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Monday, April 13, 2009

MIC working committee to discuss Cabinet issue — Samy Vellu

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — The reported dissatisfaction over MIC appointees in the Cabinet would be discussed at the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Thursday, said MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

He also denied that the party had sought a senatorship for him to be appointed to the Cabinet as alleged by a news portal, saying it was “not my style”.

“We will listen to the views of all the leaders before a decision is made. I will also seek an appointment with the prime minister,” he said in a statement here today.

Samy Vellu was commenting on news reports quoting an unnamed source that the MIC was studying a proposal to withdraw its lone minister and two deputy ministers from the Cabinet, in protest over the lack of importance accorded to the Indian community.

The report also said the MIC had requested for a senior portfolio, namely the post of works minister, but it was rejected.

To this, the party president said it was the decision of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He said, in future, the prime minister would consider allocating a senior ministerial portfolio to the MIC.

On a news portal report which claimed the MIC wanted to pull out its representatives in the Cabinet because he (Samy Vellu) was not appointed a minister, he described the writer as a liar.

On what transpired between him and Najib, two days before the prime minister announced his Cabinet line-up, Samy Vellu said he only submitted the names of MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam for the minister’s post, and Datuk S. K. Devamany and Datuk M. Saravanan for the posts of deputy ministers.

He denied mentioning about a senatorship. — Bernama

Mother lodges police report; Parliamentarians want IPCMC

Federal Court decides tomorrow if it can hear Speaker vs Zambry case

By Shannon Teoh- The Malaysian Insider

PUTRAJAYA, April 13 - The Federal Court will decide tomorrow if it can proceed to hear submissions on whether Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar's decision to suspend the entire state executive council from the assembly was valid.

Sivakumar's lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah raised a preliminary objection today, arguing that a judicial review under Order 53 of the rules of the High Court, was required for the case to be brought to the apex court, and not just an originating summons.

The suit, filed by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir and his six executive councillors in the Ipoh High Court, seeks to declare the suspensions null and void.

The suspensions would theoretically give the ousted Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government a majority in the next assembly sitting which must take place by next month. It could then topple the Barisan Nasional (BN) government and dissolve the assembly for fresh polls.

The question of whether the speaker is a public authority will be central in the Federal Court's decision on whether to hear the case.

If the speaker is a public authority, Sulaiman argued, then the issue is a matter of public law and the declaration sought by the executive council would require a judicial review and the use of an originating summons in these circumstances would be irregular.

This breach of procedure was however, argued against by the executive council's lead counsel Firoz Hussein, who insisted that the private rights of the seven assemblymen to sit in the assembly had been wronged and that the speaker himself was not a public authority as mentioned in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution.

Firoz later explained to reporters that Order 53 governed prerogative writs, meaning that it would force the Speaker to take a certain action or prohibit him from doing so.

"But under the doctrine of separation of powers, we are only seeking a declaration of rights, so we do not need a judicial review," he said.

However, Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham told reporters that this was exactly what they have been asserting all along.

"We have been saying that due to the separation of powers, the courts cannot rule on a decision by the Speaker," he said, adding that a declaration by the Federal Court could not compel the Speaker to act in any way.

Today's proceedings comes on the back of a recent Ipoh High Court decision where Sivakumar was deemed a public official and must therefore be represented by the state legal advisor.

However, the Court of Appeal quashed this decision, stating that he "is not a state officer or the government of the state."

Kit Siang shocked by DPM’s ‘ungrateful Chinese’ comment

By Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 – DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has described as “shocking and offensive” the statement by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that Chinese voters are ungrateful in voting for Pakatan Rakyat and that they deceived the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the recent by-elections.

The deputy prime minister made the remarks in an interview in Mingguan Malaysia yesterday.

He also called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to clarify the definition of his One Malaysia philosophy to give a common understanding of the concept to all, adding that Muhyiddin’s statements have already given a bad name to One Malaysia.

“It is most shocking that 52 years after national independence, the Number Two in the federal government of a multi-racial nation could come out with such retrogressive and most unacceptable views about Malaysian democracy and nation building,” said Lim in response to Muhyiddin’s statements.

In the interview with Mingguan Malaysia, Muyhiddin said that the BN felt deceived by Chinese voters and that the community should be grateful for government assistance to Chinese schools. The deputy prime minister also said that the Chinese and Indian communities now liked to see themselves as kingmakers in the current political landscape, where Malay votes are split between three parties.

The lawmaker pointed out that Muhyiddin’s complaint about the Chinese being “ungrateful” and the BN feeling “duped” by the Chinese in getting various “benefits” without reciprocating by giving votes to BN was proof that BN was guilty of practising money politics in elections and using public funds in the form of development projects to fish for votes.

“Voters are only getting what belongs to them as part of their right as Malaysian citizens,” said Lim. “There is no question of the voters having to feel ‘grateful’ to the Barisan Nasional as the monies do not come from the private pockets of the Barisan Nasional leaders but the public coffers of the government.”

Lim also called Muyhiddin “mischievous” for claiming that the non-Malays want to be kingmakers at the expense of Malays.

“The Chinese and Indians are not and do not want to be the political kingmakers in Malaysia. Such a concept is most irresponsible and even dangerous and should not be encouraged,” said Lim.

“What we want to see is the full, free and fair functioning of the system of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia where the kingmakers will be the Malaysian voters – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli and all other Malaysians.”

Muhyiddin’s interview also caused the Ipoh Timur member of parliament to wonder about the concept of One Malaysia, which Najib has said will be the thrust of his new administration.

He called on the prime minister to clearly define the concept at his first cabinet meeting this Wednesday.

“If it rejects DAP’s Malaysian Malaysia, Gerakan’s Malaysian Malaysia, even the Bangsa Malaysia concept of Vision 2020, what does Najib’s “1Malaysia” really mean?”

“It is clear from Muhyiddin’s interview that he is still propounding the concept of Ketuanan Melayu, which is a camouflage for Ketuanan Umnoputras, when after 52 years since Merdeka, the time has come for Ketuanan Rakyat Malaysia” said Lim, referring to widespread criticism that the concept of Malay supremacy is being used to benefit only the elite in Umno and not the Malay community at large.

He says that the interview gives a clear impression that the Umno leadership has not learned the lessons from the “March 8 Political Tsunami” that saw the Umno led ruling coalition lose five states to the opposition and also the results from five by-elections since, in which the entire might of BN was used and yet managed to win only one.

“Umno and Barisan Nasional have become politically irrelevant and Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, want to be kingmakers to effect a major political change in the next general elections,” said Lim.

The opposition veteran also called on Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, in his capacity as minister in the Prime Minister’s department in charge of key performance indicators for ministers as well as for One Malaysia, to seek an apology from Muhyiddin.

Najib’s One Malaysia slogan emphasises mutual trust and respect among the different races that make up Malaysia, but has yet to be translated into firm directives, policies and programmes. It has also made some Umno supporters uneasy.

Mingguan Malaysia ran an opinion piece yesterday on One Malaysia saying that the concept also means that there is a need to continue the affirmative policies due to historical realities and the social contract.

Pathological Lies by Health Ministry on KUGAN

Farcical statements only undermine the intelligence of the Malaysian society and stress the current manipulated stance taken by the Health Ministry.

By R. Shan (Human Being)

I am at a loss for words. UMMC doc 'misidentified, misinterpreted'. Health Ministry director-general Dr Mohd Ismail Merican further states that the pathologist also misinterpreted the patterned imprint injuries on the body as 'burn wounds' as there was no evidence of inflammatory infiltrates or thermal injuries in the skin from the back of the deceased, which would be present in thermal injury.

Here we have a committee without actually examining the body coming to a conclusion.

Further, Ismail said the committee was also not able to establish how and where Kugan's body was kept after being released to his family until it was brought to UMMC for the second post-mortem, as it would significantly affect the physical state of the body.

Why then do we need a committee who is not able to ascertain all these factors into consideration? You don’t need to be a doctor to dictate and come up with such ludicrous statements without even examining the body unless the Malaysian public actually believe that the family intentionally tampered with the dead body and created all the findings in the second post-mortem.

Such farcical statements only undermine the intelligence of the Malaysian society and stress the current manipulated stance taken by the Health Ministry.

Any person with common sense will realize what this is all about. Another sad chapter for the excluded and marginalized non-existent Malaysian in Malaysia for the glory of the government and the chosen few to dictate the rule and order to sweep everything under the carpet.

Such is the travesty of the medical profession, which was such a noble profession, as it prostitutes itself for the benefit of a system that continues to undermine the struggle of the public for transparency, equality and justice for the Malaysian public.

