Share |

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fauzi calon PAS Manek Urai

Anwar: BN will play dirty in Manek Urai

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is confident that PAS will retain the Manek Urai state seat on July 14 by-election despite an 'active smear campaign' by Barisan Nasional (BN).

Anwar, who is head of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance, said BN has resorted to discrediting Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, in order to court voters.

"Such a smear campaign (against Nik Aziz) is not necessary but I expect it to increase during the by-election," said Anwar today.

"This means that BN feels threatened by Nik Aziz."

Yesterday BN named Umno's Kuala Krai Youth chief Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat, 39, as its candidate against PAS' Kuala Krai division treasurer Mohd Fauzi Abdullah in the by-election.

The by-election ihas been called following the sudden death of Ismail Yaakob, who was a five-term PAS elected representative for the seat.

Anwar was talking to reporters in Putrajaya where his appeal against the transfer of his sodomy case was to have been heard this morning. However the matter has been adjourned to tomorrow.

Anwar is appealing against the decision to transfer his sodomy case from the Sessisons Court to the High Court. The matter will be heard at the High Court on July 8.

No Stranger to Royal Shenanigans

If Muhyuddin and Nazri could not say anything sensible, they should just shut up. There is no need to embarrass the country. Come to think of it, that is good advice for all our leaders. I wonder if Nazri and Muhyuddin have a daughter; how they would feel if she were to be abused by her husband. The ministers’ utterances were at best boorish; at worse, reprehensible.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

M. Bakri Musa

Apologies – at the very least – are called for.” So began an editorial, “Feast of Lies,” that appeared in the New Straits Times on April 27, 2009. Its pontificating tone continues, “… scandalous allegations are leapt on and gnawed to the bone without even a perfunctory attempt at verification, ….”

What triggered the righteous indignation of the paper’s editorial writers was the alternative media’s widespread reporting of the shenanigans of the Kelantan royal family. Today, thanks to a brave Malaysian, Kadar Shah Sulaiman, and the professionalism of Singapore’s police personnel, the Kelantan Prince’s estranged wife, Manohara, is now free. As the world now knows, her nine-month royal marriage was anything but a fairy tale, at least according to Manohara, which is what matters.

While her husband may be a prince, she discovered too late that he was of the Neanderthal variety. Perhaps her kiss was not powerful enough; the frog still remains in him.

I would have thought that the folks at The New Straits Times, of all people, would not be strangers to royal mischief. All they have to do is review their archives of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

What prompted the sanctimonious editorial was the appearance of the young royal couple at a wedding reception in Kota Baru where they were (or at least she was) seen smiling happily. Any editor who could have been so easily hoodwinked by a “photo op,” well, he or she could also be easily swayed by a mere phone call from someone powerful. So much for being “hardnosed” journalists!

However, this commentary is not on the credibility (or the lack thereof) of The NST. I need not add anything on that matter; the paper’s declining circulation is proof enough of the current sorry state of this once proud publication.

Instead, I cannot help but wonder what would have happened had Manohara tried her escape not from a Singapore hotel but one in KL. Three points worth pondering; the first two relate to the professionalism of Singapore’s public service, in this particular case, its Police Force. The third concerns the humanity of one Malaysian who tipped Manohara’s family that the Prince and his wife would be in Singapore and thus was instrumental in her escape.

First, the Singapore police rightly pointed out to the Prince and his hangers-on that they risk being jailed for interfering with police work or obstructing Manohara’s movements. Second was the revealing comment of that taxi driver to the effect that Manohara and her family had nothing to fear from the Singapore police. That such a compliment would come from a taxi driver reflects the integrity of the republic’s police.

Had the Manohara episode happened in Kuala Lumpur, our Chief of Police would be kissing the Raja Temonggong’s hand and asking for forgiveness for “interfering” with royal affairs. The Chief would also probably give Manohara some fatherly “advice” to return to her husband and be a “good” and “obedient” wife.

