Share |

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NS: Trouble flares in Camp Cini

Kg Buah Pala: PKR youth chief raps Lim

Penang government today came under fire from a PKR lawmaker for not upholding human rights and social justice in handling the 'High Chaparral' Kampung Buah Pala crisis.

Balik Pulau parliamentarian Yusmadi Yusoff said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should know that any development forsaking human development and values is in breach of universal laws and principles.

buah pala high chaparral vigil 200609 yusmadi"All development policies without emphasis on human rights are flawed. The Kampung Buah Pala crisis should have been handled on these universal principles.

"It's a virtue upheld by international convention and universal laws on social and natural justice.

"Pakatan Rakyat's economic agenda upholds these values and the DAP government should know that," he told Malaysiakini today.

Yusmadi, the PKR state youth leader, is heading a separate party task force to probe the alleged land scam involving Kampung Puah Pala.

The 'High Chaparral' crisis is fast approaching a Mexican standoff between the villagers, civil societies, Lim's government and the developer - Umno-linked Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd.

Crisis could have been averted

The DAP-dominated state government had come under fire from various quarters including the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit), Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), various social activists and politicians for its 'ineptness and unwillingness' to end the crisis.

They want the state government to acquire and preserve the village in Bukit Gelugor for its 300 residents, involving 65 families in 24 houses.

vwaishhnnavi hindraf penang lim guan eng office kampung buah pala event 300609 03Even residents living within the vicinity have signed a petition supporting the villagers' cause and called on the state government to halt the lucrative project initiated by its controversial land owner - Koperasi Pegawai-Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang.

Touching on the standoff between the villagers, developer and the state government, Yusmadi said the crisis could have been averted if the state government had respected human rights over commercial interests.

He said Lim was wrong to talk about a supposed RM200,000 offer made by the developer to the villagers because he had abandoned the social, economic and cultural rights of the villagers.

The villagers accused Lim of lying about the RM200,000 offer, stressing that the developer had only offered RM90,000 cash or a low cost unit as compensation.

Lim must expose the culprits

Yusmadi said the villagers and civil societies were talking about a 200-year-old peaceful and friendly urban living environment.

Its cultural growth, self-reliant economic activities and the romance of nature is something so scarce these days.

"One cannot compare all these human development and values with material goals," said Yusmadi.

"No amount of compensation can buy all these postive values in life," he said, chiding Lim for being inconsistent on the issue.

lim guan eng dap penang pc jawi state seat 240609 01He said while the state government had formed an investigation team to probe misappropriation of the village land, Lim on the other hand, was talking about compensation.

By probing into the land deals, he said Lim (left) had admitted that the state government suspected foul play.

Therefore, he said Lim should stick with the probe and go on to expose the real culprits.

But talking about compensation now, he said Lim had contradicted himself and confused the public.

Yusmadi said the onus was now on Lim's government to prove to Penangites that Pakatan government was 'governance with a difference' - upholding human rights and social justice.

"The state government must show that it is different from Barisan Nasional. It must protect human rights, human freedom and human development," he said.

Hindraf vs Lim: War of words continue - Malaysiakini

The public attrition between the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and the Penang government over the 'High Chaparral' controversy has reached new heights with both sides continue to trade barbs.

penang kg buah pala 010709 guan eng respond to villagersHindraf leader P Waythamoorthy today sharpened his attacks by accusing Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng of being a party to the allegedly fraudulent transaction of Kampung Buah Pala village land in Bukit Gelugor.

Waythamoorthy said since the village land transfer happened under Lim's watch, he should be held responsible for the transaction.

He pointed out that Lim had conceded that the land deals were carried out in dubious manner by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

The land was transferred from state ownership to a civil servants' cooperative society – Koperasi Pegawai-Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang - on March 27 last year, 19 days after Pakatan Rakyat was catapulted to power in the 2008 general election.

kampung buah pala 110609The transfer is said to have been done without the knowledge of the state government despite Lim's directive to the Land Office to halt all land transactions on assuming power.

The London-based Waythamoorthy pointed out that Lim could have easily cancelled the subsequent transaction on grounds of insubordination or non-approval from the state cabinet.

“What I knew was the village's lawyer had even advised Lim to cancel the deal and take administrative action against the culprits. But he did neither,” he told Malaysiakini.

State can invoke Land Acquisition Act

Waythamoorthy also refuted claims by Lim that Hindraf had misled the public in implying that the state government could acquire the village land at RM30 million or below the market price.

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at dap hq petaling jaya 300609 05He said it was Lim's political secretary Ng Wei Aik in his own blog posting which suggested that the land would cost the state government tens of millions of ringgit.

Accusing Lim of putting the cart before the horse, he further questioned Lim's wisdom in coming up with such a “ridiculous” sum.

“Perhaps he is not getting the correct advice from his state legal adviser,” said Waythamoorthy, who himself is a trained lawyer.

He said the legal avenue to acquire the land was under sections 18-35 of the Land Acquisation Act, which clearly stated that the quantum of the compensation to be paid shall be assessed by the land administrator after valuations and survey.

If the awarded compensation was unacceptable, he said Lim can invoke provisions under sections 36-51 to seek the court to determine the appropriate sum, with the assistance of assessors.

“He should not blame Hindraf for his own ignorance of the law,” said Waythamoorthy.

Compensation offer dismissed as 'peanut'


He also rebuked Lim for claiming that acquiring a piece of land such as Kampung Buah Pala was beyond the state government's financial capabilities. Waythamoorthy argued that the village was not exactly developed land.

kampung buah pala penang 250609 01“In any case, the village was developed by the villagers, who have lived there for past 200 years, with their sweat and blood, not by the government or developer.

“If the land is worth hundreds of millions of ringgit because it is developed then the compensation should be awarded to villagers, who are the rightful owners and real developers of the land,” he said.

Waythamoorthy rapped Lim for colluding with the developer to deny the basic human need of having a 'roof over one's head' and uprooting the villagers with the “peanut” compensation offer of RM90,000.

He said Hindraf was willing to sever the movement's friendship with DAP over the issue.

“This issue is not about money, but the preservation of the villagers' right to exist in their hereditary cultural homes.

penang kampung buah pala condominium project  macc report  090609 05“As a responsible chief minister and DAP leader, he should be the first to protect and preserve their homes,” he said, calling on Pakatan Rakyat leaders to pressure Lim on the issue.

Developer Nusmetro Venture has given the villagers until Aug 2 before moving in to flatten the village and make way for a high-end condominium project.

Hindraf to give Indians a third voice - Malaysiakini

In November 2007, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) had rattled the nation when it staged a massive street protest in Kuala Lumpur which drew tens of thousands of Indian Malaysians.

hindraf british petition rally 251107 t-shirtFive of its leaders were subsequently detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). But the momentum generated by the movement saw the Indian Malaysian community turning its back on the ruling coalition.

The Hindraf leaders have since been released, and now the movement plans to take its struggle to the political realm.

According to sources, Hindraf has already submitted its application to the Registrar of Societies and is awaiting the green light.

The name for the new party is Parti Hak Asasi Manusia (Paham).

uthayakumar in kampung buah pala penang 150609 02Speculation that Hindraf may venture into politics started making the rounds when its leader P Uthayakumar stated that the movement was dissatisfied with both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

He lamented that Hindraf's 'Makkal Sakthi' clarion call had been exploited by all parties for their personal benefit, leaving the Indian community high and dry.

Uthayakumar had also suggested that a new political party was needed to safeguard the rights of the Indian community.

Following this, the lawyer has been touring the country to garner feedback from the grassroots and is slated to make an official announcement on July 19.

No proper avenue for Inndians

"MIC, PPP, IPF and other splinter Indian parties are linked to BN and are committed to the coalition's rules and regulations which have retarded the economic progress of the Indian community for the past 52 years," said the source.

"On the other hand, DAP is a Chinese-based party, PKR a Malay-based party and PAS an Islamic party. There is no proper avenue for Indians to voice out their grievances," he added.

indian crowd malaysia 291107The source is confident that Indians from other political parties will flock to Paham.

