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Monday, June 8, 2009

Hadi still upbeat on unity government

How Datuk Norza Zakaria was fixed up to disqualify him from contesting the Umno elections

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THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

PM’s BN analysis refers to himself, says Kit Siang

PETALING JAYA, June 8 - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s analysis that Barisan Nasional leaders are too obsessed with positions is “great”, says DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang, who stressed that the prime minister did not realise the irony that he was actually describing himself in that statement.

Kit Siang was referring to the Barisan chairman’s speech at the PPP assembly yesterday, in which he noted that Barisan component party leaders were obsessed with party posts, saying they should focus on the people and regain support for the ruling federal government coalition after its dismal Election 2008 results.

“It is a great irony that Najib is not aware or conscious that he is most guilty of the malady among the Barisan Nasional leaders he diagnosed yesterday,” Kit Siang said in a statement this morning.

The Ipoh Timur MP said it was an indictment of the “business-as-usual” mindset of the Barisan Nasional leaders, who have failed to “feel the pulse of the people”, that there is not a single Barisan Nasional leader, whether from Umno, MCA, Gerakan or MIC, who dares to point out to Najib his own great failure to “learn and change”!

“If Najib had followed his own edict to constantly ‘feel the pulse of the people’, he would have realised that the biggest Achilles heel in the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of his premiership is the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak,” he added..

The veteran leader said Najib was right in not underestimating the Malaysian electorate whom he said is waiting for the next 13th general elections to “teach Najib and Barisan Nasional a lesson for the illegal coup d’ etat in Perak”.

“It is not too late for Najib to make amends for his greatest political blunder on becoming the sixth Prime Minister – orchestrating the unethical, undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional power grab in Perak – by dissolving the Perak State Assembly and returning the mandate to the Perakians to elect the government of their choice in a state-wide general election,” Kit Siang said.

Najib’s speech yesterday came at the right time in the PPP assembly, which was fraught with uncertainty after former PPP Youth leader Senator T. Murugiah had called for an emergency assembly and was elected as party president.

But the Registrar of Societies has already re-affirmed that Datuk M. Kayveas remains as party president, clearing the way for Najib to turn up and open the assembly.

Najib said in his speech that the fight for posts was a problem within the Barisan, which has been in power for so long and has not realised that “nostalgia, sentiment and even kindness” can be forgotten.

Instead, Barisan must “feel the pulse of the people” and “not think it is business as usual.

“When will we learn and change? Losing two-thirds of parliament and four states should be lesson enough,” Najib said, adding that Barisan parties must accept the reality that it was the ruling coalition’s worse ever performance in its 52 years in power.

He added that a “tsunami” was an accurate description for the last general elections as “it is a phenomenon where you do not see the waves until it is too late.”

“Do not underestimate the Malaysian public, who can smile and shake your hand but inside they say wait until elections and I will show my power,” he warned.

Islamic state, actually

By Shanon Shah
thenutgraph.com


PAS delegates lined up to salam with the incoming and outgoing leadership
after the muktamar officially closed on 7 June 2009

WITH PAS, it was never really about "progressives" versus "conservatives", or "professionals" versus "ulama". It is, and always has been, about setting up an Islamic state.

And so, given Malaysia's dramatically shifting political landscape, this is the struggle within PAS: what is the best vehicle to deliver an Islamic state, especially now when the taste of political power is so sweet for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)? Would it be via steadfast cooperation with the PR? Or via negotiations with a much weakened, but still formidable, Umno?

In this sense, the debates during this year's 55th muktamar were not very different from the debates held during last year's congress.

Was the idea of cooperating with Umno for the "advancement" of Islam not mooted last year? It was.

Did delegates and party leaders not affirm, however, that PAS's allegiances were with the PR? They did.

Were PAS's grassroots convinced then, as they are now, that they have the capacity to not only form a coalition, but to lead federal government after the next general election? They were.

And did deputy spiritual leader Datuk Dr Harun Din not chastise the anti-Umno, "Erdogan" camp for not respecting the ulama? He did.

The only thing different about this year's muktamar was that the party saw contests for some very high-ranking posts — namely for the deputy and vice-presidencies. And in that sense, we can be forgiven for wondering why the dynamics of the PAS elections so closely mirrored that of the Umno party elections in March 2008. The Umno elections, too, saw contests for nearly all high-ranking positions except for the presidency, which Datuk Seri Najib Razak, like his PAS counterpart Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, effectively won unopposed.

The difference between PAS and Umno's elections, though, is this: the contest in Umno was symptomatic of an embattled party still entertaining delusions of grandeur. The infighting in Umno seems motivated by blame — people are offering themselves for leadership, therefore, to restore the party to its rightful, pre-March 2008 glory.

