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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vanni IDPs live under appalling condition: Sri Lankan Chief Justice

"Vanni IDPs sheltered in transit centres in Cheddiku'lam cannot expect justice under the Sri Lanka’s law. Law of the country does not show any interest on these IDPs. I openly say this. The authorities can penalize me for telling this," said Sri Lanka's Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva when he addressed a public meeting which followed the ceremonial opening of a court complex at Marawila in Negombo district Tuesday. These transit centres are described as internment camps by human rights activists.

Sarath N. Silva further said:

“I visited 'relief villages' where Vanni IDP families are sheltered. I cannot explain their suffering and grief in words. It is an utter lie if we continue to say that there is only one race and no majority or minority in the country. I visited Cheddiku'lam camps where IDP families live. I cannot explain the pathetic situation they undergo. I was unable to console them. They survive amid immense suffering and distress.

"We construct massive building on our side. But these IDPs live in tent-shelters. Ten IDPs live in one tent-shelter. They could stand straight only in the centre of the tent shelter. Their neck will break down if they move to aside of the tent-shelter.

"IDPs are seen waiting in queues, extending from 50 to 100 yards to take their turn to answer a call of nature. This is the life of Vanni IDPs in Cheddiku'lam camp

"I attempted to smile at these IDPs. But it was without success. I failed to express my feeling towards them. I was unable to tell them that we also were crying with them for their suffering. I was unable to tell them that I would supply new clothes to them.

"They should be provided with enough relief. We would be blamed if we fail to supply them with enough relief.

"They cannot expect justice from the law of the country. Their plight and suffering are not brought to the court of law in our country. I openly say this. I will be penalized for telling this”, said Mr.Sarath Silva who is to retire from the post of Chief Justice at the end June when he reaches 60 years of age.

Sarath Silva's address was aired with Tamil translation Wednesday night in MTV News bulletin.

The full text of the seditious article in UMNO's paper UTUSAN : "MELAYU DIKHIANATI." Charge UTUSAN with Sedition!

Melayu dikhianati?
Hati Awang semakin hari semakin ditoreh-toreh oleh tuntutan pelbagai pihak bukan Melayu yang bersikap terlalu rasis selepas Pilihan Raya Umum ke-12. Kita boleh tafsir apa sebabnya. Awang tidak mahu mengulas panjang kali ini, cukup sekadar disiarkan semula petikan kenyataan seorang pemimpin MCA, Tun Tan Siew Sin pada 30 April 1969 (dipetik daripada buku Khalid Awang Osman dan pernah diulas Ridhuan Tee Abdullah) untuk renungan kita semua.

''Orang Melayu menerusi UMNO bermurah hati melonggarkan syarat-syarat dalam undang-undang negara ini sehinggakan dalam masa 12 bulan selepas kemerdekaan, 90 peratus penduduk bukan Melayu menjadi warganegara. Ini berbeza dengan keadaan sebelum merdeka di mana 90 peratus daripada mereka masih tidak diiktiraf sebagai rakyat Tanah Melayu walaupun hampir 100 tahun hidup di bawah pemerintahan penjajah. Sebagai membalas kemurahan hati orang Melayu, MCA dan MIC bersetuju meneruskan dasar memelihara dan menghormati kedudukan istimewa orang Melayu dan dalam masa yang sama mempertahankan kepentingan-kepentingan sah kaum lain''.

Sebelum itu, seorang pemimpin MIC Tun V.T Sambanthan pada 1 Jun 1965 pernah berkata: ''Pada tahun 1955 kita telah memenangi pilihan raya dengan majoriti yang tinggi, selanjutnya mendapat kemerdekaan dalam masa dua tahun kemudian. Dalam jangka masa itu, kita terpaksa berbincang dan menangani pelbagai perkara termasuk soal kewarganegaraan. Persoalannya di sini, apakah yang dilakukan oleh orang Melayu memandangkan kita bercakap menyentuh perkauman? Apakah yang dilakukan oleh pemimpin-pemimpin Melayu? Mereka mempunyai 88 peratus daripada pengundi menyokong mereka.

Apakah yang mereka putuskan mengenai isu kewarganegaraan? ''Jika kita lihat di serata negara Asia dan Asia Timur, kita akan mendapati kaum India tidak akan diterima di Ceylon dan juga tidak diterima di Burma. Sama halnya dengan kaum Cina, mereka tidak diterima di Thailand, Vietnam, Kemboja dan di negara-negara lain. Apakah bantuan berhubung kewarganegaraan yang mereka peroleh di semua wilayah tersebut?

"Di Burma, seperti yang kita semua sedia maklum, kaum India telah diusir keluar, di Ceylon mereka tidak diberikan taraf warganegara seperti juga di Burma. Saya tahu dan anda juga tahu. Apa yang sedang berlaku di Malaya? Di sini kita mendapati pemimpin Melayu berkata, ''Kita akan menerima mereka sebagai saudara, kita akan berikan mereka sepenuh peluang untuk meneruskan kehidupan di negara ini, kita akan beri mereka peluang untuk menjadi warganegara''. Seterusnya pada tahun 1957, dengan tidak mengambil kira kebolehan berbahasa (Melayu) ribuan orang India, Cina dan Ceylon menjadi warganegara. Seperti yang saya nyatakan, saya amat bernasib baik kerana dilahirkan di negara ini. Di manakah anda boleh berjumpa bangsa yang lebih prihatin, bersopan-santun dan tertib selain daripada bangsa Melayu. Di manakah anda boleh mendapat layanan politik yang baik untuk kaum pendatang? Di manakah dalam sejarah dunia? Saya bertanya kepada anda. Ini adalah fakta. Siapakah anda untuk menjaga keselamatan kami? Saya adalah kalangan 10 peratus kaum minoriti di sini. Tetapi saya amat gembira di sini.''

Persoalannya, kini apakah pengorbanan Melayu dikhianati oleh kaum lain?

-Awang Selamat

The Ruling Politicians Have Taken Over The Role of The Professionals-in-Charge

By Moses Lim

The recent roof collapse of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Trengganu is another accumulated proof of a sickening malady in Malaysia – that the ruling politicians have overstepped their bounds of duty and responsibility and taken over the role of the professionals in public projects.

The skeleton has now come out that the State PWD has not yet issued issue the Works Completion Order (Certificate of Practical Completion) which then leads to the next stage of testing and commissioning the facilties. If everything passed this stage, then the professionals will recommend the issue the CF for use of the facility. Obviously in the case of the Trengganu stadium, the ruling politicians have deemed it fit for use despite the lack of the issue of the recommendation from the professionals.

In our days in the University, we were taught to do a feasibiltiy study before launching into a project. But in Bolehland, it is the ruling politicians that had first decided on the project and then the professionals come in to do the necessary justifications to suit the prior decision of the ruling politician. Reflect back on the Kuantan Port, the Bakun Hydro-Electric Dam, the ‘Crooked Bridge ‘ and other projects carried out in the country not based on technical best fit but on political best fit.

Two groups of people are now called to make a difference in our land: to the ruling politician, will you respect the input of the professional in the decision making of public projects? to the professional, will you stand up to the politician and not commit technical suicide?

Cabinet meeting yesterday a double-disappointment on university education - PSD S’ships and USM Apex Uni fiasco

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Cabinet meeting yesterday was a double disappointment on university education particularly to the young generation of Malaysians which must be rectified in a special Cabinet meeting on university intake as well as PSD scholarships for SPM students with 12As.

I am very disappointed that my call for a colour-blind JPA scholarship system has not been heeded by the Cabinet. Clearly, the Cabinet Ministers themselves have yet to fully understand the meaning of 1Malaysia which the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has adopted as the slogan of his administration.

Furthermore, my specific proposal to resolve this year’s public ruckus over the unfair and discriminatory award of JPA selection of foreign degree scholarships has also not been acted upon.

I had proposed that all students with SPM 9A1s and above should be awarded PSD scholarships – which would mean an increased allocation of RM300 million for JPA scholarships budget from RM700 million to RM1 billion this year.

I had said that Pakatan Rakyat MPs are prepared to vote in support of a special supplementary estimate of RM300 million for 2009 when Parliament reconvenes on June 15 to ensure that all students with 9A1s and above in SPM would be given PSD scholarships.

How could the Cabinet Ministers or Barisan Nasional MPs conceivably oppose the allocation of RM300 million for the development of the best and brightest talents among the new generation of Malaysians especially when the country is in the throes of the greatest financial scandal in the nation’s history – the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal?

The open letter of a Bentong mother, Madam Yap Chwee Lian, 44, to the MCA Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong (Sin Chew) expressing her despair at her son’s failure to get a PSD scholarship despite appeal as he got 12A1s in SPM is heart-rending and should be compulsory reading for every Cabinet Minister.

As she said rightly, the wish of every parent is for “son to become dragon”.