Alas, we see this blind royal genuflection even among the highest echelon of our leadership. Despite the horrifying details related by Manohara, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyuddin saw fit to comment that the Malaysian government does not want to get involved. “I think this is more of a personal matter,” he was reported to have said. “We should not be dragged into this situation so we want to just leave it as it is,” he continued.

Muhyuddin as Deputy Prime Minister ought to know that once a crime is committed, or alleged to have been committed, then that is no longer a private matter. The state must have an interest in that. That is our Deputy Prime Minister for you. He had so quickly forgotten that he was sworn to uphold the laws of the country. A crime is a crime regardless of who had committed it. And spousal abuse is a crime.

Then there is Nazri Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’ office; he is still waiting for a formal complaint! Obviously he did not read his party’s paper, the NST! Poor Aziz would wait till it snows in Malaysia if he were to think that Manohara would trust our institutions well enough to lodge a police report here! This monkey of a minister just refuses to see anything until it is pointed out to him. It did not occur to his thick skull that he should be the one to direct the police to investigate. If nothing else, to protect the integrity of the palace if indeed Manohara were fabricating her allegations.

If Muhyuddin and Nazri could not say anything sensible, they should just shut up. There is no need to embarrass the country. Come to think of it, that is good advice for all our leaders. I wonder if Nazri and Muhyuddin have a daughter; how they would feel if she were to be abused by her husband. The ministers’ utterances were at best boorish; at worse, reprehensible.

Second is the reputation of Singapore’s police in the eyes of the island’s taxi drivers. “… [T]he police would definitely protect us regardless of who we were, whether we were foreigners or locals, whether we were rich or poor,” one driver told Manohara’s family. I wonder what our taxi drivers think of our own police force if we were to engage them in candid conversations.

Here would be some realistic samples. “The last time those bastards stopped me they demanded no less than RM200!” Another: “That huge mansion on the hill, that’s the police chief’s second house!” These supposed comments are not figments of my florid imagination. Witness what happened to former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim at the hands of the Police Chief. Anwar was even cockier and more certain of his power than Muhyuddin could ever hope to be. Yet that did not protect Anwar.

The scary part of that ugly Anwar incident was not the rogue Chief of Police rather that the assault occurred in front of at least two senior officers. They did not see fit to restrain their brute lawless chief; they also chose to remain silent when the subsequent controversy erupted. They witnessed a major felony being committed and chose not to stop or report it. They were guilty of being accomplices to a major crime as well as obstructing justice. Yet those two officers still serve His Majesty’s Government. That is the Royal Malaysian Police.

It is tempting to condemn Malaysians generally, as many are wont to, for the abject performances of our leaders and institutions. It is after all difficult to separate leaders and institutions from the people.

Seen in this light, the exemplary performance of Kadar Shah Sulaiman, UMNO’s Muar branch chief, deserves much praise and wider recognition. Clearly he saw his duty to a suffering fellow human greater than that to a sultan or sultan’s family. Kadar is truly a modern-day Hang Jebat; he makes us all proud.

The shenanigans of Malay royals are not news. As for the credibility and reputation of our mainstream media editors, now that would be news when they showed any! Currently their reputation may only be slightly less soiled than that of the sultans. Our leaders and institutions are not much better. Given such a milieu it is easy to be pessimistic. Yet amidst such gloom we can occasionally be pleasantly surprised. Kadar Shah Sulaiman’s action assured us that there still exists some humanity among Malaysians. It also shows that one brave soul can indeed make a difference.

As for our editors in the mainstream media, do not expect a mea culpa any time soon; they still delude themselves into thinking that they are doing a swell job. They do not bother with “even a perfunctory attempt at verification.”

Now Kit Siang calls Khairy a ‘rabid racist’

Lim today hit back at Khairy for calling him a ‘rabid racist’.

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today hit back at Khairy Jamaluddin for calling him a “borderline racist” by pointing out that even former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was opposed to the aborted Umno-PAS unity talks.

