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Friday, June 5, 2009

Sri Lanka rejects probes into slaughter of Tamil civilians

Sri Lanka has no plans to investigate allegations that its security forces massacred 20,000 Tamil civilians in the final stages of an offensive against the Tamil Tigers, and neither is Colombo willing to eventually accept an international probe, trade minister G. L. Peiris said Wednesday in Tokyo. "No, we don't regard that attitude as acceptable. That is some kind of inquisition," Peiris, a former peace negotiator said, according to an AFP report. Last week, leading British and French newspapers published their investigations, including interviews with UN officials, into the massacre.

Minister Peiris had earlier held talks with his Japanese counterpart Toshihiro Nikai and Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.

At a news conference, Minister Peiris reiterated that Colombo has no plan to probe allegations of war crimes and rejected international demands for a probe.

The minister said: "The world should not try to... emphasise everything that is negative, make things as difficult as possible for Sri Lanka, threaten economic sanctions."

Unnecessary pressure on the Sri Lankan government may even lead to a revival of terrorism in the country, he warned, without elaborating.

"What the country needs this time is support, understanding, empathy, not condemnation, not judgement... not posturing," he said.

Peiris said his government refrained from using heavy artillery and aerial bombardment attacks out of concern for civilians "at the expense of postponing the end of hostilities."

The United States and other governments had repeatedly called on the Sri Lankan government (GoSL) to cease pounding a narrow strip of land in which 300,000 people had concentrated on the government’s advice.

In mid-March, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephone President Mahinda Rajapakse “to express the United States' deep concern over the deteriorating conditions and increasing loss of life occurring in the GoSL -designated 'safe zone'.”

“The Secretary stated that the Sri Lankan Army should not fire into the civilian areas of the conflict zone,” a State Department press release said.

More pointedly, as casualties mounted amid relentless shelling – even as US satellites observed – President Barack Obama demanded on May 13, “the [Sri Lanka] government should stop the indiscriminate shelling that has taken hundreds of innocent lives, including several hospitals, and the government should live up to its commitment to not use heavy weapons in the conflict zone.”

Last week, independent investigations by The Times and Le Monde newspapers found that up to 20,000 Tamil civilians had been slaughtered by government shells. The papers quoted UN officials as saying the UN knew, but sought to suppress reports to retain Colombo’s goodwill.

Regarding the controversy over an IMF loan Sri Lanka is seeking, Minister Peiris said that a decision on the disbursement of the funds "should not involve political considerations," but should be "dependent upon technical criteria."

Prof. Peiris was the chief negotiator for the then UNP government when it was in negotiations with the LTTE in 2002-3.

The UNP was defeated by the SLFP in 2004 and he switched sides two years later, along with fellow negotiator Milinda Moragoda.

Both men had been popular with Western backers of the peace process as was the UNP, given its enthusiasm for the neoliberal agenda for Sri Lanka.

During the Norwegian-brokered negotiations, Prof. Peiris was famously associated, along with LTTE chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham, with the ‘Oslo Declaration’, an agreement between both sides to explore federalism as a solution to the conflict.

At the time Peiris lauded the Oslo Declarations as a ‘paradigm shift by the LTTE’ and as a climb down by the Tigers from the demand of an independent Tamil Eelam state.

However, after crossing over to the Sinhala-nationalist government of President Rajapakse in 2006, Prof. Peiris rejected federalism as a solution.

"Today the intellectuals and experts worldwide agree that terms such as federalism, unitary and united have no clear definition and are indistinct at best," he was quoted as saying.

He added, without elaborating, that what was required was a "practical solution" to the ethnic conflict.