PAS, on the other hand, is actually a very powerful party whose grassroots are resenting having to kowtow to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the DAP within the PR. They want, and are confident the party can get, more.

And it is this unique position that is giving PAS an edge when it makes its political bargains now — when the party flexes muscles, it makes both Umno, and its PR partners jump.


A view of the stage where the delegates were seated

Islamic state paramount

Yet, despite its undeniable momentum, the party seems afraid. Delegates at this year's muktamar repeatedly lamented that the party was leaving Islam behind in its quest for federal power. Again, this was a familiar complaint at last year's muktamar.

Incumbent central working committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad says that this is merely the party's "fear of success". Last year, however, he told The Nut Graph that some quarters of the party were getting too big for their own boots. Back then, he said that harping on the Islamic state agenda would end up with PAS getting a "bloody nose" at the next general election.

Dzulkefly's caution last year represents what endeared him and his allies within PAS — the "professionals" — to multiracial supporters of the PR. These were, as many pointed out, the "liberals" in PAS. Consisting of personalities such as Dzulkefly, Shah Alam Member of Parliament Khalid Samad, and defeated deputy president candidate Datuk Husam Musa, they were staunch PR supporters and talked about democracy, multiculturalism and human rights.

This is the group that favours a "soft" approach to Islam. This faction, for example, opposes the BN government's ban on the use of the word Allah in church services and Christian publications. It is thus willing to make certain multicultural concessions in the interest of attracting wider support for its overarching Islamic goals. It does not even want to mention the phrase "Islamic state" in its outreach campaigns. In its rhetoric, at least, the substance of the "Islamic state" is more important than the form.

And then there is the faction that favours a "hard" approach — namely the faction that is open to negotiating with Umno in the interest of Islam and Malay Malaysian rights. Judging from this year's debates, this is probably the faction that wants the BN government to maintain the 30% quota for bumiputera equity.

But at the end of the day, both factions within PAS are united by a common goal: finding the best and most sustainable way to set up an Islamic state. And going by recent developments — from the party's leadership right down to its grassroots delegates — neither the "progressives" nor the "conservatives" have ever abandoned the Islamic state agenda.

For example, as Husam demonstrated in January 2009 in his public debate with current Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, even the "liberals" would defend hudud if push came to shove. And Husam's slip was not the only example of the kind of Islamic state the party wants. Even the division that "liberal" Khalid leads, Shah Alam PAS, during this year's muktamar called for the women's rights organisation Sisters in Islam to be "investigated" and "rehabilitated" by the National Fatwa Council.


The crowd still packed the hall on the last day of the muktamar

Whose and which Islam?

And so, it is an amazing sight to see the party's grassroots merge so swiftly when it comes to addressing those who disagree with the Islamic state agenda. PAS Kota Raja Member of Parliament Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud says the party is very unlike Umno in this sense. She says the grassroots, especially, will decide what is best in the interest of Islam — and she is right. This is probably why it is much easier for PAS leaders who are at loggerheads to reconcile, compared to those in Umno. Deep down, PAS leaders know that they are all struggling for that altruistic Islamic state.

And given recent political developments, it is easy to sympathise with PAS. For instance, new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has cracked down on many an activist and PR politician, including PAS leaders and supporters. The humiliation that embattled Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has suffered at the hands of the Umno-linked media is astounding.

But this does not remove the need for citizens to ask PAS some difficult questions now. Namely, why does the party's leadership still insist on keeping its Islamic doors to Umno open despite being criticised so badly, including from within the party?

More importantly, PAS needs to be asked, point blank, what it really envisions as its ideal government, whether or not it calls it an "Islamic state". The questions must go beyond such easy-to-fudge concepts as "democracy" and "good governance".

What will the party's position be on apostasy? On the religious conversion of minors? On homosexuality and bisexuality? On moral policing? On concert banning? On the rights of other religious communities? On turning personal sins for Muslims — not going to the mosque on Fridays or not fasting during Ramadan, for example — into crimes against the state? On the status of "deviant sects"? On marital rape? On polygamy in Islam?

PAS delegates and leaders have been using the metaphor of marriage ad nauseum to describe their position within the PR. In these analogies, party leaders joke about polygamy as though it is second nature and desirable in many circumstances.

Is it any surprise then if PAS feels it can stay married to its PR partners and court Umno at the same time — especially if consummation of these marriages gives birth to an Islamic state?

Nizar to seek leave from Federal Court by this week

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

PETALING JAYA, 8 June 2009: Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin hopes to file 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 Perak menteri besar (MB) within the week.

The embattled MB won't be applying for leave today as he had earlier hoped to. This is because his lawyers only received the written judgement from Court of Appeal judge Datuk Md Raus Shariff last Friday, 5 June, Nizar said yesterday on the sidelines of the PAS muktamar in Shah Alam which he attended.