Now with the latest case of Anwar Mansor - yes, not a typical non-existent Indian dying in custody this time, but a so-called bumiputera who has faced the same consequences. This is the system we have created and sustained due to our own ignorance and disconcern for humanity.

Why should HINDRAF reps be concerned about Mr. Anwar when they are chastised to be the progenitor for the betterment of only Malaysian Indians? But this is the whole point. an Anak Malaysia cannot exist if we continue to prejudge while sitting on our own laurels and not understand the long-term goals for the community to co-exist.

To be human, we err. But above all, we need a clear conscience for the society - not for our own indulgence, our analysis and what serves us for the moment. And we do have a long way to go. We have only just begun.

So, either we sit back and watch the fun ... or we get to the ground and act in our own ways to enhance humanity in Malaysia. This is our choice. Humanity is translucent beyond race, religion, creed or following. We should be one as Anak Bangsa Malaysia.


R.Shan
(Human Being)

DPM tells MIC to thrash out grievances with Najib- Malaysiakini

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today urged MIC to discuss its grievances directly with the prime minister instead of going public on its threat to withdraw its ministers from the new cabinet.

He also reminded MIC, a long-time Barisan Nasional coalition partner, to respect Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's prerogative in naming his cabinet.

muhyiddin yassin interview 100309 03"If they have any dissatisfaction, they should be meeting the prime minister personally," he told reporters today after handing over his old ministerial duties as the minister of international trade and industry to Mustapa Mohamed.

"In BN, we work with the spirit of BN. They (MIC) must uphold the principles of the PM having his prerogative.

"In any event, the cabinet has been named and formed... we should just accept it.

"We should give the chosen ministers the chance to shoulder the responsibility, and after all they had already taken their oath of office," he added.

Muhyiddin was reacting to a Malaysiakini report on Saturday that MIC was mulling withdrawing from the cabinet.

A party insider said that MIC, especially its president S Samy Vellu, was upset with a number of unresolved issues.

The party will however continue to remain in the ruling BN coalition.

Second ministerial post rejected

The party is believed to be unhappy with Najib's decision in not giving it a senior ministry and a second ministerial post.

Party secretary-general S Subramaniam is MIC's sole full minister overseeing the human resources portfolio. During Samy Vellu's days in the cabinet, he was the works minister.

There are two other deputy ministers - M Saravanan is the deputy federal territories minister and SK Devamany at the Prime Minister's Department.

samy vellu micIt is learnt that Samy Vellu had wanted another ministerial post for the party and sources say that the party president had wanted that post to be given to vice-president S Sothinathan.

Samy Vellu has not commented on the matter but other senior party leaders have said that the pullout was not debated and decided by top party leaders.

The party will be holding its central working committee meeting on Thursday where Samy Vellu is expected to break his silence over the matter.

Muhyiddin meanwhile said that the issue of MIC pulling out of BN or its unhappiness over the cabinet need not be discussed at a BN meeting.

"This can be resolved with them meeting the PM," he said.

"Whatever dissatisfaction they have, it's better to go and see the prime minister and there's no need to make public statements on the matter," he added.

Hidden Dramas Hours Before Najib’s Swearing-in?

Looking at these two events, it is entirely possible that the King could have nodded his head to Abdullah’s proposed transfer of power to Najib early in the morning of April 1, but after deliberation over the appeal by the 81 MPs, the King could have second thoughts about hurrying through the swearing-in the next morning.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Kim Quek

Unusual occurrences on the day before Najib Razak’s swearing-in as prime minister have raised questions on the royal consent to his appointment. From the time Najib left the palace ground at 12.15 hrs on April 2, after an audience with the King, the nation was kept in darkness for seven hours as to whether the King had given his consent to Najib’s premiership.

It was not until 19.38 hrs that the first newsbreak came from Bernama stating that Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Sidek Hassan announced that the King had given his consent to Najib’s appointment and that Najib would swear-in at 10.00 hrs the next day – which was the time previously circulated by the government. Was it not most extraordinary that the nation was kept in suspense for so many hours when the ceremony was only hours away? What was the reason for this big delay in announcement? Was there any problem with the royal consent?

That something was amiss was apparent in the morning of April 2 when then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi went alone to meet the King, contradicting Najib’s disclosure on the preceding day (April 1) that he was invited by Abdullah to accompany the latter to meet the King for the royal consent to Abdullah’s resignation and Najib’s appointment.

Abdullah arrived at the palace at 10.00 hrs for an audience with the King to express his intention to relinquish his premiership. After an hour-long meeting with the King, he uttered only these words to the official media allowed into the palace: “It’s a matter for Tuanku to decide”. He drove through the main gate at 11.00 hrs without talking to some 70 reporters gathered there.

Minutes later, Najib’s official car and police escort drove past the palace and arrived at Abdullah’s residence at Jalan Bellamy (located near the palace), where the two leaders met for 10 minutes.

Najib, who was called to the palace, arrived at 11.30 hrs to have an audience with the King. He left through the main gate at 12.15 hrs and waved to the anxiously waiting reporters through his open window and said “Thank you”, without stopping to talk to them.

STRANGE SILENCE

Thereafter, complete silence – without a word from either the palace or the government on the outcome of the morning’s royal audience given to these two leaders, until Bernama’s statement in the evening.

Observing the above events, we can deduce that

  • It must have been at the King’s request that Abdullah went to see the King alone – without Najib. Obviously, the King wanted to talk to Abdullah privately, and the hour long audience indicated that much was discussed about the proposed transfer of power.
  • When Abdullah left the palace at 11.00 hrs, he gave the impression that the King had yet to decide on his proposed resignation and perhaps also his recommendation of Najib to take over the premiership.
  • The lack of positive indications from both leaders after their royal audience and the long silence thereafter indicated that royal consent was unlikely to have been given during the audience. Otherwise, the government would have wasted no time to announce such consent, judging from its impatience to fix the swearing-in time and date, as reflected in several such premature announcements previously.
  • Then, when was royal consent given, if at all it was given? What transpired between 12.15 hrs (when Najib left the palace) and 19.38 hrs (when Bernama reported the royal consent) on April 2?

For a better understanding of what actually transpired on April 2, we have to take note of two important events that took place on April 1.

One, Chief Secretary Sidek Hassan announced through Bernama that before the Cabinet meeting in the morning, Abdullah had an audience with the King, whereby the King consented to Najib swearing-in as prime minister at 10.00 hrs on April 3 and the King also agreed to grant an audience to both leaders at 10.00 hrs the next day, April 2, for this proposed power transfer. However, at 19.54 hrs, Bernama issued another statement saying the Chief Secretary had said his earlier announcement on the swearing-in was premature, and asked for the story to be ignored.

Two, Pakatan Rakyat handed to the King a letter by all its 81 members of parliament, appealing to the King to delay the appointment of Najib as prime minister until many allegations against him were cleared.

These included in particular the shocking scandals of the murder of the Mongolian woman and commissions in the purchase of Scorpene submarines, which of late had been well publicized in news media all over the world. The letter stated that premiership being the nation’s top job, it ought to be held by some one who was clean and of unquestionable integrity. It was therefore appropriate that His Majesty delay the appointment till all allegations were investigated by an independent commission and Najib’s name cleared.

ROYAL SECOND THOUGHTS?

Looking at these two events, it is entirely possible that the King could have nodded his head to Abdullah’s proposed transfer of power to Najib early in the morning of April 1, but after deliberation over the appeal by the 81 MPs, the King could have second thoughts about hurrying through the swearing-in the next morning. Hence the Chief Secretary’s late statement to retract his earlier announcement on April 1, and the separate audience – instead of joint audience – to Abdullah and Najib the next morning.

As a conscientious constitutional monarch who takes his role as guardian of the constitution and the country at heart, it is also possible that Tuanku Mizan could be seriously considering a delay to the power transfer to clear matters up to protect vital national interests. But his hands appeared to have been forced by the drummed-up publicity for the imminent swearing-in only hours away via premature issue of invitation cards and a questionable last-minute news release by Bernama, both of these are deemed inappropriate.

Since it is the King who accepts the Prime Minister’s resignation, and since it is also his prerogative to appoint the new Prime Minister, shouldn’t it be the palace that makes the announcement of the King’s decision? Shouldn’t it also be the palace that issues the invitations – instead of the prime minister’s department – for the ceremony at the palace for the handing over of the appointment letter to the new Prime Minister?

Is it not an act of the highest disrespect to the King for the government to issue invitations for the swearing-in of Najib when the King had not even granted an audience to the incumbent Prime Minister to discuss about his proposed resignation? Or is the government taking the institution of monarchy as a mere rubber stamp?

