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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nasharudin told to resolve with Nik Aziz

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — Senior PAS leaders today asked Nasharudin Mat Isa to meet Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to resolve the misunderstanding between them over unity talks with Umno, in a sign that the three-term deputy president has failed to obtain the support of the Islamist party's central leadership.

Newly-elected vice-presidents Salahudin Ayub and Datuk Mahfuz Omar urged Nasharudin to face the party spiritual leader before the central working committee convenes a special meeting next week.

Yesterday the Kelantan mentri besar asked Nasharudin to leave the party and resign as Bachok MP for responding positively to unity talks with Umno.

Nik Aziz had previously called those who are in favour of forming unity government as Umno's puppets.

“At this stage it is best for Ustaz Nasharudin to meet Tuan Guru Nik Aziz, I will make my views known at the special meeting,” Salahudin told reporters.

Mahfuz said he has been trying to contact Nasharudin, who was absent from Parliament today, to tell him to personally meet Nik Aziz to clear the air.

“I was hoping for him to attend so that we can sit down and talk about the matter, but he did not, maybe he is under pressure,” said Mahfuz.

“I tried calling him this morning, but he was unreachable, so I send him a text message as a friend hoping that he will meet Tuan Guru Nik Aziz,” he added.

Mahfuz believed that Nik Aziz's outburst yesterday was not motivated by hatred.

“He said that out of love and his interest in Nasharudin's future as a PAS leader,” he added.

Nasharudin has been under pressure since the general election last year for his role in clandestine Malay unity talks with Umno.

His main challenger during the party election early this month, Datuk Husam Musa, accused Nasharudin of being “too liberal with Umno.”

BBC’s report of 20 September 2005: Meeting Malaysia's notorious triads

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Ah Hing says he makes deals with politicians and policemen

As part of the BBC's Who Runs Your World? series, Jonathan Kent in Kuala Lumpur looks at how Malaysia's notorious triad gangs are run.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

In my attempt to find out more the triads, I made the ground rules clear from the start.

I didn't want specifics, I didn't want details and I certainly didn't want names. I just wanted to know how the gangs worked.

I have no idea what Ah Hing's real name is, but I do know that he is being groomed to take over as tai ko - big brother (a term triad members use for their bosses) - in a gang that operates in a small town in northern Malaysia.

We had chosen a room in an old shop house in which to meet. Ah Hing looked like many working class Malaysian Chinese, with heavy jewellery, cheap shoes and spiky hair. His minder collected tattoos.

"We do sell some ecstasy pills and that is how we make a living, me and my friends," he said.

"We do take girls for prostitution, and this is much easier to do than ecstasy because usually the government will not bother us when we do this."

The triads and Malaysia's other criminal gangs dabble in any number of rackets. Some even smuggle opiated cough syrup.

Dealing drugs in Malaysia carries the death penalty. Hangmen got a pay rise earlier this year - it is an issue the government takes seriously.

Prostitution is easier to get away with, and so is loan sharking or making and peddling fake goods. Malaysia is thought to be the world's largest producer of pirated optical discs.

But Ah Hing runs girls and sells pills. The women cost the gangs between $750 and $2000 each. They are bought and sold like cattle, and the pimps want a return.

"The girls know they have to work to pay back the money we paid to buy them," Ah Hing said.

"We do find girls who refuse to work, and we will keep them in solitary confinement and give them a bad time until they tell me they want to work," he said.

Ancient rituals

The triads have their roots in a 17th Century movement dedicated to restoring China's Ming dynasty to the throne, but over time they degenerated into criminal gangs.

In some places they still have rituals, as Jessica Lau, a well-connected member of the Malaysian Chinese community, found out.

When Ms Lau lived in New Zealand, her neighbour was a Hong Kong triad boss who decided to retire.

"During his very last days as the leader of the triad society, he gathered everybody from his society and in front of leaders from other societies he washed his hands in a gold basin which symbolised that from today onwards he is not going to be involved in the triad society any more, and now he is old and respectable and a free man," she said.

But Malaysia's triads are rather more prosaic than those in Hong Kong. The element of ceremony has gone, and these groups are run as businesses.

Ah Hing referred to his as "our company". It's a pragmatic affair, where deals are reached with the authorities - who set boundaries for crimes they know can never be eliminated.

"If I want to operate on a particular street and ask a politician to ask the authorities not to disturb me, the politician might say: 'It's impossible to have zero arrests, so you can operate on certain hours and we will patrol after those hours' - so it's a win-win situation," Ah Hing said.

If someone crosses him, however, it's most certainly not win-win.

"If someone betrays me personally... I will get a few gang members together and beat him up until he's paralysed or he's a vegetable, but if the matter is really big then they'll be brought before my tai ko for a trial," he said.

"If my tai ko asks us to deal with someone, even if we kill that person, we won't be worried, because if the police arrest us, my tai ko will get me out," he added.

"Last time I was taken in the front door of the [police] lock-up, and right away I walk out of the back door."

Part of society

Most Malaysians have little or nothing to do with the triads. But many poorer people have nowhere else to turn when they need to borrow money.

All too often, Michael Chong, head of public services for the political party the Malaysian Chinese Association, sees what happens when borrowers default on their payments.

"We do have cases where they run away, you know, with the family... and of course we have some cases where they have been assaulted - assaulted in the sense they have to be hospitalised," Mr Chong said.

Ah Hing makes no bones about his world and his life. "I admit that I am a bad guy, and that I'm a gangster," he said.

"So who runs your world?" I asked - to which he gave a simple reply : "The government".

"If the government doesn't want to be a bit lenient with us and if they are strict about everything, then there's no way that I can make a living. There's no work," Ah Hing said.

When the economic downturn of 1998 hit Asia, many Malaysians turned to the triads for work.

It allowed thousand to fill their rice bowls.

That in itself is reason enough for some in power to turn a blind eye to what these gangs do - that and the knowledge that the triads are there to make a living, not to cause trouble.

They may be bad men, but they're also businessmen.

Johor Sultan says no to third bridge

KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — The Sultan of Johor has rejected the proposed third bridge linking Malaysia and Singapore, in the latest show of power by the royalty after he was apparently not even consulted by either governments on the proposal.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said recently the government was keen on pursuing the idea of a third bridge near the eastern coast of Johor.

But the proposal has already drawn some criticism from Umno leaders who are concern Malaysia would have to lift the ban on the sale of sand to Singapore before the bridge could be built.

When a picture does indeed paint a thousand words

By Haris Ibrahim,

Last Monday, in Parliament, Karpal asked Najib if he had raised a keris at an UMNO youth rally in Kampung Baru in 1987 and uttered racist words to the effect that the blood of the Chinese would be spilled.

Najib flatly denied making such utterances.

The next day, in response to Najib’s denial, RPK published a post entitled ‘In response to Najib’s denial in Parliament yesterday’ in which Pete reproduced a press release by YB Lim Kit Siang dated 27th April, 2007.

In that press release, YB Lim alluded to a Government White Paper entitled “Towards Preserving National Security” wherein the goverment had reported that, quoting YB Lim, ” in an Umno Youth rally led by Najib on 17th October 1987, banners bearing strong words were displayed, including one which said: “SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD” ‘.

Yesterday, I got my hands on that White Paper.

It’s a damning document of the messages of hate that emerged from that rally 22 years ago.

I also got my hands on reports on 18th October, 1987 of that rally that appeared in our then still largely independent MSM.

Malaysiakini reported yesterday that Anwar had said, “I was not at the rally, I was the Umno vice-president then… it was organised by Umno Youth and by Najib, (so) I have to just take Najib’s assurance and denial in Parliament,” and “…I am not in the position to discuss or accuse Najib, because I am not aware of what he had said,” and “To be fair, my only statement is that, Najib has denied… but documents and banners are available (and) there were very extreme positions, racist and extreme demands and statement (on them),” and “it is best for Najib to make it clear, if there were excessive (statements) made… and admit it, so that we can move on”.

