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Friday, July 3, 2009

Hindraf Protest at DAP HQ Ipoh

Wacana terbuka, bukan kerjasama-Pemuda PAS

In a village, Zaid’s coming-out party as Rais fetes voters - The Malaysian Insider

In a village, Zaid’s coming-out party as Rais fetes voters

Zaid meeting the locals upon arriving. - Picture by Jack Ooi

By Neville Spykerman

JELEBU, July 3 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim made his debut on the PKR ceramah trail at a small village here in Negri Sembilan last night and sparked enough excitement and concern to prompt his Umno rival to throw a dinner for villagers in an attempt to draw attention from the maverick politician.

The Umno dinner was organised by his former Umno Cabinet colleague Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, who is also the local MP, and according to some villagers, it was the first such function in years.

Ties between Rais and Zaid have been icy after the Barisan Nasional (BN) minister accused the former de facto law minister of being an agent of the Western press in discrediting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Zaid denied this and subsequently challenged the information minister to a public debate.

Last night over 400 villagers gave Rais's dinner a miss and turned up at the small community hall to listen to Zaid, who joined PKR last month

Zaid told the crowd he was still waiting for Rais to give him the time and place for a debate.

“My only condition is that RTM should broadcast the debate.”

The curious and the faithful that showed up, to know more about Zaid. - Picture by Jack Ooi

But in his first ceramah as a PKR member, Zaid, who has been touted as a potential national leader and even a possible heir to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, used his own small town upbringing to relate to the audience.

Zaid told the gathering of mainly rural Malay villagers that he also came from a kampung in Kelantan and could relate to their hardships.

He told the crowd that he entered politics to help uplift the plight of ordinary folk but while he was in Umno, he learned that politicians seldom honoured their promises.

He lashed out at Najib’s slogan of 1 Malaysia and said that while the BN government spoke of change they would never amend laws which kept them in power.

He challenged the government to prove him wrong by repealing the Official Secrets Act and other repressive laws which he said kept the government from telling people the truth.

Zaid also accused the BN administration of misusing the police to suppress democracy especially during by-elections, as he appeared to stay on the message from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties in painting a picture of an oppressive government to voters.

The former minister resigned last year from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's administration in protest against the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

He had been roped into the Cabinet by Abdullah last year to specifically reform the judiciary but quickly grew frustrated over the slow pace of reforms and the attacks against him from within Umno.

Last night the lawyer-turned-political maverick cited the recent use of between 5,000 and 6,000 police personnel sent to maintain security during the Kuala Terengganu by-election as an example of voter intimidation.

The former minister pointed out that he had just returned from Jakarta, where just 3,500 police personnel managed to successfully maintain law and order while the city’s 12 million people elected its new mayor.

He lamented the fact that while Indonesia was ruled by a dictator for 35 years, the practice of democracy there was now more vibrant than in Malaysia.

Zaid also reminded the crowd of what happened to Anwar during his prosecution for sodomy in 1999 and said he feared history was going to be repeated.

However he said PKR was ready to face the challenges ahead even if the opposition leader was sent back to jail.

11-year-old Orang Asli mothers shock for deputy minister

PETALING JAYA, July 3 — Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk T. Murugiah had a cultural shock when he visited the Cameron Highlands Hospital maternity ward recently and found Orang Asli mothers as young as 11 and 12 years old.

The shock aside, what worried him more was that these minors were ignorant that they needed to register the births of their babies.

He said these girls would soon return to their homes in remote villages and the babies would remain without a birth certificate.

"This will pose a problem not only for the child and the parents but also the government in later years," he said.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Putra Heights residents in Subang Jaya near here, Murugiah said he would bring up the issue of non-registration with the National Registration Department to see if it could appoint a special officer to handle such cases.

He said similar cases existed in Sabah and Sarawak and solutions needed to be found to avoid problems later.

He said that the number of complaints received by the Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) annually about children without birth certificates was high and it was quite a task to solve some of these cases. — Bernama

What is the Difference between Pak lah and Lim Guan Eng?

We were there with the villagers last Tuesday 30th of June,from 4.00pm till over 7.00pm at Komtar waiting for the Chief Minister to come and talk to the Villagers, to hear their side of the story, something which he has not done till todat the 3rd of July.. We informed , we requested, we pleaded for Guan Eng to come down and just listen to the villagers point of view that day- late as it was in this episode.

All we got back were parrot like responses from his political secretary – “ The Chief Minister has asked me to meet you.. the Chief minister has asked me to take your memorandum, the Chief Minister cannot meet you.” In fact when he repeated that so many times like a parrot, I got so mad, I asked him if this was the Competency that the Chief Minister so often talks about –like a parrot, even like a robot, that was really some competency I must say, in the way he is dealing with this whole issue of fundamental rights. Can you blame whoever for rudeness when he said, “…the Chief Minister had sent his office boy to meet us.” to deal with an issue so complex and fundamental, great decision is all I can say.

The Villagers waited in the KOMTAR auditorium for several hours for the CM to come down, but he just plain refused to come down, inspite of the stand of the villagers that they will not leave unless the CM comes down to meet them. Further, look at this. The 2 DCMS had gone to the village to meet the villagers to give the the “good news” about the postponement of the razing of the village for a month” at the same time that the villagers were at Komtar at the doorsteps. Who are they trying to play around with. Isnn. this palin stupid, Just like all the things we used to say about Pka Lah. When asked why had they gone there when all the villagers were right there , the political secretary again like a parrot only repeated that they had gone there to give some “good news”. Is there a difference in this kind of inanity between Pak lah and Guan Eng.

This was exactly the cavalier manner in which Pak Lah treated the Hindraf’s thousands of appeals,requests and memorandums to address the Indian marginalization issue. He never once came and met up with the affected people. Because in truth he never represented their interests - understandable.So is there a difference here – you judge. What is the Chief minister so afraid of? Is he afraid his true position on the matter will be exposed - that he actually stands with the developer than with the people. Well he has done exactly that now , in my opinion by his decision not to meet the people. See how he shoots his own rwo feet, with his cavalier actions, just like Pak lah.

He seems to have more information from the developer and much of it distorted – like the quantum of compensation offered to the villagers – some RM 200,000. When we ask the villagers, did they offer you any such compensation all we get back is angry responses about the lie. In any case Guan Eng seems to have information that could only have come to him from the Deevelopers side. Why does he not want to get the Villagers side of the story from them, himself. This was always the case with Pak Lah, he always held the view of the rich and the powerful. I suggest that in this case Guan Eng too is aligned with the rich and the powerful and against the people, no matter that the problem was caused by Koh Tsu Koon’s Government – just like Pak lah was in all those cases of temple Demolitions. Only this time he is hiding behind the law, the courts and the apparent economic costs of an alternative solution.

Then , Thomas Chan, the Chief guy at NUSMETRO VENTURES who stands to reap 100s of millions Ringgit,in profit, issues a statement saying he will be there with the bulldozers on the 2nd of August to raze the village. He cannot do this without the consent of the State government, as we understand these things – so what is Guan Eng ‘s stand here. Is it really going to be any different than Pak lah’s positions on the many demolitions. On this we will wait and see.

Yesterday the court bailiff’s showed up to paste the notices and who do they show up with other than the Developer, his gangsters and the police. This is exactly like the time under Pak Lah, it was always the rich and the powerful, their gangster, the courts behind them and the police to keep the people down should there be any resistance. Deja Vu.....! All of this is under the watch of a Chief Minister who rode the Makkal Sakthi wave, promising all kind so of goodies, got the votes and now forgotten.

Guan Eng has forgotten who really put him up there. If he persists, in acting like Pak lah, he will eventually face the same consequences that Pak Lah faced.. may not even have to wait till the next General Elections, it could happen on the 2nd of August when he shows his side clearly for all the nation to see, is he with the developers or is he with the people.

Unless of course , now he wants to go further downstream along Pak Lah’s line and shut us all up under ISA. I will not be surprised if his thoughts are flowing that way, because of the way he has been behaving up to now…..just like Pak Lah.

Guan Eng , please answer this - is there any difference between yourself and Pak Lah in essence?

