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Sunday, May 3, 2009

'Let my constituents elect new rep' - Malaysiakini

The following is the statement from ISA detainee and Kota Alam Shah state representative M Manoharan, which was released by his wife S Pushpaneela this afternoon.

I once again take this opportunity to thank the voters of Kota Alam Shah in having voted me in as Kota Alam Shah Adun (state representative). Despite having not met me in person, over 12,699 voters voted for me on March 8, 2008, with a majority of 7,184 votes over and above the BN candidate.

m manoharan visiting daughter in um hospital 130209 01I apologise to my constituents for being unable to serve personally due to my detention without trial under the ISA. I must thank my constituents for their patience over the past 14 months. The constituents’ patience and support has kept me going in Kamunting prison thus far.

But the fact remains that over the last 14 months, I have not been able to effectively serve the public, in particular the constituents of Kota Alam Shah.

I feel a sense of guilt of being unable to serve the voters who have voted me as their representative in the Selangor state assembly. I feel I am being unfair to my constituents thus far.

I now have to consider resigning as a Selangor state assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah paving the way for a by-election in order for my constituents to re-elect their new representative who will be better able to serve them, and who will be able to physically attend all the sittings of the Selangor state legislative assembly and matters arriving therefrom.

kota alam shah selangor state seat 300409I wish to convey to all, in particular to my constituents, that during the last 17 months of my detention in Kamunting prison, I tried my very best in appealing to the authorities and by way of applications to call for my freedom in order for me to effectively serve the public and my constituents in particular. I have exhausted all avenues for my release.

I have written a letter to ex-prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, three letters to now Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, eight letters to former home minister Syed Hamid Albar, and two letters to Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

Also my applications to the home minister for me to attend the state assembly sittings have all been rejected and I was forced to apply for leave from the home minister.

Further, I have also attended the sittings before the ISA advisory board and all three sittings of the panel members have rejected my pleas for my release.

The High Court of Malaya have dismissed my three habeas corpus application. The Federal Court have dismissed all the three appeals from the High Court.

So all the efforts have been to no avail.

I am very disappointed that despite the 12,699 voters of Kota Alam Shah having voted to show that I have never ever been a threat to national security, the home minister defied the voice of the people and the democratic voice of these voters.

My 17 months of detention thus far have been very painful, which has been made worse by me being in the state of helplessness in being unable to serve my constituents.

As such, I hereby wish to inform that I will announce my official decision after meeting my party chairman Karpal Singh, who will be meeting me in Kamunting prison on May 19, 2009.

M Manoharan
ISA detainee and Kota Alam Shah state assemblyperson

Photo above: Manoharan (far right) and wife Pushpaneela (far left) with their daughter, Shivaranjini.

Hospital 'hit by Sri Lankan army'

Deciphering Kugan's post-mortem reports - Malaysiakini

Helen Ang’s compelling column article
MCPX
‘Placating Kugan’s ghost’
raised a valid question about the bewildering amount of medical jargon used by Health Ministry director-general Dr Mohd Ismail Merican when the ministry presented the findings of its official inquiry into the cause of Kugan Ananthan’s death.

It is a matter of national importance, as well as personal importance for Kugan’s bereaved family, to try to shed some light into the dense fog generated by all the medical jargons.

The Bernama report of the Health Ministry’s announcement quoted the director-general (DG) as saying that Kugan, 22, died of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema), caused by inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis).

a kugan murdered assaulted indian youthThe inquiry asserted that there had been blunt force injuries to Kugan’s body but these “were insufficient to cause death directly” as there were no broken bones or ruptured internal organs.

The DG also mentioned that myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) is a well-recognised cause of sudden death in young people. These findings were based on the first post-mortem report by senior forensic pathologist Dr Abdul Karim Tajuddin from Serdang Hospital in Selangor.

The ministry’s panel also looked into the post-mortem report by Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) pathologist Dr Prashant N Samberker, who examined Kugan’s body at the request of Kugan’s family. He concluded that death had resulted from kidney (acute renal) failure.

The kidney failure was caused by rhabdomyolysis, Prashant reported, due to blunt trauma to the muscles. Rhabdomyolysis, or muscle breakdown, is a well-recognised result of trauma to the muscles, especially with prolonged or repeated injuries.

Rhabdomyolysis releases poisons from injured or dead muscles into the blood, and the poisons cause kidney failure. Kidney failure, in turn, can cause inflammation of the heart lining, and can cause pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs).

If the kidneys shut down, fluid cannot be removed from the body in the urine, and fluid can then accumulate in the lungs. Kugan was detained and interrogated for five days before he died - more than enough time for severe kidney failure and fluid retention to develop.

The Health Ministry did not contradict Prashant’s findings of acute renal (kidney) failure. The DG was quoted by Bernama as admitting that blunt force trauma could have led to acute renal failure, “aggravating” the acute myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), and resulting in acute pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs).

A jargon-free explanation

In short, the two post-mortem reports are not mutually exclusive. The information given to the media by the Health Ministry’s inquiry into Kugan’s death is consistent with the chain of events put forward by Prashant.

It is entirely consistent with the Health Ministry’s own findings that Kugan was beaten repeatedly until his muscles broke down and damaged his kidneys, which in turn led to his death from the retention of fluid in the lungs, and that the beatings caused death indirectly.

The Health Ministry DG would still be correct in his assertion that blunt trauma did not cause death “directly” because the beatings did not cause internal bleeding or broken bones. Does this mean that causing death “indirectly” would, somehow, be more acceptable?

Let us turn to the idea that Kugan’s so-called “sudden death” resulted from myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), while drinking a glass of water. The idea was not spelled out by the Health Ministry. The DG alluded to it when he pointed out that myocarditis is a common cause of sudden death in young people.

a kugan police assaulted indian youth autopsy report 030309This is indeed true, but even medical students will tell you that myocarditis does not develop over a few seconds – “suddenly” – like a heart attack, or myocardial infarction (which sounds a little like myocarditis, but is a different disease altogether, caused by blockage of blood supply to the heart muscle).

Myocarditis would not, therefore, cause someone’s lungs to fill instantaneously with fluid, so that he or she dies while drinking a glass of water. Myocarditis develops over hours to weeks, because of illnesses such as infections, poisons or other causes.

Even if myocarditis had developed, by some coincidence, before or during Kugan’s detention, surely he would have experienced symptoms, assuming the myocarditis had been severe enough to cause death. Such myocarditis symptoms include severe, progressive breathlessness.

To argue that the police officers interrogating him would not have noticed Kugan’s distress from such symptoms would be farcical. Therefore, even if Kugan had somehow, by some coincidence, developed myocarditis before or during his detention, it would have become obvious that Kugan needed medical attention.

The police officers would have been negligent by carrying on with his interrogation and detention, even if we accept this hypothesis.

Instead, the police initially said Kugan’s death resulted from choking on a glass of water. The explanation was not very sophisticated, but they did not have much access to medical jargons at the time.

Injuries show a pattern of abuse

To recap, and to try to clear the professional jargons: Kugan Ananthan, a previously healthy 22-year-old Malaysian, died in police custody, with evidence of having being beaten.

The beatings may not have caused death directly, but all medical textbooks lay out the chain of events proposed by the UMMC pathologist - from prolonged or repeated injuries, to muscle breakdown, to kidney failure, to fluid accumulation in the lungs, so that Kugan could not breathe.

The Health DG admitted kidney failure could have taken place due to the beatings, yet he insisted “myocarditis” was the cause of death. He stated with certainty that inflammation of the heart muscle, of unspecified cause, led to the retention of fluid in the lungs, and kidney failure might have only been an “aggravating” factor.

a kugan detention death funeral ummc to puchong 280109 19While Kugan’s family were still saying their prayers of mourning, another young Malaysian, Adi Anwar Mansor, 23, was allegedly beaten brutally until he lay unconscious in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Klang.

“He was kicked on his back, hit on the back of his head and hit with a rubber hose until he could not take the pain,” said Jiknah Harun, 49, the thin, ashen-faced mother of Adi Anwar.

The police claimed initially Adi Anwar’s injuries were due to a scuffle at the time of arrest, and he became unconscious after drinking paint thinner while under police custody.

adi anwar mansor thinner police 100409Again, the explanation was not very sophisticated. What “spin” can be put on the pictures of the lacerations, bruises and black eye, with the breathing tube sticking out of his mouth in ICU?