One of his lawyers, Edmund Bon, today confirmed with The Nut Graph via text message that the application for leave would not be filed today.

Nizar said his lawyers would have to study the written judgement in order to formulate the grounds for appeal before being able to apply for leave from the Federal Court.

"We still hope to file as soon as possible," he said.

Nizar last week said he would ask his lawyers to proceed with applying for leave today even without the written judgement. He said that Md Raus had not kept his promise to issue the judgement seven days after the Court of Appeals' decision on 22 May. However, the written judgement was issued three days after the seven days.

After the Court of Appeals gave its oral judgement on 22 May, Nizar's lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah had asked the court to expedite the written judgement so that the grounds of appeal could be formulated for the Federal Court to consider.

Cases moving from the Court of Appeals to the higher court do not get automatic right of 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 appellate 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.

BUKIT ANTARABANGSA: Six months on, it's a different kind of 'normal'

Malay Mail
Sheila Rahman

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IF you were to look a little beyond the signboard in this picture that Malay Mail cameraman Abdul Razak Ghazali took early on Saturday morning, you might notice the flowering of yellow wild buttercup amidst the rubble, lalang and undergrowth.

Journalists somewhat instinctively pick up little descriptive symbols or signs that may help in telling the story. Somehow the 'Kawasan Larangan' literal translation of 'Prohibited Territory' comes across as a bit harsh when the intended message probably is 'keep away' or 'no entry'. Also, maybe there could be a little more gentleness and sensitivity especially towards those who have experienced a calamity.

Razak was at Bukit Antarabangsa to revisit the area that six months ago, on 6 December precisely, was a surreal scene of chaos. A community in a popular suburb of the city being evacuated with the proverbial 'only clothes on their backs'? These kind of incidents usually happened in the east coast or other monsoon flooding prone areas.

But Bukit Antarabangsa had been crippled by a landslide. Earlier that morning - around 3.30am - the disaster had struck, burying 14 homes and five lives in its wake.

The muddy 'moving' earth had cut off the only access road to the other at-risk residential areas in the vicinity, trapping hundreds of residents. The army, fire department, medics and other rescue teams came out in full force; police by noon reported 93 people rescued and more than 2,000 residents evacuated. Helicopters had airlifted 13 people to hospitals, among them two pregnant women, two elderly women with weak hearts, a stroke patient and another needing haemodialysis treatment.

"IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME..."

"It was chaotic, like a war zone with uniformed personnel around, confusion of course, and even the oddity of seeing blurry-eyed, sleepy people carrying their pillows and what-nots, passing through our clubhouse," said Syed Azman Albukhary, president of the nearby Impian Selatan Condo residents association. "...but it's like back to normal now." Families from the over-100 units in the three blocks there had then been guided through 'Outward Bound' school-like jungle treks, aided by soldiers and support ropes along slopes, down to safer ground.

The Impian Selatan Condo residents were not allowed to live there for about a month. The worst-affected among them were 27 households from Block B1. Occupants returned in late February.

"It's okay now... but it will never be the same, you know," said Syed Azman. "The scars will always remain. How not to.
"Every day we pass the place; now we see the repair works by the Public Works Department going on..."

In February, the Works Ministry had announced that RM70mil had been allocated for stabilisation of the landslide-hit area. Its Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed said the Cabinet had approved the amount, which would be recouped after authorities "identify the parties responsible for the tragedy that claimed five lives on Dec 6."

"It will be a daily on-going thing for some time," said Syed Azman, who recalled being rejuvenated when the residents rallied, "garnered their strength despite the trying period, donated and pooled money among themselves, and went all out to help one another.

"Some of us were lucky enough to have relatives who invited us to stay," he related, and in half-jest added"...when were outstayed our welcome, we went on to stay with others and others. There were residents not so fortunate who stayed in hotels for about a month and it did come up to quite a bit."

Syed Azman said there were expenses to be met in making the place habitable again - the cleaning up (washing away of mud and cutting of grass), seeing to the reconnection of disrupted electricity (RM5000 - at a discounted rate) and water (RM 3,000, also discounted) because of overdue bills too. "We are grateful to Lembah Jaya MP Datuk Ismail Kijo who had set up a fund for victims, of which the Impian Selatan RA received RM10,000. Gombak MP Azmin Ali donated RM2,500, and to meet other expenses, residents themselves chipped in."

INSURANCE, BANKS, FORFEITS.... & PENALTIES FROM MISPLACED TRUST

But back to today and Syed Azman said the most uppermost wanting of residents was basically one of restoration of faith. "We need the authorities entrusted with approvals, monitoring of any development and maintenance in the area to please do their jobs with conviction. Make sure those working on such matters - from developers to those in charge of clean drains are compelled to abide by regulations . Everyone must do their part. There must be a holistic approach to ensure such an incident NEVER ever happens again."