Let me just say now that what Anwar is reported to have said is amply supported by the White Paper and the news reports of 18th October, 1987.

Yesterday, the Malay Mail reported Karpal as now saying that “I wanted to know if he said it, and he gave his answer, let’s just leave it as it is, the matter should not go on further,”

I disagree with YB Karpal.

Why should we leave it as it is? Why should we not pursue this matter any further?

Don’t we have the right to know the kind of man who purports to lead this nation forward?

Was Najib at the UMNO youth rally on 17th October 1987?

Yes.

Was he leading that rally?

He was then acting UMNO youth chief. I’d say yes.

Did he raise the keris and issue words to the effect that the blood of the Chinese would be spilled?

Don’t know.

Even if he did not, was he not leading a rally that had on display enough paraphanelia that spelt out the threat to spill blood of a particluar segment of our Malaysian community without the need for Najib or anyone else to vocalise it or brandish weapons?

Is this not enough to make his denial in Parliament last Monday somewhat hollow? Deceitful?

Again, that government White Paper and the 1987 news reports bear this out.

Now this man wants us to swallow his 1Malaysia hook, line and sinker .

Does he not first owe this nation an explanation?

Does he not first owe us all an unqualified apology?

Malay defined?

By Haris Ibrahim,

My good friend, Art Harun, has an excellent ’say it like it is’ piece in Malaysianinsider which, in the plainest language possible, spells out that, under our Constitution, we are all equal, save and except that provision is made in Article 153 for the Agong to take certain measures to safeguard the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak whilst also safeguarding the legitimate interests of the other communities.

The Constitution speaks of special position, not privileges or rights.

Art’s piece is worthy of a close read, and I’d urge all of you to give it the attention it deserves.

I want to make one point of clarification.

Art refers to the definition of “Malay” in Article 160(2) of the Constitution.

Let me reproduce that relevant provision here.

160 (2) In this constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say:

“Malay” means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and -

(a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or

(b) is the issue of such a person;

Article 160 is an interpretation clause.

You will note that Article 160(2) expressly states that the meanings of the various words sought to be interpreted in that clause will not apply when, in the Constitution, the context in which the word appears would suggest a meaning different from that prescribed in clause (2). The first thing to note, then, is that the meaning ascribed to the words in clause (2), including “Malay”, are not necessarily exhaustive and must give way when the context demands it.

The second thing to note is that the meanings ascribed to the words in clause (2) are for the purposes of interpreting those words as and when they appear in the Constitution, and the Constitution only and that too, if the meaning ascribed is not displaced by the context.

In other words, the meanings ascribed here in clause (2), including “Malay”, cannot, as a matter of law, be applied and fixed to other laws enacted where similar words appear, simply because the Constitution stipulates the meaning for those words when they appear in the Constitution. It must be understood that these meanings have been ascribed for the purpose of the Constitution and the Constitution only.

The word “Malay”, as defined in the Constitution, has as such been defined so as to afford an understanding of the meaning of that word, as and when that word appears in the Constituion, unless the context affords a different meaning, in which event the latter meaning would have force.

It must not be thought that the definition of “Malay” in Article 160(2) is exhaustive and applicable everytime the word appears in any written law.

Politicians and local councils

By Zedeck Siew
thenutgraph.com

DAP and PKR logos fighting for the MPSP logo

THE spat between Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and DAP over the appointment of Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai (MPSP) president Mokhtar Mohd Jait began with a boycott, by PKR councillors, of Mokhtar's swearing in. This then led to DAP leaders calling for the resignation of Johari Kassim, the PKR whip in MPSP which led the boycott.

MPSP logoThe contention? Mokhtar was a civil servant, appointed by the DAP-led Penang government. According to Johari, the council presidency had previously been promised to a PKR politician. Soon, certain quarters began speculating on a possible rift within the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition and this was, of course, how some media eventually tried to frame the issue.

But above the political infighting within PR, the skirmish speaks to a more important issue that has been sidestepped by politicians and most media. That is, how one level of government is run by political appointees, rather than by representatives elected by the people. Nowhere in the MPSP saga, after all, was the Seberang Prai population's opinions on the matter sought. Indeed, PKR's Johari actually slammed Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for failing to consult PKR, not the people, when deciding on the council president.

The lowest rung

Local government is the lowest rung in the three tiers of Malaysian government. When we think about majlis perbandaran, most Malaysians are likely to be reminded of basic municipal services such as garbage collection, street lamps, and pot holes.

However, like administration at the federal and state levels, local governments have the power to make laws (in the form of by-laws), issue licenses and permits for businesses, and plan development in the areas under their jurisdiction. They are also empowered to collect taxes, in the form of assessment tax.

It is the last of these powers that necessitate elections at the local government level.

"The principle is 'No taxation without representation'," former Penang municipal councillor and local government expert Dr Goh Ban Lee tells The Nut Graph, quoting the 18th-century axiom.

According to Goh, the currently-appointed local councils in Malaysia are "actually not bad", and elections are by no means a guarantee of effectiveness. But holding elections is a matter of principle.

Goh rascals quote

"If people elect a rascal, they should be allowed to. Rate payers should be able to choose the people they pay tax to," Goh argues. "That, alone, is the reason why there should be local council elections."

Losing the vote

It bears remembering that Malaysians did choose their local councillors, when we first became independent. This proverbial "third vote" continued until the Konfrontasi in the 1960s between Malaysia and Indonesia caused the Malaysian government to suspend, and then abolish, elections at the local council level. This was achieved through the Emergency (Suspension of Local Government Elections) Regulations 1965.

"Some academicians have argued that the real reason behind this was that the Alliance feared the Opposition taking over major Malaysian towns," Goh says. "While they would win the state elections, they would lose control of the cities."

Guan Eng's portrait
Lim Guan Eng
Goh points out that several major urban centres then, including Ipoh and Seremban, tended to elect independent candidates unaligned with the ruling party. The Georgetown City Council, for example, was a stronghold of the Socialist Front.

Since then, the Barisan Nasional (BN), the successor of the Alliance, has been resistant to the idea of local government elections, typically citing the fact that there is already too much politicking in modern Malaysia.

In contrast, during the run-up to the March 2008 elections, the then-informal PR coalition was consistent in its promise to push for local council elections. During his inauguration as chief minister, Lim Guan Eng promised Penangites that his administration would work to restore such elections.

Working towards elections

"I'm all for elections. I'm very passionate about it," civil society activist and local council elections advocate Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal tells The Nut Graph.

"The state government is most receptive, and is pursuing this actively," Anwar reveals. Both Anwar and Goh are part of a working group, appointed by the Penang government, to look into bringing local council elections back.

Anwar Fazal quote

"But it is not going to be easy," Anwar adds. "It is going to be a difficult financial and legal issue."

The National Council for Local Government is provided for by Article 95A of the Federal Constitution. This council is empowered to formulate "in consultation with the Federal Government and the State Governments" national policies "for the promotion, development and control of local government". Any state government wishing to pass new laws with regards to local government — say, to institute elections — would have to consult this council.

"Unless the state gets permission from the National Council, they wouldn't be able to do it," Goh says.

"In my view, we need parliament to amend the laws so that local council elections can be held," he adds. For now, the state governments' hands, it seems, are tied.

Meanwhile, the conventional practice in appointing local government, where political-party figures are awarded posts, continue. This has been true even for the PR-led states, as the MPSP incident proves.

"Sometimes the power to appoint your own people becomes quite nice," Goh quips.

Keeping politicians out

According to Goh, one way to make local government appointments more transparent and accountable would be to form an independent panel that would recommend councillors for the state government to appoint.