QUESTIONABLE LEGITIMACY

We can well understand Najib and UMNO’s desperation to ascend the premiership in great urgency, since he has already been hyped as the savior of a sinking ship, and any hindrance to such ascendancy could spell disaster, nevertheless, such usurping of the authority and status of the monarch is an affront on our Constitution and serves to further undermine constitutional rule in this country under Barisan Nasional rule. It also gives rise to questions about the legitimacy of the new premiership.

It is an ominous start for Najib as Prime Minister, having just added another baggage to the many uncleared baggages Najib is carrying over to his premiership.

Najib’s 1Malaysia - does it mean “Ketuanan Melayu”?

The interview given by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Mingguan Malaysia yesterday “Kuasa penentu Melayu hilang jika terus berpecah” may be appropriate coming from the Umno Deputy President but clearly unsuitable, most shocking and even offensive coming from the Deputy Prime Minister of a plural Malaysia after more than half-a-century of nation-building and national unity efforts.

The following Q & A is one good example:

Q. Tetapi bukankah setiap kali pilihan raya kecil, permintaan kaum bukan Melayu dipenuhi, malah di Bukit Gantang walaupun peruntukan RM1juta diberikan tetapi kaum Cina tidak juga menyokong BN?

MUHYIDDIN: Ya, kadang-kadang kita berasa terpedaya juga kerana zahirnya nampak macam ‘ok’, sambutan dengan tepukan gemuruh tetapi mungkin sudah ada tertanam dalam hati iaitu sesuatu tidak mudah hendak berubah, pokoknya masalah isu Perak terutamanya di kalangan masyarakat Cina yang mungkin telah dipengaruhi dengan sentimen simpati kepada Datuk Seri Ir.Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, kononnya dia ‘dijatuhkan’, lepas itu kononnya dasar memberi pegangan tanah selama 99 tahun dilihat dasar yang menguntungkan.

Ini yang mungkin menyebabkan sukar BN mendapat sokongan walaupun kita fikir bila mereka hendak sekolah Cina dibantu, kita bantu, sepatutnya mereka membalas budi. Pada waktu itu, kita pun tidak berharap sokongan kaum Cina akan meningkat 40 peratus dan sebagainya cuma kita berharap ada peningkatan sedikit tetapi apa yang berlaku ia mencatatkan penurunan, macam tidak ada penghargaan terhadap apa yang kita lakukan.

Oleh itu kita kena kaji psikologi apa yang menyebabkan masyarakat Cina tidak bersedia untuk berubah, pada zaman dahulu tidak begitu.

Persoalannya apakah mereka melihat dalam konteks senario politik baru ini, selepas kerajaan BN tumbang di lima buah negeri, mereka sudah menjadi kuasa penentu? Orang Cina rasa sekarang, walaupun mereka kumpulan minoriti, merekalah menentukan kerana kelompok masyarakat Melayu sudah berpecah tiga kumpulan. Masyarakat Cina tidak berpecah mereka bersatu, setidak-tidaknya dari segi semangat apabila bersama-sama membuat sesuatu keputusan.

Dalam keadaan ini, mereka boleh menentukan keputusan sesuatu pilihan raya dan apabila kesan itu dapat dilihat dalam pilihan raya umum lalu dan beberapa pilihan raya kecil, mereka fikir sekarang mereka lebih ada kuasa penentu, bukan sahaja Cina malah masyarakat India pun begitu, apa tah lagi apabila mendapat kedudukan dalam kerajaan yang ditubuhkan pakatan pembangkang dengan menjadi Timbalan Ketua Menteri, Speaker dan exco kerajaan negeri, jadi ini bagi mereka seolah-olah tawaran yang diberikan oleh pihak sana lebih baik daripada kita pernah tawarkan dalam konteks BN, jadi ini kita harus teliti.

Muhyiddin’s interview has been carried in the Chinese newspapers today, with headlines like “Muhyiddin – Chinese ungrateful to BN” (Sin Chew); “Chinese fooled Barisan Nasional. Muhyiddin – Get benefits but do not vote in support” (Nanyang); “BN feels tricked. Muhyiddin - Satisfy Chinese demands still no support” (China Press)

It is most shocking that 52 years after national independence, the No. 2 in the federal government of a multi-racial nation could come out with such retrogressive and most unacceptable views about Malaysian democracy and nation building.

Firstly, Muhyiddin has confirmed that the Barisan Nasional is guilty of money politics in elections, using public funds especially in the form of development projects as baits to get support from the voters.

This explains Muhyiddin’s complaint about the Chinese being “ungrateful” and the BN being “duped” by the Chinese in getting various “benefits” without reciprocating by giving votes to the Barisan Nasional in the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections.

The simple response to such a reactionary view is that the voters are only getting what belong to them as of right as Malaysian citizens when Barisan Nasional went around to distribute “instant noodle” development projects, and there is no question of the voters having to feel “grateful” to the Barisan Nasional as the monies do not come from the private pockets of the Barisan Nasional leaders but the public coffers of the government.

The voters of Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau did not “dupe” the Barisan Nasional; if any, it is the Umno and Barisan Nasional which had duped the voters for 52 years!

Secondly, Muhyiddin was being very mischievous in claiming that the Chinese and even Indians in Malaysia want to be “kingmakers” in Malaysia at the expense of the Malays in the new political landscape.

Is this what Najib meant by his “1Malaysia” slogan?

Are the views propounded by Muhyiddin represent the position of Senator Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, who has been appointed the Minister not only for KPIs (key performance index) for Ministers but also for Najib’s slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”? What are the position of the MCA,MIC and non-Umno Ministers in the new Najib Cabinet?

The Chinese and Indians are not and do not want to be the political kingmakers in Malaysia. Such a concept is most irresponsible and even dangerous and should not be encouraged.

What we want to see is the full, free and fair functioning of the system of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia where the kingmakers will be the Malaysian voters – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli and all other Malaysians.

Thirdly, it is clear from Muhyiddin’s interview that he is still propounding the concept of Ketuanan Melayu (a camouflage for Ketuanan Umnoputras) when after 52 years since Merdeka, the time has come for Ketuanan rakyat Malaysia!

It is also clear that the Umno leadership has not learnt the lessons from the March 8 political tsunami last year as well as the four by-elections of Permatang Pauh, Kuala Terengganu, Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections in the past eight months that Umno and Barisan Nasional have become politically irrelevant and that Malaysians, regardless of race or religion want to be kingmakers to effect a major political change in the next general elections.

Muhyiddin’s retrogressive interview has raised the question as to what is the real meaning of Najib’s “1Malaysia”.

If it rejects DAP’s Malaysian Malaysia, Gerakan’s Malaysian Malaysia, even the Bangsa Malysia concept of Vision 2020, what does Najib’s “1Malaysia” really mean?

The first task of the Najib Cabinet at its first meeting on Wednesday is to define clearly the meaning of the Najib’s “1Malaysia” slogan to ensure that it is a motto of unity and not of division.

The first task of Tsu Koon as the Minister for “1Malaysia” is to ask Muhyiddin to make a public apology for a most divisive interview which has given “1Malaysia” a bad name!

Censoring with sub judice

By Zedeck Siew
Thenutgraph

WHEN the police banned any mention of Altantuya Shaariibuu or the Barisan Nasional takeover of Perak from by-election ceramah recently, sub judice was used to justify the order.

"Both cases are still in court. As such, talking about them or bringing them up in crowds can be sub judice or contempt of court," declared then Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

Indeed, sub judice is often cited when the Malaysian authorities issue a gag order even when a subject matter is of public interest. What is sub judice and are the authorities justified in wielding it to censor public discussion?


(Pic by Brian Turner @ Flickr)

Preventing prejudgment

Sub judice is a Latin term. It is legalese that literally means "under judicial consideration".

"The sub judice rule governs what public statements can be made about any ongoing legal proceedings," Malaysian Bar Council secretary George Varughese explains in an e-mail interview.

Underscoring the rule, he says, is the concept of prejudging. "If discussion might place improper pressure on the litigants or on witnesses, then the courts can intervene and hold such discussions as sub judice, and thus in contempt of court," he says.

However, the Malaysian government's interpretation is that once the hearing of a case begins in court, sub judice puts a halt to any public or media discussion of it.

Varughese says this is a misconception. "The sub judice rule does not prohibit fair and accurate reporting of the factual contents of any ongoing proceedings," he says. This means that if certain facts or evidence have already been presented in court, discussion of such facts is fair and legal.