Sri Lanka rejects probes into slaughter of Tamil civilians

Sri Lanka has no plans to investigate allegations that its security forces massacred 20,000 Tamil civilians in the final stages of an offensive against the Tamil Tigers, and neither is Colombo willing to eventually accept an international probe, trade minister G. L. Peiris said Wednesday in Tokyo. "No, we don't regard that attitude as acceptable. That is some kind of inquisition," Peiris, a former peace negotiator said, according to an AFP report. Last week, leading British and French newspapers published their investigations, including interviews with UN officials, into the massacre.

Minister Peiris had earlier held talks with his Japanese counterpart Toshihiro Nikai and Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.

At a news conference, Minister Peiris reiterated that Colombo has no plan to probe allegations of war crimes and rejected international demands for a probe.

The minister said: "The world should not try to... emphasise everything that is negative, make things as difficult as possible for Sri Lanka, threaten economic sanctions."

Unnecessary pressure on the Sri Lankan government may even lead to a revival of terrorism in the country, he warned, without elaborating.

"What the country needs this time is support, understanding, empathy, not condemnation, not judgement... not posturing," he said.

Peiris said his government refrained from using heavy artillery and aerial bombardment attacks out of concern for civilians "at the expense of postponing the end of hostilities."

The United States and other governments had repeatedly called on the Sri Lankan government (GoSL) to cease pounding a narrow strip of land in which 300,000 people had concentrated on the government’s advice.

In mid-March, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephone President Mahinda Rajapakse “to express the United States' deep concern over the deteriorating conditions and increasing loss of life occurring in the GoSL -designated 'safe zone'.”

“The Secretary stated that the Sri Lankan Army should not fire into the civilian areas of the conflict zone,” a State Department press release said.

More pointedly, as casualties mounted amid relentless shelling – even as US satellites observed – President Barack Obama demanded on May 13, “the [Sri Lanka] government should stop the indiscriminate shelling that has taken hundreds of innocent lives, including several hospitals, and the government should live up to its commitment to not use heavy weapons in the conflict zone.”

Last week, independent investigations by The Times and Le Monde newspapers found that up to 20,000 Tamil civilians had been slaughtered by government shells. The papers quoted UN officials as saying the UN knew, but sought to suppress reports to retain Colombo’s goodwill.

Regarding the controversy over an IMF loan Sri Lanka is seeking, Minister Peiris said that a decision on the disbursement of the funds "should not involve political considerations," but should be "dependent upon technical criteria."

Prof. Peiris was the chief negotiator for the then UNP government when it was in negotiations with the LTTE in 2002-3.

The UNP was defeated by the SLFP in 2004 and he switched sides two years later, along with fellow negotiator Milinda Moragoda.

Both men had been popular with Western backers of the peace process as was the UNP, given its enthusiasm for the neoliberal agenda for Sri Lanka.

During the Norwegian-brokered negotiations, Prof. Peiris was famously associated, along with LTTE chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham, with the ‘Oslo Declaration’, an agreement between both sides to explore federalism as a solution to the conflict.

At the time Peiris lauded the Oslo Declarations as a ‘paradigm shift by the LTTE’ and as a climb down by the Tigers from the demand of an independent Tamil Eelam state.

However, after crossing over to the Sinhala-nationalist government of President Rajapakse in 2006, Prof. Peiris rejected federalism as a solution.

"Today the intellectuals and experts worldwide agree that terms such as federalism, unitary and united have no clear definition and are indistinct at best," he was quoted as saying.

He added, without elaborating, that what was required was a "practical solution" to the ethnic conflict.

Ex-cop demands S-G clears his name in Anwar’s black-eye case

By Leslie Lau - The Malaysian Insider
Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, the police officer who investigated Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black-eye assault in 1998, is demanding the government clear him of fabricating evidence in the case.

The former KL CID chief, who has accused the country’s top lawyer and police chief of making up evidence during the investigations, sent a letter of demand through his solicitors today to Solicitor-General Datuk Idrus Harun.

His letter is likely to continue putting pressure on Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan ahead of Anwar’s sodomy trial next month.

