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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Only five judges to hear final appeal - Malaysiakini

Ousted Perak menteri besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin has been dealt another blow with the Federal Court refusing his request for a full 11-member bench to hear his appeal.
MCPX

Instead, only a five-member bench as been appointed to hear his appeal in a case brought by Nizar that will determine if he, or Barisan Nasional’s Zambry Abdul Kadir, was the rightful menteri besar.

Nizar’s lawyer Leong Cheok Keng said the information was relayed to him through a letter faxed to his firm yesterday.

“No reasons or explanations were given as to the refusal,” said Leong in a statement, adding that the legal team was disappointed and disheartened by the refusal.

He (Micheal Jackson) Knew.

Lisa Marie Presley

Years ago Michael and I were having a deep conversation about life in general.

I can't recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my Fathers Death.

At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, "I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did."

I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.

14 years later I am sitting here watching on the news an ambulance leaves the driveway of his home, the big gates, the crowds outside the gates, the coverage, the crowds outside the hospital, the Cause of death and what may have led up to it and the memory of this conversation hit me, as did the unstoppable tears.

A predicted ending by him, by loved ones and by me, but what I didn't predict was how much it was going to hurt when it finally happened.

The person I failed to help is being transferred right now to the LA County Coroners office for his Autopsy.

All of my indifference and detachment that I worked so hard to achieve over the years has just gone into the bowels of hell and right now I am gutted.

I am going to say now what I have never said before because I want the truth out there for once.

Our relationship was not "a sham" as is being reported in the press. It was an unusual relationship yes, where two unusual people who did not live or know a "Normal life" found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part. Nonetheless, I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much.

I wanted to "save him" I wanted to save him from the inevitable which is what has just happened.

His family and his loved ones also wanted to save him from this as well but didn't know how and this was 14 years ago. We all worried that this would be the outcome then.

At that time, In trying to save him, I almost lost myself.

He was an incredibly dynamic force and power that was not to be underestimated.

When he used it for something good, It was the best and when he used it for something bad, It was really, REALLY bad.

Mediocrity was not a concept that would even for a second enter Michael Jackson's being or actions.

I became very ill and emotionally/ spiritually exhausted in my quest to save him from certain self-destructive behavior and from the awful vampires and leeches he would always manage to magnetize around him.

I was in over my head while trying.

I had my children to care for, I had to make a decision.

The hardest decision I have ever had to make, which was to walk away and let his fate have him, even though I desperately loved him and tried to stop or reverse it somehow.

After the Divorce, I spent a few years obsessing about him and what I could have done different, in regret.

Then I spent some angry years at the whole situation.

At some point, I truly became Indifferent, until now.

As I sit here overwhelmed with sadness, reflection and confusion at what was my biggest failure to date, watching on the news almost play by play The exact Scenario I saw happen on August 16th, 1977 happening again right now with Michael (A sight I never wanted to see again) just as he predicted, I am truly, truly gutted.

Any ill experience or words I have felt towards him in the past has just died inside of me along with him.

He was an amazing person and I am lucky to have gotten as close to him as I did and to have had the many experiences and years that we had together.

I desperately hope that he can be relieved from his pain, pressure and turmoil now.

He deserves to be free from all of that and I hope he is in a better place or will be.

I also hope that anyone else who feels they have failed to help him can be set free because he hopefully finally is.

The World is in shock but somehow he knew exactly how his fate would be played out some day more than anyone else knew, and he was right.

I really needed to say this right now, thanks for listening.

~LMP

Missionary schools model for 1 Malaysia, says PM

By Neville Spykerman

David Fernandez (right, a veteran St.John's teacher who is famous for his booming voice) organising the VIPs for the group photo before the start of the conference. - Pictures by Choo Choy May

- The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — A visit to his Christian alma mater was used today by Datuk Seri Najib Razak to drive home his vision of 1 Malaysia which was officially launched at Dataran Merdeka earlier this morning.

The prime minister, who officiated the opening of the Conference of Christian Mission Schools in Malaysia at the St John’s Institution here, paid tribute to mission schools and their role in nation building.

He said mission schools had a special ethos which promote unity, very much like his vision of 1 Malaysia.

Najib is led by the school captain, as he walks to the St.John's school hall for the conference.

“The ethos of mission schools shaped the values and beliefs of students which is in line with 1 Malaysia.”

He said that part and parcel of the concept of 1 Malaysia was to accept diversity and a plural society as a heritage and strength instead of a source of problems.

“1 Malaysia goes beyond tolerance but accepts diversity,” he said, adding that it would be achieved if Malaysians could look beyond race, colour and religions.

“I am convinced it we continue on this path Malaysia can be stronger.”

Najib said that St John's had provided him the sound grounding which eventually made him the prime minister of Malaysia.

He said that returning to the school had brought back special memories, including the times he walked up the hill (Jalan Bukit Nanas) to the school with his heavy bag and playing pranks with his friends.

He also joked that his father gave him a promotion, enrolling him straight into Standard Two at St John’s Primary School, where he spent five years, and a further three years at St John’s Secondary.

He paid tribute to the former and present teachers of the school and even called out to a La Salle Christian Brother in the crowd, who was his former teacher.

This was the scene earlier when Najib entered his alma mater accompanied by the famous St.John's school band.

Najib also took the occasion to have a swipe at Victoria Institution, the traditional rivals of St John’s.

“We are even better than the ‘other school’ in KL,” he joked.

He closed his speech with a special announcement, saying that he would officially declare his old school a National Heritage Site on July 12.

Does Ong agree that Parliamentary Standing Orders be amended to bar Deputy Ministers from replying in Parliament, making it compulsory for Ministers t

By Lim Kit Siang,

My three questions (No.85 to No. 87 on the 29th day in the current series) to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal today are:

Question No. 1:
Why is Ong continuing to evade the issue that up to now despite two weeks of parliamentary meeting, MPs have not received copies of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report and appendices on the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal?

Somehow Ong, who claims that he is the most “intellectual” MCA President in the history of MCA, just cannot understand this simple issue.

He forced the poor Port Klang Authority (PKA) Chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng to come out with a fierce statement attacking me for making statements which are “baseless” and “preposterous”, which completely avoided the issue (i) that MPs have after two weeks of Parliament not received or sighted the PwC report and appendices on the PKFZ; (ii) whether MPs will get the PwC report and appendices before Parliament adjourns on Thursday on 2nd July and (iii) if not, on what specific date MPs will get the PwC report and appendices on the PKFZ scandal.

Does Ong realise that the longer he drags out this issue, the more scandalous is his display of utter Ministerial impotence and ineptitude as he could not even do a most simple thing to get the PwC report and appendices tabled in Parliament to allow MPs to study them in trying to understand how the country is landed with the “mother of all scandals” – the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal?

Ong has four days next week to redeem himself by getting the PwC report and appendices tabled in Parliament without any ado, so that MPs can begin to study them.

Something must be very wrong with Ong when he could not even table the PwC report and appendices on the PKFZ scandal after more than a month of its publication!

Question No. 2 - In a weekly parliamentary commentary in today’s Utusan Malaysia entitled “Tee Keat kena ‘serang’ di Parliamen”, Nizam Yatim among other things wrote: that Ong, “yang baru pulang dari menghadhiri Pertunjukan Udara Paris di Peranchis, dilihatnya seperti tidak membuat persediaan secukupnya untuk menjawab di Parlimen”.

Ong was clearly not prepared to answer all the pertinent questions about the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal when he returned from his junket at the Paris Air Show, which was why he made an eight-minute Ministerial “non-statement” which did not say anything which was not known to the observant Malaysian public.

