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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Access to Sri Lanka detention camps ‘not satisfactory’ - ICRC chief

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been barred from visiting internment camps in Sri Lanka to check on people held by the Colombo government, the head of the organisation has said. Jakob Kellenberger has asked the Sri Lankan government for access to all its camps, which are ringed by barbed wire and soldiers, to check on conditions of hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians. He pointed out the present situation is "not satisfactory," Swissinfo reported. The ICRC, which usually refrains from publicly criticizing governments, is mandated under the Geneva Conventions to aid victims of war, Canadian Press reported.



But the ICRC, like the United Nations and other aid agencies, complained that the Sri Lankan government denied it access to the war zone during the final weeks of the conflict.

The other agencies also have had problems reaching camps since the war ended, the Canadian Press said.

Kellenberger called Wednesday for greater humanitarian support for the 300,000 displaced Tamils.

"The direct humanitarian consequences of the conflict are immense. We have to increase aid," he said, adding that he was especially concerned about medical assistance.

"Access that the Sri Lankan government has granted is still not clear," Kellenberger said, adding that discussions are continuing between the ICRC and the Sri Lankan authorities.

"Just now, what's still not clear is to what extent the government of Sri Lanka will really make it possible for us to carry out the tasks we find important," the ICRC chief said. "But we are in discussion with them."

“We would like to visit all these camps to check if the conditions are right, in order to see if the treatment is right, and in order to allow those in the camps to be in touch with their family members,” Kellenberger said.

Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday rejected a call by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who visited the least squalid of the campa, Manik Farm, to lift restrictions on aid delivery to overcrowded displacement camps,

"We have access to some camps and we don't have access to others," Kellenberger said. He declined to give further details when speaking to journalists on Wednesday at the launch of the 2008 ICRC annual report..

ICRC aid workers have access to some parts of Manik Farm, ICRC spokesman Marcal Izard told the Canadian Press.

Kellenberger said some of the people in the camps are being "interned" for security reasons. He declined to elaborate.

“There is important protection work to be done (in the camps). We want to visit those who are in clear detention,” he said.

Kugan's mom sues cops

The mother of deceased police detainee Kugan Ananthan today filed a suit against the police over the seizure of items from the office of an Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UUMC) pathologist.
MCPX

The suit was filed by N Indra at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning.

a kugan murdered assaulted indian youthPreviously, the family's lawyer N Surendran had said that the family wants the specimens of organ parts, photographs and other materials returned.

"The family wants the pathologist to send the specimens to Australia to determine if there were traces of poison in the tissues," he had added.

The police raided the office of Dr Prashant N Sambekar at the UMMC on April 6 and seized the specimens after a search warrant was produced to the hospital authorities.

Federal CID director Mohd Bakri Zinin was quoted as saying the documents obtained from the hospital would be used as evidence in police investigations.

Kugan, 22, died on Jan 20 at the Taipan police station, five days after he was arrested in connection with a car theft case.

The family has since accused the police of foul play.

High Court convenes today on ‘Allah’ issue

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The High Court here will today hear the Catholic Church’s suit against the Home minister for barring it from using the word “Allah” as a reference to the Christian God.

The lawsuit stems from the government’s assertion that “Allah” should strictly refer to the Muslim God in Malaysia. This is a view that the Catholic Church has been challenging.

The word “Allah”, the church argues, does not belong only to the Muslims.

It also wants the court to allow it to continue printing the word “Allah” in its weekly newspaper, The Herald, while the case is being heard.

The Herald is published in four languages, including the national language Bahasa Malaysia (BM), which caters to the indigenous Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak, who are mostly Christians.

Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed the suit on February 16 to get a declaration from the courts that the church has the right to use the word in print and in church services.

The Home ministry, which issues the annual printing permit for all publications, had warned the church to stop using the word.

Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, who headed the ministry then, claimed the church’s use of the word “Allah” in any literature published in BM would confuse Muslims, who make up the biggest religious group in the country.

This is the second consecutive year in which Archbishop Murphy Pakiam is suing the Home minister to settle the dispute over the use of the word “Allah”.

BN no better than communists, says Nik Aziz

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

PENANTI, May 28 — PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz joined an all-star ceramah session last night as Pakatan Rakyat stepped up efforts to wrap up the by-election and bag the win.

Nik Aziz went straight for the Barisan Nasional (BN) jugular and mocked prime minister and BN president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s decision not to allow former communist leader Chin Peng to return to Malaysia, describing it as hypocritical.

“Chin Peng wants to come back and somebody asked me what I thought about it so I said if BN wants to reject the communists, then the same can be said about nationalists,” he said.

The statement was made in reference to his belief and past statement that Umno should replace its nationalist trait with Islam as the main ideology.

Nik Aziz, who vehemently opposes the “cooperation with Umno” idea supported by some of his own party members, had stated in the past that the Islamist party will only work together with its rival if the latter discards its nationalist ideology.

But judging by how the charismatic PAS leader pounded BN last night, this “cooperation” is a long way off.

BN was accused of total evil, reigning with treachery, manipulation and corruption. He urged Penanti voters to rise against the BN rule and vote for PKR candidate Mansor Othman this Sunday.

The other big names at the ceramah were Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who also asked voters to send a strong signal to BN.

He also blasted BN for their decision to contest in Manek Urai, slamming the decision as a reflection of their arrogance and hypocrisy.