Anwar had accused the two men of fabricating evidence during the black-eye investigation and is planning to use the allegations to defend himself in his sodomy trial.

Mat Zain points out in his letter of demand that a press statement made by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan on March 1 and subsequent remarks by Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in Parliament on March 11 this year had cleared Gani and Musa of wrongdoing.

The former police officer asserts the implication of Nazri’s remarks was that the government indirectly admitted Anwar’s claims were genuine with criminal liability shifting to him and forensic consultant Dr Abdul Rahman Yusof.

Mat Zain said Nazri’s remarks meant the retired police officer could be prosecuted for fabricating evidence under Section 192 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Through the letter sent today, Mat Zain is demanding the solicitor-general declare that the three medical reports prepared by Dr Rahman in the black-eye case were obtained illegally and fraudulently, and were used in proceedings of a royal commission set up to investigate the beating.

He also wants the solicitor-general to make a declaration that the former investigator had taken all necessary steps to prevent Gani from using the medical reports.

The letter of demand also seeks to have the solicitor-general clear Mat Zain of any wrongdoing, failing which further legal action would be taken.

Last week Mat Zain claimed a high-level plot using a bankruptcy notice to destroy his credibility ahead of several cases including the opposition leader’s sodomy case in July.

State news agency Bernama had reported that Mat Zain was declared a bankrupt on April 21 for failing to settle a RM250,000 loan and was served with the notice on May 26.

Mat Zain, who retired in 2001, said last week he believed hidden hands were trying to destroy his credibility and to prevent him from giving evidence against Gani and Musa for fabricating evidence.

Mat Zain filed a RM30 million defamation suit against Anwar last year after the Pakatan Rakyat leader claimed that Gani, who was a senior deputy public prosecutor then, and Musa, who was an investigating officer, had fabricated evidence against him in the black-eye assault.

Tan Sri Rahim Noor, the Inspector-General of Police in 1998, later admitted he had assaulted Anwar following a Royal Commission of Inquiry probe in 1999.

Besides Mat Zain, Musa has also filed a defamation suit against Anwar.

The statements of claim made by both Musa and Mat Zain have been admitted as part of an affidavit filed by Anwar for his Sodomy II trial.

Anwar had claimed trial last August to sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, his second sodomy case in a decade.

Mat Zain told The Malaysian Insider last week however that he had decided to sue Anwar to clear his name because unlike Gani and Musa, he had not been officially cleared of the allegations of abuse of power.

In his statement of claims, the former investigator implicates Gani and Musa in what he claims was an attempt to introduce a medical report which he found suspicious.

He claimed the medical report prepared by Dr Rahman from Hospital Kuala Lumpur had suggested Anwar’s injuries were self-inflicted.

Instead, Mat Zain asserts in his statement of claim that he had taken all possible steps to prevent the medical report prepared by Dr Rahman from being included in his investigation papers.

Police still looking for Raja Petra

By Mazwin Nik Anis, The Star

The police is still looking for Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said claims that Raja Petra was in Brisbane yet to be confirmed.

He was speaking to reporters after attending the Home Ministry's monthly gathering here yesterday.

Last week, Musa had said the police was investigating how Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin left the country without a trace.

A sessions court had on May 26 slapped Raja Petra with a second warrant of arrest when he failed to show up for his criminal defamation trial.

The court also issued a show-cause notice to Raja Petra's wife and bailor Marina Lee Abdullah for not being in court to explain his absence.

The earlier arrest

Dear Sabah BN leaders…

By Lim Kit Siang,

Dear

Maximus Ongkili, Bernard Dompok, Shafie Apdal, Anifah Aman, Joseph Kurup, V.K. Liew, Abdul Rahim Bakri, Lajim Ukin, Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, (Liow Tiong Lai-dissapointedly excluded)

This again is to highlight to you , in the midst of basking in glory of having more Sabahan cabinet Minister and Dep. Minister and being so proud representing Sabah. I would like to remind you people regarding the true and sad state of affairs in the Land below the wind and of course hope you can do something.

