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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Muhyidin perlu perjelas kandungan beg hitam

Darshan's our only legal rep, say High Chaparral residents - Malaysiakini

Kampung Buah Pala residents overwhelmingly decided that their representatives would be accompanied by lawyer Darshan Singh Khaira when attending Thursday's meeting with the Penang Chief Minister.

In announcing this on Monday night, M Sugumaran (below), the Kampung Buah Pala residents association chief, effectively retracted a statement made hours earlier, in which he said Darshan Singh was not the villagers' legal representative.

Sugumaran's about turn may not go down well with state government legislators. The DAP-dominated government has been against the presence of Darshan ever since the villagers appointed him as their legal representative earlier this month.

Apart from Darshan and Sugumaran, four other committee members - vice chairperson N Arumugam secretary Stephen J Draviam, assistant secretary C Tharmaraj Sugumaran and assistant treasurer M Pasu - will now represent the villagers at the meeting.

After a fiery one-hour meeting on Monday night, the villagers also chose three non-committee members to attend the meeting as observers. Thursday's meeting will be held at 8pm at Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's office at Level 28, Komtar.

Statement made under duress

Sugumaran came under fire from the villagers for meeting Lim earlier on Monday afternoon, apparently arranged by Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer.

Sugumaran explained he went to meet Lim at Dewan Sri Pinang at 1.30pm to fix an appointment for the Chief Minister to have a heart-to-heart talk with villagers to resolve the 'High Chaparral' crisis.

He told the villagers that he had gone to meet Lim because he wanted to erase public notion that the villagers were arrogant enough not to meet the Chief Minister until now.

After the meeting with villagers, Sugumaran made the retraction and claimed that his earlier statement was made under duress. He said he was overwhelmed by the presence of government leaders at the brief meeting with Lim (right).

"I have to admit I had made the statement under pressure. I have made a mistake by saying that Darshan Singh was not the villagers' legal counsel. Darshan Singh is the villagers' sole lawyer," he said.

Sugumaran has earlier given his word to Lim that the villagers would not bring their lawyer, Darshan Singh to Thursday's meeting.

Darshan our man at all meetings

He also apparently broke a gag order imposed by the association's committee members on themselves that "no villager should meet state government leaders without the committee's prior consent or knowledge."

The committee had also decided that they will always bring along their legal adviser Darshan Singh to any meeting with the state government officials.

A proposed similar meeting last Wednesday was aborted when the state government refused to allow Darshan (left) to accompany the villagers.

Kampung Buah Pala villagers face eviction after Aug 3 to pave way for a lucrative condominium project called Oasis.

The developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd issued a notice of eviction on July 2.

Kampung Buah is also fondly addressed by locals as 'Tamil High Chaparral' for its populace of cowherds, cattle, goats, other livestocks and lively Tamil cultural features.

It's the last remaining Indian traditional village in the state, which many civil societies and even politicians want preserved as a state heritage.

Dr M gets a sharp reproof

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former inspector-general of police Tun Hanif Omar and former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman were described as “crooks” who had forgotten that they used to serve and defend the administration.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the three men were strong government supporters when they were in the government. “But the moment they left, they became the biggest critics.

“We know that dignitaries who have left the government service, they tend to forget. Once they are no longer in the government, they tend to criticise us, the institution and administration that served them.

“Now, these are all crooks,” he said after opening the Malaysian Technical Cooperation programme at the National Institute of Public Administration yesterday.

He said this when he was asked to respond to a statement by Abu Talib, the Suhakam chairman, who had criticised him for a remark he made in Parliament earlier this month.

On July 2, Nazri had said that Abu Talib was unfit to sit as Suhakam chairman as he had commented on the Perak crisis when the matter was before the court.

Abu Talib was quoted in newspapers as saying: “Perhaps the time has come for the people of Perak to be given the opportunity to exercise their right to choose again the government of their choice, which is a basic human right.”

Yesterday, Nazri said as a lawyer Abu Talib should know his limits with regard to the Perak crisis.

“As a former A-G, he had prosecuted people in the past and he is one person who should know the law.

“He commented that elections should be called. “It is none of his business especially at a time when the court was trying to decide on this.

“He should know better and he should realise how much clout he has on the poor judge who might be just a junior officer when he was the A-G,” Nazri said.

Najib must now go beyond ‘quick wins’: analyst

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has taken initial steps to improve the economy, but now he needs to tackle tougher problems for the reforms to be truly effective, an analyst said.

“In our opinion, what has been done so far are essentially ‘quick wins’ typical of a new leader in any organisation,’ Maybank-ib analyst Suhaimi Illias said of Najib’s first 100 days in office.

Najib has surprised many by the speed with which he has tackled a number of prickly issues.

The more sensitive ones have been the emasculation of the powerful Foreign Investment Committee — a panel that vets proposed investments — and the paring of the bumiputra quota in initial public offerings by half to 12.5 per cent of shares for public sale.

More populist ones include merit-based government scholarships regardless of race, highway toll discounts, and the sale of budget housing to low income earners.

Najib’s policy changes have been described as ‘brave and bold’ as they could cost him support within the Malay community, which has benefited from the New Economic Policy (NEP) — the near 40-year old affirmative action policy that favours it.

In a report, Suhaimi lists the remaining ‘tough fixes’ as fundamental reforms and restructuring to transform the country into a high income economy; fiscal reform to narrow the ballooning budget deficit; educational reform to improve long-term competitiveness; social reform for racial harmony; and civil service reform to improve the lagging bureaucracy.

In a speech on the topic of “Najib’s 100 days” at a gathering of public relations consultants last Friday, former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah articulated the need for a holistic approach to the country’s political and economic problems.

Malaysia has relaxed some quotas, he observed, but had left intact many other rent-seeking aspects such as the approved permit and taxi licensing system. “We have left the apparatus of the NEP, and a divisive mindset that has grown up around it in place. Wary of follow-up actions, the business community has greeted these reforms cautiously.”

“The real issue is not whether the NEP is to be continued or not, but whether we have the imagination to come up with something which better serves our values and objectives, for our own time,’ said Tengku Razaleigh, who had offered to contest the Umno presidency last year but did not receive sufficient nominations. Najib won the post uncontested and went on to become prime minister.

Tengku Razaleigh suggested that the leadership should be brave enough to explain that the NEP was outdated and rally people towards a pragmatic approach.

“We want the full participation of all stakeholders in our economy. A fair and equitable political and economic order, founded on equal citizenship as guaranteed in our Constitution, is the only possible basis for a united Malaysia and a pre-requisite of the competitive, talent-driven economy we must create if we are to make our economic leap,” he added. — Business Times Singapore

Guan Eng to meet Kg Buah Pala residents on July 16

Guan Eng with Sugumaran (R) at DEwan Sri Pinang yesterday. - Bernama pic

PENANG, July 14 — In a move to nip the Kampung Buah Pala issue from brewing further, Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng has agreed to meet the residents in two days time.

The meeting came about after the residents, comprising 23 cowherd families in what is dubbed Penang’s High Chapparal, apologised to Guan Eng for misunderstandings in their effort to stop their eviction.

Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association chairman M. Sugumaran extended the apology to Guan Eng in a brief meeting at the Dewan Sri Pinang.

“On behalf of the residents of Kampung Lorong Buah Pala, I wish to extend our apologies to the Chief Minister for what had transpired in recent times and we hope the Chief Minister will accept our apologies,” Sugumaran said.

The first-term Penang chief minister accepted the apology, telling The Malaysian Insider that he would meet the residents as it is the residents’ right if they want to meet with him, as he is also their state leader.