Asked about the possibility of the ROS rejecting the application, the source cited Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which gives a person the right to form an association and Article 8 of the same, that provides equality before the law.

"When ROS can approve another Indian political party (Makkal Sakthi Party Malaysia (MSPM) within two weeks, I don't see any reason for it to reject our application," he said.

"Anyway, in such an eventuality, Paham will continue as a pro-tem party and may take legal action as a last resort to seek justice for the new party," he added.

Contacted later, Uthayakumar declined to comment on the formation of the new party.

Hook up or split up, Pakatan needs to stop fooling around

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Time’s up, Pakatan Rakyat. The days of courting are over. You either decide to get married or go your separate ways. Malaysians have grown weary of the soap opera which is being played out every week (or is it every other day) by different members of the opposition alliance.

Headlines such as “DAP pulls out of Kedah state government”, “Unity talks irk PAS partners” were once greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and accepted as necessary growing pains of a nascent political coalition trying to find its footing post-Election 2008.

This charitable position was anchored on the belief that in time, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP) would check their egos at the door and cobble together a common platform for a better Malaysia.

Malaysians also wanted to know if the three political parties could reach common ground on their ideological positions.

Sadly, instead of working out the details and putting in place the architecture for a stronger, and permanent, Pakatan Rakyat, leaders from PKR, PAS and DAP have been squandering away the goodwill earned 16 months ago with petty politics and gamesmanship.

Sadly, instead of seizing a historic opportunity to show Malaysians that Pakatan Rakyat has medium- and long-term strategies for a better Malaysia, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang have been more focused on a Band Aid approach.

Driving this narrow-minded thinking is the underlying belief that if push comes to shove they can always return to their support base and secure the same support from Malaysians at the next general election.

So PAS can always count on conservative Malays, DAP on the Chinese and educated non-Malays and PKR on urban Malays. This argument is like a slice of Swiss cheese: full of holes.

The bulk of the votes that flowed to the three parties on March 8, 2008 were the result of a rejection of Barisan Nasional and what the ruling coalition stood for. It had little to do with what PKR, PAS and DAP had to offer the electorate individually.

So what Malaysians expected and desired was a committed attempt by the leaders of the three political parties to sit down and put in place the structure and policies of an alternative political system built on social justice, inclusiveness, transparency, rule of law and equality.

That desire is still there. That space is still there for the taking.

Because many Malaysians know that Umno/Barisan Nasional will never be able to deliver on its promise of making Malaysia a better place. Despite improved public relations and moves to liberalise the economy, Umno/BN is still infested with corrupt politicians (young and old) who after having purchased their positions with money expect to recoup “their investments’’ during their political career.

That is why the Port Klang Free Zone fiasco happened. That is why more than RM250 billion oil and gas revenue from Petronas to the government in the last five years have not had much of an impact on the ground.

That is why “unemployed” Umno/BN politicians are able to wear RM200,000 Patek Phillipe watches, live in mansions and own a fleet of top-of-the-range vehicles. Malaysians know of these excesses and are willing to give Pakatan Rakyat a chance at the ballot box.

But first PAS, DAP and PKR must show that they are committed to Pakatan Rakyat. As a first step, they should have a formal mechanism like a council to work out a common platform.

This council of Pakatan Rakyat leaders should meet several times a month and provide input on policies as well as state the coalition’s stand on important issues such as places of worship and the New Economic Policy.

The council can also advance and promote a unified Pakatan Rakyat agenda to convince the public of its ability to govern at federal level.

If PKR, DAP and PAS cannot agree on a permanent structure like a Pakatan Rakyat council or cannot put together a common platform, then perhaps it is time to end the courtship and inform Malaysians that you would like to stay friends. But marriage is out of the question.

Pakatan calls emergency meeting to salvage united front

By Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is learning the hard way that mere speeches do not a successful coalition make.

It was riding high on the crest of Tuesday night’s rally where leaders of all three parties were cheered on as they thumped their chests in asserting their commitment to the fledgling alliance despite the recent unity government “crisis”.

Less than 24 hours later, the Indians in Penang were calling for DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng to resign as chief minister, DAP had pulled out of the Kedah state government and DAP and PKR were at odds over the second bridge in Penang.

And let's not forget the small matter of the Umno-PAS unity government proposal that just will not go away. This time it is the two respective Youth wings which are reported to be flirting with "intellectual discourse".

Today, the PR leadership will hold council in an emergency 1pm meeting in Parliament. Officially, it is to discuss the much-delayed forming of shadow Cabinet committees but it would be foolish to believe they will not — and foolish for them not to — seek solutions to the current mountain of problems.

Just last week, PR finally came to an agreement to reject a unity government with Barisan Nasional. This was an attempt to set aside the idea which was raised at the PAS general assembly, an idea which had caused what DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang called a "crisis of confidence" for the entire month of June.

But the rift over the unity talks is clearly not over. Sources say a recent article by PAS central committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad on the unity government proposal in party organ Harakah led to secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali stopping the press after 40,000 copies had been printed.

The piece, which opinion differed with PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang who first mooted the idea, was also pulled from the web edition by pro-unity Mustafa.

One wonders what Kit Siang will call the current scenario and if he will be reminded of the failed Barisan Alternatif alliance that DAP eventually pulled out of in 2001 due to PAS's insistence on its Islamic state agenda which had caused major losses for DAP in the 1999 general election.

The circumstances from then seem to be mirrored in Kedah, where the state leadership has unanimously voted to quit the coalition government over the issue of a demolition of a pig abattoir.

Despite chairman Thomas Su's protests that it is not an ethnic issue, he admits that problems with the PAS-led administration have been there from the outset, including Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak's call for a 50 per cent housing quota for Bumiputeras last year.

It would be naive not to see the ideological and political differences between the secularist DAP and Islamist PAS once again becoming a crucial obstacle to the coalition's progress.

DAP may also not take too kindly to PKR's sudden "heavy involvement" in Penang.

The demolition — albeit delayed until August — of an Indian village in Penang has not only drawn expected flak from outlawed Indian lobby group Hindraf, an important ally during the March 2008 general election, but also PKR's Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff who called on the DAP-led government to solve the issue and prove that it advocated accountability.

PKR's new bridge opposition mooted by de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also drew a confused response from Guan Eng who said he was in fact agreeable to the existing plan as long as it went ahead.

This follows on a recent spat between PKR and DAP over the appointment of the Seberang Prai municipal council president Mokhtar Mohd Jait, where PKR's local councillors had boycotted his swearing in. It has led to state PKR whip Johari Kassim being sacked from his own councillor post for leading the boycott.

PR may attempt to brush these incidences off as minor tiffs as they have done in the past. The usual answers like "allowing freedom of expression" and "being open to discussion" may hold some weight if the alliance did not also at the same time try to cover up many of these issues.

Today's meeting may sort out many of these outstanding problems but probably not the fundamental differences and discord between the partners.

If pork can cause a partner to quit in Kedah, who is to say alcohol sale will not eventually do the same in Selangor?

In the time since the last general election, PR may claim to have swung more voters its way but in the meantime its own party members defected, causing the loss of the Perak government while bickering continues in its other state governments, save the PAS stronghold of Kelantan.

DAP information chief Tony Pua stated online today of the Umno-PAS Youth wings resurrection of unity talks: "Some incredibly politically naive youth chief isn't really qualified for intellectual discourse."

The same might be said of PR's attempts to paper over cracks in its "united front." If in the beginning it was clearly defined issues — Kit Siang even made a rare apology for threatening a DAP boycott of PAS's Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak MB — that were the causes of dissent, today these are not so black and white anymore with grassroots leaders of all three parties claiming they are in the right.

Are the Kampung Buah Pala Residents squatters or is the Developer NUSMETRO VENTURES a thief?

The Star today, 2nd of July 2009 reported the Developer NUSMETRO VENTURES who is trying to develop the land on which kampong Buah Pala sits as saying that the people of kampong Buah Pala are squatters.