“I think Khairy wanted to call Dr Mahathir a ‘borderline racist’ but dare not do so, and is using this way to hit out at the former prime minister,” said Lim in his latest blog posting.

He added that Dr Mahathir had repeated his opposition to any Umno-PAS Malay unity government talks at the Pandan Umno division motivational course on Saturday.

On Saturday, Umno Youth chief Khairy defended the aborted unity talks between Umno and PAS, and called Lim a “borderline racist” for his criticism.

Khairy had said that Lim's accusation that the proposed dialogue between Umno and PAS was against the concept of 1 Malaysia shockingly implied that Malay-Muslim unity was not good for the country.

Last week, Lim challenged what he felt was the absurdity of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call for Malay and Muslim unity, and mocked the prime minister by asking if Umno would give the nod to Chinese unity talks or similar discourse for other communities as well.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have already rejected Umno’s unity government proposal and proclaimed all issues surrounding the fiasco, which brought the fledgling opposition coalition to the brink of collapse, resolved.

But the Umno president, in asking PAS not to reject a proposal which he said would be beneficial to Malay Muslims, had appeared to play the religion and race card.

In his blog posting, Lim said Khairy’s allegation was laughable as the Umno Youth chief had made an uncalled-for attack on the Indian community during a live telecast at the Umno General Assembly in November 2007 and because of his infamous outburst about the alleged marginalisation of the Malays in Penang.

“So long as Khairy can continue to play with impunity his role as a rabid racist, the prime minister’s 1Malaysia concept as a unifying force for all Malaysians regardless of race will remain suspect.”

Meanwhile Lim said he was also taking the fresh promise of merit-based national scholarships with a “heavy pinch of salt”.

Najib had on Saturday night announced a new category of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships which will start from next year.

“The scholarships based purely on merit and regardless of race are welcomed,” said Lim.

But heis sceptical because of repeated disappointments with previous promises of “meritocracy” by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Firstly, he said six years ago, Malaysians were promised a system of “meritocracy” in the annual intake of university students but this proved to be a “fraudulent” meritocracy.

There continues to be two incomparable university entrance examinations, the world-class two-year Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) and the inferior one-year matriculation course, he said.

Lim said if the government really wanted to stop the fall in standards in public universities, only the best lecturers and students must be recruited.

He said the first step was to have one common university entrance examination along with a programme of positive affirmation to ensure those from a socio-economically backward background get special assistance to get into universities but based on need and not race.

Secondly, he said the government gave assurances last year that 20 per cent or 400 out of the 2,000 PSD scholarships for foreign universities this year would be allocated solely on merit.

Lim said this has turned out to be an empty promise as many SPM top scorers with 11 to 16As denied were denied these scholarships.

He said any scepticism about the new PSD scholarship would be understandable because of the absence of a genuine 1 Malaysia mindset where all Malaysians regardless of race get equal treatment.

Racist jibe: Pakatan leaders say it is rich coming from Khairy

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have scoffed at Khairy Jamaluddin and urged him to look at himself and his own party before calling anyone else a racist.

The Umno Youth chief described DAP’s Lim Kit Siang as a “borderline racist” in a blog entry on Saturday.

He slammed the Ipoh Timur MP for describing the aborted unity talks between PAS and Umno as being against the concept of 1 Malaysia.

According to Khairy, this shockingly implied that Malay-Muslim unity was not good for the country.

However, PJ Utara MP Tony Pua said Umno and its youth chief should first denounce the concept of "Ketuanan Melayu" before calling anyone else racist.

He said unlike Umno, the DAP is not calling for Chinese or Indian unity but Malaysian unity.

“We fight for ‘Ketuanan Rakyat’ or people’s supremacy.” he said.

DAP’s Charles Santiago, in defending his party’s stalwart, said Lim was speaking out against Malay political hegemony or dominance in a multiracial Malaysia.

“Khairy is just trying to score brownie points among the Malays by hitting out at Lim.”

