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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Don't release and then arrest again, Najib told

The people will not be so easily duped into supporting the perpetrators of injustice and oppression, said Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, in reminding new Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to keep to his word in freeing 13 ISA detainees.

bukit selambau pas pkr anwar nik aziz ceramah 040409 05“Don't let them go free just to arrest them again a few years later... although I welcome the move, we want the draconian law to be abolished altogether,” he said.

Anwar was addressing a large crowd of about 5,000, who were eagerly anticipating him in the rain, and showed avid interest until the ceremah session ended at midnight.

Anwar told the people that as long as the new premier does not abolished the Internal Security Act, the government could arrest anyone at will.

bukit selambau pas pkr anwar nik aziz ceramah 040409 15“Yesterday this men were terrorists, and today they say they are innocent... the tradition started with Hussein Onn when he came into power but a couple of years later after the release, he launched another round of arrests. Same goes to Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) but more were detained thereafter,” he said.

The ISA release, which during the ceramah, Anwar implied to be a publicity stunt, was announced by Najib in his first address as the prime minister.

Other key leaders who spoke at the rally last night were Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak, Pas spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz and Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok.

Kok slammed her ISA arrest

teresa kokWhile Kok condemned the injustice afflicted upon her during her one-week ISA arrest for unknown reasons, Azizan reassured the people that the Pas-government has brought plenty of progress to the the state.

penang kedah timber logging azizan abdul razak 310708 03Azizan, who was referring to criticism from several quarters accusing his state government of not bringing improvement after being in power for more than a year, said that in July they would be launching a megaproject to develop Kedah into a hydrocarbon hub.

The project which is said to amount to a whopping RM83 billion, is aimed at prospering the state's oil-refining mechanisms.

Later, speaking to reporters, Anwar said: “We expected the move, which was no doubt also was done to coincide with the by-election, but as I stated we want the total abolition of the ISA”.

“We welcome the move, but let’s not be fooled, today they are freed and tomorrow they are detained once more,” he said.

Asked whether it affected Pakatan's chances in the by-elections, Anwar said that the announcement does not affect the campaign.

ISA should be abolished immediately

“The promise to review the act has been there for the last 30 years, at the time when the communists surrendered. The act was meant to be used against militant communists but the moment that matter was resolved, by right it should have been revoked.

bukit selambau pas pkr anwar nik aziz ceramah 040409 04“So now, I don't see the rational behind the need for a study, you don't study a case for 30 years. What we need to do is to immediately repeal the act, while I support any measures to be tough against possibilities of violence and perpetrators of violence,” he said.

He also brushed aside a swing of votes to the BN, as the release of Hindraf leaders might be a factor in affecting the sentiments of the Indian community which makes up 29 percent of voters in Bukit Selambau.

“I don't think they (the BN government) can delude the Indian voters into thinking that everything is over because in the first place they should not have been arrested. Yesterday, they were terrorists, under then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (but) today they are no longer a threat to the national security,” he said.

BRIEF STATEMENT ON RELEASE OF 2 HINDRAF LAWYERS

The release of 13 ISA detainees is nothing but a ploy to win the hearts of the people in the 3 by elections.

Dato Najib should display his seriousness in addressing lack of Democracy in Malaysia and not short change the people of their democratic needs. He should immediately release all ISA detainees unconditionally and order the immediate closure of Malaysia’s own Gautanamo Bay – Kamunting detention camp. Without this act the Malaysians could not be fooled by Dato Najib’s antics of “ democratic reform”.

Uthayakumar had always said that he doesn’t mind being detained until the Government closes down kamunting camp and previously conveyed through family members to me that “ I should be the last man walking out of kamunting”.

OBAMA WHO HAILS FROM A COUNTRY THAT FACES THE LARGEST THREAT OF NATIONAL SECURITY IN THE WORLD COULD RELEASE ALL PRISONERS AND CLOSE DOWN GAUTANAMO BAY WHAT IS IN THE WAY FOR NAJIB TO DO THE SAME.


P.Waytha Moorthy

Bukit Selambau By-Election : Anwar Ibrahim - Don't Discriminate

Najib’s had a good start but...

By Baradan Kuppusamy - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — A reasonably good start but not enough. That’s the verdict of lawyers, human rights activists and opposition leaders on newly appointed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s first day in office.

“He could have done better, done more and created a greater impact,” said Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan.

“At the moment it is just nice rhetoric. Only when the rhetoric is translated into action can we make a valid conclusion.”

Ragunath, however, welcomed the release of the 13 ISA detainees and the promise to undertake a comprehensive review of the ISA but added that former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had also done a review before.

“All new prime ministers have done reviews of the ISA but all have swept their reviews under the carpet,” Ragunath said. “How different will Najib be?”

Najib, when addressing the nation last night, had summarised his goals under three broad concepts — One Malaysia, People First and Performance Now.

“These are beautifully crafted slogans and can be meaningful if translated into action. Abdullah also had nice slogans but there was no action. We have to wait and see how the slogans are transformed into action,” said Ragunath.

He said Najib should act fast to resolve race and religious issues that Abdullah had promised to resolve but did not follow through.

Two immediate steps Najib can take, Ragunath said, is to extend NEP help to all Malaysians who are poor and need the help, and secondly to take immediate steps to end race-based politics.

He also urged Najib to drop tolerance as a national ideology and promote respect — respect for diversity in a multi-ethnic society.

“With tolerance we only learn to tolerate. We don’t understand or appreciate differences by merely tolerating. By promoting respect we can learn to understand and appreciate differences,” he said, adding respect is much more enduring then mere tolerance.

Rights activists and opposition leaders remain unconvinced with Najib’s first day in office.

“We don’t want a comprehensive review of the ISA... we want it repealed immediately,” said Suaram’s anti-ISA campaign co-ordinator Enalini Elumalai.

“We want all ISA detainees released or charged in court,” she said, adding all previous prime ministers had released ISA detainees on taking office but later had used the ISA to detain political opponents.

“As long as the ISA is there, it is a danger to human rights and democracy,” she said, adding that “if Najib wants to convince us he should repeal the Act and release all detainees.”

PKR information chief Tian Chua said the release of 13 ISA detainees means nothing if the ISA law is not repealed.

He said Najib should also repeal the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 and “all other laws that give the government power to curb human rights”.

“Najib brought a lot of negative baggage to the job and he needs to address these issues before he can win approval from the people,” he said.

He also said it was because of opposition pressure that the Najib took the action to release ISA detainees, echoing a statement by Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who said yesterday that Najib would not be “liberal” if not for opposition pressure.

“It is because of us that the government is forced to free them. We need a strong Pakatan Rakyat to ensure the government does not bully the people through repressive laws,” he said a statement.

Anwar added that the opposition will continue the fight to repeal the ISA and other draconian laws.

Dr M and wife rejoin Umno

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor pose for a photograph with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah in Putrajaya after Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hamah had submitted their applications to rejoin Umno. — Reuters pic

PUTRAJAYA, April 4 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah rejoined Umno today in a ringing endorsement of the new administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Dr Mahathir and Siti Hasmah handed over their application forms to rejoin Umno this morning to Najib at a simple ceremony here.

Malaysia’s fourth and longest serving prime minister had left Umno because of his disapproval of his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration.

He railed and campaigned against Abdullah, and contributed significantly to the eventual downfall of the country’s fifth prime minister.

Today, he rejoined Umno a day after his nemesis left office.

A deadly ‘distract and go for the kill’ campaign by Najib

It could be late by now, but we should all be made aware of a potentially deadly campaign by Najib brewing behind the scene, much of the campaign has already been executed with success.

It is a campaign planned with such precision and minute details that I compare it to what Mahathir has done during the fall-out crisis with Anwar in 1998. Furthermore, the campaign has one distinctive characteristic: it is robust to cope with the expected, as it has turned out that along the way many unexpected events have happened but the campaign cope with them well.

It all started with the coup d’├ętat in Perak in Feb. Najib gang swung into action to grab the power of the state. After the infamous ’second visit to the palace’, where many quarters have speculated as the return trip for either deal making or arm-twisting by Najib, the fate of the PR state government duely elected by the rakyat was sealed, when the Sultan decided to take side of Najib.

Then came the fateful events that vacated the Parlimen seat of Bukit Gantang and the state seat of Bukit Selambau. The by-elections are clearly tough battles for Najib and could be fatal to the imminent power transition to Najib slated for April. Much earlier on, UMNO general assembly was already scheduled for Mar 24-28. The factional fights for positions were expected to be divisive and chaotic for the party. The two potential deadly blows from the ‘Two Bukits’ cannot come before or around then.