“What is important now is how we can work together to resolve this whole situation. Sugumaran has agreed to arrange a heart-to-heart talk between us and the affected families this Thursday at 8pm,” he said, adding each family can send a representative for the meeting.

The Kampung Lorong Buah Pala residents are hoping to stay on in the village despite the Federal Court judgment that they have no rights to the land and ordering them to vacate it without getting compensation.

They want the Penang government to solve the issue by acquiring the land, which the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government sold for RM3 million to the state officers’ cooperative.

They claim Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have promised to save the village in last year’s election campaign, attracting the outlawed Hindraf to demand the village be saved or the opposition coalition will lose Indian support and George Town its Unesco’s heritage city status.

Penang has since de-classified the minutes of all state executive council meetings held by the previous state government that are related to the transfer of the land ownership to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and developer Nusmetro., which is promoting a RM150 million project on the site.

The residents had wanted to meet Guan Eng previously but he had refused if lawyers or Hindraf leaders joined the delegation. - The Malaysian Insider

Ong Tee Keat should not provide third example of his being “Hero outside, Coward inside” by securing Cabinet agreement tomorrow to modify its PPSMI de

By Lim Kit Siang,

MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat should not provide a third example of his being “Hero outside, coward inside” by securing Cabinet agreement tomorrow to modify its PPSMI decision last week by allowing optional use of English to teach mathematics and science in secondary schools from 2012.

I stand by my strong criticism of the Cabinet decision yesterday for the PPSMI decision, particularly for secondary schools from 2012, when I said that Malaysia will have the world’s most crazy educational system, where students in Form 4 in 2012 will have to switch to Bahasa Malaysia for mathematics and science in the last two years of secondary education, after nine years of learning these two subjects in English – again to switch back to English for the next five or six years for pre-university and tertiary education!

I challenge any Minister or even several Ministers at one time to a public debate in any language, whether Bahasa Malaysia, English or Chinese who dare to defend such a crazy system of nine years of mathematics and science in English from Std. 1 to Form 3, followed by two years in Bahasa Malaysia in Forms 4 and 5, and switch back again to English for the next five or six years of pre-university and tertiary education; how they could impose such a crazy educational system on millions of Malaysian students, even turning them into “guinea-pigs” not once but twice in their educational process!

Would these Ministers want their children to go through such educational turmoil and madness as to become guinea pigs twice in their primary, secondary and tertiary education?

I believe I can get majority support for my statement that those who want to impose such an educational system, requiring students to study the two subjects in English for nine years, then switch to Bahasa Malaysia in Forms 3 and 4, and switch back to English in pre-university and tertiary education for the next five to six years must have their heads examined as to whether they are fit to be in the Cabinet in the first place!

Ong Tee Keat should not provide a third example of being “Hero outside, Coward inside” on the Cabinet’s crazy decision on PPSMI.

Ong has already provided two such examples:

  • His heroic boast “outside” Parliament when he returned from his junket to the Paris Air Show last month that he welcomed a full debate and prepared to face any questions in Parliament on the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal when he finally appeared in the second week of Parliament on June 22 to make his Ministerial statement. But once “inside” Parliament, he became a coward and refused to allow any question or interruption in his eight-minute “Ministerial non-statement” which did not reveal anything new on the PKFZ scandal.
  • His “heroism” in exposing, and rightly, the RM30,000 “leakage” in the renovation SJKC Kung Yu in Muar in 2006, but his cowardice to “reveal all” about the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal. How many times is the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal compared to the scandal of the RM30,000 “leakage” in renovation of a Chinese primary school? It is the astronomical 416,666 times!

It is no use Ong, the other three MCA Ministers, and even Koh Tsu Koon, claiming that English should continue to be used as medium of instruction for maths and science in Forms 4 and 5 from 2012, when they were full parties to the Cabinet decision last Wednesday to turn the Malaysian education system into a crazy 9-2-5/6 system, with students going through nine years of the two subjects taught in English, two years in Bahasa Malaysia in Forms 4 and 5 and then reverting to English for five or six years of pre-university and tertiary education in maths and science.

Other modifications of last week’s PPSMI decision Ministers from UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, PBS and other BN component parties should decide tomorrow include:

  • Immediate implementation of the abolition of PPSMI “One Size Fits All” disastrous experiment for all national, Chinese and Tamil primary schools for schools which are ready for such reversion to use of mother-tongue medium of instruction in the two subjects, particularly all the Chinese primary schools in the country; and
  • Endorsing the proposal of Parents Action Group for Education (Page) that schools should be given the option to teach science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia or English or in one’s mother tongue.

Status quo in Manik Urai

By Zedeck Siew
thenutgraph.com


The bridge connecting Manik Urai Lama with Manik Urai Baru. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin
would promise on 12 July to build a new bridge — on the condition that the Barisan Nasional was voted in

ON 12 July 2009, after a final rally for the Manik Urai by-election campaign, PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat admitted that he thought his party would retain the state seat.

"Confident? Yes, I'm confident. But I don't know, there might be phantom voters," Nik Aziz, who is also Kelantan menteri besar, half-jokingly told reporters.

Answering questions about the federal government's RM1 billion debt that PAS alleges is owed to the Kelantan government, Nik Aziz quipped: "If we are in federal government, then it'll be easy to get our money."

Contrast this easygoing demeanour to Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who appeared in SK Manik Urai Baru for a state-wide Teacher's Day function earlier the same day.

"We have a new deal for Manik Urai," the Umno deputy president, who is also education minister, said, citing development injections such as the RM125 million education allocation for the constituency.

Appealing for rationality, Muhyiddin said the constituency deserved to be developed, but the minds of its residents were still pilloried. "We are offering something better than Nik Aziz. Why don't you support Barisan Nasional (BN)?" he asked.

The Manik Urai by-election is pitting PAS's Mohd Fauzi Abdullah against the BN's Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat, two individuals who are similar in their lack of political charisma. Both have depended heavily on the reputations and machinery of their respective parties.

More magnetic leaders from both sides have descended on the constituency, appearing at nightly ceramah to convince voters that their respective parties have the most to offer. Posters of Nik Aziz and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak were more prominent than those of Tuan Aziz or Abe Uji, as Mohd Fauzi is colloquially known, throughout the campaigning period.

Yet this blitz has done little but maintain the status quo of opinion. The Islamist party was the favourite at the beginning of this race, on 6 July when nomination took place. Since then there has not been any indication of a shift. As the people of Manik Urai prepare to vote today on 14 July, a PAS victory is quite certain.


Muhyiddin at the Teacher's Day function

BN's miscalculation

One of the reasons why this is so is the BN campaign's weakness, which was rife with miscalculation. This was best exemplified by the ruling coalition's early strategy of disparaging Mohd Fauzi's education — or rather, his lack of.

In introducing candidate Tuan Aziz, Muhyiddin emphasised the former South Kelantan Development Authority officer's university degree, and consistently pointed out that "he is not a fishmonger".

Kelantan Umno chief Datuk Mustapa Mohamed would later try to soften this message, qualifying it by saying "while PAS's candidate is good, the BN's candidate is excellent."

But the damage was done. Muhyiddin's quip was seen as an indirect insult to Mohd Fauzi's person. Worse, it was one that could be transposed to encompass Manik Urai voters as a whole. The majority of the constituency's 12,293 voters are rubber tappers, with little in the way of formal education.