Varughese (Source: malaysianbar.org
.my)
"If it is a matter of public interest, it can be discussed at large, without the fear of being in contempt of court," Varughese adds. "Criticisms can be made and repeated. Fair comment does not prejudice a fair trial."

Jury trials

Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan describes the current concept of sub judice in the Malaysian context as "subverting a judicial process".

He explains that it is "a creature of the past", a leftover from an era when the outcome of Malaysian court cases was decided by a jury.

"It was relevant in jury trials. You don't want a jury to be swayed by external pressure or undue influence," Ragunath says.

He uses a hypothetical snatch-theft case as an example. Noting that there is huge public outrage against snatch thieves, it would be conceivable that a sizeable group of people start promoting the death penalty for such offenders, he says.

"If we had jury trials and there was open discussion of [such a] case, that could jeopardise the conduct of a fair trial and that could be sub judice," Ragunath explains. Such public pressure could influence the impartiality of jurors, who comprise the Malaysian public.

But Ragunath points out, this has become irrelevant in Malaysia today because the jury system was completely abolished in Malaysian courts by 1995. Judgments are now made by judges, who are experts.

"Judges are trained in the law. They have been sitting on the bench for years," Ragunath says. "It would be unlikely for them to be swayed by public discussion."

Former Bar Council president Yeo Yang Poh concurs. "Unlike judges who, by their training, are supposed to be able to decide cases without being unduly influenced by public opinion, jurors are not similarly equipped to rise above public opinion."

"Thus, the sub judice rule has no place in present day Malaysia, where there is no longer any jury trial," Yeo says.


The Jury by British artist John Morgan, 1861 (Public domain; source: Wikimedia commons)

Justifying censorship

Criminal and information technology lawyer Richard Wee believes that, to a certain extent, there is a legitimate point to Syed Hamid's statement and the police's actions.

"Freedom of speech comes with responsibilities. We cannot openly declare that he killed her, with 100% certainty," Wee says, referring to new prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's connection to the Altantuya murder case.

However, Wee maintains that the facts of the case — including Sirul Azhar Umar's testimony, and the fact that both police officers who have been found guilty of the Mongolian model's murder served on Najib's security detail — should be allowed.

"The police and Syed Hamid are taking things to an illogical level," Wee opines. "They are using sub judice as censorship."

He also points out that this ban seems lopsided, as it does not extend to discussion of other court cases. "If it is sub judice, what about [Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim]'s sodomy case? Utusan Malaysia discusses the case as if Anwar's guilt were a matter of fact."

Balancing act

Ragunath says an important question is how to balance the principle of sub judice with Malaysian's right to freedom of expression. "In the democracy we are today, there should be some level of openness."

He points out that legal remedies are already available to a citizen facing false public allegations: civil and criminal defamation.

Having the right to public discussion should also not usurp the role of the courts, says Varughese; "for example, by discussing how the issues should be decided by the courts."

Ragunath concurs: "What ought not to happen is statements such as 'the judge should do this, or the judge should do that'."


The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, which houses the Court of Appeal and Federal Court
(Public domain; source: Wikimedia commons)

However, he maintains that everyone should be held responsible for his or her decision. "We have moved on. Therefore, sub judice should not be used to dampen public debate. Even judges should be accountable to the people for the decisions they make."

Of course, the impartiality of Malaysian judges has been a popular question since the 1988 judicial crisis. More recently, one need only look to the VK Lingam videotape controversy. Regardless, a judge invoking the principle of sub judice would be highly unacceptable, as it means he or she is liable to be swayed by public, inexpert opinion.

As the Malaysian legal system is based on the UK's common law principles, Yeo cites the landmark Reynolds v. Times Newspapers Limited case as proof of this notion.

"The House of Lords judgment in fact states that a judge who would succumb to public opinion, when the facts of — and the law applicable to — a particular case are before him [or her], would be unfit for [the] job."

How was this approved? Can nothing be done now?

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The Bolton Surin project in Penang - Photos by a Tanjung Bunga resident

This project again. The photos raise all kinds of questions. Clearly, these are steep slopes we are talking about:

How was this project approved in the first place?

Why is hill-cutting being carried out so close to neighbouring lots?

What kind of slope management is being carried out?

Has the developer complied with all requirements?

Has the developer complied with all conditions relating to rock blasting? Has the rock blasting been carried out under the observation/supervision of relevant external officials?

Has there been a stop work order? If so, who issued it - and who is enforcing it? - Anil Netto

Elizabeth Wong to know her fate on Wednesday

The Sun

ImagePETALING JAYA (April 12, 2009) : The fate of Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong will be decided on Wednesday.

Whether Wong, who is also Selangor state executive councillor for Tourism, Environment and Consumer Affairs, stays or goes depends on a mixture of her own decision and that of the state executive council at its weekly meeting on that day.

Her extended leave ends on April 15 and thus the state is likely to make a decision by then. However, no formal announcement will be made until the verdict is presented to Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
Wong has been on leave since mid-February after private pictures of her asleep were circulated.

There are also concerns that other private pictures or videos would also be exposed.

Police are looking for Wong's ex-boyfriend Hilmi Malek – the main suspect behind the circulation of the pictures – who is believed to have left the country.

A group of about 200 Bukit Lanjan residents gathered today for the second time since February to express their support for Wong and their disgust over gutter politics and the private lives of assemblymen being used for smear campaigns.

As they did during the first gathering – which also featured a convoy in support of Wong to several parts of Selangor where she has been actively involved in the fight against indiscriminate hillslope development and environmental issues such as in Kota Damansara, Bukit Gasing and Bukit Antarabangsa – they lauded her dedication and said her exemplary performance track record should be given due consideration by those deciding her fate.

Sirul Azhar Files Appeal

SHAH ALAM, April 13 (Bernama) -- Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar who was sentenced to hang for the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu filed his appeal today against conviction and sentence.

The appeal was filed at the High Court registry by his counsel, Ahmad Zaidi Zainal.

Last Thursday, the High Court sentenced Sirul Azhar and Chief Insp Azilah Hadri to death for murdering Altantuya, 28, in Mukim Bukit Raja near here between 10pm on Oct 19, 2006 and 1am the following day.

Azilah filed his appeal last Friday. Azilah, 33, and Sirul Azhar, 37, were jointly tried with political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 48, who was charged with abetting them but the latter was acquitted and discharged without his defence being called on Oct 31 last year.

Thaksin: Overthrow Thai government

Some reports said that at least one tank was seized by anti-government protesters [AFP]

(Al Jazeera) Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has called for the overthrow of the government after authorities imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok amid widespread protests.

His call came after armed soldiers were deployed across the Thai capital on Sunday, a day after "Red Shirt" movement anti-government protests forced the cancellation of a summit of Asian leaders in the beach resort of Pattaya.

He said: "The troops who have already come out can come and join the Red Shirts to help us to get democracy for the people.

"This is a golden minute. We will make history and there will be no more coups in Thailand. We have to help achieve democracy for all of us."

Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup, said on Sunday that he may return to Thailand and re-enter politics if the government moves to crack down on the opposition protests.

'Lost control'

Tony Cheng, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Bangkok, said: "It's a major embarrassment to Thailand. They [the government] seem to be completely powerless to stop [the protests]."

"We've been seeing policemen putting on red shirts and coming here to join the rally.

"One wonders whether the prime minister does actually have control over the armed forces, he does appear to have lost control over the police," he said.

"The situation does seem to have calmed down considerably this evening."

Protest leaders told Al Jazeera that they would continue their protests, seeking the resignation of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the prime minister.

'Illegitimate' government

"We're not challenging the declaration of emergency - what we're challenging is their [the government's] existence at the outset," Jakrapob Penkair, one of the leaders of the anti-government United Front for Democracy, told Al Jazeera.

"We see the government as ultimately illegitimate and illegal ... the rule of law is now put in doubt and in question, so people must decide by themselves how to proceed with this."

In a televised speech, Abhisit declared the emergency banning gatherings of more than five people, forbidding news reports that the government considers threatening to public order and allowing it to call up military troops to quell unrest.

"The government has tried all along to avoid violence, but the protest has developed and they have used actions incompatible with the constitution," he said.

Following Abhisit's announcement, the government sent tanks onto the streets of the city.

The army, navy and air force were also deployed to ensure the security of public buildings, junctions and transport hubs at 50 spots in Bangkok, colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd told the AFP news agency.

Abandoned summit

It was the third time that a state of emergency had been imposed in the last eight months.

Earlier, anti-government protesters had gathered at the capital's police headquarters and swarmed around Government House, the prime minister's office.

Major-General Suporn Phansua, a spokesman for the Bangkok Metropolitan Police, said protesters had also seized tanks and armoured cars.