“When they did not want to contest at Penanti, they said they wanted to focus on improving the country’s economy and not play the political game supposedly created by me.

“But it seems that the economy of the country, in fact the world, has been solved since BN now has the time to contest there,” he said.

The Manek Urai by-election in Kelantan will be the seventh since the March 8 polls. The state seat was vacated following the death of its assemblyman, Ismail Yaakob.

Also present at the ceramah was PKR vice-president Azmin Ali.

Hindraf slams Najib over ‘extreme statements’

By Melissa Loovi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 – Self-exiled Hindraf leader P. Waythamoorthy today strongly condemned the prime minister calling the movement’s statements extreme, accusing him of being callous and playing to racialism.

“In what way were the statements made by Hindraf leaders extreme in nature?” Waythamoorthy asked in a statement released from London, where he has been staying since other Hindraf leaders were held under the ISA for organising a street rally in November 2007.

He was responding to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s comments on Sunday that Hindraf leaders should not overstep boundaries in making comments after their release from Kamunting.

“How can the call by the Hindraf leaders against the review on the release of the Hindraf detainees and accordingly equal & fairer treatment towards all Malaysian are construed as extreme in nature when the prime minister shouts out for 1 Malaysia,” he said.

Waythamoorty, who has vowed to return to Malaysia following the release of all Hindraf leaders from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA), including his brother P. Uthayakumar, accused Najib of ignoring the grievances of the Indian community in Malaysia.

“Instead of looking into the genuine grievances raised by Hindraf and addressing them objectively, the government plays to the tune and sentiment of racialism as capitalised by certain elements,” added Waythamoorthy.

The government has outlawed Hindraf, accusing the unofficial organisation of inciting racial sentiments after the rally but the Hindraf leader said the movement has created awareness with the objective “ to ensure an equal and fair treatment in a nation that we call Malaysia”

He also asked the Najib Administration to engage with all parties to deepen the solidarity, respect history, culture and traditions “rather than abusing its power by threatening and intimidating through its machinery, which is more in line with authoritarianism, intolerance, and a police state”.

“The warning issued by the PM is one that is callous in nature, without regard for the suffering of the minorities, in particular the poor and neglected ones across the board, and their sentiments to create a better Malaysia for all,” Waythamoorty said.

HINDRAF condemns the threat by the Prime Minister.

In what way was, the statements made by HINDRAF leaders are extreme in nature?

How can the call by the HINDRAF leaders against the review on the release of the HINDRAF detainees and accordingly equal & fairer treatment towards all Malaysian born are construed as an extreme in nature when the Prime Minister shouts out for One Malaysia.

Instead of looking into the genuine grievances raised by HINDRAF and addressing them objectively, the government plays to the tune and sentiment of racialism as capitalized by certain elements and warns that something that is pursuit in the sense of fairness and justice as extreme statement.

To date, HINDRAF has been demonized by the government with all kinds of allegation and accusation, yet the government fails to see that HINDRAF has created an awareness within the public with its sole objective is to ensure an equal and fair treatment in a nation that we call Malaysia.

If the Prime Minister and his government is really working towards promoting unity, then it should take the trouble to engage all parties and voices genuinely and deepen the solidarity between their people, while respecting their history, culture and their traditions, rather than abusing its power by threatening and intimidating through its machinery which is in line with authoritarianism, intolerance, and a police state.

The warning issued by the Prime Minister is one callous in nature without regard for the suffering of the minorities, in particular the poor and neglected ones across the board and their sentiments to create a better Malaysia for all.

Thank you

P.Waytha Moorthy

HINDRAF – Chairman

Slow exclusion policies of the The National Registration Department - a major cause of grievance among the Indian Malaysians

One of the reasons why there are so many Indian children without proper birth certificates is that the parents who are late in applying for the BCs are punished, derided and bullied by the racist administrative system. Here is a story of such punishment, derision and bullying from a mother who is able to speak up.

She is but one of the very few who can speak out. The rest just suffer in silence or become victims to opportunists who try to make a buck out of this adversity.

Please read on

An angry parent | May 27, 09 5:34pm Malaysiakini

I am deeply disappointed with the National Registration Department (NRD). I gave birth to my second child on 9 January 2009. However, I only went to the NRD after the required 42-day registration period because I was still recovering from my caesarean. I believed the registration is within 45-days after birth.

MCPX

Anyway, when I went to the NRD in Sri Petaling, I was told that they cannot register me anymore since I was late and therefore have to go to their headquarters in Maju Junction Mall. Upon arrival at the headquarters, we were told to get ready a list of documents to be submitted to them -- our ICs, marriage certificate, immunisation records, photos of the whole family including my older child, copy of my older child's birth certificate, and my pre-natal appointment card as well as a letter from the commissioner of oath.

When I went back to submit all these documents, I was told that I had to come back for an interview. And I had to bring my baby with me. This was in February and the interview took place only on 26th May 2009, two to three months later. I was told that they only conduct three interviews a day despite their admission that there are many people who are waiting to register their children.

When I went yesterday, I was expecting that they will ask me relevant questions and have a good look at my baby to see if she resembles me or my husband and to even take a DNA swab since I was under the impression we were seen to have bought this child. But nothing intelligent like that happened. Instead, we were told that we would be interviewed separately -- me with my baby and my husband on his own.