The pictures of Kugan and Adi Anwar’s injuries suggest both young Malaysians were beaten with a long, blunt object, leaving angry wheals and stripes.

We can only conclude these two young men were whipped and tortured.

Why torture young Malaysians?

Torture is traditionally performed to extract information or concessions. What plausible reason could be given for torture to have been used on these young men?

The police are under tremendous pressure to solve crimes and ensure convictions. The temptation would be tremendous, in order to achieve these goals and produce positive statistics, to extract confessions.

Many letters written to Malaysiakini and mainstream newspapers argue that Kugan was a “criminal”, and that violence applied to criminals protects society at large.

Kugan and Adi Anwar had not even been charged in court and had not been found guilty - yet. They were innocent until proven guilty. And even if Kugan had been convicted of car theft, would torture and death have been a just punishment?

Max Weber argued that the state only exists when it can uphold a claim on the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence.

Was the violence used against Kugan and Adi Anwar legitimate? Malaysia has never seen fit to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, unlike 123 out of 192 UN members.

Low-income people with limited education, like Adi Anwar’s parents and Kugan’s family, have spoken up for their children, and for all Malaysians. Why did the medical profession not speak out for Kugan’s family and Adi Anwar’s? The Bar Council has been vocal over these abuses, but the Malaysian Medical Association has remained quiet and docile.

a kugan detention death funeral ummc to puchong 280109 21The Royal Police Commission called, in 2005, for fast, transparent investigations into every single case of “custodial death”.

The commission urged the government to reform or repeal certain laws allowing arbitrary search and seizure, and remand without trial. It called for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). None of these recommendations has borne fruit.

What are we to do ourselves as educated Malaysians? Will we educated Malaysians stand up and fight for a better police force to protect our children? Will we improve political leadership so that we can one day have a ‘police service’ for our community, and not a ‘police force’ of state-sanctioned violence?

Do we Malaysians have the collective courage to reduce the huge income disparity in our lop-sided society so that crime does not continue to flourish among the poor? Do we have the will to compel our politicians to carry out all the Royal Police Commission’s recommendations, and ratify the UN Convention against Torture?

Until these questions are answered, we cannot blame the police alone for the miserable state of crime and punishment – and torture – in our society. Unless we respond, Kugan’s death will be forgotten, and the suffering of Kugan’s bereaved family and of Adi Anwar’s horrified parents, will be hidden away.

DAP: To avoid ‘unnecessary’ by-election, free Manoharan

By Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, May 3 – The DAP said a reluctant Barisan Nasional can avoid “unnecessary by-elections” by freeing all ISA detainees, including M. Manoharan who has threatened to resign his Kota Alam Shah seat because he still being held without trial.

Saying it is an election that DAP does not wish to have, party information chief Tony Pua today urged Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to immediately release Manoharan, who has openly said he will quit due to his current circumstances.

“However, if there is any by-election which is ‘unnecessary’ which causes ‘too much time, energy and ringgit’ to be spent and distracts the country from facing the current economic challenges, then this will be absolutely it, for the Barisan Nasional government itself has forced the resignation by exercising the ISA which allows for detention without trial,” Pua said in a statement.

“The DAP cannot but commiserate with the helplessness and dilemma felt by our fellow elected colleague. We also salute his selfless nature for his willingness to give up his position in the interest of his constituents,” he added.

Pua noted Manoharan’s release will help cool down the political temperature, agreeing with prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who had said there was too much “politicking in our country when right now we should focus on recovering our economy and taking care of the people’s interests and to move forward for the sake of our country and take Malaysia to a higher level of success”.

“Hence, it is of utmost urgency that Datuk Seri Hishammuddin releases Manoharan, the remaining Hindraf detainees as well as all other detainees from the Kamunting Detention Centre immediately to avoid having this ‘unnecessary’ by-election.

“Moreover, Datuk Seri Najib in his inaugural speech has already admitted the irrelevance of the ISA as it stands today as well as the need for the law to be reformed. Therefore, it would make no sense for the Home Affairs Minister to continue detaining Malaysians under a law which all parties have agreed is in need of an overhaul,” Pua said.

He said such a move will allow all parties to concentrate on reviving the flagging economy hit by the global financial crisis.

All media can cover Perak assembly sitting, says Speaker

IPOH, May 3 – All media organisations will be allowed to cover the proceedings of the Perak State Assembly sitting on May 7.

The decision was made by Perak State Assembly Speaker Speaker V. Sivakumar. In a statement issued here today, he said media organisations were required to submit written applications to the Speaker’s Office at Level 2, Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan from 9am tomorrow.

“I’ll issue the permission letters to the media organisations at my own discretion, as provided for under the Perak State Assembly Standing Order 84,” he added.

Sivakumar said he was issuing the ruling to safeguard the principles of democracy and freedom of the press.

“There is no reason to bar any media organisations from covering the sitting. The people have the right to know the antics of their elected representatives during the State Assembly sitting,” he added.

Prior to this, the Perak Information Department, in a letter dated April 30, stated that only 13 media organisations would be allowed to cover the sitting. They are RTM, BernamaTV, TV3, The Star, The New Straits Times, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia, China Press, Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, Tamil Nanban, Tamil Nesan and Bernama.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir is expected to call for a press conference tomorrow to clarify the matter. – Bernama

Deciphering Kugan’s post-mortem reports

Helen Ang’s compelling column article

‘Placating Kugan’s ghost’ raised a valid question about the bewildering amount of medical jargon used by Health Ministry director-general Dr Mohd Ismail Merican when the ministry presented the findings of its official inquiry into the cause of Kugan Ananthan’s death.

It is a matter of national importance, as well as personal importance for Kugan’s bereaved family, to try to shed some light into the dense fog generated by all the medical jargons.

The Bernama report of the Health Ministry’s announcement quoted the director-general (DG) as saying that Kugan, 22, died of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema), caused by inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis).

The inquiry asserted that there had been blunt force injuries to Kugan’s body but these “were insufficient to cause death directly” as there were no broken bones or ruptured internal organs.

The DG also mentioned that myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) is a well-recognised cause of sudden death in young people. These findings were based on the first post-mortem report by senior forensic pathologist Dr Abdul Karim Tajuddin from Serdang Hospital in Selangor.

The ministry’s panel also looked into the post-mortem report by Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) pathologist Dr Prashant N Samberker, who examined Kugan’s body at the request of Kugan’s family. He concluded that death had resulted from kidney (acute renal) failure.

The kidney failure was caused by rhabdomyolysis, Prashant reported, due to blunt trauma to the muscles. Rhabdomyolysis, or muscle breakdown, is a well-recognised result of trauma to the muscles, especially with prolonged or repeated injuries.

Rhabdomyolysis releases poisons from injured or dead muscles into the blood, and the poisons cause kidney failure. Kidney failure, in turn, can cause inflammation of the heart lining, and can cause pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs).

If the kidneys shut down, fluid cannot be removed from the body in the urine, and fluid can then accumulate in the lungs. Kugan was detained and interrogated for five days before he died - more than enough time for severe kidney failure and fluid retention to develop.

The Health Ministry did not contradict Prashant’s findings of acute renal (kidney) failure. The DG was quoted by Bernama as admitting that blunt force trauma could have led to acute renal failure, “aggravating” the acute myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), and resulting in acute pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs).

A jargon-free explanation

In short, the two post-mortem reports are not mutually exclusive. The information given to the media by the Health Ministry’s inquiry into Kugan’s death is consistent with the chain of events put forward by Prashant.

It is entirely consistent with the Health Ministry’s own findings that Kugan was beaten repeatedly until his muscles broke down and damaged his kidneys, which in turn led to his death from the retention of fluid in the lungs, and that the beatings caused death indirectly.

The Health Ministry DG would still be correct in his assertion that blunt trauma did not cause death “directly” because the beatings did not cause internal bleeding or broken bones. Does this mean that causing death “indirectly” would, somehow, be more acceptable?

Let us turn to the idea that Kugan’s so-called “sudden death” resulted from myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), while drinking a glass of water. The idea was not spelled out by the Health Ministry. The DG alluded to it when he pointed out that myocarditis is a common cause of sudden death in young people.

This is indeed true, but even medical students will tell you that myocarditis does not develop over a few seconds – “suddenly” – like a heart attack, or myocardial infarction (which sounds a little like myocarditis, but is a different disease altogether, caused by blockage of blood supply to the heart muscle).

Myocarditis would not, therefore, cause someone’s lungs to fill instantaneously with fluid, so that he or she dies while drinking a glass of water. Myocarditis develops over hours to weeks, because of illnesses such as infections, poisons or other causes.