"These panels should consist of reputable citizens," Goh says. State governments could set criteria for the panel's selection — but, in the end, it would mean that the power to appoint would no longer be in the hands of political parties.

Goh admits that it would be a hard choice for political parties to make. "That would be a very big jump, for them. But since the PR takeover of several states, especially in Penang and Selangor, I'm hopeful."

Promises may have been made about local council elections, and steps may be taken to combat mal-administration in local governments. But critically, politicians still need to make a paradigm shift, so that the power to elect local leaders is returned to the people. In the case of the PR, it's good that they have at least promised the electorate they will do so. But the PKR-DAP spat over the MPSP president is proof that so much more needs to be done.

Website launched as part of the effort to get to the bottom of the “scandal of scandals” in the nation’s history

by Lim Kit Siang,

Today, a website on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, http://pkfz-scandal.org/ is launched as part of the effort to get to the bottom of the “scandal of scandals” in the nation’s history.

I am very disappointed with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) decision that its Chairman, Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid need not disqualify himself and step down from the PAC inquiry into the PKFZ scandal, despite a clear conflict of interest, as he was a Cabinet Minister from 2004 to 2008 when the Cabinet took many critical decisions resulting in the ballooning of the PKFZ scandal from RM1.1 billion in 2002 to RM4.6 billion in 2007 and now RM7.5 billion and heading towards the astronomical cost of RM12.5 billion.

I never suggested that Azmi has any personal interest in any PKFZ transaction but as a Minister involved in the decision-making process resulting in the PKFZ project becoming the “mother of all scandals”, he should be a witness appearing before the PAC to testify why he as a Minister had supported the Cabinet decision in July 2007 to bail out the PKFZ project at the astronomical cost of RM4.6 billion – when the Cabinet should know that it would mushroom further to RM7.5 billion and later RM12.5 billion instead of heading a PAC inquiry into it.

No wonder Azmi does not agree that the PAC should summon the two former Transport Ministers Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Datuk Seri Chong Kong Choy, as well as the former Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman and now Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, to testify before the PAC – a clear case of Azmi protecting BN leaders!

It is clear that Azmi and all PAC members who supported him to head the inquiry into the PKFZ scandal just do not understand the meaning of accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.

This makes this website to get to the bottom of the PKFZ scandal even more more imperative, and all who have information about the PKFZ scandal are welcome to send them to this website, which is run by webmaster Goh Kheng Teong or to me.

Nazri explains MACC probe into Lingam video clip case

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 June 2009: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has closed one of the four investigation papers opened on the VK Lingam video clip case for lack of evidence to press charges under Section 11(c) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said three of the investigation papers were referred to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

He said this in a written reply to Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), who had wanted to know why no follow-up action had been taken against any individual following the recommendation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the VK Lingam video clip.

Nazri said no follow-up action was taken in two of the referred investigation papers owing to lack of evidence to show any offence had been committed.

He also said no one could be identified as having committed an offence during the handling of classified documents in the consideration of the appointment of judges of the high court.

Meanwhile, one more investigation paper was incomplete as an important witness had yet to be traced, Nazri said.

The five-member commission, in its report, found that it was former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim who was talking to prominent lawyer Datuk VK Lingam on the telephone, and that the video clip was authentic and that the conversation was true in substance.

The commission also recommended that appropriate course of action be taken against six individuals — Lingam, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and two former chief justices, Ahmad Fairuz and Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin — for misconduct.

It found that there was sufficient evidence to investigate the six men for offences under the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act, the Penal Code and the Legal Profession Act 1976.

Watching Malaysia change

By Zedeck Siew
thenutgraph.com

Ambiga between Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama
US first lady Michelle Obama (right) and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) hand Ambiga the Secretary of State's
Award for International Women of Courage, on 11 March 2009

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images North America, Source: Zimbio)

DATUK Ambiga Sreenevasan's reference point for how aware Malaysians are about issues is the taxi driver. The respected lawyer and former Malaysian Bar president is no stranger to being scolded by taxi drivers while she is dressed up in her courtroom garb.

"'Aiya, this judiciary, can buy,' one told me," Ambiga says. "They are very critical, and are very clear on what is right and wrong."

The Malaysian taxi driver is one of her gauges of public awareness, and the senior lawyer is convinced that nobody should underestimate the Malaysian public's understanding of issues.

Indeed, Ambiga's seen quite a lot in her own life. The Nut Graph talked to her on 26 May 2009 at her office in Kuala Lumpur about growing up through 13 May 1969, watching the 1988 judicial crisis unfold, and the changing attitudes of Malaysians.

We are all pendatangs. Where are you from?

My father was born and bred in Malaysia. My mother was from South India, and my father married her and brought her to Malaysia.

My paternal grandfather was also from South India. I think it was a question of looking for opportunities, for him. He was an assistant commissioner for labour.

My parents have three children. I was born in Seremban, on 13 November 1956; my father, who was a doctor, was posted there.

My father, Datuk Dr G Sreenevasan, was one of our pioneer urologists. He was the main person behind the Institute of Urology and Nephrology in Hospital Kuala Lumpur. I remember him spending longs days and nights planning this.

Ambiga's quote about her father

Growing up, I remember that my father was very inspired by Tunku Abdul Rahman, and his call for all races to unite. My father had many opportunities abroad, but he decided to stay here; he wanted to build something up in Malaysia. And he did.

All my father's friends and colleagues were like that. Those people who lived through independence really had the spirit of nationalism in them. The drive that they had — unfortunately we've lost that now. Comparing them with Malaysians today, I understand when people of that generation tell me: you don't know what it is to want to build up our country.

What was school like?

I went to Convent Bukit Nenas from Form One to Upper Six. I remember that my friends and I had a strong sense of "Malaysianism".

This was after 1969. It's true that 13 May destroyed a lot of trust. But then there was the Rukunegara, which we all had to learn — seemingly real attempts to bring people together. We were happy to strengthen our command of Bahasa (Malaysia), for example.

It felt as if — in my school, at least, where the student body was mixed — there was a coming together of the races. It was a healing period.

Let's backtrack. What was 13 May like?

I was 13 at the time. On the day it happened, we got a message from the school authorities: Go home early. My mother came to pick me up.

Well, we lived in Kampung Baru, at the time. On Jalan Putra — now Jalan Raja Muda 1. This was not far from the then-Selangor menteri besar's home. We were there because it was close to the General Hospital, so it was easy for my father to get to work. Ours was the last house on the row. My father was overseas at the time, so it was just mother and us children, my uncle and aunt, and the household cook.

Ambiga quote -- she's working on her computer

At 6pm we saw people running past, wearing headbands. Soon after, we heard screams. Later, there were cars being burnt in the field. The house behind us was burnt. We were always safe, though. I don't know why. Maybe it was because we had lived there so long, so everyone knew us. Or maybe it was because we were Indian [Malaysian].

When my father got back, about a week after 13 May, he helped out at the hospital, treating people with injuries. He said: "I read about the riots, but I never imagined it would be this bad."

It was bad. We had never before seen anything like that. For a long time after, whenever I heard fireworks going off, I would feel nervous.

What was university like?

When I went to university in the UK, my horizons expanded and I learnt about freedom of thought and speech — and what these concepts meant in real terms. When I visited the Bar there, I saw how a functioning democracy operated. This time was a very important part in moulding my views on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

I came back and joined the Malaysian Bar in 1982. It was a wonderful organisation, even then. Being a young lawyer, I remember being petrified to appear before people like Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader — he would chew you up if you didn't know your brief. He was so respected because he knew your brief, and the law, and was of the highest integrity and intellect.

Ambiga and Tun Salleh Abas talking
Ambiga (left) and Tun Salleh Abas

In fact, I'd appeared before all the judges who were later suspended in the judicial crisis.

