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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UN urges Sri Lanka war crime probe

Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war has left thousands dead and forced many to flee their homes [AFP]

The United Nations human rights chief has called for an independent investigation into whether war crimes were committed in the final stages of Sri Lanka's civil war.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said there was reason to believe that the government and the Tamil Tigers had "grossly disregarded the fundamental principle of the inviolability of civilians".

"Establishing the facts is crucial to set the record straight regarding the conduct of all parties in the conflict," Pillay told a special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

She said thousands of civilians had been killed or injured in fighting between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) since December.

In a video message to the council, Pillay reiterated concern over allegations that Tamil rebels prevented civilians from fleeing the combat zone and used them as human shields.

She also highlighted reports that the government fired heavy artillery on the densely populated area, and claims that the army may have killed rebels who were trying to surrender.

'Outrageous suggestion'

Pillay said ensuring accountability for abuses committed would be important for the nation's reconciliation.

But Dayan Jayatilleka, the Sri Lankan ambassador, said it was "outrageous" to suggest the government be investigated.

Pillay's comments come as the UN Human Rights Council tries to reach consensus on their approach to the aftermath of the conflict, with two separate draft resolutions tabled for UN special session.

On one side, a Western-led group is demanding unrestricted access to around 300,000 Tamil civilians said to be forcibly held in government-run camps, and also calls for an inquiry into allegations of war crimes.

The other resolution, backed by Sri Lanka and its allies, praises its government for liberating Tamil civilians and its humane treatment of those displaced.

Sri Lanka declared total victory over the LTTE a week ago after killing their leaders.

The UN estimates that up to 100,000 people died during the 26-year conflict, including at least 7,000 civilians killed since the beginning of the year.

Anwar to file suit against Anifah

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is filing a libel suit against Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman today.

Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair told The Malaysian Insider that the suit will be filed at 2pm at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

On May 16, Anifah who is also MP for Kimanis, told a group of foreign reporters in the United States that Anwar had offered him the deputy prime minister's position if he agreed to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) after the March 8 general election last year. He was speaking at a joint press conference at the State Department in Washington with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He also alleged Anwar was “trying to buy other legislative members”.

When Anwar strongly denied the accusations and threatened legal action unless Anifah issued an apology, the latter refused.

"Oh yes, I have no problem with that, as the foreign minister I have better things to do, Anwar is the least of my concern."

On May 18, Sankara said that the allegations made by Anifah were “baseless, untrue, defamatory and made with malicious intent to tarnish Anwar’s reputation”.

The lawyer then sent Anifah a letter of demand for an immediate apology, pending which RM100 million would be sought “for the injury caused to our client’s reputation”.

Clampdown worse than Ops Lalang, says Nizar

By Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, May 27 — Continuing Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) condemnation of the police, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin says that the spate of arrests linked to the Perak crisis has dwarfed the infamous Operasi Lalang in 1987.

Yesterday, a total of 21 people including eight PR elected representatives were detained in relation to PR's hunger strike. This number added to a total which the former mentri besar says has hit 157.

Under then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 106 people were hauled in under Ops Lalang. At the time, this was probably the second largest swoop in Malaysian history after that of the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

However, the detentions related to the Feb 5 putsch by Barisan Nasional (BN) has mostly occurred randomly during various gatherings which the authorities deemed illegal.

Nizar said today that "it is a dark hour for those seeking freedom and justice".

"It is worse than Ops Lalang," he said, adding that around the world, hunger strikes are natural actions by freedom fighters protected by the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights.

At yesterday morning's launch of the three-day hunger strike, PR leaders slammed police action which, they claimed, was not independent and served the interests of the ruling BN coalition.

At a night ceramah, Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has brought "the darkest hour for Malaysia which now exists in a state of lawlessness".

He claimed the arrests, specifically those made yesterday, were unlawful and filed police reports against the wrongful detentions.

"Instead of keeping law and order, the police are causing disorder," he said of their persistence in disrupting peaceful gatherings instead of concentrating on more serious crimes.

Perak police chief defends arrests

(NST) IPOH: State police chief Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah yesterday defended the police action in arresting 19 people, including Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives, earlier in the day for an illegal gathering.

He said the move was to safeguard the interests of the public.

"We want to ensure that the people of Perak enjoy a peaceful environment without having their peace shattered by irresponsible segments of society," Zulkifli said yesterday.

Stressing that police had acted fairly in arresting eight Pakatan representatives when they refused to follow police instructions to disperse, he said the duty of the police was to uphold the law.

"Until and unless these laws are repealed, the police will regulate public-related activities.

"Whether some people like the current laws is another matter."

Asked about public perception that police were biased in carrying out their duties by only arresting Pakatan leaders and supporters, he said: "People should know that besides doing our regular crime prevention duties, we also have to protect them in other ways.

"We have a lot of responsibilities, but it is the duty of the police to ensure that the majority of the population in Perak can continue their daily routine without hindrance."

About 7am yesterday, police arrested five men, including three Myanmars, in front of the state DAP headquarters, when they were putting up a large yellow balloon with the words Daulat Tuanku. Bubarkan DUN (Long Live His Royal Highness. Dissolve the State Assembly).

Zulkifli said the five were being investigated under the Sedition Act.

They are workers of Etak Sdn Bhd, an event management company hired by Pakatan to provide equipment for the three-day hunger strike by its assemblymen that started at 11am yesterday.

As for the other 14, Zulkifli said their statements had been recorded, adding that they were released at 4.30pm.

They were investigated under the Police Act for taking part in an unlawful assembly, he said.

So when has fasting become an offence?

Aliran is terribly perturbed by the increasing role the police are assuming which is perceived to be undemocratic and very unfair. They have intervened whenever peaceful activities such as candlelight vigils are organised by civil society groups.

P. Ramakrishnan, President (Aliran)

These activities have not threatened the security of the nation neither have they caused any traffic congestion. And yet, participants have been dispersed and arrested in a regrettable manner, causing pain and anguish for concerned citizens who mean well for this nation.

Recently, the police have become so intolerant that they have intruded with impunity into the harmless individual actions of Malaysians. According to the Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, “put up tent cannot, gather cannot, wear black cannot, hold candles cannot, drink teh tarik also cannot.”

Indeed, the police action has only accentuated the political problem and added tremendously to the Barisan Nasional's headache. It is unfortunate that the police are viewed negatively and no longer come across as a 'people-friendly' force.

It is of utmost importance that civil society must have some space to articulate and demonstrate their grievances to make known to the authorities what their complaints are. In all civilised and civil societies, this democratic space is accessible and even recognised as a matter of right.

This is why we are disturbed that the police deployed so much manpower and equipment to disrupt the fast that was scheduled to be launched today. According to The Malaysian Insider, “a total of 40 policemen, two jeeps, four police cars, two vans and seven trucks were seen in the area”. Most people will view this as a waste of police resources when the rate of serious crimes is escalating and requires urgent attention. The police should be tackling this serious problem instead of harassing ordinary Malaysians.

It is also unfortunate that people are beginning to view the police as taking sides in the clash of wills between the BN and the Pakatan. People are wondering whether the BN is putting pressure on the police, making it difficult for them to be neutral and to concentrate on their primary task of maintaining law and order. It would be more than a pity if Malaysians become disillusioned with the police.