Even if myocarditis had developed, by some coincidence, before or during Kugan’s detention, surely he would have experienced symptoms, assuming the myocarditis had been severe enough to cause death. Such myocarditis symptoms include severe, progressive breathlessness.

To argue that the police officers interrogating him would not have noticed Kugan’s distress from such symptoms would be farcical. Therefore, even if Kugan had somehow, by some coincidence, developed myocarditis before or during his detention, it would have become obvious that Kugan needed medical attention.

The police officers would have been negligent by carrying on with his interrogation and detention, even if we accept this hypothesis.

Instead, the police initially said Kugan’s death resulted from choking on a glass of water. The explanation was not very sophisticated, but they did not have much access to medical jargons at the time.

Injuries show a pattern of abuse

To recap, and to try to clear the professional jargons: Kugan Ananthan, a previously healthy 22-year-old Malaysian, died in police custody, with evidence of having being beaten.

The beatings may not have caused death directly, but all medical textbooks lay out the chain of events proposed by the UMMC pathologist - from prolonged or repeated injuries, to muscle breakdown, to kidney failure, to fluid accumulation in the lungs, so that Kugan could not breathe.

The Health DG admitted kidney failure could have taken place due to the beatings, yet he insisted “myocarditis” was the cause of death. He stated with certainty that inflammation of the heart muscle, of unspecified cause, led to the retention of fluid in the lungs, and kidney failure might have only been an “aggravating” factor.

While Kugan’s family were still saying their prayers of mourning, another young Malaysian, Adi Anwar Mansor, 23, was allegedly beaten brutally until he lay unconscious in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Klang.

“He was kicked on his back, hit on the back of his head and hit with a rubber hose until he could not take the pain,” said Jiknah Harun, 49, the thin, ashen-faced mother of Adi Anwar.

The police claimed initially Adi Anwar’s injuries were due to a scuffle at the time of arrest, and he became unconscious after drinking paint thinner while under police custody.

Again, the explanation was not very sophisticated. What “spin” can be put on the pictures of the lacerations, bruises and black eye, with the breathing tube sticking out of his mouth in ICU?

The pictures of Kugan and Adi Anwar’s injuries suggest both young Malaysians were beaten with a long, blunt object, leaving angry wheals and stripes.

We can only conclude these two young men were whipped and tortured.

Why torture young Malaysians?

Torture is traditionally performed to extract information or concessions. What plausible reason could be given for torture to have been used on these young men?

The police are under tremendous pressure to solve crimes and ensure convictions. The temptation would be tremendous, in order to achieve these goals and produce positive statistics, to extract confessions.

Many letters written to Malaysiakini and mainstream newspapers argue that Kugan was a “criminal”, and that violence applied to criminals protects society at large.

Kugan and Adi Anwar had not even been charged in court and had not been found guilty - yet. They were innocent until proven guilty. And even if Kugan had been convicted of car theft, would torture and death have been a just punishment?

Max Weber argued that the state only exists when it can uphold a claim on the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence.

Was the violence used against Kugan and Adi Anwar legitimate? Malaysia has never seen fit to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, unlike 123 out of 192 UN members.

Low-income people with limited education, like Adi Anwar’s parents and Kugan’s family, have spoken up for their children, and for all Malaysians. Why did the medical profession not speak out for Kugan’s family and Adi Anwar’s? The Bar Council has been vocal over these abuses, but the Malaysian Medical Association has remained quiet and docile.

The Royal Police Commission called, in 2005, for fast, transparent investigations into every single case of “custodial death”.

The commission urged the government to reform or repeal certain laws allowing arbitrary search and seizure, and remand without trial. It called for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). None of these recommendations has borne fruit.

What are we to do ourselves as educated Malaysians? Will we educated Malaysians stand up and fight for a better police force to protect our children? Will we improve political leadership so that we can one day have a ‘police service’ for our community, and not a ‘police force’ of state-sanctioned violence?

Do we Malaysians have the collective courage to reduce the huge income disparity in our lop-sided society so that crime does not continue to flourish among the poor? Do we have the will to compel our politicians to carry out all the Royal Police Commission’s recommendations, and ratify the UN Convention against Torture?

Until these questions are answered, we cannot blame the police alone for the miserable state of crime and punishment – and torture – in our society. Unless we respond, Kugan’s death will be forgotten, and the suffering of Kugan’s bereaved family and of Adi Anwar’s horrified parents, will be hidden away.


JOHAN GANONG is a medical doctor at a public hospital. Mkini

Liow Tiong Lai’s IQ is highly suspect when he could not understand simple English

By Lim Kit Siang,

The IQ of the Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who is MCA Vice President and Penang MCA State chief, is highly suspect when he could not understand simple English.

In Georgetown yesterday, Liow challenged me to clearly state my stand on the Cabinet’s recent decision that minors follow the common religion of their parents at the time of marriage when one spouse opts to convert.

He even made the statement that I am at odds with the DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh over the matter on the ground that Karpal had clearly stated his support for the Cabinet’s decision, implying that I had opposed the Cabinet decision.

I presume that before he issued such a challenge, Liow would have combed through my blog and he could not find any statement from me on the Cabinet decision, let alone support for it.

If so, then Liow must have a very low IQ as not to understand what I have blogged –to be confused by what should be crystal-clear in my statements.

I would advise Liow to return to my blog to go through the various statements and if he still could not find my expression of support for the Cabinet decision, I offer to give Liow a free tutorial to understand basic English and to take him through my statements to show him how he had committed the colossal blunder of not understanding simple English.

My grouse with the Cabinet is not over the decision it had made, which is highly commendable although after five years of procrastination since the Everest mountaineer Moorthy conversion controversy, but the Cabinet’s failure to send out a clear signal that its decision on the “common religion” is not a meaningless one.

For instance, it is 12 days since the Cabinet decision on April 22 on the “common religion” as well as for the return of her year-old baby daughter, Prasana Diksa to Ipoh kindergarten teacher Indira Ghandhi, the latest case of controversial unilateral and illegal Islamic conversion of underaged children, but Indira is still pining for her baby daughter who was snatched from her for more than a month by her estranged husband who had converted to Islam.

What Liow Tiong Lai should “clearly explain” is why the MCA, like Gerakan, is playing the double game of supporting the Cabinet’s “common religion” at the national level but not at the Perak state level!

The reason why Indira has not been able to get back her year-old daughter from her estranged husband K. Pathmanathan, now known as Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, is because the administration of usurper Perak Mentri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir, supported by Perak Barisan Nasional component parties like MCA, Gerakan and MIC, is not fully behind the Cabinet decision.

In fact, the Zambry administration is supporting Pathmanathan in not returning Prasana to Indira’s custody.

Can Liow explain why the Perak MCA leaders are allowed to go against the Cabinet decision by supporting the usurper Zambry’s administration on the Indira case?

Is the article in one MCA newspaper today saying that there is nothing wrong with the MCA playing such a double game – at the national level supporting the Cabinet decision while at the Perak state level supporting the usurper Zambry administration in adopting an opposite stance – the official stand of the MCA leadership?

I have stated that the three Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PAS and PKR have not yet been able to reach a common stand on the Cabinet decision on the “common religion”.

There is however a consensus that in the Indira Ghandi case, the custody of year-old baby daughter Prasana should be restored to the mother.

Pakatan Rakyat parties do not hide our differences when we disagree with each other. DAP will continue to discuss with PAS and PKR leaders to try to reach a common understanding on the Cabinet decision on “common religion”, but the DAP will never play the MCA double game of national leaders supporting the Cabinet decision at the national level while secretly the Perak MCA state leaders do the exact opposite.

Release Manoharan, Uthayakumar, Vasanthakumar under ISA or “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” is just a joke

By Lim Kit Siang,

DAP Selangor State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah M. Manoharan is considering resigning his seat as he feels guilty at being unable to serve his voters from Kamunting Detention Centre, where he had been incarcerated for the past 17 months.

I can understand Manoharan’s deep frustrations, helplessness and burning sense of injustice, as he is a victim of the draconian and tyrannical Internal Security Act and deprived of his personal liberty not for any crime he had committed but for his mission to uplift the Indians from the “new underclass” in Malaysia to take their rightful and equal place under the Malaysian sun.