What was it like, being a young lawyer during the 1988 judicial crisis?

It was a real shock to the system. Our first three prime ministers never touched the judiciary; probably this was because they were lawyers themselves. Our judiciary was a very respected institution.

I remember, as the tribunals were in progress, a group of us lawyers sitting at the back of the courtroom and watching. To see these men, who had so much self-respect, to be treated in that shabby way — we couldn't believe it.

I remember going home and bursting into tears. It was like someone demolishing your house while you're standing in it.

Things are getting better since those dark times. But, ultimately, when it comes to the judiciary, it is up to the judges themselves to act courageously, now.

When did you become aware about race?

Ambiga NEP pullquote

Race was always there. We were always aware of it, but it wasn't as divisive as it is today. The New Economic Policy worked quite well, initially.

Then the abuses started: the enrichment of a few at the expense of the many who actually needed it. And these few became arrogant. Playing the race card suited them, because it solidified their positions.

I think, very frankly, that politicians are responsible for bringing so much racism into our society. I think it suited the politicians to play on our differences instead of what unites us.

But the arrogance that grew with this has been rejected by the people. I'm talking about the March 2008 elections. What we saw was a rejection of racist rhetoric. People were fed up. Previously, the 13 May bogey used to work — but that's not working any more.

Where do you think we are going, now?

I like to think of Malaysian history as being divided into three phases.

The initial years, during my father's time, when there was this nationalistic feeling, this drive to show the world that we could be an independent and united nation.

Then a long period, during which things became more divisive. A time when we appeared to have economic prosperity, but also had so much corruption and racism.

And now, a third phase: the push for change.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of young Malaysians now feel no connection with 13 May. They don't come from that past. There is a disconnect between the youth, and old politics.

Ambiga's Tunku pullquote

My father's generation adored Tunku. I don't know whether we will get that feeling again. But you need this generation saying: the world has moved on, so let me move on, too.

Regulations, laws prevent racial discrimination: Expert

ImageThe Sun
Karen Arukesamy

KUALA LUMPUR (June 17, 2009) : Regulations and laws are important to prevent racial discrimination and disharmony, said British race relations expert Professor Dr Aneez Esmail.

Race relations expert and medical practitioner in University of Manchester Prof. Dr. Aneez Esmail who spoke
about his experience in fighting against racism in Britain at the public forum Race Relations:The British Experience, organised by Institute of Ethnic studies (Kita) UKM.

"The Race Relations Act (RRA) in Britain was very essential at the time it was enacted in 1976 and it helped a great deal to come to where we are right now," he said in a public forum "Race Relations: The British Experience" on Tuesday at the Malaysian Integrity Institute.

Aneez, a former student activist who is now professor of medicine and associate vice-president for equality and diversity in University of Manchester, said although Britain was still a long way from fully achieving good race relations, "I am glad that it is already on its journey towards it".

"The Act created a framework in which this debate on race relations can take place. It created a framework in which we assessed how effective government policies were implemented," he said, adding that in order to monitor the situation, laws have to be put in place.

Saying his life was shaped by racism, Aneez told the audience of more than 300 people how his personal experience made him a leading campaigner on racial equality in Britain.

At 13, he and his family, were expelled from Uganda by dictator Idi Amin in 1972, simply because they had a different skin colour. He arrived in Britain as a refugee.

"Even though I was a British qualified doctor, but in order to get to where I am today, I had to work harder than any other colleague," he said, referring to racism in the National Health Service which he exposed in a study.

"There used to be notices in boarding houses which read ‘No blacks, No dog’’, ‘No Irish’, ‘No Asians’.

"I don’t think it was because the British were racists but more because of uncertainties. And the uncertainties were exploited by political parties that thought they would gain some sort of benefit," he said.

"Before the Act was enacted, it was legal to put an advertisement in the professional medical journals to say only British, aka White doctors, need apply for the job."

He said the RRA made it illegal to discriminate publicly and indirectly and protected people against racial discrimination.

"It gave me the freedom and security to say that if someone discriminated against me, I had some legal recourse to take against them. It was not much and was difficult to do but it gave me some security," he said.

The forum, organised by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Institute of Ethnic Studies, was attended by more than 300 people from NGOs, corporate bodies, police officers, civil servants, university students and school heads and principals.

Aneez observed there was a huge desire for Malaysians to speak and discuss the issue but they felt the constraints.

"I got a hint from the people that they feel their debates are constrained and perhaps harmed by the politicians and that is a message to the politicians," he said.

He said there should be affirmative action in encouraging debates and open discussions about issues like this.

He stressed debates on race relations should never be constricted to "singular identities" for it would create categorisation and fixed ideas about the people with certain identities.

"If people give themselves and others a singular identity, we’ll never get beyond that to appreciate the diversity and complexity of each person’s identity," he said, adding that people developed "multiple identities" as they grow.

"You are never just a Malay or Chinese (Malaysian). A rich Malay is different from a poor Malay, who would have more in common with a poor Chinese or a poor Indian (Malaysian)," he said.

Aneez urged Malaysians to have "mutual respect and honest debates" and not to be "passive victims" or there would be too much to lose.

5 found guilty of attending 2001 anti-ISA gathering

by Nathaniel Tan

I hate it.

I hate that those who stand up to defend others who are detained without trial, deprived of the most basic of liberties in the most cruel fashion, are themselves subject to the cruel prosecution of the state.

Malaysiakini:

The Kuala Lumpur magistrates court today found five undergraduate guilty of taking part in an illegal anti-ISA rally in July 2001.

The five who were found guilty were Rafzan Ramli, Khairul Amal Mahmud, Ahmad Kamal Abdul Hamid, Nik Norhafizi Nik Ismail and Zulkefle Idris, all from local universities.

They have been suspended from continuing their studies by the universities under the Universities and College Universities Act.

Five brave Malaysians who stood up for their beliefs, who stood up for justice, have been denied their right to an education - an opportunity to better themselves.

These vicious policies will result in the exactly type of Malaysia BN wants to create: 1Malaysia full of stupid, blindly obedient lap dogs.

I repeat Merah Hitam’s question: What of this “review” of the ISA? Just more false promises and despicably empty rhetoric.

We’ll continue to follow the case, and continue working to rid Malaysia once and for all of all hateful laws designed to oppress and repress our better natures.

Umno berbelanja melebihi had yang dibenarkan, kerajaan 2004 kerajaan haram.

Ini isu 'lapok' tetapi baru - baru ini kedengaran balik sebab Umno masih belum hendak bayar hutang bahan kempen pilihanraya mereka.

Pada 23 Jun tahun lalu, syarikat Elegant Advisory Sdn Bhd menfail saman itu menerusi Tetuan Termizi & Co, dan menamakan bendahari ketika itu Umno Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi serta Umno sebagai defendan. Saman ekoran kegagalan Umno menjelaskan hutang barangan pilihanraya 2004 yang ditempah oleh Bendahari Umno yang berjumlah RM218,013,47.

Pada 17 Julai tahun lalu, defendan diperintah oleh Mahkamah Tinggi membayar Elegant Advisory RM218 juta, serta kos dan faedah selepas defendan gagal menjawab saman.

Bagaimanapun pada 21 Januari lalu Umno berjaya mengetepikan keputusan mahkamah yang dibuat tanpa kehadirannya itu.

Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur menetapkan 30 Julai sebagai tarikh untuk mendengar permohonan Umno bagi mengenepikan saman RM218 juta yang difailkan oleh syarikat pembekal barang-barang untuk pilihanraya.