Like the one-off insurance coverage against landslides that the condominium fortunately had. The association is in the midst of handling the matter (around RM550,000) "but after this has happened, no one will grant insurance coverage on this again."

Banks have also stopped giving out loans against property in the area immediately after the landslide occurred. There are potential buyers who lost their deposits despite still being interested in purchasing the property.

One naturally distressed man has been scouting for any form of redress. His RM100,000 deposit, made just before the landslide occurred, for a semi-detached property near the area had been forfeited.
Antarbangs 8

"The banks rejected his loan application, he can't get back his hard-earned money... this is not right," said very active resident committee member Yen Hee of Jalan Wangsa 9, who has steadfastly taken on liaising constantly with the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, JKR and other authorities.

"He should not be made a victim too," said Yen Hee, who bravely soldiers on with doing what she has to and more. Her home is among the 23 households along Jalan Wangsa 9 that occupants can't return to. There are with eight more houses in Taman Bukit Jaya and another 11 in Bukit Mewah, the area that the landslide engulfed, which are still under vacate orders.

So since 6 Dec, occupants of these 44 residences have had to live elsewhere. When will they be able to go home? While the Works Ministry in February had said "within six months" upon completion of soil stabilisation in the immediate landslide hit area, Yen Hee herself is unsure "but hopefully, possibly by year-end, slightly more?"

For some three weeks now, the physically seen reparation works in the area can be seen taking shape.

Work at the rest of the affected area is scheduled to be completed within two years, the Works Ministry had said.

"The JKR-supervised work, like soil stabilising and slope reinforcement, is progressing and we are working on communicating better. However, some of our houses have cracks appearing, which is very worrisome. The contractors have promised to look into repairing that," related Yen Hee, who has seen about 10 workers-on-the-job whenever she visits.

"But, we are also very worried over the security. There had been promises from the police that there would be guards to prevent any thefts or break-ins, which had occurred. As a 'desperate' measure, we have paid a gardener to temporarily be on the lookout for us but how much can one person do... how long must this go on. "

(It is not without a little "can you believe it" that when asked, she says, "yes," she knew about a police raid on one of the houses behind the affected row some three weeks ago, where the "biggest drugs haul in Selangor" occurred. The suspects had led police to their "storage" home there.)

Yen Hee makes it a point to go to the site two to three times a week and definitely her vacated house at least once on these visits for a quick check, cleaning of whatever she can and to look out for neighbours some of whom have had damage to their premises by water entering "from we don't know how or when... or from where". Parquet flooring ruined, cupboards damaged.

SUBSIDY, HURT... & THE WILL TO REBUILD

Those who have had to vacate their homes receive a RM1,000 rental subsidy every month from the State Government through the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ). Yee Hee liaises on this so that everyone gets their monthly cheques.

They, however, would rather go home.

"We often can't help but think about the little, little things - the equipment and other stuff, like my fridge; will it still be useable after all this time..." said Yen Hee, who tries very hard to keep everyone updated on the blogsite (yenhee.blogspot.com) she specially created immediately after the landslide occurred. "I don't have a landline where I am staying now in Taman TAR, and whenever I can, 'borrow' someone's wireless connection..."

What is clear is the resilience of the people who have had little choice but to handle the situation as best as they can.

"When this happened, people had brushed this off as a 'rich' man's area, and that we would be okay," related Syed Azman, who was amused and slightly indignant that sermons he heard were "hurtful attributing the incident as a punishment from God as we were 'sinners'.

"All I can say is that this was no fault of ours. We welcomed any help in our time of need especially for those who are not financially secure, and if none was forthcoming, we just did things ourselves. There is no way we would justify our suffering to get money."

Man's fault or God's wrath, what is real is that the residents are intent on the blossoming of the spirit of "love thy neighbour", and on rebuilding their homes and lives.

Melayu tonggak ke arah 1Malaysia

Utusan Malaysia

SEJAK kebelakangan ini, pelbagai desakan dan tuntutan yang keterlaluan telah dibuat oleh bukan Melayu terutamanya melibatkan kepentingan dan keistimewaan orang Melayu dalam bidang ekonomi dan pendidikan.

Berselindung di bawah ungkapan ‘hak sama rata,’ mereka bercakap tentang isu bangsa bukan Melayu.

Hak sama rata tidak semestinya merupakan hak yang benar-benar adil untuk semua kaum. Maka konsep hak sama rata yang diterjemahkan oleh segelintir golongan ini telah disalah tafsirkan sebagai hak yang adil untuk semua kaum.

Hak yang adil bermaksud meletakkan sesuatu perkara pada kedudukan yang sepatutnya dan dalam konteks kedudukan orang Melayu, mereka masih jauh terbelakang dari sudut ekonomi dan pendidikan berbanding bangsa bukan Melayu.