Furthermore, he is prevented from serving the voters of Kota Alam Shah who had elected him as their State Assemblyman in the past 14 months, although he had tried and exhausted all avenues to seek release from ISA detention, making three habeas corpus applications, barrage of letters to the powers-that-be (to former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, thrice to now Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and eigth times to former Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, two letters to the Sultan of Selangor), as well as attending the meetings of the ISA advisory board – all to no purpose.

When he became Prime Minister exactly a month ago, he announced to the nation that he would start on a new page on the country’s draconian laws, particularly the ISA. Why were only two of the five Hindraf leaders, R. Kenghadharan and V. Ganabatirau released, and under the most restrictive and undemocratic conditions?

Clearly, the release of Kenghadharan and Ganabatirau was not because there was a change of heart on the part of the Prime Minister that the grievances raised by Hindraf were legitimate and long-outstanding, and that draconian laws like the ISA should be phased out, but mere public relations gambits to give the new Prime Minister a good public image.

I call on Najib to immediately and unconditionally release the three Hindraf leaders, Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar and T. Vasanthakumar under ISA detention or his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” will be swiftly be reduced to a joke.

What credibility, for instance, can Najib’s slogan of “1Malaysia. People First” command among the marginalised Indian community when their spokesmen, the three Hindraf leaders, continue to be in unjust and wrongful detention under the Internal Security Act?

Equally important, what have been done in the past 14 months since the political tsunami of the March 8 general election last year by the Barisan Nasional federal government to address the long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious grievances of the Indian community which had given birth to the remarkable Makkal Sakti phenomenon?

In the past 14 months, Pakatan Rakyat state governments scored new breakthroughs for the Malaysian Indians when an Indian was appointed Deputy Chief Minister in Penang and another Indian made the Speaker in Perak – appointments which the MIC dared not even dream of asking in 52 years of “power sharing” since Merdeka, despite claiming to be the third most important political party in the Barisan Nasional!

Today’s MIC is a great shame and sham. In Perak, for instance, MIC could only think of how to benefit from the breakthrough achieved by Pakatan Rakyat state government, which is why the only thing which concerns Perak MIC now is to get former MIC Sungkai assemblyman Datuk R. Ganesan to be the new Perak State Assembly Speaker to replace V. Sivakumar.

Perak MIC also dare not speak up and dissociate itself from the administration of usurper Perak Mentri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir and his exco which is going against the Cabinet ruling on the unilateral Islamic conversion of Indira Ghandi’s three children, even preventing Indira getting back her year-old baby daughter Prasana Diksa despite the Ipoh High Court interim custody order in favour of the mother.

If the MIC is a principled and honourable political party, its leaders should take a courageous political stand that the most honourable solution to resolve the Perak constitutional and political crisis is to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and to hold new state-wide general election.

But then, MIC leaders in Perak and Malaysia know that all the MIC candidates in such a new general election will be totally wiped out!

Manoharan has said that he will decide whether to resign as the Kota Alam Shah Assemblyman after his meeting with DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh on May 19.

Monoharan must weigh all the pros and cons of the issue, in particular to balance his deep sense of frustration with the public hopes and expectations when the voters elected him knowing that he was and will continue under incarceration, when making the decision as to whether there is going to be a seventh by-election after the March general election last year.

I assure S. Pushpaneela that I will give full support whatever final decision Manoharan takes on whether to resign from the Selangor State Assembly.

[Speech (2) by at the DAP Public Forum at Hotel Excelsior, Ipoh on Saturday, 2nd May 2009]

Political, social leaders say Malaysia is on the wrong track

The Malaysian Insider
By Neville Spykerman

PETALING JAYA, May 2 — Is Malaysia going down the same road of Pakistan which is already considered a failed state by the world community?

Yes, according to political economist Charles Santiago, who argues the country has all the underpinning characteristics of a failed state.
Speaking at a debate entitled “Quo Vadis Malaysia” yesterday, he said the nation is facing a crisis of confidence not only politically but ecologically and economically.

“We have the largest bureaucracy in Southeast Asia but we cannot say very much for its delivery.”

The first-term Member of Parliament for Klang also lashed out at local councils which he described as a hotbed of corruption with a high level of racism.

Similarly the education system has failed to unite Malaysians and the fact that vernacular schools are flourishing indicates non-Malay parents have no confidence in national schools, he said.

He said the issue of race and religion is becoming more contentious and this can be seen with the issue of child conversion and custody disputes involving Muslim converts and their former spouses.

He added some ministers were appointed just because they can speak English and this indicates the quality of the government as a whole.

“While the ministers are bad, their deputies are worse when it comes to taking questions in Parliament, that is if they even bother to show up.”

Economically, Malaysia’s two stimulus plans have been late on arrival.

The first plan was unveiled in November last year but the first 50 per cent of the RM7 billion that was promised only reached ministries in the third week of January.

In comparison, Santiago said Australia spent A$10 billion between Dec 2 and Christmas 2008 to spike the economy by 1.2 per cent in order to cushion the downturn this year.

“I just don’t see the commitment on the part of the government to counter the crisis.”

He claimed RM25 billion out if the RM60 billion in the second stimulus package announced in March is to bail out failed businesses and only RM2 billion has been allocated to retrain workers.

“Zero will be spent on workers who lose their jobs.”

He said the numbers of workers who have lost their jobs being reported is a far cry from the true figure.

The statistics indicate 68,000 have been laid off so far but these do not include factories which outsource their labour and who merely have to tell the outsourcing company to stop sending workers.

Santiago said fortunately for the country, the people are waking up and forcing a two-party system which is the way forward.

If the people themselves don’t make a change, then they cannot blame the government.

“People’s prayers and politics must go together in order to make the change.”

PAS MP Khalid Samad from Shah Alam said the Islamic party was faced with a great challenge in reversing Umno’s influence over Malays.

“Umno has given the impression they’re the champion of the Malays and defenders of Islam. Any deviation from this could spell the demise of the race.”

Worse still, Malays are taught to sacrifice their principles and to justify wrongs when they are done for the sake of their race.

However since 1990, PAS has been making strides to cooperate with other opposition parties and is making the party more relevant to both Malays and non-Malays.

“We want to re-educate Muslims that Umno is a terrible representation of Islam.”

PAS is doing this by returning to the basic inseparable principles of fear of God and justice.

Khalid said there were no shortcuts to building a better Malaysia.

Lawyer and blogger Haris Ibrahim said the March 8 political tsunami was not a popular vote for Pakatan Rakyat but a vote of disgust and dissent against Barisan Nasional.

He said the pendulum will swing back to BN in the 13th general election if Pakatan Rakyat does not buck up.

Fortunately for the country, a third force is emerging, comprising people who are demanding and prepared to complain.

He said unlike before the middle class was now attending candlelight vigils to voice their dissent and there is greater realisation that the country is on the wrong track.

“We have turned the other cheek for too long.”

He said the Dayaks in Sabah and Sarawak are getting by with as little as RM250 a month while the country has been producing oil since 1974.

Harris said the way forward is for decent Malaysians to come together to demand for change, educating the young and working towards justice for all.

“Malaysia does not need armchair critics but people who are willing to tell politicians they are not good enough and vote for change.”

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, who moderated the debate held at St Francis Xavier Church in Jalan Gasing, pointed out that between four million and five million eligible voters did not vote in the last general election.

“We deserve the government we get.”

He added organisers of the debate had tried their level best to get panellists from BN but to no avail.

“We tried and tried and tried but they are very shy.”

CIJ, WAMI: Najib’s credibility in media freedom shattered

From CIJ Website

Any credibility Prime Minister Najib Razak may have had when he called for ‘embracing’ the new media and ‘promoting a free environment’ was shattered on the day he announced his cabinet line-up, say the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Writers for Media Independence (WAMI) today.

Only six days into his primeministership, an online media, merdekareview.com has been barred from covering the announcement of Najib’s new Cabinet line-up. It has recently published commentaries criticizing pro-Najib stories in the best-selling Chinese press, Sin Chew Jit Poh.

CIJ and WAMI warn that the PM’s move in centralising the governance of broadcast and Internet media – under the purview of the Ministry of Information, Communication, Art and Literature might simply mean more news censorship and tighter control for those media.

Already, the appointment of Hishammudin Hussien as Home Minister has raised doubts about whether more space for dialogue is possible. The former UMNO Youth Chief has on the record both vocally supported the Internal Security Act and sparked ethno-nationalist controversies with his incendiary language.