Can Ong explain why he was so unprepared and unready to answer and “tell all” about the PKFZ scandal, as he had promised when he became Transport Minister after the last general elections 15 months ago?

Question No. 3:
The Utusan Malaysia commentary ended as follows:

Dalam pada itu, Timbalan Menteri Kewangan, Datuk Dr. Awang Adek Hussin yang menggulung usul itu pada Khamis juga tidak terlepas daripada asakan Kit Siang yang memintanya memberi penjelasan sama ada Kabinet membincangkan atau tidak pengeluaran surat jaminan kepada projek PKFZ.

Tindakan Kit Siang itu, menyebabkan Yang Dipertua Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia terpaksa campur tangan dan dengan nada suara yang tinggi menegaskan bahawa soalan itu tidak seharus ditanya kerana Timbalan Menteri tidak boleh menghadiri mesyuarat Kabinet.

Does Tee Keat agree with the Speaker that Deputy Ministers, when representing Ministers to speak and reply in Parliament, cannot be asked about what Ministers did or did not do in Cabinet?

Does this mean that henceforth Deputy Ministers should not be allowed to represent Ministers in Ministerial replies whether during question time or debates, so as not to provide an escape route for Ministers and the Government evade full parliamentary accountability?

Will Ong and the MCA Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MPs agree to an amendment to the parliamentary Standing Orders barring Deputy Ministers from replying on behalf of Ministers in Parliament, making it compulsory for every Ministerial reply to be given by the Minister concerned?

Peniaga diisytiharkan calon PAS di Manek Urai

Dari Harakahdaily

KUALA KRAI, 27 Jun (Hrkh) - Seorang peniaga, Haji Mohd Fauzi Abdullah, 50 diumumkan sebagai calon PAS bagi mempertahankan Dun Manek Urai malam tadi.

Pengisytiharan itu dibuat Mursyidul Am PAS, Tuan Guru Dato’ Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat pada ceramah di Kampung Manek Urai Lama, yang sendat dengan ribuan manusia.Image

Hadir sama Presiden PAS, Dato’ Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang dan Penasihat DAP, Lim Kit Siang.

Kawasan padang bola Manek Urai Lama sesak sejak petang lagi apabila penduduk tempatan dan petugas parti bertali arus menuju ke tempat ceramah.Image

Ketika diumumkan nama calon tersebut, suara takbir sambut menyambut mengiringi pengisytiharan tersebut. Kelihatan ramai yang setuju dengan ketokohan yang ditampilkan.

Biarpun Mohd Fauzi tinggal di Guchil, namun mempunyai keluarga yang ramai di Dun Manek Urai.

Kakak sulungnya, Mariam isteri kepada seorang pesara polis kini tinggal di Kampung Laloh.

Keluarganya berasal dari Bukit Marak berhijrah ke Kuala Krai ketika beliau berusia lima tahun.

Beliau merupakan anak keenam daripada lapan adik beradik. Empat daripadanya mendapat pendidikan tinggi sehingga ke luar negara.

Seorang lagi kakaknya, Prof Dr Aminah pensyarah kanan di UKM; ketiga, Ibrahim seorang peniaga buah-buahan; keempat, Sabariah ketua jururawat di Hospital Temerloh.

Kelima, Mohd Yazid, pengarah jabatan kerajaan di Putrajaya. Manakala dua adiknya iaitu Razali memiliki syarikat perunding di Pulau Pinang dan adik bongsu, Zaidi lepasan bidang IT di universiti, Australia.

Mohd Fauzi mempunyai lima anak hasil perkongsian hidup dengan Aminah Mahmood.

Terbabit dengan PAS sejak muda lagi. Beliau juga Ketua Cawangan PAS di Bandar Kuala Krai, Pengarah MTD Guchil dan bekas Penyelia Dun Guchil.

Beliau juga anggota jawatankuasa PIBG Maahad Rahmaniah, Kuala Krai. Kelibatnya tidak jauh berbeza dengan Allahyarham Haji Ismail Yaacob kerana pergaulan yang luas.

Orang ramai mudah menemuinya di kedai-kedai kopi. Hampir kesemua penduduk di sembilan peti di Manek Urai mengenalinya.

Biar pun kenderaan disekat melintasi jambatan merentangi Sungai Lebir menghala ke Manek Urai Lama mulai jam 7 petang semalam, namun banyak kenderaan masih lagi tersangkut untuk keluar ke jalan besar jam 1 pagi.

MIC - Palanivel Fires Salvo At Subra

PUTRAJAYA, June 27 (Bernama) -- MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel lashed out at former party number two Datuk S. Subramaniam, saying that the latter should list down his achievements when he held the position instead of labelling Palanivel a "shadow".

Palanivel, the former Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister said politicians who played the role of shadows would eventually emerge to out shadow others.

"He calls me a shadow... I became the deputy president only three years ago. What has he been doing as deputy president for more than two decades from 1981?

"He did not even have the guts of Datuk M. Muthupalaniappan who wanted to contest the presidency," Palanivel said in a statement Saturday.

On Friday, Subramaniam was reported by a web-based news portal as saying that a deputy needed to play a positive role for the party, community and the nation and that he should not be under the shades (of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu).

He reportedly made the statement after opening the Nesa Multipurpose Cooperative Society's 24th annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

Subramaniam, who became the party's number two leader in 1981, was knocked out by Palanivel at the 2006 party polls after Samy Vellu openly backed him for the post.

Speculations is rife that Samy Vellu would again back Palanivel at the party elections slatted for September this year, although he has said that he would not endorse any candidate.

MIC division delegates are known for their loyalty to vote for whoever the president backs.

Apart from Subramaniam and Palanivel, the other candidate to have declared his interest is vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan.

In the past few weeks Samy Vellu had openly rebuked his former deputy Subramaniam and once blue-eyed boy Sothinathan for challenging Palanivel.

"By referring to me as a shadow, is he (Subramaniam) inferring that he is not one? Since he feels he is not a shadow, why did he not contest the MIC president's post at the presidential election in March this year," Palanivel questioned in the statement.

He said those who play the role of shadows would eventually out shadow and overshadow others but those "who try to back stab" would be rejected by the MIC delegates.

"This is exactly what transpired in the 2006 deputy presidential elections, where a mere 'shadow' like me was able to topple him when supporters of the president rejected him (Subramaniam)," he added.

Palanivel said Subramaniam, instead of pouring out his frustrations and labelling others, should show what he did as deputy president during his tenure which lasted over 20 years.

"I have had a good two decade journey in MIC and have used it to understand and integrate with the grassroots while being involved in many programmes that have touched the less privileged among the Indians.

"My growth as one of the top leaders in the MIC today was not something gifted to me but something I have worked hard to achieve. My success today is due to the grassroots support as well as the support of the president," Palanivel added.

Pembeli tidak puas hati kelewatan pemberian kunci rumah

World mourns pop legend Jackson

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson had been due to play 50 concert dates in the UK this summer

Tributes from stars and fans have been pouring in for singer Michael Jackson, who has died aged 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home.

Pop star Madonna said: "The world has lost one of its greats, but his music will live on forever."

Fans gathered outside the clinic where he was pronounced dead on Thursday. A post-mortem is taking place on Friday.

Los Angeles police have said the car belonging to a doctor has been towed away from Jackson's home and impounded.

Spokeswoman Karen Rayner said he was not under criminal investigation but the car "may contain medications or other evidence that may assist the coroner in determining the cause of death".