I will give you some history and you judge.whether they are squatters or the developer a plain and dirty thief.

These people have been living on that land for over 150 years. in exactly the same spot. This was from the time the owners. the British Brown Family actively operated an estate there. The forefathers of these people were all workers in that estate - The Brown Estate.

Then when the last of the Browns decided to go back to Britain they awarded the land to the workers of the estate and made the then Straits Settlement Government (the Government of the day) the trustee of the land over which sat Kampong Buah Pala. By this act they made the government the trustee for the land and the the trust owned the land.

By and by after the Britishers left, the Malaysian Federal Government took over from the Straits Settlement Government and became the new trustee. That remained so until, someone in the state (this is not very clear to me yet) came along and made it into a TOL land – the owners of the land were made temporary occupiers of their own land by an act of treachery. This often happens to the poor and the unknowing.

Then surreptitiously, again, sometime in 2005, the Penang State government who was not the owner of the land anyway (as the trustee was the Federal Government), sold the land to a Koperasi of the Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang – a Koperasi very closely linked to the UMNO bigwigs of the day for a paltry sum of a little over 3 million. (Lim Guan Eng is now saying he will have to pay 150 million ringgits to get the land back – so you can see what a swindle this truly is). This Koperasi got into a joint venture agreement with Nusmetro a property developer who is now threatening the demolition.Thsi JV company is called NUSMETRO VENTURES.

The Penang State Government bigwigs of the last administration in other words, those who had jurisdiction over land matters then, literally sold the land to themselves - in the Koperasi (left pocket to right pocket) for a paltry some, a land that was by the process of history owned by the villagers and held in trust by the Federal governement They with their partners, now turn around and call the true owners (the poor cattle herder residents) squatters.

I ask you now, are the residents of Kampong Buah Pala squatters or is the developer Nusmetro Ventures a thief. The answer is obvious.

This is a case of usurpation - outright stealing.

This is a gross violation of the property rights of any individual, a basic right and an underpinning basis of our society .This is not just thieving, but thieving from the poor and defenceless - which makes it even more treacherous.

It is time we all spoke out about it. If we sit and accept these kinds of actions because it does not touch us today, then when it does touch us, it will be too late. Anyway we need to speak out for what is right.

Get up and speak out in any way you can. Support all actions of the people of Kampong Buah Pala.

The developer has warned that he is coming with his tractors sometime in early August.

Now, only we the people can stop it. Do not wait, speak out. Hit out in in the media, write in your blogs, in the comments on the blogsites in support of the people of kampuing Buah Pala, stop the disinformation, send this article far and wide...now, do it now. There is very little time left for the Kampung Buah Pala.
Do what you can from where you stand - NOW!

United we stand
United we act.

Valga Makkal.

Why Najib’s 1Malaysia will fail – Part 2

By Haris Ibrahim

In an illuminating piece that appeared in NSTOnline on 29th May, 2009, Dr Salim Argoes wasted no time getting to the points that needed to be made.

In his opening sentence, this is what he said :

“I think we are farther apart now than we were in 1969. But you have to remember that I grew up going to an English school, to a university where there were people of all races. At that time, although we did think in terms of race, it wasn’t in the way people do now. We felt that we were Malayans. We socialised much better than we do now”.

Dr Salim then addressed the contention by certain quarters that Bahasa Malaysia can be a unifying factor, first noting that language can also be divisive, and then made the following all-important observation :

“You don’t have to have a common language, if you have the same jiwa (heart, spirit, passion, devotion). This is what we don’t have right now”.

If Dr Salim’s right, and I think he is, where did Mahathir go wrong with his Vision 2020 such that he failed to put in place all that was necessary to establish “a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny” ?

In my view, Mahathir did not pay heed to his own observation in that famous Vision 2020 speech of his that this united Malaysian nation that he urged us to forge “cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race”.

Mahathir did nothing to undo the years of race-based divide-and-rule.

What did he do?

Responding to Part 1 by way of comment, Paul Warren remarked :

“Haven’t you heard of such a thing as “shiok sendiri rhetoric?” Mahathir was full of it for a long time. Epitomised by such things as all his megalomaniac building programmes such as starting with Daya Bumi and ending up with the Twin Towers!!”

I don’t know about the ’shiok sendiri’ part but, yes, if you take cognisance of Mahathir’s megalomaniac building programme, then you begin to get a sense of the old man’s Vision 2020.

Malaysia attaining developed nation status by 2020 meant putting in place all the outward trappings ordinarily associated with such a nation.

And the heightened consumerism which ordinarily accompanies a growing middle class.

As an oil-producing nation, we certainly had the resources to build, build and build.

And build Mahathir did.

Bakun.

KLIA.

Putrajaya.

We had the resources, so why did not the Mahathir regime build universities in every state and make education free at every level, set up more dialysis and cardiac centres throughout the country and make such treatment accessible to all at no charge?

As Farish Noor put it in his ‘My ideal politician’, ‘Rather than more bridges crooked or otherwise — built by crooks or otherwise — airports, shopping malls and monuments, we need to build some Malaysians first’.

Why was not the salary scale of those involved in the teaching profession at all levels significantly upgraded so that our children would be taught by the very best that money can buy?

Just one reason.

The jiwa of the man behind Vision 2020 was not in sync with that of the ordinary Malaysians who struggle to make ends meet.

And so, I ask again, what is the difference between Mahathir’s Vision 2020 and Najib’s 1Malaysia?

Is there such a difference between Mahathir and Najib that we should be encouraged to believe that, whilst Mahathiir had little impact in taking us anywhere near the Bangsa Malaysia he spoke of, with Najib, it will be otherwise ?

Crucial to resolve conversion issues without delay: Lim

The Sun | Giam Say Khoon

KUALA LUMPUR (July 1, 2009) : Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) wants parliament to convene an emergency sitting to pass amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 not relating to Islam.

He said the announcement of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz on Tuesday that laws on conversion would be indefinitely put on hold pending a decision of the Conference of Rulers was a great disappointment and setback in the resolution of such a “burning issue”.

“I call on the cabinet on Friday to take a bold decision on matters arising from unilateral conversions … these must be resolved without any delay,” Lim said.

“The Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act has nothing to do with Islam, and I call on the cabinet to make a decision so that parliament can convene an emergency sitting in July or August, specially to deal with this problem which has become so polarising and dividing,” he said at the parliament lobby.

Lim said that when parliament adjourns tomorrow, it would sit again only three and a half months later, and “I would not know how many conversions will take place in three and a half months and create family pain, children’s agony and national disunity”.

On the issue of the eviction of residents of Kampung Buah Pala in Penang to make way for development, Lim said former chief minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon should speak up on whether he would make amends for his decisions in relation to the village by securing a federal government grant to enable the Penang government to resolve the issue.

“The state government is now caught in a vice created by Koh’s (now minister in the Prime Minister Department) administration, although it had prevented the eviction of the residents since the middle of last year,” Lim said.

He demanded Koh explain why the former state government had approved the sale of the land to Koperasi Pegawai-Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang at the low premium of RM6.42 million and later halved this to RM3.21 million.

Lim said Koh must state why the former state government had not consulted the residents before alienating the 2.6ha of land, on which a 14-storey luxury condominium is now to be built.

“It had been said that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng could res-olve the issue with ‘the stroke of a pen’. Yes, it can be resolved, but it will involve compensation for the RM150 million project.

“Can the state government afford such compensation?”

On the withholding of a RM660 million payment to the Port Klang Free Zone’s turnkey developer, Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, by the Port Klang Authority (PKA), Lim said: “I welcome the decision, but if Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat claims credit for it, he must be prepared to take responsibility for all the other decisions of the PKA board.”

He reminded Ong that he (Ong) still had a day before parliament adjourned to get motions passed to refer all concerned to the Privileges Committee to determine who had actually misled the House.