Is Wee prepared to ensure that every Cabinet Minister gets a copy of Yap’s open letter, properly translated into Bahasa Malaysia, so that a special Cabinet meeting could be held to do justice to Madam Yap and her son, as well as to similar cases?

Madam Yap rightly asked in her open letter why her son, Leong Choon Lin could not get a PSD foreign scholarship for engineering when the government had announced that 20% or 400 of the PSD overseas scholarships would be allocated according to meritocracy.

In last year’s SPM results, three students scored 16 1A’s, two scored 15 1A’s, six 14 1A’s, 41 of them scored 13 1A’s while 229 scored 12 1A’s.

Why was Madam Yap’s son left out?

It is pathetic that Cabinet Ministers, whether from MCA, Gerakan, MIC or the other component BN parties, could not check and end injustices like the case of Madam Yap’s son with 12A1s or to ensure that the PSD make public the full list of the successful applicants as well as the criteria of selection so that there is transparency to satisfy all concerned that there is no hanky-panky concerned.

The Cabinet handling of the Universiti Sains Malaysia Apex University student intake ruckus is most scandalous.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddcin Yassin merely said the Cabinet received a report from the Higher Education Ministry on the “confusion” that arose out of a technical glitch in USM’s student intake for the 2009/2010 academic session – when 8,173 pre-qualified students were put up on the website as successful when actually the number should have only been 3,599.

Apart from stating that “while accepting the reasons for the technical glitch, he sympathised with the predicament faced by the affected students”, Muhyiddin held out no glimmer of hope whatsoever that all the 4,574 victims of the USM foul-up would be given places in the other public universities.

The Cabinet meeting yesterday appeared to be a total waste of time for the 4,574 students and their parents.

When Najib returns from his China trip, he should convene a special Cabinet meeting to urgent address these two issues, viz:

Firstly, do justice to Madam Yap, her son and all in their shoes and approve a special supplementary estimate of RM300 million for 2009 to ensure that all students with 9A1s and above in SPM would be given PSD scholarships this year. Pakatan Rakyat MPs assure Najib full support for such a supplementary vote in the June meeting of Parliament.

Secondly, adopt a solution for the USM Apex University fiasco that not a single one of the 4,574 would be denied places in the other public universities, without prejudicing the chances of other eligible students. This can be done through a two-step process, viz:

  • University Admission Unit (UPU) selection of the placement of 40,366 places for the public universities from the 61,027 applications through its normal “meritocracy” selection system; and
  • those from the 4,574 student-victims of the USM Apex University fiasco who failed to get UPU offers for the 40,366 university places should all be given places in the public universities, through an expansion of public universities places from 40,366 to include this group.

As the 4,574 students were “pre-qualified” by USM from over 22,000 students who applied, I will be surprised if there is even five per cent or more than 250 students (which works out to only one per cent of the total public university intake this year) from this group who are not offered places by UPU.

I do not believe that it is beyond the capability of the Malaysian public university system to increase university intake by one per cent of its target intake of 40,366 students for the new academic year when such a tiny increase in university places will see that justice is done and that not a single one of the 4,574 students nurse a life-long grievance against an unfair university selection system.

Is the Cabinet capable of making these two decisions in a special meeting to give real meaning to the Najib motto of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”?

‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’

The Sun
by Sunil Lopez

"THE first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers." This phrase from Shakespeare’s Henry VI is often used pejoratively when people feel the need to vent their feelings of frustration or disgust in respect of the legal profession. Ironically, this now infamous phrase was originally intended to pay homage to lawyers. In Shakespeare’s play, the phrase was spoken by a villain and to better understand the context in which the phrase was used, we need to paraphrase it as follows, the first thing any potential tyrant must do to eliminate freedom and the rule of law is to kill all the lawyers.

Enough about Shakespeare and merry old England for now. Let’s return to Malaysia and the drama that unfolded in Brickfields, where on May 7, five lawyers were arrested. The "Brickfields Five" (as I shall refer to them) had each received a call that their legal services were needed. Much like Batman and Robin, they rushed to the Brickfields police station. When they got there, they may have initially been a little confused as to who the actual perpetrators were but it did not take them long to figure things out. It wasn’t that hard to figure out who was the leader of the gang. He had an inhumanly loud voice and was clothed in a shirt which had the words "Head Hunters" emblazoned on it. In another twist of irony, his shirt was black in colour.

The "Headhunter" was at the top of his game. He seemed unstoppable and invincible. He possessed formidable powers, the inhumanly loud voice, being just one. He also seemed to have the power of a short fuse, the power to arrest anyone without reasonable cause and the power to deny an arrested person the right to legal counsel. He seemed to be more powerful than the Federal Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code combined. The Brickfields Five stood defiantly against the Headhunter and his gang. Unbeknownst to the Brickfields Five, the Headhunter was in no mood to act in accordance with the law. When the Brickfields Five attempted to use their powers of advocacy and reasonableness with the backing of the rule of law, they were thwarted. The Brickfields Five tried in vain to convince the Headhunter that they were there to provide legal assistance to the people who had been arrested only moments before, allegedly for illegal assembly. The Brickfields Five were there as faithful servants of the law, to give effect to the constitutional rights of those arrested but they were in turn arrested and thrown into jail.

The night did not end there, however. The news of the arrest of the Brickfields Five had reached the ears of their brothers and sisters at law and about 80 of them, much like the A-Team, swooped in on the Brickfields police station. The president of the Malaysian Bar was there as well and in his capacity as the leader of the Malaysian Bar, walked into the police station with a few other lawyers to defuse the situation and secure the immediate release of the Brickfields Five. The rest stood around outside the station eagerly waiting for good news. Unfortunately, they were all to be disappointed. Even the president was unceremoniously forced to exit the police station.

The Bar, since the incident, is up in arms about the actions of the police force. Among other things, it has called for the resignation of the home minister, the inspector-general of police and the Headhunter. Some may ask what all the fuss is about. People get arrested everyday so why was it such a big deal when the Brickfields Five got arrested. Lawyers have been arrested before. They have been thrown in jail, they have been detained under the Internal Security Act and so on. All true but this time the lawyers were arrested not for purportedly committing an offence. The Brickfields Five were arrested for doing their duty by giving effect to Article 5 of the Federal Constitution and section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code which are as follows.

» Article 5 (3) of the constitution states:

"Where a person is arrested he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice."

» The relevant provisions of section 28A of the code states:

(1) A person arrested without a warrant shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest by the police officer making the arrest.

(2) A police officer shall, before commencing any form of questioning or recording of any statement from the person arrested, inform the person that he may:

(a) Communicate or attempt to communicate, with a relative or friend to inform of his whereabouts; and

(b) Communicate or attempt to communicate and consult with a legal practitioner of his choice.

(3) Where the person arrested wishes to communicate or attempt to communicate with the persons referred to in paragraphs (2)(a) and (b), the police officer shall, as soon as may be, allow the arrested person to do so.

(4) Where the person arrested has requested for a legal practitioner to be consulted, the police officer shall allow a reasonable time:

(a) for the legal practitioner to be present to meet the person arrested at his place of detention; and

(b) for the consultation to take place.

Denial of the right of an arrested person to consult a legal practitioner of his or her choice is a clear breach of the constitutional and statutory right of an arrested person. Arresting a legal practitioner who is seeking to provide legal consultation to an arrested client is nothing less than a despicable act that reeks of arrogance, ignorance and utter contempt for the rule of law and the rights guaranteed in the constitution. The arrest of the Brickfields Five is a grave portent of things to come and we may soon find ourselves on a slippery slope towards a state where the constant abuse of power inescapably becomes the norm and the rights that we hold dear, a thing of the past.

Sunil Lopez is a member of the Human Rights Committee, Bar Council Malaysia. For more information, see www.malaysianbar.org.my/hrc . The views expressed in this article are personal to the writer and may not necessarily represent the position of the Bar. Complaints of rights violations may be forwarded to oysim@malaysianbar.org.my for the consideration of the committee. However, we make no assurance that all cases will adopted for action.

‘End is nigh for Jurassic Umno’

Malaysiakini | June 4, 2009

In his outgoing speech, PAS Youth chief Salahuddin said he wanted the party to be the driving force of Pakatan Rakyat.

The Islamic party leader also took a swipe at arch-rival Umno, calling it a “political dinosaur”.

“We are not a sleeping partner in Pakatan or just being there as a filler - we want PAS to be the backbone of Pakatan to end the cruelty, oppression and abuse of power in Barisan Nasional,” he said at the Youth muktamar in Gombak this evening.

Salahuddin, who will be contesting for vice-presidency, stressed that PAS Youth is key to realising this dream.

However, he was quick to add that it does not mean PAS will take driver’s seat in Pakatan but said the Islamic party will play an important role just like its two other coalition partners.

He also said while Pakatan has won the hearts and minds of voters in Peninsular Malaysia, it must maintain its integrity to strengthen the opposition coalition.

Salahuddin dismissed Umno as a “westernised party without any decisive ideology”.