Procurement: A call for transparency

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

JULY 2 — Public procurement is the single most important source of corruption in any country, including ours. This crucial process remains a great mystery to the public at large because it is shrouded in secrecy.

The mystery is heightened by the Official Secrets Act (OSA). The OSA has become a permanent fixture in many jurisdictions, and the Malaysian government is not about to toss it out of the window any time soon. The OSA hides a multitude of sins and it is an impediment to transparency.

The government finds comfort and safety by hiding all of its more questionable and corrupt actions that cannot stand close scrutiny behind the OSA. As we know, without transparency, there is no accountability.

Unethical public officials, including senior politicians whose numbers are growing according to independent surveys, stand to gain from a corrupt procurement system. They are not slow to create the entirely spurious impression that Malaysia operates a fair system, as good as any in the world, and they say that it should be left alone. Why, they point out, change a winning formula? But, is it really? In theory, yes, but the practice is an entirely different matter. The procurement system in Malaysia is more honoured in the breach than in the observance.

Today, more than at any time in the history of modern governance, ethics has taken centre stage whenever public policy issues are discussed. Many organisations the world over are constantly grappling with the mounting problems of unethical public behaviour, particularly in the procurement process.

Institutions are expending time, energy and resources to develop and promote a common understanding of what constitutes ethical conduct in the work environment. Ethics holds the key to good governance, and an ethical procurement regime cannot take root unless the system that underpins it is supported by individuals who accept the notion of public duty in the public interest.

From my perspective as an anti-corruption activist, the starting point for an ethical procurement regime is good governance, with all that this implies. What this means in effect is that given the right climate, strong political will and principled leadership it should lead to greater transparency and accountability in official business transactions.

On the premise that a system is only as good as the people who operate and manage it, their selection and training is crucially important. A procedure must be developed to weed out the obvious misfits by probing rigorously a candidate’s personal history, his social life and his general understanding of, and attitude to, ethical standards of public service.

Standards determine an organisation’s ethical culture. They are particularly important because they set the tone of the organisation. They define staff behaviour at work, prevent abuses, and serve to remind them as public servants that they have an obligation to exercise the power entrusted to them with the utmost circumspection for the benefit of those for whom, and to whom, they are accountable.

Their decisions must be motivated solely by considerations of public interest, and their actions must be open to public scrutiny. Unethical public service behaviour is always traceable to institutional failures. It makes enormous sense for organisations to set high, but realistic standards.

To ensure the integrity of the procurement process, and the accountability of staff members directly engaged in procurement activities, all procurement officers shall be required to submit a financial disclosure statement on first appointment and thereafter annually in respect of themselves, their spouses and dependent children. A ‘zero tolerance’ policy should be adopted and rigorously enforced.

The United Nations Organisation is at the forefront in the fight for ethical conduct in public procurement, and in 2006 set out a requirement for staff engaged in procurement activities to sign the Declaration of Ethical Responsibilities at the time of recruitment.

Public service is awash with conflict of interest situations that public servants have to be constantly aware of, but often fail to recognise not because they are inherently dishonest but because they really cannot see them and, therefore, fail recognise the danger signs. It is important that as much professional advice be available to all public servants engaged in procurement services. The United Nations Declaration of Ethical Responsibilities is a good example of an attempt to define the standards of conduct demanded, and expected of those engaged in public procurement.

The operating principles embodied in the UN Declaration of Ethical Responsibilities serve two complementary purposes which are to promote efficiency, and discourage corrupt practices. Clearly, corruption, for obvious reasons must be kept out of the procurement system, and experience shows that this can be achieved if there is a desire and a will to do so. In the fight against unethical public behaviour, political will is crucial for success. In Malaysia, this is apparently lacking, a carry over from the Mahathir years.

The notion that corrupt practices can be contained by relying solely on self-regulation is a fallacy. Similarly, experience has shown that depending entirely on legal sanctions will not do the trick either. We have to establish whether a particular ethical problem is institutional or is it attributable to human weakness? If the problems are institutional, punishing individuals without first addressing an institution’s internal weaknesses such as the systems and procedures in place is not going to make any difference to corruption in procurement. That having said, the guilty must be made to face the music, the more discordant the better.

All that notwithstanding, there is a need for a sound and consistent legal framework that sets out the basic principles and practices that have to be observed in public procurement. This can take many forms according to Jeremy Pope of Transparency International fame. There is growing awareness he says of the advantages of a unified Procurement Code incorporating the usual basic principles and supplemented with detailed rules and regulations within the purchasing organisations. Many countries are consolidating existing laws into such a code. A Procurement Code must be predicated on open and transparent procedures and practices for conducting the procurement process.

These are not questions of morality. They relate to principled governance and are intended to assist those responsible for public procurement to shift their focus from the narrow mechanical aspects of procurement and concentrate on broader procurement implications. Public procurement as stated at the beginning of this article remains the biggest and most vulnerable underbelly of corruption.

In the end, in the context of integrity in public procurement, we are not talking about systems and mechanisms per se, important though they may be in themselves, but, more to the point, we are talking about the people recruited and entrusted to operate them. If they are ethically deficient to begin with, then ethics in procurement will be given the run around. It is for this reason that the “right” people must be appointed to serve in key functions, preferably based on an integrity test as a minimum requirement. There is, of course no guarantee any test invented so far will haul in a good catch, but a systematic approach to recruitment will help minimise an outbreak of ethical disasters later on.

Given its dismal record in public procurement activities, the government must give practical effect to the public concerns about the entire procurement regime as developed and applied in Malaysia. It is important for the government to adopt international best procurement practices and close windows of opportunity for corruption to infect the system.

Acknowledgement: I have, in the preparation of this article, relied heavily on Jeremy Pope’s invaluable Source Book 2000 ‘Confronting Corruption: The Elements of a National Integrity System’ – fast becoming a classic in its own right. I am equally indebted to Prof. Charles Samford of Griffith University, Queensland, one of Australia’s leading ethicists for his most generous and helpful guidance, as always.

Police

By The Nut Graph team
thenutgraph.com

Image of a police barrier in Dataran Merdeka

A PICTURE paints a thousand words, but how can one paint an accurate picture of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM)? After all, none other than Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan has been a regular headline grabber over the past year.

When he came into power in 2004, then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saw to the setting up of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police.

In May 2005, the commission came up with 125 recommendations to improve PDRM. One of the recommendations was for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to be set up.

Fast forward exactly one year later. With the IPCMC still unimplemented, PDRM in its internal bulletin Berita Bukit Aman alleged that the IPCMC was "unconstitutional, prejudicial to national security and public order, [could] cause a state of anarchy and [undermine] the ruling coalition's power." Its views were echoed by de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in Parliament on 30 June 2009.

Things have pretty much gone downhill if police actions are any indicator. In the run-up to the March 2008 general election, PDRM gained notoriety for clamping down on all manner of peaceful public assemblies — whether on electoral reforms, the plight of Indian Malaysians, or for human rights in general.

And since the March 2008 elections, PDRM started to appear even more in the news, but for all the wrong reasons. A brief chronology is in order:

13 Nov 2008: The IGP warns non-Muslims to stop challenging the National Fatwa Council's ruling that tomboyism was haram. He says the police "will take stern action as it involves national security."

16 Dec 2008: Thirty people are arrested in the "Cycling for Change" campaign, organised by the Oppressed People's Network (Jerit). Among others, the campaign called for a minimum wage act to be introduced, and for the Internal Security Act (ISA) to be abolished.

20 Jan 2009: A Kugan, 22, who was arrested on 15 Jan 2009 on suspicion of being involved in the theft of luxury cars, dies in police custody. An initial autopsy report states that the death was due to fluid accumulation in the lungs. Three days later, Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail classifies Kugan's death in police custody as murder. A second autopsy finds that Kugan was beaten to death.

28 Feb 2009: Police use water cannons to disperse a crowd of about 300 people who had gathered to lodge a mass report against the alleged mistreatment of former ISA detainee P Uthayakumar.

7 Mar 2009: Riot police fire teargas at hundreds of people who try to march towards Istana Negara, protesting the policy of using English to teach Science and Mathematics.