Itu perkara biasa mahkamah mainan 'regim' ini, tetapi yang pasti hampir RM219 juta belanja hanya untuk barang seperti bendera, kipas, air mineral dan lain - lain berlogo dacing. Cuba bahagikan dengan jumlah calon Umno yang bertanding 2004. Jumlah itu sudah melampaui had perbelanjaan kempen ...itu belum masuk upah jentera berbayar Umno yang lain. Maknanya kemenangan 2004 ialah kemenangan 'haram' tapi biasalah menang haram, kerajaan haram, menteri haram.... sebab SPR dan SPRM yang kita ada pun haramjadah!!

Ingat 'RM' yang mereka belanja ialah 'RM' rakyat....nak dapat undi depa tabur RM rakyat.... dah dapat undi depa kapur RM rakyat..

Deaths in custody: Why the same race?

Nizar files last stand appeal on Friday

Kerajaan Perpaduan: Umno perlu bersedia libatkan PKR dan DAP

Kerajaan Perpaduan:Perangkap Umno pada PAS-Nik Aziz

Rosmah Mansor Perempuan Puaka! Part 3 (With Subtitles)

Image

Due to popular demand, we have rehashed some of the earlier parts 1 and 2 with subtitles. This is to enable those who do not understand the dialogue to follow the events before moving on to the rest of the series of videos.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Anwar in damage control mode over PAS split

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 – PKR’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has moved to contain the fallout over cracks in the PAS leadership, denying his party’s Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partner was split over Umno’s offer of talks with the Islamist party.

Anwar told reporters in Parliament today that he did not believe that PAS was divided, claiming that the matter could be resolved if its spiritual leader, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and his pro-unity government president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, talk things over.

In an unprecedented outburst today, Nik Aziz said his party’s deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, should join Umno if he persisted in wanting talks with Umno.

But Anwar believes Nik Aziz, representing the voice of PAS’ grassroots, had only made the statement out of frustration.

“And I think Nik Aziz should talk to his leaders on this matter and I believe it can be resolved,” he said.

He also revealed that the unity government talks was raised by PAS leaders during a PR meeting last Sunday and said that the party had maintained its stand that it has no intention of joining Umno but instead only wanted to engage them on issues of national interests.

Anwar also said that Hadi reiterated his commitment to the PR alliance.

But the term “engagement” instead of the formation of a coalition with Umno, was only adopted recently by both Hadi and Nasharuddin in the aftermath of heavy attacks from party grassroots and other PR leaders on the matter.

Hadi claimed PAS would only engage Umno on specific issues like reforming the Elections Commission and the judiciary.

Nik Aziz’s remarks came just after PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali pledged the party’s commitment to Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Mustafa said this morning that PAS would only have talks to form a unity government if the negotiations included its PR partners, in a statement designed to assuage the growing sense of betrayal being felt by DAP and PKR.

Umno leaders have in recent weeks aggressively pushed the idea of opening talks with PAS, and this has opened up a rift between the PR partners and put the federal opposition alliance on the back-foot for the first time since last year’s general election.

Nasharuddin had been at the forefront of secret talks last year between Umno and PAS soon after the general election. But those talks did not result in any pact with the BN, and PAS decided instead to commit itself to PR.

But Nasharuddin and Hadi have grown weary of Anwar’s prominence and are concerned that PAS may be sidelined in a PR government led by the former deputy prime minister. Umno has taken full advantage of the turn of events.

ADIOS Amigo – Tok Guru To Nash

Sheih Kickdefella

Tok Guru Nik Aziz, Pesuruhjaya PAS Kelantan hari ini menggesa Ahli Parlimen PAS Bachok supaya tinggalkan PAS dan sertai UMNO.

Ahli Parlimen PAS Bachok, ialah Nasharuddin Mat Isa yang juga TImbalan Presiden PAS.

Berikut adalah laporan The Star,

Join Umno

In KOTA BARU, PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat told Nasharuddin to quit the party and join Umno if he was so interested in unity with the Barisan Nasional party.

He should also relinquish his seat as Bachok Member of Parliament, where he was elected under the PAS ticket in last March’s general election, Nik Aziz said.

“He is causing a lot of problems in PAS with all this rubbish talk about the unity government with Umno.

“It has never been on the agenda for PAS nor Pakatan Rakyat, and this is just his personal opinion and not a stand of the party,” he told reporters after chairing the weekly state executive committee meeting at Kota Darul Naim Wedsnesday.

Reiterating his allegations that those in PAS behind the unity talks were merely “puppets of Umno,” he described what Nasharuddin was doing as “immoral.”

The gobbledegook of Augustine Paul FCJ in the Federal Court’s decision of Zambry v Sivakumar

By N H Chan

Gobbledegook

Most, if not all, laymen will find the written judgment of Augustine Paul FCJ – who eventually put in writing the judgment of the unanimous decision of the infamous five – most perplexing. I am not surprised. I find it unintelligible also – in fact, it is what the word “gobbledegook” means in the English language, “unintelligible language”.

In case you have forgotten

In case you have forgotten, I shall try to jolt your memory. The infamous five were Alauddin bin Dato’ Mohd Sheriff PCA, Arifin Zakaria CJM, Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman, Augustine Paul and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudddin FCJJ. Their story exploded on the front page of the Star newspaper of Friday, 17 April 2009. It carried the startling and outrageous decision of the Federal Court. The headline proclaims, “Court: Siva does not have right to suspend seven”. The report reads:

PUTRJAYA: The Federal Court has unanimously ruled that Perak Assembly Speaker V Sivakumar does not have the power to suspend Mentri Besar Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir and six state ececutive council members from attending the assembly.

It granted a declaration that the seven assemblymen were entitled to take part in all the assembly sittings and to carry out their duties.

Court of Appeal president Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, who chaired a five-men panel yesterday, said the Speaker’s decision to suspend the seven applicants was ultra vires (outside the law) and invalid.

In an article which was posted on the internet at the time, I wrote:

This is a perverse judgment of the Federal Court. It is perverse because it is a decision that was made in blatant defiance of Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution which says, “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court. The judges of the Federal Court have failed the people and the government of this country when they chose to ignore the law of the Constitution of Malaysia. In other words the judges have reffised to do justice according to law.

Incidentally, ultra vires does not mean “outside the law”. It means “outside one’s jurisdiction, beyond the scope of one’s power or authority”. And we may ask, who is the Federal Court to say what is beyond the jurisdiction of the Speaker when the supreme law of the country says that “the validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court”.

In case you don’t remember who Augustine Paul J (as he was then) is. It was he whose judgment for convicting Anwar Ibrahim of so-called corruption under s 2(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance ran to 208 closely printed pages in the Malayan Law Journal. The case was reported as Public Prosecutor v Anwar bin Ibrahim [1999] 2 MU 1. That verbose judgment came to nothing – it was all about known law which any law student can find in the textbooks. But he had earned for himself a place in infamy. This is what I have noted in my book How to Judge the Judges, Second Edition, Sweet & Maxwell Asia, p 8:

It was not the judgment that was criticized (it could even be impeccable) but the way the trial was conducted which attracted so much adverse comment and disapproval from television broadcast abroad and from the international press. The remarks and behaviour from the bench: like when the lawyers for the defence were threatened with contempt of court, in fact one of the defence lawyers was actually charged with the offence, and with the judge being difficult with the witnesses and counsel for the defence at almost every turn of the trial, gave the impression to the media and to those who were there that the judge was one-sided. It did not matter that the judge thought he was not. As Lord Devlin observed, “The judge who gives the right judgment while appearing not to do so may be thrice blessed in heaven, but on earth he is no use at all” (Patrick Devlin The Judge, p 3). Mr. Justice Augustine Paul, like the infamous Judge Jeffreys before him, by the manner in which he had conducted the trial and his behaviour on the bench brought ignominy and embarrassment to the reputation of the courts of this country. The decision could be set aside for apparent bias: see Exparte Pinochet Ugarit (No 2) [1999] 1 All ER 577 (HL(E)).

