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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Perkampungan Orang Asli di ceroboh

KL faces pressure to abolish the ISA

KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 – As the government prepares to review the Internal Security Act (ISA), it is facing an increasing clamour for wide-ranging changes, including abolition of the law.

The pressure is coming from within the Barisan Nasional as well as civil liberties groups, as the government seeks to fulfil its pledge of revamping one of its most controversial and hated laws.

The promised review will get under way this week when the Law Reform Committee holds its first meeting tomorrow, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong said.

He was quoted in The Star yesterday as saying the committee will look into law reforms, including the ISA, which allows for preventive detention of those deemed to be a threat to national security.

“The ISA is a law that is close to the hearts of many and we will work together with the Home Ministry to amend the relevant parts,” he said.

Expectations run high. This is, in part, due to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s actions recently to introduce wide-ranging reforms in different areas.

His administration had abolished the 30 per cent bumiputera quota for 27 sub-sectors in the service sector, liberalised some areas of the financial sector and made it a policy to stop forced conversion of children to Islam.

When he became Prime Minister a month ago, he also released 13 ISA detainees, including two from the Hindu Rights Action Force. The group had led thousands of Indians onto the streets two years ago to demand assistance for the community.

Ragunath Kesavan, president of the Malaysian Bar which groups the country’s 13,000 lawyers, said it was positive that the government has realised the public sentiment towards the ISA.

“There is gradual acceptance that the powers under the ISA are too wide, and some kind of tacit admission that it has been abused,” he told The Straits Times.

The Bar wants preventive detention to be banned, but he acknowledged that this is unlikely.

Nevertheless, the government will be expected to introduce substantive reforms to remove much of the scope for abuse. It cannot be a “rebranding exercise”, said the Malaysian Chinese Association women’s chief Chew Mei Fun.

At the minimum, it will be expected to limit the scope of the ISA and to permit substantive judicial review of detentions. At present, the ISA’s scope of national security cuts a wide swathe, and there is only very limited judicial review.

“It started as a law against communists in the 1960s, but it was used against civil activists and religious extremists. The categories expanded under the label of national security,” said Ragunath of the Bar Council.

The Abolish ISA Movement, a civil liberties organisation, estimates that there are 30 detainees held for reasons from suspected religious and racial militarism to forging official documents.

Last year, the use of the law to swoop down on a blogger, a reporter and an opposition politician provoked an outcry, and prompted the resignation of the de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim.

No deadline has been set for the completion of the review. – The Straits Times

Mano’s wife may take over

(The Star) KLANG: Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan (pic) may be planning to resign as state assemblyman so his wife S. Pushpaneela can officially take over in order to better serve the constituency.

Party insiders here have been talking about the possibility but not all support the idea.

“The DAP will respect whatever decision Manoharan makes, but not everyone will agree to the seat automatically going to Pushpaneela,” said a party insider who is also a leader here.

Asked if she would stand in Kota Alam Shah if her husband resigned, Pushpaneela said: “I leave it to the people of Kota Alam Shah to decide whether they want me or not.”

However, she insisted that her priority was to fight for Manoha-ran’s release from the Internal Security Act (ISA) detention in Kamunting. He is the legal adviser of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force.

“I want him to be able to personally serve the people who voted for him. He applied for leave to attend the State Assembly sessions but was turned down and this disappointed him,” said Pushpaneela.

In his absence, Pushpaneela has been serving the constituency and managing his service centre.

Manoharan said recently that he would make a decision after meeting party chairman Karpal Singh on May 19.

Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said on Sunday that it would be good if Manoharan stayed on as voters had chosen him despite knowing full well that he was being detained under the ISA.

Karpal, in press reports, had said that he would try to dissuade Mano-haran from stepping down.

A party insider said a series of signature campaigns would be initiated in Kota Alam Shah seeking Mano-haran’s release from detention.

The signatures would be presented to the Law Reform Committee which will be meeting soon to review the ISA, he added.

Ipoh Police - don’t prop up usurper Zambry’s hocus pocus May 7 State Assembly proceedings

By Lim Kit Siang

The Ipoh Police have done enough damage to its reputation and professionalism in its conduct during the three-month Perak constitutional and political crisis, being used by the usurper Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir to undermine the important democratic principle and fundamental doctrine of the separation of powers among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

The Police should not now allow itself to be used to prop up usurper Zambry and his executive council’s hocus pocus proceedings in the May 7 Perak State Assembly but must be aware that it has the sworn duty to protect the Perak State Assembly Speaker A. Sivakumar and all Perak State Assembly members (including Pakatan Rakyat) from interference from any quarter in the discharge of their powers and privileges.

In a political contest between the rightful and legitimate Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin and the usurper and illegitimate Zambry, the least expected of the police is to stay out of the political fray and not to take sides, or the police will be seen as trying to prop up an usurper Zambry regime that has no legitimacy whatsoever in the eyes of the people of Perak.

This is why reports by Pakatan Rakyat Assembly members that they were being harassed by the police personnel who snapped photographs of their family houses last weekend must be deplored in the strongest terms and taken seriously by the top police officers who must give the satisfactory assurance that they will not be used to support the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak.

After the disastrous Umno-BN defeat in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election, the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is trying to wash his hands of the Perak imbroglio. This explains Najib’s withdrawal as the Perak UMNO State Chairman, passing the buck to Zambry.

I do not expect Najib to withdraw as UMNO Perak State Chairman if Umno/BN had won a decisive victory in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election.

However, Najib should realize that as he was personally responsible for the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab, whether he pulls out as UMNO Perak State Chairman is irrelevant as the undemocratic and illegal power grab in Perak will continue as one of his biggest baggages unless and until the Perak State Assembly is dissolved and the mandate returned to the Perakians to elect the state government of their choice.

Either the charade of the usurper Zambry administration is ended now with the dissolution of the Perak State Assembly and the holding of a state-wide Perak general election, or the public judgment on the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak is postponed untll the 13th general election in less than three years’ time.

In the former, Zambry and his illegal exco are most likely to be evicted from the Perak State Government offices, with Nizar and Pakatan Rakyat exco returning to their rightful places.

In the latter case of the 13th general election, the undemocratic and illegal power grab in Perak will not only be the paramount issue in Perak but also the whole country, and it is not only Zambry who will be evicted from power but Najib himself is likely to end up as Parliamentary Opposition Leader and the shortest-serving UMNO/BN Prime Minister – fulfilling the “RAHMAN” political prophecy.

The whole nation and the whole world will be watching the hocus pocus proceedings of the May 7 Perak State Assembly convened by the usurper Mentri Besar.