To salvage his credibility in promoting openness, CIJ and WAMI call upon the PM to announce both a plan and a timetable to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee tasked with reviewing all media laws. This parliamentary panel would ensure broad-based public consultation and allow real reform.

On 9 April, merdekareview.com reporter Wong Shu Qi and photographer Saw Siow Feng were denied entry into the PM’s department to cover the Cabinet line-up announcement. One of Najib’s aides later informed them that the instructions were directly from the PM office. When contacted by CIJ on 10 April, Editor of the Chinese news portal, Chang Teck Peng said he has yet to receive any explanation about why his organization was targeted.

CIJ and WAMI maintain that barring journalists from reporting violates principles of media freedom. Any media outlet must be allowed to cover all official events, regardless of its owner’s political affiliation or style of reporting.

CIJ and WAMI call upon both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to show their commitment for media freedom. This ban by the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as the Pakatan Rakyat Penang Government’s earlier ban of the English daily New Straits Times from its official functions, demonstrates further that both are willing only to pay lip service to the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and information.

Issued by

Wong Chin Huat

Chairman
Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)

and

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

Perutusan Hari Kebebasan Akhbar

Pincanglah demokrasi sekiranya salah satu dari sendi utamanya iaitu kebebasan akhbar dan hak untuk bersuara di cengkam atau dikawal oleh penguasa. Lebih mengecewakan kita adanya sesegelintir dari pengusaha dan pengarang akhbar menggadaikan prinsip demi keuntungan peribadi lalu membiarkan diri dikawal pemerintah.

Namun kita menyaksikan di mana-mana di dunia ini pasti ada mereka yang berani untuk tetap teguh melawan segala bentuk halangan ciptaan pemerintah bagi menyekat hak untuk menyalurkan maklumat tepat kepada rakyat. Kepada editor, jurugambar, wartawan serta komuniti akhbar pemberani ini kita ucapkan setinggi-tinggi penghargaan dan salut kerana jasa juga pengorbanan mereka.

Hari ini Pakatan Rakyat ingin mengulangi iltizam kami terhadap kebebasan akhbar, kebebasan bersuara dan menyalurkan maklumat yang tepat kepada rakyat.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Sri Lanka struggle on - 02 May 09

Sri Lanka denies shelling hospital

Pictures of the hospital were posted on TamilNet, a pro-Tamil website

Sri Lanka's military has denied that it shelled a makeshift hospital in a Tamil Tiger-held conflict zone in the northeast of the country, in which a hospital official said at least 67 people died.

Unconfirmed reports by TamilNet, a pro-Tamil website, said that the hospital in Mullivaikal was hit by artillery shells fired by government forces on Saturday.

Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, Sri Lanka's military spokesman, said that the claims were the latest in a series of "exaggerated stories" by those sympathetic to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

"There is no shelling taking place; we have never shelled this place and it happened in an area where the LTTE [are in control]," he told Al Jazeera.

"They must take the full responsibility for the people who were killed or injured."

'Scores hurt'

Dr Thurairajah Varatharajah, a medical official working at the hospital, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that, in addition to the fatalities, at least 87 people had been hurt in the attack.

He said that the hospital had also been hit the day before.

"Yesterday there [were] shell attacks on the hospital ... and today morning there [were] two attacks, mainly in front of the hospital and other places as well.

"Today, shells fell [on two occasions on] the hospital area, totalling 60 to 70 persons dead; 87 persons got [injured]."

"Most of these people already had injuries and were staying in the hospital."

Varatharajah said that people were still arriving for treatment, but that supplies were low and some staff had left, making providing medical care difficult.

It is impossible to independently verify reports from the army or LTTE due to journalists and international organisations being barred from the conflict zone.

UN claims

The alleged incident came a day after the United Nations released satellite imagery purportedly showing security forces shelling a civilian area.

The images showed craters which were formed inside the war zone between February 15 and April 19, the day before the army breached the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) defences and civilians started to pour out.

"The imagery is fairly clear and shows the time, so anybody can study and compare them," Einer Bjorge, head of the mapping unit at Unosat (the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme), told Al Jazeera.

He said the pattern of the craters would have required air power.

'No viability'

The allegations were denied by the defence ministry who said that they had "no scientific viability".

Sri Lanka's president also said that no heavy weapons were being used against the LTTE.

"If you are not willing to accept the fact that we are not using heavy weapons, I really can't help it," Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan president, said.

"We are not using heavy weapons. When we say no, it means no. If we say we are doing something, we do it. We do exactly what we say, without confusion," he said.

Rajapaksa said that the military is doing all it can to prevent civilian casualties.

The government said on Saturday that they had killed 14 LTTE fighters in the latest battles.

The military also released video footage of navy patrol boats attacking what it said were LTTE vessels.

Amnesty call

Some sources say the hospital was shelled on both Friday and Saturday [TamilNet]
The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), a pro-government party, called for Rajapakse to name an international agency to which LTTE fighters can hand over their weapons in exchange for an amnesty.

The idea was proposed as a way to safeguard bystanders in the conflict area.

Up to 50,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in the 5km-long coastal war zone, according to the UN, although the government says the figure is about 20,000.

International pressure on the government has grown recently to enforce a ceasefire to ensure the safety of the civilians trapped in the region.

Both the French and British foreign ministers on Wednesday asserted the need for a truce.

The LTTE have been fighting a 23-year secessionist war against the government for a homeland in the northeast for the ethnic-minority Tamils.

ISA detainee Manoharan mulls resignation - Malaysiakini

Hindraf legal advisor M Manoharan, who is under ISA detention, has today confirmed that he is considering quitting his Selangor state seat of Kota Alam Shah.
MCPX

manoharan and kota alam shah state seat selangorIn a statement issued by his wife S Pushpaneela, the ISA detainee said he regretted his inability to effectively serve his constituents over the past 14 months given his incarceration at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, Perak.

“I feel a sense of guilt of being unable to serve the voters who have voted me as their respresentative in the Selangor state assembly. I feel I am being unfair to my constituents thus far,” he said.

“I now have to consider resigning as a Selangor state assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah paving the way for a by-election in order for my constituents to re-elect their new representative who will be better able to serve them and who will be able to physically attend all the sittings of the Selangor state legislative assembly and matters arriving there from.”

Pushpaneela, who met her husband in Kamunting today, came out from the detention camp at around 4.15 pm.

Two days ago Malaysiakini reported that the detained assemblyperson was considering giving up his seat due to his frustration of not being able to physically serve his constituents, quoting an unnamed close source.

Contested under the DAP ticket

Manoharan was detained under the ISA on Dec 13, 2007 along with four other top Hindraf leaders.

He then contested under the DAP ticket for the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor while in custody and defeated BN-Gerakan's Ching Su Chen by 7,184 votes.

karpal singhHowever, Manoharan will only make the official decision after a meeting with DAP chairperson Karpal Singh on May 19 at the Kamunting Detention Camp.

According to the statement read out by Pushpaneela via telephone with Malaysiakini, her husband has “exhausted all avenues” to seek his release and all the efforts have been in vain.

“I have written a letter to former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, three letters to now Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, eight letters to former home minister Syed Hamid Albar, and two letters to Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (to gain my freedom),” said Manoharan.

hindraf isa detainee r kenghadharan and v ganabatirau released 060409Apart from that, he added, his applications to attend the state assembly sittings have all been rejected by the Home Ministry.

“(Instead), I was forced to apply for leave from the ministry,” he said.

Furthermore, Manoharan also expressed his frustration over the ISA advisory board and its panel members “who have all rejected my pleas for my release”.

“The High Court has dismissed my three habeas corpus application and the Federal Court have dismissed all the three appeals from the High Court.

“So all the efforts (I have made) have been to no avail. I am very disappointed that this had happened despite the 12,699 voters of Kota Alam Shah having voted to show that I have never ever been a threat to national security.

“The home minister defied the voice of the people and the democratic voice of the 12,699 voters,” he said.

Wife: It's only so much I can do

Between being the breadwinner of her family and replacing Manoharan as the state assemblyperson, Pushpaneela, however, conceded that her contributions in the constituency is still unsatisfactory.

manoharan wife hindraf deepavali message 281008 s pushpaneela 2Even though she had acted on behalf of her husband for the past 14 months, she said that she still “can’t bring the constituents grievances to the state assembly”.

“I can do as much as I can in the constituency, but I cannot attend the state assembly sitting. As a state representative, you need to bring their grievances to the august House but these people have been denied (this),” she said.

Despite the hardest decision that her husband has to make, the mother of four children however said that Manoharan was “in good spirit”.