We often discuss regarding the poverty rate and how poor is sabah even until the cow comes home, but below is a best and glaring example of how ill is the whole condition!

One can never dispute that ratio of doctors to population is a good comparisonof ones health care standard. Below is the list of number of medical officers in few district hosp. in Sabah. Bear in mind that these hospitals are very far away from specialist centers. They are often left alone to handle all cases irrespective of how tough it is.

Hospital Papar 3+1 (3 medical officers plus one director)
Hospital Kota Marudu 4+1
Hospital Ranau 3+1
Hospital Pitas 3+1
Hospital Kudat 4+1
Hospital Beluran 3+1
Hospital Kuala Penyu 3
Hospital Beufort 4+1
Hospital Tenom 4+1
Hospital Tambunan 3+1

(plus one means the pengarah, they are often involved in admin duties, meetings, seeing big bosses eg ministers when they visit Sabah. So, hardly contributes in seeing patients)

So in simple conclusion, 3-4 doctors are seeing total of hundreds of patients in clinic everyday, running all the wards, overseeing deliveries, performing operations like C-sections. Managing ill babies and adults. And not forgetting, doing night duties as well.

The same district hospitals in Selangor mostly have more than 10 medical officers running the hospital. And they have voted the govermenc out. So tell me sir/ madam ,don’t you know this ? and what have you done so far in representing Sabah ?

Sincerely
One of the 3 or 4 from the above

New America, One Malaysia: Premesh Chandran

Nashar won't tell on Sarawak surprise

Najib denies any links with Altantuya

BEIJING, June 4 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has again said he “had nothing to do with” Altantuya Shaariibuu, laughing off the federal opposition’s attempts to link him to the murdered Mongolian model whose killers now face the gallows.

“There’s no evidence,” Najib told the Associated Press in Beijing where he is visiting in the footsteps of his father, second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who opened ties with communist China.

“They’ve not offered any evidence at all ... I have sworn in the name of God, of Allah, that I had nothing to do with her and I can’t go beyond that.”

The prime minister added what he described as a “tongue in cheek comment,” saying the fact that Shaariibuu was staying at “a two-star run down hotel” at the time of her death was further indication that he had not been involved with her.

“If she was my girlfriend, she will be totally insulted if I put her (there),” he said with a laugh.

Opposition leaders have repeatedly tried to link Najib to Shaariibuu’s death. The 28-year-old Mongolian model and translator was having an affair with his close friend and aide Abdul Razak Baginda when she was shot on Oct. 19, 2006. Her body was then blown up in a forest outside Kuala Lumpur, and only fragments were found.

The opposition had claimed in various election campaigns and in cyberspace that his close association with Abdul Razak makes him suspect.

Abdul Razak has acknowledged the affair but was acquitted last October of abetting the slaying. Elite special services policemen Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar were sentenced to death in April for her murder, though the trial never established what their motive was.

They have appealed.

Controversial blogger and Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin is on the run and a fugitive after skipping bail in several cases incluidng criminal defamation, sedition and Internal Security Act (ISA) related to his postings linking Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to the murder.

Police had also banned any mention of Altantuya in several recent by-elections. - The Malaysian Insider

MIC Youth lodges police report against Ibrahim Ali

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The MIC Youth lodged a police report against Malaysian Pribumi Perkasa Organisation president Datuk Ibrahim Ali today over his statement in Utusan Malaysia which it claimed defamed party president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu.

The report was made by MIC Youth Social and Welfare Bureau chief at the Sentul district police headquarters here.

He said the report was to enable the police to investigate Ibrahim for making an irresponsible statement and also Utusan Malaysia which he claimed constantly published statements with religious and racial slant which could jeopardise the peace in the country and fan racial sentiments, if left unchecked.

He said the statement was untrue and the MIC Youth wanted Ibrahim to apologise to Samy Vellu.