The questions asked were: where were you married, when were you married, how many children do you have, where did you give birth, who performed the delivery, did you get pre-natal check-ups, why were you late, and when was the child born. That was it. All the answers to the questions were in the document that was submitted to them and my poor baby was exposed to the dirty environment in the department.

The same questions were asked of my husband, which leads me to think that they were actually trying to see if my husband and I were actually married, instead of helping us quickly get our baby's registration done.

When the interview was concluded, I asked what was the next process, expecting I would obtain my baby's birth certificate on the spot. Instead, I was told that I had to wait for another one and half months to see if they approve my application. After that I had to wait for one more month to obtain my baby's MyKid. In total, I've to wait for an additional two to three months, assuming they would approve of my application.

When I questioned why the need to wait when we had done all the paperwork and the interview, I was told flatly because I was late. And the lady who interviewed me was outright rude too. They did not take into consideration that my delivery was complicated and I was in pain and discomfort. On top of that my baby was a colic and had to be cared for all the time. I was scolded for not getting my husband to come, but then, who will care for me and the baby if my husband had gone off? We were just a family trying to make good of our baby's early days and we went as soon as we can.

I was also stating that since we did not have the birth cert, I could not obtain an insurance policy for my child. I was told. "Tak payah beli lah! Siapa suruh lambat?" Oh my, such empathy shown. I am really annoyed and angry with this. I admit I am at fault but there is really no need to penalise my baby for it.

On the registration form, it was clearly stated that should we be late than 42 days, we would be fined not more than RM50. If the NRD really did want to make it tough on the parents, then impose a higher fine. I am sure we will gladly pay in exchange for not penalising the kids.

Really NRD, what were you thinking when you imposed such a hassle on us? Did you think that it was going to deter people? This is going to be my second and last baby. What has NRD taught me with these type of processes in place? That they are inefficient? That I really regret having to pay their salaries? That NRD does not place the needs of us Malaysians over the needs of foreigners? Why do we approve applications of foreigners by the buckets when we are putting our own nationality at risk by not issuing them their rightful documentation?

This type of mindset and attitude is exactly why we see Malaysians are leaving their homeland and not come back.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/105246

Malaysian detention centres 'violating rights'

By Kanaha Sabapathy, Radio Australia News

The recent deaths of two illegal immigrants in one of Malaysia's many detention centres has raised the issue of the conditions under which detainees are held in the country.

Last year Suhakam, Malaysia's Human Rights Commission, identified medical care as an overriding reason why 1,300 detainees have died over the last six years.

Now two Burmese immigration detainees have died from leptospirosis, a disease caused by exposure to contaminated water.

Dato Siva Subramaniam, a Suhakam commissioner, told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program denial of health care was a violation of detainees' right to life.

Visiting doctors


"At present the 22 centres throughout Malaysia do not have a permanent clinical dispensary manned by doctors or a medical assistant to help detainees," he said.

"They have a visiting doctor only."

He noted that the 1,300 deaths notified to parliament covered not only immigration detention centres but prisons and police lock-ups.

Nevertheless, "we want improvement", the commissioner said.

He said Suhakam had identified health care and hygiene, including proper water supplies for detainees, as key issues at the centres, which are overseen by immigration officers.

New diseases


The commissioner said: "Suhakam wants to ensure there is medical care, that there is a permanent doctor placed, and we want this to be done in every camp."

With new diseases such as swine flu breaking out in the region, each inmate "should be a proper medical check before they are put together with other detainees".

Their embassies should also be notified, he said.

Another problem was too many inmates in centres. "The problem of overcrowding is something we need to be looked seriously at."

Malaysia Heads Toward Recession After Economy Contracts 6.2%

By Stephanie Phang, Bloomberg

Malaysia’s economy contracted for the first time since 2001 last quarter as exports slumped, pushing the nation toward its first recession in a decade.

Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy shrank 6.2 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, after a 0.1 percent gain in the previous three months, the central bank said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Economists were expecting a 3.9 percent decline.

Asia’s export-dependent economies from Japan to Singapore have shrunk as the deepest global recession since the Great Depression saps demand for Intel Corp. computer chips and IOI Corp. palm oil produced in the region. Still, Malaysia’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at 2 percent this week, saying previous cuts and government stimulus measures will contribute to a recovery later this year.

“We expect the first quarter to be the worst in terms of the contraction,” said Suhaimi Ilias, an economist at Maybank Investment Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. “The strong fiscal impulse will lift the economy, especially in the second half of this year and 2010, with the implementation of the annual budgets and the two economic stimulus packages.”

Asian policy makers, who have slashed borrowing costs and pledged more than $950 billion of stimulus plans, have started saying their economies may be past the worst.

Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said last week the region’s largest economy is improving after a record first- quarter contraction. Singapore’s government said the economy shrank less than initially estimated in the first quarter and the nation may have “hit the bottom” of its worst recession since gaining independence in 1965.

‘Gradual Improvement’

Malaysia’s central bank refrained this week from cutting interest rates for a second straight meeting after lowering it three times from Nov. 24 to Feb. 24, saying there’s “potential for a gradual improvement in the second half of the year.” It had reduced borrowing costs by 1.5 percentage points to the lowest since the benchmark was introduced in April 2004.