The Prime Minister must ensure that as long as the peace is not breached and law and order is respected, the democratic space, which is a fundamental right, must be guaranteed to Malaysians. The PM should allow harmless activities, like fasting, to take place. The BN leadership must take note that the political turmoil resulting from the illegal takeover of the legitimate government of the people is unlikely to abate. If anything, it will continue to escalate to the detriment of our young nation.

The only way to overcome the Perak crisis is to dissolve the Perak State Assembly and to hold fresh elections so that the people of Perak can choose their government they want to administer their state. Anything short of a state-wide re-election is travesty of democracy.

P Ramakrishnan

It’s all about belief


Muslims, for example, like the IGP, AG, CJ, and so on, believe they will go to heaven even if they do bad things in this world. And this is because they are Muslims and all Muslims eventually go to heaven -- never mind how bad they have been. At worse they will spend a short stint in hell. But after they serve their sentence they will get transferred to heaven.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Someone sent me an e-mail saying that he disagrees with my view on forgiveness. He then quoted a passage from the Bible to support his argument. His contention is that the Christian view of forgiveness differs from my view and therefore I am wrong in my assumptions.

Fair enough. I would not want to even begin debating the correctness or otherwise of the Christian view. For starters, I am not a Christian. So definitely I would not understand Christianity as well as this person who sent me that e-mail. Secondly, even if I did have a fair understanding of the Christian view, not being a Christian means I would not share the Christian view. So, a debate would be futile when from the very beginning we do not share the same view.

But what this person who sent me that e-mail probably failed to comprehend is I said that this is the Muslim view. Whenever I start a sentence with ‘according to the Muslim belief’, this means this is what Muslims believe or are supposed to believe. I did not say this is according to what I believe.

Therefore, before you jump all over me, read properly what I write first -- then argue. When I say things like ‘the Malays believe’ or ‘the Muslims believe’, this is exactly what I mean. And just because I too am Malay or Muslim, don’t jump to conclusions and assume that this, therefore, must also be what I believe.

Malays believe Malaysia needs a New Economic Policy and Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy). Now, when I say that, did I say I believe Malaysia needs a New Economic Policy and Ketuanan Melayu? I said Malays believe Malaysia needs a New Economic Policy and Ketuanan Melayu.

Okay, maybe not all Malays believe this. Maybe just some Malays or probably even half the Malays believe this. But when I say Malays believe Malaysia needs a New Economic Policy and Ketuanan Melayu, do not read that as all Malays believe Malaysia needs a New Economic Policy and Ketuanan Melayu or that I also believe Malaysia needs a New Economic Policy and Ketuanan Melayu.

Some Malays and/or Muslims have certain beliefs that may appear strange to those who are not Malay or Muslim. But that is what they believe. I am sure there are Malays and/or Muslims who also think that the Christian belief is strange, maybe even downright blasphemous. And there are Christians who disagree with certain Christian beliefs, as there are Muslims who disagree with certain Muslim beliefs.

Take, for example, the belief of some Muslims that if you kill lizards (cicak) on Thursday night you receive a lot of pahala (blessings or ‘credits’) and probably can go to heaven if you end up killing one million lizards because of the excess pahala you have accumulated. I remember, as a child, we used to go around looking for lizards so that we can shoot them dead with rubber bands. I believed that when I was a child because the old folks told us this was so and we trusted the wise and respected old folks. Today, of course, I no longer believe this and I very much leave these lizards alone to do their own thing.

There are Muslims who believe in ‘contract marriages’. If you fancy a sweet young thing you can enter into a contract with her and after you have satisfied your lust and have exhausted yourself the marriage ends. Now, note that I said there are Muslims who believe this. I did not say I too believe this. And if I ever did try such a thing my wife would chop of my little pecker and feed it to the lizards -- who I am sure would gladly devour it as revenge for the suffering they have endured all those many years every Thursday night.

Now, on the issue of forgiveness and whatnot, Muslims believe that if you have wronged someone then that someone has to forgive you first before God forgives you. That is what I wrote and which was what attracted that response from the Christian who e-mailed me.

Anyway, that is what my Tok Guru said and that is the common belief of most Muslims. However, there are Muslims who do not believe this. They believe that the concept of heaven and hell and credits and debits are a Christian concept that some Muslims have borrowed from Christianity.

Now, this is where the problem lies. Not all Muslims believe everything that Islam says. But they would be very careful about openly saying so. They are worried that if they express views that differ from the mainstream Muslim view then they would suffer retaliation. Until today, Muslims are still being killed for expressing views that are classified as deviant or blasphemous.

Remember 700 years or so ago when Christians were tortured and made to confess to sins of heresy and then burned alive at the stake? Well, Islam is more or less still at this stage -- minus the torture and burning alive. Maybe, at worse, you would get detained without trial under the Internal Security Act or get cut down with a bullet in the head as you leave your home. Invariably, you will suffer some form of punishment for deviating from the true path of Islam if you are bold enough in opposing the mainstream view and openly express these views.

That is why many Muslims are ‘closet deviants’, if I may be permitted to put it that way for want of a better word. A Christian can openly declare that he or she does not believe in God and can even write a book about it. A Muslim does so at his or her own peril. You would not be around to celebrate Christmas if you dare say, do or write anything that upsets or antagonise other Muslims. And this is an undisputable fact.

Do you know there are Muslims who believe that the Quran was not written in Arabic? Yes, that’s right, they believe that the Quran was written in Syriac-Aramaic, not Arabic. These Muslims believe that written Arabic did not exist yet at the time of Prophet Muhammad. And they support this theory with the argument that this is why even Arabs who are proficient in their mother tongue have great difficulty in understanding the language of the Quran.

Those who disagree with this view argue that there is nothing strange in that. The Quran, they argue, is written in Classical Arabic, the way Shakespeare’s plays are written. Even if you speak English extremely well this does not mean you can understand Shakespeare, which is Classical or Olde English.

Now, I said there are those who believe this. How many Muslims believe this? I really don’t know because these people who do will never dare openly say they believe so. But those who do believe so will argue that ‘virgins’, if in Syriac-Aramaic, will translate to ‘raisins’. And suicide bombers get rewarded with raisins and not virgins when they go to heaven -- if, in the first place, they get to go to heaven.

So there you have it. You really don’t know what Muslims believe because they will never dare tell you what they really believe. At best, they will say: according to the Muslim belief. And, therefore, in that same spirit, you really don’t know what I believe.

So save your breath. No need to send me long e-mails disputing my beliefs. No need to even counter what you think is my belief with the Christian belief. You really don’t know what my beliefs are.

Okay, while still on the same subject but on another point. Muslims, for example like the IGP, AG, CJ, and so on, believe they will go to heaven even if they do bad things in this world. They can even beat up my son and force him to admit to crimes he never committed and they are still destined for heaven although my son may be sent to jail for crimes he never committed. And this is because they are Muslims and all Muslims eventually go to heaven -- never mind how bad they have been. At worse they will spend a short stint in hell. But after they serve their sentence they will get transferred to heaven.

Muslims like the IGP, AG, CJ, and so on, believe that non-Muslims, for example like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Mandela, and so on, will all end up in hell. They will go straight to hell and will remain there for eternity. And this is because Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Mandela, and so on, are not Muslims. So it does not matter how much good they do in this world. It is all a wasted effort. They will still end up in hell in the end.