Utusan Malaysia today reported that Samy Vellu was trying to be a champion of the race by describing the historical facts published in the newspaper recently as seditious. – Bernama

Kayveas still PPP president, says ROS

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The Registrar of Societies (ROS) said today that Datuk M. Kayveas is still the lawful president of People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

However, it was investigating complaints by various interested quarters within the party and scrutinising further information from all sides involved before the completion of the investigation, said ROS Director-General Datuk Md Alias Kalil said in a statement.

“In this regard, until the matter is finalised, ROS wishes to inform that Datuk M. Kayveas is still the lawful president of PPP.

“Hence, ROS has no objection to PPP proceeding with the scheduled Annual General Meeting,” he said.

On May 30, Kayveas was returned unopposed as PPP president for a fourth five-year term at the end of the nomination period and two days ago, he said PPP’s 56th General Assembly would take place as planned in three days time.

Earlier on May 24 however, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk T. Murugiah had declared himself the “new PPP president” following an extraordinary general meeting held in Putrajaya. — Bernama

Guan Eng stands firm on council appointment issue

Written by Regina William, The Edge

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng reiterated the state government's stand that the post of president for the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) and Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) would be helmed by civil servants.

Speaking after the swear-in of new MPSP president Mokhtar Mohd Jait at the MPSP headquarters here which was boycotted by six Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) councillors, Lim said the matter had also been discussed with PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on May 31.

He also brushed aside the allegations by PKR councillor Johari Kassim that he, Lim was running the state as if it was his own backyard.

Johari and five others had boycotted Mokhtar's swear-in as they wanted the post to be given to PKR and also to protest his appointment.

Only three PKR councillors attended the ceremony.

"That is not true as this decision was made jointly by all the executive councillors and PKR has its own representatives in the state exco and ask them if I have not been accommodating.

"They should ask excos Malik (Abdul Malik Abul Kassim) and Law Choo Kiang who also endorsed Mokhtar's appointment with Mansor (newly appointed deputy chief minister 1), who made the announcement.

"I always spoke to Wan Azizah on the matter," he added.

Lim reiterated that both the council posts will be headed by civil servants.

Johari had stated that while the MPSP president post must go to PKR, DAP could take the MPPP president's post.

He had also slammed Lim, accusing him of not consulting PKR when deciding on the appointment.

He threatened to resign with the rest of the PKR municipal councillors.

Mansor meanwhile said he would raise the matter with PKR's Penang chief Datuk Zahrain Hashim.

Meanwhile, Lim's chief of staff and Jelutong member of parliament Jeff Ooi called on the indisciplined PKR councillors to resign from MPSP within 24 hours failing which they can be subjected to an inquiry for indiscipline.

"The position of the council president is not to be misconstrued as the fiefdom of PKR or any political party.

"PKR councillors must submit to the fact that under prevailing circumstances, the appointment of council president is the prerogative and right of the state government," he added.

Ooi said if they remained defiant and insisted they had no confidence in the new president, they would not be able to perform their duties as expected of councillors who are paid allowances from ratepayers.

"Municipal councillors are appointed based on recommendations by the respective parties as this is the interim practice before laws are being amended to accommodate local elections.

"The present state government is accountable only to the people, and this PKR cannot regard the post of council presidents as personal to holder fiefdom to any political party, be it DAP or PKR," he said.

He said he would forward a collective memorandum from all DAP elected representatives to refer the PKR councillors for a review at the state exco.

Time for PAS to Demonstrate Its Ability to be a National Party

By Farish A Noor

This week will witness the fifty-fifth General Assembly of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), that has been on the political landscape of Malaysia since 1951, though its actual historical presence in Malaysia dates back even further, to the country’s first Islamic party Hizbul Muslimin, in 1948. Malaysia-watchers and analysts are looking very closely at PAS today, and there has been ample speculation about the fate and future of key PAS ideologues and leaders, notably the representatives of the two camps in the party otherwise known as the conservatives and progressives.