US authorities have said final results of the post-mortem examination could take up to eight weeks while toxicology tests are completed.

Jackson lawyer's 'medication warning'

Family lawyer Brian Oxman told US TV that he had been concerned about the star's use of pain relief medication.

Mr Oxman told ABC's Good Morning America programme that Jackson took prescription pain relief for injuries sustained earlier in his career, including bones broken in a stage fall.

"It caused him great pain. He just didn't like to feel such discomfort. He started taking pain medication. It became part of his life."

Mr Oxman added that he had warned that he "would not hold his tongue" about Jackson's use of medication in the event of the singer's death.

Paying tribute to the star, musician Sir Paul McCartney said: "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy-man with a gentle soul."

The singer's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley said she was "sad and confused". "This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me."

Pop star Justin Timberlake, who has been compared to Jackson, said: "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of, not only pop music, but of all music."

The musician added: "He has been an inspiration to multiple generations."

MICHAEL JACKSON 1958-2009
Michael Jackson in 1972
Full name: Michael Joseph Jackson
Born: August 29, 1958, Gary, Indiana, US
Also known as: The King of Pop, Wacko Jacko
Biggest hits: I Want You Back, Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Billie Jean, Bad, Black or White, Earth Song

Paramedics were called to the singer's Beverly Hills home at about midday on Thursday after he stopped breathing.

He was pronounced dead two hours later at the UCLA medical centre in west Hollywood. Jackson's brother, Jermaine, said he was believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Speaking on behalf of the Jackson family, Jermaine said doctors had tried to resuscitate the star for more than an hour without success.

He added: "The family request that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time."

"And Allah be with you Michael, always. I love you."

Jackson, who had a history of health problems, had been due to stage 50 concerts at the O2 arena in London, beginning on 13 July.

Concerns were raised last month when four of Jackson's planned comeback shows were postponed, but organisers insisted the dates had been moved due to the complexity of staging the show.

'Consummate entertainer'

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said: "I always doubted that he would have been able to go through that schedule, those concerts. It seemed to be too much of a demand on the unhealthy body of a 50 year old.

"I'm wondering, as we find out details of his death, if perhaps the stress of preparing for those dates was a factor in his collapse.

"It was wishful thinking that at this stage of his life he could be Michael Jackson again."

AT THE SCENE
Rajesh Mirchandani
Rajesh Mirchandani
BBC News

Michael Jackson was brought here to the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles around 12 hours ago. Earlier there were several hundred people here, before it got dark - there was a sense of grief, of disbelief.

But in the last few hours, these people have been singing his songs, dancing, there was a guy on a keyboard earlier, playing his songs for people to dance along to.

This has turned into an impromptu celebration of Michael Jackson's music. He's the King of Pop as far as they're concerned. They're still shocked by his sudden death, but they're here because they want to show their support.

Following the news of his death, the singer's albums are currently occupying the top 15 slots of online music retailer Amazon.com's best-seller chart, led by his 1982 smash hit Thriller.

Bands playing at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend are also expected to pay tribute to Jackson's musical achievements.

Thriller Live, a tribute show to featuring the star's music in London's West End, announced it would go ahead.

A minute's silence will be held before the performance and the lights outside the Lyric Theatre, in Shaftesbury Avenue, will be dimmed as a mark of respect.

A special on the life and career of Michael Jackson will be screened on the News channel and BBC One at 1930 BST.

An additional scene has been filmed for Friday's episode of EastEnders which makes a reference to Jackson's death.

Biggest seller

Jackson began his career as a child in family group The Jackson 5.

He went on to achieve global fame as a solo artist with smash hits such as Billie Jean and Bad.

Thriller, released in 1982, is the biggest-selling album of all time, shifting 65m copies, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Can't believe it. I'm gutted. RIP Michael, thanks for everything you gave us.
Tommy, Cardiff

He scored seven UK number ones as a solo artist and won a total of 13 Grammy awards.

"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words," said Quincy Jones, who produced Thriller, Bad and Off The Wall.

"He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."

Jackson fans react to news of his death

The singer had been dogged by controversy and money trouble in recent years, becoming a virtual recluse.

He was arrested in 2003 on charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy, but was found not guilty following a five-month trial.

The star had three children, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II.

Jackson's former wife Debbie Rowe is the mother of two of the children, and there is already speculation about who will gain custody of them.

He is survived by his mother, Katherine, father, Joseph and eight siblings - including Janet, Randy, Jermaine and La Toya Jackson.

Michael Jackson's career in numbers

Michael Jackson in numbers

Protes Rosmah di UM: 2 ditangkap, 3 masih dijejaki bantu siasatan

(UM Today) - Media hari ini menerima pemkembangan terkini berkenaan isu protes tulisan ‘Altantuya, C4, puaka, pembunuh’ yang ditujukan kepada Wanita Pertama Malaysia, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor di Universiti Malaya tempoh hari. Menurut sumber polis, setakat ini seramai 2 orang individu telah ditahan manakala 3 lagi masih dicari bagi membantu siasatan.

“2 individu yang ditahan tersebut ialah Mohd Izzudin Hilmi dan Mohd Sharuddin, masing-masing berusia 21 tahun,”ujar pegawai polis yang tidak mahu namanya disiarkan.

Mohd Izzzudin Hilmi telah ditahan polis pada pagi Rabu lalu oleh pihak polis cawangan Brickfield berikutan dilihat berlegar-legar di sekitar akademi tersebut pada awal pagi hari kejadian. Kemudian, Mohd Sharuddin pula ditahan di kediamannya di Lembah Pantai. Kedua-dua suspek ditahan bagi membantu siasatan atas kejadian tersebut.

Media walaubagaimana pun gagal mendapatkan penjelasan mengenai individu yang lagi masih dicari polis.

Dalam pada itu, media cuba menghubungi Pengarah Akademi Pengajian Islam Universiti Malaya, Profesor Dr. Ahmad Hidayat Buang dan Timbalan Naib Canselor Hal Ehwal Pelajar universiti tersebut, Datuk Prof. Madya Dr. Azarae Hj. Idris bagi mendapatkan maklumat lanjut berkenaan isu yang membabitkan imej universiti terhadap tokoh tersebut, namun menemui kegagalan.

Setakat ini siasatan masih lagi diteruskan.

Terdahulu, Universiti Malaya gempar apabila tulisan tanda protes terhadap tokoh tersebut ditulis di Akademi Pengajian Islam. Rosmah Mansor yang datang bagi merasmikan Majlis Peramian ‘Gaza Di Bela’ anjuran badan antarabangsa, Power of 10 Sen walaubagaimanapun dipercayai tidak menyedari kejadian tersebut

Wanita Pertama Malaysia tersebut sebelum ini telah digembar-gemburkan di internet melalui laman video YouTube menggunakan perkhidmatan bomoh dan pawang bagi menguasai kabinet kerajaan Malaysia, dan tingkah-laku suami beliau Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak khasnya.

What are Ramli’s and Rosli’s real crime?

Image

Rosli, 46, a partner in Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, was alleged to have not complied with the terms of a notice dated July 17, 2007, issued by the Prosecutor under Section 32(1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, to give full information relating to his assets.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The one-time Director of the CCD, Datuk Ramli Yusoff, is now on trial for the ‘crime’ of not disclosing his assets. The government is not concerned with how he acquired those assets basically because he did not acquire them illegally but in the proper manner according to the statement of accounts he submitted. So the only ‘crime’ they can pin on him is for not disclosing what he is worth.