The Klang MP said Umno itself was a race-based party with a 100 per cent Malay membership and to accuse Lim as racist made no sense.

Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar said the Umno Youth chief, who supported his predecessor's move to raise the keris during party’s general assembly, should not be calling anyone else a racist.

The PAS Tumpat MP added that Umno was never sincere about talks for Malay or even national unity.

“He is just trying to arouse Malay racial sentiment by writing what he did (in his blog)” he said, adding that no one was biting.

DAP’s Teresa Kok said Khairy should first tell the people if Malay unity was more important than national unity which is the message that Lim was trying to get across.

Her sentiments were shared by PKR’s Saifuddin Nasution who added no party was more racist than Umno.

He said this is proven at each general assembly where delegates use it as a platform to hit out at other races.

Saifuddin described the unity talks issue as a matter of convenience and a desperate measure on the part of Umno to prolong its own survival.

Petronas governance

There are reports of a supposed tussle of wills between the Prime Minister and the Board of Petronas over his choice of a non-executive, independent director for the Board. I find the way this discussion is being framed in the press and on the blogs a little puzzling.

(Click here for the full article at The Malaysian Insider)

Below is a archival footage of an interview with a youthful chairman of Petronas

In part 1 I explain the vision governing its formation, the obstacles we faced, and the amendment of the Petroleum Development Act to suit our vision.

“We don’t want to be mere tax collectors. We want to be involved from A to Z in the management and development of our oil resources.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Who was Mohan Singh?

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com


Mohan, seen here on a production set (All pics courtesy of Baldi Kaur, J Belvikohr and Jaswant Kaur)

PETALING JAYA, 29 June 2009: In life, Mohan Singh a/l Janot Singh worked behind the scenes as an art director for films and television commercials.

In death, he is centre stage in a legal battle between Islamic authorities who claim he died a Muslim, and his family who claims he was Sikh till the end.

Mohan worked on many films, including popular ones like the local horror movie Susuk. He also worked on Hollywood productions that were shot in Malaysia namely, Anna and the King and Entrapment, and Bollywood hit Don.

One of the last films he worked on before his death was Yasmin Ahmad's Talentime.

Mohan, 41, was the only boy in a family of five children, and had three sisters before him — Baldi Kaur, J Belvikohr and Jaswant Kaur. The sisters and their stepfather, Nagamuthu Punnusamy, are the applicants in a judicial review of the Sungai Buloh Hospital's refusal to release Mohan's body to them because of a counter-claim to his body by the Selangor Islamic Council (Mais).

The Shah Alam High Court is currently hearing arguments on jurisdiction as to whether the judicial review should be heard in the civil or syariah court.

"We are a very close-knit family. He's the only boy, younger than all of us, our baby. How can we let go of our baby brother just like that?" said older sister Jaswant.

Anxious to cremate

The sisters, their stepfather, and their aunt who only wanted to be known as Eleena, agreed to talk to The Nut Graph about Mohan after a session at the Shah Alam High Court on 24 June.

The family is anxious to cremate Mohan. Sikh rites demand that the body be cremated within 24 hours of a person's death, and that prayers be said for the deceased's soul after 16 days, said Jaswant.

"It is more than a month already," she said. Mohan died of a heart attack in his Damansara Damai apartment on 25 May 2009. His body was found at 1am on that date.

"We need to cremate him and then scatter his ashes in the river. Then he is really gone for us. Now he is lying in the freezer and we cannot do anything. A part of us is lying there with him and we can't do anything about it," said Baldi.


At work, on location

Unable to grieve

The family has visited Mohan in the Sungai Buloh Hospital mortuary three times since his death. Eleena said that was the least they could do, since they have no body to grieve over.

"It smells. He is deteriorating. We've asked the hospital to put more effort into ensuring that they preserve the body," said Baldi.

Jaswant said the hospital is keeping Mohan's body in the non-Muslim section of the mortuary. She cannot understand how Mais can still claim her brother's body if it's being kept in the non-Muslim section.

