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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Candle Light Vigil at Kamunting


By Arasu,

Yes, do not trust them.

Remember the party IPF?

The rot started when MIC President went to see Pandithan in Hospital KL.
He was featured as a hero and Pandithan even took time to compaign for
MIC in Ijok.
The only reward was a Tan Sri title for Pandithan.
What did the IPF members get? Nothing!!!!

After that this MIC leader started to show his true colours.
He continues to say that IPF will not be accepted in BN.

And on top of that he began to encourage splits in IPF.

One faction, through his family paper Tamil Nesan, he gave prominence
at the expense of the other. Puan Sri Jayasree believed this
‘prominence’ and went ahead with sidelining the pioneer IPF members.
Later the Registrar of Societies made a declaration that was not in
her favour.
That was the final nail in the coffin for IPF.
Do you see IPF members helping out MIC in Bukit Selambau now?

So HINDRAF guys, do not be taken in by the sly moves of the MIC.
They are actually out to finsh you off, and the start was the visit by
the MIC leader to see the HINDRAF co-ordinator in hospital.
Do you see the same move, as what was done when the IPF leader was in hospital?

Careful guys - MIC President is dangerous.
If he can get rid of Govindarajoo and many MIC leaders , as well as
‘kill off’ IPF, he can do that to HINDRAF as well.

Now that HINDRAF has declared its support for Pakatan, go all out for Pakatan.
Tell the Indian voters about what happened to IPF and tell the
struggling Indians to align themselves with the New Era - not the
dying breed.

Disgraceful 45-hr police “cat-and-mouse game” on Ganabatirau and Kengadharan’s ISA release

As of now, Sunday, 5th April 2009 at 5.10 pm, the two Hindraf leaders V. Ganabatirau and R. Kenghadharan,have still not regained their freedom 45 hours after the new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced in his maiden speech to the nation over television on Friday night at 8 pm that both of them, together with 11 other Internal Security Act detainees, would be “immediately released”.

Also despite the belated assurance by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan yesterday that the ISA detainees will be allowed to leave Kamunting Detention Centre today, saying

“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.”

The families of Ganabatirau and Kengadharan were made to wait for hours under the hot sun yesterday and today and have not been allowed contact to see them.

Ganabatirau and Kengadharan were taken out of Kamunting Detention Centre at 1.30 pm under strict police escort, without being allowed to meet with their families, and as at 4.30 p.m. the two police cars transporting the two in custody were sighted at Sungei Buloh, believed to be on the way to the Shah Alam IPD.

The families of Ganabatirau and Kengadharan, who had waited for two days outside Kamunting Detention Centre, had at first been told this morning that both of them would not be released from Kamunting, but would be escorted to their homes.

Now, Ganabatirau and Kengadharan are not being sent directly to their homes, but continue to be in police custody while being transported to police headquarters.

This is a most shameful way in releasing the two and most outrageous way in treating their families, which included young children!

Can the new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak explain the reason for the police “cat-and-mouse game” with Ganabatirau and Kengadharan and their families when Najib had announced their “immediate release” under the ISA?

This is a violation of the three Najib thematic themes of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

R. Kenghadharan of Hindraf

R Kenghadharan of Hindraf waving to supporters as he was brought out of Kamunting detention centre at 1.20pm today.
Kenghadharan had been under ISA detention since December 2007 (Pic by Raj Kumar, courtesy of theSun)

Hindraf duo still not fully free

(The Malaysian Insider) - The two Hindraf leaders released from the Kamunting detention centre this afternoon are still in police custody, opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said today.

He said both V. Ganabatirau and R. Kenghadharan were taken by police and are believed to be at the Selangor police contingent headquarters in Shah Alam.

Both were released conditionally and had yet to leave the police custody.

“This is a most shameful way in releasing the two and most outrageous way in treating their families, which included young children!” Lim said in a statement.

“Can the new prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak explain the reason for the police ‘cat-and-mouse’ with Ganabatirau and Kengadharan and their families when Najib had announced their ‘immediate release’ under the ISA?” the Ipoh Timur MP asked.

He said both Hindraf leaders were taken out of Kamunting Detention Centre at 1.30pm under strict police escort, without being allowed to meet with their families, and as at 4.30pm the two police cars transporting the two in custody were sighted at Sungei Buloh, believed to be on the way to the Shah Alam police building.

The DAP strongman said the police move was a violation of the three Najib thematic themes of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now."

Another three Hindraf leaders have yet to be freed. Critics say the release of just two is to fish for votes in three by-elections this April 7.

13 ISA Detainees Freed From Kamunting

TAIPING, April 5 (Bernama) -- All the 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees who were freed by the authority, left the Kamunting detention centre here at 1.30pm today.

They left the centre in several police and Immigration Department vehicles to unknown locations.

According to a source, The two were still not release by police. It is 5.45 pm and the family members and supporters are becoming upset with Najib's administration. The government is giving hassle for the family members to drive from KL to Taiping and again to KL. How could the family members feel?

Three foreigners -- Indian national Sundaraj Vijay and two Myanmar nationals, San Khaing and Amir Hussain -- were the first group to leave the centre.

The trio, who were detained since 2007, were taken out in an Immigration Department four-wheel-drive vehicle at 10.45am accompanied by another car with several immigration officers inside.

The crowd who gathered at the centre's main gateway cheered as the two-vehicle convoy made its way out, with the former detainees waving and smiling at them.

Hindraf duo released from Kamunting

Two Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders V Ganabatirau and R Kenghadharan were released from the Kamunting Detention Camp in Perak at about 1.20pm today.

They were met by their families and taken away in police patrol cars, following their families’ cars in front.

hindraff isa detainees 141207Both Ganabatirau and Kenghadharan would be taken straight to their homes in Shah Alam and Kelana Jaya respectively.

The duo were among five Hindraf leaders held in detention for 15 months after organising a mammoth rally in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25, 2007, accusing the government of marginalising the Indian community in the country.

They were detained under the Internal Security Act - which provides for detention without trial - in late December the same year.

"This is the moment that the whole family is waiting for but I hope the new prime minister will hear the Indian community's plea to release the three others Hindraf leaders as well," Ganabatirau's brother, V Papparaidu, told AFP.

A Kannappan, a 56-year-old businessman who managed to shake hands with the Hindraf duo outside the detention centre as they left, said they "look healthy and were smiling".

At about 1.25pm, another eight detainees were released including one from Jemaah Islamiah and six from Darul Islam Sabah.

Earlier, at about 10.45am, three foreigners were also released and were taken away in an Immigration Department vehicle.

Former PM lauds move

Yesterday, a Bernama report quoted Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan as saying that the detainees will leave the detention centre today after all the documentation process are completed.

On Friday, Najib Abdul Razak in his first address to the nation as prime minister announced that the 13 ISA detainess will be released.

He also pledged to conduct a comprehensive review of the draconian legislation.

The other three Hindraf leaders who remain in detention are P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan and T Vasanthakumar.

In welcoming the release of the Hindraf duo, MIC had also urged the government to release the other three.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lauded his successor’s move to release the 13.

"It is good decision. A good move. I am sure the time has come for them to be released, so he released them," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Rights group have welcomed the move, but urged the government to free the remaining 27 people, mainly suspected Islamic militants, held under the ISA or charge them in court.

"There are people who have been held more than seven years without trial and most of them were facing the same kind of allegations as those who were released today," said Abolish ISA Movement spokesman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh.

Vasanthakumar to support BN?

In a shocking move that could hamper Pakatan campaign in the run-up to the by-elections next Tuesday, some Hindraf supporters have shown support to the new Najib administration following the ISA release.

An indication for support of Najib was detected when a cousin of one of the Hindraf leaders - T Vasanthakumar who is still in detention, revealed that the detainee would support BN and campaign for the party if he is released soon.

“I have spoken to him (Vasanthakumar) and he said he wanted to support BN if he gets to be released soon. We will also support the party...this is our demand. If he is released, we all will support BN,” said A Latha to reporters.