Maka sudah sewajarnya orang Melayu dibantu pada kedudukan yang sepatutnya tanpa meminggirkan dan menafikan hak-hak yang adil untuk orang bukan Melayu.

Isu ini tidak sepatutnya dibangkitkan dan dituntut secara keterlaluan sejajar dengan konsep Satu Malaysia yang merupakan cetusan idea Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Umum mengetahui bahawa orang Melayu merupakan golongan majoriti di Malaysia dan mempunyai pendapatan per kapita yang lebih rendah daripada kaum Cina dan India.

Oleh yang demikian, sebarang isu yang dibangkitkan untuk memajukan ekonomi dan pendidikan orang Melayu sepatutnya disokong oleh bukan Melayu kerana akhirnya yang memperolehi keuntungan ialah 1Malaysia.

Orang bukan Melayu tidak boleh menafikan bahawa kestabilan politik dan ekonomi di Malaysia selama ini banyak didukung dan disumbangkan oleh orang Melayu. Pelbagai dasar yang digubal terutamanya Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) banyak memberi kebaikan dan rahmat kepada orang bukan Melayu. Masakan tidak, menurut senarai terbaru bagi 10 orang terkaya di Malaysia, hanya seorang sahaja daripada bangsa Melayu. Maka ini terbukti bahawa DEB telah memberi suatu nikmat dan rahmat yang amat besar kepada bangsa bukan Melayu.

Sejajar dengan itu, orang bukan Melayu seharusnya bertimbang rasa dan tidak membuat pelbagai tuntutan yang keterlaluan dan boleh menyinggung perasaan orang Melayu, seterusnya mencetuskan suasana yang tidak tenteram di dalam negara.

Orang Melayu juga tidak boleh dipersalahkan seratus peratus atas kegagalan memperolehi sekurang-kurangnya 30 peratus ekuiti yang digariskan dalam Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB). Kalau kita lihat kembali di syarikat-syarikat bukan Melayu, berapa ramaikah orang Melayu yang diberi peluang bekerja di sana? Ini tidak termasuk dengan syarat berbahasa Mandarin untuk memohon pekerjaan dalam syarikat-syarikat bukan Melayu.

Walaupun pelbagai desakan diminta agar tiada syarat berbahasa Mandarin dikenakan, namun adakah permintaan ini dipertimbangkan?

Begitu juga berapa banyakkah syarikat bukan Melayu yang sanggup mengambil seorang bangsa Melayu yang sememangnya berkelayakan menjadi pengurus kewangan syarikat tersebut sebagaimana yang dilakukan oleh syarikat Melayu? Tidakkah ini boleh dikatakan sebagai rasis juga?

Oleh itu, kegagalan orang Melayu untuk maju dalam kedua-dua bidang iaitu ekonomi dan pendidikan sebenarnya akan merugikan bangsa lain. Orang Melayu perlu berada pada kedudukan yang lebih kukuh dalam kedua-dua bidang bagi merealisasikan Satu Malaysia.

Suatu agenda dan perancangan yang lebih tersusun dan realistik perlu digubal dan dilaksanakan bagi memastikan orang Melayu benar-benar berjaya dalam bidang ekonomi dan pendidikan di samping memperkukuhkan penyatuan dan perpaduan di kalangan orang Melayu.

Orang Melayu perlu bangkit segera sejajar dengan realiti geopolitik kini yang menuntut penyatuan dan perpaduan yang kukuh. Penyatuan dan perpaduan yang kukuh boleh terjelma kembali jika ada keikhlasan untuk ke arah tersebut. Semua pemimpin Melayu tidak kira apa pun fahaman politik, seharusnya bersatu hati, bekerjasama dan bersama-sama dalam merangka agenda Melayu.

Kestabilan dan kemakmuran Malaysia banyak bergantung kepada kekuatan bangsa Melayu. Apabila orang Melayu bersatu hati dan bersatu padu, maka orang bukan Melayu akan mencontohinya.

Realiti di Malaysia memerlukan semua pihak berpijak di bumi nyata berpaksikan sejarah dan tidak menyentuh sama sekali perkara yang berkaitan dengan sensitiviti sesuatu kaum terutamanya keistimewaan orang Melayu.

Oleh itu, konsep 1Malaysia patut digarap untuk menyatupadukan seluruh rakyat tidak kira bangsa dan seharusnya penyatuan dan perpaduan ini dimulai oleh orang Melayu sebagai golongan majoriti dan tonggak serta peneraju dalam menjayakan 1Malaysia.


Pensyarah Perakaunan dan Kewangan,
Kolej Perniagaan (COB),
Universiti Utara Malaysia.