PAS was swift in exploiting the issue. A protest jointly organised by the party and the Kelantan Fishmongers Association on 10 July railed against the BN's "insults to their profession". Nik Aziz pointed out that the Prophet Muhammad himself had been a lowly shepherd.

"What's wrong with selling fish? It is halal work. What about corruption? They make fun of fishmongers, but their party is full of corruption and they are proud of it," Nik Aziz had said.

Tarmizi Salleh, the fishmongers association head, vowed to defend Mohd Fauzi, and pledged 40 barrels of fish for each polling district. Constituents enjoyed this boon the following night, roasting the fish on makeshift grills.


Fish feast

Development promises

The BN's platform of development also opened them to attack from PAS. On 11 July, Muhyiddin pledged to build a new bridge connecting the twin villages of Manik Urai Lama and Manik Urai Baru if voters decided in favour of Tuan Aziz.

Both PAS and independent election observers — such as the National Institute for Electoral Integrity — have criticised this conditional development promise as "intimidation politics".

Speaking at the 12 July ceramah, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told his audience that it was easy for the federal government to spend RM6 to RM7 million on a bridge in Manik Urai when it was withholding RM1 billion in oil royalties.

The money, the Kelantan government claims, is rightfully theirs from a Thai-Malaysia joint development area in Kelantanese, albeit internationally contested, waters.

"Give back the RM1 billion and let Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) manage it," Anwar urged, adding that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parliamentarians would use a PAS win in Manik Urai as leverage to pressure the finance ministry to account for the oil royalty issue.


Banners protesting against the BN's put-downs of the fishmongering business

Returnee voters

In the end, however, both campaigns have done little in swaying pre-existing opinions. By all accounts, staunch PAS or BN folk have not changed their minds. Most now look to returnee voters — younger individuals who work in cities outside Manik Urai, but vote here — to decide matters. Banners put up by PAS on 12 July read "Welcome home, travellers!" while Muhyiddin has callled on these outstation voters to think of the constituency's development needs.

PAS recognised the importance of this group, estimated at almost 2,000 votes by the party, early on. In the Islamist party's first press conference of the campaign, on 5 July, Manik Urai by-election operations chief Abdul Fatah Harun claimed that there were employers who were not allowing voters leave to return. Polling day falls on Tuesday, a working day.

Their failure to come back to Manik Urai to vote would throw a spanner in PAS's perceived lead. It would benefit the BN, as this group tends to vote against the federal ruling coalition. PAS's victory in 2008 was by a 1,352-vote margin; the loss of returnee voters would mean, at the least, a PAS win with a smaller majority.

This would be seen as a weakening of the PR narrative that the opposition coalition was gathering public support in the wake of their unbroken by-election victory record. As such, the Islamist party is currently working on bringing these voters home — chauffeuring them, if need be.

There was a sizeable number of young faces in the 5,000-strong crowd at the 12 July rally where Nik Aziz spoke. But it was also a ceramah that featured Nik Aziz, Anwar, and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang as speakers — and all three tend to attract political tourists.

The traffic jam that stopped up the main road through the constituency was filled with Federal Territory number plates. It remains to be seen whether these cars belonged to actual voters.


Traffic jam after the rally

Poll: Who will win the Manek Urai by-election?

Okay, all you political pundits out there, let’s see what your prediction is for the outcome of the Manek Urai by-election in Kelantan today. So far, you have by and large accurately predicted the results of previous by-elections.

Who will win the Manek Urai by-election?

Malaysia: Politics Drive Upcoming Anwar Trial

For Immediate Release

Government Pre-Trial Maneuvers Show Political Motivations

(New York, July 13, 2009) – The Malaysian government should immediately drop politically motivated criminal charges against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Human Rights Watch said today. On July 15, 2009, the Kuala Lumpur High Court will hear Anwar’s application to strike out a sodomy charge against him, and an ongoing defense request for evidence it says is crucial to properly prepare for trial.

This is the second time Anwar has been charged with sodomy. He spent six years in prison before his previous conviction for sodomy was overturned in 2004.

Human Rights Watch said the current charge appears politically motivated and lacks credibility.
The government has failed to disclose key evidence to the defense, hastily sought to pass a DNA statute that aids the prosecution, and put Anwar at a disadvantage by unnecessarily moving the trial to the high court. In addition, the government allowed the attorney general, who is under investigation for misconduct in Anwar’s previous trial, to be involved in the current case.

“This trial is a bald-faced attempt to permanently remove an opposition leader from Malaysian politics,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government is trying to manipulate the justice system for political purposes.”

The current charge against Anwar relates to allegations that on June 26, 2008, he had sexual relations with Mohd Saiful Bukhari bin Azlan, a 23-year-old male former volunteer aide to Anwar. Although initially filed as a non-consensual offense, prosecutors later changed the charge to consensual sodomy, though Saiful has never been charged. A conviction would force Anwar to vacate his seat in Parliament and effectively bar him from contesting in the next general election, expected before 2012.

Anwar’s July 15 court application to drop the sodomy charge rests on the basis of two medical reports. Three specialists from the public Kuala Lumpur Hospital endorsed a July 13, 2008 medical report regarding the complainant that found “no conclusive clinical findings suggestive of penetration to the anus and no significant defensive wound on the body of the patient.” A doctor at the private Pusrawi Hospital who examined Saiful on June 28, 2008, two days after the alleged incident, reported the anus as “normal.” The doctor later left Malaysia to escape what he said was persistent pressure to alter his report.

In addition, the defense will reiterate its January 2009 request for at least 10 documents it asserts are necessary for it to properly prepare Anwar’s defense at trial. They include the original closed-circuit television recordings from the alleged crime scene, original specimens from which DNA samples were allegedly obtained, chemist’s notes, witness statements including the complainant’s, and medical reports. To date, the Public Prosecutor’s office has denied it is withholding any documents it is mandated to share under the Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code.

“Providing the defendant with evidence crucial for preparing his defense is a basic requirement of a fair trial,” said Pearson. “The prosecution’s withholding of key evidence is a red flag of political shenanigans.”

Concerns about a fair trial were heightened on July 1 after the court dismissed Anwar’s appeal challenging Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s decision to move the trial to the High Court from the Sessions Court where it originated. Transfer to a high court reduces opportunities for a defense appeal to higher courts should Anwar be found guilty. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi then stated publicly in July 2008 that Abdul Gani, who is also public prosecutor, would have no part in Anwar’s trial as he is under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly falsifying evidence to protect those involved in an assault on Anwar in 1998 while he was in police custody during the earlier sodomy trial.

Sessions Court Judge Komathy Suppiah ruled in March that, “it is evident that any involvement by the AG [Gani] in this case would seriously undermine public confidence in the administration of criminal justice.” The High Court overruled Judge Komathy’s decision, stating that Gani was only acting administratively in approving the transfer and thus was not involved in the new trial.

DNA issues are also contentious in the case. On June 23, 2009, the lower house of Parliament quickly passed the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Identification Act, which will go into effect after Senate and Royal assent. It would allow police to take DNA samples from criminal suspects and to use those samples to build a DNA databank. Anwar has repeatedly refused to submit DNA samples in this case on the grounds that current law does not require it and because of his reasonable concern for evidence tampering as happened in his 1998 trial.

The proposed DNA law includes a provision stating that “any existing DNA profile and any information in relation thereto kept and maintained by the Chemistry Department of Malaysia or Royal Malaysia Police, immediately before coming into operation of this Act shall … form part of the DNA Databank established under this Act.” Circumventing Anwar’s refusal to provide a new DNA sample, this would permit the manipulated samples from his previous trial to be used as evidence and manipulated again during the upcoming trial.