It is however uncertain whether the unexpected support thrown to BN and the Najib administration was caused after PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim did not choose Kedah-born Vasanthakumar as their candidate in the Bukit Selambau by-election.

Later in the day, the crowd began to swell to about 100 people, causing a minor traffic congestion and two trucks from the police light strike force were deployed at the scene to control the situation.

Some supporters began chanting in Tamil in support of Najib as they lauded the “bold” move.

C Ganasa from Selama, who had been keeping a long beard since the arrests of the Hindraf five on Dec 13, 2007 decided to shave it off in front of the camp to show his gratefulness to Najib.

“I’ve been keeping this beard since they (Hindraf leaders) were detained on two years ago. Now, since two are being released, I am shaving it off.

Hindraf will 'always reject BN'

“If Najib releases the other three, I will shave my entire head...and I believe they will be released anytime before the by-election (on April 7). We would like to say thank you to Najib as this is a very bold move,” said the contractor.

But for V Papparaidu, the brother of V Ganabatirau, the release has not changed the Hindraf’s principles to “always reject BN”.

“What they have done to the Hindraf leaders for the past one and a half years could not be replaced with anything. We will continue rejecting BN,” he said.

In a obvious jovial mood, the wives of both former detainees, along with their relatives and friends, had been patiently and anxiously awaiting their husbands back into their lives.

For 41-year-old Kengadharan’s wife Dr M Kalaivani, she said she looked forward the most to bringing his husband to a temple and pray.

“I am very happy that my husband is coming home today. I was thinking of bringing him to the temple on the way home, but since we will be escorted by the police, we will only do it after we get home,” said the mother of two.

She further added that the her husband was very upset that the other three Hindraf detainees had yet to be released.

Ganabatirau’s wife, 33-year-old B. Buwaneswary, said her husband would not change his principles over what had befallen upon him when he was detained in late 2007.

“My husband does not tend to waver his principles. He has not weakened in what he believes in as he is an honest man. I will support him in anything he wants to do,” she said.

PKR claws back Bkt Selambau Indians

bukitselambau-byelection-signpost.jpgBy Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

SUNGAI PETANI, April 5 - PKR struck back yesterday in the race for Indian votes by claiming 6,000 defections from PPP Kedah after its start to the Bukit Selambau campaign was blighted by unhappiness from its Indian ranks.

The defection led by vice president Datuk V. Nadarajan was announced at a ceramah headlined by de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last night.

The crossovers overwhelms the 356 members that former Jerai division chief B. Kalaivanar claims to have pulled out of the party on the first day of campaigning.

"Even though we were in Barisan Nasional, our hearts have always been with the opposition," Nadarajan said of the 62 branches from six Kedah divisions.

Anwar, in his speech, expressed his disbelief at how other BN component party leaders could persist with the governing coalition despite what he says is Umno's oppression of non-Malays.

"I fail to understand how leaders in MCA, MIC or Gerakan can remain within BN. I am a Malay and a Muslim and I will defend my rights and also that of other races.

"But for them, anything is okay, just give us a deputy prime minister post," he said, mocking MCA's call.

Of the 6,000 defecting PPP members, 1,500 are claimed to be Bukit Selambau voters. However, speaking to reporters later, Nadarajan revealed that only 300 or so PKR membership forms had been filled with the rest to follow after the April 7 poll.

PKR had yesterday promised a "big announcement" at last night's ceramah but Anwar insisted that the PPP defections were not it.

"I was to make an announcement tonight but after a discussion last night, we have decided that it is too dangerous to do it now.

"When we win the three by-elections on April 7, then I will make the announcement," the opposition leader said anti-climactically.

Pakatan Rakyat however, believes that tonight's defections could be a deciding factor in what is expected to be a photo-finish in Bukit Selambau due to a revival in BN's fortunes since Datuk Seri Najib Razak became Umno president, leading to his appointment as prime minister on Friday.

Stop fighting, help the Malaysian Indians

A reminder to the wealthy and powerful. Help develop the poor – especially those from the Indian community. Detach yourself from your wealth, as the Bhagavad Gita, Sutras, Quran, Bible, Granth Sahib, etc, would ask you to. The wealth that you have acquired is not yours - they are those of the children of the poor and of the orphaned.


Azly Rahman
( dr.azly.rahman@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Reading about the continuing plight of the most economically disadvantaged Malaysians, I wrote the following piece some time ago. As we are ushered cynically and reluctantly into a new era of Malaysian leadership -- into yet possibly another period of chaos and complexity -- we must be reminded of the issue of dehumanization amongst us. A humane and spiritually-based economic solution is needed, in an age of high-speed casino and hedonistic capitalism.

No amount of help will ever be enough, but any help will do. We need to help our Malaysian Indian community progress faster. How much has the New Economic Policy (NEP) helped the Indians? What then must all of us do? There is still too much infighting and problems of succession amongst the Indian Malaysians. Power is concentrated in the hands of the few. There is no evidence of transformative leadership. There is the ethos of overstaying one's welcome and not giving enough room for younger, brighter, more ethical and energetic leadership to emerge. These ‘fights’ must stop for the sanity of Malaysians in general.

A revolution is needed in the minds of the Indians. The revolution must be translated into praxis. Had all the warring factions of the Indian leadership spent less time arguing and torching newspapers and started reading what the chapters of the Bhagavad Gita (The Song of the Lord) said about greed, lust, power, the divine and the demonic self - the Indian population in the long run would be better off.

There is so much wisdom in this timeless text of the Bhagavad Gita that it can also be used to engineer profound social changes based on the philosophy of self-help/participatory democracy in the Indian community. There is the potential of embracing the philosophy of ‘kampongism’ - one that prioritises pastoralism and participatory democracy over profit-driven and parochial demono-cracy.

Multicultural marhaenism

It is time for the other races to engage in serious and sincere gotong-royong to help the poorest of the poor amongst the Indians. It is time that we become possessed with a new spirit of multicultural marhaenism. The great Indonesian leader Ahmed Soekarno popularised the concept of marhaenism as an antidote to the ideological battle against materialism, colonialism, dependency and imperialism. The thought that the top 10 percent of the richest Malaysians are earning more than 20 times compared to the 90 percent of the population is terrifying. What has become of this nation that promised a just distribution of wealth at the onset of Independence?

I have a perspective to resolve the issue of the Indian community.

The Malays and the Chinese too need to help the Indians progress. Malay and Chinese multimillionaires and billionaires can set up grants to help the poor Indians succeed in all fields of human endeavour. The Malays can get MARA (Majlis Amanah Rakyat) to share ideas, expertise and technology to make Indian children succeed and learn entrepreneurship skills.

The same strategies of affirmative action given to the Malays must be extended to the Indians and designed for their children. The Chinese can help with sharing of good business strategies that will help the Indian community create opportunities for their children. Indian graduates can continue to help the children of the less fortunate ones see the importance of education so that we will not see high dropout rates. They can help initiate the establishment of good boarding schools ala Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) to help bright Indian children from poor families succeed. Indian millionaires and billionaires can help create as many philanthropic organisations as they can to offer financial help based on merit and needs. Malay and Chinese teachers can volunteer to be transferred to predominantly Indian schools in the estates in order to see for themselves how much help people of other races need.

Those tens of thousands of unemployed graduates need to be trained as teachers and sent to the most economically-depressed schools in order to learn what social justice means and how to help solve social problems irrespective of race, creed, colour and religious orientation. Education is a gentle and humane enterprise that ought to teach teachers to fight prejudice, intolerance and to educate each child as if the child is his/her own. Each child is a gift, a bundle of love and joy, a khalifatullah (vicegerent of God) and an opportunity for the teacher to develop his/her fullest potential. Poverty creates more children that will have less resources and more emotional stress. Poverty must be eradicated regardless of race, creed, ethnicity and national origin.

