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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Heal wounds rather celebrating: Ban to Lanka

New York: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged Sri Lanka to 'unite and heal the wounds' after two decades of war rather than celebrate its victory over the Tamil Tigers.

Ban, who on Friday met the 15 members of the UN Security Council to discuss the controversial end to the conflict in Sri Lanka, also called for a 'proper investigation' into allegations of massive civilian deaths in the final days of the ethnic conflict at the end of May.

Amnesty presses UN for Sri Lanka war crimes probe

Human rights advocates and media reports have said up to 20,000 civilians were killed in the last phase of battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Ban warned the Sri Lankan government against engaging in celebrations, as Colombo revelled in the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

'I take this opportunity to warn against the risk of triumphalism, which will really hinder the ongoing efforts by the Sri Lankan government, the people and the international community in helping to heal the wounds,' Ban told reporters after the meeting.

'This is very important at this time to unite and heal the wounds rather than enjoy in celebrations in the wake of the end of the conflict,' he said.

Ban said he had asked the Sri Lankan government to provide relief groups and the United Nations free access to the tens of thousands of Sri Lankans who are in need of assistance.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and advocacy groups like Amnesty International have called for an investigation based on allegations of high numbers of civilian deaths.

Sri Lanka seizes ship on 'mercy mission'

The closed-door meeting between Ban and the council members in a basement conference room at UN headquarters in New York was billed as an 'informal interactive discussion on Sri Lanka'. Neither side has said it will draw any conclusion from the debate.

Ban said in early June, after the Sri Lankan government declared victory over the LTTE, that he considered the civilian casualties 'unacceptably high.' He cited media reports alleging that the civilian deaths stood at 20,000.

Ban rejected criticism that the UN had played down the facts of the final onslaught as two decades of fighting between the government and LTTE was drawing to an end in May. The UN has been involved in providing relief assistance to the hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans trapped or displaced by the fighting.

Sri Lankan hostage rescued in Philippines

Penang's traditional Indian village under threat - Malaysiakini

Some 300 Indian Malaysians living in Kampung Buah Pala in Bukit Gelugor, a quiet Tamil settlement located in heart of rapidly developing eastern part of Georgetown, face eviction this Thursday following an appellate court order last month.
MCPX

The affected residents have called on Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to stop the developer from demolishing their homes.

"Since he claims that his administration is a people's government, the chief minister should now prove his words," said a resident, C Tharmaraj, who also the state PKR Youth treasurer.

high chapparal village 060609 villageAs the village is only five minutes’ drive from the Penang Bridge and 10 minutes from both Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone and Komtar, the 2.6ha plot it occupied is considered prime land.

That status has become a curse to the village in recent years. Developers have long coveted the area for high-rise development.

The settlement originally came under a housing trust gazetted under the Housing Trust Act 1950 and residents paid temporary occupation licence (TOL) rents to the Land Office from the days of British colonial adminstration to 2005.

In 2005, the Land Office refused to accept their TOL payments to pave way for land alienation to the state government.

Villagers: Prime land sold below market price

The land was subsequently sold for RM3.21 million to the Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang and this led to a lucrative development project undertaken by Umno-linked Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd.

According to the villagers, the sale price - estimated at RM11.33 per sq ft - was far below market value.

The land title was subsequently transferred to the cooperative on March 27, 2008, soon after Pakatan Rakyat coalition stormed to power in Penang at last year's general election.

high chapparal village 060609 posterDisgruntled residents took the issue to the High Court seeking legal redress to their plight and obtained a favourable court ruling last October.

However, the Court of Appeal backed the cooperative following an appeal.

The appellate court also ruled that the landowner and developer need not pay any compensation to the affected villagers.

It ordered all residents to move out by June 11 from the land, which they have occupied for more than a century.

The village residents association has since appealed to the Federal Court to overturn the Court of Appeal's decision.

However, although demolition work cannot be legally carried out pending their appeal, fear has gripped the villagers that they could be forced to evict their homes next week.

They are urging the state government to intervene to stop 33 houses involving 50 families from being demolished.

Kampung Buah Pala Action Committee chairman M Sugumaran, 52, blamed the previous state government under Dr Koh Tsu Koon for their plight.

Much to chargin of the villagers and despite numerous appeals and mass protests, Nusmetro is converting the land to a mix-development township involving four blocks of medium and low-medium cost apartments of 740 units and eight units of shoplots.

The cooperative will earn a whopping RM12 million from the project.

British gave land to villagers’ forefathers

The villagers, led by Sugumaran, have written to the authorities to stop the development and preserve the village as a traditional Tamil Hindu settlement, which local historians claim had existed for more than 150 years.