Anwar on CNN with Fareed Zakaria

GPS



Student: Cops beat me black and blue

Home Ministry bans T shirts

FROM KUALA LUMPUR

On 2nd June 2009, the Publications & Quranic Texts Division of the Home Ministry raided my T-shirt stall in Central Market for the 3rd time and seized 83 shirts they claim are “obscene and contain Communist elements”. You can see the images they confiscated by following this link…

That the Ministry is clamping down on items they allege glorify (Chinese) Communism at the very moment our beloved leader is grinning for photocalls with the flatcaps in Beijing is flash-bulb irony so blinding it requires uncommon talent to miss it. The Ministry, of course, missed it by a mile.

Not many people know this but lightweight, low level officers of the Publications & Quranic Texts Division are entrusted with absolute power to make on-the-spot judgments about what is obscene, subversive, subliminally seditious, distasteful, inartistic, drug drenched, Communist, radical, Swedish. Er, ok, maybe not Swedish, but apart from that they can pass instant judgment on just about everything else under the sun. Worse, having judged, they are empowered to confiscate anything that offends their fragile sensibilities. They can say your cupboard is a badly disguised coffin, your toothbrush is a sex aid or that your plastic KL Tower statuette so thoughtfully bought for you by Aunt Mimi is plainly a male sexual organ. Having so proclaimed, they have the unchallengeable right to then cart everything away. In a blink of an eye one is judged, juried and executed by the same single entity. Issues of abuse of power loom large. You only have to click on the link above to realise that the Ministry tends towards irrational excitability in their interpretations, betraying the government’s impatience with the mildest satire and discomfort with the freedom of expression that is our guaranteed constitutional right.

What this means in practice is that the Ministry has a bunch of people running around seizing things under the flimsiest pretext. They took half my stock - 3 times - but they could just as easily have taken all. If you run a business selling things, they have an unquestionable right in law to do so and there is not much you can do about it. When a government deliberately denies a citizen his fundamental right to make a living, it had better have weighty, considered reasons for doing so. Here, we allow low level staffers to snatch away our rice bowls on a whim, without warning. Accountability, reason and judiciousness be damned.

By logical progression, since the images are now presumably “illegal”, are we to see enforcement squads jumping out from behind lampposts to rip T shirts bearing similar images off the backs of recalcitrant wearers? Will we have T shirt evaluators sitting alongside the H1N1 scanners at airports and entry points around the country? Will tourists be warned to leave their Viagra at home?

You may think that the images have no artistic or comedic merit. You may think them stupid and juvenile. But to say that they glorify Communism, are obscene and illegal, is really stretching it. And, surely, confiscation on those grounds is wholly unwarranted. Are we, as Malaysians, so sanguine that we accept the government has a right to intrude in such a way into our lives, compromise our professional integrity and devastate our businesses on nothing more than one person’s inadequate understanding of the word “obscene”??

You can read Malay Mail’s article about the raid here

You can read the Malay Mail’s editorial about the issue here..

You can read the Star’s article about the raid here

Rgds
Patrick Saw

MIC study aid for 240 not given PSD scholarships

KUALA LUMPUR: The MIC is offering partial study aid to students who have failed to secure Public Service Department scholarships.

It is for the students whose applications to the PSD were rejected and their appeals through the MIC were turned down. The MIC handled 240 such cases.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the students could now opt for studies at a discounted rate at the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology University where 200 places would be available in the next intake in September.

 nesa
makkal osai 070609


He said obtaining financial aid and university places should no longer be a major concern among parents as MIC-owned Maju Institute of Educational Development had disbursed more than RM90 million in scholarships so far.

"We have been helping many students through AIMST and Tafe college."
Samy Vellu said this before presenting awards to 480 high achievers in last year's Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia at the MIED President's Merit Award ceremony yesterday.

A certificate, RM1,000 and a souvenir were presented to 24 STPM students who scored 4As and above and 217 SPM students who obtained 10A1s and above.

The others, who scored 8A1s and 9A1s in the SPM, received RM750, a certificate and a souvenir.

On the coming MIC elections, Samy Vellu said he had yet to decide who to endorse among the three candidates for the deputy president's post -- current deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel, vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan or former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam.

"I haven't made a decision yet. Let Palanivel fight. Even Sothinathan, he is a capable young man who should have contested for the president's post instead of Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan. I don't know why he didn't take that opportunity."

On the party's troubled investment arm, Maika Holdings, Samy Vellu said it had been "hooked to death" by Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd, a company which has 625,000 shares in Maika and is headed by Subramaniam.

Nesa obtained a court order last year to stop Maika from selling its insurance company Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd (OCAB) to solve its financial troubles on the grounds that the required shareholder approval from the RM129.8 million sale was not done properly.

"We are not fish to get hooked like this. We are now trying to borrow money from here and there to pay the shareholders and keep the company. People are coming to my office every day asking for money.

"I totally condemn Nesa for doing this."

Sampai bila kemurahan hati Melayu?