So Muslims do bad and they are not scared. They believe they will end up in heaven whatever they do. And they are not impressed by non-Muslims who do good. They believe that however good these non-Muslims are they will still end up in hell. And that is why we find Muslims like the IGP, AG, CJ, and so on, are terrible people. They have special protection and an exemption from hell. Because they are Muslims they will end up in heaven whatever they do. So why do they need to be good? It’s more fun being bad. And just before you die you repent and go to Mekah and all your sins will be cleansed and you come home as clean as a newly-born baby.

That is the Muslim belief. How many Muslims believe this? I don’t know because those who do not believe this do not dare say so. So they will just say this is the Muslim belief and will leave it at that.

From tsunami to epidemics

By Wong Chin Huat

METAPHORS are more than sound bites. For example, the sea-changing 2008 general election is best represented by the metaphor "tsunami", first coined by seasoned opposition leader and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

Why is tsunami an apt metaphor for 8 March 2008? First, a tsunami sweeps away existing structures and leaves a new landscape behind. Second, it strikes without much warning. For the most part, most people ignore its signs and are caught off guard by a tsunami's impact. Hence, the book edited by Kee Thuan Chye about the 8 March elections titled The Day Malaysia Woke Up.

8 March was indeed such an unexpected killer for the Barisan Nasional (BN). But what threat does the BN face today that is even greater than a political tsunami?


More deadly

More deadly than a sudden political tsunami is infectious political dissent. The virus of political dissent is what is now fueling a post-tsunami epidemic and causing distress to the BN administration.

If 8 March was indeed a tsunami, it was because the early signs of opposition then — like the three rallies organised respectively by the Bar Council, Bersih and Hindraf — were not enough to convince most Malaysians that the BN would lose its two-thirds majority in Parliament, and its hold on power in five states.

Photo of a Hindraf rally in KL
Hindraf rally

Most Malaysians remained silent until the last moments of the tsunami. In fact, the first few days of the campaign period were relatively calm and slow.

But silence is one thing evaporating fast post-8 March. The silent majority have since refused to take things lying down. Spurred by the hope of change because of 8 March, they have turned vocal and refused to waste another five years in wait.

Hence, an outspoken population now makes heroes of those who are unjustly persecuted or vilified by the state. For example, Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok, Raja Petra Kamarudin and the Hindraf five have emerged triumphant. From the ruins of the Perak coup, embattled Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and embattled Speaker V Sivakumar rise as national heroes. Out of the cyber gutter, Elizabeth Wong is soaring high like a phoenix.

If the BN fears by-elections, it should realise that by-election results since 8 March are only the symptoms and not the cause of this epidemic of dissent.

Dissent as an epidemic

Why is political dissent comparable to an epidemic?

As author Malcolm Gladwell aptly captured in his bestseller The Tipping Point, "Ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do."

Social movements need not be formally organised. When a sticky message spreads to the right number of opinion leaders, in the right context, it may just turn into an epidemic.

In fact, journalist Oon Yeoh first used the idea of a "tipping point" for Malaysia's new landscape in the book he edited on the 8 March elections.

Indeed, the epidemic of dissent is now more obvious than a year ago as evidenced by the increasing sense that 13 May is becoming a lethargic ghost that fails to scare even the old and infirm.

Police actions provide the best support for the metaphor of an epidemic of dissent.

Photo of Wong Chin Huat walking out of the police station after he was released
Wong Chin Huat leaving the police station
after he was released on 8 May

Over the past three weeks, the police have arrested a total of 165 people for a variety of actions related to Perak's political developments, from wearing black to lighting candles to setting up canopies for a hunger strike.

Police arrests for such actions can be seen as quarantining the "virus carriers" of dissent. The authorities hope that the fear of being arrested and locked up would serve as a vaccine.

However, when the arrested talk about their lock-up experiences with excitement and detention becomes a badge of honour, you know the anti-viral drug has only made the virus stronger.

What are the options now for the Bukit Aman Disease Control Centre?

They have already tried stronger drugs by cracking down even on a birthday party and a hunger strike in black. But the 1BLACKMalaysia epidemic is still spreading and gradually crowding out the 1Malaysia propaganda.

Unlike organised campaigns like the three mass rallies in 2007, the epidemic in 2009 has no "ring leaders" for the authorities to catch or persecute. Viruses simply have no "leaders".

What frustrates the police and drives them desperate is this: the more "carriers" you catch, the faster the epidemic spreads.

Battling the virus

To win the game they are in, Bukit Aman should first of all know their enemy. I am happy to offer my answer free-of-charge even though I have no reason to repay the police's "hospitality" for the free lodging, food and medical check-up I had from 5 to 8 May.

What is the nature of the virus they are combating? The virus is incurable and indestructible because it is part of us and what makes us human. Call it common sense or reason or even humanity.

Because of the common sense or reason that we have, humans have limited tolerance for injustice, violence, arrogance and absurdity. Hence, the virus does not strike without such triggers.

That's why you don't have civil disobedience now in India, the US or Poland. When governments are seen as legitimate by the majority of the population, any call for civil disobedience is ignored or ridiculed.

On the other hand, when a government's legitimacy is at stake, the possibility of civil disobedience is like a dried bush waiting for a spark of fire.

The police must therefore stop thinking about quarantining the carriers of dissent. Otherwise, we may need to eventually throw at least half of our 27 million population into the lockup.

Instead, the police must advise their political chiefs to quarantine the "triggers", whose abuse of power and arrogance make civil disobedience the trendiest thing in town.

Photo of Perak state secretariat building
Perak state secretariat building, which houses the state assembly

For example, the ill-tempered Brickfields OCPD must be quarantined until he completes his anger management course.

Similarly, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan must be quarantined from making more infuriating statements until they learn the basics of democracy and rule of law.

Of course, the police must also quarantine themselves from civil gatherings — in black or other colours - to prevent further outbreaks. They would do better by focusing on crimes rather than violating citizens' rights.

One group of triggers, however, must not be quarantined. BN-installed Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir and his troop of BN and BN-friendly lawmakers need to be cured with an electoral verdict for their political deceit.

As the "democracy first, elections now" prescription on the wall states, fresh polls in Perak would be the ultimate remedy to end this 1BLACKMalaysia epidemic before it sweeps Putrajaya.

Sri Lanka: IBAHRI recommends protections for a justice system, legal profession and media in peril




the global voice of the legal profession

Sri Lanka: IBAHRI recommends protections for a justice system, legal profession and media in peril

Sri Lanka’s justice system, legal profession and media are all under grave threat, concludes a report published today by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI). The 155-page report entitled Justice in retreat: A report on the independence of the legal profession and the rule of law in Sri Lanka contains several recommendations to protect the independence of the judiciary, legal profession and media.

An IBAHRI delegation to Sri Lanka found that in recent years there has been an escalation of threats and physical attacks against lawyers filing fundamental rights applications and representing terrorist suspects, as well as cases of intimidation and harassment by the Government and the police authorities.

Lord Goodhart QC, who led the IBAHRI delegation to Sri Lanka between 28 February and 06 March 2009, said: ‘The IBAHRI report details a number of great concerns from the independence of the judiciary to violence against lawyers. It is imperative that, for example, lawyers in Sri Lanka be allowed to conduct their professional duties without fear of being attacked. It is absolutely unacceptable that lawyers representing terrorist suspects should find themselves listed on a government website which inappropriately implies that they, the lawyers, are linked to terrorist activity.’ He added, ‘Naming individual lawyers is wholly irresponsible and leaves them open to an increased risk of attack.’