Ramli then engaged a lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, to represent him. And Rosli submitted a stack of documents to prove that the allegation against Ramli are unfounded and that he in fact had declared all his assets as required. Therefore, there is no basis for the allegation and there is no case against Ramli.

The government responded by also arresting and charging Rosli for the crime of not declaring his assets. Why must a lawyer declare his assets? Do any of the other 25,000 Malaysian lawyers also have to declare their assets or is this only applicable to Rosli who, coincidentally, happens to be defending the head of the CCD whom the government is out to hang?

Read Part 2 of this series and as we go on with the next series we shall reveal even more damaging evidence involving those who walk in the corridors of power.

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

Lawyer charged with hiding information on his assets
13 October 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Rosli Dahlan was charged at a Sessions Court here with not disclosing all information on his assets in his sworn statement last month.

Rosli, 46, a partner in Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, was alleged to have not complied with the terms of a notice dated July 17, 2007, issued by the Prosecutor under Section 32(1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997, to give full information relating to his assets.

Under the notice, the date of which had been extended to Aug 16, he was required to disclose all information, written under oath.

Rosli, who is married to a lawyer and has three children, was accused of committing the offence at the Deputy Public Prosecutor’s office in the Anti-Corruption Agency’s headquarters in Putrajaya on Sept 21. He claimed trial to the charge yesterday.

If convicted, he can be sentenced up to 20 years' jail and fined a maximum of RM100,000.

ACA officer Saiful Ezral Arifin lodged a report over the matter on Oct 8.

DPP Kevin Morais urged the court to set bail at RM20,000 in one surety and for Rosli's passport to be impounded.

Pleading for lower bail, lead counsel Datuk K. Kumaraendran asked the court to consider that his client had fully co-operated with ACA.

Kumaraendran urged the court to not impound Rosli’s passport, saying that his client had to travel regularly because of his involvement in arbitration work.

He said there was no likelihood of his client absconding, noting that Rosli has a family here.

Rosli then sought permission from Judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah to address the court.

Rosli said the timing of ACA to charge him a day before Hari Raya was “calculated to humiliate him. I have suffered enough. If I go to the mosque tomorrow or if I dared to go, I will be a subject of scorn and ridicule,” he said.

He also told Komathy that he stood in dock very sad because of the manner he was “apprehended” by ACA officers.

Kumaraendran said ACA officers arrested his client at his office at 2.30pm on Thursday and that they handcuffed him tightly.

He said a senior ACA officer also threatened to punch Rosli.

DPP Kevin, however, said that there was a counter report of abusive conduct by Rosli when ACA officers approached him.

Komathy granted him bail of RM20,000 in one surety and set five days from April 21 next year for trial. He posted bail. – The Star

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

Malaysia Charges Top Police Official With Corruption Following Investigation
1 November 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: One of Malaysia's top ranked police officers was arrested and charged with corruption Thursday (1 Nov) for allegedly concealing massive wealth.

Ramli Yusoff, director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Department, was charged with failing to reveal that he owned property worth about 1 million ringgit (US$300,000) and 154,000 shares of unspecified value in a manufacturing firm. It is not known how much the shares are worth.

The country's third-highest ranking police officer, Ramli was also charged with breaching government employee rules by being the director of a separate company. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Ramli, the country's third-highest ranking police officer, was freed on 20,000 ringgit bail (US$5,700). The trial is scheduled to start 15 Jan.

He pleaded innocent to the charges in court and claimed he was a victim of the Anti-Corruption Agency, which investigated him. He also accused the police force of failing to back him up.

Ramli, 55, had stunned the police force by holding a news conference Monday (29 Oct), when he told reporters he was being investigated for allegedly concealing assets worth 27 million ringgit (US$8.1 million).

He insisted he and other members of the department have been "mistreated by the ACA and are yet to be protected by their own force."

Ramli's lawyer, K. Kumarendran, said Ramli's 38-year career in the Royal Malaysian Police was now in jeopardy.

"The current charge has cast a shadow on his character and credibility as a respectable senior officer," the lawyer told the court.

The ACA said he is the most senior police officer ever charged with corruption in independent Malaysia's history.

The Star daily said in an editorial Thursday the case exposed an unprecedented level of enmity within Malaysia's police force.

"No one can deny the talk of disunity within the top brass of the force," the paper said. "Still, the power play is somewhat scary, if not macabre, to most Malaysians who have never witnessed such open tension within the police force."

Malaysia's more than 90,000-member police force has long suffered a reputation for bribery, inefficiency and failure to respect human rights.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi vowed to reduce corruption after taking power in 2003, but critics say his efforts have shown scant success, with few major arrests or convictions. (By JULIA ZAPPEI/ AP)

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Ramli Yusuff trial: Sisters played no role in firm, says witness
19 January 2008

KUALA LUMPUR : Although Datuk Ramli Yusuff's two sisters were the only directors of an investment holding company, its management was run by Ramli and a lawyer friend.

Former company secretary Leong Kuy Leng told the Sessions Court yesterday that Rohmah @ Hasmah and Roslina had been directors of Bonus Circle Sdn Bhd since 1999.

Leong, 52, said that although she was the company secretary for Bonus Circle from Jan 26, 1999, to July 19, 2005, she had never met the two sisters.

She said all the dealings were done through Ramli, his lawyer friend Rosli Dahlan and Ramli's personal assistant Salasiah Lope Shaari.

"Throughout my dealings with the company's documents and resolutions, the instructions were mostly given by these three," she said, adding that she was appointed by Rosli.

"I have never dealt with Rohmah or Roslina."

She said usually when she went to get instructions from Rosli in his office, Ramli would also be there.

"Sometimes Salasiah will give me instructions or instruct a policeman to take documents to my office in Menara Maybank."

Leong also said as company secretary, she had to record minutes and prepare documents for the company, including calling for its annual general meeting.

Replying to questions from DPP Zulkarnain Hassan, the witness said that a Bonus Circle resolution showed the authorised signatories for two current accounts in Hock Hua Bank and Maybank were that of the two sisters and Ramli.

She said that on March 8, 1999, the company passed a resolution to purchase two office blocks in Megan Avenue II in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng worth more than RM1.032 million.

She said the property was rented out but she did not know the income.

Leong also said that on May 24, 2000, the company passed a resolution to purchase 9,631 square feet of bungalow land in Johor Baru worth RM1.047 million.

Ramli, 55, who is now suspended, was the third highest ranking policeman in the country. He is charged with non-declaration of:

- two office lots at Megan Avenue II, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, held by Bonus Circle where his sisters, Roslina and Rohmah @ Hasmah are directors. The two properties are worth RM1.032 million;

- owning 154,000 shares in Permaju Industries Bhd, an investment holding company with its subsidiaries involved in the manufacturing and sale of plywood; and

- owning 20,000 shares of Telekom Malaysia Bhd.

All three offences were allegedly committed at the Anti- Corruption Agency DPP's office in Putrajaya on Sept 17 last year.

Rosli, 46, was charged at the Sessions Court on Oct 12 last year with failing to declare his assets in connection with Ramli's case.

Rosli's trial is fixed from April 21 to 25.

Leong said that on July 7, 1999, the company also passed a resolution to obtain a RM500,000 overdraft and a RM200,000 fixed-loan facility to purchase the Megan Avenue II property.

"The two sisters along with Ramli stood as guarantors."

Questioned further by Zulkarnain, the witness agreed that although six AGMs were held, the sisters did not turn up for any of them but she was instructed by Ramli and Rosli to prepare their minutes and the resolutions as if they had been present.