The reputation of Perak and Malaysia as a functioning parliamentary democracy is at sake, on which will determine whether it is a plus or minus for Malaysia’s international competitiveness and march towards the goal of being a high-income country.

No more claptrap about ISA reform – Najib should first release all ISA detainees, close down Kamunting centre and suspend ISA for two years pending re

By Lim Kit Siang

The Star yesterday carried a most misleading front-page headline “ISA review begins”, reporting that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was honouring his promise to initiate a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act as he had promised when he took office last month as the country’s sixth Prime Minister.

But thinking and perceptive Malaysians would have wondered whether this was the case, as many questions cropped up immediately when they read in the report that the government’s “first step towards reviewing the Internal Security Act (ISA)” was the formation of the Law Reform Committee under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong on April 29.

Is Najib really seriously about a “comprehensive review of the ISA” when the committee assigned this task is headed by such a political lightweight, who is only a Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department?

Just on this point, the whole idea of any “comprehensive review of ISA” could be dismissed as hogwash!

The story on the start of the ISA review took on a surreal and even “Alice-in-the-Wonderland” quality when it is further reported that the Law Reform Committee’s ”first step” to undertake a “comprehensive review of the ISA” would be a briefing session on Wednesday and Thursday involving the Legal Affairs Department and the Legal Aid Bureau.

What a laughable state of affairs! What has the “comprehensive review of the ISA” got to do with these two government agencies?

The surreal and “Alice-in-the-Wonderland” quality deepened when Liew made further revelations, viz:

• The condescending statement that his committee would work with the Home Ministry to “amend the relevant parts” of the ISA; and

• He would “engage the Malaysian Bar and other legal associations in the country as well as the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Suhakam”.

Would the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail “engage” with such a lowly Deputy Minister in his capacity as Chairman of the Law Reform Committee, or would Liew have to “engage” with third or fourth-liners from the Home Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Chambers?

The message from the Star front-page headline report yesterday was that Najib was just not serious at all about any “comprehensive review of the ISA”, when it is left to such a political lightweight.

I withheld comment as I expected a conflicting version, and it came within hours from the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who said that it is the Home Minister, Hishammuddin who is tasked to conduct the ISA review exercise.

Now, who is responsible for the “comprehensive review of the ISA” – Liew or Hishammuddin or jointly, between a deputy minister and a full minister?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of KPI for Ministers, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon should take note of this “Alice-in-the-wonderland” development in the Najib Cabinet, as it must drag down the KPIs of the Cabinet members concerned!

Malaysians do not want another round of claptrap by Barisan Nasional leaders about reform of Internal Security Act which ends up in nothing, as had happened many a time in the past two decades, whether under the premiership of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad or Tun Abdullah.

Najib should prove his sincerity about a “comprehensive review of ISA” by releasing all ISA detainees, close down Kamunting centre and suspend ISA for two years pending ISA repeal or review.

Muhyiddin said yesterday that the review of the ISA tasked to Hishammuddin “would take time”? Two years, three years or indefinitely until after the next general election?

This is ridiculous as in the past two premiership of Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah, the ISA had been repeatedly reviewed internally by the government, and there must be mountains of papers of such review collecting dust and mould in government archives – not to mention available parliamentary, Suhakam, Bar Council and civil society materials.

If Najib is serious about a “comprehensive review of ISA”, there is no reason why the Cabinet at its meeting tomorrow cannot decide on a deadline for such a review so that necessary legislative follow-up actions could be made in the 10-day meeting of Parliament from June 15 – 30, 2009.

After the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, Najib should let the country know who is assigned the task of the ISA “comprehensxive review” – whether Liew or Hishammuddin.

Furthermore, why he is not prepared to allow a high-powered independent committee or even Suhakam to undertake such a review, giving it a one-moth deadline to submit its recommendations?

Najib and his Cabinet should not be the first to forget their new motto of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” so as not to become a national joke in record time to mean “1Black Malaysia. People Last. Performance Never”.

The rise of Muslim NGOs

By Shanon Shah

IT was to be expected that the cabinet decision on unilateral conversion of minors to Islam by a Muslim-convert parent would be opposed. Indeed, less than a week after the cabinet decision, the coalition of Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs) known as Pembela criticised the decision.

Abim logo
Pembela comprises more than 50 Muslim NGOs, and was spearheaded in 2006 by the Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) to protest against apostasy, specifically in the Lina Joy case. "It is good to see more Muslim NGOs emerge," says Abim's vice-president Azril Mohd Amin.

While that may be the case from a Muslim's perspective, the proliferation of Muslim NGOs should be assessed beyond just numbers. How exactly are Muslim NGOs shaping the landscape of not just civil society but also politics in Malaysia? What influence do they wield and who are they politically aligned to?

Potent pressure

Since there are champions of Islam and Malay rights in both the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR), both NGOs and political parties meet on issues that mutually enhance their leverage.

It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the agenda of political parties is dictated wholesale by the Muslim NGOs, or vice versa. Indeed, the NGOs interviewed by The Nut Graph were quick to assert their independence from political parties.

Still, considering the multiplicity of Muslim NGOs in operation, the pressuring of government leaders and policy makers is potent, especially when the NGOs demonstrate strength in numbers.

Consider also the vast range of issues that these NGOs agitate on — more than just conversion issues such as M Indira Gandhi's plight, and the plight of other non-Muslims before her. Pewaris Permuafakatan Islam, a coalition of more than 30 Muslim NGOs, has been in the spotlight since 2008, speaking out against pig farming, among others. Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris) has advocated for the use of the Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial by the state.

Many other Muslim NGOs and coalitions have emerged, and the issues they highlight have largely revolved around defending the status of Islam and Malay rights.

Almost unanimously, the rhetoric adopted by each of these NGOs is coloured by fear.

Azril Amin
According to Abim's Azril, Pembela coalition members were compelled to get together because they were "deeply troubled by the tendency to use court cases to emasculate the status of Islam, particularly through applications for apostasy."

Rahimuddin Md Harun, Pewaris's second deputy chairperson, says that Malay Malaysians are still in disarray after the March 2008 general elections. "Why are politicians like Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, Datuk Tan Lian Hoe and Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon no longer respectful of Islam and Malay rights?"

In their 29 April press conference to protest against the cabinet's decision on unilateral conversion of minors, Pembela said it would not remain quiet if certain parties continued to "challenge" the Federal Constitution. Its spokesperson suggested that the issue of Indira Gandhi's children being converted to Islam without her consent was being politicised and was raising temperatures among different faith adherents.

Civil society

Professor Dr Norani Othman, a sociologist from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, describes these NGOs as "highly politicised entities". "I wouldn't say they are actually civil society organisations," she says.