Other language in the bill raises fair-trial concerns. Article 24 reads: “Any information from the DNA Database shall be admissible as a conclusive proof of the DNA identification in any proceedings in any court.” Such decisive stipulations ignore well-known information that DNA databanks are not foolproof, and are often prone to tampering and mistakes in evidence collection and handling. As a safeguard, many courts around the world have determined that information gleaned from DNA cannot be conclusive and must always be corroborated. Those responsible for the collection of evidence must be professional, competent, and beyond the reach of any improper interference.

Serious concerns about fairness and impartial administration of justice, combined with heavy-handed police tactics at the time of Anwar’s arrest and intimidation of witnesses, are reminiscent of Anwar’s earlier, deeply marred sodomy trial , Human Rights Watch said. Given these concerns, Human Rights Watch renewed its call for the charge against Anwar to be dropped immediately.

“The Malaysian government should stop using the courts to pursue political vendettas,” said Pearson. “Unless it drops these dubious charges against Anwar, it risks giving its reputation another black eye.”

Sodomy (“committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature”), even when consensual, is punishable in Malaysia under Section 377B of the Penal Code by up to 20 years in prison and whipping. Human Rights Watch urges the Malaysian authorities to uphold international human rights standards by decriminalizing consensual homosexual conduct and replacing Section 377A with a gender-neutral rape law.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Polling Begins For Manik Urai By-Election

KUALA KRAI, July 14 (Bernama) -- Polling for the Manik Urai state by-election is now underway in nine polling centres.

The centres, which comprise 27 polling streams, were opened from 8am on Tuesday.

A majority of the 12,293 voters, except for the 25 postal voters who had already cast their votes, are expected to come out early to elect their new representative, replacing Ismail Yaacob of PAS who died of a heart attack on May 22.

The Election Commission expects the voter turnout to be around 85 per cent.

Both candidates, Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat, 39, of Barisan Nasional and Mohd Fauzi Abdullah, 50, of PAS, are not voters in the area.

Polling will be closed at 5pm, afterwhich the counting of votes will begin at the centres.

The votes will then be tallied at the Dewan Petra, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Yahya Petra 1, here.

The result is expected to be known as early as 8pm tonight.

1 Ogos : Pemuda Gerakan akan sertai ; Pemuda PR dah mesyuarat belum ?

By Chegubard,

Semalam Pemuda Parti GERAKAN gabungan parti Bn mengumumkan akan bersama dengan GMI menjayakan himpunan anti ISA pada 1 Ogos di Kuala Lumpur. (sila klik sini untuk baca lanjut)

"Pemuda Gerakan akan menggerakan sekumpulan ahli (Pemuda) untuk menyokong perhimpunan aman MANSUH pada 1 Ogos ini bersempena ulang tahun ke-49 (pelaksanaan) ISA," kata ketua biro khidmat guaman dan aduan awamnya Andy Yong.

Beliau juga berkata parti komponen BN itu beriltizam melindungi dan mempertahankan hak-hak asasi manusia dan kebebasan asas seperti termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan Perisytiharan Sejagat Hak Asasi Manusia (UHDR) 1948.

"Keputusan kami telah dimaklumkan kepada pengerusi GMI Syed Ibrahim (Syed Noh) dan beliau menyambut baik," kata Yong lagi

Tindakan Pemuda GERAKAN ini jelas amat memeranjatkan rakan - rakan dalam Bn. Percayalah KJ selaku pengerusi Pemuda Bn pasti akan guna apa jua cara untuk gagalkan penyertaan Pemuda GERAKAN dalam himpunan itu nanti. Cuma kini kita nak juga tengok kesungguhan Pemuda Gerakan ini dalam membuat keputusan sendiri atau Gerakan akan terus dibuli Bn dalam perikatan tersebut.

Tarikh 1 Ogos sudah dekat, kejayaan himpunan ini penting kerana dalam isu Bahasa jelas himpunan memerikan kesan ketakutan pada regim Bn ini. Percayalah dengan kejayaan himpunan 1 Ogos nanti pasti akan menghasilkan sesuatu yang positif terhadap gerakan memansuhkan ISA.

Melihat semulada dalam sayap Pemuda Pakatan Rakyat, cuma sehingga kini cuma Dewan Pemuda PAS menyatakan sikap jelas, bagaimana dengan AMK dan DAPSY ? Sudahkah ketiga tiga sayap duduk sekali serta menjemput sekutu PSM serta NGO lain duduk memberikan sokongan kepada GMI. Paling penting bukan sekadar kenyataan tetapi gerak kerja yang bersungguh dalam memobilisasikan rakyat turun ke Kuala Lumpur pada 1 Ogos 2009.

TV host 'reassigned' over Najib scorecard - Malaysiakini

All her guest did was to give premier Najib Abdul Razak a 'C' or 'D' rating for his first 100 days in office.

It was enough to see ntv7 talk-show host Florence Looi being issued a warning letter and an immediate transfer to the news desk of the private television station.

Looi, who hosts the popular 'Point of View' current affairs programme, was said to have 'breached editorial policy', according to ntv7 sources.

The two guests on the talk-show, aired on July 5, were author Syed Akhbar Ali and consulting editor Leslie Lau of news portal Malaysian Insider. It was the latter's remarks that landed Looi in trouble.

The sources said she was verbally told that she should not have asked her guests to rate Najib's performance. As Looi is the host-cum-producer of the programme, she was the only one who received the warning letter.

Looi, who is assistant assignment editor, has since been reassigned to cover news, ostensibly because of a shortage of human resources at the news desk

This incident might well seal the fate of 'Point of View', which has just concluded its second season. There has been no announcement yet as to whether there will be a third season.

However, the sources believe that, even if the programme is continued, a new host will be appointed.

Looi refused comment when contacted, while efforts to reach the management were futile.

Ntv7 is one of the four free-to-air private TV stations belonging to media giant Media Prima Bhd which is closely linked to Umno. The other three stations are TV3, 8TV and tv9.

Media Prima has also spiked news about the mansion that former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo is building in Shah Alam. The blanket ban was applied after the ntv7 Chinese news slot at 5.30pm aired the bulletin.

'Only an opinion'

Centre for Independent Journalism executive director V.Gayathry took ntv7 to task for practising self-censorship.

“The comment by the guest on the performance rating is not anything critical, but just an opinion,” she said.

She said that Looi was punished for asking an important question at a time when everyone else was evaluating Najib's performance.

“The show has provided a lot of space of good discussion (and Looi has been doing a good job),” she noted.

Gayathry recalled that, when Najib took office, Media Prima had issued orders to the four television stations not to name political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda when reporting the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case. Razak is Najib's confidante.

”We would like to ask if it is Najib's policy to put people in the TV station to practise censorship,” Gayathri added.

'Point of View' has been broadcast at 6pm on Sundays. Guests are invited from either side of the divide on such hot topics such as the Internal Security Act, language-switch policy, vernacular education, police accountability and the recent PKFZ scandal.

Since Najib assumed power, top media personnel aligned to former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have been replaced.

Those who had served during the tenure of Dr Mahathir Mohamad have made a return, leading to the perception that there is a return to a more restrictive media environment.

Former New Straits Times group editor Ahmad Talib is now Executive Director, News and Editorial Operations, at Media Prima, as well as the Executive Director (Editorial) of New Straits Times Press.

Former Berita Harian Sdn Bhd group editor Manja Ismail is Media Prima news and current affairs editor, assisting Ahmad.