That is where the campaign made the Election Commission did the job: fixing the nomination day for the by-elections to be one day exactly after the UMNO general assembly, and the polling day on Apr 7.

Most of us did not take Apr 7 with much meaning, except it is a weekday. But it is so significant with what the subservient EC has done:

  • A weekday of course will reduce turn-out, usually affecting outstation voters who are commonly known to be anti BN.
  • The weekend immediately before Apr 7 is the Cheng Ming weekend for Chinese. Also known as Tomb Sweeping Day or Qingming Festival, most Chinese would travel back to their hometown to pay their respect to their elders who have passed on. Apr 7 being a Tueday, Chinese voters of the Two Bukits, commonly recognised to be anti BN too, are unlikely to extend their stay all the way. Hence reducing opposition votes further.
  • Most important of all, the campaigning period, from Mar 29 to Apr 6, covers a very important event: the power transition from Abdullah to Najib. The opposition and most of concerned Malaysians would be so occupied by the campaign that any resistence to the transition is kept at very low level. This is the largest distraction to us all for Najib to go for his first kill.

Along the process, the unexpected also happened in Sarawak, that led to the by-election of Batang Ai. The subsevient EC again did what the campaign needed: include Batang Ai with the same by-election schedule. Two potential deadly blows are no difference from three potential deadly blows, but Batang Ai, far from the tsunamic Peninsula Malaysia and with a different voter composition, could offer a potential consolation to the BN to reduce the impact of the Two Bukits. How convenient the EC to oblige.

At Bukit Selambau, the record number of independent candidates puzzled all of us. By now, we have the answer. And need I say anything else but it’s part of the campaign?

Then on the judiciary side, where many high-profile cases related to Perak are in progress, the campaign has again planned and executes its steps carefully. First on Mar 23, the Federal Court returned the case of Nizar vs. Zambry to KL High Court, much to people’s surprise. Two new judges were parachuted into the KL High Court. The original High Court judge, Justice Lau Bee Lan, who is well respected in the legal fraternity, is not assigned for the case that she has been so familiar with. Instead, a new judge, Justice Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, on his first day at KL High Court after being transferred from Kuching High Court, is given the case. He shiftly decided that the first action is to decide if leave should be granted for the case to proceed. So today at 3pm, the decision will be made. It will be no surprise that the decision will be a rejection of leave, therefore summarily deal a blow to the case brought by Nizar.

The significance is the timing. While any decision at the KL High Court can be appealed, so all is not lost for Nizar as far as the case is concerned, but it immediately adds to the perceived ‘legitimacy’ of Zambry as an installed (vs. an elected) menteri besar, which BN has been fighting very hard in facing the rakyat. The timing will be fatal to Nizar, who is the PAS candidate of Bukit Gantang by-election. “The court has decided no case for Nizar” will ring loud all over the sky of Bukit Gantang, seriously hurting Nizar’s image.

Then there is another new judge, Justice Balia Yusof Wahi, being parachuted on the case of Perak Speaker with the three ‘frog’ state assembly representatives. He is a High Court civil division judge who had been brought specifically from Kuala Lumpur to hear the case in Ipoh. According to Edmund Bon, the lawyer of Sivakumar, “(we) were not informed of the change until the very last minute… no reason was given for the change.”.

So by now, Najib is already sworn in peacefully at Istana Negara as the sixth prime minister of Malaysia, despite his tainted character and baggae of unresolved scandals. Tomorrow, the critical by-election weekend, he will surely go to the various places giving his speeched as the newly minted prime minister. Carrying with him are all those advantages described above that his campaign has already engineered and bagged. His final kill will be the collapse of opposition campaign for the by-elections and the surprises beyond imagination on the night of Apr 7.

Already, the campaign has made smaller punches here and there, including seizing all printed copies of opposition publications. As the title of my previous post, Malaysia has entered dark ages from 10am today. Hold on tight, all! The ride will be very bumpy, but we will reach the destination, surely.

Anwar’s Pakatan may be wiped out

A 3-0 wipeout could result in the opposition alliance being subjected to unprecedented pressure from BN. BN leaders are hoping to apply enough pressure on PR members in the next few months to engineer more defections and the downfall of more PR governments.

Leslie Lau, Today Online

Just a year after the March 8 general election gave birth to Malaysia’s most viable opposition alliance ever, the Pakatan Rakyat stands on the verge of being wiped out.

The survival of the three-party alliance, brought together under the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is at stake when voters in three constituencies go to the polls in three separate by-elections on Tuesday.

“The possibility of losing 3-0 to Barisan Nasional is now very real,” a DAP leader told Weekend Xtra.

Just a few months ago, the opposition alliance — comprising Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PAS and DAP — were looking invincible. In January, its candidate had trounced the BN man in a separate by-election in Kuala Terengganu, in a second straight win over BN.

Both BN, and Umno in particular, looked weak and in trouble.

The Pakatan alliance appeared poised to take power in Malaysia.

But a bold move by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was sworn in as Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister yesterday, changed the entire equation.

Najib masterminded a power grab in Perak state which led to the collapse of the PR government.

The heavily-criticised move sparked a constitutional crisis but it has also led to a more resurgent Umno and BN, both of whom are brimming with a new level of confidence unseen in the months following their poor March 8 electoral showing.

The current campaign for the Bukit Gantang federal seat in Perak has no real significance on the balance of power in the state assembly itself.

But the by-election has been touted by the PR alliance as a referendum on the power grab by BN.

A win there for Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, the PR leader of its deposed Perak government, will be argued as a vote against the BN action.

But the widespread public anger seen in the early days of the power grab, achieved through defections, does not seem to have given Nizar much of an advantage in the campaign.

Bukit Gantang voters appear to be suffering from political fatigue, and the results on Election Day remain unpredictable.

The seat had fallen vacant due to the death of its PAS Member of Parliament.

The PAS man had won the seat by a small majority last year in a victory largely attributed to a number of protest votes from a public unhappy with the BN candidate fielded in the contest.

Before last year, Bukit Gantang had always been a BN stronghold, and with a popular local candidate in the running this time, the seat could well return to the ruling coalition.

The PR alliance faces a similar uphill battle in Bukit Selambau, a state constituency in Kedah, which is barely 45 minutes by road from Bukit Gantang.

The Bukit Selambau seat fell vacant under controversial circumstances. The PKR assemblyman for Bukit Selambau was forced to quit as a state executive councillor as well as his state seat because of bigamy allegations against him.

His resignation touched off a scramble among members of the Indian community to become a PR candidate for the by-election. In Malaysia’s race-based political structure, the seat, which has a significant number of Indian voters, is being contested by a large number of Indian candidates.

A record 15 candidates are vying for the Bukit Selambau seat, but the only two real contenders are from PR and BN. Still, the large field of candidates, many of whom are disgruntled PR men, will give the BN man an advantage.

Just like in Bukit Gantang, the outcome of the Bukit Selambau vote will have no impact on the Kedah state government.

But BN will be hoping to score a psychological win.

The third by-election that will take place on Tuesday is in the small rural constituency of Batang Ai in Sarawak.

The more-than-8,000 voters in this remote outpost are being asked to choose a new representative following the death of their BN state assemblyman.

A few months ago, Anwar had identified Sarawak as a major frontline state for the opposition alliance.

This was based on the fact that a majority of voters in Peninsular Malaysia had backed the three PR parties in last year’s general election — with only voters in Sabah and Sarawak giving BN enough support for the coalition to remain in power.

But of the three PR parties, only the DAP has some significant presence in Sarawak because of the backing of the urban Chinese.

Neither the PKR nor PAS has any strong support in the state. For the Batang Ai vote, PKR is in a straight fight with BN.

With very little local support and its own resources stretched by the fact that the alliance is contesting in three by-elections, PR faces an uphill battle in Batang Ai.

Barring a major upset, BN looks set to clinch the Sarawak seat.

Ultimately, the PR alliance needs to win at least one of the three by-elections to keep its flagging morale up.

A 3-0 wipeout could result in the opposition alliance being subjected to unprecedented pressure from BN.

BN leaders are hoping to apply enough pressure on PR members in the next few months to engineer more defections and the downfall of more PR governments.

If that comes to pass, it will mean the end of Anwar’s dream of leading his PR alliance to power.

Understanding Najib’s One Malaysia

By Haris Ibrahim,

Quite simple, really.

Nothing sophisticated.

Very tribal, in fact.

First, as he threatened to do in 1987, spill the blood of the Chinese.

Then, as he offered last year, avail to the Indians only the scrap of everything. That should ultimately starve off this community.

The indigenous in both East and West Malaysia?

Deprive them of their ancestral land and watch them slowly but surely disappear from the face of this earth.