Norani Othman
According to Norani, who is also co-founder of Muslim women's NGO Sisters in Islam, civil society has several defining features, including the scope for deep and sincere discussion "within an atmosphere of principled openness." Civil society should not be constrained by authoritarianism, or motivated by forced conformity or uniformity in the interpretation or implementation of laws and policies.

"Civil society is actually supposed to be independent of the state, and nonpartisan," she says in a phone interview.

Norani says that civil society groups should ideally push for more inclusiveness in society and challenge conflicts of interest between political parties and government.

"In the case of these NGOs, they are motivated by very specific interests tied to their collective identity as Malay Muslims," she says. Hence their affiliations, overt or otherwise, with political parties that share the same purpose of promoting Malay Muslim interests.

According to Norani, these Muslim NGOs should more appropriately be labelled "special interest" or "pressure" groups.

Special interests

It is no secret that many Malay Muslim NGOs act in ways to promote a specific agenda that only promotes the interests of the majority community in Malaysia, instead of a larger principle that benefits all.

"We act as an intermediary for people to lodge complaints and lobby or pressure the authorities on the issue of Muslim consumers' rights," says Noor Nirwandy, the Muslim Consumer Association (PPIM)'s project director.

For example, he says PPIM has, for years, been advocating for a Halal Act. PPIM will also interface with political parties "as long as it empowers Malay Malaysian consumers."

Ultimately, he says PPIM aims to activate the purchasing power of Muslim Malaysians, who have a collective purchasing power of more than RM1 billion a month, according to Nirwandy.

Noor Nirwandy
"But because there is no awareness among Muslims of their purchasing power, they get taken advantage of."

"Muslim entrepreneurs and companies still find it hard to penetrate the market, and this is because there is no acknowledgement of Muslim purchasing power," he adds.

However, the Muslim NGOs also have to grapple with the fact that they operate within a very multiracial, multireligious environment. There is, therefore, some level of awareness that an outlook or approach that is too insular will only backfire in the long run.

"[W]e would like to see more of these Muslim NGOs work with other non-faith based NGOs, and on other civil society issues apart from [the] religious," Abim's Azril tells The Nut Graph via e-mail.

Not united

Even though the NGOs' rhetoric is very much about defending the Muslim ummah, they seem reluctant to band together under a single, united banner. Dr Mazeni Alwi, chairperson and co-founder of the Muslim Professional's Forum, says, "To confine ourselves to one or two NGOs is limiting. We need a spectrum of views on any issue."

Why is there this division? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that many of these NGOs conflate issues relating to Islam and Malay rights. Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution defines "Malay" as "a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, [and] conforms to Malay custom." Muslim activists often juxtapose this against Article 3(1): "Islam is the religion of the Federation."

Thus, there appears to be a supreme, combined identity that needs to be defended: that of the Malay and the Muslim. This is why, when PAS, and to a certain extent PKR, leaders talk about elevating the status of Islam, the subtext remains that this naturally entails a support of Malay rights. Conversely, when Umno intensifies its racial grandstanding, the issue of Islam also gets dragged into the arena in a highly emotive manner.

And when the tussle for power between PAS and PKR on one hand and Umno on the other results in a shift in the political landscape, it is natural that Muslim NGOs will be split as well.

But at the same time, the post-March 2008 social and political environment has seen more and more critical voices emerging in civil society, including those of Muslims who do not agree with the status quo on Islam. The question is, can Malaysia accommodate the democratic participation of each citizen regardless of religious or racial difference?

The recession is biting; how are you coping?

The recession has reached our shores, with the IMF forecasting that the Malaysian economy will shrink by 3.5 per cent this year.

Is it affecting you? Is your job secure or have you been laid off? How are you coping? Have you stopped eating out?

Me? I have stopped buying processed food (in bottles or cans or cookies) from the hypermarkets. It’s more expensive, and less nutritious than natural, fresh food.

Share with us how the recession is affecting you (if at all)… and tell us how you are coping. Tell us your stories.- Anil Netto

7 Mei: Hari Hitam Buat Malaysia

From The People’s Parliament

Imagine 7th May, and Malaysians from all walks of life, from Johore in the south right up to Perlis way up north, and our brothers and sisters in East Malaysia, at the train stations, bus stops, markets, offices, eating stalls, shopping malls, all dressed in black!

Imagine the youth, flash-mob style, turning fast food joints and shopping centres gloomy with their black attire!

Imagine the foreign and online media reporting how Malaysians turned out in full force throughout the country, all dressed in black wherever they were, to send a clear message to Najib and his cohorts in BN :


I t will not take much for you to be a part of this effort. You do not have to give up a day at work. Heck go to work and get your colleagues to join you.

Make the effort now to call up at least 10 people you know and urge them to turn Malaysia black this 7th May.

Sabah Deputy Minister Joins Gerakan

KOTA KINABALU, May 5 (Bernama) -- Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan will join Gerakan, a peninsula-based party, after being partyless for almost nine months.

Gerakan national chairman Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon made the announcement minutes before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's arrival for the meet-the-people session at Padang Merdeka here, Tuesday.

Former Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Youth chief and state assemblyman for Elopura Au Kam Wah also made a similar commitment.

Dr Koh thanked Tan and Au for choosing Gerakan as the political platform to continue their struggle with the Barisan Nasional (BN) and said that both would hand over their application forms to Gerakan soon.

"We welcome their commitment to join Gerakan. Raymond and Au have been my friends and Gerakan's friends for over 15 years and have jointly struggled for Sabahans and Malaysians in general within the BN," he said.

He said their decision was apt and understandable as Gerakan was a multiracial party and its door was always open to Malaysians.

He said Najib, as BN chairman, and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had been informed of Tan and Au's decision and had given their blessing.

Asked whether Tan, former deputy president of SAPP, would be given a post in Gerakan, Dr Koh said that he would make the announcement at the appropriate time.

Speaking to reporters later, Tan said: "I have chosen Gerakan because Gerakan is a safe home and it is the home that I have been looking for".

"I didn't do it just because I picked what I like. I think it's more of what the grassroots want. It doesn't matter what happens to me. What is important is the people who have been with me and I told that I would find them a home.

"It's not easy because we have to talk to so many component party leaders and all of them are very supportive of me. I think this is the time that I have to make a decision and Tan Sri (Koh Tsu Koon) is no stranger to us for many years," he said.

Asked on the call for him to relinquish his deputy chief minister's post, he said: "These people who make statements against me or who are angry with me will probably continue to do but it doesn't matter. I understand their feelings but it's more important that they understand me".