“But he just feels very guilty ... the people only saw his posters and not him in person. He tried his best to be out (of prison) to serve them ... but he can’t even attend the assembly sitting,” said Puspaneela.

Manoharan's threat to quit has put Najib on the back foot.

The prime minister has lambasted the opposition for forcing by-elections for no good reasons after Penanti assembyperson Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin resigned from his Penang state seat last month.

In this case, Manoharan is arguing that he has compelling and legitimate reasons to quit, unless of course, Najib releases him from ISA detention.

The Kota Alam Shah seat is one of the three seats which falls under the Klang constituency, also held by DAP. It covers Klang town and surrounding areas.

Conversion row: MCA ticks off the Lims

A MCA leader fired a salvo at DAP’s father-and-son team for failing to criticise Islamic ally PAS over the cabinet policy to ban parents from secretly converting children in a case that has strained race relations.
MCPX

MCA vice-president Liow Tiong Lai said both DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and his son, DAP secretary-general Guan Eng, appeared to have nothing to say about PAS information chief Mahfuz Omar’s criticism of the cabinet’s common religion ruling.

He pointed out that unlike DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh, both father and son have failed to make clear their stand on the decision.

Liow added that DAP seems to have two opinions on the issue – Karpal’s and the Lims’.

“The cabinet decision was a way to resolve the long outstanding problem in accordance with the multiracial aspirations of the country

“MCA is disappointed that both Lims did not take any stand on the matter,” said the Penang MCA chief after chairing a party state liaison committee meeting in Georgetown today.

Mahfuz has slammed last month’s cabinet ruling that children of divorced parents should be raised in the religion of the time of their marriage should one of them were to later convert to another religion.

Karpal has hit back at Mahfuz for his “unjustified attack on the cabinet decision”. He said the ruling was pragmatic, reasonable and in accordance with the considerations of justice.

“Non-Muslims who embrace Islam should not do so for the purpose of defeating the rights of their non-Muslim spouse, or in any way affect the rights of children born during their marriage,” said Karpal.

The DAP chairperson however added that the aspect to be considered was whether the cabinet’s decision, which was an executive act, could override or supersede the Federal Court.

Muslim convert puts cabinet order to test

The Federal Court had on Dec 27, 2007 ruled that the husband of R Subashini, T Saravanan, a Muslim convert, had the right to convert his child - who was under 18 - to Islam, without the agreement from his non-Muslim spouse.

The cabinet decision two weeks ago is thus set to be tested by the highest court of the land if the current laws and enactments are not amended to provide clear interpretation on matters related to such conversion cases, according to those in the legal circles.

The cabinet move is seen by many as a move to alleviate the frustration of affected parents when their children had been converted to another religion without their knowledge and consent.

A judicial test on the cabinet ruling is already on the cards as a Muslim convert has challenged its decision in court.

In the latest religious dispute to erupt, 35-year-old kindergarten teacher Indira Gandhi from Ipoh may lose custody to her children after her estranged husband, Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, formerly K Patmanathan, converted them - aged 12, 11 and one - without her knowledge.

"This (cabinet) ruling contradicts the federal constitution, it is illegal and not applicable on Muslims, including myself and my children," the Muslim convert said in a court document filed on April 28 opposing the cabinet order.

Political, social leaders say Malaysia is on the wrong track

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, May 2 — Is Malaysia going down the same road of Pakistan which is already considered a failed state by the world community?

Yes, according to political economist Charles Santiago, who argues the country has all the underpinning characteristics of a failed state.

Speaking at a debate entitled “Quo Vadis Malaysia” yesterday, he said the nation is facing a crisis of confidence not only politically but ecologically and economically.

“We have the largest bureaucracy in Southeast Asia but we cannot say very much for its delivery.”

The first-term Member of Parliament for Klang also lashed out at local councils which he described as a hotbed of corruption with a high level of racism.

Similarly the education system has failed to unite Malaysians and the fact that vernacular schools are flourishing indicates non-Malay parents have no confidence in national schools, he said.

He said the issue of race and religion is becoming more contentious and this can be seen with the issue of child conversion and custody disputes involving Muslim converts and their former spouses.

He added some ministers were appointed just because they can speak English and this indicates the quality of the government as a whole.

“While the ministers are bad, their deputies are worse when it comes to taking questions in Parliament, that is if they even bother to show up.”

Economically, Malaysia’s two stimulus plans have been late on arrival.

The first plan was unveiled in November last year but the first 50 per cent of the RM7 billion that was promised only reached ministries in the third week of January.

In comparison, Santiago said Australia spent A$10 billion between Dec 2 and Christmas 2008 to spike the economy by 1.2 per cent in order to cushion the downturn this year.

“I just don’t see the commitment on the part of the government to counter the crisis.”

He claimed RM25 billion out if the RM60 billion in the second stimulus package announced in March is to bail out failed businesses and only RM2 billion has been allocated to retrain workers.

“Zero will be spent on workers who lose their jobs.”

He said the numbers of workers who have lost their jobs being reported is a far cry from the true figure.

The statistics indicate 68,000 have been laid off so far but these do not include factories which outsource their labour and who merely have to tell the outsourcing company to stop sending workers.

Santiago said fortunately for the country, the people are waking up and forcing a two-party system which is the way forward.

If the people themselves don’t make a change, then they cannot blame the government.

“People’s prayers and politics must go together in order to make the change.”

PAS MP Khalid Samad from Shah Alam said the Islamic party was faced with a great challenge in reversing Umno’s influence over Malays.

“Umno has given the impression they’re the champion of the Malays and defenders of Islam. Any deviation from this could spell the demise of the race.”

Worse still, Malays are taught to sacrifice their principles and to justify wrongs when they are done for the sake of their race.

However since 1990, PAS has been making strides to cooperate with other opposition parties and is making the party more relevant to both Malays and non-Malays.

“We want to re-educate Muslims that Umno is a terrible representation of Islam.”

PAS is doing this by returning to the basic inseparable principles of fear of God and justice.

Khalid said there were no shortcuts to building a better Malaysia.

Lawyer and blogger Haris Ibrahim said the March 8 political tsunami was not a popular vote for Pakatan Rakyat but a vote of disgust and dissent against Barisan Nasional.

He said the pendulum will swing back to BN in the 13th general election if Pakatan Rakyat does not buck up.

Fortunately for the country, a third force is emerging, comprising people who are demanding and prepared to complain.

He said unlike before the middle class was now attending candlelight vigils to voice their dissent and there is greater realisation that the country is on the wrong track.

“We have turned the other cheek for too long.”

He said the Dayaks in Sabah and Sarawak are getting by with as little as RM250 a month while the country has been producing oil since 1974.

Harris said the way forward is for decent Malaysians to come together to demand for change, educating the young and working towards justice for all.

“Malaysia does not need armchair critics but people who are willing to tell politicians they are not good enough and vote for change.”

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, who moderated the debate held at St Francis Xavier Church in Jalan Gasing, pointed out that between four million and five million eligible voters did not vote in the last general election.

“We deserve the government we get.”

He added organisers of the debate had tried their level best to get panellists from BN but to no avail.

“We tried and tried and tried but they are very sh

Manoharan likely to quit Kota Alam Shah on May 19

By Baradan Kuppusamy - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan, who won the seat while under ISA detention, is most likely to resign on May 19 as he is not free yet to serve his constituents.

While his impending resignation could lead to a by-election for political parties fatigued with politicking, Manoharan is more frustrated with his DAP colleagues for allegedly not working hard enough to free him from detention.

His family finances have also hit rock bottom, close friends said, after 17 months being detained without trial for his involvement in the now outlawed Hindraf.

Manoharan had a lucrative legal practice and was a sought after lawyer both by the poor and the rich.

However, his wife S. Pushpaneela told The Malaysian Insider a formal decision would only be made after Manoharan meets with lawyer and DAP national chairman Karpal Singh on May 19 at the Kamunting detention centre.

“Until then there is no formal decision,” she said when contacted today after meeting her husband at the detention centre.

“He is very unhappy with how things have turned out. He remains in detention, his family is pining for him, our finances have all but collapsed and we have to make some really hard decisions,” she said.

“Such urgent decisions are necessary for us, the DAP and the constituents,” she added.

Karpal holds a special place for them because Manoharan earned his stripes as a lawyer under Karpal’s tutelage and has been a friend, colleagues and adviser.

While his wife was more circumspect, Manoharan detailed his frustration in a statement faxed to The Malaysian Insider where he says he is at his wits’ end.