Augustine Paul FCJ- the judge who misses the point altogether

This time around he did it with 64 pages, on A4 size paper, of gobbledygook. This time, he did not sully his name with apparent bias. This time he did something just as bad – he blatantly disregarded Artcle 72(1) of the Federal Constitution. He had refused to apply the constitutional provision as it stands. He gave a judgment which has missed the point altogether. The late Lord Justice Salmon in an article “Some thoughts on the Traditions of the English Bar” (and I quote from the Perak Bar Bulletin, Vol. 1, No 2, December 2004) gave this advice to budding lawyers:

But remember this, in few cases, however complex, is there usually more than one point that matters. Very seldom are there more than two and never, well hardly ever, more than three. Discover the points that really matter. Stick to them and discard the rest. Nothing is more irritating to a tribunal than the advocate who takes every point possible and impossible. To do so is a very poor form of advocacy because the good points are apt to be swept away with the bad ones. Stick to what matters.

That was very sound advice to budding advocates from a very experienced judge. It seems to me to be very good advice also to judges who are not as competent as they should be. The message of Lord Justice Salmon is clear – don’t bark at the wrong tree or don’t miss the point.

Although Paul FCJ dealt with many points – like any novice lawyer – in his written judgment, there is actually only one point that really matters for the Federal Court to decide on in the present case. Any advocate with some ability will be able to tell you that. And that point is Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution. It reads:

The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any state shall not be questioned in any court.

All of us ordinary folk knew what the words in Article 72(1) mean. This constitutional provision is couched in simple English without any ambiguity whatsoever so that all of us sensible people could understand. The words mean exactly what they say – no more, no less. No court, not even the Federal Court, can tell us the words mean something else. But then we have the infamous five in the Federal Court who said that the words mean otherwise. Now Paul FCJ, who was one of the five, in his written judgment tries to rationalize the ruling that they have made, which is that the speaker of the legislative assembly Sivakumar had acted ultra vires something or other – we are not told what exactly Sivakumar had acted outside his power – when he suspended Zambry and his band from the assembly. However his reasoning went askew because he missed the point entirely by citing the wrong cases which did not support what he says.

In his written judgment Paul FCJ refers to Ah Thian v Government of Malaysia [1976] 2 MU 112, at 113 where Suffian LP said:

The doctrine of the supremacy of Parliament does not apply in Malaysia. Here we have a written constitution. The power of Parliament and of state legislatures in Malaysia is limited by the Constitution, and they cannot make any law they please.

What Suffian LP says is that Parliament, that is the legislature, is not supreme. The legislature cannot make any law which the supreme law does not allow. th other words, although Parliament can make any law, that law must not be a law which is prohibited or is not sanctioned by the Constitution. But how can this case be relevant to Article 720) which says “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court”? Article 72(1) is a provision in the Constitution itself. It does not require the Constitution to sanction it. It is the Constitution itself . This case has no bearing whatsoever on the point in issue.

Next, he relies on Lim Kit Slang v Mahathir Mohamad [198711 MU 383 where Salleh Abas LP said this, at 386:

The courts are the final arbiter between the individual and the state and between individuals inter se, and in performing their constitutional role they must of necessity and strictly in accordance with the constitution and the law be the ultimate bulwark against unconstitutional legislation or excesses in administrative action.

Salleh Abas LP was speaking of unconstitutional legislation and excesses in administrative action. So, how can this be relevant to Article 72(1) which says that “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any state shall not be questioned in any court”? What happens inside the assembly cannot be questioned in any court. But the law passed by the legislature itself or its enforcement can be questioned if it is shown to be unconstitutional or ambiguous. A statute is unconstitutional if it is not sanctioned by the Constitution. If a statute or any of it provisions is capable of having more than one meaning then it is the function of the court to interpret it. In the case of an administrative action, the remedy of judicial review is available.

The next case which Paul FCJ relies on is Tim Mohamed Adnan Robert v Tun Mustapha [1987] 1 MU 471 where Abdul Hamid CJ said this, at 485:

The mere fact that a litigant seeks the protection of a political right does not mean that it presents a political question. Whether a matter raises a political question; whether it has been committed by the Constitution to another branch of government is itself a matter of judicial determination because the Constitution has made the Courts the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.

What do you think of this remark? It seams like gobbledygook to me. All that gobbledygook just to say “the Constitution has made the Courts the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.” All of us reasonable people can understand the plain meaning of the words in Article 720). How can the court interpret the obvious meaning of the words in• Article 72(1) where there is nothing to interpret at all? “Interpret” means “explain the meaning of”. Only someone with the mentality of Humpty Dumpty would say a word means whatever Humpty Dumpty would want it to mean. The words in Article 72(1) mean exactly what they say. Only Humpty Dumpty or his ilk will say that the words mean something else.

Paul FCJ also refers to Tan Chiaw Thong J in the High Court whose judgment according to Paul FCJ was approved in the case above, at p 475:

The first authority is the case of Fan Yew Teng v Government of Malaysia [1976] 2 MU 262 and it was contended on that authority, that once a LA has dealt with a matter, in this case the matter of the appointment of the Chief Minister and who in that capacity commands the confidence of the majority of members, the Court should not interfere directly or indirectly, in the same matter. With respect, as a proposition, this in my view is obviously too wide, as the authority of the LA must necessarily be confined to matters within its constitutional and legal powers and functions.

Actually what this High Court judge was trying to say is that he did not agree with Fan Yew Teng which was a decision of Chang Mm Tat J in the High Court. Now, let us take a look at Fan Yew Teng v Government of Malaysia [1976] 2 MU 262. It was a decision on the interpretation of Article 48 of the Federal Constitution. Fan was a member of Parliament who was convicted of sedition and was fined $2,000. In his judgment Chang I said, p263:

The conviction and fine imposed would appear to bring him within the scope of Article 48 of the Federal Constitution. This Article provides that –

“(1) Subject to the provisions of this Article, a person is disqualified for being a member of either House of Parliament if -
…….
(e) he has been convicted of an offence by a court of law in the Federation ……… and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less one year or to a fine of not less than two thousand dollars and has not received a free pardon.”

Fan applied to the High Court to declare that he has a constitutional right to exhaust his legal right of appeal up to the Privy Council and if unsuccessful to apply to the King for a free pardon before any question as to his disqualification can arise.

He succeeded before Chang Mm Tat J who granted him the declaratory orders applied for. But Tan Chiaw Thong J, according to Paul FCJ, disagreed. So there you are. It was a case on the interpretation of Article 48 of the Federal Constitution. The question is whether Fan has to be disqualified for membership of Parliament or was he entitled to exhaust his remedy of appeal all the way to the Privy Council, even to the Agong for a free pardon, before he could be disqualified. Again, this is not a case where Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution is concerned.

After Paul FCJ has referred to the above Malaysian cases, he followed with two Indian cases: Indian Supreme Court in Cooper v Union of India AIR 1970 SC 1318, 1320 and Raja Ram Pal v The Hon ‘ble Speaker, Lok Sabha & Ors SCC 3 [2007] 184, para. 57.

He also included a South African case, The Speaker of the National Assembly v De Lille MP & Anor ZASCA 50.

None of these foreign cases have Article 720) or its equivalent in their country’s Constitution. Therefore all these cases are irrelevant to the application of Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution..

Whether the speaker Sivakumar has the power to suspend Zambry and his band of six is not justiciable because Article 72(1) of our Federal Constitution says that “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court”. The suspension of Zambry and his band of six in the Legislative Assembly of Perak was a proceeding in the Legislative Assembly. And the Federal Constitution in Article 720) says that the validity of the proceeding in the Assembly shall not be questioned in any court. Who is Paul FCJ to question the peremptory decree of the Constitution, the supreme law of the land?

