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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Darkness envelops Asia during total eclipse


(CNN) -- Darkness fell across parts of China and India on Wednesday morning as a total solar eclipse passed across the world's most populous countries, bringing throngs of people outside to watch the phenomenon.

State television in China broadcast this image of the eclipse.

State television in China broadcast this image of the eclipse.

Total eclipses occur about twice a year as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun on the same plane as Earth's orbit. Wednesday's event will be the longest of the 21st century, with astronomers predicting it will last more than six minutes.

Wednesday's event will be the longest of the 21st century, with astronomers predicting it will last more than six minutes.

People in a band running through parts of the Pacific Ocean, China and India will be able to get the full view of the eclipse.

The Chinese city of Shanghai is being touted as one of the best spots to watch the eclipse, with tourists coming from across the globe to view the phenomenon, during which the sun's corona -- the sun's outer atmosphere -- becomes visible.

"You can't find words to adequately describe it," Charles Fulco, a middle-school astronomy teacher from New York, told CNN. "You become addicted. You need to see the next one. You count the days and years until you do. Nothing else compares to it."

The weather was better in Hong Kong, where students, parents and the elderly flooded a primary school to watch the eclipse under sunny skies in the southern Chinese enclave. The local astronomy society gave a presentation on how an eclipse happens and children climbed up ladders to look through two large telescopes on the school roof -- packed with skygazers -- to catch a glimpse of the moon moving across the sun.

People tested out eclipse goggles and tried to line them up with their cameras to get a picture of the eclipse. Meanwhile, technicians were arranging for live Web broadcasts of the eclipse in cities in the mainland.

"Nature is incredible, and there is too much we don't know about," said Yee Ping, a journalist for a financial newspaper. "We try to know more and see by our own eyes so we can feel the power of nature."

Richard Binzel, an astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the total eclipse will first be visible at sunrise in India and about four hours later just east of Hawaii. A partial eclipse will be visible as far south as northern Australia and as far north as Siberia, he said.

In some cultures, legends and folklore surrounds eclipses.

In India, an eclipse is considered inauspicious. Women forbid pregnant daughters-in-law from going outside out of the belief that their children could be born with marks. Some temples won't offer any prayers on the day of an eclipse -- such as the one next to the planetarium in Mumbai, which said it won't even light a stick of incense.

In Chinese tradition, there is a story about a heavenly dog eating the sun. As the story goes, people would make noise to scare off the dog and rescue the sun, said Bill Yeung, president of the Hong Kong Astronomical Society.

"In ancient China, we shared the same impression with our Indian friends that a solar eclipse was not a good thing," he told CNN. Read blog on how eclipse-chasers are gambling on weather

Some of the more unusual ways to see Wednesday's eclipse include a cruise ship that will travel along the centerline off Japan and from aboard a 737-700 chartered plane in India.

"The aircraft will be intercepting the middle of the eclipse shadow at 0626 IST (Indian Standard Time) at a height of 41,000 feet," travel company Cox and Kings India Ltd, which is organizing the flight in association with Space technology and education Ltd, said in a statement.

"Eclipse chasers sitting along the Sun Side seats of the aircraft will be able to photograph the eclipse; while the chasers sitting along the Earth Side seats will be able to photograph the Lunar Shadow moving over the Earth cloud top," the company said.

More conventional viewing parties in Shanghai had been planned along the beach, in a park and in skyscrapers. A music festival has been organized in Japan's Amami island, with more than 6,000 people expected, and Japanese television has shown rows of tents set up on Akusekijima island.

The witnesses of the eclipse will range "from the farmer who only knows legends of eclipses and may not know this is happening at all to the world's experts who have come specifically to the Shanghai region to make the most detailed scientific analysis possible," added Binzel, the MIT astronomer.

MACC faces suit over interview procedures - Malaysiakini

DAP's Kajang councillor Tan Boon Wah has filed a legal action against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission pertaining to the anti-graft body's powers to question witnesses overnight.

The application was filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry this morning by Tan's lawyer and DAP chairperson Karpal Singh.

In the application, Tan is asking the court to determine the ambit of the MACC's powers to interview witnesses, including on a question of interviewing witnesses overnight.

Tan's application was based on his own experience last week when he was questioned by the MACC from 8.45pm on July 15 to 1.35pm the next day.

Tan is also believed to the last person to have seen DAP's political aide Teoh Beng Hock alive at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office in Shah Alam last Thursday.

Later that day Teoh was found dead at a corridor of the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam after being questioned by the MACC.

Following the discovery of Teoh's body, Tan had lodged a police report on Saturday alleging that underhanded tactics were used by the MACC to interrogate him. He was questioned by the MACC on the same day as Teoh.

Teoh himself was questioned overnight by the MACC for almost eight hours.

Dr M takes opposing stand to Najib’s policies

(Singapore Business Times) KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — In a posting on his blog late Monday, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared to criticise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's economic liberalisation by coming out with a spirited defence of the country's affirmative action policies and claiming that the non-Malays, particularly the Chinese, were the real masters of the country.

Since he took over as premier in early April, Najib has begun rolling back affirmative action for the Malays, who form the country's majority, to boost investment and make Malaysia more competitive. The programme, known as the New Economic Policy (NEP), uses quotas, licences, restrictions and outright grants to lift the Malays into economic parity with the non-Malays.

In so doing, however, he has angered many Malays who have felt betrayed over his policy reversals and worried about falling further behind their richer countrymen.

In quick succession, Najib removed NEP restrictions from 27 service sub-sectors, liberalised financial services, and emasculated the Foreign Investment Committee, a powerful state body that could block deals if it felt that Malay interests were not being served. He also removed a decades-old requirement that mandated 30 per cent of an initial public offering's shares to be set aside for Malay interests.

More recently, Najib announced the setting up of a merit-based scholarship programme in what seemed to be an effort to appease the non-Malays who have long complained about being victimised.

While Najib's efforts have been generally lauded by analysts and investors, the more right-wing Malays have largely perceived it as a capitulation by Najib to non-Malay demands following the disastrous showing of his ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in the last general election. The worry for Najib's allies is that Dr Mahathir's comments could provoke nationalist objections to Najib's reforms.

This is no idle threat. Dr Mahathir, 83, wields considerable influence in Umno, the political party over which Najib presides. And the former premier was largely responsible for cutting short the tenure of Najib's predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The former premier argued that 39 years after the NEP was introduced, the ethnic Malay share of the corporate pie remained at 20 per cent while the Chinese share was at 50 per cent although they consisted of only 26 per cent of the population. The Malays make up 64 per cent of Malaysia's 26 million people.

“The Bumiputera property holdings are only 15 per cent while the rest are held by non-Bumiputeras because urban property is worth more than rural property,” wrote Dr Mahathir.

“If they are honest, non-Malay leaders who put themselves in the shoes of the Malays will feel the disappointment of the Malays in seeing nearly all business and industry in the hands of the non-Malays,” said Dr Mahathir.

This is the second time Dr Mahathir has spoken out against government policy. A week ago, the combative former physician lambasted Kuala Lumpur's directive of stopping the teaching of science and mathematics in English and reverting to Bahasa Malaysia instead. Dr Mahathir had imposed the English ruling during his tenure.

LDP Puchong Jaya Interchange: Major crack line found

By Bolehland Construction

Major crack lines found underneath the bridge!
I bet that not much people take this seriously (except the concessionaire) although thousands were using this bridge everyday either through the top or passing underneath it. The possible reason is that these defects do not causing anything fall down (yet).

The crack locations and widths are summarized in this figure. There are 2 rows of bridges running parallel throughout that supported by abutments at both ends, and 11 rows of piers in between.

For clarity, each space between supports (span) are labelled and colored. The U-turns and roads underneath the bridge are shown as well. From here, you can see how lucky was the owner that all defected parts are just nicely not above the road. That's why this issue were never brought up to newspaper.


















Let's see some pictures taken on 21 June 09.

At 12th span, the whole stretch of soffit cracks. The crack lines have been filled by something by bridge repair company that makes them so obvious.



















12th span: You can see the crack width marked by the bridge repair company. One of them is 1.5mm
Read more at: LDP Puchong Jaya Interchange: Major crack line found

MACC advisers briefed on Teoh’s death, call for royal inquiry

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 – It may be a fledgling set-up but there are no excuses for the way the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) handled the publicity over the mysterious death of a 30-year-old political aide at its Shah Alam office, a source told The Malaysian Insider.

The source, who asked not to be named, is one of 42 advisers appointed to oversee the national anti-graft body.

He noted the lack of basic infrastructure, including no closed-circuit television (CCTV) in and around the MACC building in Shah Alam where Teoh Beng Hock had been found after a marathon interrogation session lasting into the wee hours of the morning on July 16.

“There was no CCTV. To my mind, that's quite significant an issue because nobody outside the MACC knows what happened,” he said after attending a closed-door briefing given by MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammad in Putrajaya yesterday to members of the five advisory panels.

He was appreciative that the advisers were given a systematic, orderly and transparent explanation of the facts leading up to Teoh's death instead of having to piece together the story from news reports.

“The facts remain the same. The question now is how to interpret the facts,” he said.

“What we can do now is to check on those things to make sure that in future, such an incident does not happen again,” he added.

The adviser said the MACC No.2 also told them Teoh had been called in only as a witness and was not questioned as a suspect in an investigation over alleged misappropriation of state funds involving his boss, Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.

“He was a witness and not a suspect. He could have left at any time,” the source recounted.

But, he said, the MACC's poor public relations in response to the tragedy is also a missing key element, which added to the public outrage.

The source said a large number of the advisers who turned up subscribe to the idea of being more transparent and solution-seeking.

They want a full-scale Royal Commission of Inquiry set up to look deeply into not only Teoh's death but the many obstacles faced by the MACC and preventing it from working independently for reform.

“For now, we are waiting for the police report and government decision on whether or not a royal commission will be set up,” he said.

Abu Kassim will be making public the full facts surrounding the young aide's death within the week, the source added.

Sodomy II: High Court grants prosecution team temporary stay

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — The High Court today allowed the prosecution to hold off until Friday the handing over of certain evidence to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's defence team in the lead up to his Sodomy II trial.

Judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah granted a temporary stay to the prosecution, which would have been held in contempt of the court if it failed to furnish the extra items demanded by the defence by tomorrow.

The date for delivery, which would have expired tomorrow, no longer applies, deputy public prosecutor Shamsul Sulaiman told reporters.

The judge had last week ruled in Anwar's favour and ordered the prosecutors to hand over several key documents within seven days, including a full copy of the original closed-circuit television (CCTV) videos taken from a condominium where the 61-year-old opposition leader is said to have had sexual relations with his youthful accuser, 24-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, last year.

The prosecution is appealing to overturn the High Court's decision at the Court of Appeal but cannot file the papers until the High Court judge has supplied the full grounds of his judgment, which could take another month-and-a-half.

Shamsul said the court is obliged to furnish the grounds of judgment within six weeks, by order of Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Azmi.

The High Court judge fixed Friday to wrap up the matter after Anwar's lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad opposed the stay, claiming the defence was given too short a notice to reply to the prosecutor's bid.

Amer told The Malaysian Insider that the prosecution's attempts to delay giving the documents was an injustice to Anwar because he would then be denied a fair chance to prepare his best defence for a trial he has repeatedly claimed is based on “trumped up charges”.

In an affidavit filed last Monday to support its bid to hold off carrying out the order, the prosecution noted that a delay would not prejudice against Anwar because the trial date has not been fixed.

Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Nordin Hassan, who wrote the affidavit, stressed that the suspension order was needed to prevent its appeal to the Court of Appeal from becoming “academic”.

Nordin said the High Court's decision on July 16, especially over the witnesses' accounts recorded under section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), must be suspended in the interest of the public, otherwise it would “jeopardise investigations and prosecution not only on the respondent's case but other criminal cases thoughout Malaysia”.

The High Court will also mention on Friday Anwar's bid to strike out the charges against him and fix the trial date to start.

Anwar takes Teoh’s case to the Malay heartland

Anwar addressing the crowd in Sungai Besar last night. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

SABAK BERNAM, July 22 — In an attempt to stop certain quarters from turning the death of Teoh Beng Hock into a racial issue, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim likened it to his black eye incident.

The former deputy prime minister was arrested soon after he was sacked in 1998 and was assaulted while in police custody by the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor, resulting in a black eye.

“I was beaten up to a pulp, but thank God I was rescued, but some people died in custody,” said Anwar to some 3,000 people at a public rally in Sungai Besar, near here.

The rally, held near the Selangor-Perak border, appeared to be an attempt by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to mobilise the Malays to support the coalition in pressuring the government to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Teoh's death.

Anwar told the largely Malay crowd that it was hard for him to accept the outcome of police investigations.

“Our ministers said do not politicise the issue, let the investigations be completed, but who is going to investigate? Musa Hassan?” said Anwar.

“Last time they said, 'Anwar was safe and sound',” he added, referring to Rahim's remark soon after his arrest 11 years ago.

Pakatan has been accused of undermining Malay institutions by Umno-controlled newspapers because of their criticism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over Teoh's death.

A section of the crowd at the rally.

Ku Li slams MACC, says witnesses shouldn’t end up in coffins

By Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Expressing concern that the recent death of Teoh Beng Hock is a sign that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has gone “rogue”, senior Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said that nothing should be spared in the effort to find out the reason behind the death of the DAP political aide.

Tengku Razaleigh also hit out at the MACC for investigating minor cases while ignoring major examples of graft.

He said that Malaysians no longer feel safe or secure if mere witnesses called in to give evidence to a graft busting agency could be found dead the next day. "I feel it is very bad for a country like this. We have been independent for 50 years. Must people called up for queries end up in a coffin?" he told The Malaysian Insider.

Teoh was the political aide to DAP state assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah.

Teoh was called in last Wednesday to assist the MACC in its investigations into alleged misuse of funds by his boss. He was found dead the next day, sprawled on the roof of the adjacent building to the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam.

Police are now probing his death and the Cabinet is expected to discuss widespread calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the tragedy.

Tengku Razaleigh said calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh's suspicious death would be of no use if the government does not follow through on its suggestions, pointing out that the government had ignored the recommendations of previous royal commissions such as the one that investigated the V.K. Lingam case of alleged judge fixing and on improving the police force.

He even likened the sidelining of previous royal commissions to "insulting the King."

The former finance minister also spoke out against the performance of the MACC, pointing out that it has not been as effective as its counterpart in Hong Kong at wiping out the corruption scourge.

He hit out at the commission for allegedly going after potentially minor offences but ignoring the major ones, saying that the current MACC model needs to be reviewed.

"This is a question of death you know. People want to know. I want to know. How could it happen? To a witness, who is going to give evidence and he is not even a suspect over the spending of RM2,400. Some people with millions of dollars, they get away with it and are not called for investigation."

The following is a transcript of TMI's conversation with Ku Li.

TMI: I understand you have some concerns about the recent death of Teoh Beng Hock who was found dead outside the MACC headquarters.

Ku Li: Yes. Why should anybody who is called for assistance into investigations or is held in the custody of the MACC die? There is no reason. I am not saying they are responsible for the death. That is subject to investigation. Can't they look after these people to ensure nothing happens to them? Must it happen like this all the time?

TMI: Do you agree with the calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry?

Ku Li: That seems to be thinking of a lot of people. That may not necessarily be the best thing to do under the circumstance. You look at the previous royal commissions — on the police, on the Lingam tape. It leads us nowhere and the government doesn't implement all the recommendations even though it was formed in the name of the King. I think it's like insulting the King, not to implement those decisions. People took the trouble to give their views during the hearings. These are people of credible standing who spent their time and energy to get to the bottom of problems. But the government just ignores the recommendations. I hope if they set up a Royal Commission on Mr Teoh's death, they should dig up everything and leave no stone unturned so we can resolve this problem and make people really happy and satisfied but the government must implement what the Royal Commission puts up. It depends on the composition of the commission — who they pick and select. It must be people of unblemished character so that people do not doubt their integrity. This incident has brought about a lot of unhappiness in the country. People don't feel secure, people don't feel safe. People feel they are not protected if a man who is not a suspect, is called to give evidence to the MACC is found dead the next day, I feel it is very bad for a country like this. We have been independent for 50 years. Must people called up for queries end up in a coffin? I don't think that is what the government wants or what the people want. It's not very good for the country.

TMI: What changes do you recommend for the MACC? There have been allegations that MACC is being used as a tool to put down political rivals.

Ku Li: That is always the accusation of the opposition. But let me put it to you this way. It depends on how you read the MACC and how it is implemented. Also there are people running the MACC. Some may employ rough tactics so that they take over control of what they are supposed to do. I thought when the former prime minister wanted to amend the previous law on anti-corruption, he was going to base it purely on the Hong Kong model and I am very attracted to the Hong Kong model if not even to the Australian model.

TMI: Which aspects of the Hong Kong model are you attracted to?

Ku Li: Well, it is more or less the same except that you make it very independent and they were successful in fighting corruption in Hong Kong which was really rife in those days and after the inception of the anti-corruption law in Hong Kong and setting up the machinery to implement those laws, you see that there is minimal or even talk about corruption in Hong Kong. So it has borne fruit. I thought that our government would take that model in toto to implement here and plus whatever other new mechanisms that could be put in place to really stop the rot that is damaging our society. But obviously it is not. And now you see with this death of Mr Teoh, obviously the rogue has taken over the role of controlling all these things which I think is not right.

TMI: Do you think the MACC should be made answerable to Parliament rather than the prime minister's office?

Ku Li: Well it is very difficult for me to say. It must be independent, whether it is Parliament or whatever, I don't know. But we have to relook at the whole model.

TMI: Are you satisfied with the way the investigations have gone so far? So far, only the police have conducted investigations.

Ku Li: I think it is the right thing to do. Now, you are demanding for a Royal Commission and if it is ever set up then they should be neutral, independent and like I said, they should dig up everything and leave no stone unturned. The scope of the investigation is very important. Set up Royal Commission, a lot of hoo-ha and after some time, it dies down, nobody cares and I don't think it should be the case. This is a question of death you know. People want to know. I want to know. How could it happen? To a witness, who is going to give evidence and he is not even a suspect over the spending of RM2,400. Some people with millions of dollars, they get away with it and are not called for investigation.

TMI: Do you share the sense of unhappiness that certain Barisan Nasional personalities are not investigated by MACC but they are investigating these Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen?

Ku Li: That's why I mentioned just now, some people get away with it. Even people accused of amassing funds or fortunes to the tune of billions of dollars. These people are not investigated although accused. But in this instance, it is over RM2,400 for the purchase of flags or buntings.

Please discuss

By Razaleigh Hamzah

Mr Teoh Beng Hock’s death marks a watershed in the attitude of the public towards their government. The government has plumbed a new low in loss of credibility. Many people have come up to tell me in anger or despair that they feel their country has gone off the rails. People who previously considered themselves apolitical have been roused into active engagement.

There have been too many deaths under custody. But this death is particularly disturbing because Mr Teoh died after interrogation by a specially commissioned watchdog agency, inaugurated with fanfare last year by the outgoing administration. The very agency set up to combat the abuse of power has become in the public eye a symbol of the abuse of power.

Mr Teoh was a mere witness. He was questioned about the possible misuse of funds by his employer, a state assemblyman, to buy flags for the last Merdeka celebrations. The sum in question was RM2,400. He was questioned for eight hours through the night. He was found dead the following day outside the MACC’s headquarters.

Mr Teoh, 30, would have registered his marriage last weekend. His fiancée is two-months pregnant.

If the Perak debacle reminded us of the importance of the Constitution, the death under suspicious circumstances of Mr Teoh Beng Hock has brought home in a heart-wrenching way how much we need our public institutions to be independent and law-abiding. A shocked public is demanding answers, and rightly so.

Questions about how Mr Teoh died cannot be shut down with the usual warning that it is “liable to confuse the public” because the public is already confused. We are confused about how an idealistic young man with everything to live for can enter the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as a witness one day and be found dead outside the next.

Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be swept aside with the paternalistic instruction to “leave it to the authorities to investigate,” because the death of Mr Teoh appears to be just the result of “leaving it to the authorities investigate.” It is precisely the independence of the investigating authorities that people are questioning.

Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be suppressed with the warning “not to speculate” when the investigating authorities were apparently able to prognosticate, ahead of their own investigations, that foul play was not involved, and some leaders appear to have special knowledge that Mr Teoh jumped to his death of his own accord.

Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be evaded with the low tactic of racializing the issue because the death of Mr Teoh touches us all as citizens, brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers. None of us wants to live under a government apparatus that cannot be trusted to be independent and to tell the truth.

Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be suppressed with authoritarian prohibitions because they are about the integrity and independence of institutions that belong to the people. Those ministers who talk down to the people may have forgotten who put them into government and pays their wages, and whose questions they were put there to ask. And to answer.

To ask such questions is not to “politicize” the issue but to exercise our ownership of an issue that touches each and every one of us as citizens: our basic institutions are rotted out, and we are headed down the path of a failed state.

It is our right and indeed our duty as citizens to keep asking questions when someone dies under circumstances that put the entire government under a shadow. As we ask these questions let us accept our joint responsibility to push uncompromisingly for an overhaul of the key institutions that have rotted through under exactly the kind of authoritarianism that would prohibit discussion of the circumstances of the death of Mr Teoh Beng Hock.

Petition : Justice for Beng Hock

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I’ve signed.

You can do the same by going HERE.

Five prerequisites for Najib to demonstrate he has the political will to break the back of the problem of endemic crime which has given Malaysia an in

By Lim Kit Siang,

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri will announce on Monday details of the measures to fight crime under one of the six National Key Result Areas to be implemented in September.

Hishammuddin said the details to be announced by Najib would include the hot areas and crime statistics. Najib would also announce the co-operation to be effected with the non-police sector, such as the Attorney-General’s Chambers, courts and prisons.

In his “Hundred Days as PM” address on 11th July 2009, Najib announced a slew of goodies and pledged delivery of promises in six key areas, viz:

  • The prevention of crime;
  • The fight against corruption;
  • Access to quality education;
  • The improvement of the living standards for the lower income group;
  • Improvement of rural infrastructure;
  • Improvement of public transportation.

In less than a week, Najib’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas) in one of these six sectors, the fight against corruption, is in tatters and utterly discredited.

This is why the director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives Dr. Lim Teck Ghee has issued an Open Letter to the 41 members of the five Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory board, committee and panels to resign collectively following the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock at MACC headquarters last Thursday as Malaysians have lost faith in the MACC and the five watchdog or advisory committees.

As Lim said:

“I myself have lost faith with the MACC and I must also declare here, with the advisory bodies which you are members of.

“I know some of you personally – a few for many years now. Because you are honourable people and had good intentions when you agreed to serve, I strongly feel that the only way for you to redeem that lost honour and integrity when Teoh Beng Hock died under the custody of the MACC, is for you all to resign en bloc.

“I know that it may prove difficult for you to resign all alone by yourself given the long and vindictive reach of our political authorities in dealing with individual dissent.

“But as a group, that decision to resign should be a lot easier.

“Not only will you redeem that lost honour and integrity when you resign but your decision will – in my view – impact positively on the political consciousness of the nation at large.

“With your decision, we can console ourselves that during this period of finger pointing and blame deflecting, there is a group of leaders that is willing to shoulder responsibility personally when things they are entrusted with go horribly wrong.”

These are very strong words but all the 41 members of these five MACC committees, the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, Special Committee on Corruption, Complaints Committee, Operations Review Panel and the Corruption Consultation and Prevention Panel must wrest with their individual conscience whether they are prepared to continue as “fig leaves attempting to cover up or justify the political agenda of an untrustworthy and disreputable agency”.

The dismal failure of one of Najib’s six key KPI/KRA areas is also the reason why veteran Umno/Barisan Nasional political leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has openly lambasted the MACC for becoming a “rogue” organisation, with a witness called up for queries ending up in a coffin as well as blasting the MACC for investigating minor cases while ignoring major examples of graft.

Actually, the rot of corruption and decadence has reached the highest levels of the seats of power in the country, as admitted by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat in a wide-ranging interview with Sin Chew Jit Poh last Thursday and in his Sunday speech, where he said high-level corruption and abuses of power have reached all the way to the Cabinet, and lamented that corruption has now emerged from the “darkness” into the open under the Najib premiership to do their evil work.

But both the MACC and Cabinet have closed their eyes and ears to pretend Ong had never made such serious allegations of worsening corruption in the country, reaching all the way to the Cabinet?

Four of the five scrutinising bodies of MACC held an emergency meeting yesterday and collectively called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s death.
But is this adequate? No, unless there is public confidence in the composition and terms of reference of the Royal Commission of Inquiry!

This is why in my Open Letter to the Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers last evening, I had stressed that the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s death must be the result of consultation with Pakatan Rakyat leaders with regard to its terms of reference and composition.

Furthermore, the Royal Commission of Inquiry should not be confined to investigating Teoh’s death but must be a wide-ranging remit to authorise a total review of MACC’s investigation procedures and its independence, professionalism and integrity particularly from political interferences and directions of the government-of-the-day.

Will Najib’s pledge to combat crime go the sorry way in the fight against corruption?
There are at least five prerequisites for Najib to demonstrate he has the political will to break the back of the problem of endemic crime which has given Malaysia an international notoriety of a nation where citizens, tourists and investors are not safe from crime, viz:

  • Appoint a new Inspector-General of Police to provide new police leadership to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional police service to carry out the three core police functions identified by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Police Commission, viz to keep crime low, to eradicate corruption and to protect human rights.

  • Name the capitals of crime in Malaysia, which will include Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, and the time-line to get rid of endemic crime in these capitals;

  • Ensure that the Home Minister is personally answerable to Parliament for the war against crime, with a progress report at every parliamentary meeting followed by a debate;

  • Revive and establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission, after suitable amendments; and

  • Establish an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee on Police and Crime to issue half-yearly reports on the police and crime situation in the c

Repentance in retirement : The Badawi baffle

By Augustine Anthony

A very interesting behavioural pattern is emerging amongst the Malaysian politicians whilst in power and when they are no longer in power. Even prime ministers are not spared.

In Malaysia there are many repressive laws, legislations and stifling administrative procedures that are archaic and unworkable in a modern democratic system of governance.

Often we witness politicians within the ruling government, when called upon to state their views on these laws, governmental directives and administrative procedures, either support it openly or maintain a puzzling silence.

No matter what degree of public outcry, the response is akin to “you shout as much as you can, I am in power and I will decide the way I want it” seems to be the trend in response.

But once they find place in retirement, their views become somewhat perplexingly inconsistent to their earlier views. Suddenly they are now champions of human rights and fundamental liberties.

The recent comment by the former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is now a famous example that one can refer to, to drive home the point.

Badawi is reported to have said that the government must consider abolishing the Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows for detention without trial.

He is also reported to have said that the draconian piece of legislation (introduced by the colonial masters) which has drawn negative views – should be replaced with a new legislation that allows for preventive detention and at the same time protects fundamental rights.

After years of living in fear of many repressive laws, Malaysians in general gave the biggest electoral mandate to Badawi in 2004 with hopes that he would bring all the necessary reforms consistent with the need for more democratic space in the ever changing social and political landscape of this country.

With the huge backing from the people, Badawi had this one golden chance to dismantle all unjust systems that were backed by unacceptable laws and place himself in the hearts of the majority of Malaysians, as the man who brought the promised reforms.

But alas, a golden opportunity, squandered.

Five years on, under Badawi, Barisan Nasional suffered the biggest electoral loss in Malaysian history. The loss was due to many perceiving him as unable to bring about many of the promised reforms that were announced when he took over from the previous prime minister.

However many still perceive that Badawi really wanted to make changes to better the country but he just did not have the political and personal will, stamina and courage to fight a long entrenched system of governance that has become a frothy cocktail of treachery, deceit, cunningness and dishonest personal survival of many within this system, be it political warlords or big boys of the bureaucracy.

Instead of Badawi getting the better of the system, the system got the better of him and he got sucked deep into the rabbit hole.

Now we have a new prime minister and the thought still lingers whether he will outsmart the system or otherwise.

Whatever the permutations are, one thing is certain and that is, the new breeds of voters are results oriented.

Announcements must be matched with delivery and promises are meant to be kept.

I do not think that the new generation of Malaysians, particularly the voting population, will pay much attention to rhymes of repentance in retirement.

(Note : In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice follows a mysterious white rabbit into a rabbit hole to enter ‘Wonderland’, an absurd and improbable world inhabited by many strange characters – source – Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia)

MACC

By The Nut Graph team


Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam
THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has come under considerable flak this past week, most severely with the death of Selangor state government aide Teoh Beng Hock. On 16 July 2009, Teoh was discovered dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, after a gruelling interrogation lasting more than 10 hours until 3.45am at the Selangor MACC premises.

How did his death occur? This is still unknown, though police are not ruling out foul play. While theories as to the cause of Teoh's death abound, it is perhaps prudent not to jump to conclusions, but remain focused on a solid principle: the MACC's lack of procedural parameters or its non-adherence to standard operating procedures, should they exist.

Why was there not greater security at the MACC's office? Why was the welfare of those under the commission's custody treated in such a cavalier way, to the extent that a death occurred under its watch?

Is the MACC empowered to conduct interrogations — whether with witnesses or suspects — way past 3am, and for such a long duration? Even in police lockups, there is the 6am-to-6pm rule, the stipulated timeframe for suspects to be questioned.

What about the allegations made by Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Wah, who had also been interrogated by the anti-graft agency? On 17 July, Tan revealed that investigating MACC officers forced him to stand for four hours, threatened to "take away my wife", and called him "Cina bodoh".

It should be remembered that Tan's claim is not the first time the MACC has been accused of thuggery. In a joint statement calling for a royal commission of inquiry into the "first political death under (Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Najib Razak", civil society groups pointed out the case of Maran Umno committee member Halimi Kamaruzzaman.

Halimi had alleged that he was roughed up and forced to strip by MACC officers, in an investigation targeting Federal Territory Umno chief Datuk Mohamad Norza Zakaria.

The corruption inquest into Norza — as with the investigation into Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong, whom Teoh was an aide to — is widely believed to have been politically motivated. While the anti-graft commission has opened 533 investigations since January 2009, it is difficult for the MACC to shrug off accusations that it is partial to certain quarters of the political divide.

Image of a cow and car
(Pic by tm-tm @ Flickr)
One need only look back to its speedy, almost self-satirising investigation into Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim's cows and cars. Contrast that to the commission's failure to act into obviously suspicious circumstances, such as those of former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo's palatial mansion in Shah Alam. Or its sluggish look into the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

The MACC was part of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's tripartite package of reforms, with the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).

Like its two fellow agencies, the MACC was already under fire even while it was still a bill in Parliament. Most described the bill as weak, since it did not guarantee the commission's independence. Rushed through in a mere two days, the MACC Act 2008 places the anti-corruption body squarely under the jurisdiction of the Attorney-General, instead of Parliament itself which many feel would ensure the MACC's impartiality.

In February 2009, a Merdeka Center poll found that only 43% of 1,018 Malaysians surveyed thought that the MACC would be an effective tool in the fight against corruption. Recent events appear to have vindicated the 57% of Malaysians who thought otherwise.

With all this said, what do you think? Here are some of our attempts at summing up the MACC:

Cindy Tham:

MACC procedures need checks and balances.

MACC needs to regain public confidence.

Eradicate real corruption, power abuse, malpractice.

Jacqueline Ann Surin:

MACC logoAnd now, we must fear MACC.

Eh, boleh disoalsiasat sampai 3.45 pagi?

How can we trust government institutions?

What are your interrogation procedures, MACC?

Interrogation till 03:45 is undoubtedly torture.

Keraguan rakyat memuncak dengan kematian Teoh.

Shanon Shah:

Unshakable evidence is of utmost importance.

BN + MACC = Skeptical rakyat.

Investigate, don't persecute. Question, don't torture.

Little Napoleons get away with anything!

"Kalau sayang bini, ikut cakap kami."

Follow due process. Rakyat will trust.

Prosecute selectively. And then cry wolf?

Zedeck Siew:

Wow! This settee is really comfy!

Razaleigh on MACC and Beng Hock's death



Part 1 (above)

Part 2: Razaleigh on Abdullah Badawi, ISA and Zaid Ibrahim’s invite to join PKR (below)

Continue reading Razaleigh on MACC and Beng Hock’s death

Free and fair judiciary must be defended: Perak Sultan

The Star
By CLARA CHOOI

IPOH: The role of a free and fair judiciary must be defended to ensure that the “check and balance” mechanism in the Federal Constitution is upheld, said the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah.

“This check and balance mechanism is important to build the foundation of a law-abiding government and ensure that no party can hold absolute power.

“On the other hand, every power is subject to the boundaries of law to avoid a dictatorship. As such, the role of a professional and upright judiciary must always be defended,” he said in his speech at the opening ceremony of a state-level seminar on the Federal Constitution on Tuesday.

The Sultan reminded judges of their responsibilities in advocating the sovereignty of the law and the integrity of the court system.

“If they fail in that duty, an imbalance will occur in the system. A judge’s loyalty must be towards justice that follows the law,” he said.

Sultan Azlan Shah, who was former Lord President, said that the check and balance mechanism in the Constitution also provided for judges to have their judgements reviewed by higher courts where there are larger panels of judges.

“I always refer to the words of Lord Atkinson that ‘public trials are the best way to ensure that justice is served in a noble, efficient and unbiased way.’ It is also the best way to obtain the confidence and respect of the people,” he said.

The Sultan said however that as long as a government or authority administered its duty in accordance with the law, no court could find fault with that government.

“This is unless there are those in the judiciary who have lost their integrity or have chosen to play politics or sympathise with certain groups or political ideologies.

“The first and most arduous test faced by all judges is on how to be absolutely impartial,” he said.

Sultan Azlan Shah also reminded the people of the pivotal role played by the Royal Institution in ensuring the effectiveness of the “check and balance” mechanism in the Constitution and in strengthening the country’s democratic system.

“The preservation of the Royal Institution in the Federal Constitution was not merely to fulfil historical and racial sentimental values.

“As the head of the country, the King plays the role of the pillar of stability, the source of justice and the core of unity,” he said.

He added that the Federal Constitution was created on the spirit of negotiation and understanding, and with the objective to unite the people.

“Hence, the spirit of the Constitution and the spirit to respect the law and its institutions of enforcement should always be implanted in the living culture of our people.

“If this basic principle is not followed, the country will head towards anarchy and in the end, our progress, peace and harmony will be trapped in history,” he said.

Baghdad bombs kill 16, vehicle ban in Anbar region


An Iraqi soldier inspects a destroyed market after a bomb attack in Sadr city in Baghdad July 21, 2009. REUTERS/Kahtan al-Mesiary
By Muhanad Mohammed

BAGHDAD, July 22 (Reuters) - Bombs exploded across Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 16 people and wounding dozens, two of the blasts striking the crowded Shi'ite slum of Sadr City, security officials said.

In Iraq's usually quiet Anbar province, the country's largest, a rare two-day vehicle ban was imposed across the vast desert region after bombings in the provincial capital Ramadi.

The first Sadr City bomb, apparently targeting day labourers, killed four people and left 39 wounded, said Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi.

Another bomb in the same area of northeastern Baghdad killed three civilians and wounded 15. The slum was once a haven for gunmen loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, but the militia has now been largely disbanded and splintered.

In Husseiniya, just north of Baghdad, a series of blasts in a popular market killed five people and wounded 28, police said.

U.S. combat troops pulled out of Iraqi cities and towns on June 30, implementing the first stage of a security pact that requires all troops to leave by the end of 2012, raising doubts about whether Iraqi forces are ready to handle security.

A roadside bomb killed two civilians and wounded 13 others all from the same extended family as they made their way to a funeral in central Baghdad on Tuesday. And a car bomb exploded near a vegetable market, killing two civilians and wounding six others in south Baghdad's Doura district, police said.

Many Iraqis doubt whether their own forces can protect them against militants without backing from U.S. firepower.

But in an interview with Reuters on Monday, the commander of Iraqi forces in Baghdad, Major-General Abboud Qanbar, said he had not once had to call on U.S. troops now stationed on the city's outskirts to help keep security.

A major Shi'ite pilgrimage that drew millions to the Baghdad district of Khadhimiya, a favourite past target of Sunni Islamist militants, went by without any major bomb attacks over the weekend, he said.

"LAST CHANCE"

Militants are likely to step up attacks to test Iraqi security forces ahead of national elections scheduled for January, officials say. Some politicians will try to intimidate rivals or show the government is failing on security by backing militant groups who plant bombs, Qanbar said.

"This year is such an important year: it is the last chance for the enemy," he said.

"This is also an election year. Politicians will use attacks to try to gain advantage over rivals," he added.

Officials declared a state of emergency in Ramadi and police said a province-wide vehicle ban had been imposed after two bomb attacks on Tuesday. The previous day, an explosion killed two policemen.

A suicide bomber in a moving car and a bomb in a parked car detonated almost simultaneously near a group of restaurants, killing three people, police said.

During a state of emergency more police are deployed, and they conduct greater security checks.

Anbar was once overrun by Islamist militants such as al Qaeda, but a mostly Sunni Muslim anti-insurgent movement started by the province's tribal leaders in 2006 was decisive in routing them. The province has remained relatively calm since then, but has witnessed a rise in attacks in recent months.

Violence has fallen sharply across Iraq, but militant groups are still capable of carrying out frequent bomb attacks.

(Additional reporting by Tim Cocks in Baghdad and Ali al-Mashhadani in Ramadi)

© REUTERS 2009

Kematian Teoh mengingatkan kita pada penggunaan C4 di hutam Shah Alam

Oleh Lim Hong Siang

Misteri kematian Teoh Beng Hock, Setiausaha Politik Exco Selangor kekal sebagai misteri walaupun telah dikebumikan pada hari ke-5. Siasatan polis yang 60% selesai walaupun memberi jawapan kepada soalan tertentu pada peringkat awal, namun juga menimbulkan kesangsian baru yang sukar dijawab.

Pertikaian terhadap SPRM

Dakwaan pihak SPRM bahawa Teoh Beng Hock telah dibebaskan pada jam 3.45pagi, 16 Julai, dan Teoh meminta untuk tidur di pejabat mencungkil keraguan, antaranya:-

1. Sekira-nya Teoh telah di- bebaskan, mengapa dompet, telefon bimbit dan dokumen penting yang lain masih berada di tangan SPRM?

2. Selepas membebaskan Teoh, mengapa SPRM membiarkan Teoh bebas bergerak di pekarangan pejabat SPRM?

3. Mengapa Teoh tidak menghubungi saudara mara mahupun Ean Yong Hian Wah untuk menghantar khabar bahawa dia berada dalam keadaan selamat, tetapi memilih untuk terus tidur di pejabat SPRM?

4. Kereta Teoh berada di tempat meletak kereta. Mengapa Teoh memilih untuk tidur di pejabat SPRM, dan bukannya pulang ke rumah?

5. Mengapa SPRM tidak menghubungi keluarganya, atau EXCO Selangor dengan segera setelah mendapati kematian Teoh pada jam 1.30 tengah hari, 16 Julai?

6. Tan Boon Wah, Ahli Majlis Perbandaran Kajang yang turut disiasat dibenarkan pulang pada jam 1.35 tengah hari, 16 Julai. Teoh dikatakan mati pada pukul 8 pagi, ditemui mayatnya pada 1.30 tengah hari, namun Tan tidak mengetahui apa-apa ketika dibebaskan dari SPRM.

Pertikaian terhadap polis

1. Mayat Teoh ditemui pada jam 1.30 tengah hari, 16 Julai. Pegawai SPRM dikatakan telah mengenalpasti identiti Teoh pada ketika itu, namun mengapa polis gagal mengesahkannya, sehingga jam 5 petang?

2. Mengapa pihak polis Selangor "kembali" ke pejabat SPRM untuk mengumpul bukti, hanya pada hari ke-3 selepas tragedi kematian Teoh?

3. Mengapa polis mengambil telefon bimbit Teoh dari pihak SPRM pada hari keesokan tragedi berlaku, dan bukannya pada hari kejadian berlaku?

Laporan awal mencentus persoalan baru

Menurut siasatan peringkat awal, Ketua Polis Selangor Khalid Abu Bakar tidak menolak kemungkinan bahawa mendiang jatuh dari tingkat 14 yang menempatkan pejabat SPRM. Malah, laporan awal pakar patalogi mendapati bahawa Teoh meninggal dunia kira-kira 4 hingga 5 jam sebelum mayatnya ditemui di tingkat lima, koridor luar bangunan Plaza Masalam.

Dengan kata lain, Teoh mungkin meninggal dunia antara jam 7.30 atau 8.30 pagi, 16 Julai. Soalan yang ditimbulkan daripada ibu mendiang adalah, mengapa mayat Teoh tidak ditemui pada ketika itu (waktu pagi), sedangkan terdapat orang yang melalui tempat tersebut, pada hari yang bukan merupakan cuti awam?

Malah, seandainya Teoh jatuh dari tingkap tingkat ke-14, bahagian pejabat tersebut perlu dikenalpasti. Sama ada tempat di mana Teoh jatuh itu merupakan ruang tamu, pantri, bilik soal siasat, bilik mesyuarat dan sebagainya, adalah petunjuk penting dalam siasatan.

Kontradiksi hujah

Selain itu, hujah yang tidak selaras dan saling kontradiksi, terutamanya berkenaan telefon bimbit Teoh telah mengungkit pertikaian.

Ahli Parlimen Serdang, Teo Nie Ching mendakwa bahawa SPRM telah berbohong dalam perkara ini. Teo Nie Ching memetik hujah Timbalan Pesuruhjaya SPRM Selangor, Abu Kassim Mohamed yang pada mulanya mendakwa SPRM telah memulangkan telefon bimbit, dokumen penting dan kunci kepada Teoh, selepas tamatnya soal siasat.

Namun, polis telah berjaya mendapatkan telefon bimbit Teoh daripada pihak SPRM, setelah perkara ini dipersoalkan oleh pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat dan khalayak umum.

"Bunuh diri" dipertikai

Di samping itu, kemungkinan Teoh membunuh diri juga disanggah, terutama apabila keluarga Teoh memaklumkan bahawa mendiang merancang untuk mendaftar perkahwinan pada 17 Julai.

Pakar dalam bidang psikologi kriminal merangkap penyiasat persendirian, Loke ketika ditemuramah media cetak bahasa Cina, berkata orang yang bunuh diri biasanya akan meninggalkan warkah, mahupun wasiat, sebelum membunuh diri. Malah, secara umumnya, menurut Loke, orang yang memilih untuk membunuh diri tidak memakai kasut.

Teoh ketika ditemui mayatnya, dengan tangan kanan yang dalam genggaman, dan berpakaian kasut.

Terbunuh, dibunuh atau bunuh diri?

Walau bagaimanapun, sama ada Teoh dibunuh, terbunuh atau membunuh diri, soalan muktamad yang wajib ditanya dalam setiap kes kematian adalah, apakah motifnya?

Soalan ini tidak terjawab untuk banyak kes di Malaysia, dari kes kematian dalam lokap, sehinggalah kematian dalam hutan yang diletupkan dengan C4.

Beng Hock's Funeral: The Funeral Procession

False and malicious newsreport by your reporter Mr.Muthamilmannan (Makkal Osai 20/07/2009 front page and at page 13)

Mr.M.Rajan

Editor In Chief

Makkal Osai

No. 19A, Jalan Murai 2, By Fax No: 03-6250 6714

Batu Complex, 3rd Mile, By E-Mail : news@makkalosai.com

Off Jalan Ipoh,

51200 Kuala Lumpur


URGENT

Dear Sirs,

RE : False and malicious newsreport by your reporter Mr.Muthamilmannan (Makkal Osai

20/07/2009 front page and at page 13)

We refer to the above matter.

May we bring to your kind attention of the false and malicious newsreport in Makkal Osai 20/07/2009, front page and at page 13 that “no announcement made about the new party (but instead) a book launch and public donation spree by Uthayakumar and that his supporters went home disappointed”.

To the contrary all the mainstream newspapers and internet newspapers reported the formation of the Human Rights Party as follows:-

  1. “Human Rights Party will continue the struggle” (Headlines, Malaysia Nanban 20/07/2009)
  2. “New Party started by Uthayakumar” (Tamil Nesan 20/07/2009 page 6)
  3. “New Party for Uthaya (The Star 20/07/2009 page N 25)
  4. “Uthayakumar forms new party (NST 20/07/2009 page 12)
  5. Uthayakumar tubuh parti baru untuk kaum India” (Berita Harian 20/07/2009 page 15)
  6. Uthayakumar lancar parti baru (Utusan Malaysia 20/07/2009 page 9)
  7. “Uthayakumar forms Human Rights Party” and within 24 hours 33,505 viewers viewed the video on this Human Rights Party announcement (Malaysiakini 19/07/2009)
  8. “Uthayakumar sets out to create Indian clout with new party” (Malaysian Insider
  9. Even China Press on 20/07/2009 reported so at page A8 and we believe so by the other Chinese language dailies and the other dailies
  10. NTV7 news at 8.00p.m. also reported on the announcement of the Human Rights Party

Kindly investigate if this said by Mr.Muthamilmannan’s newsreport is motivated by financial and/or political considerations and kindly take the necessary action against him if deemed fit by your goodselves.

On our part our humble request is that Mr.Muthamilmannan is not dispatched anymore to cover any of our future evens or write about us in the future as he has obviously failed to uphold independent journalistic principles and ethics.

For the records this is not the first time your Mr.Muthamilmannan has caused to be published false and malicious newsreports about us.

We believe in freedom of the press and a fair, independent and truthfull reporting and have no intentions at all whatsoever of interfering in your editorial policies.

Our supporters have been calling us today and asking us to:-

  1. File a civil suit against Makkal Osai and Mr.Muthamilmanan

  1. Launch an SMS and E-mail campaign to boycott Makkal Osai and buy Malaysia Nanban instead

  1. To write to the Home Minister and Bahagian Kawalan Akhbar, KDN on this complaint

We are however not inclined to do so as we have many old friends in Makkal Osai. We acknowledge that during the Hindraf struggle and a time when the Malaysian Indians needed you most in the pre and post 25/11/2007,Hindraf Rally times, Makkal Osai carried the people power Makkal Sakthi news vis a vis the Indian people’s struggle without fear or favour.

We wish to reiterate that we are not desperate politicians hard up for media attention for our political survival. We are political activists and political workers with human rights ideals and not politicians per se.

In any event the total amount collected on 19/07/2009 was a mere RM13,990.00. Not a single amount of RM2,500.00 was ever collected as was reported by your goodselves. The report that we did not even provide mineral water to the participants is done in bad faith. The report that we would put people in our office lock up was a joke to which the audience responded with a big laugh when they saw a slide picture of our supporters in the lock up. This was however subsequently latter clarified that this lock up was meant to be a gallery to honour our supporters who had died, arrested by the police prosecuted in court etc.

Your said reporter also did not report on the Human Rights Party (HRP) that was very explicitly written on page 40, and 42 of our book “ Malaysian Indians Political Strategy the way forward” a copy of which was handed over to your Mr.Muthamilmannan by our Mr.S.Jayathas

At the tail end of my speech at yesterday’s Human Rights Party announcement at Hokkien Hall, Klang, I had concluded that if one cannot help in any way, one should not do any harm in any way to this our sacred and sincere struggle. Be that as it may it is our wish and hope that we maintain the best relationship with Makkal Osai .

We are not even demanding an apology but would appreciate a corrective newsreport to reflect the truth as aforesaid and that there is no repeat of this in the future.

Thank you.

Your faithfully,

(P.Uthayakumar)

Secretary General (Pro tem)

Human Rights Party (HRP), Malaysia.

Tel no: 03-2282 5622,03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245

E-Mail : p.uthayakumar@hotmail.com

Mystery impact leaves Earth-size mark on Jupiter

(CNN) -- Jupiter is sporting a new scar after an unseen object hit the gaseous planet this week, NASA scientists say.

This NASA image shows a large impact near Jupiter's southern pole.

This NASA image shows a large impact near Jupiter's southern pole.

An amateur astronomer in Australia noticed the new mark -- seen through telescopes as a dark spot -- on the planet early Monday and tipped off scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, who then confirmed it was the result of a new impact, NASA said.

It's not clear what the object was that crashed into Jupiter's poisonous atmosphere.

Glenn Orton, a JPL scientist, told the magazine New Scientist that it could have been a block of ice from somewhere in Jupiter's neighborhood, or a wandering comet that was too faint for astronomers to have detected before impact.

The object created a mark on Jupiter that has the about same diameter as Earth, though the object itself was probably only 50 to 100 miles across, said Anthony Wesley, the amateur astronomer who first noticed the scar.

The mystery object was likely moving at speeds of about 50 to 100 kilometers (31 to 62 miles) per second when it struck near Jupiter's south pole, Wesley told CNN.

"That generates an unbelievable amount of energy when it collides with pretty much anything, but especially with something the size of Jupiter," he said.

It is only the second time scientists have been able to observe the results of such an impact on Jupiter. The first happened 15 years ago, when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke into 21 pieces and hit the planet's atmosphere.

"Given the rarity of these events, it's extremely exciting to be involved in these observations," JPL astronomer Leigh Fletcher said in a NASA interview.

Thermal images taken by NASA show the scar as a bright spot, which means the crash warmed the lower atmosphere in that area, New Scientist said.

Researchers also found hints of higher-than-normal amounts of ammonia in the upper atmosphere. The Shoemaker-Levy comet also churned up extra ammonia, the magazine said.

Jupiter's new spot isn't likely to last long -- probably just one to two weeks, Wesley said. He pointed out the impact scars from the Shoemaker-Levy debris lasted only two to three weeks before disappearing.

Seeing an Earth-sized spot appear so tiny on Jupiter's surface led to some to wonder Tuesday whether our planet might be in danger of a similar collision.

But Wesley said that shouldn't be a concern because Jupiter functions almost like a celestial vacuum cleaner, sucking up any objects that would be of danger to Earth and its neighbors.

"Jupiter is doing a very good job in scooping up a lot of this material that's still floating around in the solar system," he said.

"It's just got so much gravity as it swings around the outer part of the solar system, it can really pull in and swallow up many of the cometary objects and debris left over from the formation of the solar system.

"So it's doing a good job in keeping us safe by cleaning out a lot of these bits and pieces."

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in our solar system.

Its colorful atmosphere is 86 percent hydrogen and 14 percent helium, with tiny amounts of methane, ammonia, phosphine, water, acetylene, ethane, germanium, and carbon monoxide. The chemicals are responsible for producing the different colors of Jupiter's clouds.

The temperature at the top of those clouds is about 230 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (145 degrees below zero Celsius), but it is far hotter near the planet's center. The core temperature may be about 43,000 degrees Fahrenheit (24,000 degrees Celsius), hotter than the surface of the sun.

The most outstanding feature on Jupiter's surface is the Great Red Spot, a storm of gas that swirls at a speed of about 225 miles (360 kilometers) per hour at its edge. The spot -- which has been shrinking -- has a diameter equal to about three times that of Earth

Indian moms-to-be avoid birth during eclipse

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) --

Indian moms-to-be avoid birth during eclipse

While many now recognize the scientific explanation for a solar eclipse, the phenomenon is still marked with tradition and sometimes suspicion in Hindu-majority India.

People test the "sky watching telescope" at the Gujarat Council of Science City in India.

People test the "sky watching telescope" at the Gujarat Council of Science City in India.

The "exceptionally long" eclipse that will cross half the planet Wednesday will be able to be seen by virtually all of the population of China and India.

For beggars in India, the occasion means an extra day of receiving alms and food.

The panhandler in Sandeep Jaggi's neighborhood normally visits the block every week on Tuesdays and Saturdays, as well as the days of a new and full moon.

And because his patrons mark an eclipse with alms-giving, prayers and bathing, he rarely misses the chance to meet them on this day as well.

"It's a family tradition and I follow it," says 34-year-old Jaggi. He will fill the beggar's small steel pail with mustard oil and coins and his disheveled sash with lentils.

For others in the country, the eclipse is not a reason to celebrate, but a more ominous phenomenon. Send us your photos of the eclipse

Most pregnant women hope to avoid giving birth during an eclipse.

"None of the expectant mothers under my treatment are willing to have deliveries on Wednesday," Shivani Sachdev Gour, a gynecologist at New Delhi's Fortis La Femme hospital, told CNN.

In fact, there are critically ill patients who do not want to be in the hospital on the day of the eclipse, she said.

Indian astrologers even advise expectant mothers to stay indoors when this celestial event occurs.

"It may not cause any physical harm to the baby, but it may affect the child's overall personality," said R.K. Sharma, who describes himself as a "remedial astrologer."

A solar eclipse, he says, weakens the sun god temporarily because of an encounter with dragon Rahu and leaves some cascading results everywhere.

"Bathing in holy rivers and ponds during this time thus helps protect health and develop positivism and greater will power," he explained.

About 1.5 million people are expected at one such pond -- the Brahmsarovar, or the pool of Hindu god Brahma -- in northern India on Wednesday.

"They offer prayers to the sun god and take holy dips during an eclipse," said Ashok Kumar Bansal, the sub-divisional magistrate of Kurukshetra, an ancient Hindu city.

But the century's longest total solar eclipse is not just about the dragon-sun combat, it also means business for some.

Travel firms in India have plans in place to cash in on the phenomenon.

Cox and Kings India has a planeload of eclipse watchers heading for the eastern state of Bihar, one of the most preferred locations for sighting the event.

The plane will hover over Gaya in Bihar and return to New Delhi the same day, company spokesman Thomas C. Thottathil told CNN.

Passengers were given two options: to book a "sunside" seat facing the eclipse for about $1,640, or reserve an "earthside" seat for about $610, Thottathil added.

"And it's a sold out flight now!" he said.

'Excessive force' by police alleged during Friday's protest

Death by Detention?

By Daniel Chai, CCM Youth Secretary

This tragedy yet again adds another nauseating leaf to our country’s sheer lack of a credible and transparent value system of integrity against a painful track record of mistreatment of suspects and dubious deaths under detention. What makes this more disturbing is that this is the first case of a witness dying under questioning.

CCM Youth refers to the articles, commentaries, joint statements and various public responses recounting the shocking death of an MACC witness, Teoh Beng Hock, under dubious circumstances. CCM Youth is not only horrified and outraged, but deeply ashamed and bewildered.

This tragedy yet again adds another nauseating leaf to our country’s sheer lack of a credible and transparent value system of integrity against a painful track record of mistreatment of suspects and dubious deaths under detention. What makes this more disturbing is that this is the first case of a witness dying under questioning. The primary concern is the clear lack of oversight, which is a shameful symptom of the nation’s ingrained and persistent lack of political will to revamp clear violations of basic human rights by enforcers of the law and those in authority.

The critical issue is not one of “Who’s next?” but “Who’s before?” Teoh Beng Hock is but the latest of a growing list of deaths under detention or custody or police action –

A Kugan, Samiyati Indrayani Zulkarnain Putra, Francis Udayappan, Dr Tai Eng Teck (the police officer was eventually convicted), V Vikines, Tharma Rajan, M Ragupathy, Syed Fadzil Syed Ibrahim, Hasrizal Hamzah, Prakash Moses, Kannan Kanthan, Ahmad Salleh, Ulaganathan Muniandy, Vivashanu Pilai, Ho Kwai See, Ravichandran Ramayah, Veerasamy Gopal, L. Yoges Rao

– just to name a few of the more celebrated deaths out of the untold numbers who died under police action, or inaction. Do we still remember these names? Or have they been neatly filed and forgotten?

This only the tip of the iceberg - what of the deaths of undocumented migrants or detainees in rural police stations that we don’t hear about in the media? According to our previous Deputy Home Minister Wan Fairuz Wan Salleh, he reported in Parliament that a staggering 1,531 died in custody in 4 years from 2003 to 2007. According to Suhakam, 1,300 foreign migrants died in detention centres in the past 6 years. These statistics are damaging, and damning.How many more talented youth do we have to sacrifice before we finally pull the plug on the potential for blatant abuse by enforcers of the law?

We need to move beyond a call for yet another Royal Commission of Inquiry. We are jaded by the setting up of panels and commissions that are unable to bring about meaningful countermeasures. We are saddened that nothing concrete has been done despite countless recommendations by generations of “toothless tigers”.

We need a working public system to track such deaths. Witnesses and detainees should have the right to immediate legal representation. Standard operating procedures for the protection of witnesses should be made available to the public – remove the veil of secrecy. Violations by enforcers of the law, who are to protect, not harm, should be swiftly dealt with. So what if we have CCTVs? The tapes can be easily erased or tampered with unless a system of checks are in place to protect the integrity of evidence. Evidence collection and forensics intervention must be immediate and timely. We must remove any conflict of interest in investigations of public interest.

We are a grieving nation today. We are in pain. The government has failed repeatedly to enact meaningful and honest reform to the enforcement community, that is, the police, RELA and prison system - and the prospects are depressing to say the least.

We thank the public, NGOs and media for keeping such issues alive and urge politicians not to milk Teoh Beng Hock’s death for their own agenda.

We call upon Tan Sri Musa Hassan to ensure that he leaves no stone unturned in these investigations and to honestly reveal the findings, without conspiring to hide the truth from the Rakyat, to whom the Police are accountable.

We call upon our new Home Minister, Dato’ Seri Hishammudin Hussein to take leadership and act swiftly and courageously on this. The government urgently needs to bring the detention system up to basic standards of decency and fairness. We need to lift the veil on interrogation centres, migrant detention centres, police jails, and hold all heads of departments to full accountability for all misdemeanours by their officers. And that includes MACC. We demand automatic inquiries upon death whether by police action, or inaction. We need to implement and re-design an enforceable and just system with the highest standards of accountability and transparency. The Home Minister’s planned review of 33 Acts would not be meaningful to the Rakyat if there is no justice or if we are unable to trust the very authorities who are supposed to enforce them.

We believe that Teoh Beng Hock and the countless others who died before him, did not die in vain. We look to our Home Minister to restore the Rakyat’s faith in the authorities whose duties are to protect them.

In his efforts to bring about unity in his 1Malaysia concept, we call upon our Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak to make this a reality by leading the nation to repentance before the Almighty God for the deaths of our young Malaysians in custody, poor treatment of migrants, lack of honesty in the government system, and the lack of love and care for the vulnerable.

Our Prime Minister must honour God first, and since he is God’s chosen leader for this nation, he should call for a National Day of Prayer. We trust that our Prime Minister’s recent pilgrimage will give him new found strength to raise a God fearing nation that honours the Almighty, and a people not only of knowledge, but of wisdom, integrity and honesty. The first tenet of the Rukunegara – “Belief in God, or Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan” – bears no meaning if we do not come before God in national mourning and repentance. Failure to answer for wrongdoings puts us into condemnation from the Almighty God. The Rakyat is counting on our Prime Minister to ensure that justice will prevail in this nation for all communities. It is our hope and prayer that justice will prevail in this matter; that those who are responsible be identified, convicted and punished.

Our Prime Minister must be seen to exercise an even hand in his fight against corruption – if MACC is so short handed, then priority must be placed on catching the big sharks like political leaders with assets beyond their means or leaders who have misappropriated public funds in the name of welfare for their personal use or entertainment. To try to distract the Rakyat with investigations involving small amounts of a couple of thousand ringgit is insulting the Rakyat’s intelligence.

May our God Almighty deal justly and severely with those who do not fear Him, and on those who are intent on suppressing the truth.