What do you have left?

Hey presto, One Malaysia.

That’s his version of a nation of a single people.

Najib 1 vs Rakyat 0, yes, but BN 3 vs PR 0? Not likely, mate!

By Haris Ibrahim

Unlike in that famous nursery rhyme, yesterday, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men kept Humpty Dumpty from falling so that there was no need to put Humpty back together again.

And so, as Humpty and his Frumpy jubilated yesterday on that anointing most foul by feasting and much pomp, we peasants were left to lick our wounds inflicted by a system that has long ceased to care for us.

So, yes, this round belongs to him.

Najib 1 vs Rakyat 0.

Malaysianinsider reports :

“Just a year after the March 8 general election gave birth to Malaysia’s most viable opposition alliance ever, the Pakatan Rakyat stands on the verge of being wiped out.

The survival of the three-party alliance, brought together under the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is at stake when voters in three constituencies go to the polls in three separate by-elections on Tuesday…

…The Pakatan alliance appeared poised to take power in Malaysia.

But a bold move by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was sworn in as Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister yesterday, changed the entire equation.

Najib masterminded a power grab in Perak state which led to the collapse of the PR government.

The heavily-criticised move sparked a constitutional crisis but it has also led to a more resurgent Umno and BN, both of whom are brimming with a new level of confidence unseen in the months following their poor March 8 electoral showing…

…the widespread public anger seen in the early days of the power grab, achieved through defections, does not seem to have given Nizar much of an advantage in the campaign.

Bukit Gantang voters appear to be suffering from political fatigue, and the results on Election Day remain unpredictable.”

Really?

Wonder if this report was based on an actual field trip down to the ground in Bukit Gantang, or contrived on the fourth floor?

Well, the BR bloggers are on the ground in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau and with our contacts in Batang Ai, and I’ve got to say we’re hearing and seeing differently.

And we’ve bounced back from that 1-0 result achieved in the most bizarre of circumstances and are going to work our socks off to deliver a 3-0 result on 7th April.

In favour of Pakatan, of course.

Suspend ISA detention-without-trial powers for 2 years pending “comprehensive review”

Among Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s first decisions as the new Prime Minister yesterday were the immediate removal of the three-month suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan, the release of 13 detainees from ISA detention including two Hindraf leaders V. Ganabatirau and R. Kengaharan and the conduct of a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act.

While these three measures are welcome, they are clearly not adequate and do not indicate that far from signalling a new Dark Age, Najib is ushering in a new era of democracy, freedom, justice and accountability for the country.

This is one of the SMS I received after Najib’s first official address to the nation last night as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia:

“If anything, the release of more than a dozen of ISA detainees announced by the newly sworn-in sixth Prime Minister marked the return of Mahathirism as this was exactly what Mahathir did when he became the Prime Minister.”

The sender of this SMS is very right in more senses than one.

Firstly, Najib’s accession as the sixth Prime Minister is accompanied by a very open and public return of both Mahathir and Mahathirism to Umno. In fact, Mahathir is expected to rejoin Umno in the next 48 hours and to campaign actively in the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections to demonstrate that he is a greater asset to Umno and Barisan Nasional than the Prime Minister of only two days ago, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Secondly, the release of 13 ISA detainees announced by Najib yesterday is reminiscent of the first days of the Mahathir premiership in 1981 which saw the release of 21 detainees under the ISA – including two DAP Members of Parliament, Chiang Heng Kai (Batu Gajah) and Chan Kok Kit (Sungei Besi), former Deputy Minister now Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad and the former chairman of Parti Rakyat Kassim Ahmad.

If the release of 13 ISA detainees is a manifestation of the return of Mahathirism, then it will not rule out a major crackdown by Najib on fundamental liberties and democratic freedoms as happened during the Mahathir premiership like the 1987 Operation Lalang mass arrests of 106 opposition leaders, NGOs activists and community leaders; the unprecedented assault on the independence and integrity of the judiciary from which the country has not recovered after more than two decades and the undermining of the autonomy of major national institutions.

Let me comment on Najib’s three announcements yesterday.

Firstly, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Datuk Chor Chee Heung should resign as Home Minister and Deputy Home Minister respectively for the 11-day suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan which had been repudiated by Najib among his first decisions as new Prime Minister.

Both Hamid and Chor had tried to publicly justify the three-month suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan, claiming that both publications were being “punished for inciting hatred against the government” and “threatened the stability of the multi-racial nation”.

Najib’s withdrawal of the suspension of the two publications have shown that these allegations were not only frivolous and baseless but constitute a gross abuse of power by both the Home Minister and his deputy.

Secondly, on the 13 ISA release. While welcoming the release of the 13, we want the following:

• The immediate and unconditional release of the remaining three Hindraf leaders under the ISA, P. Uthayakumar, DAP Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah, M. Manoharan and K. Vasantha Kumar.

• The immediate and unconditional release of all remaining ISA detainees, who should now stand at more than 30 in number.

• The immediate closure of the Kamunting Detention Centre.

• The repeal of the Internal Security Act as such draconian detention-without-trial legislation has no place in a country which claims to practise democracy and respect human rights.

Thirdly, on Najib’s announcement of a “comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act”.

This is not the first time that Malaysians have been promised a review of the ISA. In the past decade, one Cabinet member after another whether from the Home Ministry or the Prime Minister’s Department had sporadically talked about reforms to the ISA but none had seen any fruition.

Malaysians do not want another vague promise of “comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act” which would be forgotten a few months or years down the road when events are overtaken by another major crackdown using the ISA – a second Operation Lalang-like mass ISA detentions.

To demonstrate that he is sincere and serious about a “comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act” , I call on Najib to make a four-point commitment, viz:

• that he would not resort to the ISA detention-without-trial powers pending the review and announce the suspension of the detention-without-trial provisions of ISA for two years;

• that the ISA review is part of a comprehensive review of undemocratic, repressive and draconian laws including the Police Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Sedition Act, etc.

• that the “comprehensive review” would be conducted by an independent and credible Royal Commission comprising members respected by Malaysians for their human rights record and work.

• That his government will accept and implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission so that there will no repeat of the farce of the Royal Police Commission whose recommendation for the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional and world-class police service remained still-born although Abdullah had publicly pledged to implement it.

Wife Of Hindraf I.S.A. Detainee Thanks Najib

TAIPING, April 4 (Bernama) -- B. Vuvaneswary arrived at the Kamunting Detention Centre near here at 7.30am today, accompanied by her two daughters aged four and 2-1/2 years.

"The first thing I want to do is to take my husband for a meal," she said of V. Ganabatirau, one of two leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) the government has decided to release from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

 kamunting camp

A crowd has been gathering outside the ISA detention centre in Kamunting, Taiping, since Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak's announcement yesterday of the release of 13 detainees. - NST picture by HASAN ISMAIL


Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his maiden address over television last night as the new prime minister, had announced the immediate release of 13 ISA detainees, two of whom are Hindraf leaders. The other Hindraf leader to be released is R. Kenghadharan.

Vuvaneswary expressed her thanks to Najib for the government's decision to release her husband who has been in detention since December 2007.

She said she hoped that the government would also release three other Hindraf leaders - P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan and T. Vasanthakumar. The other ISA detainees to be freed are seven members of Darul Islam, three foreigners held for falsifying documents and one member of Jemaah Islamiah.

Vuvaneswary's other family members had also accompanied her to the detention centre in two other cars.

Ganabatirau's younger brother V. Papparaidu said the family was not informed of Ganabatirau's intended release.

However, the centre had contacted the family at about 5pm yesterday and asked them to visit Ganabatirau today, he said.

"We were a little apprehensive on getting the news because visiting day is Sunday," he added.

-- BERNAMA

********

Release Of Detainees Boost For BN - Samy Vellu

SUNGAI PETANI, April 4 (Bernama) -- MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu today welcomed the release of two Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), and said it would boost the chances for a Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the Bukit Selambau state by-election in Kedah.

"We are optimistic of winning," he said. The BN has fielded Datuk S. Ganesan of the MIC in the by-election, polling for which is on Tuesday.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his maiden address over television last night as the new prime minister, had announced the immediate release of 13 ISA detainees, two of whom are Hindraf leaders V. Ganabatirau and R. Kenghadharan.

Samy Vellu said the MIC hoped that the government would consider releasing the three other Hindraf leaders held under the ISA as soon as possible as it would enable the BN regain the support of the Indian community. The trio are P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan and S. Vasanthakumar.

He said the release of the two Hindraf leaders reflected the sincerity of Najib.

"Najib is more open and willing to listen to the problems faced by the Indian community," he said, adding that the MIC had requested the government numerous times since last year to release the five Hindraf leaders.