Not an Indian problem

It is not an Indian problem. It is problem of humanity. Poverty cuts across racial lines. It is now a class issue that requires class struggle. Poverty creates mass anger and can result in revolutions. How much longer must the Indians suffer? They have helped build this nation we now call Malaysia. Their work in the rubber plantations has helped Henry Ford expand his global empire and Proton to spin its wheels of fortune. We are shackled too much by greed. The conversation between Arjuna and Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra is not about a 'battle'. It is about a jihad and a crusade against the injustices of man against man, man against nature and man against himself.

Stop fighting - think of what we are fighting for? But first, understand what the Gita, Sutras, Ramayana, Mahabharatta, Quran, Bible, etc. say about fighting over wealth and power. We'll all be humbled and will soon discover that all these will be left behind, in a world structured as maya and samsara (sengsara as the Malays would term it). Our common enemy is greed, materialism, militarism and corruption. That's our Mahabharata - our great war!

Our common enemy is our insatiable urge to acquire arta (harta in Malay, wealth in English). We have been building structures of oppression and setting up international advisory panels to help us plunder the natives in the name of development and Vision 2020. We do not understand enough the meaning of "trickle down" in capitalism, as we continue to create wealth that trickles up and finally flown outside of the country into bank accounts in Switzerland, Bahamas, and Cayman Islands. We then claim that we are nationalists when those things we do are for our self-interest and greed at the expense of the rural, urban and middle class poor struggling to make ends meet and not knowing who has been making their lives chaotic.

Help the poor

A reminder to the wealthy and powerful. Help develop the poor – especially those from the Indian community. Detach yourself from your wealth, as the Bhagavad Gita, Sutras, Quran, Bible, Granth Sahib, etc, would ask you to. The wealth that you have acquired is not yours - they are those of the children of the poor and of the orphaned.

You must learn what 'detachment from worldly possessions' means in the context of a cutthroat economic system like ours. It is time to understand how our lives are connected in a complex web of power, ideology, technology and consciousness.

Help restructure the lives of the abject poor before they help totally restructure the lives of the filthy rich.

While the opinion in the article is mine,
the comments are yours;
present them rationally and ethically.

Party machine trumps morality


Baginda had a glamorous assistant and lover, Altantuya Shaaribuu, 28, who came down to Kuala Lumpur and claimed $US500,000 of the commission when it was paid in October 2006. When Baginda refused, she took to turning up outside his house and making a scene.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Yesterday one of the countries Australia and its friends have long seen as a pillar of regional stability took another big step towards becoming a pariah nation. Malaysia swore in perhaps one of the most questionable current politicians in any of the world's democracies as its new prime minister, in a triumph of party machine politics over sound governance and morality.

Najib Razak, 55, is widely expected to cement his hold on power with more of the media shutdowns, national-security detentions without trial and fabricated charges against rivals that have already marked his ascent.

This comes as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development lists Malaysia as one of the hold-out nations refusing to exchange information to prevent tax avoidance. On top of a trade collapse, it now risks new sanctions against tax havens agreed upon at this week's Group of 20 meeting.

Najib is far from a new broom, bringing in the reforms that his older predecessor Abdullah Badawi had promised but never delivered. Instead, he embodies all that has gone wrong in the Malaysian state over the last 30 years from its corrupted policies of addressing racial inequalities through pro-Malay policies in education, government jobs and economic opportunities.

He never had to struggle for his start in politics. When his father, prime minister Abdul Razak, died in 1976, Najib took his father's parliamentary seat aged 22, and within a few years was rising in cabinet and the ruling United Malays National Organisation.

He put a distinctive stamp on the defence portfolio, which he held for 14 years until last year. Malaysia's armed services became notable for their multiple sources of equipment - a policy, many analysts think, with the main rationale of increasing the number of big arms contracts and consequent opportunities for lucrative commissions. The Malaysian air force, for example, flies both Russian and American fighters, the MiG-29 and Sukhoi 30s alongside the Boeing F/A-18s.

It was one of these defence deals that has led to the biggest stink around Najib. In 2002 his ministry entered a €1 billion deal with a French-Spanish shipyard, Armaris, for delivery of two new Scorpene and one refurbished Agosta conventional submarines to the Malaysian navy.

The Malaysian intermediary in the noncompetitive tender was a company called Perimekar, which was then owned by another Malaysian company, Ombak Laut, wholly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, head of a government-backed strategic studies think tank who was a close friend and adviser to Najib. The deal earned Perimekar a commission of €114 million.

Baginda had a glamorous assistant and lover, Altantuya Shaaribuu, 28, who came down to Kuala Lumpur and claimed $US500,000 of the commission when it was paid in October 2006. When Baginda refused, she took to turning up outside his house and making a scene.

In a sworn statement that has just surfaced, Special Branch policeman Sirul Azhar Umar confessed that he was asked by a superior officer, Azilah Hadri, to deal with a woman disturbing Baginda, for a large reward. On the evening of October 19, 2006, he and Azilah bundled her away from Baginda's gate, drove her to a state forest, shot her dead, and blew up the body with military explosives.

However, the abduction had been witnessed by a taxi driver. Azilah and Sirul were soon charged with murder. Baginda was also charged as an accomplice despite an SMS message from Najib: "I will see the Inspector General of Police at 11am today … The problem will be solved. Be cool."

In the event, it has been cool: a judge ruled last October that Baginda had no case to answer. Now he is reported to be studying for a PhD at Oxford. Azilah and Sirul, whose embarrassingly detailed statement was ruled inadmissible, face judgment next Thursday and a possible death sentence.

On February 3, Sirul made a tearful plea against a death sentence. He said he was "a black sheep that has to be sacrificed" to protect unnamed people who had not been before the court or questioned. "I have no reason to cause hurt, what's more to take the life of the victim in such a cruel manner," Sirul said. "I appeal to the court, which has the powers to determine if I live or die, not to sentence me so as to fulfil others' plans for me." The judgment will come, conveniently, a day after Najib faces his first electoral test, in the first of three byelections. In recent weeks the government machinery has tear-gassed an opposition rally, bribed rival MPs to defect, closed the two main opposition newspapers for three months, barred an opposition MP who tried to ask Najib questions about the murder, and charged the veteran lawyer-MP Karpal Singh with sedition.

Anwar Ibrahim says he has not had "one minute" on the state-run broadcast media since he returned to parliament and became opposition leader last August. Ousted as deputy prime minister by Mahathir in 1998 and convicted over manufactured sodomy and corruption crimes, Anwar faces a new trial for sodomy in July, based on evidence given by a young man whom Najib has admitted meeting before the alleged offence. South-East Asia seems to be getting a new Marcos.

Do Mahathir A Favour: Ignore Him

UMNO succeeded brilliantly in putting on a well-orchestrated monologue carnival on the universally fashionable twin-theme of change and reform at their just concluded annual political jamboree. They succeeded in the event of mesmerising themselves into a frenzy. Talking change is easy, but “walking the change” is when the uncommitted falls by the wayside.

By all accounts, UMNO, of all political parties in Malaysia, is a most unlikely candidate for change. It is stuck in a time warp. Its leadership, never known for its ability to focus on critical national issues and respond quickly to the needs of the moment, more often than not, has absolutely no clue where to begin the process.

Blaming the opposition for things that do not go according to plan is well and good, but it would be more helpful and constructive for UMNO to accept and digest a simple fact of life which stipulates that the external pressures acting on you are only as influential as your internal weaknesses. UMNO’s internal weaknesses are there for all to see, but it says a great deal about its organisational culture that the leaders remain both deaf and blind to the rot that stares them in the face. This being the case, UMNO continues to stumble from crisis to crisis, quite unaware why even the Malays who should be rallying round to support it are instead turning their backs on it.