Distinctions such as ‘conservatives’ and ‘progressives’ are not very useful in cases such as these however, for they tell us little about the goings-on in PAS and they lend the mistaken impression that the differences within the party can be essentially reduced to such simple binary opposites. Needless to say PAS’s opponents are likewise tempted to use such dichotomies in their own lame efforts to divide and weaken the party, and such divisive tactics are long familiar to those who have studied Malaysian politics over the past half a century or so…

The fact is that PAS is an infinitely more complex party that outsiders may think, and that its complexities run deep into its history. In the 1950s PAS was seen and cast as a Leftist-Islamist party while it was under the leadership of Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy and Zulkiflee Mohammad; and the party’s concerns were directed towards the national liberation struggle against colonialism and all forms of neo-imperialism in Asia and Africa. In the 1970s PAS transformed itself to an ethno-nationalist party during its brief courtship with the ruling UMNO party. Since the 1980s the party has become one of the most vocal and visible Islamist parties in Asia and the Muslim world, standing on par with the Jama’at-e Islami of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh on the one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan’ul Muslimin) of the Arab world on the other.

Despite the rise in its profile and its growing standing in the arena of Malaysian politics, PAS has remained a Malaysian party that has sought to gain power on the stage of Malaysian politics. Following the elections of march 2008 when the opposition alliance broke the two-thirds majority of the ruling National Front coalition, PAS is now poised to become a national party with national aspirations.

Which brings us to the question of what the Malaysian nation is today, and whether PAS can speak on behalf of the new Malaysia that is more complex than ever.

Regardless of whether the leaders of PAS describe themselves as moderate, liberal, progressive or conservative, the fact is that Malaysia and the Malaysian nation they hope to lead and represent is far more complex than even their own party. PAS and whoever leads the party, must come to realize this by now and must have the political will to deal with the complexities of Malaysia in a rational and objective manner. The days when it was assumed that all Malay-Muslims were simple pious Muslims are over: In the urban industrialized zones of West Malaysia, we have seen the proliferation of a myriad of new social constituencies that defy all the stereotypes of the nation thus far. Malaysia is now a country where Malaysian of all walks of life, ethnic and religious background, gender orientation etc are coming to the fore to demand their share in the politics of representation. I am personally acquainted with a number of Gay Muslims who have openly and privately declared their support for the Islamic party, but can the Islamic party they support also show them the same level of support, sympathy and understanding?

PAS needs to understand that to be a national party with national aspirations means having to develop an inclusive political rhetoric and platform that reflects the multifarious character of the complex Malaysia we see around us today. This is what all political parties need to do, be they Islamist, Socialist, Liberal or Conservative anyway. Failure to do so would mean ignoring the realities on the ground to their peril and at their own long-term political expense.

Skeptics have claimed that PAS can never succeed in re-inventing itself ever since the 1980s, when it adopted the mould of being a politically Islamist party similar to its counterparts in the Arab world and South Asia. But the historian would remind us that political parties, like nations and communities, are abstract collections of individual subjectivities that merge and melt and reconstitute themselves all the time. PAS was always a dynamic party that dealt with the realities of the day, from the realities of colonialism in Malaya to the rise of authoritarian politics in the 1980s. Today, PAS has seen and felt the goodwill of millions of non-Malay and non-Muslim Malaysians who have given the party a shot at becoming part of the new government of Malaysia, should the opposition parties take over sooner than later. PAS has also benefitted from the goodwill of millions of moderate liberal Muslims who are prepared to give the Islamic party a chance to demonstrate its commitment to a new politics of accountability and transparency.