Riot at Semenyih detention camp

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 July 2009: A small riot broke out at the Semenyih immigration camp near Kajang about 8pm last night involving 30 Bangladeshi, Indonesian and Myanmarese detainees.

In the incident, the illegal immigrants broke the walls of their rooms.

Kajang police district chief ACP Shakarudin Che Mood, when contacted, said swift action by Immigration Department personnel contained the situation.

He said no one was injured and early investigation revealed that the riot stemmed from the detainees' dissatisfaction at being transferred to another camp.

He added that investigation papers in the case will be handed over to the Immigration Department to determine the actual cause of the riot and probe allegations that detainees had escaped.

There was a truck load of Federal Reserve Unit personnel and four empty trucks at the scene last night. — Bernama

Oh Ei Sun is PM’s new political secretary

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 July 2009: Academician Oh Ei Sun, who is a highly-sought international speaker-trainer-motivator, consultant and entrepreneur, has been appointed political secretary to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

An official from the Prime Minister's Office said the appointment was effective 16 June 2009.

The 35-year-old Sabahan, trained in law, management and engineering, has extensive experience serving various international bodies under the United Nations (UN).

Oh holds a degree each in aeronautical and mechanical engineering, and another in German language, apart from a double masters in science and international management. He also has a Juris Doctor in Law (JD) obtained from the University of California.

His working experience includes serving with international organisations such as the International Telecommunication Union and the Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications, both located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Fluent in five languages - Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese, German and

French - Oh has conducted various consulting works for multinational and international corporations, as well as advising diverse small-and-medium enterprises on legal and business start-up issues.

Not limited to the corporate sector, he has also rendered his expertise in strategic, technical and legal advice to various international organisations, governments and agencies, political parties, non-governmental organisations, as well as professional, civic and cultural bodies.

Oh once served as a UN expert consultant, advising various governments on emergency communications. He has also worked closely with various UN partner agencies, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, World Food Programme, International Civil Aviation Organisation, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and UN Development Programme.

He has also served as chief executive officer for a telecommunications company based in Hong Kong, and been involved in mobile multi-channel share-trading services in China.

Oh had his share of expertise in training managerial-level professionals, and has delivered more than 500 modules to more than 20,000 corporate directors where he recently expanded his expertise in the field of financial management and education.

"I am honoured to be able to serve the country and the people at this critical juncture, both politically and economically," he told Bernama today.

Asked what his first mission would be after being appointed, Oh said he would like to promote the concept of 1Malaysia and engage in dialogue with more people from various backgrounds and communities.

"There is one element in 1Malaysia that I feel most deeply about. It is about integrity, both in the public sector and the private endeavour. I would like to see more emphasis on this as we continue to promote 1Malaysia," he said.

This former student of the Kian Kok Middle School in Kota Kinabalu is also an adjunct professor with Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Civil servants and the art of silence

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com


(© scol22 / sxc.hu)

INCREDULOUS. That's how a journalist feels when a senior civil servant responds to a request for information with a flat refusal to answer.

Following the commentary on the need for a Freedom of Information Act, it is timely to relate another story about failed attempts to get answers on matters of public interest from the government.

On 15 June 2009, The Nut Graph published a story on how Members of Parliament (MPs) are funded. We highlighted allegations of discrimination and selective approvals that were experienced by MPs on both sides of the political divide.

The funding in question was a special development fund for all parliamentary constituencies called Peruntukan Khas Perdana Menteri. This is an annual allocation. The maximum amount an MP can apply for varies from year to year.

MPs apply for funds on behalf of projects in their constituencies, but they don't receive the actual funds themselves. Instead, upon approval by the government, the funds are channelled to the state and district level at the constituency for projects to be implemented.

The agency that approves MPs' applications, and directs disbursement of the funds, is the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) under the Prime Minister's Department.

In the course of writing the story, The Nut Graph compiled the MPs experiences, explained the situation in brief, and posed some questions in an email to the ICU director-general, and the agency's public relations officer. Follow-up with the public relations officer over the next few days revealed that the director-general had received the questions and had tasked his special officer to draft the replies.

Finally, however, the public relations officer told The Nut Graph that the director-general would not reply. Not "could not" reply, but a wilful "would not" reply.

Incredulous. That the head of the said agency, a civil servant entrusted to manage taxpayers' money with regards to how it is used to support the work of MPs elected by the people, would not answer. That on a matter which was totally under his jurisdiction, he would not reply.

What gives?

On one hand, this reaction wasn't too surprising because from past experience, it is not uncommon for civil servants to decline comment or speak off the record, since it is the practice to leave comments on policy to ministers. At the very least, the ICU director-general could have conveyed that to the public relations officer instead of issuing a blanket refusal without explanation.

talking to a silent brick wall
(brick wall texture by Lars Sundström / sxc.hu)

The ICU's response to a legitimate question also betrays a lack of awareness about what good public relations really is. Ever tried talking to a wall? Doesn't take too much to imagine what that feels like. Plus, didn't it occur to the ICU that it could be embarrassing not to answer a question, especially when the information should be public to begin with? Does the ICU not care about its public image as a government agency under the Barisan Nasional administration?

Additionally, the information The Nut Graph asked for should surely exist in some form of policy statement or minutes of meetings. Why not cut and paste? And if the replies do not exist in some documented form already, then we should be really concerned about whether certain policies are decided ad hoc and arbitrarily.

Turning to the minister

We, of course, didn't give up just because the ICU director-general refused to answer our questions.

Nor Mohamed
Nor Mohamed
(© Jeff Ooi / Wiki commons)
The Nut Graph turned to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop whose portfolio includes finance and the ICU. Going by civil service logic, only he could answer a nosy reporter's questions.

The questions for Nor Mohamed were the same as those sent to the ICU director-general. A week after sending the queries by e-mail to his aide, there was still no reply.

To be fair, his aide did respond to reminders throughout the week to explain that the minister was busy in meetings. The minister was preparing for the government's announcement on scrapping the 30% bumiputra quota on equity for companies seeking listing on the stock market. Other major changes to liberalise Malaysia's capital markets were also made.

These are indeed momentous adjustments which understandably would keep any minister busy. But that begs the question about the way government is run. Is there to be a bottleneck of queries every time the minister in charge is occupied? Are other issues to be put on the back burner until he or she is available? What is a whole department of government officers hired for? Why are we paying taxes to the government to finance the salaries of civil servants if not even one of them can draft answers for the minister to approve and release to the media, and by extension, the public?

If nothing else, this experience with a federal department and a federal minister lends weight to the argument that our public sector is too politicised. Civil servants, the people who turn the wheels of government administration, hide behind politicians who are left to decide on "sensitive" matters. In the case of funding MPs, what seems "sensitive" and hence unanswerable are how requests by opposition MPs or for non-Muslims houses of worship are handled.

And if policies don't exist in black and white to which they can be referred for speedy responses to queries, we have to wonder how these policies are decided, who determines them and in whose interest, with the use of tax payers money, they are implemented.

Consider the admission by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in The Nut Graph's report about funding for MPs. In response to questions about the MPs' complaints, Nazri said that "it is easier" for BN MPs to obtain approvals.

It won't go away

The ICU director-general and Nor Mohamed's office are not the only ones guilty of trying to evade public accountability.

When, in a rare article on the subject, the New Straits Times broached the allegation that racism and ethnic segregation were taught in Biro Tatanegara (BTN) orientation courses under the guise of patriotism, guess who kept silent?

Almost unsurprisingly, it was the BTN director-general who declined to comment even though he was in the best position to set the picture straight.

Angel shushing
An angel that likes silence
(© Alejandro Heredia / sxc.hu)
BTN courses are meant for civil servants and government scholars. It would be troubling if they, through the BTN, were being taught ethnocentrism and the notion that non-Malay Malaysians are "second class" citizens. If these allegations are true, it would hardly be surprising that MPs are complaining that approvals for projects related to non-Muslim houses of worship are being rejected.

One wonders if the current administration believes that not answering a question will make it go away, or that people will eventually forget.