Tan, who is also state Infrastructure Development minister, became partyless after SAPP left the BN coalition on Sept 17 last year.

Prior to this, several parties had called on Tan to quit his posts as deputy chief minister and Infrastructure Development minister.

Even Umno leaders like Kalabakan MP Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh had hinted that the BN had never agreed to have independent BN supporters.

At the same time, the option of forming a new party raised objections from the same component parties who were not in favour of Tan being retained in the cabinet, leaving him with very few political options.

Mat Sabu: Gelapnya demokrasi di Malaysia

Plot to oust PPP's Murugiah? - Malaysiakini

Excelling in one's role could also prove to be detrimental. And sources claimed that PPP supreme council member T Murugiah might find himself in a tight spot because of this.

puduraya murugiah 260908Since becoming a senator and being appointed as deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department, the debutant has become a household name especially after heading the Public Complaints Bureau.

Championing numerous causes, his photograph consistently adorns the pages of all the major dailies.

Once, he was even ticked off by his party for offering a listening ear to rival DAP lawmaker Teresa Kok when she complained about being served 'dog food' while under Internal Security Act detention.

He was also one of the first to arrive at the Serdang Hospital mortuary following the death of police detainee Kugan Ananthan.

Meteoric rise

According to sources, Murugiah's growing popularity has been a bitter pill to swallow for the party's top leadership, fuelling jealousy of his sudden rise in political fortune.

Party president M Kayveas was the former deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department prior to failing to defend his Taiping parliamentary constituency in the March 8 general election last year.

Sources said Murugiah's fame is also on the rise within the party and this has caused alarm in certain circles, in particular party boss Kayveas, with regards to his political ambitions.

"He has not only carved a name for himself as far as the public is concerned but also in the party with some even considering him as a potential contender for the top post with a very high chance of winning," said sources.

Sources claimed that moves were underway to hit the brakes on Murugiah's meteoric rise ahead of the June 7 party elections.

The speculations intensified following the suspension of his two aides as PPP members.

Money politics

Supreme council member R Rajandran and former PPP Youth treasurer SP Kanesan were suspended on April 25 and May 2 respectively during the party supreme council meeting.

Rajandran when contacted confirmed that he was suspended for allegedly "causing disruption in the party" but has yet to receive any written notice about the matter.

"I'm not surprised. He (Kayveas) called me to inform me about it before the supreme council meeting... I'm cool about it. There is still work to do," said the first-term supreme council member.

A supreme council member who requested anonymity said the suspension of the duo was unfair because there was never any disciplinary committee hearing for them to defend themselves.

Commenting on the suspensions, Kayveas said Rajandran was suspended for issuing details on the closed-door supreme council meetings to the Tamil press and for visiting division chiefs without permission from the state chiefs.

kayveas ppp pc 120308 sullen"He was told on many occasions not to interfere with party matters. He has also been meeting division chiefs without informing the state chiefs and division chiefs are complaining to the state chairpersons," he said when contacted.

He said Rajandran had acted as a proxy in offering inducements to party members ahead of the upcoming party polls.

Earlier today, Kayveas told a gathering of party members in Johor Baru that he had received reports that division heads were being offered money to vote for a certain presidential candidate in the coming party election.

Asked if this was reported to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Kayveas told Malaysiakini that the suspensions would suffice.

"We're not investigating the matter. We just don't want him (Rajandran) to participate in party activities prior to the nomination process," he said.

Suspension temporary

According to Kayveas, Rajandran and Kanesan's suspensions will only be valid until May 29 - a day before nominations for the party polls begins.

As for Kanesan, the PPP president said that he was suspended for allegedly threatening a division chief.

"We cannot allow this to grow (alleged inducements and threats), because we need to maintain party stability," he added.

To a question, Kayveas said a disciplinary hearing was not called because there was insufficient time to hear the matter before the party polls commence.

Regardless, Kayveas said Rajandran was present during the supreme council meeting where he was suspended and did not offer any form of objection or indication that he would appeal against the decision.

"Even Murugiah was there and he did not object," he said.

No communication

On his relationship with Murugiah, Kayveas said he had not spoken to him since the time the two met during the Bukit Gantang by-election campaign.

"He doesn't communicate with me. He doesn't see me, talk to me and doesn't come to the headquarters... I don't know what's on his mind," he said.

Asked if he thinks Murugiah will challenge him for the top post, Kayveas said he has heard about this but did not elaborate on the matter.

Murugiah cannot be reached for comments.

'Postpone Perak assembly sitting' plea - Malaysiakini

Perak speaker V Sivakumar has petitioned Sultan Azlan Shah to postpone the state legislative assembly sitting scheduled for Thursday.

Sivakumar, who is also Tronoh assemblyperson, said he submitted a letter to the Istana Kinta at about 11am today.

“I’ve made this request following the uncertainty in the position of the menteri besar, as the matter has yet to be decided by the courts,” he said in the letter, a copy of which was made available to Malaysiakini.

nizar jamaluddin dr zambry abdul kadir perakMohd Nizar Jamaluddin's judicial review against Zambry Abd Kadir to determine the rightful menteri besar is now before the Kuala Lumpur High Court. It has fixed a three-day hearing from today to hear the application.

On Tuesday, the Federal Court had dismissed Zambry's application for a fast-track hearing by the apex court on constitutional issues and sent the matter to the High Court.

A five-member bench headed by Court of Appeal president Alauddin Mohd Sheriff had unanimously allowed the preliminary objection by Mohd Nizar's lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah.

“We agree that disputed facts exist between the affidavits (filed by Mohd Nizar and the state legal advisor Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid on their meeting with Sultan Azlan). Hence, we will remit back the case to the High Court for the case to be heard,” Alauddin had said.

In his letter, Sivakumar also said he was worried that he would not be able to control the assembly if there is a conflict or exchange of words.

v sivakumar and perak state“To uphold harmony, sanctity and the assembly's standing, I humbly apply that the Tuanku Sultan postpones the sitting temporarily,” he added.

The date for the assembly sitting was decided after Zambry and his six exco members succeeded in lifting the suspension order on them, imposed by Sivakumar.

The Federal Court ruled that Sivakumar had acted beyond his powers in issuing the suspensions.

Zambry had been suspended for 18 months, while the others - Zainol Fadzi Paharuddin, Ramly Zahari, Hamidah Osman, Saarani Mohamad, Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid and Dr Mah Hang Soon - were suspended for 12 months.

The Perak legislature was rocked by the defection of three Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons in early February. The state government fell into Barisan Nasional hands.

But both sides have been locked in a power struggle since then, taking their differences to the courts for settlement.