Overseas shipments from Malaysia fell for a sixth straight month in March in the longest slump since 2002, dropping 15.6 percent from a year earlier. The decline eased from a 28 percent plunge in January.

“The main drag on the economy in the first quarter came from the external front,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore. “Going forward, the headline GDP growth numbers are expected to rise gradually, reflecting the underlying improvement in the domestic economy as well as the broader external economic environment.”

Global Recession

A worse-than-expected slump in exports will force policy makers to lower the country’s full-year forecast from the current estimate of a contraction of 1 percent or growth of that much, Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said earlier this month.

The deterioration in the global economy “sharply affected our export sector,” Zeti said yesterday. “From what we see, export demand continues to remain weak and the environment still challenging” in the second quarter.

Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah said this week the economy will “definitely” shrink more than 1 percent in 2009. The last time Malaysia posted an annual contraction was in 1998.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose coalition has lost three of four regional elections this year, has unveiled two stimulus plans comprising 67 billion ringgit ($19 billion) of public spending, loan guarantees, tax incentives and other measures to spur growth.

More Optimistic

Malaysian companies are turning more optimistic. Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd., the nation’s second-biggest bank, said May 22 it plans to raise its profit and dividend targets for this year after posting the first profit increase in five quarters.

Unisem (M) Bhd., Malaysia’s second-biggest listed semiconductor assembler, said May 14 it expects sales and earnings to improve “substantially” in the second quarter, forecasting a return to profit for the rest of 2009.

Malaysia’s manufacturing industry shrank 17.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier and exports of goods and services plunged 15.2 percent, according to yesterday’s report.

Investment as measured by gross fixed capital formation declined 10.8 percent last quarter. Private consumption dropped 0.7 percent.

Inflation may average between 1.5 percent and 2 percent this year, Governor Zeti said yesterday.

Najib should put speculation to rest – Is Hamid Albar Petronas Chairman and Omar Ong Petronas non-executive Board director?

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak at his 3 pm media conference today to announce the revised figures of the countrty’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should put to rest the heated and contentious speculation in the blogosphere on new and important appointments in Petronas.

The Petronas Board of Directors met yesterday.

Najib should clarify once and for all whether former Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has been appointed Petronas Chairman and if so, explain why a person deemed unfit to continue as Cabinet Minister as to be dropped in the recent reshuffle should be considered proper material as Petronas Chairman.

Furthermore, whether Omar Ong, one of the Putrajaya “Level Four” boys of former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been appointed non-executive director of Petronas, with a view to his future appointment as Petronas CEO and replacement of Tan Sri Hassan Merican next year – as well as the basis and criteria for such an appointment.

Indictment of IGP Musa Hassan’s failure - Ah Longs beating and chaining victims like dogs in illegal prisons for months on end

Malaysians are shocked today by more evidence that Malaysia is taking on the characteristics of a failed state, when they read reports and see photos of “Loan shark’s hellhole torture for defaulters”, with men chained like dogs, beaten and forced to survive on water and bread for months on end, the horrific treatment inflicted by loan sharks on their debtors.

Ah Long cell

The discovery of such hell-hole came to light when police rescued three men who were held in an unoccupied shoplot in Seri Kembangan, near Kuala Lumpur, for two months as they could not pay their loans which ranged from RM1,500 to RM4,000.

A police party raided the shoplot yesterday afternoon and found the three men tied to the wall with heavy chains.

The victims, aged 25, 34 and 49, were abducted from Segambut, Semenyih and Gombak.

As Gombak police chief Assistant Commissioner Abdul Rahim Abdullah described it:

“The victims were very weak. They were wearing the same clothes they had on for the past two months and had been beaten regularly with sticks.

“The loan sharks contacted the victims’ families and demanded they settle the loans if they wanted to see their loved ones again.”

The families could not raise the money but did not seek police help.

Rahim said the victims were imprisoned in two makeshift six-by-seven metre cells, each with an open toilet. They were chained at their necks and feet to a wall.

Firemen used an electric chainsaw to cut through the 6kg chains.

The captives sobbed uncontrollably when they saw the rescue party.

He said they were only given five slices of bread every few days and water from a small tap connected to their cells.

“If we made noise, we would be kicked and beaten.”

How many such hellholes and dungeons are there in the country where Ah Longs illegally imprison their hostages in their own underground system of “prisons”, making an utter mockery of the police and justice systems?

Who would have thought that 52 years after Merdeka, Malaysia’s law and order system have degenerated to such a level where Ah Longs dare to institute their own system of illegal prisons and dungeons?

Instead of declaring a war against endemic crime so that Malaysia become a low-crime and a safe ground for citizens, tourist and investors, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan has completely lost his proper sense of bearings, preferring to play political games together with his political games in a criminal misallocation of police personnel and resources from fighting crime and criminals.

Instead, police personnel and resources were channelled to harass and detain peaceful protestors who pose no threat to law and order, just because the powers-that-be have become increasingly afraid of dissent whether in the form of wearing black, candlelight vigils, balloons to highlight people’s support for dissolution of Perak State Assembly or even singing birthday song!

The Inspector-General should immediately recall all police personnel back to the barracks and to return them to their first duty to be on the streets to fight crime and criminals and not to appease the fears and anxieties of their political masters at dissent and protests by Malaysians committed to peaceful, democratic and non-violent means of expression.