The IBAHRI concluded that far from being isolated incidents, attacks against human rights lawyers form part of a pattern of intimidation routinely expressed against members of civil society, NGOs and journalists who are perceived to be critical or challenging of the Government or its policies, particularly with respect to the conflict with the LTTE. The brazen nature of these attacks, the lack of effective investigations and prosecutions and the consequential sense of impunity surrounding these incidents have created a climate of fear amongst the legal profession, journalists and civil society.

The IBAHRI also found that the judiciary has become increasingly vulnerable to political interference, and is concerned that Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism legislation, in particular the emergency regulations, has had a detrimental impact on basic due process guarantees as well as freedom of expression.

An IBAHRI delegation first visited Sri Lanka in 2001; the 2009 IBAHRI delegation found that the state of the rule of law had deteriorated significantly since this first mission. Of particular concern is the widespread perception that that the judiciary is not independent. This has led to a rapid decline of public confidence in judicial processes. The lack of independent oversight and practice of exclusive presidential discretion over judicial appointments makes the judiciary susceptible to executive interference and jeopardises its independence. The current procedures for the disciplining and removal of judges are in urgent need of review. In particular, the Judicial Services Commission does not have adequate safeguards to ensure the transparency and independence of its decision-making process and is not able to guarantee a fair hearing for judges and judicial officers under investigation. The perception that the judiciary suffers from political influence has arisen in recent years due to the excessive influence of the Chief Justice, whom it is also believed has used the system of case allocation to sideline senior Supreme Court judges from hearing politically-sensitive cases.

With regard to the media, it appears that Sinhalese, Tamil and English language journalists have little room within the Sri Lankan media for dissenting viewpoints on ‘sensitive issues’, due to excessive governmental control and interference. The President reportedly holds monthly meetings with the editors and owners of all media institutions to maintain pressure on the media and to ensure compliance with the government position on issues relating to the armed conflict with the LTTE.

The IBAHRI reiterates the conclusion of the 2001 visit that Sri Lanka would benefit from an independent, pluralistic media which are free from state ownership and political influence. The use of criminal law, in particular under the counter-terrorism legislation, to detain and prosecute journalists who are considered to be critical of the Government is unacceptable.

The report contains detailed recommendations (Chapter 7) which the IBAHRI makes to the President, the new Chief Justice – due to be appointed in June – and the Government of Sri Lanka to implement as a matter of urgency in order to restore the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

The recommendations include:

The IBAHRI calls on the President to promptly re-establish the Constitutional Council in accordance with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, thus ensuring critical independent oversight of the proper functioning of Sri Lanka’s key institutions including the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

* A return to the system of independent oversight of appointments of superior court judges with nominations being made or approved by the Constitutional Council.
* The appointment, transfer, dismissal or retirement of judges at all levels to be determined by a transparent and accountable system.

To create a judicial environment where all extraneous influences on judicial decision making – whether originating from the executive, the JSC, within the judiciary or from any other quarter – are strongly discouraged and successfully repelled.

* The Government is encouraged to expedite the police investigations into the threats and attacks upon lawyers, and to ensure that they are independent, thorough and effective. The Government is urged to take preventative steps to ensure the security of lawyers under threat.
* The Government must refrain from publishing potentially inflammatory rhetoric against lawyers representing terrorist suspects, and from identifying attorneys with their clients’ causes. The article entitled ‘Who are the human rights violators?’ must be withdrawn from the website of the Ministry of Defence with immediate effect (It must also be removed from its archive).
* Independent, thorough and timely investigations, with a view to securing appropriate criminal charges, should be carried out in relation to each and every attack on journalists. There should be proper coordination between the law enforcement agencies with respect to the current investigations into the assassinations of journalists with a view to ensuring prompt and effective prosecutions.
* The Sri Lankan Bar Association should be more proactive in protecting the legal profession from political pressures.
* Planning should commence immediately – at a time when the armed hostilities in the northeast appear to be becoming less intense – for the gradual removal of the emergency regulations as quickly as possible after the cessation of the armed conflict in order to ensure that as little long-term damage as possible is caused to Sri Lanka’s democratic order.
* The Government should repeal any aspects of the Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act which are not strictly necessary and proportionate to the apparently decreasing security threat currently being faced, with particular regard to basic due process guarantees.
* The Government and Sinhalese community should seek reconciliation and avoid triumphalism.

The full report, Justice in retreat: A report on the independence of the legal profession and the rule of law in Sri Lanka, can be downloaded from the International Bar Association website. Click here to download it.

Kempen Penanti: Isu Pembangunan Turut Ditekankan

Berikut merupakan respon Anwar Ibrahim terhadap sebuah artikel yang disiarkan oleh portal berita Malaysiakini semalam, bertajuk How to behave like gov’t-in-waiting.


Menulis dari Kuala Lumpur, dan berbekal maklumat dengan memantau liputan media UMNO-BN. Walhal kenyataan di akar umbi jauh berbeda.

Ucapan saudara Dr. Mansor banyak menekankan isu negeri dan Penanti - pembangunan dan pengangguran. Saudara Abdul Malik Kassim pula membangkitkan program keagamaan dan kemasyarakatan.

Walaubagaimanapun, terima kasih di atas peringatan tersebut.


Don't Be Fearful In Voicing Grievances: Zambry

BATU GAJAH, May 26 (Bernama) -- The people should not be fearful or apprehensive in bringing up housing, illegal settlement and land problems to the state government, said Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

"Tell us your woes, we will solve them according to priority as fast as we can.

"We are giving top priority to housing and resettlement problems, not the type of titles whether it is 999 years or 99 years," he told reporters after holding a dialogue at the Kinta District meet-the-clients day here Tuesday.

Zambry said the state government would not discriminate constituencies represented by the opposition.

Zambry later led state executive councillors in a walkabout at the Batu Gajah market to hear the grievances of the traders before visiting Batu Gajah Hospital.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Umno veteran members in Ipoh later, he said the opposition's three-day hunger strike to press for the state assembly to be dissolved would not threaten the security of the state.

He said it was a ploy to gain the people's sympathy and to tarnish the image of Perak as if it was in a state of upheaval and politically unstable.

"They will do all sort of things to get the attention of the people and the world.

"We do not know what they will do next. But gradually it will backfire as the people are getting fed up with their antics," he said.

PPP to deal with problem expeditiously

Extract of the recording

Gobind: Where are Kugan's killers?

Four months on, no one from the USJ Taipan police station has been charged with the death of A Kugan while he was being detained.

gobind singh deo jalan duta court 230409 07DAP Puchong parliamentarian Gobind Singh Deo (right) said newly-appointed Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein must now make it a priority to bring those responsible to justice.

“There must be some explanation forthcoming or the speculation of a cover-up will only loom stronger among the (public),” he said in a statement today

“Here lies a sad case where even the strongest of protests has failed to move the authorities to recognise the public sentiment involved, and the need to move quickly to resolve the matter.

Questioning the delay, “double standards” and silence on the part of various authorities, he asked why “those who mercilessly assaulted Kugan are not subjected to the same treatment as other ordinary Malaysians who are implicated in cases of this nature”.

“A delay in prosecution will weaken the prosecution’s case as witnesses, like all humans, will face recollection problems,” he said.

hishammuddin hussein home ministry 140409 talking“The defence of those charged will also face similar predicament. At the same time, the delays in bringing the perpetrators to book will have an almost irreparable impact upon the public.”

Gobind also challenged Hishammuddin (left) to an open debate over the matter.