“Umno’s materialistic and individualistic nature will lead to its downfall… meanwhile, PAS is dedicated to the (Islamic) teachings and to Allah.

“We prioritise justice, equality and welfare without discrimination. This is the difference that enables PAS to remain relevant in Malaysian politics while Umno is slowly becoming extinct like dinosaurs,” he added.

Salahuddin contended that the end was near for Umno.

Professionals vs clerics

The outgoing youth leader also commended the efforts undertaken by PAS Youth under his six-year leadership.

He advised the future leadership of the youth wing to embrace new technology in order to engage with the younger generation.

Salahuddin also lashed out at critics for attempting to create a divide between the ulama and the professional factions in PAS.

“They are trying to exploit the freedom of speech in PAS to supposedly expose the differences between the factions,” he said.

Meanwhile, deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa denied that there was an attempt for PAS to join forces with Umno.

In his opening speech at the Youth muktamar, Nasharudin said those allegations were aimed at driving a wedge between party members.

He asserted that the party had not wavered from its position to strengthen the Pakatan coalition.

“The central leadership has never tried to join BN or Umno… (And) I am sure that my brothers in the Youth will stand with me on this,” said Nasharudin.

He also told the 500 Youth delegates that it was crucial to defend the ulama leadership so that the party will retain its Islamic identity.

Come Friday, Nasharuddin who is from the ulama faction will be challenged by Husam Musa, from the professional faction for the number two slot.

Also in the race is vice-president Mohammad Sabu, who was also present at the muktamar.

Other luminaries included national laureate A Samad Said, who recited a poem titled ‘Suara dari dinding’, DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke as well as top PAS leaders Kamaruddin Jaafar and Mustafa Ali.

MEMPERLEKEH PERJUANGAN UMNO


1. Terdapat usaha berterusan untuk memperlekeh perjuangan UMNO dan orang Melayu untuk kemerdekaan.

2. Kononnya orang yang pertama memperjuangkan kemerdekaan ialah Chin Peng, pemimpin Parti Komunis Malaya. Chin Peng lah yang cuba membebaskan Malaya daripada penjajah British sebelum mana-mana orang Melayu mencuba melakukannya.

3. Perjuangan UMNO adalah kemudian dari itu.

4. Chin Peng bukanlah orang yang pertama yang memberontak melawan British. Sebelum Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM atau MCP - Malayan Communist Party), sudah ada Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM) yang bergerak sebelum Perang Dunia II. Mereka tidak mendapat sokongan penuh daripada orang Melayu Semenanjung kerana mereka cenderung ke kiri. Dengan itu perjuangan mereka tidak begitu berhasil. Namun terdapat beberapa pertubuhan yang secara tidak langsung mewarisi perjuangan mereka. Malay Nationalist Party atau Party Kebangsaan Melayu, Angkatan Belia Insaf dan Putera adalah di antara pertubuhan yang meneruskan perjuangan KMM. Mereka juga tidak mendapat sokongan daripada majoriti orang Melayu kerana disyaki dipengaruhi oleh Komunis.

5. Selepas KMM barulah datang Chin Peng dan PKM. Chin Peng berjuang untuk mendirikan sebuah Communist Dictatorship di mana dia akan menjadi diktator. Bagi orang yang bukan Komunis, terutama bagi orang Malayu kejayaan Chin Peng bukan akan membawa kemerdekaan tetapi mengganti penjajahan British dengan penjajahan Komunis pimpinan Chin Peng dengan majoriti daripada pemerintahan terdiri daripada kaum Cina. Melayu yang akan ada dalam pemerintahan Komunis ini hanyalah hiasan, seperti juga kita lihat keadaan di Singapura sekarang.

6. Bangsa Melayu dan Bahasa Melayu lambat laun akan terhapus.

7. Sebab itu Melayu yang sedikit yang mirip ke kiri pun tidak ingin menyertai MCP. Keadaan dalam MCP sepanjang ia mencuba rebut kuasa, mulanya daripada British dan kemudian daripada Kerajaan Campuran Perikatan dan Barisan Nasional, memberi gambaran akan pemerintahan Chin Peng jika ia berjaya. Orang Cina Komunis akan menjadi pemerintah tetapi Komunis Melayu dengan orang Melayu dan India akan diberi peranan yang kecil dan tidak bermakna sama sekali.

8. Inilah sebabnya yang orang Melayu tidak menyertai pemberontakan MCP melawan British, dan tidak anggapnya sebagai perjuangan untuk kemerdekaan Malaya.

9. Dengan kesedaran dan kepercayaan ini maka orang Melayu telah tubuh badan yang tersendiri untuk betul-betul memperjuangkan kemerdekaan daripada penjajahan British. Badan yang ditubuh ialah UMNO.

10. Orang Melayu tidak percaya yang pemberontakan bersenjata akan berkesan. Ini adalah kerana negara yang akan di warisi jika menang sekalipun sudah tentu akan rosak teruk kerana peperangan.

11. Pendekatan orang Melayu dan UMNO mengambilkira kemampuan mereka. Mungkin perjuangan UMNO tidak gah seperti perjuangan kemerdekaan bersenjata di negara-negara lain, tetapi kemerdekaan yang dicapai oleh UMNO lebih bermakna kerana Malaysia dapat menegak pendirian sendiri dan mengecam kuasa besar di dunia apabila mereka membuat kesalahan.

12. Sesungguhnya UMNO lah yang perjuangkan kemerdekaan sehingga berjaya mencapai kemerdekaan yang bermakna. Chin Peng berjuang untuk mendirikan pemerintahan diktator Komunis yang akan menjajah orang Melayu dan kaum-kaum lain juga.

Mara: Springboard For Bumiputera Entrepreneurs

By Melati Mohd Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 (Bernama) -- "Mara will continue to unearth Malay entrepreneurs as long as there are Malays who have the interest to venture into business."

That being the words of Datuk Othman Ahmad, the Deputy Director General (Entrepreneurs) of Majlis Amanah Rakyat or more popularly known as 'Mara'.

Othman said since Mara's establishment more than 40 years ago, the agency would continuously seek to ensure that the Bumiputera particularly the Malays were not left behind the nation's mainstream development.

At the same time, the Bumiputera entrepreneurs should be willing to change as any transformations made by Mara would be fruitless if they themselves were not willing to make the necessary adjustments, he said.

"Via all of Mara's programmes, we are out to create the generation of successful entrepreneurs among the Malays. We want them to pass down their business to their children and grandchildren.

"When the generation is ready to take over, we only need to assist in expanding the business instead of starting all over again", Othman told Bernama in his office at Mara building here recently.

As the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry had ceased to exist, Mara now comes under the purview of the Regional and Rural Development Ministry.

DEVELOPING THE SMEs

Mara has been synonymous with the government's efforts to develop the Bumiputera small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Nurturing the SMEs to be competitive at the global level is one of the foundations of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) (2006-2010).

Othman said Mara has drawn out plans to provide SME opportunities for the Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Named the Entrepreneur Development Landscape, the programme took off the ground after its launch by the then Prime Minister Datuk Seri (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on April 2007.

According to Othman, the 2003 statistics showed that there were 523,132 business establishments in the manufacturing, services and agriculture sectors of which 518,996 or 91.2 per cent were SMEs.

He said until 2005 the number of business establishments were 37,866 (manufacturing), 451,516 (services), 32,397 (agriculture) that created 394,670 jobs.

For that, Mara would step up efforts to boost the participation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs in SMEs, he said.

So far, 32,528 Bumiputera SME entrepreneurs are under Mara's patronage.

Under the 9MP, the government had set aside RM210 million for Mara's programmes to develop the Bumiputera SMEs.

FOCUS

To boost active Bumiputera participation in SMEs, Mara is focusing on three business sectors namely food processing, retail and furniture.

Under these, there are five priorities - retail, food and herbal industries, development of graduates from Mara training institutions (Giat Mara, IKM) , development of graduates from public and private universities as well as Industrialised Business System (IBS) and Hardware.

"All of our efforts point towards realising the slogan endorsed by the then Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry of 'entrepreneurship as the career of choice'.

"We want to instill the attitude of doing business rather than earning a salaried income," said Othman.

On the IBS, Othman said it was a new approach to deal with the influx of foreign workers in the country.

He said the foreign workers have dominated various sectors and remitted close to RM15 billion to their homeland each year.

"The IBS will cut down the labour and costs. We have (institutions like) Giat Mara, Institut Kemahiran Mara (IKM) and UniKL that focus on the technical field. This way we can contribute towards more active Bumiputera participation," he said.

He said all of Mara efforts were towards creating 60,050 Bumiputera entrepreneurs including those in the SME sector, under the 9MP.

Othman said for the period of 2006-2008, Mara had issued funds for 33,000 Bumiputera traders that amounted to RM1.4 billion.

FOOD PROCESSING

Food processing is among the business fields that have the participation of many Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Othman said there were 400 Bumiputera entrepreneurs in this field under the agency's patronage.