Meeting to iron out conversion issue soon

A meeting involving several ministries and religious departments will be held soon to iron out issues regarding the religious status of a child when a parent converts to Islam.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Maj-Gen (R) Jamil Khir Baharom said the closed-door meeting might also involve religious associations.

He said he would meet his colleagues in the Prime Minister's Department - Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz who is in charge of legal affairs and Dr Koh Tsu Koon who is responsible for issues on racial relations - to get their opinion on the meeting.

The ministries involved are the Human Resources, and Women, Family and Community Development, he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

He was asked to comment on the cabinet's decision pertaining to the religious status of a child, which sparked a debate among Malaysians.

The cabinet decided on April 22 that a child's religion must be in accordance with the common religion at the time of marriage between the parents if the was any dispute regarding the issue.

Seven applications for Toyota Camry

In another development, the Perak state secretary's office has received seven applications from bidders for the Toyota Camry 2.4 cars which the state government is auctioning when call for the tenders closed at noon today.

State principal assistant Secretary (management service division Shamshuzaman Sulaiman said that although there were only seven applications, it did not mean that they were bids for only seven cars.

He said 40 tender documents for the cars were sold, mostly to individuals.

"If we find that there are still cars which are not tendered for, we may extend the tender period," added.

He said the tenders were for the 16 units of Toyota Camry 2.4 used as official cars by executive councillors under the previous coalition government, including the two cars being used by the state assembly speaker and the former menteri besar, .

Shamshuzaman said a special committee would process the tender forms submitted by the bidders and a decision would be made on Wednesday.

The reserve price of each car, purchased at RM157,000, is RM148,000.

The cars bear the registration numbers AGS10, AFD11, AFD22, AFD33, AFD55, AFD66, AFD77, AFD88, AFD99, AFD333, AFD999, AFF33, AFF88, AFF99, AGS828 and AEU606.

Memorandum Kekejaman Kerajaan Sri Lanka Tarhadap Rakyatnya oleh Pakatan Rakyat


Ahli - Ahli Parlimen Pakatan Rakyat akan menghantar Memorandum Membantah Kekejaman Kerajaan Sri Lanka terhadap Rakyatnya yang Keturunan Tamil kepada PesuruhJaya Tinggi Sri Lanka ke Malaysia pada 15 Mei 2009 . Masa 230ptg.

YB S Manikavasagam bersama YB Manoharan , Ahli Parlimen teluk Intan akan mengetahui rombongan tersebut bersama Wakil-Wakil Rakyat daripada Pakatan Rakyat serta NGO-NGO. Semua di jemput hadir demi menjaga Kesejahteraan Manusia Sejagat.

Juga membantah Tindakan Dua Muka Kerajaan Malaysia yang enggan membantah pembunuhan Kejam Regim Sri Lanka walaupun menyedari kekejaman mereka.

In court, different versions of Nizar’s audience with ruler

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Did Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin ask the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly on February 4 while aware he had lost the confidence of the majority of its members?

That appears to be the heart of the legal dispute in the case of Nizar who is suing Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, the state assemblyman for Pangkor now occupying the top state government post, to be declared the lawful mentri besar (MB) of Perak.

The High Court here will have to decide, following the emergence of two starkly different accounts of what took place in Istana Kinta over a period of two days, on February 4 and 5, between Nizar and the ruler.

Pakatan Rakyat’s Nizar and the Perak State Legal Advisor (SLA) Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid took to the stand this afternoon to answer questions on what had taken place that day in the Perak palace when Nizar in an audience with Sultan Azlan Shah, had asked to dissolve the Assembly.

Both had earlier filed several affidavits each recounting the events before, during and after the audience leading to what is now generally seen as the constitutional crisis enveloping Perak.

Nizar maintains he is still the lawful MB because he has not yet given his resignation, which is required by law under the Perak State Constitution.

In his affidavits, Nizar had maintained he had asked the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the Assembly because there had been a “deadlock” in the number of supporters for Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which had formed the government of the day then, and its rival faction the Barisan Nasional (BN).

He noted the numbers for each side was 28 members, following the resignation of three PR assemblymen who had then gone “missing” and “were not contactable” during that period of time.

However, this view was challenged by Zambry’s lead counsel, Datuk Cecil Abraham, when Nizar sat in the witness stand today.

“I put it to you, you refused to resign when the Sultan refused the dissolution on February 5 pursuant to Article 16(6),” Cecil directed to Nizar, referring to the provision in the Perak Constitution.

Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution states that “If the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then, unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the executive council.”

“I deny it,” Nizar replied.

Cecil had earlier sought to discredit Nizar’s version of events by highlighting several events leading up to his fateful first meeting with the Perak Sultan on February 4 and later on February 5 when the Sultan informed him of his refusal to grant the dissolution of the Assembly.

Pointing out that the Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar, who had also filed his own affidavits, had stated he “from time to time, kept the mentri besar informed of the latest developments”, Cecil tried to establish that it seemed unlikely Nizar had been “kept in blissful ignorance” there were other events that had taken place before he approached the Sultan for a dissolution, including the withdrawals of the three PR assemblymen from Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang, and the about-turn of the Bota assemblyman, said to have crossed over to PR from BN earlier.

Ahmad Kamal, who had taken the witness stand earlier, maintained his stand in his affidavits, that he had heard the Sultan of Perak expressly say he refused to grant Nizar’s request to dissolve the Assembly “pursuant to Article 16(6)”.

Ahmad Kamal who had attended the audience between Nizar and Sultan Azlan Shah on February 4, had admitted he had been “instructed to affirm” what had transpired between the MB and the ruler, by lawyers for Zambry.

Lawyer Ranjit Singh, in the absence of Nizar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah, had grilled Ahmad Kamal on the precise nature of what the Sultan had said to Nizar in reply.

“Whether His Royal Highness said he requires time to consider the dissolution pursuant to Article 16(6), are you seriously saying His Royal Highness said all those words?” Ranjit asked Ahmad Kamal.

“Yes,” was Ahmad Kamal’s short reply.

“I suggest this is untrue and created merely to advance the respondent’s case whom you used to act for. What His Royal Highness said was he needed time to consider but he did not say pursuant to 16(6),” Ranjit pushed again.

“I disagree,” Ahmad Kamal answered.

Ranjit then suggested Ahmad Kamal was “not a neutral witness” in the case because he had represented Zambry and taken orders from him at the beginning of the court dispute.

High Court judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim adjourned the hearing which ran into overtime past 5pm today.

The questioning of Nizar and Ahmad Kamal continues tomorrow at 10.30am.