"We wouldn't mind that he is buried like a Muslim if he really had a Muslim wife and kids, and had to convert because he married a Muslim," Eleena said. But she insisted that there was no Muslim wife or kids, not that the family knew of in any case.

In court, the family is contending that Mohan was not a Muslim at the time of his death because he married a non-Muslim woman in 1997, after his alleged conversion in 1992.

Mohan's lawyer Rajesh Kumar has submitted that the marriage certificate and the birth certificate of Mohan's daughter born in 2000 bore his Punjabi name, and Sikhism as his religion. Mohan and his wife separated in 2002.

Disbelief

The family said Mohan never told them about his conversion. He had prayed with them at the gurdwara and observed Sikh festivals. According to the submissions in court, Mohan also performed Sikh rites for his mother when she died in 2005.

Mohan's family are still in disbelief and wonder why Mais did not intervene when Mohan married the non-Muslim woman and when he made a new MyKad last October.

"When he was getting married, they put up his photo for display at the jabatan (National Registration Department) for three weeks for objections to the marriage to be made. How come Mais never said anything then?" said Eleena.


With daughter Sharon Simran Kaur from his 1997 marriage
Mohan's stepfather Nagamuthu said Mohan lost his MyKad last October when his wallet was stolen.

"He made a new one with his own name, Mohan Singh a/l Janot Singh, and no 'Islam' on the card. Why didn't Mais say anything?" Nagamuthu said.

The family said they also doubt the authenticity of Mohan's signature on the conversion certificate used by Mais to lay claim to the body.

"We compared it with his signature for his other documents and it doesn't look the same," Nagamuthu claimed.

The sisters said they feel guilty about not being able to accord Mohan his last rites. They are frustrated that "strangers" are adamant about claiming his body based on a "piece of paper", the conversion certificate.

"For them, it's just about winning the case. Do they even know who Mohan was?" Baldi said.

Tamil-Brahmi script found in village

T.S. Subramanian, The Hindu, June 29 2009
Pointer to how writing followed commerce in Tamil country
— PHOTOS: S. JAMES AND K. RAJAN

FINDS: The cist-burial with two chambers, port-hole, ring-stand, a four-legged jar and pots at Porunthal; the ring-stand with Tamil-Brahmi inscription; decorated carnelian beads.

CHENNAI: A largely intact piece of pottery with a significant inscription in Tamil-Brahmi and the symbol of a gem or bead was found this week from a burial site at Porunthal village on the foothills of the Western Ghats.

Epigraphists have deciphered the three Tamil-Brahmi letters on the ring-stand as “vayra,” which means diamond. The deep-set cist-burial, which has two compartments made of granite slabs, was found to have skeletal remains. A pair of stirrups lay next to the ring-stand.

K. Rajan, Head of the Department of History, Pondicherry University, who directed the excavation, about 12 km from Palani in Tamil Nadu, called the discovery of Tamil-Brahmi script “very important” because it had been found in a remote village and goes to show that literacy had spread to even far-flung villages during the early Christian era. On palaeographical grounds, the script could be dated between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., he said.

The cist-burial also yielded thousands of tiny, beautiful beads of different varieties such as carnelian, steatite, quartz and agate, four-legged jars, vases, bowls, plates, iron arrow-heads and so on.

Excavation at a site 2 km away yielded thousands of beads and the remnants of the furnace where the beads were possibly made. Terracotta figurines of a humped bull and a man, and a square copper coin of the Tamil Sangam Age, were also found.

Trade route link

Iravatham Mahadevan, a scholar in the Tamil-Brahmi and Indus scripts, described it as “a great discovery” because it established that writing followed commerce. Porunthal lay close to a major, ancient trade route from Madurai, capital of the Pandya country, to Chera country in present-day Kerala. He said the script could be read as “vayra.”