Delegates from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, had to be airlifted from a meeting in Bangkok a day earlier after protesters broke into the summit venue.

The collapse of the summit - the biggest international gathering since the G20 summit in London earlier this month - has put more pressure on Abhisit, who had pledged that his four-month-old government will heal years of political turmoil since Thaksin was forced from power.

Thaksin's supporters allege Abhisit, whose coalition government came to power four months ago, became prime minister under an illegitimate parliamentary deal engineered by the army.

Four prime ministers in the last 15 months have failed to resolve Thailand's deep political rift which pits the military and business elite against a rural majority loyal to Thaksin.

PKR youth leader tells Najib to reform police first

No mystery but Umno puzzled about Chinese vote

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is confused, perplexed, puzzled.

He cannot understand why Malaysian Chinese voters continue to treat the Barisan Nasional with disdain. He cannot fathom why after tossing millions of ringgit to improve Chinese language schools, the BN lost by-elections in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau.

Malaysia’s deputy prime minister wonders whether the Chinese have begun to think of themselves as kingmakers in the new political landscape.

“The Chinese even though are a minority group feel that they have the deciding power because the Malays are split into three groups… In such a situation, they can decide the outcome of an election and this can be seen from the general election and the by-elections.

“They think they have the power to decide. It is not only the Chinese but the Indian community as well,’’ he told Mingguan Malaysia today.

Muhyiddin is not the only who cannot understand or chooses not to understand the psyche of Chinese.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that Chinese voted for Pakatan Rakyat because they were swayed by efforts by the Opposition to frame the Perak constitutional crisis as an attempt by a Malay government to usurp power of a Chinese government.

Perhaps Muhyiddin, who was the by-election campaign director, and Dr Mahathir, who had little impact on the outcome despite making an appearance in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang, are looking for scapegoats and excuses to hide their own deficiencies.

The Chinese are not so difficult to figure out. They like other Malaysians can smell hypocrisy and are loath to support those who have little respect for the view of the everyday man.

The defection of the three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers and the Sultan of Perak’s decision to install BN as the new state government reeked of bad faith.

To compound matters, the brazen partiality of institutions only served to confirm in the minds of many Malaysians who were the good guys and who were the usurpers of power.

For many of the voters who supported Pakatan Rakyat in March 2008, the shenanigans surrounding the episode showed that the arrogance and boorishness of BN had not dimmed despite the wake-up call 12 months ago.

Then there were local issues to contend with in Perak and Kedah. Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, MCA’s deputy president, notes that Chinese voters in Bukit Gantang were concentrated in Simpang and Kuala Sepetang.

In both areas, longstanding local issues were neglected by the Gerakan state assemblyman.

“Walking from house to house in Simpang and Kuala Sepetang, it became obvious that the Chinese voters are disillusioned with promises made by BN’s YBs, that remains unfulfilled,” he said, noting that many have been squatting on the land without proper land title.

“Portraying Nizar as pro-Chinese and also as alleged treason to Malay Sultan seems to have very little impact on Malay voters. However, it only serves to drive away the non-Malay voters. At the local level, Umno leaders are still playing the racial card while the more educated Malay voters feel that there are more self-serving leaders rather than for their race,” said Dr Chua.

This is not the first time he has conducted a post-mortem on BN after a by-election failure. After Permatang Pauh, he noted that the ruling coalition never presents a multiracial face to Malaysians.

Umno campaigns in Malay areas, MCA is assigned to win over Chinese households and MIC is asked to take care of the Indians.

This is in contrast to the multiracial show put up by Pakatan Rakyat. Following the defeat in Kuala Terengganu, he noted the folly of throwing goodies at voters in the hope of capturing their vote, pointing out that Chinese voters (for that matter any voter) expect their lawmakers to interact with them continuously and to champion issues important to the community.

These issues go beyond Chinese schools, the Chinese language and land titles. Younger and better-educated Chinese are concerned about human rights, a more level playing field in Malaysia and the New Economic Policy.

The business class believes that opportunities are drying up for them here.

If they are withholding their support for MCA and the BN, it is because their needs and concerns seem to be taken flippantly by the ruling coalition.

In contrast, the buffet of issues being championed by Pakatan Rakyat are those that are important to different segments of the community.

The Chinese have no interest in playing the role of kingmakers. Like other voters, they just want to be taken seriously.

PM baru tidak akan membawa perubahan bernas

Setelah kekayaan Negara serta rakyat disapu oleh segelintir manusia yang berkuasa melalui projek-projek mega yang diswastakan, yang ada kini ialah sebuah Negara tidak amanah, tidak bersih, tidak cekap. Sebuah Negara korup, makin hari makin mundur yang memerlukan perubahan drastik dan bernas.

By Koh Swe Yong, Setiausaha Agung PRM

Sebaik dilantik sebagai Perdana Menteri Malaysia ke-6, Najib Tun Razak melaungkan konsep “Satu Malaysia” dan “perubahan” sebagai halatuju pemerintahannya.

Untuk memperlihatkan beliau adalah serius tentang laungannya, PM baru Najib Tun Razak membuat kejutan dengan membebaskan 13 orang tahanan ISA, memulihkan lesen penerbitan Harakah dan Suara Keadilan, mengkaji semula ISA dan membuat lawatan ke 3 tempat rakyat pelbagai kaum tertumpu iaitu Jalan Petaling, Kampung Kerinci dan Brickfield di Kuala Lumpur.

Walaupun Perdana Menteri Baru Malaysia Najib Tun Razak memperlihatkan wawasannya dan menjelmakannya dengan tindakan, tetapi reaksi di khalayak umum masih was-was.

Terhadap kritik, beliau berkata perbuatan demikian demi rakyat dan komitmennya mewujudkan perubahan untuk mengharungi keadaan genting di dalam dan di luar negara, bukannya gimmick politik atau untuk meraihkan sokongan terhadap dirinya dan UMNO.

Parti Rakyat Malaysia berpendapat penafian PM baru ini tidak meyakinkan. Perdana Menteri Najib Tun Razak perlu mengambil tindakan yang lebih konkrit untuk membuktikan beliau adalah komited terhadap perubahan dan menjaga kebajikan rakyat Negara ini.

Untuk tujuan tersebut, PRM mencadangkan:

Pertamanya, Najib Tun Razak harus membubarkan DUN negeri Perak dan mengadakan pilihanraya umum di negeri tersebut sebagai jalan untuk menyelesaikan krisis di sana.

Kedua, meminda Perlembagaan Negara untuk melarang tindak-tanduk lompat-melompat oleh wakil rakyat yang melakukannya hanya demi kepentingan peribadi serta menghormati keputusan pilihan raya PRU ke-12, iaitu tidak mencuba dengan bantuan katak-katak untuk mendapatkan balik kuasa pemerintahan di negeri di bawah Pakatan Rakyat. Mana-mana wakil rakyat yang telah melompat parti atau mengisytiharkan diri bebas akan dengan sendirinya hilang kelayakan wakil rakyat dan pilihanraya kecil harus diadakan untuk membiarkan pengundi menentukan siapa yang akan mewakili mereka.

Ketiga, menghentikan usaha menswastakan perubatan, hospital awam dan universiti awam, memansuhkan penswastaan kemudahan asas seperti lebuhraya, air, api, petroleum, telekom serta dasar PPSMI yang sejak pelaksanaannya menemui tentangan hebat daripada rakyat kecuali golongan elit yang berkuasa. Kesemua kemudahan asas ini setelah sekian lama diswastakan, bukan saja tidak memanfaatkan rakyat khususnya rakyat berpendapatan sederhana dan rendah, bahkan telah jelas amat membebankan kehidupan seharian rakyat jelata, apa lagi pada ketika Negara dilanda krisis demi krisis.

Sekiranya saranan di atas tidak dapat dilaksanakan oleh Najib Tun Razak dan barisan pimpinan baru UMNO, tidak usahlah mengharapkan perubahan di bidang lain seperti kehakiman, pasukan Polis, mansuhkan ISA dan dasar ekonomi mega untuk mengkayakan kroni. Kata-kata komitmen dan untuk rakyat tidak lain daripada kata-kata kosong seperti yang dijanjikan oleh Perdana Menteri-Perdana Menteri sebelumnya.

Padahal, rakyat telah menaruh harapan besar kepada wawasan yang dirangka oleh bekas Perdana Menteri Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Rakyat masih ingat, semasa Dr Mahathir Mohamad dilantik sebagai PM, beliau telah mencetuskan harapan besar di kalangan rakyat dengan bermacam-macam wawasan , antaranya ialah dasar pemerintahan ABC iaitu “amanah, bersih dan cekap” dan dasar penswastaan kemudahan asas yang kononnya menguntungkan rakyat; sementara Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dengan imej Mr Clean dan janji-janji good governance dan bersih, juga untuk rakyat, tetapi apakah kesudahannya?