“I am firmly of the view that the time has come for there to be openness by way of open dialogue over issues such as lack of action in certain cases, and also the lack of direction in some high- profile prosecutions in the criminal justice system,” he said.

Conflicting findings

There was public outcry when Malaysiakini first highlighted the death of Kugan, 23, on Jan 20 while in police custody on suspicion of involvement in a luxury car-theft syndicate.

a kugan murdered assaulted indian youthRelatives identifying his body at the Serdang Hospital mortuary claimed they found several bruises and lesions on his torso and legs.

The police sought a post-mortem. Dr Abdul Karim Tajuddin of Serdang Hospital concluded that Kugan had died from “fluid accumulation” in his lungs.

Dissatisfied, Kugan’s family sent his body for a private post-mortem at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre. Pathologist Dr Prashant N Sambekar attributed the cause of death to acute renal failure from rhabdomyolysis.

Amidst public outrage over what was perceived to be an extreme case of torture by the police, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail classified the case as murder.

On April 6, police seized the forensics samples from Prashant’s office, which prevented toxicology tests from being carried out in Australia as planned.

Kenyataan Media : Masyarakat India Terpinggir


banner Saya amat merasa kesal membaca laporan bahawa YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor tidak akan menemui golongan minoriti menyuarakan permasalahan mereka. Lebih- Lebih lagi kemenangan Pakatan Rakyat dalam pilihanraya lepas adalah kerana sokongan padu golongan ini. Beliau tidak mungkin dapat menjawat Jawatan Menteri Besar Negeri Selangor tanpa golongan ini. Sebagai seorang Ketua sepatutnya beliau menerima pandangan daripada pelbagai golongan masyarakat biarpun mereka minoriti.

Walaupun, saya masih tidak dapat mengesahkan kesahihan laporan tersebut, ingin saya menekankan bahawa adalah menjadi kewajiban YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor untuk memastikan kekayaan serta kesejahteraan negeri dinikmati oleh setiap lapisan masyarakat tanpa mengira keturunan, warna kulit atau pegangan agama.

Selaku Ahli Parlimen Malaysia, telah saya menekan dari awal lagi masyarakat India serta kumpulan minoriti lain juga adalah rakyat Malaysia yang mempunyai hak asasi yang saksama di bawah perlembagaan. Jadi tidak seharusnya, mana-mana pihak berkuasa mengkelasifikasikannya sebagai masalah India , Kerajaan tidak akan bincangkan biar mereka sendiri cari penyelesaiaan sebagaimana terjadi sejak 52 tahun lalu.

Malangnya , golongan yang terpinggir ini sebahagian besarnya terdiri daripada masyarakat India yang juga rakyat Malaysia. Maka adalah menjadi tanggungjawab pimpinan memastikan nasib lapisan masyarakat ini diberi penekanan dari segi Ekonomi, Pendidikan, Kebudayaan atau Rohani serta Politik.

Sebagai usaha terpantas , saya mencadangkan agar Kerajaan Negeri Selangor meluluskan segera lesen perniagaan Barang-barang lusuh tanpa sebarang sekatan agar mereka dapat sedikit sebanyak memajukan diri. Selain daripada itu saya juga telah mencadangkan agar Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat memastikan pencapaian ekonomi masyarakat India mencapai sekurang-kurangnya 15% di negeri-negeri ini.

Saya telah pun merancang satu mesyuarat bersama pemimpin-pemimpin India daripada Pakatan rakyat untuk mendapatkan pendapat mereka serta perjumpaan dengan ahli-ahli akar umbi agar kita dapat menyediakan suatu pelan terperinci yang berkesan dalam jangka masa pendek serta panjang.

Saya berharap usaha murni ini akan memastikan segala perancangan Kerajaan -Kerajaan Negeri Pakatan Rakyat dalam mewujudkan masyarakat Malaysia juga menyerap kehendak masyarakat India demi memastikan golongan ini tidak terpinggir terus. Sekali lagi saya menekan bahawa setiap permasalahan masyarakat India adalah masalah Rakyat Malaysia dan ianya menjadi tanggungjawab pimpinan menyelesaikannya.


YB S Manikavasagam

Ahli Parlimen Malaysia, Kapar

Kayveas hints at sabotage within PPP

IPOH, May 26 – Embattled People’s Progressive Party president Datuk M. Kayveas today claimed that the party’s documentation with the authorities could have been tampered with, in response to allegations that the Registrar of Societies was close to shutting it down.

But Kayveas admitted he has no proof, saying he had asked the party secretariat to check on their records.

“There were two or three missing documents and even other people’s documents mixed up with ours. It is a bit of a rojak there,” Kayveas said after opening the Perak PPP convention here today.

He said that it was common practice for all societies, both political and non-political, to update their documentation in the ROS after they hold their annual general meetings.

“They usually give about 60 days for this to be done. For the PPP, since the registrar has not sent us any notice to say that our documents are incomplete, we have assumed that they were all in order,” he said.

Despite this, Kayveas promised that he would rectify the problem by tomorrow morning, before the Barisan Nasional management meeting.

“It is very easy to settle. It is just a matter of doing some administrative work. I can get it settled in a few minutes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kayveas said that he had explained this during his meeting with deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin earlier today.

“He had also wanted to know about the validity of Senator T. Murugiah’s appointment as the new party president,” he said, referring to the deputy minister in the PM's Department who had sought to oust him.

Kayveas said that he had explained that the party constitution did not permit appointing a new president.

“One has to go through a proper election process.“There has to be nomination, voting and then the tallying of votes. A person cannot hold a meeting, call it an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and then wear a crown like it is a beauty pageant and call himself president,” he added.

Kayveas said that if that were the case, EGMs could be held monthly by anyone who felt like becoming president.

“Then we can have 12 presidents in a year,” he said.Kayveas also joked that the Malaysian royalty needed to be alerted now because Murugiah “already got a crown”.

He said that if Murugiah, who was sacked from the party, truly loved PPP, he would not have started all the recent problems.

“He should sit and settle issues for the party so that there is no need for there to be two press conferences every day,” he said.

He added that the party was willing to accept Murugiah back into the party if he was willing to come forward.“We have been waiting for him to come but he is too high and mighty.

“He does not even come to the headquarters. He does not see the president or even the supreme council members,” he added.

Gerakan: No need for drastic moves in Ipoh arrests

Written by Yong Min Wei, The Edge

Gerakan has urged the police to exercise restraint and rationality in dealing with those involved in the launch of a three-day hunger strike in Ipoh to call for the dissolution of the Perak state legislative assembly.

Gerakan Youth Chief Lim Si Pin opined that Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein would not agree with the police taking such drastic action to arrest Pakatan Rakyat (PR) elected representatives who wanted to go on hunger strike.

"Hunger strike is a form of non-violent protest and police should not intervene. The police action could be construed as a Barisan Nasional-sanctioned action," he said in a statement today.

Claiming the police were too obsessed with calming down the situation, Lim said the party was shocked that five workers including three foreigners of an event company engaged to put up a canopy and a giant balloon outside the Perak DAP headquarters were also detained.

More than 10 PR politicians and party workers including ousted Perak assembly speaker V Sivakumar, DAP's Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran and state assemblymen Keshwinder Singh (DAP-Malim Nawar), Chan Ming Kai (PKR-Simpang Pulai), Chang Lih Kang (PKR-Teja), Leong Mee Meng (DAP-Jalong), Thomas Su (DAP-Pasir Pinji) and Lim Pek Har (DAP-Menglembu) were arrested earlier today for disobeying police orders to disperse.