The symbol that followed the three Tamil-Brahmi letters showed an etched gem and bead, with a thread coming out of the bead. According to Mr. Mahadevan, the script could be dated to the first century A.D. The grave belonged to a royal personage. Mr. Mahadevan said the site called for greater exploration and more allocation of funds from the Central Institute of Classical Tamil.

Graffiti marks?

Opinion is, however, divided on whether the three letters are in Tamil-Brahmi or they are graffiti marks. Dr. Rajan quoted Y. Subbarayalu, Head of the Department of Indology, the French Institute of Pondicherry, and epigraphist S. Rajagopal as saying they were graffiti marks. However, V. Vedachalam, retired senior epigraphist, Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, and S. Rajavelu, senior epigraphist, Archaeological Survey of India, agreed with Mr. Mahadevan that it was Tamil-Brahmi. Dr. Vedachalam said the symbol of the bead had been found on every pot found in the cist-burial.

The cist is at the centre of a circle of boulders. It has two chambers, one in the northern direction and the other in the southern direction. The dividing slab has a port-hole. Both chambers yielded four-legged jars and pottery. The ring-stand, with the carved script on its surface, was placed at the centre of the northern chamber. Around the ring-stand were 22 beautiful, etched carnelian beads; inside were five more beads.

This grave alone yielded 7,500 beads made of steatite, carnelian, quartz and agate. “These are the largest number of beads collected from any grave in Tamil Nadu,” Dr. Rajan said. Porunthal was an important bead-making centre. Another important find was 2 kg of well-preserved paddy inside a four-legged jar.

Dr. Rajan added: “The occurrence of paddy in a 2000-year old grave reflects the agricultural potential of the period. The richness of the grave goods, the size of the chamber, the high level of rituals performed, the finding of the script, paddy and the stirrups point to the importance of the man who was buried there.”

Students from four universities including Mangalore, Sri Venkateswara (Tirupati), Tamil (Thanjavur) and Pondicherry conducted the excavations in both places.

Anwar: Scrap use of English for Science and Maths

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Scrap the policy of teaching Science and Mathe-matics in English and bring back Bahasa Melayu as the medium of instruction in the education system, said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He also called for the return of Bahasa Melayu’s status as the supreme language, which includes using it as the medium to teach Science and Maths in national schools and also strengthening its usage in Chinese and Tamil schools.

“This issue has become a controversy for far too long.

“We consider this policy a betrayal of Bahasa Melayu as our official language,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Anwar, however, conceded that it was important to master English and agreed that there should be constructive steps taken to improve the usage and understanding of the language.

“But how we do it should be decided by educationists and with consideration towards the national education policy.

“This includes not forcing our children to pass English as a compulsory subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) as this will result in many students, especially in rural areas, to fail,” added Anwar.

On another matter, Anwar questioned Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s sincerity when announcing the government’s plan to introduce a new category of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships which would be based purely on merit.

“The last time when I suggested the plan, I was called a Chinese agent and a traitor to the Malays,” he said.

Anwar also lauded PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s proposal to have a debate with Najib.

He said an open debate would be the best way to clear up the accusations against the Kelantan Mentri Besar.

Scholarships: Najib copies & plagarises Pakatan (but what is this ‘new category only’ really?), Muhyiddin threatens fighting to the last drop of blood

Nathaniel Tan

Tsk, tsk - Najib isn’t able to come up with a single original idea of his own. Desperate to reclaim even an inch of the miles of non-Malay ground that he has lost, he resorts to adopting Pakatan policies.

Don’t take my word for it, check out PKR’s 2008 Manifesto, especially the section on education. Some quotes:

Furthermore, scholarships for overseas studies must be increased and guaranteed for students who attain a certain standard of achievement in their examinations. This will allow Malaysia’s best and brightest to reach their maximum potential and pave the way for them to bring back cutting edge skills and experience back into the country.

and

KeADILan’s vision for better education will:

1. Ensure universal access to high quality education by making school from kindergarten to university is completely free of charge for all Malaysians.

2. Guarantee government scholarships for students with a minimum of 4 A’s in their STPM and who are admitted into top international universities. Special attention will be given to poor families and students from rural areas.

Copycat.

Worse yet, he isn’t *really* making scholarships merit based, as the spin doctors would have you believe. Observe carefully:

A new category of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships will be introduced next year based purely on merit, regardless of race.

New category?! What the heck is that?

So, the government will award merit-based scholarships to….. five people? I like how there is absolutely no elaboration on this vague ‘new category.’

The likely truth of the matter - and how Najib is gonna sell this quietly to his dwindling Umno faithful - is that the main body of scholarships will be given out in exactly the same manner as all things NEP: on the basis of race, and to selected cronies at the expense of the poor.

Why do we need a ‘new category?’ Does it not merely perpetuate the division of society (one system for sejenis, another system for jenis-jenis yang lain?) - that same root of all barriers to unity in this country?

This of course, is entirely consistent. Look what Muhyiddin had to say on the exact same day to offset any backlash:

Umno will fight to the last drop of blood to protect Malay rights, the status of the Malay Rulers, Bahasa Malaysia and Islam.

I will fight to defend these too, but really, is it a coincidence that Umno chose to use such martial and violent analogies on that day? To the last drop indeed :P

And how merit based will it really be anyway?

Najib: “We will announce it next year and with the plan to limit the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia to 10 subjects, we expect to see a more level playing field,”

“So the best of the best and the creme de la creme will get aid for higher studies.”

Oh really? And how will you determine that?

I agree with YB Lim who said that maybe 20 SPM subjects is too much. But is say, 15 subjects, really too much? Or is this whole subject cap designed so that differentiating between 10A students can be done on a more ’subjective’ (read: discretionary) basis?

Once again, this subject cap gimmick not only prevents people from learning as much as they can and want too, it also is merely to save the government the embarrassment of not funding the real top scorers (and God alone knows why they haven’t, all these years).

So, while Najib plagarises Pakatan’s ideas, he’s obviously secretly evading any true change of heart. Are you gonna let him have his cake and eat it?

I think it’s obvious we would *never* see such changes if not for the electoral gains of 2008. The question now is whether we convert those gains to meaningful change in GE13, or whether we put up with these half-hearted, spin-doctored, con-jobs measures

*

The Star is so funny:

The new merit-based category of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships from next year has received overwhelming support from various quarters.

Various eh? Let’s look at the list of people quoted in the article, who do we see? MCA, MCA again, MIC, MIC again, Umno, Lee Lam Thye.

:|

I also enjoyed Anwar’s comments:

“The PKR policy has been in favour of aid to the deserving and the underprivileged irrespective of race. Now the BN wants to hijack our agenda. When we announced our agenda, I was derided as a Chinese agent, even a Jewish conspirator, among other things,” he chuckled.

“I wonder what they are going to call Najib now that he appears to be taking a leaf of our book,” said Anwar.

Michael Jackson tops album chart

Number Ones
Number Ones last topped the UK album chart in 2003

Michael Jackson has topped the UK album chart and made six new entries in the singles top 40, six years after his last number one.

Greatest hits album Number Ones rocketed from 121 to the top spot after a surge in sales since the superstar's death on Thursday.

The same album earned Jackson his last number one when first released in 2003.

Four of his other hit albums also made a reappearance in the top 20, the Official Charts Company said.

Thriller, still the biggest-selling album of all time, raced from 179 to number seven, King of Pop reached 14, Off The Wall got to 17 and The Essential Michael Jackson came in at number 20.

A total of 11 Michael Jackson or Jackson Five albums featured in the top 200.

In the singles chart, 43 out of the top 200 singles feature the singer, with Jackson hits accounting for all but one of the new entries in the top 40.

Overall, Michael Jackson accounted for over 300,000 record sales across singles and albums in just two days this week.

World domination

Music retailers said that although demand for Jackson's singles had been high since his death, his extensive back catalogue meant that no one song stood out in sales and he was narrowly denied a posthumous entry in the top 10.

Michael Jackson albums
Stores have seen a surge in sales of Jackson's albums

Man in the Mirror re-entered the charts at number 11, nearly 20 years after its original release, while Billie Jean got to 25, Smooth Criminal to 28, Beat It reached 30 and Earth Song reached 38.

Jackson's return to the charts overshadowed electro-pop newcomer La Roux's new entry at number one in the singles chart with Bulletproof.

Kasabian also suffered and was knocked off the number one spot in the albums chart with West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

Gennaro Castaldo, of music retailer HMV, told the BBC the estimated demand for Jackson albums was now 80 times greater than the day before he died.

"Once we had the announcement of his death people came into our stores and we had large crowds.

"Fortunately we had a lot of stock because we had been preparing for the O2 concerts, but sadly we didn't expect to sell them for this reason."

'Larger in death'

Jackson's albums have dominated sales at music retailers and download sites across the world since his death. Earlier on Sunday his songs topped Apple's iTunes download charts in every country except Japan.

MICHAEL JACKSON 1958-2009
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
Sold:750 million albums
Earned:$700 million (estimated)


The star died after suffering a cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home on Thursday.

Police investigating the death said they had carried out an "extensive interview" with his doctor, Conrad Murray, who was with the singer at the time.

A spokeswoman for Dr Murray insisted he was not a suspect in the case and the Los Angeles Police Department said they did not intend to speak to him again.

Jackson's family are said to be seeking a second autopsy because they still have questions about his death.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office said there was no evidence of foul play after an autopsy on Friday, but gave no cause of death.

It said the results of toxicology tests could take weeks to come back.

Speaking in an interview with Fox News, Michael Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, said he doubted that stress over the star's upcoming residency at London's O2 Arena was a factor in his death.

He added he thought his son was going to be larger in death than he was in life, but wished he was around to see the public outpouring of affection since he died.

DAP wants Umno to stop sending sending mixed signals on race and quotas

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28- The DAP backs Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s reform plans but is concerned with the administration’s mixed signals on Malay rights.

Tony Pua, the party’s national publicity secretary, pointed out that while the prime minister spoke last night about removing quotas and merit-based national scholarships his deputy had promised on the same day that “Umno would fight to the last drop of blood to protect Malay rights”.

He said that although the DAP welcomes Najib’s announcement in Putrajaya last night, Barisan Nasional (BN) should stop the policy of divide and rule among Malaysians of all races.

During the dinner hosted by the MCA and the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCCIM), Najib acknowledged that the quota system was flawed and did not benefit Bumiputeras.

Datuk Seri Muhyiddin Yassin was present at the same dinner but according to Pua, he had stirred up Malay racial sentiments in his speech earlier in Pagoh, Johor.

“Taken together with the Prime Minister’s own persistence in Malay-Muslim unity talks with PAS, it raises the question as to whether BN is continuing the policy of “singing a different song to a different racial audience”.

He said this flies in the face of the 1 Malaysia concept being preached by Najib.

Pua said that Umno continues to place Malay unity and Malay rights above all else under its “Ketuanan Melayu” banner while all other BN component parties and ethnic groups are subjugated to its authority.

However, he said the DAP was willing to fully support the prime minister to remove the inefficient and ineffective quota system and replace it with a policy which promotes meritocracy in all sectors including education and the economy.

The policy on meritocracy should be complemented with an affirmative

action policy based on needs and not race.

“We would fully support all efforts to improve the economic livelihood of all poor Bumiputeras and Malaysians.”

He agreed with the PM that the quota system under the New Economic Policy (NEP) has failed the Bumiputeras.

The NEP promotes a rent-seeking culture, cronyism and corruption while benefiting only those who are politically connected, he said.

“We call on the Prime Minister to put his words into action by delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament to call for the removal of the quota-based NEP.”