Setelah kekayaan Negara serta rakyat disapu oleh segelintir manusia yang berkuasa melalui projek-projek mega yang diswastakan, yang ada kini ialah sebuah Negara tidak amanah, tidak bersih, tidak cekap. Sebuah Negara korup, makin hari makin mundur yang memerlukan perubahan drastik dan bernas.

Rakyat pernah menaruh harapan besar terhadap slogan-slogan indah, tetapi akhirnya apa yang rakyat terima ialah kehampaan besar.

Kini, apa yang tinggal untuk rakyat ialah timbunan masalah yang perlu diselesaikan dengan segera. Yang terjadi ialah BN dinyahkan kuasa pemerintah di lima buah negeri pada PRU ke-12.

Oleh sebab UMNO-BN masih menguasai kerajaan pusat, Negara ini telah memasuki zaman ketakstabilan dan riuh rendah. Bermacam-macam insidens rakyat saksikan berlaku dalam masyarakat ini sejak PRU ke-12.

Pada hemat PRM, Najib Tun Razak dan UMNO akan mengikuti jejak mantan-mantan PM, apa-apa yang dilakukan beliau adalah tidak lain daripada tindak-tanduk mantan PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, indah khabar daripada tindakan. Perubahan hanya tinggal kata-kata sahaja.

Oleh itu, rakyat perlu berwaspada dan meningkatkan ikhtiar untuk menyahkan UMNO-BN dari tampuk kuasa pusat. Katak-katak akan melompat ke BN di bawah PM baru. Jika tiada katak-katak, PM baru akan juga sedaya-upaya mengumpan. Selagi UMNO-BN berada di tampuk kuasa pusat, selagi itu rakyat Negara ini akan hidup dalam atmosfera sengsara, tidak tenteram dan aman.

Kes Zambry Dan Kuncu-kuncu VS Speaker

Kes Pengantungan Zambry dan kuncu-kuncunya akan dibicarakan di Mahkamah Persekutuan pagi esok iaitu 13 April 2009. Pada hakikatnya mahkamah tidak mempunyai bidangkuasa untuk membicarakan kes ini. Keputusan untuk mengantung 7 ADUN Perak dibuat oleh Jawatankuasa Hak dan Kebebasan. Apa sahaja tindakan atau keputusan yang dibuat oleh Dewan Negeri atau jawatankuasanya tidak boleh diheret ke mahkamah. Ini merupakan imuniti yang diberikan oleh Artikel 72 Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Kita lihat apa yang akan berlaku di Mahkamah Persekutuan esok.......

The Last UMNO Prime Minister

As it now stands, Najib is doomed to be the last UMNO Prime Minister. He will not be even a “one-termer.” He will go down in history as our shortest-serving Prime Minister. Worse, it will be recorded for posterity that he was the Malay leader who brought down a once glorious organization, UMNO, an institution his late father was so instrumental in setting up.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

M. Bakri Musa

Newly-sworn Prime Minister Najib Razak created buzz when he released 13 prisoners detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and lifted the ban on Harakah and Suara Keadilan, publications of the opposition parties. He also promised “a comprehensive review” of the ISA, a statute long abused to silence the government’s critics.

Malaysians long yearning for a change applauded him. There were skeptics, of course.

Alas that was last week. This week the hopes of those citizens were cruelly crushed when they saw the real Najib with the announcement of his new cabinet. Far from being a team that would wow Malaysians, Najib’s cabinet was, as Tunku Aziz put it, “a team of recycled political expendables.” And a bloated one at that!

The skeptics were right; Najib’s earlier act was nothing but a big and cruel tease.

This roster of “political expendables” was the best that the man could offer, from a leader who only a week earlier warned his party that it should “change or be changed.” When given the ultimate freedom to choose his own team, Najib stuck to the tried and true, or what he thought to be so. So this was Najib’s brave version of “Berani Berubah!” (Dare to Change!).

Najib is incapable of change; there is nothing in him to suggest otherwise. He could not even recognize the need for one, much less respond to it. Change would be totally out of character for the man. Far from welcoming or be invigorated by it, change would threaten him.

Unfortunately for Najib, Malaysia has changed. Incapable of change, he is doomed to be changed come the next general elections, from Prime Minister to Leader of the Opposition. He will be our shortest serving chief executive, our Gerald Ford. Ford was the unelected American President who assumed office following Nixon’s forced resignation over the Watergate scandal. Like Ford, Najib too was not elected to the highest office. Ford was subsequently rejected by voters; the same fate awaits Najib.

For Malaysia, that would truly be a wasted decade, with the first half already being squandered by Najib’s predecessor, Abdullah Badawi.

The True Najib

Najib is the obedient first son, the loyal subordinate, and the traditionalist aristocrat. He even inherited his father’s ancient tribal title, Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar! How quaint in this 21st Century! His career path has been straight and narrow, on a track that had been conveniently laid down for him by others who felt indebted or grateful to his illustrious father.

Najib has never shown a talent for striking new paths. Even his ascendance to the Prime Minister’s office was paved by others, in particular Tun Mahathir and Muhyyudin Yassin. Najib must remember that a favor offered is a favor owed.

Just as he was the obedient son, Najib was also the dutiful and loyal subordinate. His blind obedience to Abdullah Badawi drew the wrath of Tun Mahathir. As for experience, Najib has been dependent on paychecks from the public purse all his adult life. He never had to meet a payroll; he has no idea of the trials and challenges of that endeavor; nor does he appreciate the sense of accomplishments and independence of those who have.

This is not the profile of a leader capable of making radical changes that Malaysia so desperately needs now.

Unfortunately the track Najib is on now ends at his office. Ahead, for him and the nation, is uncharted territory, with steep hills to climb and wide canyons to traverse. Turning back is not an option, as that path so carefully crafted by earlier leaders is now destroyed for lack of maintenance and prudent use.

That Najib is now portrayed as an agent for change is more a tribute to his highly-paid public relations operatives and the all-too-eager-to-please toadies in the mainstream media. However, you could pedal a dud only for so long; sooner or later the ugly reality would emerge and the bubble burst.

When that inevitability happens, beware! Voters react with vengeance when they feel that they have been hoodwinked by their leaders. Ask Najib’s immediate predecessor, Abdullah. The by-election results since the last general elections are portends for Najib and his party.

Totally Inept and Inadequately Prepared

Najib assembled his cabinet only last week. Even then he spent that limited time talking with leaders of his Barisan coalition instead of with potential candidates. He is clearly being negligent. He knew he will be Prime Minster months ago; he should have been interviewing and short-listing candidates all along. Being unopposed as president of UMNO and thus freed from having to campaign, he had plenty of time to preview his choices prior to last week.

I am particularly concerned with the choice of his deputy. Did Najib have a private session with Muhyyudin before selecting him? Nowhere is it written that UMNO Deputy President should also be the Deputy Prime Minister. Najib is trapped by tradition.

Najib should have done a “Khairy Jamaluddin” on Muhyyudin, that is, keep him out of the cabinet and make him focus on rebuilding the party. God knows, UMNO needs intensive rehabilitation as much as its Youth wing, if not more so. Dispensing with Muhyyudin would strengthen Najib’s image as a reformer, quite apart from taking the sting out of having singly excluded Khairy from the cabinet.

Najib gave the very important Education portfolio to Muhyyudin. Is Najib assured that Muhyyudin agrees with him on the major policy issues, in particular the highly contentious matter of continuing the teaching of science and mathematics in English? Muhyyudin is unusually quiet on this.

It is equally hard to be enthusiastic on the rest of Najib’s team. This is what happens when you choose your cabinet based on pleasing others, especially those whom you owe favors.

Najib struggled to get his team, just like Abdullah and Mahathir before him. Like them, he too found the pickings slim as he fished only in the same polluted and shallow puddle of UMNO and Barisan. He did not have the courage to venture beyond.

Najib unwittingly revealed much in his first few days as Prime Minister. Thanks to his PR team, Najib managed to sound very positive, at with his promise of “a comprehensive review” of the ISA. That sent orgies of praise for the man in the mainstream media and elsewhere. The more perceptive (or skeptical) would note that he specifically did not mention anything about repealing it.

Then there was his announcement on the release of the 13 ISA prisoners “with immediate effect.” In Najib’s lexicon, “with immediate effect” means at least three days later! This shows how much he is in tune with the actual workings of the civil service.