However close to 70 per cent of these operators still do not have the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis as well as Critical Control Point (HACCP) accreditation.

"If there are no GMP and HACCP, then how to sell? What more in the foreign market.

"For that reason, we have set up the Mara Food Industry Complex (KIMAR) at Mukim Batu here at the cost of RM12 million where we provide facilities for the entrepreneurs to obtain the GMP and HACCP recognition," he said.

The complex is expected to be operational this month (June).

"This scheme is exceptional as apart from providing the location to operate, we also provide the loan for capital and purchase of equipment," he added.

MANAGEMENT TEAM

A team would manage the complex, which is also equipped with a proper waste disposal system.

An exhibition hall to display the products is also available.

Othman said Mara had picked 18 food industry operators to operate at the complex for up to a maximum period of 10 years.

He said the chosen entrepreneurs have the potential to go further and Mara hopes these operators reach the turnover of RM25 million a year in the near future.

Similar complexes are being developed in Pedas, (Negeri Sembilan), Serkam (Melaka) and Dungun (Terengganu).

"In Dungun (complex), we would focus on the pharmaceutical industry," he said.

Mara would also establish a Halal Park in Pulau Indah (Selangor), he added.

INCUBATOR FACILITY

Mara is also in the midst of setting up the 'Food Technology Incubator' facility at the Kepong Industrial Zone near here.

The facility is due to be completed in July this year. Among others the facility provides a laboratory to study the standard imposed on food products in the foreign nations.

The facility is also entrusted to develop product's packaging and with the equipment available, producers can have their products sent to this facility for tests.

Othman said Mara is collaborating with Campden Food Research Association from the United Kingdom to boost the incubator facility's efficiency.

MARKETING COOPERATION

In terms of marketing products by Bumiputera entrepreneurs, Mara has obtained the cooperation of almost all supermarkets in Malaysia to promote these items.

"Even though the products have entered the supermarkets, we also hold Mega Sale Carnival throughout the year to enable the producers to sell their goods directly to the consumers. Products chosen are definitely that of quality.

"This way, we assist the traders in terms of their cash flow. We plan to hold 70 carnival events nationwide including Sabah and Sarawak," said Othman.

Mara is also actively participating in trade expositions abroad in its efforts to promote products of Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

The agency has also set up Glocal Link Sdn Bhd, a firm to manage 11 trading houses for the marketing of such products abroad.

In the retail sector, Mara has trained 7,780 entrepreneurs in various business including electrical, interior decoration, healthcare, automotive and information communication technology (ICT).

He said 3,552 entrepreneurs have started operations while the rest would do so once they have the place to operate.

MENTOR, MENTEE

Mara has appointed successful businessmen to act as mentors to those who are still new in the field, under the 'mentor-mentee' concept.

Those picked for this programme are required to attend training for three to six months.

"After this period, the new traders would be given special courses that is the Entrepreneur Development Training to beef up their know how in business.

"Later they will start their own business according to their respective mentor's model.

"This concept is what we also call as the bamboo network where the entrepreneurs help each other like that in the clump of bamboo trees," said Othman, adding that the entrepreneurs also receive guidance of Mara's Business Management Consultant (BMC).

According to Othman, Mara focuses on the retail sector as it contributes a significant portion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This sector has recorded a turnover of 5.2 per cent, from RM159.6 billion in the year 2000 to RM205.6 billion in 2005.

VARSITY STUDENTS, GRADUATES

Mara also provides the Technopreneur Programme for university students and graduates, for them to participate in business development programmes, in line with the agency's aspiration to create the generation of Bumiputera traders.

Among these programmes is the Professional Diploma in Retail Management that drew the participation of 21 graduates of various disciplines.

This one-year programme is held at the Open University here.

Mara also collaborates with several tertiary-level education institutions including Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) that offers a Master's programme in IT entrepreneurship.

Apart from that Mara also collaborates with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to establish "EduBiz Park" or Persada Siswa.

At Persada Siswa, Mara will place 60 mentor entrepreneurs and any UKM graduates who wish to do business can have their internship with their mentor.

"If they wish to do business, then they can proceed to do so. This programme is not available in other universities. Mara's approach is to create the Knowledge Entrepreneur generation.

"Today, the public sees the business field as the place for those who have no other choices. We want to change this negative perception and instill the sense that entrepreneurship is your future.

"Abroad, those who are in the business are the educated ones," he said.

Othman said under the graduates' entrepreneurship concept, Mara aims to train 1,000 graduates in the entrepreneurship field.

So far, out of the 380 graduates who have signed for the programme, 245 have started their own business.

SUPPORT, TRANSFORMATION

Othman said Mara's role is to transform the Malays into successful entrepreneurs. "There has to be a change or transformation in attitude," he said.

"Parents should also encourage their children to venture into business even though they have degree qualifications.

"I am confident if given the proper guidance and funds apart from the right attitude (confidence, resolve, trust), they can be successful," he added.

Dr M: Give Najib time

MB vs MB: Still no sight of written judgment

From Malaysiakini,

Despite the delay of a written judgment by the Court of Appeals, ousted Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin may file his appeal at the Federal Court against a lower court's decision declaring Zambry Abdul Kadir as the legitimate MB.
MCPX

"We have yet to receive the written grounds of judgment (from the Court of Appeals). Still, we may file the appeal on Monday (June 8) at Federal Court after discussion on the matter with my lawyers," said Nizar.

He added that he had applied for a full-bench of nine-member panel of judges to hear his appeal at the Federal Court.

Court of Appeals judge Md Raus Sharif had earlier said the written judgment would be released on May 29.

However, a fax from the Court of Appeals office dated June 1 stated that the judges are still in the process of preparing the written judgment, said Nizar's lawyer Leong Cheok Keng when contacted by Malaysiakini.

nizar and perak pakatan adun tree planting event 270509 03"We were hoping that we will receive the written judgment by this week so that we can prepare the grounds for our appeal (to the Federal Court)," he added.

Nizar (far right in white shirt) has a one-month grace period from the May 22 oral judgment to file his appeal at the Federal Court, said Leong.

When asked what would be their next course of action if the written judgment does not arrive on time for Monday's appeal, he said: "That I'll have to discuss with my client (Nizar)."

Baffled on why the delay


DAP Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran, who was also with Nizar at the press conference, said he was baffled by the delay in the Court of Appeals in providing its written judgment when it was lightning quick in hearing the case.

He said it was crucial for Nizar to get the written judgment before he files his appeal.

"The written judgment will be used in our appeal proper, and will assist all parties whether it (the decision) is sound or otherwise."

"The decision (of the written judgment) will show whether the judgment was fair. Lawyers are also interested (to know the contents of the written judgment).

"The delay in giving the written judgment will raise suspicion among juries, lawyers and the ordinary people," he said.

On another matter, Nizar said the 69 supporters of Pakatan Rakyat, who were arrested and released on police bail during a three-day fast two weeks ago, would regroup tomorrow in front of DAP Ipoh headquarters and proceed to lodge a police report at 10am against the police.

"It is an abuse of police power. I do not know whether they will be charged or released."

On June 15, Nizar will take his oath of office as MP of Bukit Gantang in Parliament when sitting resumes.

Meanwhile, it is learnt from court sources that the Court of Appeal's judgment would be released in a day or two.

Dr M also does not know what 1 Malaysia is

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid (TMInsider)

PUTRAJAYA, June 3 - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has never been shy about offering up his opinions but the feisty former prime minister appears to be holding his tongue so far on what he thinks about the fledgling administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Asked today after a function at his office here about what he thought about Najib’s heavily criticised 1 Malaysia slogan, he offered up a curt “I don’t know.”

Pressed further, he said: “I don’t know what the basic concept is about as I was not told about it.”

Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept is meant to promote the idea of inclusiveness for all races in his government.

The government has, however, found it hard to explain what exactly what 1 Malaysia means, and has been on the defensive against criticisms that it bears a striking resemblance to the DAP’s old Malaysian Malaysia slogan, which was opposed by Umno as an idea which questions Malay rights.

Dr Mahathir was also asked today if he thought the government could do better to improve the ailing economy and his reply was another one liner: “It can.”

He also refused to comment on Najib’s economic council saying that he is not part of the government so he knows nothing about it.

His former political secretary Matthias Chang was, however, scathing in remarks published on his blog this week in his criticism of Najib’s economic council and the manner in which the economy was being managed.

Chang’s attacks appear to suggest some unhappiness within Dr Mahathir’s camp about some of Najib’s appointments to government posts.

Malaysians say politicians the most corrupt lot

By Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — We may have voted them into office but the truth of the matter is, we don't think very highly of our politicians.

Malaysians believe that politicians are the most corrupt group, according to a global survey by anti-graft body Transparency International (TI).

In the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), 42 per cent of Malaysians said that political parties are the most corrupt institution, followed closely by the civil service at 37 per cent.