According to Sugumaran, the original owner of the once coconut plantation area, David Brown, had given the land to the villagers' forefathers nearly 200 years ago.

Shortly after the British left, the state government took over the village in the capacity of ‘trustee’ and began collecting annual TOL rents.

In 1999, the villagers requested the federal government to gazette the area as a traditional Tamil Hindu settlement in accordance to its policies to preserve traditional villages as symbol of national pride.

However, the villagers’ attempt proved futile.

The villagers are now preparing themselves to stop the possible demolition by the developer on Thursday.

high chapparal village 060609 draviam arul pillay"We will prepare ourselves to face the developer. Do or die, we will fight to keep our traditional village," vowed Tharmaraj.

Senior resident, Draviam Arul Pillay (left), 84, said that Pakatan leaders had promised the villagers that they would preserve Kampung Buah Pala as a traditional Tamil Hindu village.

"They vowed to defend our rights and interests," said the senior citizen.

‘Village should be preserved’

Kampung Buah Pala, popularly known as ‘Tamil High Chaparral’ to Penangites due to its traditional population of cowherds, has many features of a model Tamil Hindu settlement.

At a dialogue session with the villagers this afternoon, Jarigan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) Penang coordinator Muammar Kris Khaira called on the state government to act in protecting the villagers.

high chapparal village 060609 magdeline ngPenang Heritage Trusts manager Magdeline Ng (left) said a tourist would mistake Kampung Buah Pala for a village in India if one were to witness religious festivities celebrated so passionately and joyously by the villagers.

"The festive mood and colourful atmosphere of this area is hardly visible in other areas of the island. The state government should preserve this traditional natural heritage in Georgetown," she told Malaysiakini, referring to the city's world heritage status.

M Nyanasegaran, who represented PKR state chief Zahrain Mohd Hashim, said the state government can stop the development if it is found that the land transfer was not done properly.

"The state government should investigate and find out whether there were some shoddy deals made,” he said.

"If the probe can proved this, the state government should intervene to stop the project and review the land transfer deal."

Uthaya is moving to a new office in Bangsar....




Valga Makkal Sakthi

Najib’s 1Malaysia VERSUS The People’s Declaration

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More than a year ago, the Barisan Rakyat Bloggers launched The People’s Declaration. In case many of you are not aware of this or have forgotten what we said then, you can look at the details below. Read what we had launched and compare it with Najib’s 1Malaysia and you will see that Najib’s idea is not new and that the Barisan Rakyat Bloggers had, in fact, proposed the same thing more than a year ago.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

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The People’s Declaration

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The People’s Mission


1. We, Malaysians of all races and of various faiths, are resolute in our desire for change and are determined to give birth to a system of governance, built upon the fundamental, spiritual and ethical values that are part of the teachings of all the great religions, that:

· is honest, dynamic and truly accountable;

· has a truly democratic parliamentary system that represents the interests of the people;

· has truly independent and clean judicial institutions;

· has a police force which is professional and executes its duties in a just and fair manner, according to the tenets of law;

· has a mass media that is free and not beholden to those in power;

· values accountability and transparency as its fundamental elements;

· respects differences of views; and

· supports a dynamic, resilient and just economy which is also internationally competitive.

2. We, Malaysians of all races and of various faiths, pledge to uphold at all times the foundational principles of the Malaysian Constitution, namely:

· the supremacy of the Constitution over all other laws;

· the Yang DiPertuan Agong as the Constitutional monarch;

· the separation of the powers of government and in particular the independence of the judiciary;

· that fundamental liberties and freedoms guaranteed the rakyat shall not be interfered with, denied, or rendered illusory;

· one man, one vote, both of equal value;

· that Islam is the religion of the Federation, and all other religions shall be practiced in peace and harmony;

· Bahasa Melayu as the national language, whilst safeguarding the unfettered right to use and learn other languages;

· the special position of the Malays and the indigenous rakyat of West Malaysia, of Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate rights of all other races; and

· A federal administrative system that fulfills its responsibilities, and protection and respect for the special position of Sabah and Sarawak.

3. We, Malaysians of all races and of various faiths, pledge to collectively:

· work to create a just and prosperous Malaysian nation based on a truly democratic system of government;

· protect and defend the rights and dignity of all the people and guarantee justice for all;

· act to enhance economic prosperity through greater productivity, efficiency, and sound economic management in order to enable the country to face global challenges;

· channel the country’s resources not only to meet the basic needs of the people but, more importantly, to ensure that the quality of life and social harmony are enhanced;

· distribute wealth and opportunities fairly among all; and

· develop quality social infrastructure and a clean and comfortable physical environment; enhance the quality of education, health and other social services; build mosques and other places of worship; build public parks and libraries; build arts and cultural centres; and provide the widest opportunities for information technology and other methods of communication.

(The People's Declaration: http://mt.m2day.org/The_Peoples_Declaration.pdf)

(The People’s Parliament: http://harismibrahim.wordpress.com/the-peoples-voice-the-peoples-declaration/)

Perwakilan Undi Tolak Orang-Orang Nik Aziz

Sheih Kickdefella,

Analisa ringkas – keputusan perwakilan menunjukkan kemenangan kepada calon-calon pro Pakatan Rakyat dengan 12 orang dari mereka memenangi pertandingan bagi 18 jawatan AJK PAS Pusat. Keputusan Naib Presiden memihak kepada Husam Musa bila ketiga-tiga yang dikatakan menjadi pilihan Husam menang.

Mereka yang rapat dengan Anwar Ibrahim juga menang dengan undi besar.

Jika dilihat analisa itu, seharusnya Husam telah menang. Tetapi Husam tewas besar.

Bagaimanapun, Husam (Timbalan Pesuruhjaya PAS Kelantan) tewas bersama Dato’ Mohd Amar (yang disebut bakal MB Kelantan dan seorang Ulama, Ahli exco dan Timbalan Pesuruhjaya PAS Kelantan), Dato’ Takiyuddin Hj Hassan (Ahli Exco dan Setiausaha Perhubungan PAS Kelantan) dan Dato’ Anuar Tan (Ahli Exco dan Bendahari PAS Kelantan). Keempat-empat mereka adalah pembantu-pembantu Nik Aziz dan mereka tewas bersama 3 lagi tokoh PAS Kelantan.

Hanya Dato’ Kamaruddin Jaafar, Setiausaha Agung PAS yang disebut sebagai sahabat baik Anwar Ibrahim adalah calon dari Kelantan yang menang.

Analisa jelas menunjukkan tidak berlaku trend menolak calon Ulama, Pro Pakatan, Profesional atau Pro UMNO. Yang jelas menjadi mangsa ialah kesemua orang kanan Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz.

Apakah yang berlaku adalah manifestasi penolakan atau undi tidak perjaya kepada Nik Aziz oleh Perwakilan PAS atau ianya hanya satu kebetulan. Para perwakilan harus bertanya, apakah mereka memang berniat menolak calon-calon dari Kelantan?

Ini bagaimanapun adalah petanda baik bagi Kelantan. Setidak-tidaknya pemimpin-pemimpin kanan PAS Kelantan boleh fokus kepada mempertahankan Negeri Kelantan, sama ada melalui sudut kewangan maupun tenaga kepakaran mereka.

For the Terrors of Tennamaram, gangsterism is a piece of cake...

Friday, June 5th, 2009, The Malay Mail

THE history of two rival gangs in Taman Tennamaram is well-known by residents who have lived in fear of its members.

But more recently, fed-up of the terrorism and rivalry that residents had to put up with, a petition was submitted to the police on the matter, asking for action to be taken against the terrible two.

Gang 08 was formed in the 80s and grew to its present size in the early 90s according to sources. The gang received street credibility when P. Kalimuthu, better knows as Bentong Kali, who was shot dead by police in 1994, joined the gang in 1984. The gang was then heavily involved in extortion, kidnapping and violence.

It was learnt that the gang got its name “Gang 08” because it used to collect payments in multiples of eight.

Last year, on Aug 8, 20 gang members, all students of a secondary school in Klang, organised a celebration. They had an 8kg cake in the form of the numbers zero and eight, and had the words “Villains SMK Raja Mahadi” on it.

The party was to be held in the school field but school authorities learnt of the gathering and alerted police, who increased patrols in the area.

At noon, the students slipped out of their classes and gathered at a secluded part of the field. Gang members outside the school passed the cake through the fence.

Soft drinks were served and as they were “partying”, teachers and Parent-Teacher Association members broke up the gathering. The number eight portion of the cake had already been eaten. Three gang members -- and what was left of the cake -- were handed over to police.

It is believed that there are 18 members in Gang 08 and three senior members monitor the group.

Another gang emerged in the mid 90swithin the neighbourhood, calling themselves Gang 21. It started after several gang members from different gangs had a fallout with their leaders and started Gang 21, probably reflecting the breaking away age of 'adulthood'.

This gang apparently targets shopkeepers and small businesses to extort money. They operate in small groups to avoid being detected by the authorities.

What followed was a fight for territory with innocent residents facing the brunt of the gangsters' terrorism.

High noon at Penang’s ‘High Chaparral’

Five more days.

That’s the remaining time the residents of Kampong Buah Pala in Gelugor have, following a Court of Appeal decision on 11 May giving them 30 days to vacate their homes.