Pledges and efforts made to improve efficiency and delivery, and to make the public sector more service-orientated, will come to naught if partisan and ethnocentric politics are not taken out of the civil service.

So, what do we need? We need a Freedom of Information Act, yes, but we also need to de-politicise the civil service if "1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now" is to mean anything.

Antara buah Pala dan tanah adat Rembau 2






Kecoh kononya Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat ini zalim menindas penduduk dengan mengangkat setinggi mungkin kes Kampung Buah Pala, Pulau Pinang. Tanpa menidakkan kes dan hak serta kebajikan penduduk Kampung Buah Pala, che'GuBard juga pernah menulis mengenai seharusnya tindakan lebih tegas dilakukan oleh Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang bagi menangani permasalahan tersebut.

Menyentuh mengenai isu Kampung Buah Pala, Pulau Pinang, che'GuBard mendesak kerajaan Pulau Pinang menggunakan kuasa yang ada untuk mempertahankan hak rakyat.

Kerajaan Pulau Pinang perlu menghentikan dulu semua proses pencerobohan kampung tersebut. Kemudian mula meneliti semua aspek undang - undang yang ada demi mempertahankan hak rakyat bukan mempertahankan hak syarikat (kapitalis) yang mendapat hak mereka semasa kerajaan negeri di bawah regim Bn yang lalu. Laing penting Kerajaan Negeri harus mengumpulkan peguam 'progresif' yang berjiwa rakyat untuk meneilit kes ini dan bukan sekadar mendengar pandangan Penasihat Undang - Undang Negeri (lantikan Regim Bn) yang pemikiran mereka berpaksikan pemikiran Bn iaitu merampas hak rakyat mempertahankan hak kaum pemodal.

Jika kerajaan Pulau Pinang gagal menangani isu ini dikhuatiri ia akan memberikan imej buruk dan menghancurkan 'hati - hati' rakyat yang mengharapkan perubahan. sila klik sini untuk membaca lanjut
Namun di Pulau Pinang penduduk Kampung Buah Pala masih bernasib baik kerana kerajaan negeri masih respon dan cuba mencari jalan terbaik menyelesaikan.

Namun di Negeri Sembilan dalam kes Tanah adat Rembau, kerajaan Regim Umno Bn di Negeri Sembilan pula memilih untuk bertindak pekak, buta dan bisu dalam isu rampasan tanah adat. Penduduk di sini bukan setinggan mereka punya geran tanah. Tanah mereka tanah rizab Melayu, Tanah Adat sebaliknya mereka dilayan lebih parah dari setinggan.

Wartawan yang menulis berita mengenai kampung ini diberi amaran oleh wakil rakyat (ADUN) Chembong agar berhenti dan jangan menulis lagi isu ini. Surat kepada kerajaan negeri termasuk ADUN tidak dilayan langsung.

Beberapa minggu lalu che'GuBard turun bertemu penduduk di situ namun dibawah arahan ADUN Chembong dan Timbalan Ketua Bahagian Umno telah menghubungi Ketua Kampung dan Siak surau di kampung tersebut supaya menyerbu tempat pertemuan kami di sebuah surau yang bakal dirobohkan dalam masa terdekat. Kami dihalau dengan hina, hampir wujud pergaduhan 'fizikal' antara Ketua Kampung, Siak dan penduduk kampung yang tanahnya bakal dirampas.

Media terus 'black out' isu ini. sila klik sini untuk baca surat terbuka kepada Menteri Besar dalam isu ini. Penduduk Kampung sudah pun membentuk Jawatankuasa Bertindak dan mereka telah menghantar petisyen kepada Perdana Menteri dan Ketua Pembangkang memohon campur tangan menyelamatkan tanah Adat Melayu.

atau klik tajuk dibawah untuk baca lanjut mengenai tanah adat rembau

tanah Melayu akan tergadai kerana kepekakan Umno

che'GuBard isytihar batal semua kerjasama dengan Dewan Pemuda PAS


Beberapa perkara perlu diberikan perhatian dalam isu memastikan kelansungan kekuatan Pakatan Rakyat.

Pimpinan DAP Pusat seharusnya mengambil tindakan terhadap pimpinan DAP Kedah yang terlibat membuat kenyataan terbuka di media tanpa perbincangan yang sempurna dalam Majlis Pakatan Rakyat. Semua tindakan yang melibatkan dasar harus dibuat diperingkat pusat.

Tindakan Ketua Pemuda PAS membuat pertemuan 'rasmi' dan 'terbuka' dengan Pemuda Umno dilihat sebagai usaha terkebelakang dalam memastikan kekuatan pakatan.

Nampaknya ada kalangan pimpinan PAS seolah tidak memahami isyarat keputusan Pilihanraya Umum lalu. Mereka juga terus menerus melakukan tindakan memberikan 'talian hayat' kepada Umno - Bn yang makin melemah.

Ini mungkin berlaku kerana banyak alasan, namun alasan - alasan tersebut ialah alasan dangkal yang ingin menghalalkan tindakan mereka semata - mata demi kepentingan kelompok tertentu sahaja.

Jika dakwaan ini salah sila jawab apa yang berlaku apabila rakyat menolak Bn di Selangor tetapi sebaliknya ada pimpinan PAS yang duduk berbincang dengan Bn dengan membawa kemungkinan membentuk kerajaan campuran PAS-Umno di Selangor, tetapi akhirnya gagal kerana dua - dua pihak berkeras hendak jadi Menteri Besar..... Sila jawab dakwaan terbuka Tuan Guru Ust. Hj Ahmad Awang yang menyatakan ada pimpinan PAS Pusat yang menghubungi beliau meminta pertimbangan semula agar diadakan pakatan Umno - Pas dalam membentuk kerajaan Perak.

che'GuBard dengan ini selaku anak muda yang bergelumang dengan aktivis 'bawahan' dan melihat derita rakyat dizalimi dan ditinds regim serta mepelajari sejarah bahawa regim ini pewaris penjajah negara, maka dengan ini mengecam tindakan Dewan Pemuda Pas yang masih terhegeh-hegeh memberikan talian hayat kepada Umno.

Selaku anak muda che'GuBard mengisytiharkan memboikot semua program melibatkan Dewan Demuda PAS termasuk jemputan yang telah disahkan hadir.

Tindakan ini bukan mewakili parti tetapi mewakili kekecewaan aktivis 'bawahan' yang tidak diendahkan suara mereka. Apa yang kita dapat hari ini bukan atas kekuatan parti kita semata - mata tetapi atas penolakan kuat rakyat terhadap Bn dan harapan sedikit yang ada terhadap gabungan kita. Bila ada sikit kuasa kita lupa dan nak lebih dengan ajak entiti yang ditolak rakyat untuk duduk semeja....percayalah teruskanlah perkara ini rakyat akan terus mencampak kita dalam longkang dalam PRU yang akan datang.....

Wahai Yb atau sesiapa yang mendapat apa juga tempat hasil PRU lepas, ketahuilah keputusan itu bukan dicipta begitu sahaja dalam sehari pada 8 Mac yang lepas ia merupakan hasil perjuangan panjang...... sanggupkah kita kianati semua sejarah perjuangan panjang tersebut.

LIM GUAN ENG IS A BLATANT LIAR

I refer to the Statement of Penang Chief Minister on Malaysiakini today throwing various wild allegations against Hindraf .

I wish to reply as follows:

He has lied and mislead the Malaysian public that Hindraf had "lied"that acquiring Kg.Buah Pala would cost the State Government RM 30 Million.

He further misleads in his statement implying that Hindraf had represented that the State Government could acquire the Kg below the market value.

The above statements by Lim Guan Eng is an absolute and blatant lie deliberately calculated to mislead the Malaysian public and divert from the real issue staring at him.

It was his own Political Secretary that had issued a statement yesterday (malaysiakini) that it would cost the state RM30 million to compensate the developers.

However we are aware of his posting on a blog and widely circulated in the emails that it costs more than tens of millions to do so.