Deadly blast hits Pakistani school

The blast destroyed an Islamic school and more than
one dozen homes in Punjab province [EPA]

At least nine people, including seven children, have been killed and scores more wounded after a cache of explosives apparently ignited in an Islamic school in Pakistan, police said.

The blast on Monday destroyed the school and more than one dozen homes in a village near the city of Mian Channu in Punjab province, trapping several people under the rubble.

The seminary was based in a house in which children were taught the Quran.

"It appears that the blast was caused by some explosives placed inside the house," Kamran Khan, the police chief in the area, said.

The owner of the home has been accused of recruiting fighters to battle foreign troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, the Associated Press news agency cited Khan as saying.

Police have evidence that the home was a meeting point for fighters, he said.

The government has ordered an inquiry into the blast.

'Unworthy target'

Imran Khan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, said the location of the blast was very remote.

"The village is off the radar. It hasn't been seen as a target worthy of an explosion of this size," he said.

"The size of the crater suggests the number of explosives used was a massive amount. The only time we've seen craters of that size are in major urban centres.

"There is a theory developing that the village itself was not the target and that this could have been some sort of arms or munitions dump where an explosion happened quite by accident."

The blast comes amid a major offensive by Pakistani troops to drive out Taliban fighters from their strongholds in tribal regions near the Afghan border.

While security forces say they have flushed out the anti-government fighters from the North West Frontier Province, an assault is currently under way in South Waziristan to capture Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader.

The Taliban has vowed to fight back and launch counter attacks.

Khir Toyo expelled

Tukar MB Pun Boleh : Manikavasagam

Sinar Harian Ahad 12 July 2009

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Police will focus on street crimes, says IGP

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 – The police will give priority to to stamping out street crimes, in line with the government commitment to reduce crime and corruption, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan said.

Drastic measures would be taken to address the problem to ensure public safety and security, he said.

“Street crimes like snatch thefts and robberies have a big impact as people are afraid to go outdoors, thus limiting their movements.

“Police want to reduce such crimes which have become rampant,” he said when commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s statement that the government would take measures to check crime.

Musa said PDRM would increase manpower and beat base in public places known to be risky due to the many crimes committed there.

PDRM would also step up cooperate with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and related agencies.

He said the anti-corruption campaign was proven effective when two policemen turned down a bribe of RM500,000 recently.

They were offered the bribe after stopping a lorry with 978kg of drugs worth RM280mil on May 2. – Bernama

Police: Ah Long heads could be politically-linked

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 – The police have not ruled out the probability that two key members of Malaysia’s largest ‘Ah Long’ (loan shark) network could be familiar names in the political fraternity.

Initial police investigations have revealed that the two were among six people who had jointly headed the network which had international connections in drug trafficking and prostitution, among others.

The other four heads, including a datuk, are in police custody to facilitate investigations.

Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said preliminary investigations on some of the network heads in custody revealed a possible involvement in politics and in other crimes like drug-trafficking, prostitution and illegal businesses.

“The network is so large that it has gone overseas (overseas links) and we need time and public help to cripple it,” he told reporters here, today.

These heads are believed to have used revenue from other criminal ventures to fund and expand their illegal money-lending activities.

Yesterday, police said that four of six key players in the ‘Ah Long’ network, including a datuk, aged between 30 and 56, were arrested.

Mohd Bakri declined to comment further on the arrests. The police have set up a special team involving the federal CID and commercial crime department to track down and destroy the network, right up to its grassroots-level.

Last month, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein declared an all-out war against the ‘Ah Long’ menace and stressed that illegal money-lending activities could not be accepted or allowed to mushroom.

In an unrelated case, the police have recorded statements from several individuals, following a police report that a reporter had gatecrashed into a religious function at a church.

“We have taken statements from the complainants and later, will record a statement from the reporter, as well,” said Mohd Bakri.

On July 8, two Catholics claimed that a reporter had intruded a function at the church in Kuala Lumpur, about two months ago, to probe a claim of Muslim teens being converted at the church. – Bernama

Pas win with bigger majority in Manek Urai by-election will be a clear and unmistakable signal to Najib that his Hundred Day performance and goodies a

By Lim Kit Siang,

I just returned from Manek Urai in Kelantan where I attended the last Pakatan Rakyat ceramah at Kampong Perial last night, which saw a record ceramah crowd for the by-election campaign.

The prognosis is most favourable and a Pas win with bigger majority in Manek Urai by-election than the general elections last year will be a clear and unmistakable signal to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in two senses:

  • That together with the people in the West Coast in Peninsular Malaysia as demonstrated in the three by-elections after Najib became Prime Minister, i.e. Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambu and Penanti, the people in the East Coast stand as one in their solid support for Pakatan Rakyat in the nation-wide demand for political change; and
  • That Najib’s Hundred Day performance and goodies are just not good enough and people expect meaningful reforms in his next 100 Days.

The voters of Manek Urai have a historic mission tomorrow. In the 1978 general elections, when PAS was nearly smashed to smithereens by Umno winning only two State Assembly seats in Kelantan after Pas was thrown out of Barisan Nasional and a period of emergency rule, Manek Urai was one of the two.

In 1978, the voters of Manek Urai were the “saviours” of PAS but tomorrow, the voters of Manek Urai have the mission to be the “saviours” of Malaysia in paving the way for another historic political tsunami in the next general elections for the ending of Umno political hegemony and Barisan Nasional rule at the national level.

Najib’s absence in the Manek Urai by-election is most significant for it is a barometer of Umno’s lack of confidence that it could win in Manek Urai despite the Umno and Barisan Nasional’s politics of 3M – money, mass media and (Federal government) machinery.

If Umno has the possibility of winning the Manek Urai by-election, Najib would have been in the forefront of the Umno by-election campaign in Manek Urai.

It is most regrettable that the Umno and Barisan Nasional by-election commander-in-chief Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had resorted to the old politics of money, inducements and ransom to win voters in Manek Urai when he should be spearheading the new politics of ideas.

As reported by the Star report “Golden offer to voters”, Muhyiddin offered “a new deal to turn Manek Urai into a new development area in Kelantan provided Barisan Nasional wins tomorrow’s by-election”.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the “offer” was not confined to physical development but would also encompass the social and economic well-being of the people.

Muhyiddin said a bridge, estimated to cost between RM7 mil and RM10 mil, would be built to connect the old and new sections of Kampung Manek Urai, which were separated by a river.

Muhyiddin said Manek Urai would be considered “a golden area” of choice by the Barisan Nasional federal government for development of commercial farming of oil palm, rubber, vegetables and other crops – on the condition that Barisan won the by-election.

If this is not the old corrupt politics of bribery and buy-and-sell votes, I do not know what is. It is most deplorable that in the new era of integrity, the new Deputy Prime Minister should resort to such disreputable methods of electioneering.

Muhyiddin should have set a good example of new politics by telling the voters of Manek Urai that regardless of whether Umno wins or loses in the by-election, the Barisan Nasional federal government would respect the right to development of the people in Manek Urai and would build a new bridge for the area.

Muhyiddin may have even violated the laws, both electoral and MACC – but nobody believes that we have the institutional independence in the country for impartial investigations and actions to be taken.

At the minimum, Muhyiddin should publicly apologise for resorting to such old politics of electoral corruption.

Pick Leaders Who Can Win Back Community, MIC Delegates Told

PUTRAJAYA, July 13 (Bernama) -- The 1,400 delegates to the MIC general assembly in September must pick leaders who could win back the 1.8 million Malaysian Indians into the Barisan Nasional (BN) fold, said political analyst and renowned researcher Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria.