Yet, in spite of the constitutional decree of Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution that no court shall question the validity of the proceeding in the Legislative Assembly of Perak where speaker Sivakumah had rightly or wrongly suspended Zambry and his band of six, Paul FCJ has blatantly refused to apply the constitutional provision of Article 72(1) as it stands. Defiantly, or pompously like Humpty Dumpty, he says:

……. Article 72(1) must be read as being subject to the existence of a power or jurisdiction, be it inherent or expressly provided for, to do whatever that has been done. The Court is empowered to ascertain whether a particular power that has been claimed has in fact been provided for.

So what? Even if the speaker does not have the power to suspend Zambry and his band of six, Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution has decreed that the validity of the proceeding in the Legislative Assembly in which the speaker had suspended Zambry and his band of six from attending it, shall not be questioned in any court.

Duty and function of a judge

The duty of a judge is to ensure a fair trial. After that, the only function of a judge is to administer justice according to law.

The infamous five with Augustine Paul FCJ among them have blatantly refused to administer justice according to law in that they have refused to apply Article 720) of the Federal Constitution as it stands.

Lord Denifing in What Next in the Law, p 319 said:

Every law enacted by Parliament must be obeyed to the letter. No matter how unreasonable or unjust it may be, nevertheless, the judges have no option. They must apply the statute as it stands.

More so if the law is the Federal Constitution. The judges of the Federal Court have no option. They must apply Article 72(1) as it stands. If they failed to do that then they have failed to administer justice according to law. By not administering justice according to law, the judges could have breached section 3(1)(d) of the Judges’ Code of Ethics 1994.

Section 2(2) of the Judges’ Code of Ethics 1994 provides:

(2) The breach of any provision of this Code of Ethics may constitute a ground for the removal of a judge from office.

And s 3(l)(d) of the Code states:

3. (1) A judge shall not

(d) conduct himself dishonestly or in such a manner as to bring the
Judiciary into disrepute or to bring discredit thereto;

I think the words ins 3(l)(d) of the Code are plain enough – we all know what they mean. So that if a judge brings the Judiciary into disrepute or to bring discredit to it, as the infamous five Federal Court judges have done by not administering justice according to law, they could be removed from office under this provision of the Code.

Najib’s latest tango in the UMNO-PAS “unity government” talks highly suspect as its real motive is to split PAS and divide Pakatan Rakyat

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s latest tango in the Umno-Pas “unity government” talks is highly suspect as its real motive is to split PAS and divide Pakatan Rakyat.

Najib said he believed Pas was sincere in wanting to form a unity government with Umno as proposed by its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Umno would not reject any co-operation that could bring benefit to the country.

Why has Najib suddenly warmed up to the idea of Umno-Pas “unity government” when only three days earlier the Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Umno President, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had poured cold water on it, dismissing the proposal as unlikely to become a reality with differences within Pas itself and the Pakatan Rakyat parties.

Muhyiddin even said that Umno was prepared to “to respond to the proposal if it was mutually beneficial but would not do so now. Until today, there is nothing concrete.”

Why has the top Umno leadership suddenly changed tack on this issue, if not to exploit what they perceived as opportunities to exploit differences and contradictions in Pas and Pakatan Rakyat.

What is the reaction of MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the other BN component parties to the idea of a “Umno-Pas unity government” talks? Are they just simply dumb and irrelevant in the highest echelons of Barisan Nasional leadership?
DAP has made clear our position on any Umno-Pas “unity government” talks and the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council will meet on Monday to hear Hadi’s explanation on the issue.

I don’t see MCA or Gerakan asking for an explanation from Najib on the proposed “Umno-Pas unity government talks”! Why?

The media have been after me for my reaction to the press conference statement by Pas secretary-general Datuk Mustapha Ali that Pas will hold unity talks with Umno only if the other two Pakatan Rakyat partners, PKR and DAP, are included in the talks.

I will await explanation of Mustapha’s proposal at the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting on Monday before reacting.

However, I will like to hear not only what Najib and other Umno leaders have to say, but what MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other BN component parties have to say about Mustapha’s proposal. Or are MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the other BN component parties not allowed to react before Umno has decided on the line that must be adhered to by all in BN?

Malaysia's Anwar

Reuters, June 17 2009

By Razak Ahmad and David Chance

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim, facing trial next month on what he claims are politically motivated charges of sodomy, said the country's opposition will be able to survive without him in the event of his conviction.

The former deputy premier, whose sacking in 1998 on corruption and sodomy charges at the height of the Asian economic crisis led to massive street protests, said he was more prepared for his coming trial than the first time round.

"If their intention is to convict me by hook or by crook, then it’s going to be messy, I'm not going to take it hands down, and we are better prepared this time around," Anwar told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Sodomy is a criminal offence in Malaysia carrying a maximum 20-year prison term and a second conviction would effectively end the political career of the 61-year old who has the best chance of ousting the government that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years.

Anwar was released from prison in 2004 after Malaysia's top court set aside his sodomy conviction and nine year jail sentence, although the corruption sentence stood.

His trial, in which he is accused of sodomising his former aide comes amid a global economic crisis in which the economy of this export-oriented Southeast Asian country set to contract by up to 5 percent this year, according to the government.

Investment capital has fled Malaysia since the March 2008 elections in which the National Front government recorded its worst ever result, with official data showing that the capital and financial account showed an outflow of 123 billion Malaysian ringgit ($34.92 billion) in 2008.

Malaysia is also set to post its biggest budget deficit for 22 years this year at 7.6 percent of gross domestic product and as a result bond yields have climbed and stand 100 basis points wider than neighbouring Thailand .

Political analysts say that the conduct and outcome of the trial, scheduled for July 1-24, is a potential source of political risk for new premier Najib Razak, who is trying to open up the economy to attract more foreign investment.

Najib, who took office in early April, has to turn around the ruling National Front Alliance by the time of polls due by 2013.

The new case has attracted international criticism already, with the U.S. State Department expressing concern over the handling of the investigation, although the Malaysian government has assured observers that Anwar will get fair treatment.

Anwar however said he would face essentially the same judicial system that he said convicted him wrongly in 2000.

"I would concede that in the last few years there have been cases where judges have taken some surprisingly bold independent decisions, but these are on the fringes of the judicial fraternity and not the norm," said Anwar.

POLITICAL CONTINUITY

Despite a recent bout of infighting in his three party alliance of Islamists, ethnic Chinese and reformers, Anwar said that the opposition would remain united and that a plan to provide leadership for the People's Alliance would be in place by the end of the month in the event of his conviction.

Several options being mulled include a rotational chairmanship of the Alliance between his progressive People's Justice Party (PKR), the mainly ethnic Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).

Anwar said that former law minister Zaid Ibrahim, a reformer who quit the government and joined PKR earlier this month and who has been tipped as a potential successor, would be given a "prominent role", though he did not elaborate.

Anwar said that he supported Najib's moves to try and liberalise the economy but said that the process was deeply flawed as Najib and the main ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party had failed to reform.

"But he also has this huge fallout in terms of having to fall back on the obsolete ways of governance - lack of transparency, handing out massive contracts to cronies and UMNO leaders without tenders, so at every stage you compromise your position," he said.

Nik Aziz tells Nasharuddin to join Umno

KOTA BARU, 17 June 2009: PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has told Nasharuddin Mat Isa to quit as PAS deputy president and Bachok Member of Parliament (MP) and join Umno if he persisted with the unity government agenda.


Nik Aziz
"The unity government issue did not come from PAS but is an idea floated by certain individuals. The matter was never in black and white as a PAS agenda or that of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)," Nik Aziz said.