My point is simple- where did Guan Eng get this ridiculus sum from? Why is he putting the cart before the horse? Perhaps he is not getting proper advise from his State Legal Adviser or perhaps his arrogance has cloded his mind. The necessary procedures which are lenghty and elaborate are clearly provided for in Section 18-35 Land Acquisation Act. The amount of compensation to be paid are to be assessed by the Land administrator after valuations and survey. If the amount of compensation awarded by the Land administor is not acceptable by the Developer then he would have to rely on provisions of Section 36-51 of the Land Acquisation Act where the Court would determine the appropriate compensation with the assistance of assessors.

So why is he now blaming HINDRAF for his ignorance of the Law. He has to justify how his Political Secretary came up with RM30 million or even his own Statement that it would cost more than "tens of Millions". Instead he is trying to divert from the real issue.

He further states " the forcible acquisation of Kg Buah Pala involving developed land would be of frightening magnitute and the State Government did not have the financial capability to do so".

Guan Eng is definately a liar and hoodwinking the public. Kg Buah Pala is not a developed land in the first place. I may be thousands of miles away but i will vouch it is a yet to be developed land and the developers had done nothing on the piece of land as yet. So WHAT IS HE FRIGHTENED ABOUT. The villagers have been occupying the land for 200 years and the land is developed in this modern day as a cultural village by the poor and defenceless people of Penang with their own sweat and blood. If the land is worth hundreds of millions of Ringgit because it is developed then the compensation should be to the owners as they are the real developers of the land at the present moment.

Guan Eng claims that the land which is believed to be transfered under dubious manner by the previous BN Government is the fault of the previous Government. But he must remember that the actual transfer of the said land had occured during his tenure as the Chief Minister.

If the previous Government had made a fraudulent deal then he is part of the fraudulent transaction for having sanctioned the transfer after he became the Chief Minister.

The need of a roof over one's head is a basic neccessity just like food and clothing. These poor people have been there with a little space/compound (for their children to play) and a safe roof for 200 years in a piece of land given to them on trust by the Brown family. So why now rob them of the basic necessity? Guan Eng had also lied that the people was offered compensation of RM200,000 and that many had accepted the offer and moved.But in actual fact they were offered RM90,000 by developers far below market value and which is insuffient for them to buy a new property in any part of Penang and the actual number of houseowners who accepted the shortchanged deal were 7 and not many as claimed by Guan Eng ( 5 Malay families and 2 Indian families). As far as i am concerned he is a heartless man for lying and colluding with the developers in uprooting these people with a peanut offer of RM90,000. The villagers had clearly stated that it is not an issue of compensation but a matter of preserving their peaceful existence in their hereditary cultural living over a safe roof. The basic need of a safe roof is a fundamental Human Right. As a responsible Chief Minister and a man who claims to lead the Democratic Party he should be the first to protect and preserve their homes but instead robbing them of thier basic necessity and Human dignity. HINDRAF would vigourously resist any attempt to take away this fundamental right and dignity even if it means ending our friendship with DAP.

Yes I agree HINDRAF has been infiltrated by BN stooges and Police Special Branch which is trying hard to break the Movement. But i will not sit idle and see him destroy the fundamental right in the name of development of not only Indian Community but of any community for the matter.

HINDRAF calls upon other Pakatan Coalition leaders to advice this heartless Chief Minister.

P.Waytha Moorthy

Chairman

HINDRAF

A TEST FOR PENANG PAKATAN – WITH THE RAKYAT OR WITH THE RICH

While Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is fully aware that the previous Government under Barisan National (BN) is to be blamed for the current problems in Kampung Buah Pala, Penang; yet the DAP led Pakatan Rakyat Government cannot just wash its hands off yet and blame the previous Government all the way.

In fact it puts to test or rather gives Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng a chance to prove that his government is pro people against being pro capitalist. For the time being it looks like peoples power has succeeded in postponing the forced eviction of the Kampung Pala settlers this Thursday.

PSM having the experience in fighting and championing many urban poor settlement sees that the biggest conflict surrounding land disputes are not the questions of ethnicity or heritage but rather it is the question of class. In most cases, the capitalist class using its financial muscle obtains land by buying over the State Government and its politicians. The poor settlers who have spent decades developing the land is left in a lurch and shown the exit door. The legal argument is standard – they are illegals, squatters and trespassers. They have been adequately compensated or these people are anti-development.

We have heard these same mantras over and over. These mantras have been used to evict the orang asli, the plantation workers, the farmers and the urban settlers over the years. In most cases the State and the legal system is with the rich and the developers. In cases where the people have triumphed, it is because of the resistance and struggle they put forward. It is very seldom, where the law has sided with the poor.

The current conflict puts a challenge to the Pakatan Government on the question of political will and political alliance. It is a question of class which the State Government needs to address. Everything else is technical and secondary. The State Government needs to choose if it wants to be with the many or just be comfortable living in its oasis.

PSM calls upon the State Government to use its political mandate and will to side with the settlers of Kampung Buah Pala. We call for all forced evictions in the State of Penang to be immediately halted. We call for a dialogue and the settlers of kampong Buah Pala be treated as partners in these development in their area.


S.Arutchelvan
Secretary General
PSM

Najib gets bashed at Pakatan 'unity' rally

MP Gobala gets death threats

Muafakat pemimpin padukan Pakatan Rakyat

Frustrated villagers want Lim to quit - Malaysiakini

Kampung Buah Pala villagers in Penang have made clear their displeasure with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng by urging him to resign over his failure to help them.

"If he can't acquire this land from the developer and preserve this village, he might as well resign from his post," said village residents' association assistant secretary C Tharmaraj.

hindraf kampung buah pala protest at dap hq petaling jaya 300609 05Speaking to reporters at the village today, Tharmaraj accused Lim of being more keen in protecting the company's interest rather than that of the people's.

He said villagers are not blaming Lim as the cause of their predicament.

He said they only want the current state government to correct the malpractices of the past government.

"Is it too much to ask? If Lim can't do this for the people who voted for his government, he should just resign and go back to his home state of Malacca," he added.

He also questioned why Lim is afraid to use legal means to solve the problem.

The villagers are facing imminent eviction as the land has been sold to a company to be developed into a high-end residential estate.

Yesterday Lim defended his government by stating that it has never consented to or approved the demolition of Kampung Buah Pala.

The chief minster said Kampung Buah Pala is still standing today because of the intervention of his state government.

He had said any action taken against the residents has been initiated by the developer after obtaining a court order.

'Stop diverting blame'

Tharmaraj hit out at Lim for trying to divert blame to the previous BN government for the controversy and Hindraf for 'sensationalising' the issue.

"Lim should stop blaming others and turning it into a communal issue," he said, noting that issue is about the rights of citizens.

He said the controversy erupted because the past and current state governments have failed to recognise the people's rightful ownership to the land.

"Lim should be honest and sincere enough to admit that he had failed to exercise his executive powers to save our village.

"He has simply ignored and neglected us for past 15 months ... did not even bother to visit our village and talk to us."

Tharmaraj also slammed Lim for listening too much to his legal adviser Faiza Zulkifli and other senior civil servants in making decisions over the controversy.

yusmaidi yusoffHe said Lim should have considered second legal opinions expressed by other lawyers such as Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy, the village legal adviser Cecil Rajendra and even Balik Pulau parliamentarian Yusmadi Yusoff (left).

"His legal adviser is giving the wrong advice, maybe she has a conflict of interests ... who knows," he alleged.

He asked whether Lim feared a backlash from government officers if the state government were to re-acquire the land from its landowner, Koperasi Pegawai-Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang.

Tharmaraj also blasted the federal court judgment, which favoured the landowner and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd, pointing out that the three-member bench "got it all wrong" when it declared the villagers have no locus standi to bring up the matter.

Land appropriated 'by deception'

He recalled that the villagers' ancestors were brought to this place about 200 years ago as indentured labourers from South India to work in colonial estates.

He said the ancestors were given this land on free ownership by the Brown Estate Housing Trust before the Umno-dominated Malayan government turned it into a temporary occupation licence (TOL) settlement after Independence in 1957.