Utusan Malaysia
Oleh AWANG SELAMAT

Awang tidak menduga tulisan dalam ruangan ini minggu lalu bertajuk Melayu dikhianati? menjadi panas. Agak aneh, hampir 90 peratus daripada kandungan tulisan itu yang memetik kenyataan pemimpin kaum Cina, mendiang Tun Tan Siew Sin dan Tun V.T Sambanthan, menimbulkan rasa tidak senang hati pihak-pihak tertentu.

Ada portal berita iaitu Malaysiakini memainkan isu tersebut secara berlebihan, yang tidak sukar untuk menelah agenda tersirat. Agak memalukan apabila Malaysiakini secara jurnalistik gagal memahami kandungan tulisan Awang, yang kemudiannya ghairah mendapatkan komen beberapa pihak yang memang diketahui motif mereka.

Sebagai penjelasan, Awang paparkan kenyataan Tan Siew Sin dan V.T Sambanthan pada minggu lalu untuk renungan kita semua betapa pemimpin bukan Melayu ketika itu amat menghargai pengorbanan dan tolak ansur masyarakat Melayu.

(Mesej yang cuba Awang sampaikan ialah pihak-pihak bukan Melayu tidak wajar membuat tuntutan keterlaluan dan bersikap terlalu rasis, yang keadaan tersebut makin ketara dan membimbangkan selepas pilihan raya umum ke-12).

Itu bahan sejarah yang dinyatakan sendiri oleh kedua-dua tokoh bukan Melayu itu. Ia bukannya daripada kata-kata Awang. Kenapa perlu takut kepada fakta sejarah? Yang menyatakan "orang Melayu menerusi UMNO bermurah hati menerima bukan Melayu sebagai warganegara" adalah Tan Siew Sin sendiri. Sebagai balasan kemurahan hati orang Melayu, kata beliau, MCA dan MIC (yang menaungi kaum Cina dan India ketika itu) bersetuju meneruskan dasar memelihara dan menghormati kedudukan istimewa orang Melayu.

USUL TERGEMPAR: Tubuhkan Suruhanjaya Bebas DiRaja siasat pengambilan secara haram kerajaan Perak

Dari Harakah Daily

Oleh Irwan Muhammad Zain

SHAH ALAM, 7 Jun - Satu usul tergempar mendesak penubuhan Suruhanjaya Bebas Diraja siasat pengambilan secara haram kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Perak diterima sebulat suara.

Usul yang dibawa oleh PAS Kawasan Tambun, Perak itu diterima untuk dibahaskan setelah menyedari tindakan Umno/BN merampas kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Perak merupakan perbuatan yang biadap dan tidak menghormati suara rakyat.

Perwakilan Perak, Dr Khairuddin Abdul Malik yang juga bendahari PAS Perak ketika membawakan usul tersebut menegaskan perlunya penubuhan suruhajaya tersebut bagi menyiasat perbuatan Umno/BN yang merasuah wakil rakyat bagi membolehkan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Perak.

“Kami mencadangkan usul tergempar ini kerana tidak mahu lagi peristiwa yang berlaku di Perak berulang dinegeri-negeri Pakatan Rakyat yang lain.

“Kerana itu kami mendesak supaya Suruhanjaya Bebas DiRaja perlu segera ditubuhkan bagi menyiasat perbuatan rampasan kuasa itu,” tegas Dr Khairuddin.

Kerajaan tegas beliau perlu segera menubuhkan suruhanjya ini bagi membolehkan segala perbuatan tidak bermoral yang dilakukan untuk merampas kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Perak dapat didedahkan kepada umum.

Usul yang dibawakan itu disokong sepenuhnya oleh PAS Kawasan Shah Alam dan juga Dewan Pemuda PAS Pusat melalui perwakilan mereka yang membahaskan usul tersebut.

Perwakilan Shah Alam, Khalid Samad yang membahaskan usul tersebut menegaskan, penubuhan suruhanjaya tersebut perlu disokong tanda penolakan terhadap Umno/BN.

Beliau juga menyeru semua perwakilan supaya tidak mudah terpedaya dengan agenda yang dimainkan Umno/BN yang cuba memerangkap dengan tawaran-tawaran yang amat menarik.

Selain Khalid, perwakilan Pemuda PAS Pusat, Ustaz Dzulkifli Ahmad juga menyokong penuh usul tergempar yang dibawa oleh PAS Kawasan Tambun dan menolak sebarang kerjasama dengan Umno.

Murugiah's Status Yet To Be Seen Said Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today he has yet to decide on the position of Senator T. Murugiah as Deputy Minister in Prime Minister's Department.

Najib said he would discuss with People's Progressive Party (PPP) president Datuk M. Kayveas as well as seek guidance from the Registrar of Societies (ROS) before making any decision on the position of the former PPP supreme council member in the administration.