PKR gives Manoharan time to decide on seat

SHAH ALAM, May 4 — Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will give Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee M. Manoharan time to decide whether to vacate his Kota Alam Shah seat, said the party’s Selangor liaison chief Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

PKR and Pas would not intervene in the decision because Manoharan was a state assemblyman from DAP, he said here today.

Manoharan said in a statement released by his wife, S. Pushpaneela, on Saturday that he was contemplating vacating the seat and would make an official announcement after meeting DAP chairman Karpal Singh at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, where he is held, on May 19.

PKR, Pas and DAP are members of the coalition that governs Selangor where Khalid is mentri besar.

The coalition was ready for the by-election should Manoharan decide to resign as people’s representative, said Khalid after the launch of the Selangor Orang Asli Land Action Body (BBTOAS).

On the action body, he said it comprised 13 Orang Asli people representing different tribes and districts in Selangor.

Its main objective is to protect the interests of the Orang Asli particularly in the aspects of settlement and land allocation besides development projects to be carried on their lands.

With BBTOAS, the state government through the Selangor Land Action Body could easily solve land problems faced by the Orang Asli including the issue of compensation when their lands were acquired for development, Khalid said.

BBTOAS’s roles would not overlap with those of the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA), he said.

He also hoped the action body would come up with proposals on Orang Asli lands so that it could be tabled at the State Legislative Assembly that would sit either in June or July.

There are about 15,000 Orang Asli people in Selangor and the majority of them live in Kuala Langat and Sepang. Most of them are from the Temuan and Mahmeri tribes. – Bernama

Nizar unaware reps wrote to Sultan directly

Written by Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge

Former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said during cross-examination in the High Court here yesterday that he was unaware of several key events when seeking the consent of Perak Ruler Sultan Azlan Shah for the state assembly's dissolution earlier this year.

When questioned by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir's lead counsel Datuk Cecil Abraham, Nizar said that when he had an audience with the Sultan on Feb 4, he was only aware that Mohd Osman Jailu and Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi had resigned as Changkat Jering and Behrang state assemblymen respectively.

Nizar was being questioned in a suit that he had filed against Zambry for a declaration that Nizar was the rightful menteri besar of Perak. The matter between the two claimants to the post was returned to the High Court by the Federal Court, which ruled on April 28 that it cannot hear Zambry's questions on constitutional interpretations before the facts of the case had been established.

Nizar said he was not aware that Osman, Jamaluddin and Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong had written directly to the Sultan to inform the ruler that they had resigned from their respective parties and not as elected representatives.

During the cross-examination that lasted 90 minutes, Nizar said that he was not aware that Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasharuddin Hashim had since rejoined Barisan Nasional (BN) after a short defection to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Abraham then cited Perak Speaker V Sivakumar's affidavit where Sivakumar stated that he had kept Nizar informed of the developments surrounding the three representatives' resignations.

Abraham: You were then menteri besar of the state. Is it your evidence that the speaker was keeping all this (information) to himself and keeping you in blissful ignorance?

Nizar: I was not informed.

Abraham: Would you regard your speaker as an efficient person?

Nizar: That question is irrelevant.

Abraham then told Nizar it was for the judge to decide whether a question was relevant, to which Nizar replied: "It was subjective (whether the speaker was efficient or otherwise)."

Nizar, who is Pasir Panjang assemblyman and Bukit Gantang MP, also said that while he was aware that the three independents had "gone missing" after their resignations from the party, he did not know which side the three representatives were supporting.

The three defectors had pledged support for BN, tipping the scale in the state assembly in favour of the coalition. Excluding the three representatives, both PR and BN have 28 representatives in the 59-seat assembly.

When pressed, Nizar said he was aware that the Election Commission (EC) had on Feb 4 deemed that there was no casual vacancy in the three disputed state seats and that no by-elections would be called, but he "did not hold to the EC's decision".

Nizar denied a suggestion by Abraham that he was already aware PR had lost control of the state assembly when he met the Sultan on Feb 4. Nizar said his request was made based on his rights and powers as menteri besar rather than on the basis of him losing confidence.

Earlier yesterday, Perak State Legal Adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Mohd Shahid was also cross-examined at Nizar's request as there were differing facts describing Nizar's meeting with Sultan Azlan Shah on Feb 4 and 5 in both Nizar and Ahmad Kamal's affidavits.

Ahmad Kamal, when questioned by Nizar's counsel Ranjit Singh, said Zambry's lawyers had instructed him to affirm his affidavits to set out what he knew about Nizar's audience with Sultan Azlan Shah between Feb 4 and 6.

Ahmad Kamal denied a suggestion by Ranjit that he was "biased and not neutral" in the matter.

Nizar will be re-examined by his counsel Ranjit Singh today before the commencement of the hearing of Nizar's suit against Zambry scheduled for today and tomorrow.

Judge Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim, at the Appellate and Special Powers Division, said counsel of both parties can only submit on points of law after facts had been established.

In the suit filed here on Feb 13, Nizar is challenging Zambry to show cause on what authority Zambry is Perak menteri besar as well as an injunction to prevent Zambry or his agents from performing the duties of the menteri besar.

Nizar, in his application for a judicial review, was also seeking constitutional interpretations on the legality of his removal from office along with cost and damages.

Petition: Free YB Manoharan & All ISA Detainees

To: Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

The Selangor State Government calls upon the Prime Minister to release the elected representative for Kota Alam Shah, M Manoharan, all other ISA detainees as well as abolish the Internal Security Act.

Manoharan regrets 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."

We call upon the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to avoid in his own words, "too much time, energy and ringgit are being spent on by-elections" that are actually unnecessary. He had added that there had been 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".

We will also like to take this opportunity to voice our continued support for Manoharan to remain as the state assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah, as the rightful elected representative of the people.

Therefore, we the undersigned look forward to the unconditional release of Manoharan as well as the other ISA detainees immediately.


Click here to sign

Star! Oh Star! At least be a smart party hack!

By Lim Kit Siang,

Yesterday the MCA paper, the Star, gave prominent coverage to the challenge by MCA Vice President and Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, that I 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.

In the Star report headlined “State stand on religion ruling, DAP told”, Liow
even said 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.

When I replied to Liow, Star just blacked out my response.

Reason? Because Liow would be shown to be a fool who does not understand simple English as I expressed support for the Cabinet decision in several statements on my blog.

Either Liow has a big problem with the English language, in which case he should undergo a quick refresher course so as not to disgrace the government and country when he appears in the official capacity as Health Minister whether inside or outside the country, or he is downright dumb.

If he is neither, and had been misled by untrustworthy aides to issue such a challenge, then he should know what to do to salvage the situation.