Another witness, Zamiah Abdul, 42, a former commissioner for oaths attached to the Anti-Narcotics Division in Bukit Aman, said that she was instructed by Salasiah to go to Ramli's office on Jan 25, 1997.

"I was told to bring my rubber stamp as Ramli wanted me to certify several documents," she said.

"I went to Ramli's office and certified the form of transfer of securities of Bonus Circle and a statutory declaration of the two sisters being appointed as directors."

Zamiah said the sisters signed the two documents and she (Zamiah) was asked to certify the documents.

"I acted on instructions by Ramli as he was my superior."

Judge Datin Zabariah Mohd Yusoff fixed Feb 5 for mention to set further hearing dates. – The New Straits Times

That’s the way to solve the problem, mate

Image

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim yesterday suggested that all media return to using the terminology swine flu instead of Influenza A (H1N1). It is easier for radio and TV announcers to say selsema babi (swine flu) than H1N1 in Bahasa Malaysia.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

WHAT THE WORLD WORRIES ABOUT

H1N1 out of control
Attempts to contain the virus is impossible: expert


ATLANTA: Health officials estimate that as many as 1 million Americans now have H1N1 flu. Lyn Finelli, a flu surveillance official with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, voiced the estimate at a vaccine advisory meeting yesterday in Atlanta.

The estimate is based on mathematical modeling. Nearly 28,000 US cases have been reported to the CDC, accounting for roughly half the world’s cases. The US count includes 3,065 hospitalisations and 127 deaths. An estimated 15 million to 60 million Americans catch seasonal flu each year.

The percentage of cases hospitalised has been growing, but that may be due to closer scrutiny of very sick patients. It takes about three days from the onset of symptoms to hospitalisation, Finelli said, and the average hospital stay has been three days.

Other health problems have been a factor in most cases: About one in three of the hospitalised cases had asthma, 16 per cent diabetes, 12 per cent have immune system problems and 11 per cent chronic heart disease. The numbers again highlight how the young seem to be particularly at risk of catching the new virus.

But data also show that the flu has been more dangerous to adults who catch it. The average age of swine flu patients is 12, the average age for hospitalised patients is 20, and for people who died, it was 37. Meanwhile in London, it has been reported that parts of Britain now have so many cases of H1N1 flu that it cannot be contained, it was revealed yesterday.

In the worst hit areas, antiviral treatment will only be given to people with symptoms, and schools will no longer be closed. Speaking yesterday, Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, and Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, said that there were hotspots where swabbing and lab confirmations of the virus were now putting an unjustifiable strain on time and resources.

These areas, including the West Midlands and London, are now moving from the containment phase, which is led by the Health Protection Agency, to outbreak management, led by the strategic health authorities and local health trusts. Burnham said that, as of yesterday morning, there were 3,597 lab-confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in the UK.

“Majority of these cases have shown only mild symptoms, though some cases have been more serious,” he said. “Our approach has focused on containing the spread and working with the local NHS to identify cases and isolate them as quickly as possible and treat them with antivirals and treat those around them and offer prophylactic treatment to those around them.

“This is very resource-intensive, but it has been highly successful.” He added that, while containment had worked well, the Department of Health had never been under any illusions that it could prevent the spread indefinitely. — Agencies

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HOW MALAYSIA SOLVES THE PROBLEM

Back to swine flu


Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim yesterday suggested that all media return to using the terminology swine flu instead of Influenza A (H1N1).

He said this was to ensure that the people realised the danger of the disease and to get the message across to them more accurately.

It is also easier for radio and TV announcers to say selsema babi (swine flu) than H1N1 in Bahasa Malaysia. – Bernama

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That is how Malaysia will solve the H1N1 problem. We shall give it a new name that is easier for Malay newsreaders to pronounce. So, instead of calling it H1N1, we shall call it selsema babi.

H1N1 is a mouthful to pronounce in Malay. H-one-N-one is four syllables in English. But if in Malay, which would be H-satu-N-satu, it would be six syllables. Selsema babi is only five syllables.

“Hold on,” you might say. “If we are talking about just one extra syllable, then why is it a problem so say H-satu-N-satu as opposed to selsema babi?” Ah, but there is another reason for calling it selsema babi and not H1N1. This is, as the minister said, “To ensure that the people realise the danger of the disease and to get the message across to them more accurately.”

It seems if it is called H1N1, then people would relax and not consider it that serious a danger. But if the word ‘babi’ is attached to the disease, then people will realise that it is a very serious thing indeed.

I worry, though, that some Malaysians may start to protest if we call it selsema babi instead of H1N1. You see, some time ago, someone, somewhere decided that the word babi should no longer be used and instead it should be replaced with the word khinzir. So, will we now have to, again, change it from selsema babi to selsema khinzir to ensure that we are ‘politically correct’?

Phew, am I glad I am not a cabinet minister. Can you just see the dilemma ministers have to face in combating problems such as contagious diseases? They spend weeks of their time and have to engage in a series of meetings just to figure out what names these diseases should be called so that they can eradicate all these life-threatening diseases by giving it the proper name.

Actually, if you were to just sit down and mull over all the problems afflicting our country, with a level head, you can actually figure out all the solutions to these problems. Take, for example, the problem of loan sharks or ah longs. To those new to Malaysia, the problem of loan sharks is a 100-year old problem, long before Merdeka (independence) in 1957.

Actually, this entire thing started back in the early 1900s when the Indians and Chinese first came to this country to work the estates and tin mines. The non-whites had problems getting credit and the moneylenders from their own community played the role of banker for the small man who was not credit-worthy in the eyes of the bankers.

It was a good thing really. There were no credit cards or finance companies then. Therefore, the only way you could get a loan would be to borrow from the moneylenders. Now, there are so many credit card companies and they stop you on the streets or in shopping centres to offer you a credit card. And if you already own a credit card it is even easier to get another one. So you can actually end up owning a string of credit cards that allow you a credit line of RM5,000 each.

I have actually seen tables set up outside the banks and they would ambush you as you walk in or out of the bank to get you to sign up for a credit card. Imagine if you own ten credit cards. You could spend up to RM50,000 in one go.

Of course, this would mean on your meagre salary of RM2,000 or so it would take you decades to pay off this RM50,000 debt. But there is a solution open to you. You can then borrow RM20,000 from the ah long to pay off some of your credit card debt and then pay the ah long an exorbitant rate of interest that would eventually kill you (sometimes literally as well).

So how will the government solve this problem? Will they ban ah longs and arrest the syndicate bosses and put them behind bars? They tried this two years ago and the head of the CCD ended up getting arrested and was charged with ‘abuse of power’. So don’t try to touch the loan shark syndicate bosses unless you want to go to jail.

Okay, next solution. Will they tighten the rules on credit cards so that people who can’t afford to go into debt will be spared the agony of being swamped with debt? Of course not! That will hurt the industry. They will have to look at another solution without hurting the credit card or loan shark industry.

Anyway, the minister has gone down to the ground and after his short walkabout on a street in Kuala Lumpur he has decided to eradicate the illegal loan shark menace by making them all legal.

That’s right. Malaysia will eradicate the illegal loan shark menace by registering all loan sharks, thereby legalising them (just like how prostitutes are registered in some countries to make them legal ‘sex workers’ and in one swoop prostitution is eradicated).

Soon there will no longer be any illegal loan sharks in Malaysia. There will only be legal loan sharks. And if we can get the religious authorities to slaughter pigs according to the proper Islamic method then pork, ham and bacon will also no longer be haram. I bet the minister never thought of this one yet.