He apologised to his constituents for being unable to serve personally and proceeded to list out a litany of woes he faces but stopped short of announcing his resignation.

“But the fact remains that over the last 14 months I have not been able to effectively serve the public, in particular the constituents of Kota Alam Shah.

“I feel a sense of guilt of being unable to serve the voters who have voted me as their representative,” he added.

“I now have to consider resigning as assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah, paving the way for a by-election in order for my constituents to re-elect their new representative who will be better able to serve them,” Manoharan said.

“I tried my very best in appealing to the authorities and by way of applications to free me in order for me to effectively serve the public and my constituents in particular,” he said. “I have exhausted all avenues for my release.”

Manoharan said he had sent three letters to ex-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, three more letters to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, eight letters to former Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, and two letters to Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

“My applications to the home minister to attend the state assembly sittings were all rejected,” he disclosed.

He said the ISA advisory board has also rejected his pleas for freedom.

The High Court has also dismissed his three habeas corpus applications and the Federal Court dismissed all three appeals.

“My 17 months of detention thus far have been very painful, which has been made worse by me being in the state of helplessness in being unable to serve my constituents.

“As such, I hereby wish to inform that I will announce my official decision (to resign or not) after meeting party chairman Karpal Singh,” Manoharan said.

PAS man wants common court for religious disputes

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, May 2— An influential PAS MP has called for a common court to be established to rule on marital disputes arising from situations where one spouse converts to Islam, amid a slew of such cases which has sparked controversy.

Shah Alam Member of Parliament Khalid Samad said a mechanism must be found for both parents to appear before the same court and where their rights will be upheld.

The PAS man said whether the common court is syariah or civil is secondary so long as a formula is found where both can appear and a fair decision made, he told The Malaysian Insider after attending a dialogue at St Francis Xavier's church here yesterday.

Khalid was commenting on the latest custodial dispute involving Indira Ghandi, a Hindu, and her estranged husband who had converted to Islam.

Her husband K. Patmanathan, now known as Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, had converted their three children, aged 1, 11 and 12 years, to Islam without her knowledge and consent earlier this month.

He has gone missing with their youngest child and has obtained a syariah court order to gain custody of the older two siblings.

In turn Indira has obtained a ruling from the High Court in Perak for the return of the child.

Khalid said he did not support the syariah court’s decision to convert the children and said ideally the question of custody should be decided based on norms and fairness.

The parent who is not granted custody should also not be denied visitation rights, he said.

He said both parents should be allowed to teach their children their respective faiths and the children should have the choice to choose when they come of age.

Khalid said syariah courts should also be upgraded to better handle such situations so as not to be seen as just siding one party because Muslims are duty bound to ensure justice even to non-Muslims.

Mampukah Melayu berdikari bebas dari Umno?

[Terjemahan daripada bahasa Inggeris sepucuk surat kepada pengarang, Malaysiakini]

Merujuk kepada rencana Malaysiakini yang bertajuk “Why Malaysia is not like South Africa” dan surat bertajuk “Immorality of de facto apartheid must go”.

Umno berfungsi seperti Parti Nasionalis Afrikaner Broederbond di mana ia bertujuan memaktubkan ketuanan kaum dengan menguatkuasakan kuota berdasarkan perkauman di Malaysia. Setiap orang Perdana Menteri di Afrika Selatan merupakan ahli Broederbond sehinggalah munculnya Nelson Mandela [memegang jawatan presiden].

Umno faham benar apa yang akan menyemarakkan jiwa Melayu dan Muslim untuk mengundi parti tersebut. Kaum Melayu-Muslim di Malaysia sering diberitahu oleh Umno yang mereka tidak mampu bersaing dengan kaum Cina atau India, justeru itu mendalamkan lagi perasaan yang kaum Melayu bertaraf lebih rendah dari kaum yang lain.

Kaum Melayu-Muslim di Malaysian sering diberitahu oleh Umno yang kaum bukan-Melayu dan bukan-Muslim mencapai kejayaaan dengan memijak atas mereka, justeru itu mendalamkan lagi perasaan dendam dan fikiran bahawa mereka adalah 'mangsa'.

Kesungguhan merebut gelaran tersohor “Jaguh Mangsa (sesuatu kaum)” di Malaysia nampak nyata sekali apabila Umno diberi ruang dan peluang bebas untuk mengadakan perhimpunan ataupun berhimpun membuli OKU bukan-Melayu dan bukan-Muslim yang sudah berumur dan menaiki kerusi roda, tetapi penyokong Hindraf (dan bukan hanya sekadar ahli-ahli Hindraf sahaja) diserang dengan meriam air, dibelantan dan dihumban ke dalam penjara tanpa perbicaraan di bawah Akta ISA apabila berhimpun di tempat awam, ataupun diberkas polis hanya kerana memakai kemeja Hindraf.

Tindakbalas keterlaluan ini oleh Polis Di Raja Malaysia adalah dijangkakan. [Mereka terpaksa bertindak sedemikian demi melindungi kepentingan Umno] terutamanya kerana kaum India Hindraf kelihatan seperti mangsa yang tulen, berbanding dengan ahli-ahli Umno berkereta besar, memiliki bot mewah dan yang merupakan tuanpunya mahligai-mahligai di Kelang – kesemua ini membuat mereka kelihatan seperti ahli-ahli parti Broederbond pemilik ladang besar yang diusahakan oleh hamba-hamba. Atau ahli-ahli Umno ini hipokrit yang paling besar di dunia.

Saya hanya boleh membuat kesimpulan bahawa memperjuangkan status kemangsaan dan memberikan gambaran siapa lebih dipersalahkan di Malaysia adalah isu dasar demi menjaga periuk nasi serta memenangi undian untuk Umno.

Pada hakikatnya, sokongan politik untuk Parti Nasionalis Afrikaner Broederbond dan dasar 'apartheid'nya di antara kaum Afrikaner-Boers wujud dengan cara dan sebab yang sama kenapa wujudnya sokongan politik untuk dasar 'apartheid'-bumiputera-Ketuanan Melayu-NEP Umno di antara kaum Melayu-Muslim di Malaysia

Kaum Melayu-Muslim sering diberitahu oleh Umno yang perbezaan antara cara melayan orang berdasarkan warna kulit adalah wajar dan munasabah. Di Malaysia, kepadatan kuota perkauman kini memberikan segala yang diberikan kepada kaum Boer-Afrikaner di bawah sistem apartheid dahulu.

Secara positifnya, terdapat ramai kaum kulit putih di Afrika Selatan yang dapat menilai tujuan sebenar dasar apartheid, sepertimana di Malaysia ramai kaum Melayu-Muslim di PAS dan PKR yang boleh menilai tujuan sebenar dasar kuota perkauman Umno – iaitu ia merupakan dasar apartheid sebenar yang tidak bermoral, bersifat perkauman, menghina dan memudaratkan jiwa yang hanya akan memanfaatkan mereka yang ingin mengaut undi demi kepentingan diri.

Halatuju untuk masa depan Malaysia di tangan kaum Melayu, yang kini perlu memutuskan sama ada mereka masih ingin meneruskan sistem apartheid di Malaysia di mana kuota perkauman diutamakan di dalam cara hidup negara Malaysia.

Mampukah rakyat Melayu jelata mengatasi perasaan yang dirinya diancam, perasaan dendam antara kaum, kemangsaan kaum dan rendah diri yang dipupuk oleh Umno selama 50 tahun? Sehingga hari ini, Umno masih lagi berfikir yang kaum Melayu-Muslim tidak mampu berdikari, bebas dari perlindungan Umno.

Perasaan yang dirinya terancam oleh kaum lain, tidak puashati, kemangsaan kaum dan tiada keyakinan diri yang dipupuk oleh Umno dan Broederbond inilah yang mendorong ramai orang yang lazimnya berfikiran telus – termasuk kaum Boer di Afrika Selatan dan kaum Melayu-Muslim di Malaysia – untuk membuat pilihan yang jelas tidak betul dengan mengundi menyokong dasar aparteid, perkauman, prejudis, dan ketidakadilan.

Sebagai seorang bukan Melayu-Muslim, sepatutnya saya tidak berhak bersuara di dalam perkara ini kerana pada pandangan Umno, saya patut menerima apa sahaja peranan yang disediakan oleh Umno yang dipupuknya di dalam minda Melayu-Muslim. Saya ditegur untuk hanya tujukan komen saya kepada had dan batasan budaya remeh saya sendiri supaya perasaan kaum Umno-Broederbond tidak terkilan dengan komen saya yang seolah-olah tidak menghargai jasa Umno.