I was in Bangkok two days ago for the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) meeting over Aung San Suu Kyi’s continued incarceration in Myanmar, and when I asked Thais, I was told that they go about their lives in Bangkok without any fear of snatch thiefs or snatch-thief killers, and that they are blessedly spared the menace of Mat Rempits.

The Police will never be able to convince Malaysians and investors that they are professional and world-class so long as they continue to be more “efficient” in dealing with peaceful civic-minded protestors than criminals, whether robbers, rapists, Ah Longs, snatch-thiefs or snatch-thief killers, and the criminal Mat Rempit elements. - Lim Kit Siang

PKR's campaign homophobia

By Shanon Shah
thenutgraph.com

Jalan Berapit crowd
The audience at the Jalan Berapit ceramah

"THE Barisan Nasional (BN) should change its name to Barisan Pondan (faggot)!" bellows Penang Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim to the 5,000-strong crowd in Jalan Berapit on 23 May 2009.

The audience applauds the Bayan Baru MP, and emboldened, he goes on to repeat this homophobic epithet three times in the campaigning for the Penanti by-election. "They are pondans because they are afraid to contest here in Penanti," he says.

This certainly raises an interesting question: why does PKR, a party born out of Umno's homophobic attacks against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, boast of leaders who have no qualms perpetuating such homophobia?

Depa pondan flags
"Depa pondan"

Zahrain's use of the word "pondan" is not without context. Pakatan Rakyat (PR)'s star leader, popularly-elected Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, had earlier given the audience a blow-by-blow account of what happened during the 7 May Perak assembly sitting.

When he got to the part where he described PR state assemblypersons being ambushed and shoved by their BN peers, Nizar said, "Luckily the PR assemblypersons had fit physiques and could stand their ground. The BN folks were all unfit, all have high blood pressure."

A member of the audience then shouted: "Depa pondan (They are faggots)!" Nizar laughed it off but was noticeably thrown off by the comment.

When The Nut Graph raises Zahrain's speech over the phone with PKR elections director Saifuddin Nasution, Saifuddin says, "I'm sure that was not the only message in his speech. It depends how you want to interpret his meaning."

Saifuddin, however, clarifies that he wasn't there, but if indeed it was true that Zahrain used such a word to describe the BN, it was wrong.

"It's true, in the 10 years since Reformasi, the BN has been using these sorts of terms to attack Anwar, and their rancour is beyond compare. But it would be wrong for us to counter their arrogance with even more arrogance," he says.

"And my comments do not apply to the Penanti by-election campaign alone — our leaders should not be making these sorts of comments in any situation at all," he continues.

Homophobia

During the BN's campaign in the Bukit Selambau by-election, The Nut Graph noted that Umno supreme council member Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim used a range of homophobic expressions to discredit Anwar during a 6 April ceramah.

Azeez's quote

"Our leaders are living angels, but their side is stuck with someone who is obsessed with backsides," said Azeez, and the crowd of 200 young Malay Malaysian men exploded in laughter.

But, as Saifuddin rightly points out, Azeez's wrong does not make Zahrain's wrong right. PKR vice-president R Sivarasa is even more candid when he confesses to The Nut Graph, "Zahrain's statement reminds PKR of the baggage that we carry, and that our own leaders need a lot more sensitisation on these issues.


Zahrain's statement a reminder PKR's leaders need
more sensitisation on certain issues
"There is a lot of work to be done within the party and outside, and sadly, the party sometimes reflects society's prejudices instead of challenging them."

Sivarasa, however, does not think PKR will be focusing on challenging homophobia anytime soon. "Look at the situation in the country now — we are fighting for our basic political survival," he says via telephone. "And so, while issues like homophobia are important to deal with, we have to put out other more urgent fires first."

Sivarasa, too, has a valid point, given the spate of arrests of PR leaders ever since Datuk Seri Najib Razak took office as prime minister barely two months ago. But could he perhaps be evading the real social conservatism that permeates through large sections of PAS and PKR?

"Conservatism is prevalent in Umno and PAS, and to some extent in PKR, but again that is merely a reflection of the societal attitudes of the Malay (and Muslim Malaysian) community," he says.

Which then points to the heart of the problem — if the PR stands for justice and human rights, can it afford to be selective and not tackle homophobia in its larger agenda?

Walking the talk

"Talking about human rights as an issue and actually being guided by human rights principles in one's day-to-day conduct are two different things," says Angela Kuga Thas, a spokesperson for the Women's Candidacy Initiative (WCI).

Kuga Thas tells The Nut Graph that in Malaysia, parties from both the BN and PR seem to lack a rights-based framework to guide party members in how they interact with the public and with each other.

"When this code of conduct does not exist, it then becomes very hard to shake off entrenched attitudes and prejudices," Kuga Thas says via telephone.

When asked to provide an encouraging example of private sexuality being respected in Malaysian politics, Kuga Thas is quick to cite the so-called scandal involving intimate pictures of PKR's Selangor exco Elizabeth Wong which were exposed in February 2009.

"It's amazing that despite the internal conflicts within PKR about Wong's case, she was not fired and is in fact back at work," she says.

Kuga Thas's point is that Umno's homophobic comments against Anwar, Zahrain's homophobic comments about the BN, and attacks against Wong's private life all come under a big umbrella of issues, which she refers to as "sexual rights".