UMNO is not ready to move forward. More baffling is why its leaders are making overtures to Mahathir to return and even act as “adviser.” It somehow suggests complete arrogance, totally muddled thinking and a disdain for Malaysian public opinion on their part. It is, I am convinced, a pathological streak that is part of the UMNO political tradition. We have had enough of Mahathir’s brand of “good governance” for twenty-two agonising, heart-rending, years that saw “Grand Corruption”, ( first coined by George Moody-Stuart and used as the title of his famous book on international corruption) being institutionalised in every important facet of our national life. By any yardstick, Mahathir’s tenure was twenty-two years too long. We need Mahathir as we need a tail between our legs.

For UMNO in particular, any attempt at open reconciliation with Mahathir, the ‘megalomeddler’, (a new word I have just invented to add further to the richness of English) will be the kiss of death. If, in the intoxicating afterglow of their 59th general assembly UMNO leaders were disposed to be generous towards Mahathir, and forgive him all his transgressions and sins against society, they need to have their heads examined.

Based on what we know about the man, Mahathir is happiest when he is also at his mischievous best. If there is no crisis, Mahathir will see to it that one is invented. He survived 22 years in office by playing on, and manipulating shamelessly, our fears of a recurrence of the May 13 incident which nearly tore this nation apart in 1969. It is a card that some UMNO types at good at pulling out of their pack when they feel threatened by challenges to “ketuanan Melayu.”

It is not in the man’s mental make up to give, as we have seen in his unremitting hostility to Abdullah Badawi, his anointed successor, a sporting chance to make a mark as prime minister. But, then, Mahathir was not a sportsman in the mould of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein or even Tun Hussein Onn. One of the central dogmas of Mahathirism and one espoused by the great man with unbounded passion is “winner takes all.”

He did not believe in taking prisoners. The battle field of his choice was the judicial arena where he held sway, and where crouching judges were falling over each other in an embarrassingly sycophantic display of eternal gratitude to their benefactor and where witnesses were “turned” at will to coerce them to cooperate. In one fell swoop, one of the most respected judicial institutions in the Commonwealth became an object of fun, ridicule and derision.

His maniacal urge to dominate everything and everyone in sight is a serious character flaw. To think that he will ever be a moderating influence and, therefore, an asset in the much-needed reinvention of UMNO to be in readiness for the 13th general elections is to believe in Grimm’s Fairy Tales of my childhood.

The nation is well-rid of the man. In God’s name, let him go his own meddling way and we, our own, free to determine our lives in accordance with the Constitution and the dictates of our conscience.

Admitting Mahathir back into UMNO’s inner sanctum will add to its problems, and internal unity will forever remain a gleam in the eye, and it will hasten the demise of UMNO, now already on its last legs. Perhaps I should just say nothing and let UMNO leaders find out for themselves the joy of having Mahathir under the same roof.

No place for yes-men when rebranding Najib's new cabinet

The New Straits Times

ImageA NEW administration is set to begin this week, and a new Cabinet waits to be lined up. Who should be appointed, who should be left out, and how Malaysian should our leaders be? ANIZA DAMIS speaks to political analyst Associate Professor Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

Q: It is widely expected that the new prime minister is going to reshuffle Cabinet. What needs to be done?

A: Malaysia has a big-sized Cabinet, which is not good, because of the overlapping of responsibilities. Something that could be settled in one hour takes several days, some decisions that should be fast takes two or three ministries to settle. This does not bring good to the government or people.
What is really important is for a ministry to act efficiently and effectively, and deliver the goods to the people.
We should enlarge the role of welfare, to show to the people that we are indeed a caring government. All the ministries that concern services to the people, like Welfare, Housing, Health, Labour and Education, need to be enlarged and strengthened.
The Prime Minister should rebrand all the ministries to give them a new image.

Q: How important is rebranding? Or is it just a superficiality?

A: The rebranding has to be from the perspective of the person (who is in charge of the ministry), the objectives and function of the ministry.
For example, if the person is from Umno, the minister appointed should be a person who won the Umno elections. If you appoint somebody who is not related to the party, then, those who had won the elections will be very disappointed.
So, those who lost at the party elections should be left out. No more recycling, no more maintaining those who did not enjoy the support from the people.
In this instance, the most principled politician is (recently-resigned Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk) Shahrir (Abdul Samad). He knows that he doesn’t have the support from Umno, so he resigned and gave way to new faces. In the last Umno election, 80 per cent of those who won the contest were new faces. So, these people need to be given the chance.
The ministers who lost in the Umno elections should not be appointed at all. Should we still need them to be part of the ministry, they can be appointed as an adviser.
New people should come up. When it is very competitive, all ministers after this will work hard to ensure they are competent and can deliver.

Q: What is the guarantee that if you down-size and rebrand that things are going to get better?

A: If Najib would like to start afresh, this is the time whereby he has to commit himself to appointing people who are really capable and clean and who can gain the confidence of the people and the international community at large, so that Malaysia is back on track.
If we appoint someone only for the sake of filling in a position, we will not be able to take Malaysia anywhere. We must appoint people of calibre, and only from those who hold a position in the party. Only then will the party and government be strong.

Q: What about appointing people from outside politics? Corporate leaders, for instance?

A: No. The people will be very angry, because a person who is not a politician can easily get a position.
Before this, why is Umno supported by the majority of the Malays? Because they know that if they join Umno, they will have a career in Umno. For instance, should I resign my position as a lecturer, and join politics and Umno and then get elected, I can expect that there will be a position waiting for me. So, I will struggle inside Umno to survive, because politics is also a career.
But now, if I struggle and fight hard to get a position and win the hearts and minds of my supporters, and suddenly no position is given to me, nobody will come to me.
This is why, prior to Mahathir’s time, Malaysia developed well and there were not so many problems, because at that time, Cabinet consisted mainly of politicians. Only during Mahathir’s 22 years and thereafter did we start appointing professionals and parachute-politicians to ministers did we start to have problems. People tend to feel dissatisfied and disappointed with the way that those who are not holding party positions are given ministerial positions, and this really brings the morale of Umno supporters down.
So now we must bring them up and cheer them up. If you are successful in politics within the Umno party, then there is a good chance for you to hold a good position.

Q: Are there enough elected people right now who have the calibre and can perform?

A: Plenty. Almost all of those who were elected in the last Umno elections are definitely people who are considered to be of calibre, in the eyes of Umno. But they not only have to be capable, they also have to be clean. They have to be firm and strong, and only politicians have got this type of quality, because they are leaders who lead. They are not managers who manage.

Q: Ministries need leaders, not managers?

A: Managers are nothing. They are only respected because of their positional power. But a leader is a person who says something and leads. They can inspire others to work. Only a politician and a leader can do this. And this is what we need for a person to hold a ministry position.

Q: So, if you wanted a good manager, that person should hold a high position in the ministry, but not be a minister?

A: Yes.
The same with civil servants who have pensioned. They should be allowed to retire. Don’t extend their contract year after year. People will get angry.

Q: What about people we really need?

A: We don’t really need them. They’ve pensioned; they’re done. If we really need them, appoint them as an adviser. Give a chance and opportunity to a new leader to come up. Only then will you see people move. People won’t get angry.
1.2 million voters in Malaysia are civil servants. Their hearts need to be won, their morale needs to be raised.
As it is now, a lot of people are not satisfied. Every time a person pensions, it’s extended.
How smart can a person be that you have to extend the contract? If you appoint a new leader, you might get new ideas.

Q: How do we know the reason things aren’t working now is not because we are so stuck in a culture of bureaucracy?

A: It all depends on the leader. How you give morale to your subordinates, how you communicate with them, how you treat them – the result will be different.
For instance, if you were my boss, and I were your deputy, and your contract gets renewed and renewed; definitely my morale would drop, and definitely I’ll sabotage you, right?

Q: That’s depends on whether you joined the service to serve your country or to serve yourself.

A: And then you just hate to look at your boss and have to butter him up.
It’s about morale and motivation. We’re talking about how to motivate people to work, how to motivate civil servants to perform, how to give a chance for new people to come up. It’s not for us to throw out this old man, but once his time is over, it’s over. And we start with new people to come up.
Once it’s over, it’s over. That’s how bureaucrats grow. If not, you’re never going to learn.
The country belongs to the rakyat. It doesn’t just belong to one person who is in power who determines everything. You have to share the cake and the responsibility. Once your time of shouldering that responsibility is over, it’s time for another to come up.
So, in terms of ministry, once you cannot perform, and even your members reject you, that’s it. Time over for you.

Q: What else is needed?

A: I would love for the Rural Development and Agriculture ministries to be given to a Sabahan or Sarawakian to hold the position, because they have been asking for this post for too long. And this is how we can integrate East and West Malaysia.
We should give them a bigger role in handling ministries that are related to their life.
I think this is a big exercise for Najib to do, because he has promised to deliver. He promised to bring a massive change, and this is the time for him to show that he is committed to this.
Cabinet has to think of how to deal with the issues of human rights, freedom of the press, and civil rights, because these are the things people talk about.

Q: Should there be a review or revocation of the ISA?

A: I don’t agree that the ISA should be revoked. It should be reviewed on its application, and should not involve politics anymore. Political differences should not be an ISA offence. If these people do something wrong, then they should be charged in a court of law. The ISA is only meant to be used for subversive elements.

Q: Define ‘subversive’.

A: Foreign spies, people who market false documents, terrorists.
I see the need for the ISA, but not for politics. If you are going to detain people for having a difference of opinion, that’s not appropriate.

Q: Should the detention period be made more limited, instead of indefinite?

A: There should no longer be indefinite detention. It should be for a maximum one year. If, after one year, you cannot prove a case against them and charge them in court after detaining them for so long, then they should be released unconditionally.

Q: What about media freedom. Should the Printing Presses and Publications Act be repealed?

A: As long as the media does not publish pornography or seditious material, it should be freed. We cannot block them anyway. The Internet and the new media is becoming more widespread and we cannot curb its size in the future.
What’s important is that, if there is criticism, then the government should improve itself.
Najib should open the democratic space. That is what the people are seeking. They should be able to see from the openness that democracy and the justice system is for them.
The justice system has to be seen as free, independent, and there should not be any double-standards.
For instance, in cases that involve the Opposition, investigations are completed quickly, whereas in cases involving the government, there’s no investigation at all.
If there is a police report against a Government leader and the people see that there is no action taken, then they will see that there is double standard. And this should not happen.

Q: The ministry that’s most in charge of this is the Home Ministry. How should the Home Ministry be rebranded?

A: The person chosen to be minister should not be a yes-man. He should be firm, committed and driven to change things.
We should try to achieve at least 70 per cent of the democracy that is practiced in the West. If we are at a low level, we should at least try to be in the top-50 best countries in the world. That would be good enough.
Democracy must ensure equality and justice. Equality in economics, standard of living. Justice in terms of freedom of the press, judicial system, the public’s participation in politics.

Q: We have seen, in just one administration, just how open the country can be. What else should Najib do to open up speech to the people?

A: RTM should play a role in being open to receiving opinions from both sides, even if the issue is not to the advantage of the government. The media should be the forum in which we can discuss and exchange knowledge, not just from which knowledge is fed to the masses.

Q: Because it is funded by the government, should RTM be a neutral channel? Should the Opposition and Government have equal access to airtime?

A: No. The government should still have an advantage. But some space should be given.

Q: When you talk about “Government”, are you referring to the government that serves the people, or are you talking about the political party?

A: There is an overlap between the two. A political party is also a government; and a government is run by a political party in power. So, as a government, you are not going to open all the avenues to the Opposition.
Likewise, the Opposition media will not open the venue to you to appear in their paper. It’s the same.

Q: The difference between a government media and an opposition media is that, an opposition media is privately owned. A government media is actually owned by the people. Should RTM1 and RTM2 give equal time to the opposition?

A: No, cannot.

Q: Why not?

A: The government has to use RTM in order to promote the policies of the government.

Q: Can’t the government do that in the time it’s allotted?

A: What is important is not airtime, but fair reporting. It should not be a reporting that always insults the intellect of
the people.
The media has to be more professional.
The Home and Information Ministries are very sensitive ministries. Only strong, capable, credible, intelligent, and open-minded politicians should be appointed to these ministries.

Q: Umno leaders will also be Cabinet ministers. When they are Cabinet ministers, should they be a Malaysian leader first, or an Umno leader first?

A: Malaysian first, and then Malay. Because they are national leaders. They cannot be Malay first and Malaysian second. Because you are a national leader, you have to Malaysian first, and Malay second.

Q: How about when they have to decide on something that is in the interest of Malaysia, but is against the interest of the Malays? Because they are elected by the party, isn’t there going to be the pressure of having to pander to the dictate of the party?

A: Even the people can understand that they are a national leader and they have to serve the country first.
If they serve the country, then they are also serving the Malays. There’s no problem about that. But you have to be Malaysian first. Once you are Malaysian first, then automatically you are also protecting and fighting for the cause of the Malays.

Q: And there’s no schism between the interest of the Malays and the interest of Malaysians?

A: No. The interest of the Malays is always for the interest of Malaysia, and the interest of Malaysia is always for the interest of the Malays. This is a Malay land. When you become a Malay leader, you are selected to protect the interests of the Malays. So, it should be okay, as long as your country comes first and your race second; only then can you build a united Malaysian nation, and only then can you strengthen Umno because the non-Malays will come back to support the concept of Barisan Nasional.
If you deliver and work for Malaysia first, people will understand the concept of Barisan Nasional. After all, it’s been a workable concept of political compromise for the past 53 years. Even the opposition strongly believes that to win the elections, they have to cooperate between the multi-ethnic groups as well, so that’s why they formed Pakatan Rakyat. That shows the strength of consociationalism and cooperation between the different ethnic groups is very important.
Should they keep on harping on the interest of the Malays only, and yet they are a Cabinet minister, then they are rubbish leaders.

Q: Should Cabinet seats be given proportionally according to the strength of coalition political parties, or should it be given according to the needs of the community?

A: Najib should maintain the status quo according to the proportion of the number of Cabinet ministers according to ethnic groups. So, even though you do a revamp of this Cabinet, the proportion of the ethnic communities in the Cabinet need to be maintained.
If non-Malays have four Cabinet ministers, out of which one is for the Indians, then this should be maintained.

Q: What if the need of a community is greater than the proportion?

A: We have to look at the proportionality of the people. Perhaps you need 10 Indian ministers to upgrade the conditions of the Indian community, but this does not mean that you have to give them 10. There are other communities that need to be addressed, too.

Q: Usually, two-thirds of Cabinet comprises Umno leaders. But you don’t really need that many Malays to uphold the rights of the Malays. So, maybe you can afford to give one or two seats for issues that are really pressing.

A: It has to be according to the proportionality of votes. Because this is about politics. Equality and fairness comes according to the number of votes that they get during the elections. As it is now, Umno is controlling the Barisan Nasional, so Umno should hold the power and lead the coalition. It’s not according to the needs of the community.
In any case, an Umno leader is also a Malaysian leader.

Catatan Kempen di Dua Bukit

Bukit Selambau - 4 April 2009

Dalam tazkirah kepada para jemaah di Masjid Kampung Raja, Batu 2, saya memetik ungkapan keramat Pak Natsir yakni “Jangan kita ghairah untuk membangun sambil merobohkan”. Saya tekankan kepentingan akhlak dalam falsafah pembangunan Pakatan Rakyat. Kupasan ini turut menjadi tajuk utama wacana yang dilontarkan oleh Paul Krugman dan Amartya Sen.

Masalah ketamakan dan menggunakan dana tanpa menghiraukan risiko kepada pelabur menyebabkan berlakunya kegawatan ekonomi sekarang. Apa yang dirisaukan ialah bila mana pendekatan pengurusan ekonomi negara sama sekali tidak mempedulikan persoalan akhlak yang sedang membarah.

Maka yang demikian kita menggagaskan prinsip ekonomi manusiawi (humane economy), tadbir urus yang baik (good governance), ketelusan (transperancy) dan pertanggungjawaban (accountability). Amanah mesti dipegang erat dan tanggungjawab wajib dilaksanakan.

Saya kemudiannya ka Tanah Licin untuk menemui komuniti Siam. Keluhan mereka cukup mengesankan terutamanya berkenaan dasar pembangunan yang tempang di kawasan tersebut. Hanya kerana perbedaan ras, mereka dipinggirkan. Seharusnya kita merenung kembali gesaan di dalam Al-Quran yang menyeru umat menegakkan keadilan dan ihsan (al ‘adl wal ihsan).


Bukit Selambau - 3 April 2009

Saya berkempen di Kuala Sin tengah hari tadi. Manakala dimaklumkan bahawa asal perkataan ’sin’ berakarkan kalimat ’saing’, maka saya menyeru warga Kuala Sin supaya menidakkan kemenangan Umno-BN dalam pilihan raya kecil Bukit Selambau ini.

Usai bersolat Jumaat di Masjid Kuala Sin, saya hadhir ka majlis jamuan rakyat. Pada sabelah malamnya, saya menyertai majlis makan malam bersama komuniti Cina, seterusnya berceramah di Laguna Merbok dan kemudiannya bersama YB Karpal dan Tuan Guru Nik Aziz berceramah di Pekan Bukit Selambau.

Mesej saya jelas yakni agenda perubahan mestilah bersifat menyeluruh melalui penegakkan negara hukum. Sendi-sendi umpama kebebasan akhbar dan wibawa kehakiman seharusnya kembali dipulihkan. Kita tidak mahu hari ini mendabik dada dengan retorik perubahan, walhal kemudiannya menghumban mereka yang tak sehaluan ke kamar penjara!


Bukit Gantang - 2 April 2009

Saya tiba sedikit lewat ka markas PAS di Trong. Hujan mencurah namun penduduk Bukit Gantang tetap bersemangat hadhir mendengar ceramah.

Seterusnya acara kempen di Sungai Tinggi. Saya mengajak rakyat menolak politik tidak siuman pimpinan Umno-BN.

Sekonyong-konyong, perubahan menjadi mantera popular pimpinan Umno. Pastinya esok muka depan media milik Umno-BN dipenuhi dengan slogan perubahan yang muluk-muluk.

Lagak mereka seperti baru mendengar perkataan tersebut. Perubahan pastinya bukan sekadar retorik. Ianya adalah kata sakti yang dizahirkan dari iltizam berterusan!


MAS Wins 'World's Best Cabin Staff' Award for Sixth Time

A Cut Above�. Elated MAS cabin crew giving the �six-finger� pose, after the national airline won the �World�s Best Cabin Staff� Award, based on findings in the annual World Airline Survey conducted by London based Skytrax Research. In the online survey, onboard customers were asked to rate cabin staff friendliness, enthusiasm and attentiveness, sincerity, consistency in service delivery and general service efficiency. This is the sixth time MAS has won the much coveted recognition since 2001. Pic courtesy of Malaysia Airlines.
KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has regained its position as having the "World's Best Cabin Staff", findings of a latest global online survey by Skytrax reveal.

This is the sixth time the airline has been given the recognition since 2001, said MAS in a statement.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Idris Jala said he was delighted and proud of his cabin crew.

"They have showcased Malaysian hospitality at its best, treating our customers as valued guests in our own home.

"This is really good news indeed especially amid the challenging time. It will put us in good stead as we move forward to achieve our vision of becoming the World's Five Star Value Carrier, offering customers the highest quality products and services at the most affordable price, he said.

The award is given based on findings of the annual World Airline Survey between August last year and last month.

The survey judged quality of onboard customer experience, "soft service" provided, cabin staff friendliness, enthusiasm and attentiveness, sincerity, consistency in service delivery and general service efficiency.

Skytrax Research of London is an independent organisation with 18 years specialist experience in airline research.

MAS operations director Tajuden Abu Bakar received the award at the first live World Airline Awards ceremony in Hamburg, Germany, Wednesday.

PKR: Mass defections from Kedah PPP

The much-awaited 'big announcement' by PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim tonight turned out to be mass defections from Kedah PPP to the opposition party.

Leading the defection was People's Progressive Party (PPP) vice-president V Nagarajan, along with 11 of the party's divisions in the state.

The defections, which involved 62 branches in the state, meant that PPP lost almost its entire membership in Kedah, where a crucial by-election will be held in three days.

bukit selambau ceramah umum sungai lalang 040409 crossover ppp nadarajanNagarajan (left) has tonight submitted membership forms for 300 ex-PPP members.

He promised that a total of 6,000 would be jumping ship from the Barisan Nasional component party to PKR after April 7 by-election.

PPP leader M Kayveas, in an immediate reaction, labelled the defectors as "disgruntled members".

And as for Anwar's 'big announcement' which was said to have a "direct or indirect bearing" on Najib Abdul Razak becoming the prime minister, the consummate PKR leader said that it would have to wait until after Tuesday's by-election.

"The timing is not right now. It could be dangerous," he said in his ceramah at Dewan Hock Teik Soo, Sungai Petani, which is part of the Bukit Selambau state constituency.

He however did not elaborate on the matter.

Yesterday, PKR elections strategist Saifuddin Nasution had raised expectation among opposition supporters when he stated that Anwar would be making a "big announcement" tonight.

bukit selambau ceramah umum sungai lalang 040409 crowdAnwar's ceramah late this evening saw a crowd of about 5,000 people. The hall was so packed that people had to stand outside to listen to Anwar and other PKR speakers.

Huge screens were erected to enable the crowd to follow the speeches.

Anwar has spent a full day today in Bukit Selambau, making whistle stops in as many places as he can to canvass for votes for PKR candidate, S Manikumar.

Unhappy with BN policies

Meanwhile, Nagarajan said that the 300 was just the first batch of PPP defectors and promised that more would join PKR after the by-election.

He told the crowd that he was unhappy with the policies of BN government and time had come for PPP members to leave the ruling coalition.

bukit selambau ceramah umum sungai lalang 040409 pakatan leaders holding handsMoreover, he said that should MIC's S Ganesan win the by-election in Bukit Selambau, long-time party president S Samy Vellu would demand a senator's post from the new premier.

"Enough is enough... we learnt our lesson and we can no longer wait," said Nagarajan.

Speaking to reporters after the ceramah, Nagarajan said that PPP had 1,800 registered voters in Bukit Selambau whom he said would now back Manikumar.

When asked why he had waited until tonight to hop to PKR, Nagarajan said, "We felt this is the time."

bukit selambau ceramah umum sungai lalang 040409 dewan hock teik sooNagarajan, who joined PPP in 1998, also revealed that he had spoken to party boss Kayveas, and although he was asked to stay on in PPP, he declined.

"We were the opposition within the government, and some used to say that I was a DAP man in Barisan," said the outspoken leader.

PKR vice-president R Sivarasa said the mass defection of the PPP members reflected the disintegration within BN just a day after Najib took over as prime minister.

Uncaring Umno still dreaming

bukit selambau ceramah umum sungai lalang 040409 anwar 2.jpgMeanwhile, Anwar lambasted Umno leaders for not caring about grinding poverty in many parts of the country.

"If they say there is no poverty in Malaysia, they are dreaming," he told the mixed-race crowd of thousands.

He said that PKR, unlike Umno, had a policy of being fair to all races.

Anwar argued that he was not a traitor to the Malay Malaysians for championing the cause of Indians and Chinese.

The PKR leader added that Pakatan Rakyat would protect Hindu temples and vernacular schools when they come to power.

bukit selambau ceramah umum sungai lalang 040409 manikumarHe also told the crowd that Manikumar (photo) ought to be given a chance to prove himself as leader for the Indian community.

Also present in the ceramah were some key Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) leaders, a clear indication that whatever rift that appeared between the movement and PKR had been resolved.

Anwar will be in Bukit Gantang tomorrow and be back in Bukit Selambau on Monday. Polling is on Tuesday.

Bukit Selambau By-election: Anwar Ibrahim

Altantuya Prayer

Keluarga kecewa tahanan ISA tidak dibebas hari ini...

Pakatan Saifuddin PC

Scoring Najib’s first few moves as PM

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — So the man many people say was destined to lead Malaysia is finally occupying the country’s top job.

And he and his team of advisors (foreign and local) have chartered a 100-day programme to shock and awe Malaysians.

In the days ahead, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will speak about meritocracy, possibly even attempt to put a time frame for the affirmative action programme, talk about key performance index in the public sector and unveil a leaner Cabinet line-up on April 8.

From time to time, The Malaysian Insider will lift the veil on some of these initiatives, and separate the fluff from the fact.

We start with the:

• Decision to release 13 Internal Security Act detainees.

Several months ago, Najib met MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and told him that when he becomes the prime minister, he will free a couple of the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders as a goodwill gesture.

He made good on his promise yesterday, ending the detention of V. Ganabathirau and R. Genghadharan. But why didn’t he go all the way, and free P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan and T. Vasanthakumar?

Because balance is everything in Malaysian politics, and even a new PM, wanting to inject the feel-good factor into the system, is constrained by this fact. He had to balance the obvious benefit of scoring points with the Indian community with the possibility of alienating Malays, who view Hindraf as an illegal organisation, promoted by Indians who have forgotten their position in Malaysia.

Also, the administration could not be seen buckling to the threat of Hindraf. So a compromise was struck — 13 ISA detainees of all nationalities were released.

This is not the first time that a new PM has made such a move. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad disarmed many of his critics in 1981 by releasing 21 ISA detainees.

Still, Najib’s move could persuade some fence-sitter voters in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang to give him and BN a chance.

The positives following the release of the lucky 13 should last for about a week. If he wants a more sustained level of support from the cynical electorate, he has to make good his promise the review and amend the ISA — and do it soon.

Over the years, especially after a difficult election (read: 1999 and 2008), the Barisan Nasional government has made the right noises about reviewing and amending the ISA.

Last year Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asked the then de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim to conduct an extensive review of the draconian law. This included a proposal to take away the power from the Home Minister of locking up someone for 60 days and putting the detention process under the scrutiny of the courts.

It was also suggested that the ISA be applied in limited circumstances such as organised violence.

Abdullah and Zaid did not get support from Umno ministers in the Cabinet, and the review of the ISA died a natural death.

The Malaysian Insider has learnt that the new administration is considering changing the legislation and making it clear that the ISA cannot be used against political opponents.

If Najib does make significant changes to the legislation which allows for detention without trial, he would have succeeded in stealing a march on Pakatan Rakyat and loosening the bond of cooperation between PAS, DAP and PKR. Opposition to the ISA is one issue which binds Pakatan Rakyat together.

He would not be the first politician who pulled the carpet from under the competition by adopting their ideas and philosophy.

• Accepting Dr Mahathir back into Umno.

This is a gesture aimed at uniting Umno. For the rest of Malaysia, news of Dr Mahathir returning to the ruling party after throwing a tantrum and leaving Umno a year ago means very little.

Indeed, it could be a harbinger of dark days ahead. The former prime minister has bags of charisma and can stake claim to turning Malaysia from an agrarian-based economy to one of the top trading nations in the world.

But if Najib is really serious about reconnecting Umno/BN with non-Malays and repairing the country’s hollowed institutions, then the former prime minister may not be his best role model.

It was during his 22 years in charge that the judiciary was paralysed; the doctrine of the separation of powers trampled on like an old flower; that the excesses in Umno which blossomed during the Abdullah administration took root and political patronage became the norm.

More recently, Dr Mahathir has sounded more like a racial chauvinist than the man who promoted the concept of Bangsa Malaysia.

In Johor last year, he warned Malays that they stood to lose much in the new political environment where non-Malays were unafraid to make demands.

“If we don’t speak up, if we choose to keep quiet, we will lose our rights and other races will take over, ‘’ he said at the May gathering.

Several weeks ago, he struck the same discordant note at a gathering of Malay NGOs in Kuala Lumpur.

At a press conference today, Najib sidestepped the question of whether he will be offering Dr Mahathir an official position in his administration, saying that he would seek the former PM’s advice.

Najib’s supporters believe that the PM will be respectful of Dr Mahathir but will not accept being ticked off in public or abdicate decision-making to him.

The PM’s strategy is to engage Dr Mahathir and not make him feel like an outsider. Still, it is questionable whether Dr Mahathir will simply be satisfied making stump speeches at Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang, and being treated like an elder statesman of Umno.

The answer could be provided as early as April 8 when the Cabinet line-up is expected to be unveiled.

Guna taktik kotor di Bukit Selambau, KeADILan kesal

(Hrkh) - Parti KeADILan Rakyat (KeADILan) mengutuk usaha pihak-pihak tertentu yang cuba meburuk-burukkan calon mereka, S.Manikumar dalam kempen pilihan raya kecil Dun Bukit Selambau.

Dalam sidang media parti itu di Bangunan Yayasan Aman di sini semalam, Ketua Penerangan KeADILan, Tian Chua mendedahkan penyebaran risalah tentang Manikumar yang ditemui di sekitar kedai-kedai diTaman Ria, Sungai Petani.

"KeADILan mengutuk keras kerja-kerja kotor ini yang dibuat oleh pihak-pihak yang tertentu tanpa menggunakan sebarang logo dan penerbit. Ini adalah satu pembohongan yang berniat untuk memburukkan imej calon kita dan menyebarkan fitnah.

"Mereka yang keluarkan risalah dengan tidak berani meletakkan simbol mana-mana pihak bukan sahaja melanggar undang-undang pilihanraya tapi ini juga satu taktik yang biasa digunakan semasa pilihanraya,"kata beliau.

Risalah yang dijumpai itu mempunyai gambar Manikumar dengan tajuk "Siapa Moneykumar" dan mendakwa beliau masih mentah, tiada pengalaman dan hanya mahuan duit.

Begitu juga, risalah tersebut mendakwa Penasihat KeADILan, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim menolak calon Hindraf dan mereka adalah golongan "low class".

"Ini adalah satu fitnah yang cukup-cukup jahat. KeADILan dan Pakatan Rakyat sejak awal lagi menghormati pendirian dan perjuangan Hindraf. Mereka sebagai satu Badan Bukan Kerajaan yang cuba memperjuangkan nasib kaum India.

"Itu adalah satu perjuangan yang kita dokong, tapi kita tidak pernah memilih dan Hindraf juga tidak pernah mengemukakan calon secara rasmi. Kita juga berbincang dengan banyak pihak dan keputusan memilih calon itu adalah keputusan parti,"jelasnya.

Hadir sama dalam sidang media tersebut Pengarah Strategi KeADILan, Saifuddin Nasution Ismail dan Manikumar sendiri.

Naib Presiden PPP bersama 6,000 ahli sertai KeADILan

( - Naib Presiden PPP, Dato V. Nadarajan, bersama 6,000 ahli, keluar daripada parti tersebut dan menyertai Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Dihadapan lebih 15,000 hadirin beliau menyatakan sokongan padunya terhadap perjuangan PKR.

Serentak dengan itu enam bahagian dan 62 cawangan PPP di Kedah dibubarkan. Enam bahagian yang dibubarkan itu ialah Kubang Pasu, Kuala Kedah, Pokok Sena, Kulim, Baling dan Merbok.

Pengumuman itu dibuat oleh Ahli Parlimen Sungai Petani, Johari Abdul yang juga anggota Kepimpinan Tertinggi PKR malam tadi. Nadarajah yang hadir bersama kemudiannya menyerahkan borang keahlian untuk menyertai PKR kepada Ketua umum PKR, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib fails “Performance Now” test within first 24 hours - 13 ISA detainees still not free despite “immediate release” last night

I had said at a media conference in Ipoh this morning that the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Chor Chee Heung, should resign from their Cabinet positions for the three-month suspension of Harakah and Suara Keadilan as one of first decisions of Datuk Seri Najib Razak on being sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister yesterday was to immediately revoke their ban which had entered into its 11th day.

Now, I say that Hamid and Tan Sri Musa Hassan should be sacked as Home Minister and Inspector-General of Police respectively for failing within 24 hours of Najib’s premiership one of the three Najibian thematic slogans – “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

It is most disgraceful and testimony of gross incompetence and ineptitude that although Najib announced in his maiden address to the nation over television last night that his government had decided “with immediate effect” the release of 13 detainees from ISA detention, none of the 13 could be released today and the earliest they could regain their freedom is tomorrow.

B. Buvaneswary, the wife of detained Hindraf leader Ganapathi Rao, travelled all the way from her home in Shah Alam to Kamunting with their two children, Janani 1 and Gowri 4, to be at the Kamunting Detention Centre at 7 am this morning for his release, only to be disappointed because the papers for the release of the 13 had not arrived at the centre.

Musa Hassan released a statement in Kuala Lumpur at midday that the 13 would only be allowed to leave the Kamunting Detention Centre tomorrow as the documentation process for their release had to be completed first!

Is this what Najib meant by “Performance Now” in his maiden address to the nation last night?

Were the IGP and the Home Minister kept completely in the dark about Najib’s announcement of the “immediate release” of the 13 ISA detainees, learning only about it when the new Prime Minister’s maiden address was telecast live last night?

If so, it reflects a shambolic government with no notion whatsoever about “People First” or “Performance Now”!

When Najib announced the “immediate release” of the 13 ISA detainees in his direct telecast at 8 pm last night, I had expected the two Hindraf leaders, Ganabairau and R. Kenghadharan, and the other 11 ISA detainees to be released last night itself – especially when Najib ended his maiden speech with the flourish of urging Malaysians to “rise up to the challenge of building 1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

Obviously, Najib forgot to ask the Cabinet and the public service to equally “rise up” to the triple challenge of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

When Najib said “with immediate effect”, could it be so elastic as to be stretched not only overnight, but to be over 24, 36 or even 48 hours?

Najib should learn from the lessons of his predecessor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose “cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang” slogan swiftly became a national joke. But Najib’s substitute of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” is in danger of becoming a national joke within 24 hours – thanks to the Home Minister and the Inspector-General of Police!

Can Najib ensure that Ganabatirau, Kengaharan and the 11 others ISA detainees would be able to leave the Kamunting Detention Centre to breathe the air of freedom latest by 8 am tomorrow?

In fact, the government is guilty of unlawful detention of the 13 ISA detainees as they should be released “with immediate effect” by the time of Najib’s telecast at 8 p.m. last night.

Is the government going to pay the 13 ISA detainees compensation for illegal detention for 24, 36 or 48 hours to demonstrate the seriousness of Najib’s “Performance Now” slogan?

K P Samy: Don’t destroy MIC

Klang businessman and Shah Bandaraya MIC chairman K P Samy was once the strongest critic of Samy Vellu. Not anymore. Now, he has joined hands with Samy Vellu campaigning for National Front candidate S Ganesan in the Bukit Selambau by-election.

“Don’t destroy MIC by voting the opposition. The people must know the difference between sense of struggle and voting rights. Having a long history, MIC needs Bukit Selambau Indian votes for taking people’s issues to higher authorities”, said K P Samy at a campaign meeting held at Taman Ria Jaya, according to Makkal Osai Tamil daily report today.

 bukit selambau
Makkal Osai 04042009

“Put aside your emotional judgment, the time now is for sensible judgment. We have elected many new faces in the general elections. When comparing before and after the general elections, our community incurred more losses. We cannot let this to continue. Voting for National Front candidate is imperative”, he added.

In the 12th general elections MIC was totally wiped out. Many lost their parliament and state seats including MIC president Samy Vellu, deputy president Palanivel, vice-president Sothinathan, youth chairman Vickneswaran and Women chairman Komala Krishnamoorthi.

“MIC was destroyed the day Indian Malaysians held the unprecedented mass protest. On March 08 2008, MIC was buried for good”, said a political observer who does not wish to be identified. “Why destroy a dead party? They still don’t get the message”.

Ironically, K P Samy, a charismatic figure having MIC grass root support, has been assisting Hindraf detainees.

Makkal Osai 27042009
K P Samy & Hindraf Lawyers

LIVE from Bkt Selambau: “Big shock” announcement

Ceramah only due to start at 9.30pm

Anwar still finds Najib wanting

The Malaysian Insider
By Shannon Teoh

ImageBUKIT SELAMBAU, April 4 — There was no let up in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's attack on Datuk Seri Najib Razak's first day as prime minister with the opposition leader finding inconsistencies in the latter's decision to release 13 Internal Security Act detainees.

Just three hours after Najib had announced the release of two Hindraf leaders and 11 others, Anwar told 5,000 supporters in Bukit Selambau that so long as the ISA existed, Barisan Nasional could still detain citizens at will.

"Pakatan Rakyat still protests against this draconian law. They can still detain, then release, detain and release. Where is the justice? What kind of government is this?" he said last night.
The PKR de facto leader also played down the significance of the move, no doubt conscious of the effect it could have on the three by-elections on Tuesday.

"Yesterday they were terrorists, today they are innocent. Do not forget Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did the same, but then more were detained later," he reminded the audience.

The Permatang Pauh MP added that this flip-flopping was symptomatic of the Umno-led BN.

"When we said the RM7 billion economic stimulus package was not enough, they said, no, this is enough. Then Najib announced a new RM60 billion plan and they said we support it. When the government called the detainees terrorists, they supported. Now it says they are suddenly innocent and they also support."

Speaking to reporters later, he clarified that he welcomed the release of the 13 detainees but criticised the statement that the law will be studied.

"It was meant to stop militant communism and should have been repealed once it was resolved. There is no rationale to start studying now. It should simply be repealed immediately," he said.

He also brushed aside suggestions that the release of two Hindraf leaders would affect the loyalties of Indian voters who make up 30 per cent of the electorate in Bukit Selambau.

"The release of Hindraf leaders is just one of the demands of the Indian community. For as long as they are still treated as second-class citizens, BN should not think that all the problems are over," he said.

Anwar also insisted that the ISA releases would not have a significant impact on the three ongoing by-elections as all newly installed prime ministers did so and PR had already accounted for it in its plans.

While he refused to speculate on the intentions behind the release, he said the government should not "use it to delude the people that injustices can continue to be perpetrated."

Earlier, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak also moved to refute the notion that his government has not brought any improvements in the 13 months since PR took over the state.

It comes on the back of some electoral groups in Bukit Selambau making known that they are unhappy with the running of the state government.

He reminded those present of the RM83 billion Kedah Hidrocarbon Hub and announced that the megaproject would take off in July.

"By 2013, oil refining will bring the state RM400 million a year," he said, adding that it would increase to RM600 million to RM800 million a year by the next year.

The PAS leader said his only worry now was that his government would be destabilised before the project could begin to produce returns and urged Bukit Selambau to elect S. Manikumar.

He praised the PKR candidate and pointed out that his MBA and good business acumen would be an asset to the state executive council as he was assured the appointment should he win on Tuesday.

Poster & Banner Kempen Pilihan Raya Kecil DUN Bukit Selambau

Anda dialu-alukan memaparkan poster dan banner kempen bersempena pilihan raya kecil Dun Bukit Selambau di laman web dan blog sebagai tanda sokongan terhadap calon Pakatan Rakyat, S. Manikumar.