They are also not optimistic that graft will be curbed as two-thirds of Malaysians have no faith in the government's efforts to fight corruption.

TI Malaysia president Datuk Paul Low said that this was due to the fact that the public had no idea how political parties were funded.

"Corruption in politics is the mother of all corruption. Nobody knows how they are funded. They need to eliminate money politics as well as disclose their sources of funding," he said, adding that changes in electoral laws as well as compulsory audits would be needed to reverse public perception.

However, he felt that the results may not be accurate as the survey was conducted three months ago, amid speculation of monetary inducement that resulted in the Perak political crisis as well as vote-buying in the Umno party polls.

Low also called for better accessibility to information regarding government contracts and concession agreements as well as reviewing the Official Secrets Act as "these are not strategic interests" which could compromise national security.

Malaysia regularly scores close to five out of 10 on TI's Corruption Perception Index and last November's results left it ranked 47th out of 180 countries.

Despite the move to give further powers to the national anti-graft squad when it was converted from the Anti-Corruption Agency to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), 67 per cent of Malaysians still feel the government has been ineffective in dealing with corruption.

While Low said it was still too early to judge the MACC, he acknowledged public perception was that it practised selective prosecution and must instead "take the big fish along with the small fish." TI Malaysia would also attempt to conduct a public poll on its performance later this year.

Meanwhile, of Malaysians polled, only 9 per cent admitted to paying a bribe in the last 12 months, slightly below the global average of 13 per cent. Low noted that while three out of 10 Indonesians admitted to bribery, three-quarters felt their government has been effective in fighting graft.

"We can see that the Indonesian president has become more popular so it shows people value the intergrity of politicians," he said, referring to surveys showing Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's popularity has increased ahead of this year's presidential elections.

Globally, political parties were considered by 29 per cent to be the most corrupt followed by the civil service at 26 per cent, while on average, 56 per cent felt their governments had not tackled graft well.

Also, respondents indicated an 8 per cent increase in the perception that the private sector is corrupt. Low said that companies should take heed to the fact that 50 per cent of Malaysians said they would prefer to purchase from "corruption-free" companies.

"The private sector should introduce anti-bribery and whistle-blowing policies as well as integrity agreements," he suggested.

He also said that while he was disappointed that Malaysia has not improved its corruption index for over eight years, he was encouraged by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's statements on graft so far as it was early days yet in his two-month-old administration.

Low said that TI Malaysia has been consulted by the government many times before and he would be submitting a copy of this year's GCB, its sixth edition and the first with Malaysian participation, to Najib and was hopeful of further discussions with the government on the matter.

Well, IGP, what say you now?

Two years ago, Malaysia Today wrote a series of 12 articles about the Johor Chinese underworld that controls the drugs, loan shark, prostitution and illegal gambling syndicate. Malaysia Today revealed that the syndicate has sprouted its wings to the other states, transforming itself into a nationwide enterprise in partnership with the top guns in the police force, the IGP in particular. It took two years for this story to finally make the mainstream newspapers.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Police out to catch Ah Long 'fathers'
New Straits Times, 3 June 2009

State police chief Datuk Mokhtar Shariff said police were completing their investigations into the ringleaders of illegal moneylending syndicates and expected to bring them to book soon.

He said these "fathers" provided the syndicates with strong financial backing through their close links with crime syndicates involved in prostitution, drug trafficking and four-digit gambling.

"We believe their wealth is linked to money-laundering.

"My warning to them is that we will get you and take you off the streets," he said after a joint operation by police and the Johor Baru City Council to remove Ah Long stickers and bunting in the city here yesterday.

The operation, which was also carried out in other districts, was aimed at giving the local authorities a morale booster in the war against Ah Long syndicates.

Mokhtar said police would not tolerate Ah Long activities and he criticised those who borrowed from Ah Long because of their gambling addiction.

City mayor and council president Datuk Naim Nasir, who was present, said it was illegal to put up stickers and bunting to advertise moneylending services, a common practice among Ah Long.

"It does not matter whether it is licensed or otherwise. The fact is that such a form of advertisement is illegal.

"It ruins public property and brings no benefit to society, besides being an eyesore."

On snatch thefts, Mokhtar said police had arrested 104 suspects, most of whom were drug addicts.

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

My son the AH LONG? — Mum shocked over 'secret' splashed in newspapers
She thought 'secretive' son was a property agent

The Malay Mail, 3 June 2009

ALL along, the family of Chan Ching Fatt thought that he was a property agent... until they saw his face plastered in the newspapers a few days ago.

The 22-year-old is wanted for questioning by police allegedly for his connections with the Krystal-9 loan shark syndicate which had held three debtors in chains and tortured them in a shoplot at Seri Kembangan. Chan was allegedly in charge of the syndicate's operations in Klang.

His mother discovered her son's "secret identity" after buying the evening edition of a Chinese newspaper. And his father is too distraught to speak.

"I usually buy the evening Chinese newspapers... then I saw my son's face. It is a big shock to me," said the woman, in her 40s.

Shock soon turned to anxiety as the phone in their Puchong home began to ring incessantly. Relatives and family friends flooded the family with inquiries about Chan.

"I truly didn't know what to tell them. I am still shocked," she said.

The mother of four said her son, who lives elsewhere, had told the family that he was working as a property agent.

"That's what he told us. Previously, he was working as a tour guide."

She said the last time the family met Chan, the second of four siblings, was about a year ago.

"He has always been the secretive type. We don't even have his phone number, we don't know where he lives," she said.

However, just like any mother, she is worried for his safety.

"What kind of mother am I... how can I not get worried . I am always thinking how, where he is. How is he managing... ."

And naturally, she believes her son isn't a bad person.

"He's not like that... he was probably influenced by the people, friends. He maybe mixed with the wrong crowd," she said.

The couple has yet to be interviewed by police. Chan is one of four men on the police list. One, Lee Chin Onn, was nabbed by police on Monday. (See accompanying story)

Police are also looking for the alleged ringleader, Ong Leng Kok, better known as Franco, 32, and the ring's alleged Ampang operations leader Yong Hock Fai, known as Alex, and two others.

The syndicate used a shoplot in Seri Kembangan to imprison debtors. Three debtors, rescued by police on May 27, were found chained, all by the neck, in a cell that looked more like a toilet, measuring 4x7ft.

For food, they had tap water and a loaf of bread each to last for two weeks. The "prisoners" sat beside a smelly toilet bowl.They said they were also beaten with sticks and belts by enforcers wearing gas masks.

Meanwhile Chan's father, a mechanic in his 50s, was too distraught to talk. "There's nothing to say."

Police looking into underworld links

SELANGOR police chief DCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar urged defaulters who had been confined by the syndicate to contact police to facilitate investigations.

The syndicate, believed to have originated from Tangkak, Johor is said to have branches throughout Peninsular Malaysia. Their two biggest branches were said to have been in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

On whether the syndicate's operation has any links to underworld organisations, Khalid said it was possible.

"The ‘taiko' (big brother) could be connected to a triad group but it's too early to make any assumptions."

The Malay Sacred Cow Syndrome

Image

Yes, sentiments and emotions are a difficult foe to fight. Dr Mahathir realised this and said so. And even Dr Mahathir found no solution. And sentiments and emotions are really not too difficult to play up.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Highlight communist atrocities via the media

I refer to “CPM violence not stressed ” (The Star, May 29) in which the Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim is of the view that our history books should have more information on the atrocities committed by the communists.

I do not think that we need to rewrite or add to the history books just to diffuse the current ripples created by Chin Peng’s attempt to come back to Malaysia.

This attempt is a one-off incident that is bound to fade away soon, so it does not justify adding more pages to history lessons in schools.

History is an interpretation of events and it is best to keep it as objective as possible.

To load it with details of atrocities would just add emotions at the expense of objectivity.

No matter how much information we give within the limited texts of history books, we would not be able to depict the actual scenario of human sufferings.

If the Government wishes to remind the people of the troubled times, it should continue to use the media to disseminate information of the events that took place during the Emergency.

Replaying movies like Bukit Kepong may serve its purpose. Teachers should encourage students to do supplementary reading on this subject.

I am one of those who did not learn much from history lessons. Yet I formed an opinion looking through the Internet and reading some interesting books by retired police officers and others like The War of the Running Dogs: the Malayan Emergency 1948-1960 by Noel Barber.

It was these sources that gave me a better picture of the atrocities committed and how people suffered when the whole country lived in constant fear for more than 12 years of the Emergency.

About 3,000 civilians and an equal number of soldiers and policemen from the Commonwealth and Malaya died fighting the communists.

It needed a massive conventional and psychological warfare with the cooperation of all people to bring peace to the nation.

The terror by sabotage, murder and destruction of infrastructure caused by about 12,000 communists united the people and made them take a common stand against them.

It was a time when people of all races joined the security services like the Home Guards, with the Orang Asli becoming trackers or members of Senoi Prak, and resisted an enemy who was disrupting their normal lives.