"If it's true that Nasharuddin is agreeable [to the unity government], then he had better join Umno, [and] resign from his posts as deputy [president of PAS] and [MP] in Bachok," the Kelantan menteri besar told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting here today.

Nik Aziz said the proposal on a unity government was something tossed around by "Umno's puppets" to create confusion within PAS and the PR.

Nik Aziz was commenting on a statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday that he believed PAS was sincere about having a unity government, as proposed by party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang recently.

Najib had said he was open-minded and was willing to consider any suggestion by PAS if it would bring good to the country.

Nasharuddin, in response, said PAS was open to discussions on unity because the party saw opportunities to make good suggestions to the government to help resolve the political and economic crises.

Nik Aziz said he regretted Nasharuddin's stand because PAS in Kelantan had accepted him as a candidate for the Bachok seat in the 2008 general election.


Nasharuddin
He said PAS and the PR had fallen into Umno's trap over the unity government agenda, which had caused disunity among them.

"The Umno people are now rejoicing because PAS is splitting and the PR is splitting," he said.

Nik Aziz also said if the unity government agenda were to truly materialise, the Barisan Nasional should appoint leaders from the PR as ministers.

"If everyone agrees, PAS [leaders] become ministers, DAP [leaders] become ministers and Keadilan (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) [leaders] become ministers," he said.

Nik Aziz also said he would be suing Utusan Malaysia for defamation over its report on 15 June which quoted him as saying that his advice must be heeded.

"I categorically deny using the word 'must'," he said, adding that it was a lie and a move to humiliate him so that society and the mufti would hate him.

He said he had engaged a lawyer to institute the suit.

Muthupalaniappan's about-turn

By Gan Pei Ling
thenutgraph.com

"I feel that Samy Vellu should be challenged in the interest of MIC, the Barisan Nasional and the [Indian Malaysian] community."

Former MIC vice-president Datuk M Muthupalaniappan, when he announced in November 2008 that he would challenge party president and former ally Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu for the March 2009 presidential nomination. (Source: MIC veteran to take on Samy, Malaysiakini, 11 November 2008)

"It is the doing of Samy Vellu."

Muthupalaniappan, in an interview with Malaysiakini during the run-up to the party's presidential nomination, accusing Samy Vellu of being the cause of the Indian Malaysian community's problems today.

He said he believed the people were not against MIC, but were fed up with its leadership. (Source: Q&A: I'm not seeking revenge, Malaysiakini, 17 Dec 2008)

Muthupalaniappan managed to garner 53 nominations during the March presidential nominations but 48 were rejected for non-compliance with the party constitution and presidential election by-laws.

Hence, Samy Vellu, who obtained 455 nominations, retained his presidency for the 11th consecutive term.

"...I feel that Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu is the right person to continue to lead the Indian [Malaysian] community by way of collective responsibility."

Muthupalaniappan said he would make peace with Samy Vellu three months after the March 2009 presidential nominations. (Source: Muthu makes peace with Samy Vellu, The Nut Graph, 8 June 2009)

Court of Appeal still hasn’t delivered written judgment

By Zedeck Siew
thenutgraph.com

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 June 2009: The Court of Appeal still hasn't made available its written judgment to Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's legal team even though it has been three-and-a-half weeks since the appellate court ruled that Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir was the legitimate Perak menteri besar (MB).

In the meantime, the window of opportunity for Nizar to apply for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal's 22 May 2009 decision is fast coming to an end since he only has 30 days to do so.

Nizar told a press conference in Parliament today that his legal team would be filing for leave to appeal this week in any case because his time was running out.

"They (the Court of Appeal judges) only gave us a five-minute oral judgement on 22 May," Nizar said.

"I have difficulties in reading what was on the mind of the judges," Nizar said, expressing his frustrations at how he may be thwarted in appealing to the Federal Court.

Nizar's lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah had previously said that his legal team needed the written judgement in order to request leave from the Federal Court to file an appeal.

The Court of Appeal's written judgement is usually needed so that the grounds of appeal can be spelt out for the Federal Court to consider.

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

Cases moving from the Court of Appeal to the higher court do not get automatic right of appeal. Leave must first be applied and granted before an appeal will be heard at the Federal Court.

On 22 May, the Court of Appeal found that Sultan Azlan Shah was right in swearing in Zambry as the Perak MB, effectively setting aside an 11 May High Court decision that declared Nizar as the legitimate MB. The High Court also ruled that a no-confidence motion in the legislative assembly was the only way to decide if he had the majority's confidence.

On 15 June, Nizar, the newly sworn-in Bukit Gantang Member of Parliament (MP), led Opposition MPs in shouts calling for the dissolution of the Perak state assembly.

Seven MPs, including Nizar, were suspended for two days by speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, after they refused to remove headbands saying "Bubar DUN!!".

Nizar returned to the Dewan Rakyat today after his two-day suspension ended.

Commenting on his actions on the first day of the Dewan Rakyat's sitting, Nizar said that the shouts in the house were "spontaneous".

How arrogance divides people

dialogue

Muslim and Christians in conversation - Photo by Ben Ong, courtesy of Rev Sivin Kit’s blog

A unique event was held on 12 June, bringing together speakers living as minorities in plural societies, in this case Muslims in a Western society and Christians in a Muslim-majority society.

Over a hundred people flocked to Father’s House, Bangsar Lutheran Church, to participate in the dialogue, jointly organised by Friends in Conversation and the Muslim Professionals Forum.

One of the organisers and facilitators of the event, Rev Sivin Kit, has a write up of the event here and here.

Aloysius Pinto made a striking observation:

Through the conversations by these four persons, something interesting struck me!

It dawned on me that what is really happening is that there is a real battle heating up. The battle is not among races and religious groups, but between the Believers of TRUTH and the manipulation by PERCEPTION. Believer of all faiths have so much in common, and this event clearly showed the vast similarities.

Believers of various FAITHS must continue to engage with each other, not only in forums and formal events, but more so in our daily lives.

DSAI Yakin Dengan Pimpinan Pas

(video ehsan Malaysiakini)

Teachers: Myth that non-malay don't want those jobs

Letter to NST
By : P. KALIAPPAN, Butterworth

Thousands, Malays and non-Malays alike, want to be teachers.

I REFER to the statement on teachers by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Aminah Ayob ("Teacher dilemma: Non-Malays and men just not interested" -- NST, June 11).

I disagree with her that many non-Malays do not appear to be interested in teaching. She was quoted as saying that poor remuneration was one of the possible reasons and further stated that the few non-Malays who applied usually did not make the grade.I beg to differ, at least where Indian applicants are concerned, be they male or female. Over the years, I have helped and urged many Indian students, who are more than qualified, to apply for teacher training without much success.

These students had a string of As but were unsuccessful. Of course, they were often told they didn't perform well in the 15-minute interview. It raises questions when these overqualified students keep failing, while we are also told that a lack of applicants is among the main reasons not many non-Malays get to go to teacher training institutes.
I know that good results do not necessarily make good teachers. I am also aware it is most convenient to disqualify a student on the basis of subjective assessments (interviews) rather than on the more objective exam results.

Aminah did not give any data on how many non-Malays applied and how many were disqualified and why. We certainly would like to know whether it was because of poor paper qualifications when applying or poor performance during interviews. It is strange that good students from a particular group are rejected on grounds that they lacked the required soft skills.Finally, I don't think people consider a teacher's remuneration as low. Thousands -- Malays and non-Malays alike -- want to be teachers.

First of all, you are assured of a job if you enter a teacher training institute. Besides, enrolling in the institute comes with an attractive allowance.Nowadays, teacher training institutes do not award teaching certificates or diplomas. It is a straight degree and a job, without any need for a graduate teachers' training qualification or any other diploma in education. If there are too few non-Malays, it is certainly not for want of trying or any misconception about the pay.