Speaking at a news conference after opening PPP's 56th Annual General Assembly here Sunday, Najib said he would make the decision at an appropriate time and would be guided by the ROS interpretation on the issue of the PPP.

"As you know, Datuk Murugiah's position in the government is the Prime Minister's prerogative.

"However, we are mindful that we are operating on a party system. So, let me sort out his position with respect to PPP first of all.

"I know he has been sacked but that has to be looked into by the ROS whether procedurally everything had gone accordingly. Later on, I will make the decision," Najib said.

Kayveas and Murugiah are embroiled in a bitter struggle for the party leadership after Murugiah was "elected" PPP president at an extraordinary general meeting in Putrajaya on May 24. The EGM however was deemed invalid by Kayveas.

Last Thursday, ROS said that Kayveas was PPP's legitimate president for now pending investigations on complaints against parties of interest in PPP.

On Murugiah, Najib said that that he (Murugiah) was not someone who was against Barisan Nasional (BN), but rather he was very supportive of BN's policies and leadership and should ROS find PPP's current structure to be illegitimate, he would be guided by the views.

In the same news conference, Kayveas stated that PPP would no longer use the word race to denote men and women of different ethnicity believing it would cause a barrier between the peoples of Malaysia.

"The PPP will stop using the word race. It will not be called multi-racial or non-racial party. It will be called an All Malaysian Party. We urge the government not to use the word race to discriminate Malaysians in any form," he said.

When asked on Kayveas' views, Najib said: "Whatever views expressed by the (BN) component parties will be discussed at the cabinet meeting. We had actually considered making a review but there are certain forms which make it necessary to indicate one's race and there are also forms which do not require it."

Regarding the Ambalat issue, where the Indonesian media blew up the incident stating Malaysian naval forces were seen in the oil and gas-rich waters, Najib said there was no new development regarding the issue and it was still being discussed.

"It is a complex issue, that's why we are still talking with Indonesia. It takes time. It's not easy to resolve the Ambalat issue," he added.

Predicament of the Orang Asli

By Kula's Voize,

Augustine Anthony the well known Orang Asli Advocate invited me to join him to a mission to meet Orang Asli settlers whose land other issues which remains unresolved for decades. These are Orang Asli residing around the fringes of the jungle at Kampong Sungai Balik, Chenderiang.

Interestingly Chendering is the only state constituency which was won by the MCA in Perak and is represented by the assemblyman Dr. Mah. Dato Sarwanan the Deputy Minister of Federal Terrorties is the local MP.

When we reached Chenderiang, a local orang Asli jumped into our 4wheel to show us to the village. Just as we were about 1km we stopped to allow 2 passengers to join us in the trip. They were in their own car following us but decided to join in our car as the road condition just did not permit normal cars to go smoothly. The two were Mr. Ram the Bar Council rep for Orang Asli and a chambering student Grace Wong

On arrival at the village we were very warmly welcomed by the whole village residents numbering not more than 50 of them. We were immediately ushered into a completed brick house called houses for the hard core poor built by the Ministry of Rural Development. It was two room houses with basic necessities provided. Surprisingly the houses had no electricity connected although all the wires are done up nearly more than a year ago.

We were all invited to sit on the floor in the house where the adults and the children alike set around us to discuss their matters. The main matters raised were

1) A lady in her 70’s complained that the village has been asked to be relocated more than 3 times in her memory by the land office because of their land has been alienated to others. Apparently lands were given for tin mining, agricultural activities, logging and oil palm cultivation. We were further told much of the oil palm area around the village use to be their ancestor burial ground.

2) That they are squatting on their own land. They don’t have any permanent land titles. The land surrounding them either belongs to private individuals, state government or the forestry department.

3) Although about 30 odd families are residing in the village only 6 low cost houses have been built to date.

4) Orange Asli depends on the forest for foraging. A lot of petai, babi hutan(wild bore) and the like is freely available. But all these is dwindling due to logging. Even clean water is difficult to come by!

5) The Tok Batin or ketua Kampong of Kampong Sungai Balik passed away last year. Since then a new Tok Batin has not been recognised yet by the Orang Asli Department (JHEOA) appointed. Although the villagers have elected one he has not been officially recognised.

The NGO’s and others present and a 2 hour discussion with the villagers. The Orang Asli’s request are just a fair call asking all not to intrude and destroy their life style. Infact the state should ensure and guarantee their continued right to live and co-habitat with the nature around them.

On the issue of electricity, I saw a number of letters written by Dato Sarwanan to the electricity Department requesting the connection since July2008. I rang Dato Sarwanan and told him of the delay in the connection and he said he will see something is done the soonest possible. Also he will visit the village next week.

Tamils are held in brutal concentration Camps in Sri Lanka. Starvation, Torture, No freedom