Thus for the sake of those Malaysians who are prepared to give PAS a chance, the party now has to set its sights on the biggest prize of all, to become a national party that reflects the pluralism of Malaysian society. The vote swing that took place in march 2008 was not an endorsement for an Islamic state, or moral policing, or a theocracy under the thumb of a bunch of Ayatollahs. It was a sign that PAS’s time has come, and that the party should delve back to its complex past to recover a means to becoming a modern Islamic party that can finally be a Malaysian party as well.

Samy Vellu To Announce His Stand On MIC Election Candidates Soon

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 (Bernama) -- MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Thursday he would soon announce whether he would endorse any candidate or otherwise for the Sept 12 party elections.

"I have already made up my mind and will let you all know soon," he told reporters before opening a student leadership convention at Universiti Malaya, here.


Samy Vellu said he had given the matter serious thought and felt that as the president of the party, he should make his stand known to the MIC delegates and members.

"Earlier I thought all the aspiring candidates could sit down and discuss as to who should contest which post, but it looks like everyone is making their announcement about which post they want to contest," he said.

The MIC president said he could not stop anyone from contesting as it was a democratic process but stressed that he would have to let the delegates who would be voting in the party elections to know his stand.

"Everyone is free to contest but I too will make known my stand," he said without mentioning when he would do so.

Samy Vellu had said previously that he would not endorse anyone for any post but would rather allow a "free-for-all" contest. However, he had stressed that he could not predict what his stand would be in the future.

The Sept 12 elections would see a contest for the post of deputy president, three posts of vice-president and 23 posts of Central Working Committee (CWC) member.

Former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam and current vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan have already announced their intention to contest the post of deputy president while incumbent Datuk G. Palanivel has yet to announce his stand.

Another likely contender for the post is Human Resources Minister and party secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.

Party insiders said Samy Vellu would prefer a straight fight for the Number 2 post to ensure that the party remained united. They felt that Samy Vellu was worried that should there be a three- or four-cornered fight, it would break up the party as there would be three or four factions.

PKR’s Zulkifli slams Gurdwara Council

By Zedeck Siew
thenutgraph.com

PETALING JAYA, 4 June 2009: PKR parliamentarian Zulkifli Noordin has slammed the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council for its statement criticising the syariah courts.

"What people like (Malaysian Gurdwaras Council president) Jagir Singh need to do is to start learning to respect decisions of the Syariah Court, even if it is not in one's favour," said Zulkifli in a press statement yesterday.


Zulkifli
He was responding to comments by Jagir yesterday about the ability of the Syariah Court to fairly hear cases involving non-Muslims.

The Sikh leader was referring to the case of Mohan Singh, who died of a heart attack on 25 May. Mohan's remains have not been released to his family, as he is believed to have converted to Islam in 1992.

"We are of the view that a syariah court is not in a position to determine Mohan's religion as most witnesses who can vouch for his professing of religion are non-Muslims, whose evidence the Syariah Court has no jurisdiction to hear," Jagir said.

"Without their evidence, there cannot be a just decision," he was quoted as saying.

Zulkifli said the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council statement was "highly baseless, unfounded, and purely contemptuous."

"It shows utter disrespect for a court of competent jurisdiction, duly established by the Federal Constitution, and recognised as such by the Federal Court," Zulkifli said.

"Please learn to respect the Federal Constitution," Zulkifli added.

Zulkifli explained that syariah courts were empowered to hear evidence from non-Muslim witnesses.

The Kulim-Bandar Baru Member of Parliament (MP) cited the case of the late Nyonya Tahir, where there was dispute as to whether the deceased had died a Muslim. The Syariah Court later decided that Nyonya Tahir had died as a Buddhist, and should be buried as one.

"The matter was brought to the Syariah High Court of Negeri Sembilan, where the Buddhist family testified and gave evidence," Zulkifli explained.

According to Zulkifli, the Syariah Court is the best place to determine whether Mohan Singh had died a Muslim.

"Where else on earth can one determine that, except in the Syariah Court, where the judges are very well-versed with the law, and the issue at hand?" Zulkifli said.