Dr M wants Najib to use 'crooked bridge' as bargaining chip

By Leslie Lau - The Malaysian Insider

Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has stepped up his campaign to revive the idea of a crooked bridge to replace the Johore Causeway connecting Malaysia with Singapore, by calling on the government to once again use it as leverage in resolving outstanding bilateral issues with the republic.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has come under considerable pressure since he proposed a third bridge to connect the two countries earlier this month, instead of reviving Dr Mahathir’s scenic bridge proposal to replace the Malaysian portion of the Causeway.

But a number of Umno politicians have already objected to the third bridge, especially since it is likely that Singapore would want Johor to lift its ban on the sale of sand to the republic before agreeing to it.

Last week the Johore Sultan also rejected the third bridge proposal.

Writing in his blog today, Dr Mahathir said that since Singapore would only agree to a straight bridge to replace the Causeway if the ban on selling sand was lifted and that considering Johoreans were against the sale, the government’s only option was to build the crooked bridge.

“This is the sovereign right of an independent nation,” said Dr Mahathir.

The crooked bridge was the brainchild of Dr Mahathir before he left office in 2003.

His administration had decided to unilaterally build a crooked bridge and demolish the Malaysian portion of the Causeway.

But in 2006 his successor Tun Abdullah Badawi’s government decided to scrap the plan, leading to the souring of ties between the two men.

Dr Mahathir began an intense political campaign against Tun Abdullah and eventually left Umno last year, returning to the party only recently when Najib took office.

But Najib is now beginning to come under pressure from Dr Mahathir even though the latter has not openly criticised the current administration yet.

The former PM continued to single out Abdullah for blame in his blog entry today.

“Tun Abdullah decided not only to not build the bridge but to stop negotiating over all the other issues,” he wrote.

Dr Mahathir cited the package of outstanding bilateral issues, including Singapore’s refusal to release CPF contributions to Malaysians, the railway land issue and the low rate in which the island republic pays for water from Malaysia.

“All these issues are in Singapore’s favour and not negotiating better terms because the Johore people refuse to sell sand is like cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face.

“We are the losers. I think it is a very stupid way of punishing Singapore.”

Last week, Najib said no firm decision had been made yet on whether to go ahead with the proposed third bridge.

Judgement: Sultan was right not to consent to Nizar’s dissolution request

PUTRAJAYA, June 26 — Sultan Azlan Shah was right in not dissolving the Perak State Legislative Assembly in February because it was barely one year old, Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Md Raus Sharif said.

In his 49-page judgement dated June 2, but only released today, justice Raus said that in order for a dissolution of the assembly to take effect under Article 36(2) of the Perak State Constitution as requested by the then mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, the assembly must be in the conclusion of the five-year term when a general election is contemplated.

“It was well-known fact that the general election had been held barely one year ago,” he said, adding that Nizar had applied the wrong provision when requesting for the dissolution of the assembly.

He said Article 36 of the Perak Constitution was only a general provision empowering the sultan to prorogue or dissolve the assembly after the conclusion of the five-year term.

Nizar should have instead requested for dissolution of the assembly under Article 16(6) which states that if the mentri besar loses the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly, then, unless at his request of the sultan, dissolves the assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council.

Raus also said that the question of Perak having two mentris besar did not arise because Article 16(6) demands that once the mentri besar was made to know that he had lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly, he should take the honourable way out by tendering his resignation.

“If the mentri besar refuses or does not tender his resignation and the resignation of the Executive Council, as had happened in this case, the fact remains that the Executive Council is dissolved (which include the mentri besar) on account of the mentri besar losing the confidence of the majority of the members of the legislative assembly,” he said.

Therefore, it was unnecessary for the sultan to remove Nizar and the other members of the Executive Council, he said.

He said Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s appointment as the mentri besar to succeed Nizar was made according to the Perak Constitution and established democratic practice and convention.

“The Sultan of Perak in exercise of his royal prerogative under Article 16(2) of the Perak State Constitution is at liberty to appoint another mentri besar to replace Nizar,” he said.

Raus said the Sultan, however, must appoint someone who has the command and the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly and in this case, there was no doubt that Zambry had the majority support of 31 members out of 59 members of the assembly.

“The circumstances in the present case clearly shows that on February 5, Nizar no longer had the confidence of the majority of members of the assembly. There were signed letters from 31 members pledging support to Barisan Nasional which were presented to the Sultan,” he said.

He also said Article 16(6) does not express mandatory requirement that there must be a motion of no confidence passed by the assembly against a mentri besar before he ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members.

“The fact that a mentri besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly can be established by other means. It cannot solely be confined to the vote taken in the assembly,” he said.

Meanwhile, justice Ahmad Maarop who presided over the case with with Raus and Datuk Zainun Ali said Nizar must tender his resignation once he lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly and when sultan refused his request to dissolve the assembly.

“His refusal to tender his resignation and the resignation of the Executive Council was not merely a breach of convention and undemocratic but more importantly, it contravened the clear mandatory constitutional command under Article 16(6) of the Perak Constitution and therefore unconstitutional.

“Thus, since he had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly, it is implicit that on his refusal to tender the resignation, the Executive Council is thereby dissolved and the office of the mentri besar vacated.”

Ahmad said he was also of the view that the sultan’s power to dismiss the mentri besar was implicit in the event the mentri besar refuses to resign although he has ceased to command the confidence of the majority and the sultan withholds his request to dissolve the assembly.

“In my judgment, the situation confronting His Royal Highness in the state of Perak was one such situation, and His Royal Highness had, in that critical situation rightly exercised his constitutional powers provided under the State Constitution, which exercise was without any doubt, solely for the best interest of the people of Perak,” he said.

Datuk Zainun Ali’s judgement is expected to be released on Monday.

The three Court of Appeal judges had on May 22 ruled that Zambry was the legitimate mentri besar of Perak, reversing an earlier High Court decision in Nizar’s favour.

The Federal Court is to hear Nizar’s application for leave to appeal on July 9 and 10.

Nizar, 52, was appointed Perak mentri besar on March 17 last year after the DAP-Parti Keadilan Rakyat-Pas alliance won 31 seats in the state assembly in 12th general election.

Less than a year later, they lost three members who declared themselves independent and lent support for Barisan Nasional (BN) that then had 28 seats in the assembly after a representative who had jumped ship earlier made an about turn.

Sultan Azlan Shah then asked Nizar to step down and swore in Zambry after finding that BN had the majority in the state assembly.

Following this, Nizar initiated the legal action to seek a declaration he is the rightful mentri besar and an injunction to bar Zambry from discharging his duties. – Bernama

Najib should present ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday on various current Petronas issues

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should present a ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday on various current Petronas issues – a new CEO, his insistence to appoint defaulter Omar Mustapha as Petronas director, declining Petronas profits and most important of all, a new regime of Petronas accountability to Parliament.

Recently, what is making waves in Petronas and well-informed local circles and reported internationally, though completely swept under the carpet by the local mainstream media, is the repeated attempts by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to force the appointment of his aide, Omar Mustapha as director of Petronas.

The Singapore Straits Times has reported that the Petronas Board of Directors has rebuffed Najib’s attempt to foist the appointment of Omar for the second time this Wednesday, as the Board was directed by Najib to reconsider its decision last month rejecting Omar’s appointment.

The reason for the Petronas Board’s rejection of Omar as director is that Omar had defaulted on his scholarship loan agreement with Petronas two decades earlier. Omar did not complete the required number of years of service with the national oil corporation or a related government agency as stipulated in his scholarship agreement. Petronas also initiated legal proceedings against Omar in 2001.