My offer to give Liow a free tutorial on the English language stands.

By blacking out my statement and refusing to accord me the right to respond to the irresponsible and baseless challenge from Liow, which it had given prominent coverage, the Star has gone against all canons of responsible and professional journalism and made a mockery of the World Press Freedom Day yesterday.

The overwhelming majority of the Star journalists are honourable, professional and self-respecting men and women who do not agree with such prostitution of sacred journalistic principles.

Let me advise those responsible for the blackout of my reply to Lai – at least be a smart party hack!

Money politics creeping into PPP

Money politics appears to have reared its ugly head in the People's Progressive Party (PPP) as the party election looms large.

PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas told a gathering of party members here today that he had recieved reports that division heads were being offered money to vote for a certain presidential candidate in the coming party election, expected to be held next month.

"This is a new development within the party. We never had such reports before but this time, it (money politics) is happening and I am worried.

"I have received reports that a certain individual is going around wooing division heads with offers of cash, in exchange for their votes during the party election for the president''s post.

"We are a small party and we cannot afford to have leaders who buy their way into power," he said.
The PPP''s national-level election is scheduled for June 7, with nomination day fixed for May 30.

Kayveas, a former deputy housing and local government minister, has confirmed he would stand for re-election for a fourth successive term.

"I welcome any challenge although the party''s supreme council has decided that there should not be a contest for the post. If there is anyone who wants to contest, why not,?" he asked.

The PPP constitution states that a potential presidential candidate must be a member of the party for at least seven years and be nominated by at least 10 divisions.

Kayveas also told the members that the PPP was in the midst of setting up a foundation to help members who were in need.

"Our members who need help in the field of education and health, and who are in desperate need for financial help, will be given consideration when the foundation is set up," he said

Sivakumar seeks assembly sitting postponement

By Deborah Loh

IPOH, 4 May 2009: Perak Speaker V Sivakumar wrote to the Sultan of Perak this morning seeking a postponement of the state legislative assembly sitting scheduled just three days away.

Sivakumar said he requested the deferment of the 7 May sitting because the matter of who was the rightful Perak menteri besar is still being heard in court.

Sivakumar, a DAP assemblyperson, also said he was concerned about the situation in the House getting out of hand.

"Both sides will want to stand with their principles and I expect the situation to be very difficult to control. Now that the matter is in court, we don't know if the court will make a decision in time. Even if there is a decision, I expect the parties will want to file appeals. The best thing is to postpone," he told The Nut Graph by phone today.

He later issued a press statement posted on his blog about his request to the sultan.

Sivakumar said his letter was sent to the Istana Kinta office around 11am this morning.

"I am of the opinion that it is not appropriate for the state assembly to be held when the position of the menteri besar is still a matter of dispute.

"Additionally, I am also worried about the conflict and disputes which will be difficult to control on that day. I anticipate that both sides will also be trading barbs to defend their respective stand. To protect the harmony, dignity and honour of the House, I have asked Tuanku to postpone the assembly sitting for the time being," Sivakumar said.

Today, the Kuala Lumpur High Court is examining a dispute between two affidavits — one filed by Nizar and the other by Perak legal adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid.

The point of contention in both affidavits is whether Nizar had lost the confidence of the majority of the House at the time when he requested for the sultan to dissolve the state assembly.

Nizar contends that he did not lose the confidence of the majority, and had made the request because of a hung assembly after three Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons left the state's ruling coalition to become Barisan Nasional (BN)-friendly independents.

The dispute over the affidavits arose following Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir's application for a legal interpretation of the state constitution that he is the rightful menteri besar. The Federal Court was to have heard Zambry's application on 28 April but remitted the case back to the High Court instead.

Tomorrow and on 6 May, the High Court is also supposed to hear Nizar's request for a judicial review on who is the legitimate menteri besar.

Media applies twice

Meanwhile, Sivakumar's office at the second floor of the Perak state secretariat building today received written applications by journalists to cover the 7 May sitting.

The state secretariat's public and corporate relations office on the first floor was also accepting applications. An officer here said Zambry and state secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim would vet the applications. The media passes would be ready for collection from Zambry's office on Wednesday, a day before the assembly.

Zambry said yesterday that all media were allowed to cover the assembly's proceedings. He said this would include some internet news portals and bloggers.

Zambry's reaction followed a restriction by the state secretariat last week to allow only 13 media organisations to cover the sitting, and to bar internet-based media.

The DAP protested the restrictions, and Sivakumar issued a statement yesterday that he would use his powers as speaker to allow all media to enter the House. However, he requested that journalists apply in writing for him to vet the applications.

It is unclear what will happen to journalists whose applications are accepted by Sivakumar but rejected by the state secretary and Zambry, or vice-versa.

Sivakumar, when asked about this, said: "Let the state secretary take whatever applications they want, the final say is still with me."

He refused to comment when asked what he intended to do about a BN motion to eject him as speaker.

"There are many technical issues involved, we'll see what happens on that day," he said.

No public gatherings, warn police

Meanwhile, police today reminded the people not to gather near the State Secretariat (SS) building on 7 May when the Perak legislative assembly meets, to prevent any untoward incident, reports Bernama.

Perak police chief Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah said police had received many reports that certain political leaders, during their "ceramah" (talks), had been urging the people to assemble near the SS building and such calls were also made through certain blogs and websites.

"Such a mass gathering without a police permit is an illegal gathering, and action will be taken according to the law against those who plan, organise or take part in it," he warned in a media statement issued today.

Zulkefli said police would deploy enough personnel and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of all the assemblypersons and invitees to the assembly sitting, and to safeguard public order.

"Police will act against those to organise or commit any act that can jeopardise public security and order," he added.

To avoid traffic problems on that day, he advised road users not to use the roads near the SS building and those who have nothing to do with the assembly sitting not to gather near the building, while only those with the invitations would be allowed in.

He said a meeting was held this morning between the police and assemblypersons from Barisan Nasional, PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat at the state police headquarters to ensure smooth running of the assembly sitting, but he was disappointed that no DAP rep attended the meeting although they were also invited.

At the meeting, the assemblypersons were advised not to do anything that could threaten public order and security, including not to organise any illegal gathering on that day, and to show decorum at the assembly sitting.

Why the crowd restrictions and pondok panas ban?

Tense situation?: Drummers thump rhythmically as others jive to the beat during Nomination Day for the Permatang Pauh by-election last year - Photo by Anil Netto

Here’s another ‘bright’ idea: The Election Commission and the police want to restrict the number of supporters who turn up on nomination day to 5,000 (for each party?). This follows their attempt to ban the “pondok panas” (voter assistance booths) set up by political parties outside the polling centres.