Undilah Barisan Alternatif banner

"This is not merely about people of non-normative sexualities, but also about people of 'normative' sexualities who do not fulfill society's expectations, such as an unmarried, working woman like Wong," she explains.

And in this sense, she says there are no comparable scenarios within the BN that work in its favour. It is difficult to disagree with her. At least in PKR, Zahrain has been publicly rebuked by his own party leaders, Saifuddin and Sivarasa.

Like Kuga Thas, Sivarasa also locates the issue within a larger framework.

"Things like homosexuality, religious conversions, polygamy in Islam, and so on — these are difficult things to discuss," he admits. "But we will be able to talk about these things without fear of persecution or violence if the country democratises effectively."

Kuga Thas couldn't agree more. "Civil society needs to believe that it can change the political scene in Malaysia."

She says that with PKR carefully starting to denounce homophobia in this way, it will start a trend in Malaysian politics, where other parties will also be challenged to be more sensitive.

"And as long as there is space for dialogue and debate, there's always hope for Malaysia," she adds.

Manik Urai by-election on 14 July

PUTRAJAYA, 28 May 2009: The Manik Urai by-election will be held on 14 July 2009, the Election Commission announced today.

Nomination day will be on 6 July.

Black shirts, candles and hunger strike

Malay Mail

I HAVE lost count how many people have actually been put in a black maria, driven to the police stations, and sent into the lock-ups within the past few weeks.

Of course, I am not talking about those despicable criminals, for their arrests will invariably invite commendations on the police's efficiency.
I am talking about those wearing black shirts, lighting candles, and refusing to eat.

We can't put someone in a black maria just because he or she wears a black shirt, hold a lit candle, or refuse to eat anything. Can we? This will be too weird!

Black shirts are also shirts. As long as their bodies are adequately covered, we cannot say they are indecent. Perhaps some old people might grumble out of taboo, but that is almost all people could ever react.

Lighting up a candle is not blasting firecrackers, and the action will pose absolutely no danger of any sort to the public.

As for food, we have more than a hundred reasons not to eat: slimming, detoxification, fasting, anorexia, poor appetite, saving money, etc. Whatever the reason, that again is individual freedom.

Do we need to take things that seriously, mobilising a huge squad of cops to lift them up the police vans?

Right. Those people have their own reasons for wearing black, lighting candles or going on hunger strike, such as to uphold democracy, fight for human rights, or protest against the government.

And we cannot pack them inside the black maria just because they say they want to uphold democracy, defend their rights, or disagree with the government.

Frankly speaking, each time these people are sent into the police vans, I could still see smiles on their faces.

Who should be happy? Who should be regretful? Who has been penalised, and who has been rewarded?

It is not so hard to get the answer.

In the gossips of the people, the image of the Royal Malaysian Police suffers yet another major flop.

Perhaps the police are not aware how Malaysians in general think. Perhaps they don't even bother, for they are not elected by the people. All they need is to be answerable to the government.

But lest we forget, our government is an elected organ!

Or perhaps the Royal Malaysian Police should consider hiring some image consultants. Not to sport stylish and glamorous uniforms, but to appear more people-friendly so that they could be more easily accepted, trusted and approached by the rakyat.

The police force must also change their strategies in order to spare themselves from becoming the target of public consensus.

Most importantly, the police must revert back to their professional obligations: battle crime, protect the people, and stay away from politics, the further the better.

They should stay away from that catch-and-release game. Just leave that to their kids! (By TAY TIAN YAN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)

Palanivel Receives Samy's 'Blessing' For No. 2 Post

By Retnanathan Shanmugam

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 (Bernama) -- MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel has received the backing of Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to defend his post at the party polls in September, and eventually succeed the latter to the MIC throne.

A senior state MIC leader revealed that the former Women, Family and Community Development deputy minister had received the blessings of Samy Vellu, who is expected to throw his support for the incumbent deputy president at the MIC election later this year.

The president, he said, endorsed Palanivel for deputy president last week at a meeting with several senior MIC state leaders and had informed of his decision to vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan and Human Resources Minister and MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.

Sothinathan was earlier widely tipped to receive Samy Vellu's backing for the party number two post, following the MIC president's "stormy" relationship with 58-year-old Palanivel over the last year.

However, it is learnt that the president's decision favouring Palanivel was expected, taking into account the age and experience of the journalist-turned-politician in leading the party.

"The president also felt that Palanivel, had the humanity, close contact with the grassroots and various other qualities to take helm of the party after he retires," said the leader who did not want to be named. Palanivel could not be contacted for comment.

Samy Vellu after winning the presidential election uncontested in March, this year, had declared that this would be his last term and whoever picked as deputy president at the party election in September would takeover the leadership of the 630,000-member party after his retirement from active politics.

However, many had expected Samy Vellu's decision to favour Palanivel especially with the "close relations" the two leaders are enjoying presently.

Prior to the presidential election, Samy Vellu told a closed-door gathering of party division leaders from Selangor at a hotel, here, that his relationship with Palanivel, fondly known as "GP" in the party circles, was akin to the relationship of a husband and wife.

"In a husband-wife relationship there are bound to be fights and disagreements but this does not mean that we have to divorce. That would not make a happy marriage. My relationship with Palanivel is the same. We are like a husband and wife team," Samy Vellu was said to have told the division leaders.