Najib should explain to Parliament why he is insisting on appointing a Petronas loan defaulter as a director of Petronas, as the widespread objections to Omar’s appointment to the Petronas, now taking up by the Board, is fully justified and valid.

Furthermore, why as a former Petronas officer, Najib is so reckless about the adverse effect on the morale of serving and dedicated Petronas officers that would result from the appointment of a Petronas defaulter to the Petronas Board!

Parliament should also be informed whether the Prime Minister is looking for a new Petronas CEO to replace Tan Sri Hassan Merican.

Earlier, the name of former Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar had been bruited as the likely new Petronas CEO. In the last few days, another name has emerged: Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh, the Felda Holdings group managing director, and that he is to understudy Hassan until the present Petronas CEO’s retirement next February.

Although the final decision of the new Petronas CEO rests with the Prime Minister, MPs from both sides of the divide should be given the opportunity to give their views on the possible candidates.

Parliamentarians, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, must also be given regular updates of Malaysia’s only company on Fortune 500, especially as Petronas has just reported a net profit decline by 13.9 per cent due to low oil prices and high production costs.

The group reported RM52.5 billion in net profit compared with RM61 billion the previous year although its revenue increased by 18.4 per cent to RM264.2 billion compared with RM223.1 billion the previous year.

Petronas plays a critical and strategic role in the public finances of the country, as Petronas paid out to the government RM74 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2009 compared with RM61.6 billion the previous year, an increase of 20.1 per cent.

The payment represented 71.4 per cent of the group’s profit before tax, royalty and export duty of RM103.7 billion. Of the payment, RM30 billion was in the form of dividends and the rest in taxes, royalty and export duty.

Petronas contributions amounted to RM72.5 billion or 45 per cent of federal government revenue in the 2008 calendar year.

This is a very high figure reflecting the government’s heavy dependence on oil revenue, a situation which may not be sustainable or ideal for a country trying to develop an economy based on knowledge and innovation.

Petronas represents the biggest chink in the government’s armour in its claim of accountability, transparency and good governance as the national oil corporation as presently constituted is totally not accountable to Parliament!

There is no annual Petronas report to Parliament. The Public Accounts Committee has not even dared to call up the Petronas CEO and President to give a proper accounting of his stewardship of Petronas.

If Najib is sincere in his motto of “1Malaysia, People First. Performance Now”, he should present to Parliament on Monday his proposal for a new regime of Petronas accountability to Parliament.so that there is meaningful monitoring and accounting of the petro-ringgit in Parliament.

Subra invokes ‘March 8’ in staking claim to lead MIC

Themalaysianinsider.com,

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — The winds of change are blowing in the MIC, Datuk S. Subramaniam said today as he staked his claim to be the party’s choice to succeed Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu.

He urged the party’s 1,400 delegates to make a change without fear or favour in the party led by Samy Vellu since 1979.

“If you fear to make the change then democracy is defeated.

“Be brave, be like the voters of March 8 and vote without fear,” he said after opening the 24th general assembly of the Nesa Co-operative of which he is president.

Subramaniam, who is running for the deputy president’s post in September against incumbent Datuk G. Palanivel, also took a swipe at his main opponent, saying delegates should vote for someone tested, experienced and able to unite the party and win back lost glory.

“It is no point voting for a candidate who is in the shadows of another individual,” Subramaniam said in urging delegates to think about the future of the party and the Indian community when voting.

“It is no point picking a man sheltering under the umbrella,” Subramaniam said in a reference to Palanivel who is supported by Samy Vellu.

Samy Vellu has already won the presidency uncontested but is expected to hand over the reins to whoever wins the deputy presidency of the party decimated in last year’s March 8 general elections.

The party president had initially said he wanted a free-for-all fight but is now openly backing Palanivel.

He has accused Subramaniam of “stabbing him in the back” by getting an injunction to stop the sale of Oriental Capital Assurance Berhard (OCAB), the insurance arm of Maika Holdings, and the investment arm of the MIC.

“It is a major decision before delegates if not the most important in the party’s history,” Subramaniam said today, adding that he was criss-crossing the country to meet delegates.

Although vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan is also in the race for the deputy president’s post, he is expected to pull out at the last minute and make it a straight fight between Subramaniam and Palanivel.

Palanivel is also crisscrossing the country meeting delegates and campaigning for the hearts and minds of the voters.

With Samy Vellu’s open support, Palanivel defeated Subramaniam in the 2006 contest polling two-third of the votes.

But this time around the political circumstances have changed.

Samy Vellu is on his way out, the party grassroots have fled and the Indian community is without the firm leadership they have seen in the past five decades.

Many are looking to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for leadership and numerous political parties have surfaced to stake a claim to represent the Indians in a changed landscape.

MIC members close to Subramaniam also say their leader has other options besides fighting for the deputy president’s post.

“If he has no place in the MIC he might decide to cross over and head one of the new Indian political parties. Some of his close supporters are already involved in these parties,” one insider said.

*******

Published: Friday June 26, 2009 MYT 2:41:00 PM

Nesa will allow Maika asset sale if price is right: Subra

By LOH FOON FONG

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd will retract its court injuction against MIC investment arm Maika Holdings Sdn Bhd from selling a subsidiary if the price is fair.

Nesa chairman and former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam said this should not affect his relationship with MIC president S. Samy Vellu in view of the upcoming party election and described their relationship as “normal,” although the latter had on the same day attacked him for holding up the sale.

“I don’t think this is a new issue. This should be considered as an action in the interest of Maika shareholders,” he said.

“Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd will not stop the selling of Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd if the price was fair,” he said during a press conference after opening the cooperative’s 24th Annual General Meeting Friday.

The co-operative obtained the injunction to stop the sale in 2007.

Subramaniam said he was made to understand that there were two potential buyers for the insurance company.

Subramaniam, who will be contesting the deputy president post in the Sept 12 party election, said party members wanted him but were concerned about openly declaring their support for him.

“I don’t know the reason since this is a democratic party.

“All members should exercise their right freely without fear and they must have the courage to vote for the candidate who can best serve the community and country,” he said.

Current vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan had also announced that he would be contesting for the deputy post while incumbent Datuk G. Palanivel has yet to say if he will defend his position.

At the AGM, Subramaniam announced that the cooperative had agreed on a 6% dividend for this year.

Church withdraws 2008 application for judicial review

KUALA LUMPUR, 26 June 2009: The Roman Catholic Church today withdrew its 2008 application for a judicial review over the usage of the word "Allah" in its weekly publication.

High Court judge Lau Bee Lan struck out the application in chambers.

Counsel S Selvarajah for the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, informed the media that the church withdrew the application as the permit for the Herald publication for the period 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2008 had expired.

As such, the judicial review sought in 2008 had become academic.

On 5 May 2008, Pakiam, as publisher of the Herald, named the Home Ministry and government of Malaysia as respondents in his action for a declaration that the decision of the respondents dated 12 Feb 2008 prohibiting him from using the word "Allah" in the Herald: The Catholic Weekly is illegal.

He also sought a declaration that he is entitled to use the word "Allah", and that the word "Allah" is not exclusive to the religion of Islam.

Selvarajah said Pakiam's fresh application for judicial review, which was filed on 16 Feb this year, would be heard on 7 July. — Bernama

Wide gap between rich and poor worsens mental health

By Anil Netto

A study for the World Health Organisation has provided evidence of how the gap between the rich and the poor affects individual and collective mental health. It shows how the gap causes psychological and physiological changes that affect the mental health of individuals. The report also argues that the mental health component is important in analysing broader health and social issues.