"This is most important. MIC politics is not just politics involving the MIC delegates. It is really the question of who will the Indian community trust in the post-March 8, 2008 political tsunami.


"The opposition has outstanding Indian leaders who often transcend their own community and have become flag-bearers for human rights, democracy, justice, fairness, good governance and accountability. Who within MIC can face these political heroes who have captured the Indian hearts and minds?" he said in an interview with Bernama.

At the general assembly, the MIC will also hold the election for the posts of deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 central working committee members. Long-serving party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu won the MIC presidential election uncontested for a record 11th term in March, this year.

Incumbent deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel, former deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam and party vice-president Datuk S. Sothinathan have announced their intention to contest the party's number two post.

The veep race is still uncertain with several leaders like Human Resource Minister and MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, Federal Territories Deputy Minister and party information chief Datuk M. Saravanan and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk S.K. Devamany, who is also the MIC treasurer-general, expected to join the fray.

Denison argued that the delegates to the assembly must pick a new breed of leaders, "basically new faces who can instil confidence that the party is truly reforming in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's policy reform and also in line with the Indian community's expectations".

"While academic qualifications and experience can be an added value, what is most essential is for men and women with character and high moral values.

"Therefore, the delegates must consider leaders who are free from any scandal or link with gangs or criminal activities, as well as free from financial controversies," said Denison, who is also a Malaysian Human Rights Commissioner.

He said age was another factor to take into account in picking national leaders as too often those who had held their post for long were not prepared to give it up.

"The MIC delegates must elect a majority who are in their late 40's and early 50's. The urgent appeal is to drop those who have held their post for the past 10 to 15 years in the CWC.

"The MIC must take a critical but honest view of this matter. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik have stepped down and allowed their parties to move on with younger leaders," he said.

Denison also warned about the danger of "chores singing" and heaping praises on national leaders with very little room for dissenting views and voices in today's politics. "There must be tolerance for alternative views, especially in a climate where we want innovation and creativity."

He said the delegates must also ensure that the national leadership is more inclusive of all sub-Indian communities such as Tamils, Northern Indians, Telugus, Malayalees and Ceylon Tamils, as well as Indian Christians, Indian Muslims and Sikhs alongside the dominant Hindu leaders.

He also called on them to elect leaders who have clear understanding of the community's expectations and the aspirations of the other communities in Malaysia, instead of those who espouse strong racial and religious views for political expectancy.

"Failure to choose the right political leaders will further impact the credibility of the party and its leadership in the eyes of the Indian community and other communities in Malaysia, and this will further erode the party's role in the community, government and nation.

"Therefore, the time is ripe for the MIC not in its old form but renewed under a new leadership to ride the tide of change with a dynamic prime minister and his public policies. The future of the party is in the hands of the delegates," he said.

High Court refers Mohan Singh's conversion to syariah court

SHAH ALAM, 6 July 2009: The High Court here gave jurisdiction to the Syariah Court to determine if art director Mohan Singh a/l Janto Singh was a Muslim at death, despite his Sikh family's dispute of his conversion.

Judge Rosnaini Saub said the civil court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter based on the Selangor State Enactment and the Federal Constitution's Ninth Schedule.

Both laws state that the syariah court has jurisdiction over persons professing Islam and matters that include declaring whether a deceased person was a Muslim or otherwise at the time of death.

With this ruling, the High Court dismissed an application by Mohan's family challenging the Sungai Buloh Hospital's decision to withhold his body from them pending confirmation by the Selangor Islamic Council (Mais) on his religious status.

The High Court also dissolved its own injunction issued on 1 June 2009 to stop the hospital's release of the body to any party pending a decision on jurisdiction.

Mais will now take possession of Mohan's body from the hospital for burial according to Islamic rites. He will be buried at the Sungai Buloh Muslim cemetery today.

The court also rejected a request by the family's lawyer, Rajesh Kumar, for a stay of the decision pending an appeal to the Court of Appeals. Despite the rejection, Rajesh said he would file an appeal in Putrajaya today.

Mohan's family, comprising his step-father and three sisters, were silent when Rosnaini announced her decision. One of the sisters began crying softly.

However, the family was allowed to take the body to their home in Selayang to pay their last respects before they had to hand it over to Mais later, Rajesh said after the court announced its judgement this morning.

Certificate of conversion accepted

Judge Rosnani decided that Mohan's conversion certificate was acceptable, notwithstanding the dispute by his family.

She found that the purported conversion in 1992 to be a "highly disputed question of fact", but also said that "the applicants' averment that they are not aware of the deceased's conversion to Islam does not mean that the conversion did not take place."

"It is unfortunate that the deceased [did] not [tell] them," she said.

Since the court found that the certificate's existence was "sufficient proof" that he had converted, Rosnaini said that Mohan was therefore a Muslim. His Muslim name, according to the certificate, was Mohammad Hazzery Shah Mohan Abdullah.

She also said that even though the Penang Administration of Muslim Law Enactment 1959, which governed Mohan's conversion in 1992, did not have a provision to regard a conversion certificate as conclusive, it did not mean that the court could not accept the document.

She said the certificate was issued as an administrative practice to record conversions to Islam, and "in [the] absence of any evidence that the certificate is a forgery or was fraudulent, there is no reason why this court should not accept it as proof of conversion".

Lifestyle versus the law

Mohan's family had disputed his conversion through affidavits filed by one of his sisters, Baldi Kaur a/p Janto Singh, who said Mohan had always lived in Selangor. His conversion certificate states that he converted in Penang.

Baldi Kaur also said the family had no knowledge of his conversion as Mohan had lived like a Sikh even after 1992. He married a non-Muslim who bore him a child who was given a Punjabi name. In his marriage register and in his child's birth certificate, he maintained his Punjabi name and Sikhism as his religion.

He also performed Sikh funeral rites for his mother. And there was no change in his identity card details after his purported conversion.

Judge Rosnani said that even if a convert's lifestyle was inconsistent with that of a Muslim's, it "does not alter his status as a Muslim in the eyes of the existing law".

She ruled that even though Mohan converted in Penang, the Selangor enactment deemed anyone who was registered anywhere else as a Muslim a convert in the state of Selangor unless the syariah court declared otherwise.

She also rejected the submission by the family's lawyer that Mohan's conversion was never registered. She cited a letter from the Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Department dated 25 May 2009, the date of Mohan's death, confirming that he had converted to Islam and was registered in Penang.

Case law

Referring to the case law raised during the arguments on jurisdiction, Rosnaini said that even if not all parties to a dispute were Muslim, it did not mean that the civil court had jurisdiction to hear the matter.

She said this was especially so if the subject matter was within the domain of the syariah court, such as, in this case, the question of whether Mohan died a Muslim.

She said Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution prohibits the civil court from interfering in such a matter.

"Therefore, it cannot be a correct proposition of the law when the applicants' counsel submitted that the civil court shall have jurisdiction over the subject matter because the applicants are non-Muslim," she said.

During submissions, Mohan's family's lawyer had argued based on the case of Latifah Mat Zin v. Rosmawati Sharibun & Anor, in which the judge decided that all parties to a dispute must profess Islam in order for the dispute to be heard in the syariah court.

Where do they go?

Rosnaini acknowledged that Mohan's family had neither recourse in the syariah court because they were non-Muslims, nor in the civil court because it had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of Mohan's religious status.

To this, she said the matter had to be resolved by lawmakers and not by the courts.