The sources also provide interesting accounts of valiant Chinese Special Branch officers who risked their lives by infiltrating communist platoons, and winning over the communists or eliminating them.

It was also said that the communist’s second-in-command was an undercover Special Branch officer. The Malayan Special Branch was rated as the best in the world.

These interesting accounts cannot be narrated within the space of school history books.

KAY ARR
George Town.
The Star, 3 June 2009

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

Arguing that Chin Peng should not be allowed to return to Malaysia because of the CTs atrocities during the 12 years Emergency from 1948 to 1960 could be considered a valid reason to some but not to all. Granted, a couple of thousand died at the hands of the CPM. But so did many innocent Malayans, in particular Chinese, at the hands of the security forces.

Okay, now some will argue that the CPM killed more people while the security forces killed less. Maybe 10% of those thousands that the security forces killed were innocent victims. This means 90% killed were real terrorists. So 9 out of 10 is not too bad a score.

So we are talking about statistics are we? 3% of fatal traffic accidents are caused by drunk drivers. This means 97% of fatal traffic accidents are caused by those who don’t drink and drive. Does this mean we should ban those who don’t drink from driving? That would certainly bring the number of fatal traffic accidents down by 97%.

Statistics can be misleading if applied merely to support a weak argument.

So 2,500 civilians died during the Emergency, the majority at the hands of the CPM and only some at the hands of the security forces who suspected them to be supporters or sympathisers of the CPM. Another 2,500 security forces personnel lost their lives fighting the CPM. In that same period 7,000 CTs were killed. I was told by friends who were then in the army that quite a number of the CTs were killed in cold blood. This means they had surrendered or had laid down their arms but they were still killed nevertheless.

We are talking about the late 1940s to the late 1950s, around the time of Merdeka. At that time everyone seemed to be killing everyone. It was the era of commotion and strife during the aftermath of the Second World War.

I am not saying that what the CPM did was right. I am not even saying that they were more victimised because they lost three times the number of people compared to the security forces. This is not about a numbers game. But to use atrocities and number of people killed to penalise one side would be a weak argument when both sides suffered loses and not always under kosher circumstances.

There was a war going on in Malaysia at that time. Okay, it could have been a terrorist group against a legitimate government of a country. So that makes one side legal and the other illegal. And in this case the CPM were the illegal group.

But they are only illegal because they lost the war. If the ‘terrorist’ group had won like in Iran, Vietnam, China, Russia, and many other countries where the ‘legitimate’ government had been replaced through a revolution, then Chin Peng would not be seen as the terrorist but as the freedom fighter who freed this country from Western Imperialism and their puppet government, Umno.

Chin Peng, for all intents and purposes, is a victim of history. And the victors, not the vanquished, write history. If the CPM had won then history would have been rewritten. Therefore, maybe Chin Peng has no choice but to accept the fact that he lost and Umno won. And there is nothing much he can do about that. This is not about being fair or otherwise. It is about who calls the shots in the country. And currently Umno calls the shots.

If you want to scream about fair and unfair, is what the media doing to the Kelantan Regent fair? Yes, we have heard from his extremely pretty wife about what happened. And we certainly give that lovely woman the benefit of the doubt. There are no two ways about it. The son of the Kelantan Sultan is the villain in this marital dispute.

If Aminah Abdullah, the ex-PKR Wanita Penang chief who recently contested as an independent candidate in the Penanti by-election, had told this story we would not have believed her. This is not only because she is not pretty and looks like a drag queen (in fact, I have seen nicer-looking Lady Boys), but also because she is anti-opposition and perceived to be a proxy of Umno. Even when she produces tape recordings to support her allegation we still reject it. We prefer to trust the PKR people even if they offer no evidence to support what they say whereas Aminah does.

I too have not been spared this. When I whack the opposition I too have sold out, am now speaking like Umno, say what I say because I also am related to the royal family, and whatnot. In short, either I say what the opposition supporters like to hear or I should shut the hell up. Agreeing with what the government or Umno says or does will attract all sorts of retaliation including being called a bastard.

When it comes to the opposition, anything they say is the gospel. They need not prove anything. The benefit of the doubt is given to them. The government is lying. Anything the other side says is a lie. So the Kelantan Regent is guilty because he happens to be the son of the Sultan and for no other reason. We do not even want to hear his side of the story. What that lovely creature said must be true. She is so lovely what she says must just be true.

Even in the old Wild West they say: let’s give him a fair trial first, then let’s hang him from the highest tree.

I wonder what you are now going to say about the RM1.1 billion Agong’s palace under construction. The current Agong is the Sultan of Terengganu. Did Tuanku order that palace built? Would Tuanku even be living in that palace? Is Tuanku pleased with that new palace or does he think it is a total waste of money? Who knows! Who cares! Certainly the Agong must be guilty of wasting the taxpayers’ money. And RPK is defending the Agong because he is related to the royal family. This and only this is the reason. There can be no other reason.

I wonder whether this Chin Peng and Royalty thing is a well-planned strategy by Umno. I would certainly not be surprised. And I am even less surprised that many Malaysians, in particular the Chinese and Indians, have fallen into Umno’s trap.

You see, as Tun Dr Mahathir said, the Malays are a sentimental and emotional lot. They still cry when watching old P. Ramlee movies even when they have seen this same movie dozens of times over the last 30 or 40 years. Malays are sentimental and emotional about their religion, language and Raja-raja Melayu. Just suggest that Islam be removed as the official religion of this country or Malay as the official language or suggest we abolish the Monarchy in favour of a Republic and watch how the Malays would react.

Yes, Musa Hitam and Ghafar Baba have said it many times before. Umno needs Malay support if it wants to remain in power. Umno can’t depend on the Chinese and Indians. But in 2008 Umno lost the support of the Malays. And since then Umno has been holding many brainstorming sessions to explore how to win back Malay support.

This strategy was tested recently in Penanti. Umno did not contest the by-election and told the Malays to not come out to vote. Less than half the voters voted, the lowest in Malaysian election history.

So now Umno knows the Malays still listen to what it says. The next step would be to prove to the Malays they are under threat. The enemies of the Malays want Chin Peng back in the country. The enemies of the Malays want to oust the Rulers from the throne and turn this country into a republic like what they did in China. The enemy of the Malays want to undermine Islam. They even want the word Allah to be used in the Bible so that they can mislead Muslims and get them to convert to Christianity. The enemy of the Malays want their own Chinese and Indian schools because they resent being taught in Bahasa Melayu, the National Language.

Actually all this is bullshit and you and I know that. But my worry is not about you and me. My worry is about the Malays such as those voters in Penanti who still listen to Umno and believe what Umno says. How do we convince these Malays that the Chinese and Indians are not the enemy, instead Umno is the enemy, when Umno appears to be doing and saying the right things and we appear to be doing the opposite?

Yes, sentiments and emotions are a difficult foe to fight. Dr Mahathir realised this and said so. And even Dr Mahathir found no solution. And sentiments and emotions are really not too difficult to play up. When it comes to Malays, religion, language and Kedaulatan Melayu are all it takes. These are the Malay Sacred Cows. And we all know that Sacred Cows are……well…. Sacred Cows. And you do not touch Sacred Cows.

Sigh…..Umno is not playing fair. They are playing sentiments and emotions. But then all is fair in love and war is it not? Whoever said one must play by the rules?

Closet racists in Malaysia Today

Image

Hey, it’s not about saving money. If we abolish the Monarchy it will not be so that we can save a few million Ringgit. The English call this penny wise, pound foolish -- which describes what most Malaysians are.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are some who love to post comments such as the Monarchy should be abolished because it costs a lot of money to maintain a Monarchy and if it is abolished then the country can save a lot of money. I detect from their IDs and e-mails that many of these people are Chinese. These people know who they are so I need not mention their IDs here.

This shows how narrow-minded these people are. They probably have very small brains. Furthermore, these people are actually closet racists. They oppose the Monarchy because it is seen as a symbol of Kedaulatan Melayu and by abolishing the Monarchy you would also be rid of Kedaulatan Melayu. It is better that these Chinese come right out and honestly admit that they are anti-Malay.

Racism is not confined to Umno or Utusan Malaysia. Trust me, there are as many Indian and Chinese racists as there are Malays. There is no monopoly for slime-balls and scumbags. You find them in all races. And rest assured there are as many Indian and Chinese slime-balls and scumbags as there are Malays.

If you want to propose that the Monarchy be abolished for one reason or another then it is an argument worth listening to. But to say that we should abolish the Monarchy so that the country can save money is bullshit. And in spite of me replying to this so many times in the past these small-minded people still make the same comment.

Next year I will be 60. For almost 40 years I have been buying insurance. I have life insurance, personal accident insurance, fire insurance, car insurance -- you name it, I have it. Now, isn’t that a waste of money? I have never yet needed to claim against any of my insurance policies.

I think we should abolish insurance and save billions each year, more than what we spend to maintain the Monarchy.