If I had been Najib’s communications director, this is what I would have done. Knowing how easily our civil servants could screw things up, I would first check with the Home Ministry, specifically the Chief of Police and Prison Director, to arrange for the release of the prisoners. Send them to the nearby rest house at government expense if their families were not yet ready to receive them. I would then alert television stations and other news media so they would be there to cover it.

Only after assuring myself that all those meticulous preparations are in place would I have Najib make his announcement. Imagine the dramatic impact when the split screen on the nation’s television screens would also show the prisoners being released as he made the announcement. It would also showcase the crispness of Najib’s new administration. Had he done so, he would have been spared the embarrassment of his orders being delayed for days because of – you guessed it! – paperwork!

On the day Najib announced his new cabinet, the judge in the long running Mongolian model murder trial rendered his judgment. Najib had been trying hard to ignore the grizzly tragedy, but it kept cropping up at the most inopportune time. His strategy is to stonewall, banking that the success of his policies would make citizens forget the gruesome crime.

Najib is gravely mistaken in this. Even if his ethics were beyond reproach, Najib would find his policies a tough sell. Conversely, if he could clear up those sordid allegations (assuming of course he is innocent, a huge supposition) he would find that with his personal credibility now enhanced, the public would more likely buy into his policies. Stonewalling is no strategy.

As it now stands, Najib is doomed to be the last UMNO Prime Minister. He will not be even a “one-termer.” He will go down in history as our shortest-serving Prime Minister. Worse, it will be recorded for posterity that he was the Malay leader who brought down a once glorious organization, UMNO, an institution his late father was so instrumental in setting up. All destroyed in just two generations; the first to build it, the second to destroy. Truly a very Malay story!

For those who warmly applauded Najib on his first few days in office thinking that his was the dawn of a new day for the nation, I hope they would translate their disappointment into effective action. Deliver to Najib his own KPI (Key Performance Index) at the next general elections. It will be less than four years away; plenty of time to lay and grease the track for Najib’s (and UMNO’s) exit.

Kabinet ‘Buah Tumpang’

By Sheih Kickdefella,

Maka, apa yang kita dapat ialah satu Kabinet yang dibuat atas desakan Tun Mahathir Mohamad dan desakan komponen-komponen BN. Semuanya dibuat dengan tujuan-tujuan yang lebih utama dari falsafah One Malaysia, People First, Performance Now.

Ramai salah mengerti bila saya cuba berkias. Ramai kurang arif perubahan yang sebenarnya boleh dilakukan oleh Najib Razak menerusi perlantikan kabinet barunya. Perubahan kabinet negara bukan sekadar menukar nama orang. Orang boleh ditukar oleh sesiapapun, tetapi kalau sistem dimana orang itu berada tidak ditukar bersama orangnya, apa benda KPI sekalipun akan lenyap dan akhirnya kembali ke asal.

Pi mai pi mai tang tu jugak.

Kabinet baru Najib sekadar kabinet saranan Mahathir. Melantik orang yang dilihat bersih dan diletakkan di dalam suasana yang penuh peluang dan ‘loop hole’ untuk melakukan aktiviti tidak bersih tanpa ‘check and balance’ yang ‘proper’.

Tiada tindakan kreatif dalam memastikan kabinet ini akan menidakkan amalan rasuah dan penyalahgunaan kuasa.

Tiada tindakan kreatif dalam memastikan kabinet ini menggalakkan persaingan kuasa dikalangan pemimpin politik dan tiada tindakan dalam perlantikan kabinet ini bagi menjamin tidak akan berlaku politik wang lagi di dalam UMNO.

Najib telah terlepas keretapi.

Keretapi ini mungkin tidak akan sempat tiba di stesen seterusnya untuk membolehkan Najib menukar ke keretapi lain.

Apa yang diharapkan berlaku tetapi tidak dilakukan Najib? Sebelum kita menjawab persoalan itu, kita lihat apa yang dilakukan oleh Najib dalam senarai baru kabinetnya.

1. Kabinet baru Najib kelihatan sekali pandang lebih kecil sedikit dari kabinet Abdullah.

2. Dua kali pandang, kabinet Najib memiliki 29 orang Menteri dan 40 orang Timbalan Menteri dengan seorang yang tidak disebut namanya dilantik ke taraf Menteri. Jumlah keseluruhannya ialah 69 orang.

3. Kabinet Abdullah mempunyai 32 orang Menteri dan 38 Timbalan Menteri. Jumlah keseluruhan 71 orang.

4. Kabinet Najib bukan kabinet rakyat sebaliknya kabinet Barisan Nasional.

5. Ia bukan kabinet untuk mengembalikan kepercayaan rakyat kepada kerajaan tetapi kabinet untuk memuaskan hati parti-parti komponen BN supaya mereka berpuashati dengan Najib.

6. Najib lebih utamakan BN dan masa depan BN bukan rakyat dan masa depan rakyat didalam kabinetnya.

Apa yang Najib terlepas peluang untuk melakukkannya dan membentuk kabinet rakyat sebenar-benarnya?

1. Najib harus mengurangkan lantikan ahli kabinet dari kalangan pemegang jawatan di dalam parti-parti yang membentuk kerajaan. Ini akan memberi isyarat kepada pemegang-pemegang jawatan di dalam parti bahawa jawatan di dalam parti bukan pas untuk dilantik ke dalam kabinet. Secara langsung ini akan mengurangkan kepanasan perebutan dalam pemilihan parti terutamanya UMNO.

2. Apabila ini berlaku, ia juga akan mengurangkan dan seterusnya menamatkan politik wang di dalam UMNO. Tiada guna berhabis wang berkempen dan membeli undi kerana mendapat jawatan dalam parti hanya bererti mereka akan menabur khidmat kepada parti mereka dan bukan negara.

3. Pemegang jawatan didalam parti tidak akan mendapat peluang terus untuk mengaut balik ‘pelaburan’ mereka dan penyokong mereka menerusi projek-projek kerajaan.

4. Jika ahli kabinet bukan dari pemegang-pemegang jawatan parti, ia akan dapat meringankan tugas ahli kabinet seterusnya lebih fokus kepada prestasi kepada kementerian mereka tanpa menyalahgunakan kemudahan mereka sebagai Menteri untuk tujuan parti.

5. Pada hari ini, para Menteri menggunakan kemudahan yang diterima sebagai ahli kabinet untuk membiayai kerja parti mereka seperti tiket penerbangan, elaun, keraian, pengangkutan darat dan lain-lain.

6. Jika Menteri bukan pemegang jawatan di dalam parti, penyalahgunaan kuasa ini lenyap.

7. Seterusnya, Najib seharusnya mengurangkan jumlah ahli kabinet dari anggota Dewan Rakyat seterusnya ini boleh mengurangkan masalah melobi di dalam parti untuk menjadi wakil rakyat menjelang pilihanraya.

8. Ahli-ahli wakil rakyat dari pemerintah juga akan dapat menumpukan lebih perhatian kepada tugas mereka sebagai penggubal undang-undang di Parlimen dan sebagai Wakil Rakyat di konstituensi mereka.

9. Pada waktu ini, seorang ahli politik bergelar Menteri, setidak-tidaknya adalah seorang Wakil Rakyat, sebagai ahli Majlis Tertinggi Partinya dan sebagai Ketua Bahagian Partinya. Oleh itu, terlalu banyak sumber kerajaan yang disalahguna untuk mereka melaksanakan tugas mereka. Ini mengakibatkan pengagihan kekayaan negara yang tidak seimbang. Ini juga mengakibatkan rakyat terpaksa menanggung pelbagai jawatan lantikan politik untuk membantu Menteri itu melaksanakan amanah-amanah yang dipikulnya.

10. Seorang Menteri juga terpaksa menganugerahkan tender dan peluang-peluang projek dari kementeriannya kepada bukan sahaja partinya, tetapi kepada penyokongnya yang membiayai kempennya dalam pilihanraya umum dan pemilihan parti.

11. Di atas sebab demikian, sebersih mana sekalipun seorang Menteri itu diperingkat awalnya, dengan kuasa besar yang ada ditangannya dan dengan tanggungjawab yang bertindan-tindan serta untuk ‘survival’nya di pelbagai peringkat, terpaksa jugalah dia menggunakan kedudukannya dengan cara yang tidak beretika.

Oleh yang demikian, dari manakah harus dilantik Menteri-menteri ini?

1. Menteri-menteri boleh dilantik dikalangan sesiapa sahaja yang layak dan mempunyai kepakaran yang diperlukan oleh Perdana Menteri untuk melaksanakan misi dan wawasannya.