Do take the trouble to understand before you find fault with the judges of the Court of Appeal

by N H Chan

Before you go about judging the judges of the Court of Appeal on their five minute oral decision which they handed down on Friday, May 22, 2009, please bear in mind the wise words of the most liberal of American judges, judge Learned Hand who once wrote - The Spirit of Liberty, p 110:

… while it is proper that the people should find fault when the judges fail, it is only reasonable that they should recognise the difficulties. … Let them be severely brought to book, when they go wrong, but by those who will take the trouble to understand.

I shall now try to help you take the trouble to understand the oral findings of the Court of Appeal. First of all we will look at what the New Straits Times, Saturday. May 23, 2009 has to say:

PUTRAJAYA. … In allowing the appeal by Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir that he was constitutionally appointed as menteri besar by the sultan on Feb 6, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Md Raus Sharif said there was no clear provision in the state Constitution that a vote of no confidence against Nizar must be taken in the assembly.

Raus, who sat with Datuk Zainun Ali and Datuk Ahmad Maarop to hear submissions on Thursday, said Nizar had on February 4 made a request to the sultan to dissolve the assembly under Article 16 (6) because he no longer enjoyed the support of the majority assemblymen.

He said Nizar had no choice but to resign once the ruler declined to dissolve the assembly.

“There is no mandatory or express requirement in the Perak Constitution for a vote of no confidence to be taken in the legislative assembly.” Raus said in a five-minute oral ruling before a packed court room.

That was all. That is the gravamen of the five minute decision. What the Court of Appeal has said above as reported in the New Straits Times had also been said by Mr Justice Abdul Aziz in the High Court in his well considered judgment - 78 pages on A4 paper. This is what the High Court judge said, at p 30:

It is not in dispute that His Royal Highness had exercised the royal prerogative in this case pursuant to Article XVI (2) (a) and (6) of the Perak’s State Constitution. However the applicant [Nizar] is not asking the Court to review His Royal Highness’ prerogative to appoint the respondent [Zambry] as MB Perak or His Royal Highness’ prerogative to withhold consent to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly. The applicant concedes that the two royal prerogatives are not subject to review and non justiciable. That is the reason, the applicant [Nizar] said, His Royal Highness was not made a party to the present disputes.

And at pp 36, 37 Abdul Aziz J also said:

Under Article XVI(2) of the Perak’s State Constitution His Royal Highness shall appoint as Menteri Besar a member of the State Legislative Assembly who in His Royal Highness’ judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the State Legislative Assembly. …

I never had any doubt that the exercise of the royal prerogative to appoint a Menteri Besar pursuant to Article XVI(2) Perak’s State Constitution is solely based on personal judgment of His Royal Highness and that His Royal Highness may resort to any means in order to satisfy himself and accordingly to form his judgment as to whom who is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the State Legislative Assembly that he can be appointed as the Menteri Besar to lead the Executive Council.

I also have no doubt that His Royal Highness has absolute discretion with regard to the appointment of a Menteri Besar and the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly. This is plain and obvious from the reading of Article XVIII (1) and (2) (a) and (b) of Perak’s State Constitution.

The High Court judge even agreed, at p 37:

… that if the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the State Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council, …

So then, how could the Court of Appeal overrule the judgment of the High Court when the higher court substantially agrees with the judgment of the High Court? The newspaper report is not very clear on this point as we are still unaware of the reason for overruling the judgment of the High Court judge.

However, according to the report in the New Straits times, Raus JCA did say, “There is no mandatory or express requirement in the Perak Constitution for a vote of no confidence to be taken in the legislative assembly.” So what if there is no provision for a vote of no confidence in the Legislative Assembly. The High Court had found that Nizar is still the Mentri Besar. To overrule the decision of the High Court, the Court of Appeal must explain why the judge of the High Court was wrong in finding that Nizar is the Mentri Besar.

The newspaper had even suggested that it could be implied in the ruling of the Court of Appeal that the Ruler had sacked the incumbent Mentri Besar Nizar:

The unanimous Court of Appeal ruling yesterday seems to suggest that a head of state can sack the incumbent head of government once it was determined that the politician ceased to command the confidence of a majority of the elected representatives.

The newspaper is wrong. That was not the finding of the Court of Appeal. In any case the monarch has no power to dismiss a Mentri Besar - there is no provision for it in the Perak Constitution.

The trial judge Abdul Aziz J in his judgment has explained why he found that Nizar is still the Mentri Besar. This is how he puts it - see p 54 of his judgment:

It is true the request may be made only under two provisions of Perak’s State Constitution i.e. Article XVI(6) and Article XXXVI (1) and (2). But the circumstances under which the request can be made is unlimited. The request under Article XVI(6) is specific to a situation where the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority in the State Legislative Assembly; whereas under Article XXXVI (1) and (2), [the] situation is unlimited. It is up to the Menteri Besar to choose his time to make the request. However once a request is made under whichever of the two provisions, it is entirely up to His Royal Highness’ discretion whether to grant or [not to grant] the consent to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly.

Then at pp 56-58 the High Court judge comes to this conclusion:

In my view it is alright if His Highness takes upon himself to determine who commands the confidence of the majority in the State Legislative Assembly that he can appoint as the Menteri Besar. Such determination however is only good for the purpose of appointing a Menteri Besar pursuant to Article XVI(2)(a) Perak State Constitution. This is so because that provision speaks of ‘who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority’. The language use therein requires the exercise of a personal judgment on His Royal Highness.

But the same thing cannot be said with regard to Article XVI(6) in deciding whether the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly. In this case His Royal Highness, through his enquiries has judged that the respondent [Zambry] has the support of the majority. But that finding does not necessarily mean His Royal Highness can form an opinion that the applicant [Nizar] ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the legislative assembly. One reason for this is that the expression ‘in his judgment’ is not used in Article XVI(6). … I am of the view that just because His Royal Highness had formed a judgment that the respondent [Zambry] is likely to command the confidence of the majority for the purpose of Article XVI(2)(a) to appoint the respondent [Zambry] as Menteri Besar it does not mean that His Royal Highness’ opinion or judgment is applicable in deciding that the applicant [Nizar] ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly. In another word, one cannot say that because His Royal Highness has judged that the respondent [Zambry] is likely to command the confidence of the majority in the Legislative Assembly therefore the applicant [Nizar] ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly. I would say that the personal opinion or judgment of His Royal Highness is irrelevant to the construction of Article XVI(6). The [other] reason is that Article XVI(5) Perak State Constitution states that the Executive Council shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly. Under Article XVI(2)(a) the Menteri Besar is appointed to preside over the Executive Council. Article XVI(6) speaks of “If the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the legislative Assembly …”. Reading these three provisions in Article XVI Perak State Constitution it is logical and in fact Article XVI(6) requires it to be so, that it is the Legislative Assembly that determines whether it has confidence in the Menteri Besar as the Head of the Executive Council. The Legislative Assembly may make the determination through a vote of no confidence against the Menteri Besar. (The Emphasis is mine)

It seems to us ordinary folk that the Court of Appeal has missed the point. They decided that Zambry was properly appointed Mentri Besar under Article XVI(6). That is not correct - he could only be appointed under Article XVI(2)(a). Since there cannot be two Mentri Besar and Nizar the incumbent Mentri Besar has not resigned and, further, since the legislative assembly did not decide if he has ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly, Nizar, unquestionably, is still the Mentri Besar of Perak.