(The study should be seen in conjunction with another study “The Spirit Level”, which revealed that a wider income gap leads to a higher incidence of social ills. Think of the rising crime rate, etc in Malaysia.)

Malaysia has one of the widest income inequalities in the region - and so it’s not surprising that a Bernama report shows that mental health cases are on the rise in the country. Maybe that is why we see so many Malaysians displaying all manner of strange behaviour, whether on the roads or even in Parliament or the Perak State Assembly!

Mental Illnesses Among Malaysians On The Rise

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 (Bernama) — Mental illnesses has been on the rise in the country, with more individuals seeking treatment for problems ranging from mild anxiety disorders to severe schizophrenia.

According to health ministry statistics, last year saw 379,010 individuals treated as psychiatric outpatients in government hospitals, as compared to 324,344 in 2007.

The number of psychiatric inpatients last year was recorded at 21,217 cases as compared to 21,852 cases, the previous year, said the ministry’s Director of Medical Development, Datuk Dr Azmi Shapie.

He said, more teenagers were also suffering from mental health problems, according to the 3rd National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2006.

“The survey also showed that 19.5 per cent of the older age group (70 to 74 years) and 14.4 per cent of the youngest (between 16 and 19 years old) were also more prone to having mental health problems, than the rest of the age group,” he said at the 14th Malaysian Conference on Psychological Medicine here Friday.

Dr Azmi was delivering a speech by Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He said that mental illnesses were also more prevalent amongst females at 12.1 per cent, as compared to male (10.4 per cent).

He said mental illness was also a cause which led to suicide, which its rate was also on the rise, where its mortality rate is 16 per 100,000 or one death in every 40 seconds.

“In Malaysia, the suicide rate has increased to between nine and 12 persons per 100,000 population, as compared to eight in the 1980s.

“The rate has been found to be the highest among ethnic Indians,” added Dr Azmi.

Here are some paragraphs I would like to highlight from the ‘Mental health, resilience and inequalities’ report prepared for the WHO (emphasis mine):

Mental health is also the key to understanding the impact of inequalities on health and other outcomes. It is abundantly clear that the chronic stress of struggling with material disadvantage is intensified to a very considerable degree by doing so in more unequal societies. An extensive body of research confirms the relationship between inequality and poorer outcomes, a relationship which is evident at every position on the social hierarchy and is not confined to developed nations. The emotional and cognitive effects of high levels of social status differentiation are profound and far reaching: greater inequality heightens status competition and status insecurity across all income groups and among both adults and children. It is the distribution of economic and social resources that explains health and other outcomes in the vast majority of studies. The importance of the social and psychological dimensions of material deprivation is gaining greater recognition in the international literature on poverty and informs current efforts to develop indicators that capture the missing dimensions of poverty.

For this reason, levels of mental distress among communities need to be understood less in terms of individual pathology and more as a response to relative deprivation and social injustice, which erode the emotional, spiritual and intellectual resources essential to psychological wellbeing. While psycho-social stress is not the only route through which disadvantage affects outcomes, it does appear to be pivotal. Firstly, psychobiological studies provide growing evidence of how chronic low level stress ‘gets under the skin’ through the neuro-endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems, influencing hormone release e.g. cortisol, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation e.g. C-reactive proteins. Secondly, both health-damaging behaviours and violence, for example, may be survival strategies in the face of multiple problems, anger and despair related to occupational insecurity, poverty, debt, poor housing, exclusion and other indicators of low status. These problems impact on intimate relationships, the care of children and care of the self. In the United Kingdom, the 20% - 25% of people who are obese or continue to smoke are concentrated among the 26% of the population living in poverty, measured in terms of low income and multiple deprivation of necessities. This is also the population with the highest prevalence of anxiety and depression….

While there is much that can be done to improve mental health, doing so will depend less on specific
interventions, valuable as these may be, and more on a policy sea change, in which policy makers across all sectors think in terms of ‘mental health impact’. It is already evident that the relentless pursuit of economic growth is not environmentally sustainable. What is now becoming clear is that current economic and fiscal strategies for growth may also be undermining family and community relationships: economic growth at the cost of social recession. This means that at the heart of questions concerning ‘mental health impact’ is the need to protect or recreate opportunities for communities to remain or become connected.

A focus on social justice may provide an important corrective to what has been seen as a growing over-emphasis on individual pathology. Mental health is produced socially: the presence or absence of mental health is above all a social indicator and therefore requires social, as well as individual solutions. A focus on collective efficacy, as well as personal efficacy is required. A preoccupation with individual symptoms may lead to a ‘disembodied psychology’ which separates what goes on inside people’s heads from social structure and context. The key therapeutic intervention then becomes to ‘change the way you think’ rather than to refer people to sources of help for key catalysts for psychological problems: debt, poor housing, violence, crime. There is a need to think more critically about the relative contribution to mental wellbeing of individual psychological skills and attributes (e.g. autonomy, positive affect and self efficacy) and the circumstances of people’s lives: housing, employment, income and status. This also involves recognizing that ‘happiness’, ‘positive thinking’
and ‘trust’ are not always adaptive responses.

Does that make sense? Sounds perfectly logical to me. And yet, the medical profession largely sees mental health in terms of the individual and not as a response to socio-economic injustices and relative poverty and deprivation.

The path to development is by addressing inequalities, and whether a piece fits or not in our pursuit of development should be assessed on its contribution to equality or inequality. Clearly, to address inequalities, we also need to look at the environment, since the impact of damage to the environment is often disproportionately felt by the poor and lower income group. The rich, on the other hand, can buy their way into better and more conducive environments (think gated communities and country homes).

Against such a framework, the NEP, at its best, addresses just one part of the framework: inter-ethnic inequalities. But it has also contributed to worsening overall inequality. A comprehensive framework is needed to tackle not only inter-ethnic inequalities, but also overall inequalities.

For there to be any meaningful meritocracy - and here I don’t mean meritocracy to justify the existing unjust distribution of income, wealth and well-being - it must also tackle inequalities. Otherwise, there will never be a level playing field for all (e.g a rich kid with access to all kinds of workbooks, computers, tuition compared with a rural pupil going to a school with no regular electricity and water).

There need not be a contradiction between meritocracy and a well-crafted affirmative action programme that can tackle inequalities. A careful balance between the two could lead to a more equal society in which meritocracy can play a part - but in a way that is fair and just to all.

Nik Aziz Denies Ceramah Was Seditious

KOTA BAHARU, June 26 (Bernama) -- PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat today denied that a ceramah (political lecture) he gave in Laloh, Kuala Krai on June 21 was seditious in nature.

He said the ceramah did not contain anything new and that he was merely repeating what he had often stated.

"It could be (interpreted as seditious) because I said nationalists and communists were the same in a figurative way.

"It is the same with deviationist teachings, (to me) all concepts that reject Islam, we call it deviationist. Not only now, during the time of Prophet Muhammad, his companion Abdullah Bin Ubai was not given the honour of being a Muslim brother because he did not have faith in Islam," he told Bernama here Friday.

Nik Aziz, who is also Kelantan Menteri Besar, was asked to comment about the police report lodged against him by Kelantan Umno Youth chief Anuar Safian yesterday over the ceramah in Laloh.

In his report, Anuar had complained that the remarks made by Nik Aziz were seditious in nature.

As to the report lodged by Anuar, Nik Aziz said: "It's okay, it's fine with us (PAS). We are ready to answer."