I find that the Malaysian police force is very corrupted. Most times the police are in partnership with the criminals and actually aid rather than combat crime. And we spend billions each year on a police force that commit more crimes than criminals themselves.

I think we should abolish the police force, as well as the need to apply for a licence before buying a gun -- which in most cases we would not get anyway unless we bribe the Chief of Police a hefty sum of money. Then we can all buy guns like in the old Wild West and we will be able to look after our own safety. If anyone tries anything we just shoot them dead. Imagine how much money the nation can save. Billions every year, more than what it costs to maintain a Monarchy.

I find that most corruption occurs in the implementation of public sector projects. If we stop building schools, hospitals, roads, etc., then there would be no corruption. Corruption occurs because there are government projects. No projects, no corruption.

We spend RM40 billion a year to develop this country. It is estimated that the ‘evaporation rate’ is at least 30%. That comes to RM12 billion a year or RM1 billion a month. If we abolish the building of schools, hospitals, roads, etc., we can save RM1 billion a month, more than the cost of maintaining the Monarchy.

Hey, it’s not about saving money. If we abolish the Monarchy it will not be so that we can save a few million Ringgit. The English call this penny wise, pound foolish -- which describes what most Malaysians are. We save ten cents but waste one Ringgit. That is the Malaysian way.

Any corporate turnaround manager would tell you that you attack the top three costs. Most likely the top three costs would represent 70% or more of your total cost. Therefore, by cutting down the top three costs, you could probably bring the total cost down a great deal.

And the Monarchy, although it is a cost, does not come within your top three costs.

I mean, imagine your corporation is bleeding hundreds of millions. You then do a due diligence and discover that bank interest on borrowings is your top cost. Next come directors' fees, emoluments and other perks, which include one month paid holidays to the Bahamas for the whole family, private jets for each board member, and so on. Third is the pension bill to employees that you have to pay -- and because you are an old company you have many ex-employees still on your payroll in the form of pension payouts.

You then look further down the list and at item 15 you spot the tea lady’s cost. You then retrench the tea lady and replace her with a coffee machine and water cooler. How much do you save by retrenching the tea lady? And now everyone spends all their time congregating at the coffee machine and water cooler gossiping instead of at their desks working.

Okay, the ten Monarchs we have are not quite tea ladies. But if you were to look into their cost, although it may be exorbitant, it would probably be at the bottom rather than at the top of the top ten costs -- that is if it is even in the top ten to start off with. Why focus on the lower costs when we should instead be worried about the top three, top six, or top ten costs?

If you want to attack the Malays and the Monarchy, the symbol of Kedaulatan Melayu, then do so. But do it openly. At least we will know you are a racist. But don’t try to hide your racist streak by attacking the Monarchy on the basis that it costs the country money to maintain it. There are many other costs, which are worse than this, which we can tackle first and save a lot of money.

And stop saying that I am defending the Monarchy because I am also from the Royal Family. That is a cheap shot and you know this is not true. I also attack the Monarchy but I put my name to whatever I write. You attack the Monarchy but do not reveal your true identities. And when I whack any race I do it openly. You attack the Malays but disguise the attack by saying things like if we abolish the Monarchy we can save money.

You know what I hate worse than racists? Racists who have no balls and throw stones while hiding their hands. And that would be many of you here in Malaysia Today.

PPP: Murugiah Vows To Fight Till The End

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 (Bernama) -- Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk T. Murugiah Wednesday vowed that he would "fight till the end" to defend his post as the legitimate president of the People's Progressive Party (PPP).

He told Bernama that his election as president on May 24 was in accordance with the party's constitution and that he had submitted all the relevant documents to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) for verification.


Murugiah and PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas are embrolied in a tussle to control the party with each claiming to be the legitimate president.

The spat between the two personalities has split the party with each claiming support of the majority.

Murugiah claimed that almost 90 per cent of the party members were now supporting him and that he would meet leaders from 110 divisions tonight to discuss the latest development in the party. Kayveas has rubbished this claim.

Both factions have met the ROS to give their explanation.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday, the ROS office had still not completed its investigation.

The Kayveas faction is scheduled to hold its general assembly on Sunday and had invited Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to open the meeting.

However, Najib had indicated that he would attend only when the ROS had ascertained the true situation.

Meanwhile, PPP information chief Datuk Samson Maman, who is aligned to Kayveas, said preparations for the general assembly were in "full swing" with invitations being sent out to the VIPs and observers.

"We are meeting daily to plan every detail to ensure that the assembly proceeds smoothly," he said.

Murugiah said he had information that the Kayveas group was planning to bring in factory workers to fill the Putra World Trade Centre, the venue of the assembly.

Nizar will seek Federal Court leave on Monday

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

PETALING JAYA, 3 June 2009: Embattled Perak Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin will on 8 June, apply for leave from the Federal Court to appeal against the Court of Appeals' judgement declaring rival Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the lawful MB.

Nizar in pink baju Melayu
Nizar

Nizar will apply for leave despite the absence of a written judgement by the appellate judges. The Court of Appeals' written judgement is usually needed so that the grounds of appeal can be spelt out for the Federal Court to consider.

"I shall file for leave on Monday, in Putrajaya, as we've waited more than a week for the written judgement. The Appeals Court has not kept its promise to give the written judgement in seven days," Nizar told The Nut Graph by phone from Ipoh. He had given a press conference on the same matter earlier today in Ipoh.

After announcing the Court of Appeals' decision on 22 May, judge Datuk Md Raus Shariff had said he would try to expedite the written judgement in seven days in response to a request of urgency by Nizar's lawyer.

Lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah had said that Nizar's legal team needed the written judgement in order to request leave from the Federal Court to file an appeal. Cases moving from the Court of Appeals to the higher court do not get automatic right of appeal.

Nizar has 30 days from 22 May to apply for leave to appeal.

The three Court of Appeal judges on 22 May unanimously ruled that Perak Ruler Sultan Azlan Shah was right in finding that Nizar had lost the confidence of the majority of state legislators, and that a vote of no-confidence in the assembly was not necessary to determine this.

The court set aside the judgement of the High Court on 11 May that Nizar was the legitimate MB, and that a no-confidence motion in the legislative assembly was the only way to decide if he had the majority's confidence.

Zambry's lawyers have argued throughout the trial that the sultan was allowed to use other means, besides a no-confidence motion, to determine where support of the assemblypersons lay.

They also held that the sultan was empowered to appoint a new MB if Nizar did not resign according to Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution, because Nizar was part of the executive council.

Article 16(6) states that the MB has to tender the resignation of the executive council if he ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the legislative assembly, and if the sultan rejects his request for a dissolution of the assembly.

Nizar's lawyers have argued that neither Article 16(6) nor any other provision in the constitution explicitly provides for the sultan to sack a menteri besar. They contend that the sultan's royal prerogative is only limited to withholding or granting request for a dissolution of the assembly, and not to determine the majority's confidence.

The Perak crisis which began on 5 Feb with the Barisan Nasional's takeover of the state government has now moved to the courts. Nizar and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders in Perak, however, have continued to hold ceramah and other public programmes such as a three-day hunger strike to keep sentiment alive

Govt should stand by decision on Chin Peng: Dr M

PUTRAJAYA, 3 June 2009: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government should stand by its decision not to allow Chin Peng to return to the country.

He said the government must understand the feelings of the people who would not be happy if the Malayan Communist Party leader was allowed to return.

"Obviously a lot of people are not happy, so why make other people unhappy? If they are not happy, leave it there," he told reporters after attending the "Nurturing the Minds of Future Leaders" Essay Contest 2008 prize giving ceremony at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, here today.

He was commenting on the call to allow Chin Peng to return to Malaysia. The call came from Penang Gerakan chairperson Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, saying that Chin Peng should be allowed to return on humanitarian grounds as he was no longer a security threat, and was supported by several opposition leaders.

Asked whether other parties should not press the government to change the decision, Mahathir said the freedom of speech allowed people to say what they liked but it was up to the government to decide.

On his opinion on the 45% approval rating for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, he said it was good.

A recent survey by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research showed that 45% of voters from peninsular Malaysia were satisfied with Najib's performance. It also showed 53% of Malay Malaysians, 64% of Indian Malaysians and 24% of Chinese Malaysians polled said they were satisfied with Najib's performance.

Asked about the formation of the National Economic Advisory Council, which was announced by Najib on 27 May, Mahathir said "it's wonderful". He also believed the council would be able to achieve its objective of turning the country's economic status from medium income earner to high income earner.

Earlier, his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who is also the Multimedia University chancellor presented prizes to the winners.
— Bernama

Malaysia's opposition on a roll

By Anil Netto (Asia Times Online)

PENANG - Malaysia's opposition alliance has chalked up its fifth by-election win out of six since a general election last year.

This time, the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front - BN) coalition did not put up a candidate, perhaps fearing that another by-election defeat would be demoralizing. That left the coast clear for the Pakatan Rakyat (People's Alliance) to brush aside three independent candidates on Sunday.