She cited Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamed, who was the Federal Court judge in the Latifah Mat Zin case, who, in his judgement said that since neither court had jurisdiction based on the state and federal laws which created them, it was up to the legislators to remedy the situation.

"Either court obtains its jurisdiction from statute, not from the fact that the other court does not have jurisdiction over the matter. ...Where can the applicants go in such a scenario?...It is not the court's function to remedy it," Rosnaini said, quoting Abdul Hamid.

Al Islam breached code of ethics

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

PETALING JAYA, 13 July 2009: Al Islam magazine clearly violated journalistic ethics when it went undercover at a Catholic mass and partook of the holy communion, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) said today.

"I don't question the subject matter of the story, which was about finding out about alleged conversions of Muslims to Christianity. It is a valid subject as it is the concern of a particular community.

"But the magazine went the wrong way in reporting it by going undercover. It was a clear violation of journalistic ethics," CIJ executive director V Gayathry told The Nut Graph today.


Gayathry
"Undercover reporting cannot be the starting point and basis for journalism without trying other traditional methods. In this case, on such a story involving religion and faith, being sneaky by going undercover breeds further misconceptions and misunderstanding.

"If the magazine wanted to know if Muslims were being converted, it should have confronted the church with evidence of the claims, and obtained the church's reply," Gayathry said.

She was responding to the Al Islam magazine article in May 2009 which has outraged many Catholics and some Muslims because the magazine's journalist not only consumed the communion, but also spat it out to photograph it.

Catholics believe that the communion, once consecrated, is the body and blood of Jesus Christ and only baptised Catholics who have prepared to receive Christ can consume the host.

Right of reply

In the Al Islam article, Tinjauan Al Islam Dalam Gereja: Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad, the writer set out to ascertain if claims that Muslims were being converted in churches were true. From his observations, he wrote that he did not see anything of the sort happening, although there were Malay-looking people attending the church services. These he identified as Malaysians from Sabah.

Gayathry added that for stories on controversial subjects such as religious conversions, there was "all the more the need for reporters to be factual".


Magazine cover
"You can write in the interest of your community, but it must be done openly and honestly, and with a chance for the other party to respond. The magazine should state how it came to know of such rumours that Muslims were being converted, and what were the facts they have managed to establish," she said.

Ethical journalism would not employ undercover reporting, she added. In past cases where undercover reporting was practised and considered ethically acceptable, they were usually on stories where corruption and abuse of power were being exposed, and where there was no paper trail or hard evidence to furnish as proof.

Because reporting a story involves establishing the truth of a situation, Gayathry noted that journalists had to obtain more than one side to the story and go beyond stated claims.

"A journalist is not a judge, but one, who, based on tips or observations, feels there is something wrong and tries to expose it. In presenting a story, they must go after the person against whom allegations are made to give them the right of reply.

"In presenting the truth as best as one can, more sides of the story must be obtained," she said.

The Nut Graph last week contacted the Al Islam editorial desk but the magazine declined to comment.

Sacrilegious

Bishop Antony Selvanayagam of the Catholic Church's Penang diocese said "to take part in a ritual one is not supposed to, and to write about it" was considered "very sacrilegious as far as our religion is concerned".


Selvanayagam (Source: rc.net)
"The story does not help us work towards living in harmony with one another. However, my advice to Catholics is not to [respond] tit for tat. That is not the way. But we cannot just keep quiet either.

"The legitimate course of action to protest is to make police reports, and I hope the Home Ministry will act as police reports have already been made," the bishop said in a phone interview today.

Selvanayagam confirmed that the police report lodged against Al Islam last week was done by two members of his diocese. He said he was not certain as to exactly which churches the Al Islam reporter went to since the article did not name any church.

"We are just responding to the fact that the incident happened," he said.

Catatan Dari Manek Urai

Alhamdulillah, semangat rakyat di Manek Urai kelihatan kental. Sambutan ceramah malam tadi hebat sekali. Pagi tadi saya turun ka desa, menemui jentera PAS dan berhenti menyampaikan pesanan singkat. Azizah masih di sana dan petang ini meraikan petugas KeADILan disana.

Saya menempelak pimpinan UMNO yang terus mengugut rakyat dengan rasuah politik. Jambatan Manek Urai akan dibina pada 15 Julai sekiranya calun UMNO menang, tegas mereka. Apa mereka kira dana negara adalah harta peribadi dan bolih segera dibangunkan menurut titah Nabi Sulaiman?

Dan agak melucukan manakala Menteri Pendidikan menganjurkan sambutan Hari Guru selepas dua bulan dari tarikh kebiasaannya (16 Mei)!

Walhasil balik asal - seluruh jentera pemerintah, penguatkuasa, dan media ikut satu arah, satu Malaysia!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Police arrest two for “criminally trespassing” as non-Malays/Muslims in University Malaya’s Academy of Islamic Studies

by Nathaniel Tan

Update: There will be a vigil to support the two tonight, 13th July, 8pm - the group will gather at the mamak restaurant in front of the UM KL entrance.

Last night, two individuals - Ong Jing Cheng and Yap Heng Lung - were arrested for “trespassing” in Universiti Malaya. Their “crime?”

Being non-Malay in a “Malays only” area :|

And what area is this that is “Malays only?” - The Academy of Islamic Studies.

Last I checked, it is the duty of Muslims to spread their faith, to encourage an understanding of the religion to non-believers.

So is this “Malays only” (at the pain of police arrest) policy something from Islam? Or something from racist, segregationist UM policies and blur cops?

Are parts of UM - a public university - off limits to people of certain ethnicities or religions?

Is it now illegal to have friends in university of different faiths?

What on earth is going on here?!

Ong and Yap are both deeply motivated activists who work to Malaysia a better place. Their efforts cross racial lines, and for their trouble, they landed a night in jail.

Another ridiculous aspect of this case is how having a draft memorandum aimed at helping crime-fighting efforts was interpreted as subversive when a) it’s in the interests of citizens plagued by crime and b) has absolutely nothing to do with the university.

Bodohnya!

I will be following the case closely and will post up any updates I get on this post. The following is the full statement from DEMA which narrates the incident.

ps- thanks to help from John Lee: Section 447 of the Penal Code is criminal tresspassing, which is defined in Section 441 as “Whoever enters into or upon property in the possession of another with intent to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy any person in possession of such property; or having lawfully entered into or upon such property, unlawfully remains there with intent thereby to intimidate, insult or annoy any such person, or with intent to commit an offence, is said to commit
“criminal trespass”.” Right. I’m sure that’s exactly what those two intended to do :|

URGENT APPEAL
12 JULY 2009

To all,

Release Ong Jing Cheng and Yap Heng Lung Immediately!

Ong Jing Cheng, (a graduate student from USM, also Secretary of Administration of DEMA and coordinator of EMPOWER) together with Yap Heng Lung (fresh graduate student from USM and Coordinator of Student Politics Department of DEMA) were charged under Penal Code 447 for trespassing University Malaya (UM). Both of them were detained overnight at Pantai Police Station and is believed to be remanded the next day.

We call for immediate release of Ong and Yap because:
1. Both of them were only meeting friends at UM without any other motive or intention.
2. Local universities are public places, not security zone. Public should be welcomed to enter and utilize the facilities in the university.
3. Police is an executive force and they should be accountable and independent. In this case, the police worked in coop with the UM security officers and there was an obvious bias in handling the case by rejecting the request from Ong and Yap to lodge a police report against the security officers.