He expressed the party's gratitude to the government for the release of the two detainees, saying it was timely.

MIC secretary-general and Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the release of the ISA detainees was a good indicator of the government's sincerity in addressing the problems of the Indian community.

"The release has been well received by the Indians here. I hope it will translate into votes for us (BN)," he added.

Ganesan of the BN is facing S. Manikumar of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and 13 independent candidates in the by-election, caused by the resignation of state assemblyman V. Arumugam of the PKR in February.

-- BERNAMA

Bkt Gantang: Pakatan confident

1309: Greetings from Taiping. Ran into a PKR MP who is leading the campaign in BN stronghold of Trong and he told me he is confident that Pakatan will get at least 57 per cent of the votes in Bukit Gantang.

He estimates support from the Malays to be at least 40 per cent while Chinese support to be around 70-80 per cent. Stay tuned. Mahathir is due to make an appearance this afternoon in Taman Kaya.

Anwar challenges Najib to reform

ImageThe Malaysian Insider
by Shannon Teoh

KUALA SIN, April 3 – Just hours after Datuk Seri Najib Razak was sworn in as Malaysia's sixth Prime Minister, his nemesis Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim challenged him to prove himself as a reformist.

The opposition leader, who has positioned himself as Prime Minister-in-waiting, said that he was instead, worried that Malaysia would face a regime built on high-handed governance, the stoking of racial sentiments and the dilution of constitutional principles.

In the run-up to today's transition, Najib has been talking up reforms under his 1Malaysia platform and promised to work towards racial unity and embracing a new media landscape as well as restructuring elections within Umno.

But Anwar wants three specific changes.

"He must release Internal Security Act detainees, get rid of controls over the media and put a stop to corruption that has been on the rise," the PKR de facto leader said.

The Permatang Pauh MP was speaking to reporters are attending Friday prayers at a local mosque in Kuala Sin, an Umno stronghold in the northeast of the Bukit Selambau constituency.

He reiterated that the memo sent to the Agong by all 81 Pakatan Rakyat ,MPs, expressing concern over Najib's link to the murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shariibuu and huge commissions paid out in the government purchase of submarines, reflected the collective stand of the federal opposition to the appointment of the new Umno president as prime minister.

Court allows Nizar to challenge Zambry’s legitimacy as Perak MB

ImageThe Star
by M. Mageswari

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin succeeded in his bid to get leave from High Court for a judicial review challenging the legitimacy of his successor.

The court set Wednesday for case management.

Justice Abdul Aziz Abd Rahim ruled that the leave application for a judicial review was not frivolous or vexatious.

In his opinion, he said, Nizar has convinced the court that there was a prima facie arguable case.

In granting the leave under Order 53 of the Rules of the High Court 1980, the judge said the court did not have to see the merits at the leave stage.

“The applicant has a very low threshold to meet at the leave stage,” he said in his ruling in open court on Friday.

Justice Abdul Aziz said he was bound by the apex court ruling that leave could be granted to Nizar if it found that there were issues to be investigated further with submissions from both parties.

“I agree with the submissions of the applicant’s counsel Sulaiman Abdullah that the material facts were not questioned.

The issue of justiciability or non-justiciability of the decision of the Sultan of Perak over the dissolution of the state Assembly is not questioned by both parties.

“Both agreed that the Sultan of Perak has absolute discretion over the dissolution of the State Assembly and the appointment of the Mentri Besar.

Justice Abdul Aziz said Nizar only questioned the appointment of Dr Zambry was valid or not under the Perak Constitution.

He said that the obvious fact was that Nizar has asked the Sultan to dissolve the state Assembly in order to solve a situation of “deadlock” but the ruler had not granted his request.

At that time, Nizar did not resign as Mentri Besar nor was he rejected from being a Mentri besar due to a motion of no confidence was tabled and adopted at the Assembly.

“The issue (to be examined further during the inter-parte hearing) is whether Nizar has lost the confidence of the assembly and whether he had to resign under Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution,” he said.

In an immediate ruling, Justice Abdul Aziz ordered Sulaiman to file fresh documents by Tuesday for the hearing of the judicial review.

In his suit filed on Feb 13, Nizar, who is a PAS member, is challenging the legitimacy of his successor, Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and the new state government.

Nizar is seeking to get a declaration that he is the rightful Mentri Besar of Perak and an injunction to bar Dr Zambry from discharging his duties as the Mentri Besar.

Justice Abdul Aziz further ordered the two parties to appear before him on Wednesday for case management.

In immediate response, lead counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham, who held a watching brief for Dr Zambry, said Nizar did not need to serve papers to him and that he would appear in the court proceedings.

Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Kamaluddin Md Said, who is the Attorney-General’s Chambers representative, told the judge that he would seek instructions from the Attorney-General whether to file an appeal against the ruling or proceed with an application to intervene in the substantive motion.

Speaking to reporters later, Sulaiman said he was happy on the basis that laws relating to the judicial review had been upheld by the judge.

“At all times, Nizar had said that according to law and Perak Constiution, the situation had not arisen where the office of Mentri Besar had fallen vacant to enable the Sultan to appoint Dr Zambry as appointee to the office of MB.

“Nizar has been consistent. He is not challenging the authority or the decision of the Sultan of Perak,” he said.

Sulaiman said he was glad that finally his client, who had to go through tremendous struggle to put the case to court ,could see “some light in the tunnel”.

Waythamoorthy's stand divides Penang Hindraf leaders (Malaysiakini)

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waythamoorthy’s open support for Pakatan Rakyat candidates in next week’s by-elections in the country met mixed reactions from two leaders in Penang.

MCPX

hindraf penang split into two factions 040409 Sanjeeviramah SubramaniWhile Hindraf coordinator on Penang island S Shanmuganathan backed his London-based leader’s political stand, its Penang deputy coordinator Sanjeeviramah Subramani, also commonly known as Sanjay, from the Penang mainland declined to heed the call.

Sanjay (pic, left) insisted that although Hindraf activists respect and accept Waythamoorthy’s decision, many of them, especially from Penang mainland and southern Kedah, would continue to boycott PKR candidate S Manikumar in Bukit Selambau.

hindraf penang split into two factions 040409 shanShanmuganathan, however, pointed out that although Hindraf would remain a bi-partisan movement, the group’s supporters on the island would back Pakatan candidates in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang (Nizar Jamaluddin).

“We support Waythamoorthy’s call to support Pakatan for mutual interests and benefits.

“It’s imperative for Hindraf to back Pakatan in the by-elections to defeat our common enemy Barisan Nasional,” he stressed.

He said among the common political platforms that Hindraf and Pakatan share were the abolition of the draconian Internal Security Act, release of all ISA detainees and closure of the Kamunting Detention Centre.

Uthayakumar in poor health

Hindraf and Pakatan leaders have also condemned the authorities for not providing proper medical care for detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, who is suffering from worsening health condition.

“Both Hindraf and Pakatan are committed towards creating a free, equal, just and liberal society.

“We will dispatch campaign teams from Penang island to Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang to campaign vigorously for Pakatan candidates,” Shanmuganathan told Malaysiakini.

On dissenting views among grassroots Hindraf leaders on Waythamoorthy’s stand, Shanmuganathan said such differences of opinion were common in a democratic movement like Hindraf.

hindraf penang split into two factions 040409 waythamoorthyIn declaring support for Pakatan candidates, Waythamoorthy warned that if Hindraf and the opposition coalition failed to work and act together to get rid of BN in the next general election, the chances to dislodge BN and for Pakatan to take over the country’s reign will be gone forever.

"Once this happens, Pakatan would crumble and crack from then on.

"The chance to end BN political hegemony will die permanently," said Waythamoorthy.

Sanjay, on the hand, reiterated that a segment of Hindraf grassroots leaders and supporters, especially from Penang mainland, would continue to boycott PKR in Bukit Selambau to protest the candidature of Manikumar.

'We are actually against Manikumar'

“We are actually against Manikumar, not PKR or Anwar (Ibrahim) or Pakatan,” said Sanjay, who had lobbied with the PKR top leadership to field Hindraf national coordinator RS Thanenthiran as candidate indeed.

Sanjay and several local leaders are angry that PKR de facto leader Anwar had chosen Manikumar ahead of Thanenthiran and several other credible candidates.

This led to Sanjay and other leaders to boycott Manikumar in the Bukit Selambau state constituency, while backing former Perak menteri besar Nizar in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary contest.

Manikumar faces 14 rivals, including MIC S Ganesan and 13 independent candidates, in Bukit Selambau, while PAS strongman Nizar faces BN candidate Ismail Saffian and independent Kamarul Ramizu Idris in Bukit Gantang.