The by-election in Penanti on mainland Penang, one of four states ruled by Pakatan after a fifth was wrested back by the BN, was also crucial for another reason. The victorious candidate, Mansor Othman, of the People's Justice Party (PKR), one of three parties in Pakatan, will now assume the position of Penang deputy chief minister following the recent resignation of the incumbent. Mansor clinched 87% of the votes for a 5,558 majority, more than doubling the PKR's majority in the general election.

But voter turnout was only 46%, compared to over 80% during the general election, dampening the euphoria somewhat. Many supporters of the BN, especially its dominant United Malays National Organization and "floating" fence-sitters, stayed at home because the BN was not participating. The resulting lack of excitement over the poll - as the outcome was never in doubt - also led to complacency among a section of the PKR supporters.

In the PKR campaign, national issues took center stage, especially the manner in which the BN wrested power in the state of Perak after three Pakatan assembly members crossed over to the BN under controversial circumstances. Over 160 arrests in recent weeks arising from protests over the power grab only heightened public disquiet. Prime Minister Najib Razak's own political baggage was also frequently highlighted.

The PKR candidate, Mansor Othman, tried to focus on local issues. He highlighted his role a decade ago in kick-starting a microcredit program which was later taken over by the federal government. He also vowed to work hard to ensure comfortable, affordable housing for lower-income residents of Penang and to provide support for small traders.

While the campaign was going on in Penang, a new financial scandal was unraveling in the state of Selangor involving the 405-hectare Port Klang Free Zone project. The plan, first approved by the cabinet in 1999 during the Mahathir Mohamad era, was to transform Port Klang into a national load center and regional trans-shipment hub along the lines of the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

But its execution was dogged by "cost escalations, weak governance and weak projection management", which severely undermined both the viability of the project and the Port Klang Authority's ability to repay a soft loan to the Finance Ministry. Ballooning interest payments could result in the project outlay increasing from 3.5 billion ringgit to 12.5 billion ringgit (US$3.6 billion). A host of issues were highlighted in a just released audit report that could embarrass key BN politicians.

To make matters gloomier for the BN, first-quarter gross domestic product figures unveiled by the government revealed that the economy contracted by 6.2% in the first quarter, down from 0.1% growth in the last quarter of 2008. The second quarter in 2009 will see a similar performance, said the governor of Malaysia's central bank.

Najib predicts the economy will contract by 4-5% for the whole year.

"The revision is due to very weak external demand as well as falling private sector investment and FDI [foreign direct investment] flows," he was reported as saying, adding that conditions were "far worse than expected". The government's earlier forecast had projected that the economy could grow or shrink by 1%.

Opinion is divided over when exactly a recovery can be expected and to what extent the government's 60 billion ringgit stimulus package will help.

In a comment on Najib's 1Malaysia blog, a middle-income reader named Fariz observed, "The government has been giving out lots of projects and contracts to cushion the financial impact the world is currently facing. However, the person or company who receives such projects/contracts will benefit solely. How about those employed under them? The middle income earners will not gain anything from it ... The government must find another method/way to filter down the money to the grassroots level."

Faced with growing economic pressure and a resurgent Pakatan, several critics and analysts are now worried that the authorities could resort to more authoritarian measures in the coming weeks.

"In Najib's Malaysia, speaking the truth has become sedition and criminal defamation. Darkness is descending on Malaysia," wrote veteran opposition politician Lim Kit Siang in his blog. "Malaysians must not be cowed."

Lim said police had taken a statement from him after a chief inspector filed a police report complaining that his campaign speech in Penanti on May 25 amounted to sedition and criminal defamation against Najib. In the speech, Lim had held Najib responsible for the Perak constitutional crisis and the "unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab, resulting in the expansion of the crisis of confidence" with one national institution after another, allegedly compromising their credibility.

Such abuses of power are among the reasons why the legitimacy and credibility of Najib as prime minister has continued to come under great strain, observed Lim.

There will be no respite for the BN. Another by-election looms on July 14, this time in Manek Urai in Kelantan on the east coast. The BN will have its work cut out if it is not to lose its sixth by-election.

Anil Netto is a freelance writer based in Penang, Malaysia.

MALAYSIA INCORPORATED


1. We don't hear much about Malaysia Incorporated nowadays. Maybe it is because people in the Government and private sector are doing things rather than talking. Maybe they are all still cooperating, the public and the private sectors, so as to grow this country.

2. But it would be good if the people are informed about the cooperation and collaboration.

3. I am not in the Government now but still people come to me to talk about their problems. I find that many of them have some very good ideas which would not harm the Government if it listens to briefings about them.

4. The Government of course would not be obliged to adopt these private sector ideas.

5. I was a great plagiarist when I was in the Government. Many of my ideas came from stealing other people's ideas. Fortunately no one has so far sued me. Of course many people, including civil servants like to say that everything done in this country is due to me. I don't always refute their statements and being human I like to bask in this undeserved glory.

6. A lot of people have voiced their unhappiness with the national education system. Some say there is too much stress on examinations, others say that getting 20As in examinations really does not mean anything. Others want to see history and other subjects be made compulsory. Others want to revert to the national language or mother tongue for teaching everything. Contrary views have been voiced on the teaching of mathematics and science etc etc.

7. Some who run private schools and universities have been extremely successful, despite charging fees, high fees sometimes. I am amazed at their dedication because the education industry will not make the educationists millionaires. But they seem to put their hearts and soul into their jobs.

8. Their teachers are also dedicated and many of their students have grown up, married and have children of their own. The ultimate endorsement of the private schools is when their former students send their children back to the school, to their alma mater so to speak.

9. I don't think the country will lose if we listen to their stories of success. There may be something to learn from them. We may be able to adopt some of their ways. We may even be able to detect the faults in our systems and make adjustments.

10. I hope that the Malaysia Inc. Concept can be revived, that is, if it is now dormant. It is a good concept. The private sector can learn a lot about the problems of governing and would be more tolerant. On the other hand the public sector can learn much about how the private sector functions, and their problems. The understanding engendered by the public/private sector cooperation cannot but benefit everyone and the country. Maybe something good will come of this.

11. I am not presuming to teach the Government. But so many of those who saw me believe I can be of help that I felt I need at least to indicate that they have problems and perhaps ideas which the Government might look at.

Najib Accorded Special Treatment At Great Hall Of The People

From Yong Soo Heong

BEIJING, June 3 (Bernama) - China Wednesday broke from tradition as it accorded special treatment to visiting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak by allowing speeches to be made after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People here.

In a departure from the norm, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao took to the public address system after he had presented Najib with a copy of a black and white photograph of Malaysia's second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein signing a joint communique with the late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai on establishing diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China in 1974.

Normally no speeches are made after the signing of MoUs between two countries but China decided to show its appreciation for Najib and his father, Tun Abdul Razak, for establishing diplomatic relations with China and subsequently strengthening them, said Malaysian officials accompanying the prime minister's entourage.

The Malaysian side had earlier enquired whether remarks could be made after the signing ceremony.

Najib then took the opportunity to show the picture to his mother, Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah, wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and his daughter, Nooryana Najwa, and son, Nor Ashman, who were all present at the ceremony.

The historic picture was taken in the same location as today's ceremony which was at the West Hall of the Great Hall of the People some 35 years ago.

Wen said relations between the two countries had expanded and deepened since then and also alluded to a Chinese proverb that said if one drank water from a well, he or she should not forget who had dug the well and that the Chinese government did not forget the role played by past leaders like Tun Razak and Zhou.

Wen explained that special arrangements were made for the speeches as the hall was of special significance to both China and Malaysia.

He said the picture was a gift from the Chinese government to the family of Tun Razak as the Chinese government did not forget the courageous role played by Tun Razak in making Malaysia the first Asean country to establish diplomatic ties with China.

He paid tribute to both "father and son" in Tun Razak and Najib whom he described as sharing the same sentiments towards China in terms of strengthening relations between the two countries.

Wen said today's bilateral talks and signing of four MoUs between the two countries marked a new chapter in bilateral relations and likened the strengthened and deepened relations of the two countries to that of the deep roots of a tree which would subsequently help in bringing leafy foliage and bountiful harvests of fruits.

In response, Najib said he would "dig more wells" to ensure that "the flow of water would be forever bountiful that we can both share for the mutual benefit of both countries."

He thanked Wen for the memorable and special welcome and hospitality accorded to him.

Najib said that in view of China's special ties with Malaysia, it was for this reason that he chose to visit China as the first country outside Asean since becoming prime minister two months ago.

He said he would not only be following footsteps of his father but intended to take Malaysia-China relations to greater heights, especially with the fact that "China had advanced so far ahead."

He hoped that Malaysia and China would be partners in charting a new course to bring about deeper bilateral relations.

Najib said the first generation had done its part by establishing diplomatic relations 35 years ago and it was now incumbent upon the subsequent generations to carry on the work further.