Nizar’s case was that Article XVI(6) speaks of “If the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly”. The poser is who is to decide “If the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly” under Article XVI(6)? Certainly not the Ruler because the phrase “in his judgment” - which is used in Article XVI(2)(a) - is not used in Article XVI(6). If it is not to be the Ruler then who is to decide “If the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly”? The answer is in Article XVI(6) itself - only the Legislative Assembly itself could decide if the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly.

Article XVI(6) clearly states that the Mentri Besar who no longer commands the confidence of the majority of the Legislative Assembly “shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council”. This has to be done “unless at his [the Mentri Besar’s] request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly. But Mentri Besar Nizar could not admit that he ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly because he would not know until a vote has been taken at the Assembly to determine so. Only the Assembly itself would know if a vote is taken to determine whether the Mentri Besar has lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly.

Now that you have understood the five-minute decision of the Court of Appeal as well as the well considered judgment of the trial judge, you should be able to severely bring to book the judges of this Court of Appeal since you are now aware if they have done wrong.

Before I sign off, I wish to say a few nice words to the High Court judge. Mr Justice Abul Aziz Abdul Rahim is a fantastic judge. The judgment, especially the piece on the interpretation of Article XVI(6), is so good that it has persuaded me to change my mind on my view of Article XVI(6). If you remember my first article, I have expressed an opinion on Article XVI(6). Now I know I was wrong - and I have to thank Abdul Aziz J for showing me the way.

PDRM: A tale of the tail wagging the dog

By Tunku Abdul Aziz | The Malaysian Insider

MAY 25 — The only reasonable conclusion I can draw as a reasonable man from the PDRM raid on the DAP headquarters last Saturday evening is that the police leadership need their heads examined for signs of mental degeneration.

It was Euripides (480–406 BC) the Greek playwright who said, “Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first makes mad.” Police behaviour in recent times has convinced me more than ever that there is something rotten in the state of our country, with apologies to William Shakespeare.

The beleaguered police, as far as we are concerned, are in moral retreat. It beggars the imagination that with all the relentless assault on their reputation, they do not seem to care one iota about public opinion.

This is frightening self-indulgence. To be deaf to public strictures is really a symptom of a deep malaise associated with a diseased culture of impunity that has brutalised the police psyche.

For the guardians of the law to show nothing but utter contempt, disregard and disdain for the legitimate concerns about their actions, often bordering on the criminal, is indeed a serious breach of stewardship and public trust, the antithesis of ethical policing in a democratic society.

I plead guilty to being one of the harshest critics of the police. I am hard on them because I so desperately want them to succeed. At the same time, I can claim to be their admirer when they not only operate within the law, but, more to the point, when they are seen to be both law-abiding and respectful of the rights of every individual under the law.

I want a police service that is among the best that I can be proud of, and not “the best police force in the world that money can buy.”

As a keen observer of the police in action, I can say without fear of contradiction that the standards of policing took a dramatic fall from grace when the greatest-ever Malaysian IGP, Tun Hanif Omar, stepped down.

Hanif was not only a thoroughly competent officer but an ethical one, and, therefore, was able to withstand political pressure, even from Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister of the day whose meddling ways were directly responsible for the dismemberment of many of the country’s most important institutions.

Hanif could stand up to the bully because of his strong personal values: he offered to resign on at least two occasions. His letters of resignation were turned down. As with all bullies, you cannot back down or they will climb on your head.

Sadly, subsequent IGPs, with the exception of Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar, have, by common consent, been a great disappointment and a disgrace to the uniform.

I have, in keeping with the times, been referring to PDRM as a police service in previous speeches and writings in order to help soften its image. On reflection, I may have been a trifle premature because PDRM is obviously not yet ready to be accorded that designation: it still has a lot of house cleaning to do before it can join the ranks of the police in other parts of the civilized world where accountability is the foundation of ethical policing.

PDRM must perforce remain a police force that carries with it all the unsavoury connotations of an organisation that has lost its way. With proper leadership, and the necessary political will, PDRM can still find salvation.

It is a great pity because there are thousands upon thousands of honest to goodness people whom we admire, trying very hard to do an honest day’s work to serve the nation, and we salute them for their courage, loyalty and devotion to duty. They are, however, badly officered which leads me to my favourite conclusion that there are no bad policemen and women, only bad officers.

The rot started when ethically deficient, unprofessional officers allowed, without a murmur, the politicisation of the force by Mahathir who used it as a handy tool to manipulate the system in order to advance his own political ambitions.

In return, many people believed, rightly or wrongly, that senior officers were given protection against possible prosecution for corruption. A very senior ACA officer, himself not above a bit on the side, now mercifully, in comfortable, contented retirement, claimed in private that he could have put at least 20 corrupt top police officers behind bars without too much trouble, but could not for reasons best known to himself.

As long as we allow the police to dictate terms to us, in particular over the implementation of the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission), the highlight of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation & Management of the Royal Malaysia Police’s report, we will always be subject to police excesses.

It is a sad commentary that both Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak have seen nothing wrong with the police insubordination of threatening dire repercussions if this important recommendation for the good of both the citizens and the police in a new, open society is “forced” upon them.

The police, many feel, have got too big for their boots. Has the “People’s Prime Minister” the interests of the people at heart? Given the state of affairs in our country today, may we humbly urge Najib to keep the police on a short leash, and not allow the tail to wag the dog.

‘Monsters-in-law’ among main causes of divorce

By Yeng Ai Chun

KUALA LUMPUR: Parents-in-law or, more specifically, mother-in-law horror stories are widespread and with good reason as a study by the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) shows.

Meddlesome in-laws are the main reason Indian couples divorce but it figures as one of the top reasons for divorce among Chinese and Malay couples, too.

The Malaysia Community and Family Study 2004 showed that the two other factors are incompatibility at 42.3% and infidelity at 12%.

“Interference of in-laws is the main reason why Indians divorce. It is the top ranked reason at 30%,” said LPPKN Director General Datuk Aminah Abdul Rahman when presenting a paper on Malaysia’s family profile and its effects Monday at Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia.

Infidelity is a deal breaker in Malay and Indian marriages but it appears to be tolerated among the Chinese.

“Among Malays, the second most common reason for a divorce is infidelity and a refusal to put up with polygamy (enggan dimadukan),” she said.

“In the Indian community, infidelity is the second highest ranked reason for divorce at 25%,” she said.

However, the Chinese considered infidelity the least crucial reason to demand a divorce. Cheating nestled at the bottom along with health and gambling addiction reasons at 4.2%.

Surprisingly, abuse is not a reason for divorce among the Malays and Chinese, but is a known reason among Indians at 5%.

“Another overall reason that ranked high among the three races at 11.5% is ‘not being responsible’,” she said.

She explained that though the family institution was perceived as quite fragile and divorces rampant, the data showed otherwise.

“According to a population survey in 2000, only a portion of the population at 0.7% is divorced,” she said.

The data showed that divorce is more likely to happen to those in the age group under 25 and above 40

Reconsider nuclear power plans, urges Dr M

By Gan Pei Ling

PETALING JAYA, 26 May 2009: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) to reconsider its plan to commission a nuclear power plant in Malaysia by 2025.

"I am not a nuclear scientist but I believe I know enough of the dangers of using nuclear (fissionable) material," said Mahathir in a blog posting on 24 May.