In the first place, how do they plan to ensure that the crowd does not exceed 5,000? What if 5,001 people turn up? Are they going to put up turnstiles outside the nomination centre and issue tickets?

Interesting that they should come up with the 5,000 figure. In recent by-elections, that’s about the largest crowd size the BN could muster. In the Permatang Pauh and Bukit Gantang by-elections, for instance, about 5,000 BN supporters turned up on nomination day, whereas the Pakatan supporters were six to 10 times (or maybe more) that number.

On polling day, casual observation of the respective pondok panas was enough to show who the likely winners were going to be.

Such huge turnouts of Pakatan supporters must have been demoralising for the BN campaigners.

As long as the BN had the larger crowds (in by-elections before March 8), huge crowds were not a problem for the BN, the Election Commission and the police. But now that the tables are turned, we see the authorities trying to ram through new restrictions.

This excerpt from The Star:

Sunday May 3, 2009
Parties have to limit supporters

PETALING JAYA: From now on, political parties have to restrict the number of supporters who turn up on nomination day for by-elections to 5,000.

This step will begin with the upcoming Penanti by-election.

The Election Commission and the police decided on the move during a meeting last Thursday.

“The commission and the police request and hope political parties will limit their supporters to not more than 5,000 people,” said commission deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar when contacted by Mstar Online yesterday.

“It is to ensure that the situation does not become tense at nomination centres and for things to run smoothly.”

I was at the Permatang Pauh nomination day gathering and the atmosphere was mostly festive (see pic above). No one I know who has been to other nomination day gatherings has complained of the situation being too tense.


Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

1. The business done by the hedge funds are more complex. But they too can borrow up to 30 times the investors' money they hold. They are therefore able to earn for the investor the profits from 30 times the investors' money. Even after paying interest to the banks and taking their share or commission, the earnings to the investor from 30 times his money would be very big - certainly far bigger than if the investor were to invest directly himself.

2. It is estimated that the 8000 hedge funds manage a total of 620 trillion dollars. Such is their game that the investors are assured of high profits. How they invest is often shrouded in secrecy. Much use is made of tax haven where they need not submit accounts of their study business.

3. The poorer countries are not much involved in the shadow businesses and their indices would reflect their economy much more accurately.

4. The present crisis is brought about by the right to create more money by the banks being too great that despite securing their business through insurance etc, their losses could not be covered even by the bank.

5. For example when they invest 30 times more than the money invested with them, the losses too would be 30 times more. They would still have to pay back to the banks the huge loans they had taken. There is no way they can do this. The money invested with them would not be enough. They would therefore drag down the banks with them.

6. Although the poor countries will be less affected, the crisis would still impoverish them.

7. The United States and other rich countries are trying to restore their wealth by trillions of dollars in bailouts. The world must know the trillions are not from taxes and other revenue collected by Governments. They are created.

8. Unfortunately the bailouts with this created money will not succeed in reviving the failed banks and businesses. This is because they cannot redeem themselves through normal legitimate businesses. The earnings would be too small. They can only do so by the same kind of dubious shadowy business they had been doing. But if they do this there would be another crisis, far worse than the present.

9. Because we allowed a group of selfish greedy people to abuse the system, this is the inevitable result.

Contesting Penanti? Muhyiddin: “Er.. Uh.. dunno…”

Sorry, been a little out of it of late, esp on the blogging front. A bit in a rut.

So, today:

Umno’s stand on the upcoming Penanti by-election continues to remain a mystery with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also refusing to shed any light.

Firstly, he said the party’s political bureau which met this afternoon did not discuss the matter contrary to reports earlier that Penanti will be the top agenda.

“We did not discuss about that and there’s no decision made,” he said. And when asked what was discussed, he replied: “Why should we tell you?”

When pressed by journalists on whether the party will contest, the deputy premier merely shook his head without elaborating on whether it meant ‘no comments’ or ‘no contest’


Far be it from us to throw the first stone, but this shows a bit more disunity within Umno than I would’ve expected so soon into Najib’s premiership.

Whatever his stance, if Najib was really strong, he should be able to steamroll his decision through. Time is a tickin’ y’know, nomination ain’t that far off. How is he going to avoid being seen as TDM’s whipping boy at this rate?

As for Muhyiddin, all this snappy “Err.. Uh… Why should we tell you?” defensive, undiplomatic nonsense suggests disarray from no less than the country’s Number 2 is not exactly confidence inspiring.

And did not discuss it? That means either they’re daft (to ignore such a thing), whipped (for not daring to bring it up) or they’re lying.

By-elections... who calls the shot?

By Jeff Ooi,

Not that self-elected political analysts in Malaysia have much sterling record in their sideline observation of local politics.

The latest from them is that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has lined up four to five more by-elections before the next general election which must be held not later than March 7, 2013.

Some of these soothsayers justified their hypothesis by saying Anwar needed the by-elections to avert his party's internal problems. Not much credibility in their thoughts, though, but let's let the thoughts run wild a little.

I have somehow campaigned in four out of five by-elections held within one year after GE2008 -- largely due to God's will that precipitated in two deaths-in-office for the MPs from PAS, and two others due to resignations by PKR's elected (Permatang Pauh) and professed (Bukit Selambau independent, originally) wakil rakyat.

Driven out of the desire to crush Umno, I had to dip into my own pocket to help run every of those campaigns... transporting, feeding and housing the campaign workers who volunteered their time and energy for a common cause. But we simply don't have deep pockets to talk about in the first place, and volunteerism has its limits.

Volunteerism will wane when the cause gets blurred and blurry.

Nevertheless, till this day, I still believe Bukit Gantang is a God-willed by-election that went to help us prove a case, that the Najib-Zambrie coup d'etat in Perak must be made a referendum for despise; whereas, the Permatang Pauh by-election carried some significant meanings as the BN has shrewdly decided to hold the GE2008 just one month before Anwar completed his post-incarceration political imprisonment.

Personal feelings aside, I must say the people and taxpayers are now very sick and tired of by-elections because none of the outcomes will change the political representation at the national level at this point in time.

By-elections are justified if God so decides to recall any of the elected YBs to his side. He is in total command to will and to dispose.

But by-elections cannot be justified if they were to be manipulated to fulfill non-taxpayers agenda of finding solutions to intra-party problems.

Unjustifiable by-elections are a betrayal to voters and akin to raping democracy and the democratic process and I deplore that.

In the same vein, DAP should think carefully if the brewing vacancy in Kota Alam, Selangor, will not be alluded and equated to another of those alleged Anwar's antics.

Situations warrant that I skip Penanti a little.