.

HINDRAF LEADER AND LAWYER P. UTHAYAKUMAR DETAINED WITHOUT TRIAL UNDER ISA FOR 16 MONTHS UP TO DATE IS NOW SERVED CHICKEN COOKED WITH BEEF IN KEMTA PRI

KEMUNTING REPORT : 1294/09

For lunch on 22/3/2009 I was served chicken sambal with rice. I realized what looked like beef pieces in the said chicken sambal. When I checked with the detainees working at the kitchen namely Sarjon (a Sri Lankan national) and Mohamad (a Pakistan/Thailand national) they both confirmed with me that the beef sambal and the chicken sambal were cooked together in the same pot and then dished out and put into separate trays and served on me.

The Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar had made media statements that the cooking for the Hindraf lawyers are done separately when he had visited this Kemta Prison, but I had refused to meet him despite the prison authorities persuading me to do so. Syed Hamid last lied in the headlines in Utusan Malaysia last month about my health. But up to date this UMNO Home Minister has refused to send me to a private hospital because he knows he and the police special branch will find it more difficult to cover up and manipulate my diabetic, heart and especially my left leg toe fracture etc. Today he is lying about the food in Kemta Prison.

I repeat I have been denied my medical reports from the KL and Taiping General Hospitals, Pusat Perubatan Taiping and the Prison clinic at Kemta. Still thinking how best of doing a cover up like in the A. Kugan’s case? I demand for this my Medical Reports to be given to me within 48 hours from the date hereof. I want to be sent to Gleaneagles Hospital urgently.

From today onwards I do not wish to eat any more food cooked from the Kemta Prison kitchen. Under protest I will only eat the bread they supply. Incidentally even this bread has no label and details of the producer and contents. Nothing has been done about it since I lodged a police report about this two weeks ago.

Up to date UMNO and Syed Hamid has refused to serve me a diabetic diet as per my previous four police reports since 5/2/2009. I now lodge this police report against UMNO, Syed Hamid and the Kemta Prison, Kamunting, Taiping for the violation of Hindu Rights and my religious rights and religious freedom in violation of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution. They have insulted the Hindu religion yet again.

On 23/3/2009 I had returned my food tray to Corporal Ibrahim and did so again today and will continue to do so. On 23/3/2009 at about 7.40 a.m. I had showed my swallen and darkening left leg to Inspector Zaki. ZERO ACTION.

P. UTHAYAKUMAR

24/3/2009 @ 12.50 PM

PakatanVoxPop Selambau

Only 3 PR ceramahs to Umno's 12 allowed

Ezam: This was Anwar's dream team

You can’t mention ... that woman, PKR told

TAIPING, March 31 – Campaigning for the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections has run into a bizarre roadblock, with the police stepping in to dictate what PKR cannot say or do in the intense battle to win votes.

They must not mention Altan … err, a certain Mongolian model, now deceased.

The ban on bringing up Altantuya case and Perak Sultan decision in campaigning was issued by the Home Ministry and covers all 3 by-elections, Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said today.

A PKR source said that was one of the conditions police imposed on the party when it applied for ceramah permits.

A certain Ruler’s decision, matters of race and religion and other “sensitive” issues are also forbidden.

In addition, PKR must also ensure that the crowd at its ceramah is confined to a specific area where the event is being held.

Perak PKR deputy chief Chan Lih Kang told a press conference that the party would not appeal against the restrictions but would defy them and face the consequences.

“They cannot stop us from exercising our freedom of expression,” he said.

The same restrictions do not apply, apparently, to Pas, who have only been told to stop their ceramah by 11pm.

The murder of Altan … err, she-who-cannot-be-named, has proven to be acutely embarrassing for Umno’s new president and prime minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Razak, whose aide was acquitted of murder.

Najib has repeatedly denied ever meeting the woman.

Najib will carry on my legacies, says PM

PUTRAJAYA, March 31 — Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today he is convinced that Datuk Seri Naib Tun Razak will continue to implement ideas and programmes initiated during his administration after his deputy takes over as the sixth prime minister of Malaysia.

"He will continue (with the projects)...I believe (that)...I just work on the basis of believing that if you do something that is good, if you continue, it will bring more good. I do not see any reason why it should be stopped," he said before hosting a luncheon for editors of the mainstreams media at Sri Perdana here.

He said the programmes included the various development corridors and the Islam Hadhari (Civilisational Islam) concept.

However, he said, Najib might see it fit to make adjustments to the programmes as and when necessary.

Asked whether he would be angry if Najib did not continue with what he had planned and implemented, as had happened with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad he said: "No, I will not (be angry)."

Abdullah said he had spent hours talking to Najib on many issues pertaining the country just like he had with Dr Mahathir before.

He said he would not criticise Najib and would be very supportive of thegovernment as he still had a role to play as a Member of Parliament.

Asked what role he would play after his retirement, Abdullah said he preferred Najib to make the announcement.

On the actual date of the hand-over of the premiership, he said he did not want to say anything more until he had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Asked whether he felt that he did not have time to complete all his programmes during his six-year tenure as Prime Minister, he said his 2004 election manifesto contained initiatives leading towards the achievement of the Vision 2020.

However he did not have any ambition to serve more than two terms or the entire period until 2020 and be in a position to declare that Malaysia is already a developed country.

"(But) I expect continuity (on) most of the things I have already started," he said.

A report on the initiatives and achievements of the government from November 2003 to March 2009 produced by the Prime Minister's Deparment were circulated to the media later.

Abdullah was surprised when asked about his plan to live in a kampung-style house with a "perigi" (well) after his retirement.

"How did you know? There's a well but it's not deep," he said.

Abdullah also described the outcomes of the 2004 and 2008 general elections as his greatest and worst achievements.

Abdullah, who is the Barisan Nasional chairman, led the coalition to its best-ever victory in March 2004 after being sworn in as the fifth prime minister in October 2003, sweeping 199 of the 219 parliamentary seats.

However, the ruling coalition four years later lost for the first time in 39 years its two-third majority in Parliament in March last year and lost control of four state governments.

Asked whether his relationship with Dr Mahathir would have been better if the government had not scrapped the plans to build the “crooked bridge” to replace the Johor Causeway, Abdullah said he did not have a pre-conceived idea on the matter before the decision was made to stop the project.

“We had to consider it...I didn’t have a pre-conceived idea about it...that I was going to stop it.

“This is one issue that has been brought up to the Cabinet time and again,” he said, adding that the economy was in deficit during that time.

Abdullah also said that he had no regrets for promoting openness and freedom during his tenure, but he warned that there must limitations.

“There must be some moral limits...or you will be creating a lot of problems...creating anarchy. There must be self-control,” he said.

Everyone must think before raising an issue openly because “everyone has feelings and there are things that we must not bring up”. — Bernama

"Umno berubah dari kurang baik kepada teruk"

KAMUNTING, 31 Mac (Hrkh) - Umno hanya berubah daripada pemimpin yang kurang baik kepada yang lebih teruk, tegas Timbalan Mursyidul Am PAS, Dato' Dr Haron Din.

Perubahan yang diuar-uarkan oleh pemimpin Umno selepas pemilihan parti itu baru-baru ini tegas beliau tidak berlaku sebaliknya pelbagai masalah sedang dihadapi kesan dari keputusan pemilihan tersebut.

"Apa yang berubah kalau pemimpin yang disahkan oleh Lembaga Displin Umno sendiri pun masih boleh menang dalam merebut jawatan Ketua Pemuda Umno.

"Perubahan yang mereka gembar gemburkan itu hanyalah semata-mata untuk menutup pergolakan yang sedang berlaku dalam Umno," tegas beliau.

Pergolakan yang masih berlaku dalam Umno itu tegas Haron Din membuktikan Umno kini semakin lemah dan terpaksa memainkan isu-isu yang remeh dalam usaha mereka untuk menawan kembali kerusi parlimen Bukit Gantang.

Umno tegas beliau, masih lagi terpaksa memainkan isu-isu perkauman dan menakutkan rakyat kerana jika tidak menggunakan cara tersebut mereka akan mengalami kekalahan besar.

Beliau menegaskan demikian dalam satu Forum Perdana sempena kempen pilihanraya kecil Bukit Gantang yang diadakan di sini baru-baru ini.

Selain beliau, Dato' Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man dan Ustaz Badrul Amin turut menjadi ahli panel forum tersebut yang dipengerusikan oleh Ustaz Idris Ahmad.

Haron Din juga menegaskan pengundi di Bukit Gantang harus bijak membuat pilihan sama ada mahu memilih pemimpin dari parti yang semakin tidak diyakini atau pemimpin dari parti yang memperjuangkan keadilan dan ketelusan untuk semua rakyat.

Justeru itu beliau berharap agar pengudi-pengudi di Bukit Gantang tidak terpengaruh dengan segala dakyah yang dibuat oleh Umno dan membuat pilihan dengan bijak.

Saya mewakili semua bangsa di Bukit Selambau - Manikumar

SUNGAI LALANG, 31 Mac (Hrkh) - Calon KeADILan bagi pilihan raya kecil N.25 Bukit Selambau, S Manikumar menyatakan beliau adalah calon pilihan yang sesuai untuk semua bangsa.

Menjelaskan kepada para pengundi di Taman Sungai Lalang di sini, beliau menjawab cemuhan sesetengah pihak yang cuba memperlekehkannya sebagai seorang broker penjual kereta.

"Saya sebenarnya adalah seorang usahawan yang mempunyai syarikat penjualan kereta sendiri, juga sebagai jurunding sebuah syarikat rangkaian pembekalan ke luar negara.

"Di samping itu saya juga menjadi pensyarah sambilan di Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). Saya juga menguruskan syarikat penjualan minyak sawit ke luar negara," jelasnya yang mempunyai lulusan Sarjana Pengurusan Perniagaan dari UUM.

Selain itu katanya, beliau adalah penduduk tempatan yang fasih berbahasa Melayu serta bercakap dalam dialek Kedah. "Kalau saya telefon orang, kalau saya cakap Kedah orang tak tahu pun dia sedang bercakap dengan seorang India," jelasnya. Selain itu jelasnya, sebagai seorang usahawan beliau juga tidak mempunyai sebarang masalah untuk mendampingi masyarakat Cina.

"Orang kata saya ni seorang India "berkepala otak" Cina kerana terbabit dalam dunia perniagaan. Orang Cina juga saudara saya .

"Yang penting bagi saya, untuk memenangi hati pengundi ialah melalui penjelasan isu dan juga hala tuju kita dalam perjuangan," katanya lagi.

Begitu juga, Manikumar menegaskan bahawa KeADILan adalah parti berbilang kaum, tidak seperti BN yang masih kukuh dengan parti perkauman.

"MIC sendiri adalah parti perkauman. Walaupun disokong oleh Umno, tapi di antara mereka sendiri di dalam BN masih kuat dengan perkauman. Yang penting bagi kita ialah untuk menyatakan keperluan untuk semua kaum bukan sahaja India tapi juga untuk orang Melayu, Cina dan Siam," katanya lagi.

Police witness: Lawyers not a threat to national security

By Malaysiakini,

A police officer today rebutted a claim made by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail that eight people - including five lawyers - arrested in a human rights march two years ago were a threat to national security.

Investigating officer assistant superintendent Nasri Mansor, testifying in the case against the eight for illegal assembly, said that the accused persons did not pose a danger to the people.

He admitted this while being questioned by defence lawyer M Puravalen.

human rights day marchWhen the eight accused were charged on Dec 10, 2007, Abdul Gani who led the prosecution had objected to their bail application saying that he believed they would repeat the offence and alleged that some were "notorious" in participating in illegal assemblies.

The AG said the authorities specifically, through the media and in accordance with law, told the public not to participate in the assembly as it was illegal but this group defied the legitimate orders and went on to march.

lingam tape panel meeting 031007 abdul gani patailAbdul Gani (photo) had said that the lawyers' act of defiance would "create the perception that it is okay to defy the authorities".

"This will create disorder and threat to the national security," he submitted then.

Following this, Puravalen today asked the Nasri whether the eight accused persons were indeed a national security threat.

However, his question to Nasri was objected strongly by DPP Raja Rozela Raja Toran who claimed that this had nothing to do with the case, and the questions were not relevant.

"It should not be allowed," she said.

Ready to sue the authorities

Puravalen replied that his clients, who were incarcerated when they were detained, had their liberties curbed.

"Who is accountable at the end of the day for making such statements? My clients had indicated they intend to sue the authorities for their unlawful detention and the remarks passed," he said.

"Remember, when my clients were charged and the AG came and applied that those charged were denied bail as they were 'a threat to national security and public interests'," said the lawyer.

Following this, Sessions judge SM Komathy Suppiah allowed Puravalen to only ask one question.

Puravalen then asked: "Did you make any suggestions in your investigation whether they posed a threat to national security and public interests."

Nasri replied, "No".

tian chua arrest remand 080307 lawyers statement amerThe five lawyers in the dock were N Surendran, Latheefa Koya (photo: right), R Sivarasa, Amer Hamzah Arshad (photo: left), and Edmund Bon.

The other accused persons were Nooraza Othman, Johny Anbu @ Abu Bakar Adnan, and Ashraf Sadakathullah.

All of them, except Bon, were charged with participating in an illegal assembly for the human rights march between Sogo shopping complex at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and CIMB Bank in Jalan Tun Perak on Dec 9, 2007.

They also faced a further charge of disobeying the police order to disperse.

Bon is charged with obstructing Kuala Lumpur City Hall officers from performing their duties in taking down the banner of the Bar Council's Human Rights Day celebration.

Earlier, when replying to questions from Raja Rozela, Nasri considered all of them to be part of an illegal assembly as there were no permits issued by the police and that they were carrying placards and banners throughout the march.

"Furthermore, I know there was no application for a police permit for them to hold the march," said the witness.

When cross-examined by Puravalen, Nasri created a stir in the courtroom by claiming that he was made the investigating officer to the case a day before the arrests.

Argument with Latheefa

puravalen pc on missing pi balasubramaniam 180708 m puravalenPuravalen (photo) then asked if the police had prior intention to arrest the participants, to which Nasri corrected himself by saying that he was made the investigating officer on the morning of the incident.

Earlier in the day, a video recording of the march was shown in court before Komathy.

Puravalen said this was to highlight the discrepancy in the police arrests as no ample warning was given.

After watching the video, another witness, arresting officer deputy superintendent Rotzarn Rashid testified that he was at the scene and was involved in the argument with Latheefa.

"I do not know how much time was given for the crowd to disperse. But I was told to make the arrest," he said.

Rotzarn agreed there were several uniformed men and women who surrounded the participants in a bid to prevent them from marching to Jalan Tun Perak.

human rights day march dang wangi ocpdAsked by Puravalen whether ample time was given before arrests, the officer agreed there was enough time given.

"During the argument, there was no indication that they would disperse as they intended to walk on to the Bar Council building," Rotzarn said.

The witness said Latheefa said she and the group would walk on to the Bar Council despite the police warnings.

Raja Rozela also informed the court that it was closing its case with Nasri as the last witness.

Following this, Komathy Suppiah fixed April 10 for submissions.

Suara Keamanan ganti Suara Keadilan

keamanan

Kenyataan Media
31 Mac 2009

Suara Keamanan ganti Suara Keadilan

Disebabkan permit penerbitan Suara Keadilan telah digantung selama tiga bulan bermula 23 Mac lepas, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (KEADILAN) mengambil keputusan untuk tidak menerbitkan akhbar itu selama tempoh tersebut.

Sebagai ganti, akhbar Suara Keamanan akan menemui pembaca, secara mingguan setiap hari Selasa mulai hari ini.

Suara Keamanan adalah sebuah penerbitan tidak berkala dari segi namanya, oleh itu tidak memerlukan permit penerbitan dari KDN.

Pembaca boleh mendapatkan akhbar tersebut dari pengedar-pengedar dan penjual yang sama yang mengedar Suara Keadilan sebelum ini.(tamat)

Jabatan Editorial Suara Keamanan

The return of Mahathirism

By Zedeck Siew ( The Nut Graph)

thenutgraph
(File pic by Samsul Said @ Flickr)

THE appearance of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the final day of the 59th Umno general assembly precipitated a riotous cheering. This overwhelmingly positive reception is telling of what the party truly wants — and what a worrying prospect that is.

No doubt Mahathir's presence was a deft political strategy. Possessing the endorsement of a symbol like Mahathir legitimised new party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak. It provided Najib an opportunity to call for reconciliation between Mahathir and outgoing president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, hence healing a feud that has riven the party.

The photograph of the past, present and future premiers, their arms linked in solidarity, served to psychologically cement talk at the general assembly about party unity. But the image can only be really moving if one was a party member.

Black sheep Khairy

Umno unity is an open question. This is most evident in the booing Abdullah's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, received every time his name was mentioned. His election as Umno Youth chief was tempestuous.

Indeed, if the votes garnered by the other Youth chief contenders — Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir — were combined, they would add up to 486 votes against Khairy's 304. Here then is an indication that Umno Youth is split over its new leader.


Khairy delivering a speech on the final day
of the general assembly on 28 March
Khairy's win, troubled by guilt of corruption, presents a compelling message that Umno Youth doesn't care for turning away from money politics. And, inasmuch as the Youth wing can be considered a crèche for Umno's future leaders, this means that Umno will be the same.

Despite Khairy's denials of being involved in corruption, the implication is that the 33-year-old son-in-law of outgoing premier Abdullah may be a liability to the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as it faces three by-elections on 7 April, and, further down the line, the 13th general election.

Additionally, some have already opined that Khairy will be ostracised by the Umno leadership to accommodate Mahathir's return. Indeed, no one has been more strident in opposing Khairy's ascent in Umno than Mahathir himself.

Ironies

Mahathir's eleventh-hour appearance at the Umno general assembly heralded his announcement that the influential former prime minister would rejoin the party — once Najib took over office. That suggests a sentiment far from conciliatory.

It also bears remembering that the Mahathir era saw Umno being frequently cut up — most notably in 1998, during Reformasi — because he did not suffer any challenge from his deputies too kindly.

Further, it is ironic for Mahathir to crusade against Khairy on grounds of corruption. Money politics became endemic in Umno during Mahathir's 22-year tenure as party president and prime minister. One may argue that vote-buying became part of the party's culture with his tacit approval. After all, Mahathir introduced the much-maligned quota system after Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenged him for the party presidency in 1987. Najib has now pledged to review the system, recognising that "a clean Umno is a guarantee to our continued power."

With all this in mind, what are Malaysians to make of the incoming prime minister's warm welcome of Mahathir back into the fold?

Mahathirism's second coming

Umno's near-deification of Mahathir as a "negarawan" is troubling. The nostalgia for Mahathirism was palpable in the Umno delegates' three standing ovations when Mahathir and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali entered Putra World Trade Centre's Merdeka Hall.

It is no secret that Abdullah's softer approach is now viewed with distaste; only a sense of decorum prevents it from becoming overt acrimony.

In his speech on 26 March, in a veiled rejection of Mahathirism, Abdullah urged the party to reject a strong-armed leadership style.

This message only received lukewarm applause from delegates. An Umno member even revealed that many thought that the speech was Abdullah's worst.


Abdullah, with Najib behind him, addresses the media after delivering his final presidential speech
and participating in party elections on 26 March (Pic courtesy of theSun)

In fact, the delegates' debates during the general assembly reveal that, while most recognised the need for transformation, many wanted a return to a back-to-basics strong-arm approach.

For example, a Wanita delegate defended the use of the Internal Security Act, while a Youth delegate, rallying for Umno's defence of ketuanan Melayu, called for Bukit Bendera division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail's suspension to be revoked.

Another delegate complained about exposing the party's money politics to everyone else and about not being able to raise the keris anymore, while a cohort called for the Umno disciplinary committee to be dismantled.

In all proceedings, the by-word was "power". After all, former Umno Wanita chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, in her opening address, told delegates that an Umno that wasn't in power was meaningless.

The idea of power

All the talk of reform was centred on mechanisms designed to help Umno retain its political primacy. Even Najib's apparently concrete steps at rejuvenating the party can be read as public relation exercises, rather than sincere rumination about what the party stands for.

"As long as the party's reputation remains soiled, the people will not side with Umno," he said. And, with the speeches of the previous five days, his call for the "rakyat" to be included in the rubric of "party" and "government" came off as trite and gimmicky.

This notion is further reinforced in the warm reception Mahathir — and therefore Mahathirism — has received in Umno today. His popularity can be attributed to Umno delegates remembering his administration as one where the BN and Umno, especially, enjoyed unprecedented, unchallenged dominance.


Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj
Contrast Umno's lack of imagination for reviving the party with the talk and action of politicians such as Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)'s Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj. PSM leaders' commitment to declaring their assets is as solid a political gesture as Umno's promised reforms aren't for so long as they are about the party, not about people.

Indeed, PSM's message in this instance is one that empowers the Malaysian electorate, not its politicians. The same can hardly be said about Umno's rhetoric.

Umno, during the period of independence, managed to find an ideal that both its members and the wider Malaysian society could believe in. It managed to periodically do so afterwards as well. Why is it now unable to do the same?

This is Najib's greatest challenge: to find a message that is both palatable to Umno insiders and Malaysian onlookers. Further, it must be a message that is evidently sincere. Since the conclusion of the 59th Umno general assembly, such an idea has yet to surface. Hopefully it comes before the next general election — as much as for Umno's sake as for ours.

The Unknown Soldier

Image

Forget about whether it was the Malays or the Chinese who first went to London. Forget about whether it was Umno or MCA who first mooted the idea of Merdeka in their meetings with the British. Instead, remember all those who did not go to London but died all the same so that we can inherit this nation we now call Malaysia

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

PM: Malays started fight for independence
The Star, 31 March 2009

It is historically true that nationalism and the struggle for independence was first started by the Malays, says the Prime Minister.

However, the country gained independence after the Malays, Chinese and Indian communities united to fight to free the country from British rule, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Commenting on Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein’s statement on the role of the Malays in the country’s Independence that has caused some unhappiness among other races, Abdullah said “it’s a fact” and true that the Malays, led by Datuk Onn Jaafar, initiated the struggle for Independence.

Saying that “history cannot be forgotten and erased”, he added that Tunku Abdul Rahman took over Umno’s leadership from Datuk Onn and formed an alliance – Perikatan – with MCA and MIC, which eventually saw the country gaining its Independence.

Abdullah said as there were also other races in the country, Tunku Abdul Rahman had the wisdom to bring all together in the struggle.

“Because all the races came together and were united in the cause, the British had no chance to divide and rule. They granted Independence,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the country continued to be governed by the Barisan Nasional under the concept of the people’s participation through the parties that represented all the races.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin has denied he excluded the involvement of the MCA and MIC when he talked about the process of attaining the country’s independence, saying that several vernacular newspapers had quoted him out of context.

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

Independence Fighters & Nation Builders
Khoo Kay Peng, 31 March 2009
(http://khookaypeng.blogspot.com/)

Outgoing PM Abdullah Badawi said, "It is historically true that nationalism and the struggle for independence was first started by the Malays." He added that, "the country gained independence after the Malays, Chinese and Indian communities united to fight to free the country from British rule."

There are two factual points, which need to be elaborated and explained. After the world war two, it was clear that the British Empire had lost its invincibility. Due to the devastation of war against the Nazis in Europe, the empire had to focus on reconstruction in Europe. Many of their colonies were set free. There was a plan in London to eventually grant independence to Malaya.

However, it was the people's alliance, which had successfully got together social movements from all races, which pushed the British to speed up independence for Malaya. The HARTAL was a demonstration of people's power. The movement led by several social activists had called for nationalisation of all British assets and companies in Malaya.

The treat was so real that the British had to use a dirty tactic to brand them as Communist conspirators and sympathizers. Most of the movement's leaders were detained under the Internal Security Act. Their detention was able to slow the movement's momentum. At the same time, the British began to look out "friendly" parties to hand the reign of government to.

Hence, the British administration began to court the leaders of UMNO, MCA and MIC. UMNO led by Tunku Abdul Rahman was given the task to lead a delegation to London to negotiate for a peaceful handover of power with a few important caveats. The most important is the protection of colonial interests in the country. Before leaving, the British sold land and other properties in the straits states to private owners.

Hence, we got our freedom not through a nationalistic struggle but through mutual agreement to safeguard the British concessions in the country. Most of the Alliance leaders were Western educated, bourgeois and pro-British.

Second, while the fight for independence was noble, it is equally important for the nation to recognise those who had helped and contributed to build the nation. Nation builders belonged to Malaysians of all ethnicity and creed. A great number of them had helped to transform this nation from an under developed agricultural nation to a successful manufacturing nation. Many of them who worked in the plantations had helped to earn hard cash for this country and put food on the table for thousands of families.

It was the Chinese community leaders and members who started the urbanisation of Malaya. They had poured in their wealth to build town centres and cities, which are still visible today -- e.g. Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Taiping and others.

For UMNO, especially Abdullah, Najib and Hishammuddin, to learn how to appreciate the other races they must recognise the role and contributions of these nation builders. Not just their 'keris' waving members and leaders.

UMNO leaders were not the only true independent fighters or national heroes. Normal, silent and low profile Malaysians, our forefathers, who had contributed significantly to this nation - building roads, schools, towns, economy, etc. - were heroes too.

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



Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, led a delegation of Malayans to London to negotiate Merdeka. In that delegation were the first president and founder of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock (photo above), and the fifth President of the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC), Tun V.T. Sambanthan.

We must remember; Umno was the first delegation to London. But they went to London only to oppose the formation of the Malayan Union, not to negotiate Merdeka. This resulted in the British abandoning the idea of the Malayan Union in favour of the formation of The Federation of Malaya.

The second delegation to London was by MCA. MCA’s purpose of going to London was to negotiate Merdeka for Malaya. But the British rejected the proposal. It was the third Umno-MCA-MIC joint-delegation to London that the “Alliance” proposal for Merdeka was really discussed and agreed.

In that sense, who was the first to negotiate Merdeka? According to history, it was MCA. But the British refused to consider MCA’s proposal for Merdeka unless all three races united and jointly negotiated Merdeka. So the second delegation by MCA actually failed. It was the third joint Umno-MCA-MIC delegation that eventually succeeded in getting an agreement from the British.

Okay, that is what history tells us. But that is not really the issue here. Whether it was an Umno, or a MCA, or an Umno-MCA-MIC effort that resulted in Merdeka is just one issue and an issue that the Malays, Chinese and Indians will argue till the cows come home -- as each will want to claim that it was it who was the one who was instrumental in Merdeka. What we must not forget is that all Malayans contributed towards Merdeka, not just the elite from amongst the Malays, Chinese and Indians, as what they are trying to suggest.

An army fights on its stomach. This means two things. One is that the soldier must crawl on the ground when under fire or else his head will be shot off. Most importantly, though, a soldier must eat to be able to fight. A soldier that has not eaten for days will be too weak to fight. So, an army fights on its stomach.

In that sense, the mobile kitchen is very important in any war. If the mobile kitchen and the cooks do not reach the battlefront, then the army is doomed. To force an army to surrender you starve it. This was done in the olden days. That was why the Dutch almost lost Melaka to the Bugis. The Bugis surrounded Melaka and starved the Dutch army. The Dutch eventually had to call for a truce and made a treaty with the Bugis to end the siege.

Many overlook the importance of the simple and most unimportant cook. They shower praises on the brave soldiers and pin medals on their chest. But the poor cook who made sure that the soldiers ate, and therefore were able to continue fighting, are never mentioned. Have you ever seen cooks honoured at the heroes’ tomb? No, it is always that brave soldier who died in the line of fire, never the cook who cooked meals for the soldiers so that they could fight on a full stomach.

Sure, Tunku Rahman, Cheng Lock, and Sambanthan led the joint-delegation to London to negotiate Merdeka. Never mind whether it was the Tunku or Cheng Lock who went first. Let us agree that all three went together -- so all the three races share the honour, equally. But there are many unsung heroes in the fight for Merdeka.

There was the police constable who died. The private who died. The planter who died. The government surveyor who died. The land office clerk who died. The rubber-tapper who died. The postman who died. The driver who died. The waiter who died. The member of the Royal Family who died. The school teacher who died. The Australian who died. The Englishman who died. The New Zealander who died. The Nepalese who died. The Sikh who died. The Indian who died. The Chinese who died. The Eurasian who died.

The list is just so long I would need pages upon pages to honour everyone who died in the service of this nation. No, they did not go to London. They are not honoured with a mention in our history books. But they died, nevertheless, in the service of this nation.

And because they died, today, we have a nation called Malaysia. And many of us were born in this nation called Malaysia because there is a nation to be born into. And there is a nation to be born into because many Malayans, all those who did not go to London, died in the service of this nation.

Forget about whether it was the Malays or the Chinese who first went to London. Forget about whether it was Umno or MCA who first mooted the idea of Merdeka in their meetings with the British. Instead, remember all those who did not go to London, but died just the same, so that we can inherit this nation we now call Malaysia.

I want to call these people The Unknown Soldier. Some of these people were in the army. But not all were soldiers. Many were simple Malayans who served this nation and died in the service of this nation. We do not know who they are. In fact, we don’t seem to care who they are. But these Unknown Soldiers were the proverbial cooks who made sure that the army could fight on its stomach, failing which, the army would have grown weak and would have lost its will to fight.