Akan tetapi saya berfikiran bahawa jika kebanyakan kaum Melayu-Muslim di Malaysia gagal mengatasi perasaan yang kaumnya terancam, gagal mengatasi cabaran, gagal menghormati rakyat Malaysia pelbagai kaum, gagal melindungi hak saksama semua rakyat Malaysia, hak saingan bebas, dan meritokrasi, dan masih tidak mengharamkan prejudis perkauman dan racisme dalam sistem pemerintahan, maka kita semua – Melayu, Cina, India, Kadazan, Iban, dan lain-lain – akan pupus bersama-sama.


Surat bertajuk 'Can Malays cut umbili­cal cord to Umno' di atas dikarang oleh seorang pembaca Malaysiakini yang menggelarkan dirinya 'DoRightNoMatterWhat' pada Mac 31, 2009.

Reformasi: Eleven Years on, Anwar Ibrahim is still making history

Written by Kazi Mahmood

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‘Reformasi’, ‘Reformasi’, was the call from the massive crowd in the streets while the bus I was in was entangled in the traffic jam caused by the police blockade rather than by the crowd of pro-reform supporters. The driver was angered by the call for ‘reform’ and shouted that if anybody on the bus was for the ‘reformasi’ he or she should get down now.

After a few illegal turn, beating some red lights, the driver stopped the bus at a junction which was not affected by the ‘reformists’ and repeated his ‘orders’, adding that it was better for the police outside to catch the ‘reformists’ who were in the bus. I thought he was a member of some ‘gestapo’ movement and was aware of the presence of pro-Anwar Ibrahim supporters in the bus. But this proved to be untrue with the unfolding of events in the bus.

“I think you must shut up and drive otherwise you will get a share of my thoughts,’ I shouted at the driver. I was late for a meeting and with the police blockade things turned uglier. The supporters of the ‘reformasi’ were now shouting ‘Free Anwar Ibrahim’ and ‘Mampus Mahathir’ and this seemed to have angered the elements of the FRU – or Federal Riot Units – clad in their dark colored uniform and the red helmet. They appeared to be moving towards the crowd that was lining up the footpath under the railway line of the Masjid Jamek LRT station. In those days, to hear Malays (who were the core of the reformasi supporters) say ‘mampus’ to Mahathir was like a shock to many.

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Anwar Ibrahim, the man that Malaysia’s history will not forget unlike many other heroes of the nation, was apparently in court and the crowd that came to support him was apparently being dispersed with gas and water cannon as they were being cleared from the High Court. I cannot recall if Anwar Ibrahim was really in court but what I know for sure is that there was a huge crowd of his supporters that was being heckled by the FRU. Was it the infamous day the ‘stained’ and ugly mattress was brought to the court? Anyway, May 2009 marks the 10th year of this terribly untactful event.

The members of the FRU signaled to the bus driver to take another route and he swerved to the left to force his way to the Lebuh Ampang road. He turned and looked at me with bold eyes, saying in Bahasa Melayu: “Kau suruh aku diam, nanti aku bagi kau betul2,”

I replied in Bahasa that he will have to stop the bus right now and we both go down for me to able to brush his head against the tires of his own bus. And still in Malay, I told him that I would be pleased to get him to know that I am not who he thought I was, that is a feeble foreigner.

“Cepat,” I said, urging him to stop the bus while standing and looking at him. The expression on his face changed from fierce to shock as he heard me speak in Bahasa and with the mood that I had, he knew it was not going to be an easy challenge for him to deal with.

To my surprise, two Malay looking guys sitting near the bus driver shouted ‘reformasi’ and told the bus driver to continue driving. Someone in the bus said they were Indonesians but that did not matter to me. They added a few stuffs in Malay to him and that made him shut up for the entire journey to the Ampang Park.

That day in the month of May 1999, we left the ‘reform’ movement behind but history was being made in Malaysia and now on the eve of the month of May 2009, it is high time for me to recall who the man behind this historic change in Malaysia is.

Some 11 years ago the ‘reformasi’ movement started in Malaysia with his brutal arrest and the descent (fall) into hell of one of the most peaceful nation in South East Asia. Today, the call for reforms in Malaysia is still going strong and is even stronger than ever. In 1998, the reform movement of Anwar Ibrahim did not rally the non-Muslims as it did bring together a significant section of the Malay community. In 1999, with Anwar Ibrahim behind bars and the ‘culture of fear’ written by some blogger on a Yahoo culture Soc site making waves, the ‘reformasi’ was not going too far. Yet the Barisan National (BN) was shocked by the massive electoral push made by the Barisan Alternatif (BA) – now known as the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) – in December 1999.

The election results, in which the Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) registered its best electoral performance in history to date, was significant of the displeasure of at least 45% of the population of voters against the BN. This was also a sign that the future was not going to be as smooth as the past has been for the BN and the United Malays National Organization (Umno).

More than a decade later, Malaysia will remember that it is Anwar Ibrahim that changed the course of Malaysia’s political history, not once, twice but three times in a row!

Anwar Ibrahim’s name will resonate with ‘refomasi’. He is the ‘revivalist’ since like the phoenix that comes alive after it is destroyed; the astute and brilliant Malaysian politician seems indestructible so far. And cunningly enough, Anwar Ibrahim, cut off from the party in a bid to finish his political career, became the ‘Albatros’ to the Umno since they cannot get rid of him that easily now.

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This is the man who survived the brutalities to which he was subjected while in jail, blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back. A future Prime Minister and the current Deputy Premier cum Minister of Finance in 1998 and seen as one of the most powerful Malay and Malaysian political figure in the country was on the brink of entering the pages of Malaysia’s history in a very peculiar manner.

This is a fact that cannot be denied since others before Anwar Ibrahim, from the days of the British Empire’s presence in Malaya to the time of the struggle of personalities like Dato’ Harun Idris, most of those who soldiered against the ‘establishment’ had their political career cut short by unfortunate events. The events that befell Anwar Ibrahim was intended to finish him off politically but his revival in 2008 and the crushing victory he was given by the folks at Permatang Pauh in Penang represents the popular vindication of a man who cannot be finished off as of yet.

In the year 2000, while seeking the support of the Umno to build a web portal for the Malay community, stories of how some Umno members were supportive of the ‘reformasi’ were told me. “My grandson of 5 will shout ‘reformasi’ at home and when we ask him why, he would reply: ‘Hidup Anwar’,” was one story. This is where Anwar Ibrahim will draw more support, I thought to myself, and it was the youth. It is the pool of young Malaysians who would want change in the country and they would have to support someone like Anwar Ibrahim to get the country to change. And it is happening in many ways though I have to say that many of the ‘reformasi’ supporters of 1998 are not teenagers anymore but they are still attracted to the ‘reform’.

The year 2008 was iconic in many ways. While I was far away from Malaysia during the March 08 elections in the country, I knew beforehand that the PR will snatch more states and will even grab more than 60 seats in the August Parliament of Malaysia. What I did not know was that 5 states would fall and the PR would grab 82 seats in Parliament and Malaysia-Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin was one person who predicted such a tsunami. I was at Senegal covering the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit at Dakar when Anwar Ibrahim made history once again. Leading the PR while unable to be a candidate himself, he wrecked havoc against the BN and sent massive tremors within the Umno, tremors that are still being felt and may be felt for a much longer time to come.

During an interview with a Senegalese TV station, I was asked to explain the political situation in Malaysia. My answer was that it’s the inevitable that had happened in Malaysia and that this may be the last time the BN may win the general elections. The interviewer asked me why would that be the case, and I said that the people of Malaysia was a wonderful people and they had chosen change for the better or for the worst and by choosing change, they have created history in the country since never before had an opposition coalition or opposition party garnered so much ‘national’ support like the PR did under Anwar Ibrahim.

I added that: “It is not really the Prime Minister’s fault that has lead to the BN to be close to defeat in March 08 but it is the BN itself and its rigidity as well as its refusal to accept reality,”

“Reformasi,” resounded again at Permatang Pauh and it was the crushing victory of Anwar Ibrahim and his historic return to Parliament that may finally be the turning point in Malaysia’s political future. Will the PR win again in future by-elections or in the next General Elections? The answer lies in the hands of the Malaysian people, not in that of pundits or journalists.

To be continued…