"[R]adioactive material used as fuel for power generation remain radioactive and dangerous to health even after the fuel has been exhausted," said Mahathir.

He added that radioactive waste could not be disposed anywhere. It must be transported in special lead containers and special ships to certain countries so that it could be reprocessed.

Mahathir also talked about the Chernobyl disaster in Russia and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the US during World War II.

In 1986, a nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded as a result of flawed reactor design that was operated with poorly trained personnel, causing 30 deaths and the relocation of more than 300,000 people.

"Despite thousands of tons of concrete being poured into the site (in Chernobyl), the power plant is still emitting dangerous radiation," said Mahathir.

Mahathir said, similarly, the residual radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki remained harmful long after the bombings.

He then referred to the Bukit Merah case in the 1980s, where the mining of yttrium from a by-product of tin, resulted in radioactive waste being dumped at the site.

"We had poured tons of cement on the buried material. More than one square mile of the burial site is barred to humans. The site is still radioactive and dangerous," said Mahathir.

"The fact is that we do not know enough about radioactive nuclear material...Until we do, it is far better if Malaysia avoids using nuclear power for electrical generation," concluded Mahathir.

The government has not decided to include nuclear power as an acceptable energy option.

However, TNB nuclear energy unit head Dr Mohd Zamzam Jaafar said Korea Electric Power Corp would sign an agreement with TNB in June to help conduct a preliminary feasibility study on what may be Malaysia's first nuclear plant.

Police might seek Interpol's help to trace RPK

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 May 2009: Police will seek Interpol's help if needed to track down Malaysia-Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said the court had issued a warrant of arrest for him and the police were tracing his whereabouts.

"We will cooperate with our counterparts' to track him down but if necessary, we will ask for Interpol's help," he told Bernama.

It is understood Raja Petra is now in Brisbane, Australia. However, Musa said this had not been ascertained yet.

The Petaling Jaya Sessions Court today issued a second warrant of arrest for him after the failed to appear in court for his criminal defamation trial.

The first was issued on 23 April when he first did not show up in court.

Raja Petra is charged with defaming Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and two others. — Bernama

From “Malaysia Boleh!” to “Tak Boleh!” - Anil Netto

Scenes from around Wisma DAP, Ipoh this morning - Photos by Kinta Kid

So what’s all this about? Arrest and release, arrest and release….

Increasingly, it appears as if all these arrests - over 160 in recent weeks - are aimed at frustrating civil society and opposition activists and their attempts to legitimately raise public awareness especially over the power grab in Perak. By no stretch of the imagination can those arrested be deemed a threat to security.

And since when has fasting become an offence? (Add this to the lengthening list of don’ts and tak bolehs we now have.) That’s the question posed by Aliran president P Ramakrishnan:

Aliran is terribly perturbed by the increasing role the police are assuming which is perceived to be undemocratic and very unfair. They have intervened whenever peaceful activities such as candlelight vigils are organised by civil society groups.

These activities have not threatened the security of the nation neither have they caused any traffic congestion. And yet, participants have been dispersed and arrested in a regrettable manner, causing pain and anguish for concerned citizens who mean well for this nation. Full statement here.

Live radio interview on BBC World Update 5:00 PM Tuesday

Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim can be heard live at 5:00 PM (GMT + 8) on BBC World Service’s news program, World Update.

Click here to listen

Office of Anwar Ibrahim

Police Might Seek Interpol's Help To Trace Raja Petra

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 (Bernama) -- Police will seek Interpol's help if needed to track down Malaysia-Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said the court had issued a warrant of arrest for him and the police were tracing his whereabouts.

"We will cooperate with our counterparts' to track him down but if necessary, we will ask for Interpol's help," he told Bernama Tuesday.

It is understood Raja Petra is now in Brisbane, Australia. However, Musa said this had not been ascertained yet.

The Petaling Jaya Sessions Court Tuesday issued a second warrant of arrest for him after the failed to appear in court for his criminal defamation trial.

The first was issued on April 23 when he first did not show up in court.

Raja Petra is charged with defaming Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and two others.

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Earlier, five outsourced workers including Myanmar had been arrested. Follow Kit's Tweets live.

UPDATES: 14 arrested as at 12.00 noon. MP Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat), Speaker V. Sivakumar (Tronoh), ADUN Thomas Su (Pasir Pinji), Leong Mee Meng (Jalong), Lim Pek Har (Menglembu), Chang Lih Kang (Teja), Chan Ming Kai (Simpang Pulai), Keshvinder Singh (Malim Nawar), 2 DAP members, 2 members of Amal unit, and 2 on-lookers.

UPDATES: All detained were released about five hours later. No bail required.

Pindah ke negara lain jika nak buat tuntutan melampau — Pewaris

Stupid racist Pewaris Dr Ahmad Zaki is a moron ,ask the minority to migrate or cancel their citizenship if we ask for more fairer treatment from government on 1Malaysia concept , and Utusan Malaysia that frequently publish this kind of seditious articles are spared from any action from the government.Rakyat should boycott this Utusan Malaysia and charge this zaki on seditious act.

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Pindah ke negara lain jika nak buat tuntutan melampau — Pewaris

May 26 — Rakyat negara ini yang kecewa kerana permintaan melampau mereka tidak dipenuhi oleh kerajaan diminta berpindah ke negara lain yang mungkin dapat melayani permintaan tersebut.

Sehubungan itu juga, Penasihat Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris), Dr Ahmad Zaki Ismail menggesa kerajaan membatalkan status warganegara mereka yang tergamak membuat tuntutan yang bertentangan dengan semangat Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Langkah tersebut katanya, mampu membantu negara untuk mencapai gagasan 1Malaysia yang dicetuskan oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“Justeru para pemimpin kerajaan diminta tidak mengalah terhadap tuntutan melampau pihak-pihak tertentu bagi memenuhi kepentingan mereka,” katanya.

Menurutnya, adalah lebih baik mereka yang terbabit berpindah ke Negara lain yang dirasakan selesa untuk tinggal daripada menimbulkan pelbagai masalah di negara ini.

Beliau mengulas teguran perdana menteri terhadap sikap beberapa pihak di dalam dan luar kerajaan yang cuba mengambil kesempatan daripada gagasan 1Malaysia dengan membuat tuntutan keterlaluan dan tidak munasabah.

Perdana Menteri semalam berkata, 1Malaysia diwujudkan untuk meningkatkan penghayatan rakyat pelbagai kaum dan agama terhadap aspek perpaduan nasional.

Ahmad Zaki berkata, sekiranya kumpulan yang mengemukakan tuntutan itu terdiri daripada golongan rakyat yang prihatin, sudah pasti mereka tahu untuk menilai sesuatu permintaan tersebut.

Sementara itu, Pengarah Projek Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM), Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin berkata, permintaan pihak tertentu seperti pertubuhan haram Hindraf memperlihatkan mereka seolah-olah bukan warganegara Malaysia kerana bertindak tanpa berasaskan Rukun Negara dan Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Beliau menegaskan, rakyat tidak boleh mengambil kesempatan ke atas konsep Satu Malaysia dengan sewenang-wenangnya berhasrat untuk mengubah identity negara.

“Mereka ini tergolong di dalam pihak-pihak bersuara lantang yang cuba menukar dasar yang diamalkan oleh negara sejak sekian lama sehingga boleh mengakibatkan keharmonian negara terjejas. — Utusan Malaysia