Sensing that a Hindraf boycott on PKR would severely undermine the party’s chances to harvest a majority of the Indian votes, which make up nearly 30 percent of Bukit Selambau’s 35,140 registered electorates, Anwar had a “clear the air” phone chat with London-based Waythamoorthy a few days ago.

Following this, Waythamoorthy declared that Hindraf would fully back Pakatan to defeat their common enemy, BN.

Thanenthiran, meanwhile, did not pick up his phone calls despite several attempts by Malaysiakini to reach him today.

Wife Of Hindraf I.S.A. Detainee Thanks Najib

TAIPING, April 4 (Bernama) -- B. Vuvaneswary arrived at the Kamunting Detention Centre near here at 7.30am today, accompanied by her two daughters aged four and 2-1/2 years.

"The first thing I want to do is to take my husband for a meal," she said of V. Ganabatirau, one of two leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) the government has decided to release from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his maiden address over television last night as the new prime minister, had announced the immediate release of 13 ISA detainees, two of whom are Hindraf leaders. The other Hindraf leader to be released is R. Kenghadharan.

Vuvaneswary expressed her thanks to Najib for the government's decision to release her husband who has been in detention since December 2007.

She said she hoped that the government would also release three other Hindraf leaders - P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan and T. Vasanthakumar. The other ISA detainees to be freed are seven members of Darul Islam, three foreigners held for falsifying documents and one member of Jemaah Islamiah.

Vuvaneswary's other family members had also accompanied her to the detention centre in two other cars.

Ganabatirau's younger brother V. Papparaidu said the family was not informed of Ganabatirau's intended release.

However, the centre had contacted the family at about 5pm yesterday and asked them to visit Ganabatirau today, he said.

"We were a little apprehensive on getting the news because visiting day is Sunday," he added.

Freed ISA Detainees To Leave Detention Centre Sunday

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 (Bernama) -- The 13 freed Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees will be allowed to leave the Kamunting Detention Centre near Taiping tomorrow, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said today.

He said they would leave after the documentation process pertaining to their release had been completed.

"They cannot be released immediately. The documentation process has to be completed first. We will release all of them tomorrow after the documentation process has been completed," he said when contacted by Bernama here.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his maiden address over television last night as the new prime minister, had announced the immediate release of the 13 ISA detainees.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, in a statement yesterday, said two Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders, V. Ganabatirau and R. Kenghadharan, were among the detainees to be released. They had been held since Dec 13, 2007.

The others to be released include seven members of the Darul Islam group -- Binsali Omar, A. Artas A. Burhanudin, Idris Lanama, Francis Indanan, Mohd Nazri Dollah, Pakana Selama and Mohd Arasad Patangari -- who were detained in 2006 and were to have been held until the end of next year.

Also to be released are three foreigners -- Sundaraj Vijay of India) and San Khaing and Amir Hussain of Myanmar -- who were detained in 2007 for falsifying documents, and one member of the Jemaah Islamiah -- Wan Amin Wan Hamat -- who was detained in 2003 and was to have been held until 2011.

13 ISA freed, ban lifted on party organs

From:- Malaysiakini

In his first address to the nation as prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak said the government has freed 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees and lifted the ban on two opposition publications.

MCPX

najib tun razak"I would like to announce that the government has decided with immediate effect to remove the temporary ban on two news publications, release 13 detainees from ISA detention, and conduct a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act," he said in his first act after taking office today.

"These decisions are timely as we move to enhance the confidence of our citizens in those entrusted with maintaining peace, law and order," he said.

In his eight-minute speech which was telecast live by RTM 1, the new premier also pledged to "provide strong leadership" to lift the country out of the economic crisis.

Immediately after Najib's address, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar announced the names of the 13 ISA detainees to be freed.

hindraf isa detainees 290808They include two of the Hindraf 5 - V Ganabatirau and R Kenghadharan - both of whom have been incarcerated for 15 months.

The others released are eight members of the Darul Islam movement and three foreigners.

The Home Ministry, as of December last year, said it was holding 46 people under the ISA, the majority of whom belong to militant groups like the Jemaah Islamiah and the Darul Islam movement.

Ban lifted on Suara Keadilan, Harakah

Najib did not mention the names of the two publications which had the ban on them lifted, but it was clear he was referring to PKR's Suara Keadilan and PAS' Harakah.

The two party organs were slapped with a three-month suspension by the Home Ministry last week for breaching their permit regulations.

Najib was sworn in as the country's sixth prime minister this morning and has vowed to initiate reforms.

In an immediate reaction, MIC president S Samy Vellu welcomed the released of the two Hindraf men.

"We thank the government and PM Najib for releasing two ISA detainees associated with the banned Hindraf movement. I hope that they will release the rest of them quickly as it will make the Indian community happy."

Immediate reactions

Ganendra Manoharan, son of ISA detainee/Hindraf lawyer M Manoharan

Firstly I congratulate the prime minister over his appointment.

Prime Minister, I am appealing to you, please forgive my father for whatever he has done knowingly or unknowingly.

I am only nine-years-old and I miss my father very deeply. I hope, pray and appeal you in good faith for his release immediately.

God will always be by your side in carrying out your duties as the new prime minister of the country. Please help!

Anwar Ibrahim, PKR leader

Every new prime minister will release ISA detainees when they first come to power but later they will use this draconian law to arrest people again.

We should not be cheated by this act.

Merely releasing the 13 is not enough. It is not a thorough reform. We want the Act to be abolished.

P Waythamoorthy, Hindraf chairperson

The release of 13 ISA detainees is nothing but a ploy to win the hearts of the people in the three by-elections.

Najib should display his seriousness in addressing the lack of democracy in Malaysia and not shortchange the people of their democratic needs.

He should immediately release all ISA detainees unconditionally and order the immediate closure of the Kamunting detention camp.

Without this act the Malaysians could not be fooled by Najib's antics of "democratic reforms".

(ISA detainee) Uthayakumar had always said that he doesn't mind being detained until the government closes down the Kamunting camp and previously conveyed through family members to me that "I should be the last man walking out of Kamunting".

Sallahuddin Ayob, PAS Youth chief

We welcome the decision to rescind the suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan. This is a good start in opening up the democratic space in this nation.

We now hope that he would, in the same spirit, allow us to publish our newspapers on a daily basis.

The release of the 13 is also a good start in thinking about abolishing the ISA. We have enough laws in the land to safeguard our peace and security.

Param Cumaraswamy, constitutional lawyer/ former UN special rapporteur

Najib's statement calling for the release of the 13 ISA detainees is similar to what Dr Mahathir Mohamad did when he came to power. He released 22 when he took his oath of office in1982. In 1987 he used ISA to detain 106 (under Operasi Lalang).

Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Gerakan president

We welcome the comprehensive review of the ISA as announced by the new prime minister today. It is a good start in reform by him.

He should now set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to go through the proposal of the review.

We also welcome the release of the 13 ISA detainees and the lifting of the ban on Suara Keadilan and Harakah.

S Samy Vellu, MIC president

We thank the government and the prime minister for releasing the two ISA detainees associated with the banned movement Hindraf. I hope the government will release the remaining three Hindraf detainees as well as it will make the Indian community happy.

MIC had earlier requested the government to release the detainees and we are happy that our request has been met.

Meanwhile, Gerakan president Dr Koh Tsu Koon has described the planned comprehensive review of ISA as "a good start".

He suggested a parliamentary select committee to be set up to go through proposals of the review.

Full text of Najib's speech


The following are names of those freed

1. Pakana Selama
2. Amir Hussain
3. Sundaraj Vijay
4. San Khaing
5. R.Kenghadharan
6. V.Ganabatirau
7. Wan Amin Wan Hamat
8. A Artas A Burhanuddin
9. Francis Indanan
10. Mohd Nazri Dollah
11. Mohd Arasad Patangari
12. Idris Lanama
13. Binsali Omar

PM bids farewell




Hindraf to back PKR’s Manikumar

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) is fully committed in its support for Pakatan Rakyat candidates in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang by-elections next Tuesday.

In a statement issued today, its London-based chairperson P Waythamoorthy said the human rights movement would go all out to back Pakatan candidates because Hindraf’s mutual political enemy was the Barisan Nasional government, and not the parliamentary opposition group Pakatan.

He said Hindraf and Pakatan could ill-afford to go separate ways as it would only boost BN’s political survival.

p waythamoorthyWaythamoorthy (photo) had a long conversation with Pakatan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim a few days ago on several subjects, including Hindraf’s continued commitment to support the opposition front during the ongoing by-election campaigns, and beyond.

“I had the opportunity to discuss with Anwar on many pertinent questions raised by grassroots Hindraf supporters.

“I am glad to say that we had reached an understanding that issues affecting the Indian community would be deliberated and resolved at a later date with leaders from all Pakatan component parties,” he said.

Waythamoorthy said he was happy and satisfied with Anwar’s assurance to address prevailing Indian issues in the country.

“I reiterate here Hindraf’s commitment and full support for Pakatan candidates in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang,” he told Malaysiakini via telephone from United Kingdom.

PKR’s S Manikumar faces 14 rivals, including MIC’s S Ganesan and 13 independent candidates, in Bukit Selambau state contest.

And PAS strongman Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin faces BN candidate Ismail Saffian and independent Kamarul Ramizu Idris in Bukit Gantang parliamentary constituency.

Confident supporters will heed his call

Hindraf’s open support to Pakatan candidates in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang will now quash the rumours that the relationship between the human rights movement and the opposition pact was falling apart.

bukit selambau by election pkr campaign s manikumar visiting market 300309 01It will also put to rest the speculations that Hindraf supporters would spoil PKR candidate Manikumar’s (photo) chances to win the Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah.

Several grassroots leaders, such as Penang deputy coordinator R Sanjay, has openly criticised Anwar for rejecting Hindraf’s overture to field its national coordinator RS Thanenthiran as PKR candidate for Bukit Selambau.

Some even called for the supporters of the outlawed Hindraf to boycott PKR in the state contest.

Waythamoorthy acknowledged that Hindraf grassroots leaders and supporters were disappointed when the Bukit Selambau seat was not offered to any of the five short listed candidates, among which two were the movement’s coordinators and three more were reputable PKR local leaders.

However, he said Hindraf grassroots leaders and supporters shall never become sour grapes merely because their request had been turned down by Anwar.

“Our mutual political enemy is BN imperialist government. Our goal is to create nationwide public awareness on depleted state of the Indian community.

“We must stay focused, initiate actions and work hand in hand with Pakatan to successfully get rid of our common enemy in the next general election,” said the Hindraf leader.

He expressed confident that Hindraf grassroots activists would heed his call and back Pakatan in the by-elections.

He believed that Indian voters in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau were politically matured and aware of the community predicament, thus would not be fooled by BN and its election gimmicks.

source: Malaysiakini

A lesson in Malaysian culture, for foreigners

Image

Today, we take a peek into a briefing session for the wives of foreign diplomats who have just set foot in Malaysia. This briefing session is to help these wives of foreign diplomats to better understand Malaysian culture and to avoid embarrassing situations or diplomatic booboos.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Ladies, ladies, ladies, let’s get down to business.

Welcome to Malaysia. You are going to be here for at least two years and to make your stay here enjoyable and free of sticky situations, we shall take you through a crash course in how to understand Malaysian culture.

First of all, there is no such thing as a Malaysian. What we have are four groupings labelled as Bumiputera, which is another word for Malay; Chinese, spelt C-I-N-A and pronounced Chee-Ner; Indians, sometimes referred to as Keling or Hindu by the Bumiputera; and the lain-lain or ‘others’. We, I’m afraid, do not fit into any of these four categories. The Bumiputeras call us ‘Mat Salleh’ while the Chinese refer to us as ‘Kwai Loh’.

Now, while I said there is no such thing as a Malaysian, the Indians and Chinese will insist you refer to them as Malaysians. The Indians, however, would argue that they are Indians and will talk about Indian rights and Indian interests. But, while they claim to be Indians, you must not call them Indians. They will get very offended. You must call them Malaysians. And the same goes for the Chinese.

For the Malays it is even more complicating. They insist they are Bumiputeras, which means ‘sons of the soil’. But they will demand you refer to them as Melayu and they will argue about things such as Ketuanan Melayu, which means Malays as Lords, and other such rhetoric. But never mind, over time you will begin to understand how Malaysians think, which will eventually give you the impression that they can’t really think.

Each grouping has its own culture when it comes to gatherings. Chinese culture is quite straightforward. They love lavish dinners and young half-naked women dancing and singing on stage while they eat. The Malaysian government has officially adopted this as Chinese culture and you will notice that all government-sponsored gatherings will be of the like.

Malay gatherings are not as sexy. They always start their gatherings by screaming ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and which will end with the kissing of little curved knives that are called keris, pronounced ‘Chris’. Being Muslims, they are not allowed to have young half-naked women publicly singing and dancing on stage. Most of these things are done behind closed doors and away from the public eye.

Indian culture, when it comes to gatherings, is less sexy or militant. Normally, they will invite the President of the Malaysian Indian Congress to grace their gatherings and they will sing his praises, hug him, and kiss his hand. Sometimes, they go into frenzy and will wail and throw slippers at him. It, of course, depends on what time of the day it is to see which ritual the Indians would adopt.

You will never see a Chinese chauffeur. While most of the big and lavish cars are owned by the Chinese, their chauffeurs are always either Malays or Indians. The same goes for security guards. They are all either Indians, Malays or lain-lain, never Chinese. We assume this is because the Chinese do not trust their own kind to drive their cars or to handle their security.

When entering a Malaysian home you must take off your shoes. This appears to be the one and only thing that all four groupings share in common. When you invite Malaysians to your home you will notice that they will also take off their shoes before entering. So it is advisable to place a shoe rack outside your house in the event you wish to invite Malaysians over to your home.

Religious holidays are synonymous with the handing out of little packets that contain money. The Chinese will hand out red packets and the Malays green packets. The Indians do not appear to share this Chinese and Malay custom of handing out packets of money on religious holidays. However, they will never refuse receiving it if you offer them one, especially during an election.

The official language for Malaysia is not constant and keeps changing. It used to be Bahasa Kebangsaan and then was changed to Bahasa Melayu. Then, for a short while, the government adopted Bahasa Baku as the official language. Now, the official language is Bahasa Malaysia. Actually, all four are the same except for the spelling, which changes each time they switch over.

Therefore, there is no such thing as a Malaysian language per se. So, maybe this is the problem the government faces in establishing an official language for Malaysia. Most of the Malay vocabulary is borrowed from the Thai, Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Arabic and English languages. I was told there are only five or six words that can be regarded as originally Malay.

The federal government is led by three main political parties within the ruling coalition called Barisan Nasional. You will notice, however, that the names of all three of these parties -- Umno, MCA and MIC -- are in English. None are in the Malaysian national language. Nevertheless, all these three parties are very passionate about defending the Malaysian national language even though none of them use the Malaysian national language in their party names.

Okay, that ends our first lesson in how to understand Malaysian culture. Tomorrow, we shall talk about other aspects of Malaysian culture and traditions, such as the education and economic policies of this country and the quota system attached to these policies. The education quota system is actually quite easy to understand. In certain institutions of higher learning, 100% of the students are Malays and none of the other groupings are allowed places in these institutions.

We hope, by the end of this three-day crash course, you will be able to understand Malaysia better. Invariably, you will discover that Malaysians are quite difficult to comprehend. They say one thing but they mean the opposite. For example, when you invite them to join you for dinner, they will say ‘no thank you’. Actually, they mean ‘yes please’. And if you take that to literally mean ‘no thank you’ they will get very upset and consider you sombong or pompous.

Anwar to spring big surprise ‘related to Najib’ tomorrow

By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is back in town and promises a big announcement in his ceramah tomorrow night that "is directly or indirectly related to Najib".

Strategist Saifuddin Nasution told reporters this when quizzed over whether the "surprise announcement" would be on defections from Barisan Nasional.

The Machang MP's statement is consistent with the amount of pressure Pakatan Rakyat has been heaping on newly-installed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

This includes a petition to the King stating Najib's alleged involvement in the murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shariibuu and huge commissions paid out in the government purchase of Scorpene submarines, signed by all 81 PR MPs.

"The announcement is based on initial reactions we have received concerning his appointment," he added.

Saifuddin would not give details of the announcement but does not rule out the return of V. Arumugam, who vacated the Bukit Selambau seat, "as a possibility." He did however say the announcement would "have a huge impact in the Bukit Selambau campaign and may be the deciding factor".

Arumugam had vacated the state seat as well as his state executive council position while PR has been alleging that he was being induced by Barisan Nasional to cross over and added that his personal safety was threatened.

There were also rumours that Arumugam was forced to resign over claims of bigamy.

During the campaign period, rumours had also surfaced that Arumugam would return to clear the air over his resignation as he has been missing since he quit on Feb 8.

Saifuddin advised the media to be at the ceramah tomorrow night because "if you miss this, then your editors will be very angry".

Najib’s first test as PM on his “One Malaysian” concept - halt Umno’s irresponsible, destructive by-election campaign labelling majority of PR voters

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia, fulfilling the most famous political prophecy of RAHMAN on the first six Prime Ministers, although time will tell whether Najib will be the shortest-serving Prime Minister marking the end of the line of UMNO Prime Ministers in the country.

What is incontrovertible is that never before in the nation’s 53-year history has the ascension of a new Prime Minister in Malaysia been surrounded by so many questions, doubts and allegations raising serious questions about his suitability, credibility, integrity and legitimacy as in Najib’s case, not only among Malaysians transcending race, religion, political affiliation or region, but also internationally.

For the past month, Najib’s ascension as the new Prime Minister has been reported extensively in the international press and foreign countries, but there has not been one serious write-up which had not referred to the grave allegations hounding and haunting Najib, in particular the serious allegations about the C4 murder case of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shariibuu and the French submarine mega-defence commission.

These personal dilemmas of Najib have from today become national nightmares as they concern the honour of the highest political office of the land and that of the nation.

Is Najib just going to ignore these serious swirling doubts and allegations about his suitability, credibility, integrity and legitimacy as Prime Minister and soldier on regardless or is he finally going to end his denial and address these issues in a credible manner as by setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to put these doubts and allegations to rest, once and for all?

The timing of Najib’s takeover as Prime Minister could not have been worse, coming hours after Malaysia had been placed in the four-nation blacklist of non-cooperative tax havens by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) for breaching international tax standards – as Najib had taken over the finance ministry since last September.

With the country facing the worst global economic crisis in a century, Malaysia needs a Prime Minister who can rally and mobilise Malaysians as one people to tide through a grave recession looming in the months ahead.

This is why Najib must get rid of his heavy personal baggage quick and fast or all his tantalising talk of a RM470 billion package for these two years to deal with the economic crisis will fail to achieve their full impact and results.

Najib talks of a “One Malaysian” concept. His first task as sixth Prime Minister is to prove he is serious about “One Malaysian” concept by immediately halting UMNO’s divisive and destructive by-election tactics in Bukit Gantang falsely trying to label the majority of voters in Perak as anti-Sultan for supporting Pakatan Rakyat.

The Bukit Gantang by-election is not about whether the voters are loyal or disloyal to the Sultan of Perak.

UMNO leaders, members and campaigners are doing a great disservice to nation-building, the constitutional monarchy and Najib’s “One Malaysian” concept by trying to poison the minds of the voters into believing that a vote for Umno/Barisan Nasional candidate is a vote for the Sultan of Perak while a vote for Pas/Pakatan Rakyat candidate is a vote for a “traitor” against the Sultan.

How can the cause of Malaysian nation-building and Najib’s “One Malaysian” concept be advanced in falsely creating the perception that the majority of the people in Perak are against the constitutional monarchy just because they had voted in support of Pakatan Rakyat when the loyalty of Pakatan Rakyat and the Pakatan Rakyat voters to the constitutional monarchy whether in last year’s general election or the forthcoming April 7 Bukit Gantang by-election cannot be doubted?

Is Najib prepared to immediately halt such irresponsible, divisive and destructive by-election tactics in the Bukit Gantang by-election or is his “One Malaysian” concept just an empty and meaningless slogan?

Chitrakala: Police to inquire Tan Sri Kumaran on MIED 4 million

Police officers from Bukit Aman commercial crimes investigation division, today, apparently set to inquire Tan Sri Kumaran pertaining to Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) checks amounting to 4 million, according to Makkal Osai Tamil daily today.

Kumaran was the former MIC vice-president and held deputy minister position in the government.

The inquiry was supposed to be at first floor, MIED office, MIC headquarters, according to sources.

This police inquiry was due to the police report by one of the MIED directors, a day earlier.

Tan Sri Kumaran and Tan Sri Mahalingam are the authorized signatories of MIED Capital company checks.

Next, the police officers are expected to inquire Tan Sri Mahalingam, MIED official Parameswary who prepared the checks and suspended CEO Chitrakala Vasu who verified the checks.

More things about MIED may come to light in the inquiry, the daily added.

Chitrakala Vasu and MIC youth leader Mohan Thangarasu are at the center stage of the MIED 5.2 million scandal where police have so far recovered 1.7 million and froze Chitrakala’s and her kid’s bank accounts.

Najib springs a surprise of his own

Najib in his maiden speech as PM tonight:

In this spirit, I would like to announce that the government has decided with immediate effect, to remove the temporary ban on TWO news publications, release 13 detainees from ISA detention, and conduct a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act. Additional details will be announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs shortly.

Well, not quite a surprise.

As I had mentioned yesterday, Pakatan sources in Bukit Selambau were already expecting the release of ISA detainees, specifically a few Hindraf detainees except for the leader, Uthayakumar, who they felt would have to serve a longer term.

But it’s is not known if there are any Hindraf detainees among the 13 detainees that Najib said would be released.

Anyway, it’s a positive start for Najib.

Let us not forget that this is a small victory for the Malaysian public, many of whom over the last ten years have been pressuring for meaningful democratic reforms, campaigning for the release of all ISA detainees and calling for an outright repeal of the ISA.

But be cautious: this is exactly the way Mahathir started when he came into power in 1981. He released a whole bunch of ISA detainees. And then came Operasi Lalang in 1987.

The first thing that comes to mind now is: is all this a political ploy aimed at the three by-elections? And then tighten the screws later? Does that mean the remaining ISA detainees have to wait for a new PM before they can have a better hope of being released?

Note: Telekom has confirmed on a recorded message over its helpline that users will experience slow browsing for websites hosted in the US and Hong Kong. “Restoration work is in progress” is their well-worn message. Let’s see how long this takes. This slowdown will affect the downloading speed of many blogs that are hosted overseas at a crucial period ahead of the three by-elections.

Umno treasurer gets RM1mil in libel damages against Raja Petra

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd has won RM1mil in damages over two libellous articles published by Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin.

Senior Assistant registrar Nor Hatini Abdul Hamid ordered Raja Petra to pay RM500,000 in general damages, RM300,000 in aggravated damages and RM200,000 in exemplary damages.


Nor Hatini awarded the sum in her chambers on Thursday during an application for assessment in damages over the libel suit.

Azim obtained a judgement in default on Aug 8 last year upon the failure of Raja Petra to enter an appearance in the civil proceedings.

MCA lusts after DPMship; it’s not about Chinamen, stupid, it’s about integrity!

Malaysiakini:

The MCA, an influential partner in Barisan Nasional, today called upon Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to create a post for a Chinese deputy prime minister and a Chinese deputy chairperson of BN.

And the party’s deputy secretary-general Loke Yuen Yow said these two posts should be given to the MCA president.

“The creation of a Chinese deputy prime minister’s position will not only help to realise the true ideology of a power-sharing administration…

“It will also denote that the government gives importance to the role and contributions made by the Chinese towards the process of nation building,” he said in a statement today.

“Also, if given the portfolio, the MCA president could in his capacity in cabinet, help to draw up a fairer and a more justifiable policy which is beneficial to all, especially in areas relating to the Chinese in the fields of economics and education,” he added.

Maybe I’m just in a bad mood today, but this, I must say, is dumb.

How typical of a narrow minded ethnic party to ignorantly think that just because you put some Chinaman in a high position, justice and equality is served.

What can I say? A running dog in No. 2 position is still a running dog.

For decades BN has raped and plundered Malaysia, and for all real means and purposes, MCA hasn’t done a damn thing about it. For my money, they are just as guilty as Umno, and despite their different skin colour, I feel about MCA exactly as I feel about Umno.

In the event Najib accedes to this ridiculous request (shyeah), my Chinese self will feel absolutely zero pride.

I would rather the government be run 100% by Malays who are just, compassionate and have integrity, rather than let one dishonest non-Malay anywhere near the seat of government.

There. Enough venting? :P

In Bkt Gantang, Muhyiddin:

According to Muhyiddin, Chinese voters just “need a little more time to be convinced” than the Malay voters because they have a “pragmatic” attitude.

Elaborating, he said the Chinese voter knows what is right for the community. “Hence, we have to explain more.”

“Malay voters are quite easy to discuss things with. With the Chinese, we need a little more time. That is why we need to explain a bit more to them (about our policies) by meeting them directly or with their leaders,” he said.

I don’t get it. The Chinese know what is right, therefore it is only with more persuasion that they will vote BN? Does Muhyiddin not have confidence in the self-evident rightness of his own cause? I know we are.

And why are Malay voters ‘easier?’ Does Muhyiddin think that they are stupid compared to the Chinese? What exactly is he trying to say?