He said senior villagers would recall that their parents, mostly illiterate, were hoodwinked into signing documents about 50 years ago by government officers on the pretext of providing water and electricity supply to the village.

kampung buah pala penang 250609 09He said the villagers only now realised that their forefathers were duped by their own government to terminate their land ownership and turn the land into a TOL village.

In 2005, the state land office stopped TOL collections from the villagers, alienated the land under state ownership and subsequently sold it to the cooperative.

"Our very own government appropriated our land by deception.

"We have lived here for five generations, but the judges are saying we are tresspassers and squatters. Is this social justice? Is this the rule of law claimed by the chief minister?

"He can easily correct all the past wrongdoings by a single stroke of his pen. Lim should walk his talk," said Tharmaraj, who broke into tears at the end of the press conference.

Jawapan Parlimen: Pengharaman Hindraf kerana Pengerusi Keluar Negara

Tuan Manikavasagam a/l Sundaram [Kapar] minta Menteri Dalam Negeri menyatakan sebab-sebab Kerajaan mengharamkan pergerakan Hindraf. Apakah kewujudan bukti-bukti yang mengaitkan pergerakan tersebut dengan kumpulan penganas luar Negara.

Tuan Yang Pertua,

Untuk makluman Yang Berhormat, Hindraf adalah sebuah pertubuhan haram yang tidak berdaftar. Kumpulan ini telah diisytiharkan sebagai sebuah kumpulan haram pada 14 Oktober 2008 mengikut peruntukan Seksten 8(1) Akta Pendaftaran Pertubuhan 1966 (Akta 335). Tindakan penahanan lima (5) orang pemimpin Kumpulan Haram Hindraf (KHH) di bawah seksyen 8(1) AKDN 1960 adalah kerana tindak tanduk mereka menganjurkan aktiviti-aktiviti yang jelas mebangkitkan sentiment perkauman dan agama yang serius yang boleh mencetuskan konflik antara kaum dan seterusnya memudaratkan kententeraman awam dan keselamatan Negara. Mereka juga telah menganjurkan perhimpunan-perhimpunan yang membangkitan sentiment sehingga mencetuskan tindakan-tindakan yang berunsur keagamaan.

Maklumat perisikan telah mendedahkan terdapat usaha-usaha oleh Kumpulan Haram Hindraf (KHH) untuk mendapatkan bantuan dan sokongan dari Negara luar. Maklumat perisikan juga melaporakan bahawa lawatan Waytha Moorthy a/l Ponnusamy , Pengerusi kumpulan ini ke luar Negara pada 28 November 2007 adalah diantara lainnya, untuk mendapatkan sokongan antarabangsa termasuk usaha mengadakan perjumpaan dengan pemimpin LTTE.

Court to rule on venue dispute in sodomy trial

Written by Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge

The Court of Appeal will decide Thursday whether Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial would be heard at the Kuala Lumpur High Court or be transferred back to the Sessions Court.

Anwar was disputing the transfer certificate issued by Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail under Section 418a of the Criminal Procedure Code on grounds that there was legitimate expectation that the latter would not participate in the sodomy case.

A three-member bench comprising Court of Appeal judges Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong, Datuk Abu Samah Nordin and Datuk Jeffrey Tan today heard submissions on the transfer certificate issued by the AG for the trial be moved from the Sessions Court to the High Court.

Anwar's lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah submitted that there was legitimate expectations by Anwar and the public that Abdul Gani would not partake in the case following public assurance by the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Sulaiman said Anwar had levelled various allegations against Abdul Gani, including the concealing and fabricating of evidence, in relation to Anwar's assault case in 1998.

Abdul Gani had not made any public denial of the accusations nor filed any affidavit rebutting Anwar's claims, Sulaiman told the court.

Sulaiman also submitted that there was the issue of perceived bias on the part of the AG.

"The AG should also be automatically disqualified on grounds of conflict of interest," Sulaiman said.

According to Sulaiman, there were other legal avenues available to the public prosecutor to transfer the sodomy trial without necessitating the involvement of the AG.

Meanwhile, Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abidin sought to defend the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision to transfer the case, saying that the Sessions Court had no jurisdiction to rule on whether the transfer certificate was valid.

On March 5, High Court Judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah revised Sessions Court Judge SM Komathy Suppiah's Nov 7, 2008 decision to hear Anwar’s sodomy case.

Mohd Yusof also submitted that Abdullah's promise was not binding on the AG.

"The Prime Minister cannot be seen to make a promise to the public or individuals expecting the AG to disregard his functions as provided by law," Mohd Yusof said.

On arguments of perceived bias by Abdul Gani, Mohd Yusof said the issue "has no relevance" as it would only apply on judicial functions in matters involving two parties.

However, Sulaiman rebutted, saying: "Natural justice principles must encompass the rule against bias."

Sulaiman also said there were no special reasons given for the sodomy trial's transfer from the Sessions Court to the High Court, which are both housed on different floors of the Jalan Duta Court Complex.

The reasons stated include better crowd control for Anwar's supporters attending the hearing, that the case attracts great international attention and that Anwar was the opposition leader as well as member of parliament for Permatang Pauh.

Meanwhile, during a separate mention earlier today, the Kuala Lumpur High Court postponed to Friday the hearing of Anwar's application for prosecution to furnish him with evidence and documents ahead of the sodomy trial.

The High Court on July 8 first will hear Anwar's application to strike out the sodomy charge.

Meanwhile, the trial proper was scheduled from July 8 to 24 depending on the outcome of the strike-out request.

The former deputy prime minister pleaded not guilty when charged with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in Bukit Damansara on June 26 last year.

Doctor’s advise

Image

I am tired of writing about social, political, economic and religious issues. I mean: the problem is never going to go away whatever I may say. So today I am just going to address health issues and publish what the doctor said would be considered a healthy lifestyle. But I did not write this piece though. Someone sent it to me and I don’t know who wrote it.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it. Don't waste it on exercise.

Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer. That's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster.

Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn!

And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken.

Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable).

And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine. That means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Anyway, 1% of traffic accidents are caused by drunk drivers. So people who don’t drink are very dangerous because they cause 99% of traffic accidents.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one.

If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain ... Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! .... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil.

In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger.

You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO … Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!!

It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember: 'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, 'WOO HOO, what a Ride!'

AND.....

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION

1. Eat and drink what you like.

2. Speaking American English is apparently what kills you.

3. 'Today’ is a gift. That is why it is called ‘The Present’.

Unqualified to interpret religious texts? A response — Farish A. Noor

JULY 1 — These days we often hear the accusation that someone or another is doing something nasty by interpreting a book or text out of context.

The common refrain that follows goes something like this: “Who are you to interpret our holy book on your own without the guidance of our supreme religious elders who are so knowledgeable in scriptural knowledge that your own petty knowledge is like that of a gnat’s in comparison?”

From this bombastic salvo there usually follows the same train of accusations and slander, which include the following: Muslim/Christian/Buddhist/Hindu feminists are simply reading and re-reading the holy scriptures with their own agendas in mind; that they are engaged in wilful and unregulated interpretation that goes against orthodoxy, etc.

Before we deal with the political nature and consequences of such accusations, let us return to the original premise and deconstruct it a bit.

Interpretation, of any text, is necessarily a subjective, historically-determined and culturally-contextualised endeavour. Every act of reading is necessarily subjective and therefore contingent and we cannot escape from the possibility of error, misinterpretation and misappropriation.

This is true of reading a holy scripture as it is true about reading the menu of a restaurant, for the fact is that reading is necessarily a risk-laden enterprise and this has more to do with the nature of language as a social phenomena than anything else.

Going back to the genesis of all the major religious belief-systems in the world, we see that the foundational movement of such religions entailed the act of reading and interpretation. From the very outset of revelation itself, the possibility of error and misunderstanding has always been there.

This is simply because communication – even in the case of divine communication with mortal beings – carries with it the risk that the message may get lost.