At the last party election in 2006, Palanivel beat Datuk S. Subramaniam, who had served as party number two since 1981, by a thumping 438-vote majority. Palanivel garnered 933 votes against Subramaniam's 495 votes.

Palanivel, who is also Selangor MIC Chief, became a vice-president in 1994 and had been serving in the post for four consecutive terms.

He joined the largest Indian-based political party in the country at a tender age of 19 and was made the Petaling division secretary in 1972 and gradually rose through the ranks.

He contested and won the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat on a Barisan Nasional (BN) ticket in the 1990 general election and was the Member of Parliament for the constituency till the last general election in March 2008, where he lost the seat with a mere 150-odd vote majority.

The MIC deputy president's race is expected to be a repeat of the 2006 election pitting Palanivel with Subramaniam, with at least one other "outsider" joining the fray.

Sothinathan, meanwhile when contacted by Bernama, said although he had decided on the position to contest, he would announce his decision soon.

"Yes, I have decided on the post but I have not set a date for the announcement," he told Bernama when contacted.

Sources reveal, Sothinathan had been asked by Samy Vellu to defend his vice-president post while Dr Subramaniam has been told to go for one of the three vice-president seats up for grabs.

Samy Vellu's team for vice-president is expected to consist of Sothinathan, if he decides to defend the post, Dr Subramaniam and Veerasingham.

Other leaders like MIC information chief Datuk M. Saravanan, who is Federal Territories deputy minister, and Datuk S.K. Devamany, who is now MIC treasurer are expected to retain their positions under the president's line-up.

When contacted, Saravanan said he would discuss his political fate in the party with Samy Vellu and make an announcement in due course.

Another aspiring politician wanting to break-into the top leadership is Samy Vellu's son Vel Paari. The 47-year-old Vel Paari is speculated to contest the vice-presidency.

"But there are chances that he (Vel Paari) would be asked by his father to hold his horses by asking him to contest for a central working committee (CWC). This would given Paari the exposure needed for his future political career," said a party insider.

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Kayveas threatens to sue all who made 'baseless allegations'

PENANG, May 27 - People's Progressive Party (PPP) president Datuk M Kayveas will initiate lawsuits against those who had hurled baseless allegations at him.

"Lately, slanderous accusations have been hurled against me and I have no choice, but to take legal action against them," he told reporters after opening Penang PPP's annual convention here today.

He said he was informed today that a lawyer had lodged a complaint with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) that there had been misappropriation of funds in the party.

"I'm prepared to hand over documents pertaining to the party accounts to prove that no abuse has taken place since I became party president in 1993," he added.

On PPP's status, Kayveas said he was in the process of submitting all the documents requested by RoS concerning the party.

On developments in the party, he said one of the leaders expelled had submitted his appeal while two others had stated they would do so in the next two or three days.

"Datuk T Murugiah can also appeal, if he really loves the party. The deadline is May 30 and the party will give due consideration to all appeals," he added.

PPP, a component party of the Barisan Nasional, plunged into crisis after Murugiah, who is a PPP supreme council member and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, and several other leaders of the party were expelled by the party's disciplinary board recently.

Murugiah was elected as the "new president" of PPP at an extraordinary general meeting held in Putrajaya on Sunday, prompting a probe by the ROS. - Bernama

Rodwan met Saiful three days earlier

Image

Who is Rodwan, other than the fact that he works for the IGP and is known as the police chief’s bagman and go-between with the organised crime syndicate that controls all the drugs, prostitution, loan-sharking and gambling rackets?

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

At 2.30pm on Wednesday, 25 June 2008, Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) II Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof met Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in room 619 of the Concorde Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Prior to this secret meeting, Rodwan and Saiful spoke on the phone at least eight (8) times.

Three days later, at 2.00pm on 28 June 2008, Saiful went to see Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid of the Hospital Pusrawi to ‘complain’ that he had been sodomised by ‘a very important person’ and that he wished to lodge a police report. The doctor, however, found no traces or evidence that he had been sodomised and suggested, for purposes of the police report, that Saiful go to a government hospital.

Who is Rodwan, other than the fact that he works for the IGP and is known as the police chief’s bagman and go-between with the organised crime syndicate that controls all the drugs, prostitution, loan-sharking and gambling rackets? Well, read the following archived reports to get a better understanding of this scumbag and slime-ball named Rodwan. Maybe then you can understand why he met Saiful in a hotel room three days before the sodomy allegation against Anwar Ibrahim exploded.

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Berita Harian
Rabu, 30 Disember 1998


Seorang pakar forensik Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) memberitahu Mahkamah Tinggi di sini hari ini bahawa contoh darah Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tidak boleh digunakan untuk ujian DNA kerana ia diambil dan disediakan bagi ujian HIV, Hepatitis B dan VD (penyakit kelamin).

Dr Zahari Noor berkata, oleh kerana itu beliau menolak permintaan polis sebanyak dua kali supaya contoh darah itu digunakan untuk ujian DNA. Menurutnya, ketika di Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman pada 28 September lalu bagi mengambil darah Anwar, beliau ditanya oleh Asisten Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof sama ada ujian DNA boleh dilakukan terhadap Anwar. Katanya, beliau menasihatkan polis supaya tidak mengambil darah Anwar untuk ujian DNA kerana Anwar hanya memberi persetujuan supaya darahnya digunakan bagi ujian HIV, Hepatitis B dan VD.