Sigh, and what is it with Umno’s weird attitude to the Chinese.

Truly though, nothing beats Zahid Hamidi the following video - on so many levels! :P


True to form, sex sells. Viewership of this video compared to other Malaysiakini ones are almost 20 times the others on Youtube :P

What can I say folks? Let’s get it star-ted! Yeahhhhhhh

Najib’s not Stupid? (updated - V Ganabatirau and R Kenghadharan released)

Update: Looks like we have two names of those released - V Ganabatirau and R Kenghadharan. Welcome back to the free world my brothers, I’m really happy for you and your families :)

I welcome the release of the 13 ISA inmates (some steps closer to growing my hair back perhaps), and the decision to lift the ban on SK an Harakah.

However, it is always the role of the opposition to hold the government to ever stringent, ever higher standards. To try and keep them honest, as it were.

So, we continue to press for the release or charging in court of the remaining ISA detainees, the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, and so on.

We continue to be cautious and skeptical of these actions, to ensure that they are carried out and not empty promises; we continue to scrutinise the level of sincerity, and call for genuine reform, and not cosmetic or temporary, crowd-pleasing policies.

Smart-ish first move, Mr. Najib, we’ll continue to watch the rest.

Najib Vows One Malaysia, People First, Performance Now

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak urged the nation on Friday night to embark on a "great journey together" to transform the country, promising them that his administration would place priority on performance and the people.

In his maiden speech aired over national television, he told Malaysians that his administration would strive to live up to the slogan "One Malaysia. People First. Performance Now."

Najib, who was sworn-in as the new prime minister earlyFriday, said that the government would adopt "new approaches for new times -- a government that places a priority on performance, because the people must come first."

His words were laced with certainty as he pledged that none would be left out in the country's pursuit for progress.

"We must reach out to all parts of Malaysia... to all our diverse communities. In our national discourse and in pursuing our national agenda, we must never leave anyone behind," he said.

"We must reach out to the many who may have been disaffected and left confused by political games, deceit and showmanship," he added.

Malaysians tuned in to listen to his prime time address while others logged on to his blog at "1malaysia.com.my" where his text of the speech was promptly uploaded.

He said that in the coming weeks, he would be consulting with people around the country "as I begin to reshape the leadership and priorities of the government."

"I am mindful," he said, "that we should build on the successes and lessons of the past."

He also spoke of his growing up years and said that he was inspired by the positive impact of public service "in the example of my late father (Tun Razak Hussein)"

Tun Razak was Malaysia's prime minister from Sept 22, 1970 until his death on Jan 14, 1976.

Najib said that his life has been dedicated to public service.

"Four decades on, I remain committed to the goals of tackling poverty, of restructuring our society, of expanding access to quality education for all, and of inspiring a new generation of young Malaysians to work on behalf of this great country."

He also said that his service in government had always been about getting results.

"(This includes) to ensure a better deal for teachers, to improve conditions for our brave soldiers, and to strengthen our economy in defence of the people of Malaysia, as we deal with the outbreak of a global recession," he said.

He also spoke of the need to approach the young and care for their hopes and aspirations.

"We must seek to include and unlock the potential of our young people who will be the next generation of leaders, business people, engineers, scientists, teachers and doctors. We must give them wings to fly," he said.

Najib expressed gratitude to former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his 31 years of service to the country and for his confidence in him as the successor.

Rayuan ; mohon bantuan untuk perbaiki rumah India miskin di Parlimen Rembau

Adalah dimaklumkan Unit Amal Paroi dengan sokongan Pusat Khidmat Rakyat Rembau (keADILan) akan membantu membaik pulih rumah satu keluarga Hindu di Senawang (dalam Parlimen Rembau) yang rosak teruk akibat tanah mendap.

Anggaran perbelanjaan untuk kerja-kerja membaik pulih tersebut adalah seperti berikut :
1. Pasir Kasar 2 lori
2. Simen 7 beg3
. Jaring VRC 2 keping
4. Batu Kasar 2 lori

Anggaran Perbelanjaan adalah RM700Kepada mereka yang ingin menyumbang bahan binaan tersebut bolehlah menghubungi Ahli Unit Amal Paroi. atau Pusat Khidmat Rakyat Rembau - Azizi 0123696474 atau email cheGuBard@gmail.com

Kerja-kerja membaik pulih dijangka akan dimulakan pada minggu kedua bulan April 2009.

Different wish lists for new PM

By Jeff Ooi

MCA wants a Chinese Deputy PM I. Gerakan wants a Chinese Deputy PM II. Will Umno Muhyiddin Yassin agree?

The MCA has called upon new Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to create a post for a Chinese deputy prime minister and a Chinese deputy chairman of Barisan Nasional.

While MCA president is obviously too shy to ask for it, as he is the direct beneficiary, the hatched-man tasked to come-a-begging is the lowly party deputy secretary-general.

For a start, MCA-controlled newspaper The Star must help promote it till it's done.

Meanwhile, Gerakan has asked for the post of Deputy PM II. The hatched-man is an unknown from Timbaktu.

'Money politicians'

On the other hand, Karpal Singh also has a wish list for Najib.

On the contrary, he wants the newly-minted Prime Minister to ask the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe those implicated in vote-buying in last week’s Umno polls, namely Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam.

A true reflection of political conviction: Who fights for the larger good this time?

Leaders have hopes for Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Leaders gave new prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak high hopes to navigate the country out of the economic turmoil and live up to the aspirations of the people.

International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin hoped Malaysia would soar to greater heights under Najib’s leadership.

“We hope he will not only continue and enhance the efforts of his predecessors but also live up to the expectations of the people, who want Malaysia to prosper and become an advanced country by 2020,” he said after Najib was sworn-in as prime minister at Istana Negara here today.

Muhyiddin, who is also Deputy Umno President, said Umno leaders had pledged their undivided support for Najib.

Minister of unity, arts, culture and heritage Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Najib’s pledge that he would be a leader for all would hold him ingood stead. “He has not neglected the people of Sabah and Sarawak and he will always look into their requests.

“Foreign leaders and corporate figures have acknowledged Najib’s capabilities and talent to take the county to greater success,” said Shafie, who is also Umno vice-president.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he was confident that Najib would demonstrate his leadership qualities in leading the party and the government.

“Now that he is the prime minister, we will see his strengths in tackling the problems faced by the people.

“He has shown us his respect and loyalty for his leader and this should be emulated by young leaders who seemed to be in a hurry to jostle for higher posts,” said Hishammuddin, who is also Umno vice-president.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the power transition was accepted by all and Islamic activists should assist Najib in pursuing the national agenda.

“I hope Islamic leaders and activists will join forces to help Najib realise the agenda and resolve religious disputes, racial disharmony, and the faltering economy,” said Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno vice-president.

Foreign minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said he was confident that the country would leapfrog in its development strides and make marked changes as Najib inherited his father’s (Tun Abdul Razak) leadership traits.

“I was fortunate as I had served under the late Tun Abdul Razak and now I am working under his son. I will be able to witness the changing times. We should give him all the support he needs,” he said.

“In my view those who are dedicated, able and loyal should help the sixth prime minister. But we must not be sad if one among us is not reappointed as this is usual in government or in a change of premiership,” he said.

Minister of housing and local government Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan who expressed thanks for Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s service also expressed confidence in Najib to lead the country to greater heights especially in meeting the global economic crisis.

Minister of information Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek hoped the new leadership would handle and overcome problems faced by the country and its people to prove to the masses that the country would progress further with the new leadership.

Minister of women, family and community development Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen was confident the prime minister would support efforts to overcome social, women and poverty problems.

Minister of agriculture and agro-based industries Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said Najib was the best person to helm the country based on his ability and experience in many fields.

“We are all spirited to continue serving the nation and we are confident he will further develop the country,” said the Umno supreme council member.

Minister of science, technology and innovation Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is also deputy president of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) hoped Najib’s administration would focus on the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah and develop rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak to be on par with those in Peninsular

Malaysia.

“Najib is faced with high expectations but I believe with the support of all in BN, other leaders, and the people he will succeed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pahang mentri besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob in describing Najib as capable, compassionate, attentive and a quick thinker, said it was also timely for the prime minister to concentrate on instilling solidarity in the people with the “One Malaysia” concept.

Adnan said appointment of the Kuala Lipis-born new prime minister was also a matter of pride for the people of Pahang. “I believe that he will have a soft spot for Pahang but not to the extent of neglecting other states,” he added.

Perak menteri besar, Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, said he was confident the principles of consultation practised by Najib would guide the country towards attaining the goals of Wawasan 2020. — Bernama