With the passing of time however, religious texts in particular gain a certain degree of consistency in meaning because of the way that the reading, interpretation and dissemination of such texts is left in the hands of a few, who in turn are elevated to the status of experts.

In the history of the Jewish faith, for instance, the interpretation of Jewish scripture was monopolised by the Rabbinical classes; until the advent of Jesus who was the first to challenge the hegemonic grip of Rabbinical authority. Likewise in Hinduism, the interpretation of Vedantic texts was left in the hands of the Brahminical classes, and only challenged by the likes of the Buddha who trespassed the norms of the discursive economy with his emphasis on the emotional-spiritual (as opposed to ritualistic) development of the individual.

In the Islamic tradition, the monopoly over religious textual interpretation was guarded by the Ulama classes, but often challenged by independent lay scholars who opened up and expanded the space of Muslim religious discourse and praxis.

It is therefore ironic that today Muslim women’s groups like Malaysia’s Sisters in Islam are deemed to have gone beyond the pale of religious normativity by allegedly interpreting the Quran in a manner that goes against tradition or the sanction of the religious scholars.

But hasn’t this been the case with so many other Muslim intellectuals who were in fact pioneers in the process of modernising the Muslim mind?

If groups like Sisters in Islam are deemed guilty of ‘freely interpreting’ religious scripture, then what would we have to say about men like Jamaluddin al-Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan? Syed Ahmad Khan – who founded the Aligarh Muslim University – was one of the first who claimed that unless and until Islamic thought could be measured and judged by the standards of modern science it would not survive the modern age.

For his efforts to modernise our understanding of Islam, he was deemed a materialist and secular thinker; yet he was the one who built the first modern Islamic university in the world, that proudly stands until today at Aligarh, India.

Likewise Abul Alaa Maudoodi and Sayyid Qutb were also Muslim thinkers well ahead of their time who broke from sedimented traditions and who offered radically new and modern interpretations of Islam in their time.

And when we look at their profiles, they were certainly nottraditional ulama by any stretch of the imagination: Maudoodi was trained as a journalist and worked as a pamphleteer and propagandist for his cause. Qutb, on the other hand, was even accused of desecrating the Quran by offering an activist-oriented exegesis of the text that went against customary practice then. But today, does anyone doubt the impact that both Maudoodi and Qutb have had on contemporary Muslim thought and praxis?

Closer to Southeast Asia we have thinkers like Syed Sheikh al-Hady and Sheikh Tahir Jalaluddin who were modern thinkers who wanted to adapt the Muslim mindset to the needs of the modern age. Syed Sheikh al-Hady even wrote the Hikayat Faridah Hanum, which remains as the first modern feminist novel in vernacular Malay literature. For his pioneering efforts to emancipate Muslim women from patriarchal tyranny, he too was deemed a secularist and modernist by the conservatives among his peers. But do we doubt or deny his achievements, or the achievements of any of these modernist thinkers today? Certainly not.

So let us clear the decks and understand some simple truths about textual analysis and exegesis: Reading anything – be it a novel or a holy book – is necessarily a subjective process that is always going to be particular, historically specific and necessarily contingent. No text can escape this, for the reason that reading involves an inter-subjective process of engagement with an author that is not present. We can try our best to remain true to the intended meaning of the text, but we cannot ever claim to have complete knowledge of it.

On that basis, no group can claim to have a monopoly over truth value, and no group can claim to be right simply because they have settled on an agreed consensus. Traditional conservative scholars who live, work and interact only among themselves and their closed circle of confidants and acolytes may think that they have closed off the process of interpretation simply because they have engineered a consensus among themselves; but this does not mean that the process of reading and interpretation is over and closed for good. Furthermore consensus does not guarantee truth value, for even if the whole planet thinks that the earth is flat it does not make it so.

For the sake of keeping religious texts and scriptures alive and relevant to the needs of our times, alternative readings are required time and again. That was the intention of scholars like Maudoodi, Qutb, Ahmad Khan, Abduh and Sheikh al-Hady. And interestingly, that too happens to be the intention of religious activists like Sisters in Islam and other Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Buddhists activists today. — www.othermalaysia.org

* (This article was originally titled “You Are Not Qualified To Interpret my Religious Text”: How to Respond to Attempts to Close the Public Domain- Part 3 and appeared in www.othermalaysia.org on June 26, 2009)

Penang Kampung Buah Pala controversy – Koh Tsu Koon should speak up as to whether he would make amends for his decisions as Penang Chief Minister by s

By Lim Kit Siang,

The former Penang Chief Minister and now Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon should speak up as to whether he would make amends for his decisions as Penang Chief Minister in the Kampung Buah Pala, Penang controversy by securing a Federal Government grant to Penang State Government to resolve the issue with “a stroke of the pen”?

The Penang Pakatan Rakyat government is now caught in a vice created by Koh’s administration although it had prevented the eviction of the residents in the area since the middle of last year.

Firstly, Koh must explain why as Chief Minister, his Executive Council had approved the state government land of Kampung Buah Pala to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang, first time on 18th August 2004 and second time on 8th June 2005 at a very low premium of RM6.42 million or RM20 per square feet.

Secondly, why Koh and his Exco subsequently halved the premium to RM3.21 million or only RM10 psf on the recommendation of the Umno Deputy Chief Minister – far below the market price of the prime land.

Thirdly, why Koh and the Penang State Government had not consulted the residents concerned before alienating the land which is now to be developed into the 14-storey luxury-living Oasis project with a Gross Development Value of RM150 million, comprising 490 condominium units (priced from RM240,000 to RM290,000) on the 2.6 hectare site.

It has been said that the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng can resolve the Kampung Buah Pala issue with “a stroke of the pen”. Yes, it can be resolved with “a stroke of the pen” but involving compensation for the RM150 million Oasis project.

Can the Penang State Government afford such a compensation?

Is Koh prepared to raise in Friday’s Cabinet meeting that the Federal Government make a grant to the Penang State Government for the amount needed to resolve Kampung Buah Pala issue with “a stroke of the pen” by the Penang Chief Minister?

Time has come for Koh to speak up or he will be failing his own KPI although he is the Cabinet monitor to oversee the KPIs of all Ministers.

Kg Buah Pala residents want Penang CM to resign

PENANG, 1 July 2009: The Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association in Bukit Gelugor here today urged Lim Guan Eng to step down as Penang chief minister for having failed to serve and help the people in the state.

Its spokesperson, C Tharmaraj, said the association also felt that Lim, who is DAP secretary-general, was not able to discharge his duties and keep his promise.

"He is a big liar and always makes contradicting statements. He doesn't know anything about Penang because he is from Melaka.

"The promise he made to us during the last general election to return our rights on the land was never fulfilled. I think it's better if he resigns," he told reporters here today.

The residents have been in a tussle over recent years to save their cattle-rearing village, dubbed Penang's High Chaparral, from being demolished to make way for development projects.

Thomas Chan, the director of Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd, said that as the project developer, the company had suffered a loss of RM6 million annually due to the postponement of the project, which should have kicked off early last year.

"Ten families have been compensated to vacate the land so far, but 22 others still won't budge," he said, adding that the company would convene a meeting with the state government within this month to solve the problem.

He said like it or not, the residents had to vacate their homes as the Federal Court on 24 June had maintained the Court of Appeal's decision ordering the residents to vacate their homes.

"If they fail to do so by 2 Aug, action can be taken against them for contempt of court," Chan said.

Meanwhile, MIC Youth chief T Mohan also called on the federal government to help solve the problem faced by the Kampung Buah Pala residents.

"We are concerned that if prolonged, it would create racial problem in the country," he said in a statement here.

He said the silence and uncaring attitude showed by the opposition-led state government only proved that they were not ready to face the problem, let alone to take on the challenge to solve it.

Mohan said the village, which comprised 41 homes with over 300 residents, was the only Indian Malaysian settlement of over 100 years of age in the state.

Hence, he said the MIC Youth hoped that the issue would not be politicised. — Bernama