"Pada 15 Oktober lalu, Mohd Rodwan dan SAC I (Senior Asisten Komisioner) Musa Hassan datang ke HKL dan bertanya sama ada mereka boleh mengambil contoh darah Anwar untuk analisis DNA," katanya.

Dr Zahari: Kami memberikan empat sebab kepada polis mengapa ujian DNA tidak boleh dilakukan terhadap darah Anwar:

* contoh itu tidak disediakan untuk analisis DNA,

* ia tidak sesuai untuk ujian DNA,

* pendapat kami ialah keputusan ujian DNA itu tidak boleh dipercayai.

* ia boleh membawa keputusan yang mengelirukan kerana kami menyimpan contoh darah itu di dalam bekas biasa tanpa pengawet atau EDTA.

Katanya, mereka kemudian mencadangkan kepada polis bahawa mereka bersedia pada bila-bila masa untuk mengambil contoh darah Anwar di penjara Sungai Buloh untuk ujian DNA jika tertuduh membenarkannya.

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"In 1998-1999 trials, Anwar experienced the phenomenon of fabrication of DNA evidence. We had SAC Rodwan illegally removing DNA samples from forensic custody. In cross-examination of the prosecution's witnesses it was exposed that DNA taken from blood samples was planted on the infamous mattress," said Sivarasa.

"When confronted with this fact the prosecution amended its charge and persuaded the judge, Augustine Paul, to expunge the entire DNA evidence from the record, preventing Anwar's lawyers from responding."

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Police have never dilly-dallied in investigating the alleged sodomy against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim since the case was reported to police on June 28, said Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar. He said the police, instead, had been relentlessly seeking relevant and the latest information, besides giving the case priority, as it was a high-profile case.

"We want to solve this case as soon as possible. The investigating officer is constantly looking for new leads. We are doing our best and we need the cooperation of all quarters concerned," he told Bernama when contacted here Tuesday.

Ismail was asked to comment on Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar's statement on Monday, asking for police to speed up the investigations into the sodomy allegation against the Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor.

He said since the police investigations began, some quarters had been making speculations and statements that could interfere with the investigations.

"I wish to warn everyone, including bloggers, not to disturb police investigations by disseminating material or information that is inaccurate or false.

"Action will be taken against those who deliberately try to interfere with the investigations. Let the police do a meticulous job," he added.

*************************************************

Sources told The Malaysian Insider that investigators are "crossing the t's and dotting the i's" and will be relying on Anwar's DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) samples from 1998 when he faced similar charges which cost him the chance to be prime minister.

"Nobody wants a repeat of 1998 when the prosecution had to amend the charges. Anwar has alleged that he had an alibi for the 24 hours on the day the offence took place. So the authorities have to check everything out," said an official who is familiar with the investigations.

"We understand that there is an attempt to quash credibility of the case even before the matter goes to court. The police cannot say too much because then they will be accused of trial by media and ministers cannot say much because they will be accused to interference.

"This case is built on strong scientific evidence," the official added.

*************************************************

This was posted on Susan Loone’s blog:

Susan,

I would like to write the following statement in the name of GOD whom I believe.

I am a government doctor in the rank of consultant working in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL). I know personally the doctors who examined Saiful on that day - 28 June 2008.

The so-called medical report mentioned in the NST is a fabrication or imagination by the UMNO paper. There is no such medical report submitted to the polis yet.

When examining Saiful, the specialist could not find any signs of Saiful being sodomised. Saiful was very cheerful, unlike real sodomised patients who will usually be very sad and disturbed.

Saiful was subsequently admitted to the ward and observed for a day. He was completely well in the ward and not emotionally disturbed.

Please let RPK know of this.

Thanks.

This article was first published in Malaysia Today on 30 July 2008

Meeting not a trap, says Aminah

(Bernama) -- The Independent candidate for the Penanti state by-election, Aminah Abdullah has denied she had laid a trap for two PKR members to come to her house on May 13.

Kak Min has cordial relations with both of them and they have always come for ‘makan’, receptions and Hari Raya at my house.

“But I did not invite them on May 13. Instead, one of them had contacted me, wanting to see me.

"No one from PKR contacted me after I left the party in 2007 except for the duo,” she claimed while campaigning in Simpang Tiga Kubang Ulu here on Wednesday.

Aminah, who was the former PKR Wanita chief, has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) alleging that two PKR members had offered her RM80,000 and the Penang Deputy Chief Minister 1 post should she win the by-election and rejoin the party.

PKR supreme council member Cheah Kah Peng and an assistant to a state executive councillor, Peter Lim Eng Nam have claimed that they fell into Aminah’s trap as she had invited them to have lunch at her house in Jelutong.

“Do you want Kak Min to swear (on the Al-Quran) about it? Kak Min can give them the CD if they want,” said Aminah, as she showed the CD to reporters.

Aminah also claimed that she had been threatened over the phone to withdraw the report.

“I believe the calls were made from public phone booths. This is a cowardly act,” she said, adding that she would not withdraw the report.

She said she would not apologise and was not scared of a threat by Penang PKR chairman Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim that the party would file a defamation suit against her.

Aminah said she would also expose an event which happened in a hotel in Jawi in 2007 that she had reported to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail.

“But no action was taken. I have the facts,” said Aminah.