2. Tangan PM tidak terikat untuk memuaskan hati partinya dan parti-parti komponen lain.

3. Komposisi ahli kabinet boleh dilakukan berdasarkan persetujuan BN.

4. Perlembagaan Negara membenarkan ahli kabinet dilantik dari ahli Parlimen beerti tidak semestinya Wakil Rakyat tetapi Senator juga.

5. Oleh yang demikian, dengan cara ini, Dewan Negara akan mula dipenuhi oleh mereka yang mempunyai kepakaran tinggi yang dilantik sebagai Senator bagi membolehkan mereka menganggotai kabinet. Dewan Negara tidak lagi diisi oleh mereka yang tewas dalam PRU atau mereka yang diangkat ke situ bagi mengurangkan ketegangan dalam parti.

6. Ini akan membuka pintu kepada pengasingan kuasa antara eksekutif dan perundangan walaupun tidak menyeluruh pada mulanya.

Apa yang dijelaskan diatas adalah satu gagasan transformasi di dalam Kabinet Negara oleh seterusnya berpeluang menghapuskan masalah politik wang, rasuah dan amalan penyalahgunaan kuasa.

Mengapa Najib tidak melakukan apa yang tersenarai di atas jika beliau benar-benar mahu melakukan perubahan segera.

1. Najib dan penasihatnya sebenarnya ‘clueless’ dengan apa yang dikatakan transformasi dan reformasi dalam peringkat tertinggi Kerajaan.

2. Atau Najib sebenar-benarnya tidak berniat untuk melakukan sebarang perubahan selain hanya sekadar perubahan kosmetik semata-mata. Dalam erti kata lain, Najib tidak ikhlas dalam mahukan perubahan.

3. Atau Najib sebenarnya di dalam keadaan terancam dan tidak berani untuk berubah kerana takut kehilangan sokongan dan mengakibatkan huru hara di dalam BN disebabkan parti-parti komponen BN hanya mahukan kuasa untuk survival dan bukan kuasa untuk melakukan yang terbaik untuk rakyat.

Maka, apa yang kita dapat ialah satu Kabinet yang dibuat atas desakan Tun Mahathir Mohamad dan desakan komponen-komponen BN. Semuanya dibuat dengan tujuan-tujuan yang lebih utama dari falsafah One Malaysia, People First, Performance Now.

Jika falsafah tadi di dokong sama oleh komponen BN dan UMNO khasnya, maka tidak perlu timbul soal kuota parti-parti komponen dan soal pemegang jawatan parti perlu diutamakan. Yang penting ialah soal ‘performance’ dan sesiapa sahaja dari kalangan rakyat Malaysia tanpa kira agama dan keturunan, asalkan yang terbaik yang ada, maka dia wajib dipelawa untuk menjadi ahli kabinet.

Kegagalan Najib mentransformasikan kabinetnya, diikuti pula kegagalan untuk mewujudkan reformasi dikalangan ahli-ahli kabinet.

Di dalam usaha memenangi hati rakyat, anggota kabinet bukan sahaja perlu disukai rakyat tetapi juga perlu bersifat sebagai rakyat. Hanya dengan bersifat sebagaimana rakyat maka kabinet ini dapat berfungsi sebagai kabinet rakyat.

Saya merasakan satu reformasi fizikal dalam kabinet diperlukan. Ia bukannya reformasi kosmetik seperti di zaman Tun Dr. Mahathir, di mana kabinet bermesyuarat di lokasi-lokasi berlainan di negeri berlainan kerana ini bukan sekadar kosmetik tetapi pembaziran yang besar.

1. Sebagai permulaan, reformasi kabinet perlu bermula dengan setiap Menteri diwajibkan menggunakan kemudahan awam pada setiap hari mesyuarat Kabinet di adakan. Ini akan menjadikan Menteri tersebut masuk ke dalam mesyuarat kabinet dengan satu mood yang berlainan. Bayangkan mereka masuk ke mesyuarat kabinet dengan bergegas kerana terlewat atau ‘barely make it on time’ setelah tersangkut di dalam kesesakkan lalulintas. Bayangkan mereka masuk ke dalam mesyuarat kabinet dengan memori mereka masih segar dengan bau hapak ketiak rakyat di dalam kenderaan awam. Setidak-tidaknya, jika ini berlaku, setiap keputusan dibuat akan lebih dekat dengan rakyat kerana yang berhujah di dalam kabinet itu adalah orang-orang yang baru sahaja bergelumang bersama rakyat.

2. Seterusnya, setiap aktiviti Menteri hendaklah tidak melibatkan penutupan jalan raya dan hanya melibatkan kawalan keselamatan yang minima. Setiap Menteri seharusnya bersedia untuk berhadapan dengan segala kemungkinan termasuk jenayah seperti juga rakyat jelata.

3. Setiap kali menggunakan pernerbangan, Menteri harus menggunakan penerbangan tambang murah atau terbang dengan kelas ekonomi supaya mereka dapat menghabiskan lebih masa untuk beramah mesra dengan rakyat jelata. Menteri tidak perlu memberi alasan mereka perlukan segala kesempurnaan kerana mereka banyak kerja dan tidak cukup masa, kerana menghabiskan masa dekat dengan rakyat massa adalah kerja utama mereka.

4. Menteri tidak boleh membuat tuntutan claim keraian dihotel-hotel sebaliknya hanya claim di restoran biasa sahaja. Wang rakyat tidak boleh dihabiskan untuk tujuan keraian mewah.

5. Kunjungan ke kelab-kelab ekslusif tidak dibenarkan. Segala urusan rasmi hendaklah dilakukan di premis awam. Menteri digalakkan di lihat di kopitiam, warung dan restoran mamak.

Anggota kabinet perlu dielakkan dari sebarang kemewahan kerana anggota kabinet sentiasa perlu sedar bahawa setiap sen yang digunakan oleh mereka adalah hasil titik peluh rakyat. Mereka menjadi ahli kabinet bukan untuk merasai kemewahan tetapi untuk membawa kebaikan kepada negara.

Hanya dengan menerapkan sifat-sifat rakyat, barulah ianya sebuah kabinet rakyat.

Mungkin ini terlalu berat untuk dilaksanakan oleh BN kerana keikhlasan untuk berubah yang amat cetek.

Mungkin juga Anwar Ibrahim boleh berikrar bahawa, asas-asas sifat rakyat ini akan dilaksanakan oleh kabinetnya jika mereka dapat mengambil alih pentadbiran negara dalam PRU 13 kelak. Sementara itu, ciri-ciri ini digalakkan digunakan di Negeri-Negeri Pakatan Rakyat yang belum mengamalkannya. Saya tahu sebahagian besar ciri-ciri ini telah lama diamalkan oleh Pentadbiran PAS di Kelantan.

Kepada Yang Maha Kuasa Malaysia berserah.

`Thinner' case: Protesters want probe

NST, April 12 2009

KLANG: Some 100 people protested in front of the district police headquarters here yesterday over the case of a detainee who was said to have drunk thinner.

The group gathered at the station entrance about 10am shouting slogans against the police and carrying placards calling on the state police chief to resign over the incident.

Adi Anwar Mansor, 23, had been arrested for an alleged drug offence on Tuesday night and was sitting handcuffed in the investigation officer's room at the police headquarters when he allegedly consumed the thinner.

 adi


However, his family is claiming police had beaten him and it was impossible for him to consume the substance while handcuffed.

He was sent to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital and was warded in the intensive care unit before being sent to a regular ward.
Adi's mother, Jiknah Harun, 59, came to the police station yesterday and lodged a report saying she did not believe he drank the thinner voluntarily.

In her report, she said there was no reason for him to take the thinner and that he was married and had a 3-month-old son.

Jiknah said there were numerous injuries on her son's face and head. She did not believe the injuries were due to the struggle during the arrest.

Jiknah claimed he was beaten up in the police car and kicked on his back and head. A rubber hose was used to beat him.

Klang member of parliament Charles Santiago and Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam were also present but they were initially prevented from entering the police station. They were only allowed in much later.

Santiago later called for an independent body to investigate the incident and also called on Bukit Aman to handle the case as the allegations were serious.

He also called on the policemen involved to be suspended pending investigations.

District police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohamad Mat Yusop had earlier said Adi was arrested for alleged ganja trafficking in Jalan Kebun.

He said Adi was later taken to the police headquarters and was sitting on the floor while handcuffed in front.

"He was reportedly looking very depressed. He suddenly grabbed the thinner bottle and drank the contents. By the time the policemen realised it, it was too late as it took place in less than 10 seconds."

He said the thinner was used to clean the whiteboard in the room.