Background of the Incident

Chronology

Time

Incident

12/7/09 (Sunday)

8.00pm

· Ong Jing Cheng and Yap Heng Lung (two DEMA activists and graduate students from USM) went to University Malaya (UM) to meet their friend at Academy of Islamic Studies (API). Unfortunately their motorcycle broke down before they reach. So they had to walk to their meeting place.

· Three UM security guards stopped them and asked their reasons to be there as according to the guards, API is a “Malay place” and therefore Chinese should not be there.

8.15pm

· The security guards contacted another seven officers to come and surrounded Ong and Yap. Ong and Yap were forced to follow the officers back to the security department for trespassing UM.

· When Ong and Yap refused to follow the instruction, the officers called the police.

· Police came and brought both Ong and Yap to Pantai Police Station.

8.35pm

· Ong and Yap reached the police station.

· Police accepted the report from the UM security officers, accusing Ong and Yap as trespassers in UM.

· Also, the police found a memorandum of EMPOWER issued to Prime Minister on “Making a Street Safe” on their motorcycle and suspected that they were trying to protest. (*Ong Jing Cheng is a coordinator of EMPOWER-Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor)

· Police rejected the request of Ong and Yap to lodge a report on the security guards who harassed them without reasonable excuse.

11.00pm

· Both Ong and Yap were detained overnight by the police and were charged under Penal Code 447.

Abuse of Power
Public Universities are opened zone for public to enter. Security officers of UM should not be intimidating Ong and Yap for trespassing UM because both of them were only visiting a friend at UM. The accuse was not standing on a reasonable ground as the officers claimed that Academy of Islamic Studies (API) is a place for Malay race and any Chinese presented at the venue will be suspected. The responsibility of security officers is to help maintain the order of UM, not abusing one’s power to find fault on targeted people without concrete basis.

The police, on the other hand, should play a role as an independent force to execute the law. In this case, the police was bias towards the UM security officers by only accepting their reports, detaining Ong and Yap without proper investigation.

Demands
Hence, DEMA calls upon the police to release Ong Jing Cheng and Yap Heng Lung and withdraw all charges immediately. DEMA also urges UM authority to take action against the security officers who were not professional and intimidating Ong and Yap without reasonable basis.

What Can You Do?
Fax the sample letter below to Bukit Aman Police Headquarter:
Fax number: 0-322739602
Call Pantai Police Station to ask about the case and demand immediate release of Ong and Yap:
Tel: 03-22822222 or 03-22824786

Released by,
Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
Lee Song Yong (Secretary of National Affair)
012-6359440
xiumengdema@gmail.com

Sample Letter

Please state your concern and protest and faxing the letter to Bukit Aman Police Headquarter and CC to Vice Chancellor of University Malaya (UM) and Ministry of Higher Education.

To:

Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Inspector-General of Police
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia
Bukit Aman
50560 Kuala Lumpur.

Release Ong Jing Cheng and Yap Heng Lung Immediately!

We/I from ______________________, oppose the action of the police officers in detaining Ong Jing Cheng and Yap Heng Lung without reasonable basis.

2. We call for immediate release of Ong and Yap because:
i. Both of them were only meeting friends at UM without any other motive or intention.
ii. Local universities are public places, not security zone. Public should be welcomed to enter and utilize the facilities in the university.
iii. Police is an executive force and they should be accountable and independent. In this case, the police worked in coop with the UM security officers and there was an obvious bias in handling the case by rejecting the request from Ong and Yap to lodge a police report against the security officers.

3. Public Universities are opened zone for public to enter. Security officers of UM should not be intimidating Ong and Yap for trespassing UM because both of them were only visiting a friend at UM. The accuse was not standing on a reasonable ground as the officers claimed that Academy of Islamic Studies (API) is a place for Malay race and any Chinese presented at the venue are to be suspected. The responsibility of security officers is to help maintain the order of UM, not abusing one’s power to find fault on targeted people without concrete basis. This will continue to create fear among the students.

4. The police, on the other hand, should play a role as an independent force to execute the law. In this case, the police was bias towards the UM security officers by only accepting their reports, detaining Ong and Yap without proper investigation.

5. We urge the authority to:
i. Release Ong Jing Cheng and Yap Heng Lung immediately.
ii. Withdraw all charges on Ong and Yap.
iii. Take action on security officers of UM who were not professional.

Yours faithfully,

______________
( )

CC:
Ghauth Jasmon,
Vice-Chancellor
University of Malaya
50603 Kuala Lumpur
MALAYSIA
Tel. No : +603 7967 3213 / 3510 / +603 7956 8400
Fax No.: +603 7955 2975
Email: vc@um.edu.my / ghauth@gmail.com

Y.B. DATO’ SERI MOHAMED KHALED BIN NORDIN
Menteri Pengajian Tinggi,
Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi,
Aras 7, Blok E3, Parcel E,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62505 PUTRAJAYA.
Tel : +603-8883 5010
Faks : +603-8889 1952
Emel : menteri@mohe.gov.my

By-Election Results Expected By 8pm Tomorrow

KUALA KRAI, July 13 (Bernama) -- Results of the Manik Urai by-election is expected to be announced as early as 8pm tomorrow, said the Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

He said they do not expect any problems in announcing the results early as the constituency was small.

"Our are targetting 85 per cent of the 12,293 voters to vote because 90 per cent of them are farmers, rubber tappers and fishermen, so they are not subjected to a working day.

"The 1,300 outstation voters are not all from the Klang Valley. Most of them are from Kelantan and Pahang, so I hope they can come and vote tomorrow," he told reporters at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Yahya Petra I, here Monday.

He said the campaigning period which started on July 6, had gone smoothly without any untoward incidents that may affect the by-election process.

Abdul Aziz said voter information such as polling centre, polling streams and their serial numbers could be obtained from 25 EC booths opened within 50 metres of the polling stations.

He urged the political parties and candidates contesting in the by-election to abide by the laws set by police to ensure the by-election goes on smoothly.

"The campaigning period which began on July 6, will end at midnight tonight. No campaigning activities are allowed after that. Media organisations are also urged to respect these rules on polling day," he said.

He added that complaints on matters regarding campaigns or the by-election can be made to the EC's operations centre at 09-7471966 or 09-7471998.

Azmin Presses For EXCO Reshuffle

SHAH ALAM, July 13 (Bernama) -- The state assemblyman for Bukit Antarabangsa Mohamed Azmin Ali today continued to press for a reshuffle of the Selangor state executive council.

"The proposal for an exco reshuffle recently does not necessarily mean the sacking of any individuals. Instead the reshuffle can be done by changing the portfolios of existing exco members. It is up to the Menteri Besar to do so," he told reporters during the break in the assembly sitting here Monday.

He said that although Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had said there would not be any reshuffle in the near future he needed to stress on the roles of the exco in discharging their duties to develop Selangor.

Last Thursday, Azmin, who is also Gombak Member of Parliament called for a reshuffle of the state exco as he was not satisfied with the performance of certain councillors charging that they had failed to develop the state.

Azmin made the statement during the state assembly sitting and was also not happy with the appointment of local government council members which was announced last Monday.

He alleged that the appointments were not in line with the principles and spirit of cooperation among Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the DAP and Pas.

In another development, Azmin also asked PKR's Wangsa Maju Member of Parliament Wee Choo Keong to provide clarification regarding his allegation that there was a state exco member involved in illegal activities in Selangor.

He said the allegation made by Wee through his blog http://weechookeong.blogspot.com/ needed to be verified as to its truth.

"He just made the statement yesterday and I have not got clarification for the reason behind the statement. I need to have a clarification and Wee has to give a clarification," he said.