Police at the 7 March protest

11 Mar 2009: The government tables the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) Bill that promises a beefed-up body to probe complaints against enforcement agencies, including the police. This is despite criticisms that the EAIC will have no teeth, and more calls for the IPCMC Bill to be tabled instead.

5 May 2009: Political scientist Wong Chin Huat is arrested for sedition for writing several articles, including on the 1BLACKMalaysia campaign. Wong's arrest is the first of what amounts to a crackdown on more than 100 activists, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders and lawyers in less than 72 hours, including those gathered in front of the Perak state assembly on 7 May.

27 May 2009: Deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar says the ISA is still relevant to curb threats to the country's security and economy but is not meant to oppress anyone.

15 June 2009: A suspected thief is found dead in a lock-up in Damansara police station after a guard noticed the 53-year-old man lying flat beside the toilet.

21 June 2009: Police withdraw a permit for a dinner-cum-ceramah by the DAP in Klang at the very last minute. On the same day, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein says he will revisit the 125 recommendations made by the royal commission in 2005, hinting that this is because the recommendations have not been implemented properly. Two days later, Hishammuddin backtracks, and says that instead of revisiting the 125 recommendations, the ministry will instead think of a "new strategy" to "boost public confidence" in PDRM.

24 June 2009: Nazri says the AG's Chambers will not take any action against the perpetrators of A Kugan's death before 21 Aug 2009. On the same day, police in Selangor deny the DAP a permit, yet again, to hold a dinner gathering with speeches at Taman Sri Sungai Pelek Community Hall on 25 June.

What? Nothing about snatch thieves, rapists, wife-beaters and actual, real-life criminals? But there it is — the headlines speak for themselves. It does seem, though, that reducing all of this to Six Words on the police is not going to be easy.

Well, "Nut" is not The Nut Graph's middle name for nothing — we believe it can be done. Paint your picture of the Royal Malaysia Police in only six words. Here are some of The Nut Graph's humble attempts:

Cindy Tham:

Moto polis: "Tegas, Adil, dan Berhemah."

Deborah Loh:

Childhood ambition. Then I grew up.

Pay them higher salaries, less corruption?

Police need diversity and gender training.

Gan Pei Ling:

Children's hero. People's fear. Politicians' puppet.

Double standards for powerful and powerless.

When is Musa going to resign?

Jacqueline Ann Surin:

Snatch thieves rule! Where's the police?

We need a new police force.

Reform, reform, reform, reform, reform, reform.

Arrest candlelight vigilers. Water cannon dinners.

Beat them to death in detention.

Would you trust a police officer?

Lainie Yeoh:

Police behave like raja di Malaysia.

Nick Choo:

Placing Our Lives In Corrupt Enforcers.

Uniforms do not equate absolute authority.

Focus on vehicular congestion, not human.

May the force be with you.

Shanon Shah:

Easier to arrest than reform democracy.

Arrest now, ask questions later. Understand?

1Malaysia, many laws, no IPCMC, 1PDRM.

Who needs a military coup anyway?

Aktivis lebih bahaya daripada perogol bersiri!

I see dead people ... in detention.

Desperate politicians call for desperate enforcement.

BN's biggest public relations disaster yet.

The good ones need positive support.

Zedeck Siew:

"Maaf encik. Can buy you tea?"

Wooing the Indian Malaysian vote

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

ON 25 Nov 2007, the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) burst into public consciousness through a mammoth street rally. Few doubt that Hindraf was pivotal in swinging Indian Malaysian votes away from the Barisan Nasional (BN) three months later in the March 2008 general election.

On 2 July 2009, Malaysiakini reported that Hindraf has submitted an application to the Registrar of Societies to found a new party known as Parti Hak Asasi Manusia (Paham).

But apart from Hindraf, the emergence of other Indian Malaysian political parties is a trend that warrants attention. All claim to want to represent and improve the lot of Indian Malaysians. What does this say about the community itself? And what impact do these divisions have on BN and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)?

A few months before Hindraf, there was the Malaysian Indians United Party (MIUP) started by Datuk KS Nallakaruppan, a former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) stalwart and close friend of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

This year saw the birth of Hindraf splinter group, the Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party (MMSP), and the Malaysian Indian Democratic Action Front (Mindraf) founded by former journalist Manuel Lopez.

And in PAS, the party's supporters club has seen the Indian Malaysian faction, which outnumbers Chinese Malaysian members, demand that the club be split according to racial lines.

Developments in the community's political scene will shape the battle for Indian Malaysian votes in the 13th general election due in 2013. Already, there are early and subtle signs that the ground is shifting.

Moving quickly

Consider a few things which have happened since 3 April 2009, when Datuk Seri Najib Razak became prime minister.

The Tamil press play up criticisms of the PR by Hindraf leaders, though the organisation is banned. In Penang, Hindraf is butting heads with the DAP-led state government on behalf of Kampung Buah Pala residents whose land is to become the site of a luxury housing project.

People protesting for release of Hindraf leaders
Hindraf protestors (© The Nut Graph)

About two weeks after Najib took office, former Hindraf national coordinator RS Thanenthiran met with the premier to talk about the Indian Malaysian community's grievances. By this time, two Hindraf leaders had already been released from Internal Security Act detention in one of Najib's first moves as premier. Three other leaders would later be released on 9 May.

Thanenthiran confirms with The Nut Graph that he met Najib, remarking that his predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, did not once entertain Hindraf's requests for a meeting or acknowledge their memorandums. A month after the meeting with Najib, Thanenthiran launched MMSP.

On the ground, BN has not wasted time wooing the community, according to reports in the Tamil press.

Take the Cameron Highlands constituency, for example. Its Member of Parliament Datuk SK Devamany says, in a phone interview, that since April, two Tamil schools have received RM500,000 and RM700,000 each. Indian Malaysians have also been promoted to head a primary school there, and the local Drainage and Irrigation Department.

Indian Malaysian sentiment towards the BN government also appears to be on the uptrend although it is still early days in Najib's administration.

In the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research's 2008 fourth quarter poll on Peninsula Malaysia sentiment, 56% of Indian Malaysians surveyed disagreed when asked if Najib would make a good prime minister.

In another poll in May 2009, the first survey since Najib became prime minister, 64% of Indian Malaysians said they were satisfied when asked about his performance as premier.

Divide and conquer?

Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, the former executive director of MIC's Yayasan Strategik Sosial, says the emergence of different Indian Malaysian political parties indicates that the community still feels sidelined from the mainstream economy. This discontent gives room to individuals with the means and backing to start new parties.

Denison
Denison

Another cause is the lack of grassroots leaders who can identify with the rural and plantation communities in a way that western-trained leaders like PKR vice-president R Sivarasa or the DAP's Charles Santiago cannot. Denison says these leaders are not seen as representatives of the Tamil grassroots, and believes this played a part in allowing Hindraf, and parties like MMSP to rise.

Najib's tacit acceptance of MMSP by meeting them indicates his seriousness about winning back the non-Malay Malaysian vote. Denison observes that Najib knows BN cannot afford to be over-protective of MIC, which is embroiled in infighting and is no longer able to defend its position as the main representative of Indian Malaysians.

And while things appear quiet with MIUP and Mindraf, Najib only needs to engage the most attractive alternative to the illegal Hindraf.

As such, the speed at which MMSP's registration was approved in May, three months after its application, gave rise to talk that the fledging party had the BN's backing and funding.

Thanenthiran denies this and when asked again, said: "It is not important whether we support BN or PR but that we work with the party that is doing things to help the Indian [Malaysian] community."

He claims that MMSP, which has over 30,000 members now, is self-funding.

The party has been given further legitimacy by BN, even though it is not part of the coalition, through a campaign launched in early June to find stateless Indian Malaysians—- those without birth certificates or MyKads. MMSP is tracking these cases through announcements in the Tamil press and through its grassroots network, and is forwarding the individuals' details for the National Registration Department's further action.

Structural change

The political divisions among Indian Malaysians may be beneficial to BN, but problematic for PR which is still learning the ropes of state administration and coalition politics.

Thiruvenggadam
Thiruvenggadam

Petaling Jaya City councilor A Thiruvenggadam, who is from PKR, feels that PR could be doing more to fill the void by introducing faster changes in certain policies.

He says the PR-led Selangor government still has not dismantled past BN policies on the procurement and awarding of contracts, which, he says, still favour Malay Malaysians. He has also angered his party leaders for going public with claims of political interference in certain council dealings, and knows he is likely to be dropped when the state government announces councilors for the new term in July.

"The Selangor PR government is still adopting all the BN policies of the past to favour one community. We are seeing BN giving aid to Tamil schools and temples but PR is doing nothing to change such policies. Indian [Malaysian] support for PR will reduce if PR doesn't correct this," he warns in an interview.

Devamany's picture
Devamany
(pic courtesy of
MIC.org.my)
BN, being in federal power, has the resources to court the community. But structural change is also underway, promises Devamany, who is Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and whose portfolio includes policies on Indian Malaysian community issues for the Economic Planning Unit.

"The government is aware that piecemeal handouts to Tamil schools and temples are insufficient," he tells The Nut Graph.

Changes in education, civil service recruitment, poverty eradication, housing, and wages, among other areas, must take place with the results documented to give visibility to the government's efforts.

Devamany, who sits on the cabinet's sub-committee on Indian Malaysian affairs, says this must be done because people still believe "the government doesn't help non-Malays".

Personality vs community

Denison notes that the history of Indian Malaysian political parties has been fraught with splits and the formation of new parties. MIC has faced competition for Indian Malaysian membership even from parties in the BN fold or those friendly to BN, such as the People's Progressive Party, Gerakan, the Indian Progressive Front, and the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma).

"It can be taken as a sign that the Indian [Malaysian] community is most active politically. They are in every party, whether pro-BN or pro-PR. Their common problem, however, is that these parties tend to be personality-based which explains the splits and emergence of new parties," he notes.

Denison believes that Indian Malaysian parties have to change from being personality-driven to community based.

"The truth it, Indian political activism in Malaysia has not thrived unless there are other races to help it," he says, noting that just as MIC cannot go it alone without the rest of the BN coalition, PKR too, needs a multiracial platform to survive.

"I don't think Indian [Malaysian] unity is necessarily the way forward," he says.

But who eventually wins over the Indian Malaysian vote in the coming elections is still left to be seen.

M'sia serious about beating human trafficking

The Sun
Charles Ramendran

KUALA LUMPUR (July 2, 2009): The Home Ministry said Malaysia had taken issues related to human trafficking seriously even before implementing the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said prior to the enactment of the new law two years ago, the authorities used other existing and preventive laws to prosecute perpetrators of the crime.

He said enactment of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2008 was proof of Malaysia's seriousness in tacking the issue of human trafficking.

He said the new law was more specific in addressing the issue and the clauses within it enables all relevant enforcement agencies to apply the law on offenders.

Abu Seman said Australia will work closely with Malaysia through joint enforcement efforts.

"There are things we can learn from Australia. They have had anti-human trafficking laws before we did," he said.

He said police and other enforcement agencies have tightened security at entry points in the country and will be stricter following alerts of Malaysia being used as a transit point especially for foreigners attempting to gain entry into Australia illegally.

The United States put Malaysia back on its blacklist this year for human trafficking with 17 other countries.

Abu Seman was speaking at a press conference today after launching a two-day seminar called National Security Policing in a Modern Society - Issues and Challenges at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel in Seri Kembangan.

Also present at the seminar for the police, military and other enforcement agencies was Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal and Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

Abu Seman said the seminar was to enrich personnel at enforcement agencies with knowledge and information on current pressing issues and to enhance ties among security forces.

Tense moment at High Chaparral

The Star

GEORGE TOWN: It was a tense moment at Kampung Buah Pala Thursday when three court bailiffs came to serve eviction notices, but police managed to control the highly-flammable situation.

Still, angry residents have threatened to send a letter to the United Nations for George Town’s Unesco World Heritage Site status to be revoked should the state government fail to help them with their land problems.

Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association chairman M. Sugumaran claimed the state government was “killing” the living heritage of the village, which is popularly known as Penang’s High Chaparral.

“The war has just begun. Look at what happened when the bailiffs came to serve the notice and imagine what will happen on Aug 2 when the grace period given expires,” he told a press conference after the bailiffs left the village about 1pm Thursday.

Claiming there were irregularities in the notice served, Sugumaran said the notice was directed to 41 temporary occupation of land (TOL) holders when the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said there were only 23 families.

“We have faxed a letter to Lim asking for a date to meet him.

“Otherwise, we will bring along our cows to see him at his official residence in Rumah Seri Teratai,” he said.

There was a tense moment when three bailiffs arrived at about 11.30am with two court officials and Thomas Chan, the executive director of the developer Nusmetro Ventures.

They started shouting and blocking the entrance, claiming that they have earlier informed the police that no developer would be allowed to enter the village.

Police personnel then escorted Chan away. Three bailiffs then began putting up the eviction notices on the gate, trees and posts but some were being torn away by the residents later.

There was an argument when one of the developer’s personnel started taking photographs of residents who were holding placards in protest but police personnel managed to control the situation.

A herd of cows belonging to the residents then damaged the cars of three newsmen.

A cowherd was leading the cows to enter the village while the FRU personnel were standing in a line across the entrance when the 12.15pm incident took place.

Lim, in a statement, said the state government would not “take a single cent” of the goodwill payment proposed by the developer unless the villagers agree to the compensation.

He also said the developer should continue to seek solutions for a win-win situation for all parties.

He added it was highly improper for the developer to stoke fear into the villagers’ by threatening to evict them when the one-month grace period expired on Aug 2.

Anwar Denies Kedah DAP Withdrawal From State Pakatan Government

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 (Bernama) -- Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today dismissed media reports that Kedah DAP had withdrawn from the Pakatan state government yesterday over dissatisfaction with the Kedah PAS administration.

Anwar, who is Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor, instead blamed the media for playing up the issue and said it would not affect the cooperation among the three Pakatan parties, PAS, DAP and PKR.

"This is what the media, your newspapers, raised (on the Kedah DAP issue). There are many differences on many matters within the Barisan Nasional (BN) but these are not played up. Pakatan Rakyat is a poor pact, without any large media. That's the difference," he told reporters at the lobby of Parliament, here.

Anwar, who is the MP for Permatang Pauh, said he believed that the problem in Kedah could be resolved through discussions in an atmosphere of goodwill among the parties.

Kedah's DAP yesterday announced it was withdrawing from the Pakatan state government over dissatisfaction with the state PAS administration, among others for having demolished an illegal abattoir for pigs in Kampung Berjaya.

Asked whether he had known of the decision of Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak to demolish the abattoir, Anwar said he had been informed and knew that the abattoir would be relocated.

Meanwhile, PKR election director Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the Kedah DAP issue was not a major one.

"We have faced a statement by (DAP chairman) Karpal Singh calling on Anwar to resign; that was a much bigger issue. These are all processes which will enable us to mature," he said.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang said he was awaiting a full report from Kedah DAP and said the matter was not serious.

"We have to wait for the report from Kedah DAP on this matter and I will go to Kedah to meet them," he said.

Karpal Singh said the issue could be resolved.

"I do not think the problem is so serious as to split the opposition pact," he said.

Meanwhile, Kubang Kerian MP and PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayob, who chaired a meeting of the Pakatan secretariat today, said the decisions adopted would be discussed at the Pakatan presidential council on Saturday.

The meeting had also discussed the Kedah DAP issue, he said, adding that the matter could be resolved.

Kes protes anti Rosmah, UM dipaksa serah kes pada Polis.

by Chegubard,

2 mahasiswa yang ditahan dengan tuduhan kononya bersalah kerana mengecat dinding dewan yang bakal dilawati Rosmah dengan perkataan "Isteri Puaka" dan "C4" telah dibebaskan dengan ikat jamin RM5,000. Mereka juga dituduh dengan perbuatan kianat kononnya mencurahkan petrol pada permaidani merah yang bakal Rosmah lalu.

Jika didapati bersalah dan dihukum maksima mereka mungkin boleh dikenakan hukuman penjara 20 tahun....... wow hebat semuanya kerana Rosmah !

Diberitakan pihak Universiti Malaysia hendak cuba menyelesaikan kes tersebut sebagai kes dalaman Universiti, namun telah dipaksa oleh Rosmah yang tidak berpuas hati dengan memaksa UM menyerahkan kes tersebut kepada polis, dan seperti biasa kerana Rosmah Polis telah bertindak dengan cepat. Sila klik sini untuk baca UM dipaksa serah kes pada Polis.

Pada hari kejadian dua ditangkap, pegawai penyiasat pula dianugerahkan dengan reman 5 hari kononya. Belum cukup 5 hari dua mereka telah didakwa di mahkamah. 3 lagi sedang diburu, ada yang diburu pula rumah sewanya dipecahkan mangga kunci diganti dan beberapa benda penting seperti 'handphone' hilang. Mereka mengesyaki ini adalah bertujuan memancing mereka ke Balai Polis untuk membuat laporan dan kemudian akan ditangkap.sila klik tajuk untuk baca 'Polis buru 3 siswa UM lagi' dan 'Siswa anti Rosmah belum serah diri'.

Grafiti anti Rosmah ini telah menjadi bahan jenaka sepanjang minggu siswa (program sambutan mahasiswa baru). sila klik sini untuk baca lanjut.

Posting tawaran che'GuBard untuk membantu sekadar mampu kepada mahasiswa UM yang dituduh rupanya telah mengundang beberapa kumpulan mahasiswa universiti lain dan beberapa kumpulan anak muda yang menyatakan hasrat hendak berbincang mengenai 'mood anti Rosmah'...wah nampaknya jika di susun Regim mungkin jatuh dengan mengulang lagenda Imelda Marcos......

Menjengok pula pagi ini kepada laman rujukan che'GuBard yang dilihat anti Najib, melihat siri 'i paper' Buku 100 dalil Najib sudah hampir lengkap satu buku.


Buku ini ialah buku lama yang diterbitkan oleh musuh Najib dalam Umno sendiri yang membayar penulis upahan untuk mengumpulkan beberapa fakta. Namun agak menarik hendak diimbau oleh 'budak-budak' baru macam che'GuBard. Jangan percaya semua baca tengok dan fikir.... Najib tak pernah saman, atau nafi penerbitan buku ini.

Quota-free: How's the market reacting to Najib?

How is the stock market reacting to Najib's "quota-free" announcement today... the 2nd day of Q3?

KS: Hindraf is a disservice to Indian cause

Are pigs more valuable than humans? - Malaysiakini

Does DAP care more for pigs than humans?

This is the question posed by Kampung Buah Pala villagers in Penang who are now counting the days to the deadline for their eviction from the area which has been earmarked for development.

kg buah pala 020709 villagers protest 02Describing it as 'double standards', village residents' association chairperson M Sugumaran chided the DAP-led state government's response to their predicament.

"Is this rule of law?" he thundered when speaking to reporters. "Is this justice, fairness and equality regardless of race and religion?"

"Are pigs more valuable... more important than humans? Are we worse than pigs?" he added.

He was referring to Kedah DAP's decision yesterday to pull out from the state Pakatan Rakyat coalition following a series of misunderstandings, the latest being the demolition of an illegal abattoir for pigs.

'War will erupt on Aug 2'

This morning, some 100 villagers, including women and children, had gathered at the entrance of the village to prevent representatives of the developer - Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd - from entering the area.

kg buah pala 020709 bailiff stick court orderTempers flared when they spotted Numesto executive Gary Ho Yuen Kong arriving with court officials and policemen at about 11.30am.

A small light strike force unit was also deployed to prevent any untoward incidents while the bailiffs posted the writ.

The villagers started to shout at Ho as he entered the village. Calm was restored by the police after Ho left the area.

The villagers however refused to receive the notices of the writ, forcing the bailiffs to paste them outside their houses.

The writ gives a two-week deadline for the villagers to vacate their houses to pave the way for the lucrative Oasis development project.

kg buah pala 020709 developer representativesThe state government, which has come under intense fire over this issue, has already requested the developer to extend the grace period until Aug 2, in an effort to find an amicable solution.

Sugumaran warned the developer that the villagers would not surrender their homes at any cost.

"Our resistance today would have given the developer a clue that we not going to give up our land. It's going to be a war come Aug 2, unless the state government can end our woes," he said.

Whose side are you on?

Joining the fray, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan said everyone wants to know which side state government leaders will be when the developer's bulldozers roll in.

psm visit to kg pala 020709 02"Will they be on the villagers' side defending the people's rights against the rampaging developer?

"Or will they be on the developer's side protecting capitalist interests?" he asked after visiting the area.

Arutchelvan said Kampung Buah Pala was an organised traditional Indian village that must be preserved by the authorities as a state heritage.

"It is not a squatter settlement as claimed. "It's a living cultural and economically vibrant village of 200 years," he added.

Indicating that the state government cannot hide behind the Federal Court ruling to wash its hands over the crisis, he said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should find a political solution.

Konflik di Kedah-Pulau Pinang, Pakatan cari penyelesaian

Director of the CCD who investigated these cases was severely dealt with

Image

Ramli refused to sweep the entire episode under the carpet. And because of that they came for him. And when he engaged a lawyer to defend him, and the lawyer successfully proved that the allegations against Ramli were unfounded, they came for the lawyer as well.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Last month, Malaysia Today republished a series of eight Statutory Declarations that were originally published two years ago. Six were Statutory Declarations signed by police officers and two by Chinese underworld figures. Copies of these Statutory Declarations were extended to ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well.

When I signed a Statutory Declaration last year, they arrested me and charged me for criminal defamation. The government, however, has been very silent about these eight Statutory Declarations although the allegations are most serious indeed.

I mean: eight people, six of them police officers, have said that the police, all the way up to the IGP himself, are in partnership with the Chinese crime syndicate that controls most of the prostitution, gambling, drugs and loan shark business in Malaysia.

Either these allegations are true or they are false.

If they are true then why is the IGP being given another extension of service after the two-year extension beyond retirement given him in 2007? And since when does a retired IGP get more than a two-year extension after retirement? Traditionally, it has always been either a one- or two-year extension. And that is about it. And if the allegations are false then why have the eight not also been arrested and charged for criminal defamation -- just like me?

What many are not aware is, against the backdrop of all this, three court cases are going on simultaneously. One involves the ex-Director of the CCD, Datuk Ramli Yusuff, who was charged and is now on trial for the alleged crime of not declaring his assets. The other trial involves a lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, who represented the hapless one-time CCD Director. And the third court case, which has not been publicised that much, involves Malaysian Airlines in a civil suit it is facing.

Coincidently, Rosli, Ramli’s lawyer, is also representing MAS in that civil suit. And the irony to this whole thing is Rosli, who uncovered many transgressions and shady dealings in MAS, was also arrested and charged for not declaring his assets. Is Rosli being punished because he is representing a senior police officer that had exposed the links between the police and the Chinese underworld or is it to keep him quiet about what those who walk in the corridors of power are doing in MAS? And we are talking about billions of Ringgit here.

My suspicion is that it is both. They want to punish Rosli for getting Ramli off the hook and for proving that the government has no case against him, as well as to make sure that he does not talk about what he discovered in MAS. Well, Rosli may not want to talk since, as the lawyer for MAS, he has to be professional about attorney-client privileges. But Malaysia Today has ways of finding out what people would rather remain hidden.

Now, let’s get one thing very clear. The CCD Director is not being charged for corruption. He is being charged for not declaring his assets, which, according to what was leaked to the media, totals RM27 million in all. How they arrived at the figure of RM27 million and how come this was leaked to the media when the investigation was still ongoing and nothing had been established yet is a mystery that can only be speculated upon.

Does not information about a corruption investigation come under the ambit of the Official Secrets Act -- especially when the investigation is not completed yet and is still ongoing? Ezam Mohd Nor was arrested, charged and convicted for revealing the corruption investigation against the then Trade Minister, Rafidah Aziz. And he was sentenced to two years jail for this crime. So it certainly is a crime, according to the government. Yet, the investigation on Ramli’s alleged non-declaration of RM27 million in assets was leaked to the media even before anything had been established. Then it was found that there was no such thing as RM27 million assets -- declared or otherwise.

Anyway, Ramli engaged Rosli as his counsel and he managed to produce a set of accounts proving that the amount involved is not RM27 million and that whatever Ramli had earned over the more than 37 years of working life had in fact all been properly declared and none of the money was earned through illegal means.

You see, like many Malaysians, Ramli ‘plays’ the stock market and is quite good at buying low and selling high, which is how the stock market should be ‘played’. The nagging question is, though, not whether he procured the money the ‘proper’ way or otherwise -- which the accounts he submitted proved there was nothing illegal in his dealings -- but whether he had declared whatever he had earned.

The accounts that Rosli, Ramli’s lawyer, submitted showed that nothing untoward happened and that the CCD Director had not only earned his money the legitimate way but that he had also declared all his assets as well.

And that was when the government decided to arrest Rosli and also charge him for not declaring his assets. He was arrested on the eve of Hari Raya and thrown into the lockup for the night. During his arrest, which occurred in his office, they roughed him up as well.

Rosli lodged a complaint about this rough treatment in his office in front of his staff and they responded by lodging a counter-complaint that the lawyer had been verbally abusive to the officers who had come to arrest him in his office on the eve of Hari Raya.

But the CCD Director’s case is a very complex affair. It not only involves the Chinese crime syndicate and the links it has to the Malaysian police right up to the head honcho himself, the IGP. It also involves corruption, abuse of power, conflict of interest and mismanagement in Malaysia’s national airlines, MAS, which Ramli, as head of the CCD, had uncovered.

Malaysia Today discovered that Rosli is, in fact, also acting for MAS. So both Rosli and Ramli are very intimate with the details of the corruption, abuse of power, conflict of interest and mismanagement -- which goes all the way up to those who walk in the corridors of power.

The ‘crime’ that Ramli committed is that he detained a few underworld bosses linked to the police plus he opened a file and launched an investigation into the corruption, abuse of power, conflict of interest and mismanagement in MAS when the higher-ups told him not to. Why do the higher-ups want him to close the file on the Chinese crime syndicate as well as close the investigation on MAS and stamp these cases with NFA (no further action)?

Well, Ramli refused to sweep the entire episode under the carpet. And because of that they came for him. And when he engaged a lawyer to defend him, and the lawyer successfully proved that the allegations against Ramli were unfounded, they came for the lawyer as well.

Hishammuddin wants to do a walkabout on the streets of Kuala Lumpur to get to the bottom of the loan shark (ah long) problem. Actually he need not do that. He just needs to call for the file that was opened by Ramli and the whole (real) story would emerge as clear as daylight. The reason the ah long scourge can’t be eradicated is because any police office that dares ‘touch’ this case would be severely dealt with. Similarly, those who dare investigate corruption, abuse of power, conflict of interest and mismanagement in a GLC such as MAS that involves those who walk in the corridors of power would also be severely dealt with.

And that is why crime and corruption in Malaysia can’t be eradicated. This is because the real crime bosses sit in Putrajaya.

We are trying to get our hands on even more damaging evidence involving MAS from our contacts in Europe and we shall reveal in due course the extent of the abuse of power, conflict of interest, mismanagement and corruption involving those who walk in the corridors of power in Putrajaya.

Stay tuned for the next episode where you shall see where your hard-earned tax money has gone to and why we no longer have money to develop this country the way it should be.

Is Hadi’s Islam and Parti PAS different from Nik Aziz’s?

By Haris Ibrahim,

On 20th November, last year, I had written to JAKIM requesting for a fatwa on the question of whether concepts of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and the Bumiputra-non Bumi distinction that seems to be constantly pursued by UMNO is unIslamic.

I had blogged about this last year and the post and the letter to JAKIM can be viewed HERE.

Both in that post and the letter to JAKIM, I had quoted Nik Aziz as reported in BERNAMA. I reproduce that quote below.

“Di dalam Islam tidak mengira bangsa, apa yang penting adalah takwa kepada Allah s.w.t. Tidak kiralah bangsa apa, Cina, Melayu, India dan Arab. Tuhan hanya melihat ketakwaan seseorang itu… kerana bila kita bertakwa kita takut kepada Allah dan menjalankan tanggungjawab kita”.

Needless to say, I’ve not got a response from JAKIM.

Malaysiakini yesterday reported PAS president Hadi Awang as being against the “dropping the 30 percent bumiputera equity in businesses, describing the proposed measures by Prime Minister Najib Razak as detrimental to the race”.

For those of you who are not subscribed to Malaysiakini, Malaysianinsider has a similar report .

Malaysiakini reports Hadi as saying that “The bumiputeras are still lagging behind in terms of experience and their position…We want to be fair to all races but at the same time the bumiputera position should be strengthened…They lag behind in education amenities (for example). They cannot compete with the urbanites of other races who have such privileges”.

Could the leadership of the Kelab Penyokong PAS (KPP) please ask Hadi to explain what position, unique only to the bumiputras, needs to be strengthened?

Could the leadership of the KPP ask Hadi if he is aware that, like the bumiputras, a great many people of the other races also lag behind in education amenities and cannot compete with urbanites of any race, bumi or otherwise?

Could the leadership of KPP ask Hadi if his stand on this bumi – non bumi divide is at odds with the final sermon of the Holy Prophet, as reproduced below?

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab. Also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.”

Until KPP gets clarification and shares the same with us, we must assume that Hadi’s PAS might just stand for Parti Ajaran Sesat.

Relativism and the Politics of Absolutes

By Farish A. Noor

Studying Malaysian politics is a chore in itself, but rewarding for the simple reason that it is one of the most plural, complex and complicated countries in the world. Among all the countries that I have worked on, it is Malaysia that continues to challenge my capacity to think (and relax) for the simple reason that its communitarian mode of sectarian politics is an odd blend of modernity and primordialism that is seldom equalled anywhere else.

At present the opposition coalition known as the Peoples Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) is once again in a state a crisis – or rather manifold crises – as the component parties bicker over the mode of governance in the states that they won after the elections of March 2008. Bringing together the predominantly Chinese-Malaysian Left-leaning DAP, the multiracial PKR and the overwhelmingly Malay-Muslim Islamists of PAS was never an easy task; and it was said from the outset that the coalition was an instrumental one.

Today however the coalition is once again at breaking point after the DAP threatened to leave the coalition over a dispute over the destruction of a pig abattoir in the state of Kedah, disputes over contracts awarded to development projects in Penang and Selangor, and the lingering fear that the Islamists of PAS will push their Islamisation agenda in the states that have come under their control. Seemingly trivial matters such as the sale of pork and alcohol have forced all three parties to the defensive, with each party holding steadfast to its stand.

Now for political scientists such as myself, situations such as these – which are by no means unique to Malaysia – are worthy of further study as they raise the question of how a mode of representative politics can be developed and institutionalised in the context of plural societies with ethnic, religious and linguistic differences enshrined in the constitution as well as the institutions of state. For this reason what happens in Malaysia is of interest to others in countries like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa et al.

The root of the problem seems to be this: Despite the introduction and imposition of modern tools of statecraft such as the Parliament, the Constitution, the Judiciary etc. the operative mode of politics in Malaysia – like in many other post-colonial societies – is anything but modern. Feudal, essentialist and primordial loyalties to race, religion and culture predominate and determine the norms of political praxis, and are still being used by all political parties to maintain the support of their respective sectarian constituencies. Hence the Islamist party’s preponderance to defend and foreground causes deemed relevant to Muslims; while other ethnic-based parties continue to foreground the interests of their respective ethnic communities.

Despite decades of rhetoric about building a united plural Malaysia, none of the political parties and political elite of Malaysia have done much in terms of bridging the cultural, religious and ethno-linguistic gulfs between them. Hence the predominance of a mode of absolutist politics where no single party or leader can even begin to accept the idea of genuine difference and alterity in their midst.

It is for this reason that trivial matters like the sale of pork and alcohol have become so contentious in states like Selangor, and why even the simplest of things like linguistic differences can make or break the fragile coalitions we see in the country.

The question that has to be raised is this: how long will it take for the leaders of Malaysia’s political parties to realise that difference and alterity are living realities in a complex world, and that successful politics arises when parties can accept these differences and transcend them? At present, it is clear that some of the parties in the country have yet to learn the lesson. The Islamists of Selangor, for instance, are still bent on pursuing their mode of religiously-inspired politics with all its attendant dangers of moral policing. While all the parties of the country talk on and on about the much-lauded image of Malaysia being a diverse and plural nation, we see little respect for pluralism on the ground level. Religious minorities such as the Shias and Ahmadis are routinely described as deviants and deprived of their status as Muslims, moral policing is still the norm; and now even the sale of pork for non-Muslims has become an issue.

What holds true for the conservatives among the Islamists also holds true for the representatives and leaders of other parties as well, and as long as this situation pertains then there can be little hope for a genuinely plural and democratic politics in Malaysia.

Plural societies on the other hand are not the best place to play out a politics of absolutism, with its maximalist ambitions. In so many developing countries today, the hope of creating a singular national vision with a singular narrative has been eclipsed by the very real fact that these societies are too complex to be simplified and essentialised. There can be no singular image or identity to Malaysian society today any more than there can be a singular Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian or even American nation, for the simple reason that the processes of social differentiation have grown so far advanced that the appeal of a singular unifying narrative is lost.

So perhaps a healthy dose of relativism – tempered by the awareness that relativism per se cannot be a licence for all sorts of cultural particularism of the Taliban variety – is required to get us out of the present impasse that stands before most plural societies. In the Malaysian context this may be more difficult for those political parties that use religion as the basis of their ideology, and who think of themselves as God’s politicians on earth who are here to gain control over the Parliament of Heaven. But sooner than later all politicians who claim to be representative – rather than authoritarian – will have to accept the fact that not all communities live and believe as their own, and that dealing with difference is part and parcel of modern constitutional politics today.

100 reasons why Malaysia needs a new Inspector-General of Police

By Lim Kit Siang

The passage of the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (SIAP) Bill by Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday is the last nail in the coffin of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) proposed by the Royal Police Commission more than four years ago in May 2005.

It also marks the failure of the Barisan Nasional government and the police leadership to fully honour and implement the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission set up by former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during his “First 100 Days” to revamp and reform the police, which had raised such high hopes and expectations among Malaysians creating such a national euphoria that Abdullah won an unprecedented landslide victory in the March 2004 general elections winning over 91% of the parliamentary seats!

Who must take the greatest responsibility for such a great national letdown and disappointment, if not the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan?

This is why I said more than once in Parliament in the debate on SIAP Bill that there are over 100 reasons why the country needs a new Inspector-General of Police to set the police force on a new course of direction, with new commitment and vision, which can win public confidence where Malaysians regard the police as their friend and protector – a sentiment Malaysians have lost for over a decade since their loss of two fundamental rights, the right to be free from crime and to be from the fear of crime!

What are the major failures of Musa as Inspector-General of Police?

The three core functions proposed by the Police Royal Commission of Inquiry reflect the three biggest failures of Musa as IGP.

In its report in May 2005, the Police Royal Commission proposed “As an immediate measure, PDRM should target a minimum of 20 per cent decrease in the number of crimes committed for each category within 12 months of this Report’s acceptance and implementation.”

The latest statistics available to the Police Royal Commission at the time was the 156,455 incidence of crime in 2004, which was an increase of 29 per cent from 121,176 cases in 1997.

This was what the Police Royal Commission said:

“The increase seriously dented Malaysia’s reputation as a safe country. Malaysians in general, the business sector and foreign investors grew increasingly concerned with the situation. The fear was that, if the trend continues, there would be major social and economic consequences for Malaysia. A survey of 575 respondents from the public carried out by the Commission clearly demonstrates the extremely widespread concern among all ethnic groups and foreign residents. Between 82.2 per cent and 90 per cent of the respondents, or 8 to 9 persons in every 10, were concerned with the occurrence of crime.” (3.1 p.108 Report)

From the latest statistics given in Parliament, crime index have galloped to break the 200,000 mark, with the incidence of crime shooting up to 209,582 in 2007 and 211,645 in 2008.

Instead of achieving the Police Royal Commission’s target of reducing the intolerably high incidence of crime of 156,455 cases in 2004 by 20 per cent in 12 months (i.e. 125,164 cases), the reverse took place. In the four years after the Royal Police Commission Report, crime index kept “reaching for the stars” . In the seven years from 1997 to 2004, crime index increased by 29%, but in the four years from 2004 to 2008 crime index increased by 35.5%.

How can an Inspector-General of Police who presided over such a deterioration in the crime situation demand an extension of this renewed term of Inspector-General of Police in September?

On the second core function to eradicate corruption, Musa Hassan has also failed. In fact, I had called Musa in Parliament as a ‘lobbyist” for mega-contracts, whether for a proposed RM20 billion police helicopter project or the RM4.2 billion “E-Police Force Solution”, and I have not received any satisfactory answer from Home Minister.

On the third core function to uphold human rights, clearly the Police Royal Commission’s proposal that the police officers should undergo human rights “sensitization” orientation courses have fallen on deaf ears, with police violation of human rights in recent months most blatant and flagrant – with indiscriminate police arrests of Malaysians for wearing black, lighting candles, singing birthday songs and the deployment of hundreds of police personnel who should be catching criminals but were dispatched instead to frustrate the holding of DAP dinners, creating the new phenomenon firstly that Malaysians can eat but cannot talk and later that Malaysians cannot even eat!

I said that more than a hundred reasons can easily be given as to why the country needs a new IGP and a new police leadership, especially in his shocking failure to lead an efficient, incorruptible, professional and world-class police service as proposed by the Police Royal Commission!

I welcome Malaysians to come to my blog to give their reasons why the country needs a new IGP and a new police leadership, so that Malaysians, visitors and investors can feel safe again in this country!

Guan Eng: Kedah situation “desperate”

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 July 2009: While other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders today glossed over Kedah DAP's pullout of the state government, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had a different view.

Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister, said the situation in Kedah was "desperate" enough that the party's top leadership would be meeting to decide whether to endorse or oppose the move.

He added that said the implications of DAP withdrawing from the Kedah PR government would have "large adverse national ramifications", and needed to be studied.

He squarely blamed Kedah Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak for the breakdown in trust between PAS and DAP there.

"Kedah DAP has been unhappy with the lack of respect accorded by PAS to DAP in Kedah unlike the respect accorded to PAS in Penang," Lim said in a statement today.

He singled the "failure of the PAS-led government not to give equal treatment to all Kedahans" as the reason for the pullout.

Lim said Kedah DAP chairperson Thomas Su had informed him that the demolition of an illegal pig abattoir and the imposition of the 50% bumiputera housing quota in the state were the main causes for DAP's unhappiness.

"For Kedah DAP to pull out from the Kedah government, [this] signals the complete lack of communication and respect from the Kedah PAS-led government."

Lim said he would "normally oppose such moves" if there was still room to correct the situation, but he believed things had become desperate.

No big deal

Other PR leaders, however, tried to minimise the Kedah DAP pullout, describing it as a "small problem" that would not affect the strength of the alliance.

Several said it was a normal problem in governance and administration, where misunderstandings were bound to occur.

PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the matter could be solved through negotiations and that things in PR were "still normal".

He said he had talked to Azizan and had heard his reasons for the abattoir demolition, and what alternative solutions there were.

"The MB has informed me that he has given space and options on where the abattoir can be built. I think it can be solved through discussions.

"Pakatan will not fall apart. I don't believe it will affect our larger agenda which concerns the rule of law in this country, freedom of expression, and the economy. There are always problems where people have differences of opinion.

"Barisan Nasional also has its problems, I [was] in BN a long time and there are many differences of opinion but they don't become big news, because the difference with Pakatan is that BN controls the big media," Anwar told reporters in the Parliament lobby today.

On the spat between PKR in Penang and the DAP-led state government over the sacking of Seberang Prai municipal councillor Johari Kassim, Anwar said he was leaving the matter to state PKR chief Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim to resolve the matter with Lim.

PR is maturing

Earlier, Kedah DAP's pullout of the state government and the Kampung Buah Pala issue in Penang were discussed by the secretariat of the PR presidential council at a meeting in Parliament today.

The secretariat has proposed solutions to resolve both problems, and will forward these to the PR presidential council for approval.


Tian Chua (File pic)
The secretariat meeting was attended by two representatives from each PR component party - PKR's strategic affairs chief Tian Chua and elections director Saifuddin Nasution, DAP's information chief Tony Pua and national Youth chief Anthony Loke, and PAS's vice-president Salahuddin Ayub and research head Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad.

Salahuddin said the proposed solutions would be discussed by the PR presidential council at a meeting likely to be held this weekend.

"We want them to discuss it before the Manik Urai by-election. The decision of the meeting will then be conveyed to the Penang and Kedah governments," he told reporters after the secretariat meeting.

Chua said the problems in PR states were "small" and could be resolved.

"Mostly, there are perception problems which we need to clarify, that it's not true that just because of a problem in Kedah, the whole of PR nationwide is at the edge of collapse," he said.

PKR's Saifuddin also said the current problems were "part of Pakatan's maturing process".

"We are still united on the fundamental things such as the rule of law in this country. This is just one episode in the last 15 months of Pakatan working tougher," he said.

DAP should leave

Barisan Nasional, meanwhile, has waded into the controversy by calling on DAP to leave the PR alliance.

Gerakan's Youth chief in Kedah, Tan Keng Liang, said the lone DAP assemblyperson's withdrawal from the alliance would have little impact on the state government.


Tan
He also suggested for PKR to withdraw from the state government, and called for a "BN-PKR-DAP" unity government in the state.

"A unity government in Kedah can protect the rights of all Malaysians in Kedah. After more than a year, Kedah has seen extremist policies by the PAS state government which have not benefitted the people but have dampened economic growth in Kedah," Tan said in a statement.

MCA information and communication bureau chairperson Lee Wei Kiat said not only Kedah DAP, but the national DAP should withdraw from PR.

He said PAS had misled everyone with their election slogan "PAS for all".

"It was only a ploy to canvass for votes. I urge Chinese [Malaysians] all over the country to protest together with the Chinese in Kedah," Lee said in a press statement.

"Kedah DAP's withdrawal is just a political gimmick...it will not produce constructive solutions. If DAP really wants to oppose the action taken by PAS, the whole party should withdraw from PR, including Penang and Selangor DAP," he said.

Karpal-Khairy name-calling in Parliament

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

KUALA LUMPUR, 2 July 2009: Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parliamentarians staged a walkout in support of Karpal Singh who was ejected from the Dewan Rakyat today following an exchange of words with Umno Member of Parliament (MP) Khairy Jamaluddin.

Karpal, the DAP chairperson, and Khairy, who is Umno Youth chief, locked horns over the fracas with four Selangor Umno Youth leaders who on 26 Feb 2009 harassed and obstructed Karpal from entering Parliament.

Karpal, the MP for Bukit Gelugor, was told to leave the house by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia after he retorted that Khairy was "unworthy" of accusing him because Khairy was "a person guilty of corruption".


Karpal being wheeled out of the Dewan Rakyat chamber after being ejected by the speaker

Plenty of name-calling was exchanged between the PR and Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs as they debated a motion to adopt the punishments recommended by a select parliamentary committee set up to probe the February incident.

The proposed punishment for the four Youth leaders was a RM1,000 fine each, which they paid in Parliament today. The four leaders who were fined were Serdang Umno Youth head Ungku Mat Salleh, Petaling Jaya Utara Youth chief Latt Shahrizan Abdullah, Gombak Youth chief Megat Zulkarnain Omar Din, and Shah Alam Youth chief Azhari Shaari.

The committee had also called for eight PR MPs to be admonished by the speaker for refusing to attend the inquiry either as witnesses or as committee members. They are Karpal himself, Fong Po Kuan, Lim Lip Eng, N Gobalakrishnan, Fong Kui Lun, Lim Kit Siang, Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar, and R Sivarasa.

The motion was passed by BN MPs after Lim (Ipoh Timur-DAP) led the remaining PR legislators out of the House when Karpal left.

Karpal stood his ground for a while after Pandikar ordered him out, demanding higher fines and stiffer punishment for the Umno Youth leaders, including arrests and court action.

Fong (Batu Gajah-DAP) said Pandikar should not chair the session to debate the motion due to a conflict of interest, as he had also chaired the select committee that investigated the incident.


Khairy with Umno Youth deputy chief
Datuk Razali Ibrahim
Khairy (Rembau-BN) tried to rebut Karpal by saying that the Umno Youth leaders had already apologised to Parliament for their actions.

Khairy added that none of them had touched Karpal's body and that the four had only wanted Karpal to account for his allegation that Umno Youth had sent him live bullets and for his use of the word "celaka" on the youth wing. Karpal had made this accusation in the Dewan Rakyat on 25 Feb.

Karpal started it

In the Parliament lobby, Khairy told reporters after the motion was passed that Karpal was "a big fat liar" who "did not dare" to repeat his allegation about the live bullets outside of the House.

"He knows that he can say it inside the Dewan because of parliamentary immunity. I have challenged him to repeat it outside but he will not.

"He is the root cause of why the incident happened, his lack of respect for Parliament, for the rulers, for Pemuda Umno, and his tendency to keep on lying. Today is proof that he is an MP who lies through his teeth," Khairy said.

Khairy said the payment of the RM1,000 fine and the Youth leaders' apology to Parliament showed that they had taken responsibility for their actions, whereas no action was taken against Karpal for his "foul mouth".

"We should have more strenuous punishment for MPs who flout rules and who disrespect the House. He should apologise to us as what he said was unprovoked," said Khairy.

Karpal told reporters earlier after leaving the Dewan Rakyat that the four Youth leaders should have come inside the House to make their apology.

Guan Eng warns developer not to play hard ball

Chief Minister Guan Eng has issued a warning to Nusmetro Ventures after the Oasis developer’s “highly irresponsible and inflammatory” threats yesterday.

Meanwhile, the state investigative committee needs to quickly get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding the questionable sale and land transfers. What has happened to the villagers’ report to the MACC?

The State Government will not take a single cent of the so-called “goodwill payment” from the developer unless the kampung Buah Pala residents agree to the compensation.

The Penang state government warns Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd, the developer of the proposed housing project in Kampung Buah Pala, for threatening to send bulldozers in by August 2 to forcibly evict residents and demolish their houses as highly irresponsible and inflammatory. It is highly improper to stoke fear into the villagers’ hearts by reminding them that they will have to move out by Aug 2 when the one-month grace period given by the developer expires and there will be “no more extensions”. The one-month grace period was negotiated by the state government with the developer to find a solution to the problem.

Nusmetro claimed to have offered the highest compensation in the state from RM140,000 to RM260,000 to the temporary occupation of land (TOL) holders as well as their immediate and extended families. And even offered one of the two cattle ranchers there RM330,000 including a five-year rent-free deal for land in Balik Pulau which was rejected.

To say that the developer has the legal right not to pay anything to the residents just because the developer has a Federal Court order, would not assist in resolving this problem. Instead of all the cruel talk about bulldozers, the developer should continue to seek solutions that works towards a win-win situation for all parties. For this reason, the state government will not take a single cent of the “goodwill payment” proposed by the developer to the state government unless the villagers of Kampung Buah Pala agrees to the compensation.

I wish to reiterate that the state government has nothing to do with the eviction, or the Federal court order and the bringing in of bulldozers to demolish the houses. Instead the state government had intervened to prevent the eviction of the residents since last year. Even though this is a court order obtained by the developer, the state government would continue to work aggressively to try to assist the villagers.

LIM GUAN ENG