The village, known as High Chaparral because of its history of cattle rearing, is at the centre of a controversial land dispute with luxury apartment developers.

The residents had won in the High Court last October, but the developers successfully appealed. The residents, through their lawyers, have now filed an appeal in the Federal Court and applied for a stay of execution.

An agreement to sell the land for around RM11 per square foot was entered into in 2005 under the BN administration at a time when residents claim the value of the land was around RM150 per square feet.

The state administration agreed to sell the 6.5 acre plot to Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang in exchange for a three quarter-acre plot of land belonging to the Koperasi where the Sessions Court (near Dewan Sri Pinang) now stands, according to the residents. The Koperasi then entered into a joint venture with a private company, NusMetro Venture Sdn Bhd, said to be politically connected, to build luxury apartments on the High Chaparral site.

Even before the legal process has been exhausted, even before it has obtained vacant possession of the land, even while the cows are still grazing on the land, NusMetro has already started marketing its “Oasis” project:

nusmetro

The Story

Tucked away in Gelugor, hidden from the commotion of the city, lies Penang’s latest residential investment opportunity. Situated within 6.5 acres of beautifully landscaped surroundings, The Oasis is your own personal sanctuary.

With its distinctive architecture and detailed interior design enhanced by superior finishing, The Oasis surpasses the ordinary and redefines architecture and lifestyle.

Whether you’re purchasing the Oasis as a home or as an investment, be prepared to indulge your senses in total luxury.

Redefining architecture.
Redefining lifestyle.
Rebranding your address at The Oasis.

The Pakatan government was dragged into the controversy when residents claimed they saw court exhibits showing that the transfer of land to the Koperasi was effected on 27 March 2008 - three weeks after it had come to power.

Draviam, 84 (see photo above), recalled how top Pakatan politicians had vowed to strongly defend the residents’ right to the land during the 2008 general election campaign.

“The state government shouldn’t just be telling us to continue with the struggle and fight on,” said another resident. “If it is really a people’s government, then it should be taking up the cause on our behalf.”

Among those present at the press conference this afternoon were residents’ rep M Sugumaran, PRM’s Gary Nair, Batu Uban Adun V Raveendran (PKR), Jerit rep Kris Khaira and Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng’s husband Guna, who spoke in his personal capacity in support of the preservation of the village.

A representative from the Penang Heritage Trust outlined the heritage value of this Indian Malaysian cultural village, which dates back to the 1950s at the present site and from decades earlier at its original site atop Bukit Gelugor. A few households still continue the traditional source of livelihood - cattle rearing.

The area had 33 houses, but nine households have accepted unknown compensation and moved out, their houses subsequently demolished, according to one resident. The state has stopped collecting the annual TOL licence fee since 2005, he said, paving the way for land alienation.

A unique feature of the High Chaparral village is an underground spring water source (see photo above), which supplied thousands of residents in the area with fresh water when Penang experienced a water supply disruption some years back.

This is the second such controversy here in recent weeks after residents of a village on the premises of St Francis Xavier’s Church along Penang Road were served eviction letters by the Catholic Church’s lawyers.

Najib Calls For Racial Acceptance

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tonight called on all Malaysians to shift from racial tolerance to acceptance because it can bring strength to the country.

He said the paradigm shift was necessary so that no race would feel they only need to be tolerant with others when they also need to accept other races to form a plural society in Malaysia.

"To be tolerant alone, some may not like it but if the attitude is changed to acceptance, the plural society concept will be seen not just unique but also brings strength to our country," he said at the SPM 2008 Excellent Student Award ceremony here.

He said the concept was in line with 1Malaysia and if fully understood, it also could bring the country to greater success.

The Prime Minister said that for the government, it was important to identify the needs of each ethnic groups in the country and formulate policies based on the needs of each community.

He said the needs of all races had to be taken into account because that way, the government would be seen as fair and just to all races.

He also reminded the people of the importance of education because education could ensure big changes not only to individuals and their families but also the country.

He said the government placed human capital development as a main strategy to achieve the national objective of ensuring the people earn high income and this aim could only be achieved through mastering knowledge.

"Nothing else is more important than to develop the right people with the right skills, right mindset... those will determine whether we can achieve our goals," he said.

On the achievement of Indian students, Najib hoped the Indian community could work harder to boost the performance of their children.

"I want to see Indian children in the country achieve more excellent results in the future," he said.

He said the government had approved additional allocations for the development of the Indians in education including to build more Tamil schools.

This showed the government's commitment and message to develop Malaysia based on the principle and spirit of 1Malaysia, he said.

The SPM 2008 Excellent Student Award ceremony was organised by the Malaysia Nanban newspaper for 172 Indian students who excelled in SPM examinations last year.