The MP stressed that the late Mohan had every right to profess and practise Islam as a religion of his choice. "It is not a crime to become a Muslim," Zulkifli said.

Forum: “Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis in Sri Lanka – What Next?”

Contributed by Sumitha, Executive Officer

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The Bar Council organised this pubic forum on 27th May 2009 at the Bar Council auditorium.

The main speakers were S. Pasupathi, Trustee of the World Tamil Relief Fund and the President of the Educational Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF), Y.B R Sivarasa, Member of Parliament, Subang, Y.B Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Klang and A. Kanesalingam, Trustee of the Tamil’s Relief Fund. Approximately 150 members of the public and lawyers attended the forum.

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The 2-hour forum began at 8.15pm after a brief welcome speech by Lim Chee Wee, Hon. Vice President of the Malaysian Bar.

The first speaker A. Kanesalingam provided a historical perspective of the conflict. He described what happened in the northeast of Sri Lanka as a holocaust and called for international intervention to set free hundreds of thousands of Tamils now detained behind barbed wire.

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S. Pasupathi then shared his experiences based on several trips that he had made over the years to the conflict zone. He moved the audience with many graphic photographs of the conflict.

Y.B. R. Sivarasa provided a political perspective of the conflict. He said that the failure of the Sri Lankan Government to recognise Tamil minority rights was the major cause of the war. He also said in hindsight it was important to pose the question of whether the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had done enough work on the political front.

Y.B. Charles Santiago, the final speaker questioned the Malaysian Government’s double standards. He said it was odd that the Malaysian Government could support Sri Lanka's resolution calling for UN member nations to not interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka when Malaysia had been in favour of UN intervention when Israel invaded the Gaza Strip several months ago.

During the question and answer session, many participants said that it was unfortunate that many Malaysians seemed unaware or concerned about what was taking place in Sri Lanka.

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The day after the forum, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Sri Lanka’s resolution over the EU sponsored resolution. The EU resolution had called for an international investigation into possible war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE during the last few weeks of the war.

64 wasted their time appearing at the Ipoh Police station

By MP Kula

Today is the D day for the 64 people who were arrested on 7thMay09. On that day the Perak State Assembly set. The police had obtained an interim order to restrain any one other than assemblyman from being 500meters from the state assembly.

I was prevented from entering the state assembly by the police although I had invitation to attend on that day. The state Assembly is situated in my constituency notwithstanding others like YB Lim Kit Siang and M.Manogahar( Teluk Intan) were also prevented from entering the state assembly.

Our lawyer Karpal would soon file proceedings to set aside the restraining order.

The 64 individual were on police bail and the bail was not extended today. DSP Glean informed us that the investigations are still going on and they are awaiting directions from the Attorney General Chambers as to whether to charge the 64 heroes.

The police should explain as to why the 64 were asked to report to the police station today when they knew yesterday that the bail will not be extended but the 64 can go free pending directions from AG Chambers. Many were displeased with the police the manner in which they had handled the matter today.

Many of the 64 individuals were not only innocent but had come from other states like Penang, Malacca, Selangor and Pahang.

We were also pleased that many lawyers turned up to give support. The blogger’s community were also not spared the arrest as Zorro and others were detained on the 7th of May. Interestingly Jong the Ipoh blogger somehow was not arrested on the 7th although she was everywhere and in black too. Why she is so lucky!

June 4: China's Forbidden Date - Jeff Ooi

June 4 is China's Forbidden Date.

So, Najib has to crack a forbidden joke in Beijing, a city away from forbidden Mongolia.

20 years in flashback... I was reading about Tankman Square, Beijing.

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See Jeff Widener's portfolio


20 years fast-forward... I am currently reading this book about a Prisoner of the State.

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Image source: Telegraph UK

Will Zhao Ziyang's book shake China? Don't bet on it, says Newsweek.

Also read Bao Bu, one of the translators and editors of "Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang".