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Saturday, August 1, 2009

LIVE: Dozens arrested at Abolish ISA gathering in KL - Anil Netto

For other live coverage in English of the Abolish ISA gathering in KL, click here.

For live coverage in Malay, go here.

For live photo updates, go here.

Teargas fired at Masjid Jamek - Live Report

Follow up in Malaysiakini

2.01pm: About 2,000 people have come out of Masjid Negara to march to Dataran Merdeka first before heading towards Istana Negara. The police have started arresting the marchers.

2pm: The police have started arresting people at Masjid Jamek after they failed to disperse despite being given several warnings.

The crowd is trying to get out of Masjid Jamek to march towards Istana Negara.

Eyewitnesses say several rounds of teargas were fired into the crowd.

1.50pm: The police are asking the congregation at Masjid Jamek to disperse at the end of the afternoon prayers session.

At Masjid Negara, the crowd size is about 1,000 people now, including PAS leaders such as Hatta Ramli and Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. At least 25 people have been arrested at Masjid Negara so far.

NONE1.45pm: The police arrest three protesters in Masjid Jamek with a bag containing black-and-red anti-ISA T-shirts. The trio are made to hold up the T-shirts from the bag and pose for press photographers. It is not clear whether the bag belongs to them.

"Raise your head," said a police officer as the photographers snapped away.

1.44pm: KL CPO Muhammad Sabtu Osman visits Masjid Negara and said that a total of 157 people have been arrested around the city as of 1.30pm.

1.41pm: There was some light-hearted moment in Masjid Negara when two 'sexy' girls attracted the attention of the crowd. They were allowed to enter the mosque without any hindrance.

NONE1.40pm: The police are forming a police line about 100 metres from the palace along the road which leads to KL Sentral.

1.40pm: About 25 people who have been arrested in Pasar Seni are being held in a police truck. An earlier truck with 29 detainees left for the police station about 40 minutes ago. This brings the total of people arrested in the Pasar Seni area to 54.

1.37pm: At least 10 people have detained at Masjid Negara. The size of the crowd at the mosque is about 500.

Meanwhile city police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman was reported as saying that four buses believed to be from Terengganu were stopped from entering the city.

1.36pm: The police are allowing people to enter Masjid Jamek for afternoon prayers. Many people are streaming in to pray.

1.36pm: At Pasar Seni, 15 more people are arrested. They appeared to be anti-ISA protesters, despite that the area is to be a meeting point for the pro-ISA crowd.

NONE1.28pm: Anti-ISA movement leader Norlaila Othman and her child, along with several other leaders of the movement were among those arrested near the Sogo area earlier today. Also arrested were PKR's women's wing leaders Salmah Ismail and Hayati Abd Samad.

Meanwhile, the front entrace of Sogo shopping centre has been closed.

1.24pm: Two men have been arrested at the Masjid Negara compound for having anti-ISA T-shirts. The police are also randomly checking bags of people. The crowd size inside the mosque now stands at 500.

1.22pm: The police have taken full control of the Masjid Jamek area by dispersing everyone.

NONEMeanwhile at Masjid Negara, the crowd size has swelled to about 300 and over at Pasar Seni, the police are continuing to weed out suspected protesters. Eyewitnesses said that PKR leader Zaid Ibrahim was spotted inside the Pasar Seni.

Traders at Pasar Seni have shuttered their business due to the anxiety caused by the police action.

1.21pm: According to KL chief police officer Muhammad Sabtu Osman, nearly 200 people have been arrested in various parts of the city as of 12.15pm.

NONE1.11pm: The police have beefed up their presence at Masjid Jamek with 40 additional personnel. The busy Jalan Tun Perak has been sealed off as well.

There are about 300 people at the area at the moment and the Light Strike Force Unit are dispersing them.

1.10pm: The situation at Istana Negara is rather subdued compared to the other hotspots. However there is a heavy police presence at the palace, along with some journalists.

1.01pm: The size of protesters at Masjid Negara has gone up to about 200 now. People are coming into the mosque in small groups.

1pm: Number of people arrested at Masjid Jamek stands at 14 now. A police officer has warned the people to disperse.

NONE"This is an area under police surveillance. If you are arrested by mistake, don't blame the police," he said.

12.56pm: According to the police, 30 people have been arrested in the Pasar Seni area. A police truck carrying those arrested leaves for the Cheras police district headquarters.

12.50pm: The police have closed the main Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman from Sogo departmental store to Dataran Merdeka stretching for about 1.8 kilometres. Both are gathering spots for anti-ISA protesters.

12.47pm: Reports are saying that Masjid Jamek has been closed to the public. Only police personnel are being allowed into the mosque. So far 12 people have been arrested in this area.

NONEMeanwhile over at Masjid Negara, the 20 anti-ISA protesters are waiting for their colleagues to join them. Another group is now joining them.

12.40pm: Lawyer Puspawati Rosman has been released by the police. She was arrested 10 minutes ago, handcuffed and placed in a Black Maria at Masjid Jamek.

12.40pm: According to an eyewitness, Padang Merbok, which is one of the meeting points for pro-ISA protesters, was devoid of people. Three police trucks were seen in the area.

According to a Special Branch officer, the pro-ISA protesters may gather only in Pasar Seni. A total of 21 people have been arrested there so far.

12.37pm: The police have also deployed canine units at Dataran Merdeka. At least two police dogs were spotted.

Palace locked down, major roads blocked

All access to the Istana Negara has been blocked by the police in anticipation of two major afternoon rallies - one for and the other against - the use of the Internal Security Act.

Checks this morning revealed that police have cordoned off Jalan Istana in the federal capital, with about a dozen riot police trucks and water cannons replacing the usual sight of weekend tourist buses in front of the palace.

NONEThe palace is the focal point for both rallies, which aims to submit memorandums to the King to intervene in their causes.

Initially, the Abolish the ISA Movement (better known by its Malay acronym GMI) had planned to rally 100,000 at 2pm before marching to the Palace to hand a memorandum, urging the King to pressure the government into abolishing the law.

The law which is now 49-years-old, was conceived to tackle the communist insurgency but critics have since bemoaned that the law was abused to jail political dissidents without trial.

GMI, which members include three main opposition parties PKR, PAS and DAP, received a shot in the arm yesterday when PAS ordered all its members to participate in the rally, against the law which has jailed many of its leaders over the years.

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, both two-time ISA detainees themselves, will lead the protest, along with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.


A rival group led by Majlis Pemuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris) plans to hold a counter rally, unless GMI backs down. There are worried over the Pewaris' rally because it include silat practitioners as protesters.

The two groups are expected to be colour-coded - Pewaris supporters in white, while GMI supporters would be in black and red.

As of this morning, neither side appeared to be compromising and will begin their respective rallies at 2pm simultaneously in several locations across the central business district of Kuala Lumpur.

bersih parliament police road block bangsar 111207 closeAs of 9am, Pewaris officials were spotted at Central Market, which is one of their two rally points. The bulk of their supporters are expected to arrive at 1pm.

Since last night, roadblocks have been erected at major arteries into the city to prevent out-of-town protesters from entering. This morning, traffic in the city was caught in a gridlock as a result of these roadblocks.

Unlike before, there are yet to be any reports of out-of-town chartered buses being turned away for ferrying suspected protesters.

"We have learned from past experiences. Our people are not traveling with any obvious signs that they are protesters. A lot of them are traveling on private vehicles and public transport," an East-coast based Pakatan Rakyat leader told Malaysiakini.

Police warnings

Another Pakatan leader from Perak said that several buses from the state are crossing their fingers and hoping that they would not run into police check points.

"Even if our buses are stopped, we will walk," he said.

NONEMeanwhile, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohd Sabtu Osman (left) has warned of stern action against protesters should they ignore police warnings against participating in either rallies.

"We are asking them to stop the rallies as they have better channels to voice our views," he said yesterday.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has also called for the protesters to stand down and urged them to instead air their suggestions in other ways to amend the law.

There are reports that roadblocks in Selayang have caused traffic backed up all way to Rawang.

NONEThere are roadblocks along Federal Highway in Petaling Jaya, Silk Highway in Kajang, the Jalan Duta toll of the North Klang Valley Expressway, among others.

Areas around the National Museum, which is close to the palace, have been closed, while police have blocked all major roads heading into the city.

Riot police, backed up by water-cannon trucks, have stationed themselves in all major meeting points since early this morning.

Palace locked down, major roads blocked

Cops close major roads to head off ISA rallies

Police began setting up roadblocks around Kuala Lumpur a day ahead of the planned rallies.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 – Several major roads leading to the city centre were closed today to prevent groups supporting as well as opposing the Internal Security Act (ISA) from holding illegal assemblies.

Bernama quoted a Kuala Lumpur traffic police spokesman as saying the roads, which were closed from 8am, included the Seremban-Sungai Besi highway, Jalan Kelapa Gading, Jalan Mahameru, Dataran Merdeka, Jalan Travers, Jalan Syed Putra and other roads around Istana Negara.

The closure of Jalan Syed Putra caused a massive traffic jam stretching from Old Klang Road to the slip road leading to Brickfields.

An irate motorist, who declined to be named, said it took her two hours to get to work. The trip normally takes 30 minutes.

The police spokesman, however, said that there was congestion but it was not critical, probably because it was a rest day for many workers.

By 1.30pm, some 200 protesters had gathered at Masjid Negara and police had detained around 60 people who were in possession of anti-ISA material while a leader of the pro-ISA faction was barred from showing his memorandum to the media and asked to leave the Central Market area.

Overnight, police mounted roadblocks and helicopter overflights as they locked down the city while residents braced for conflicting rallies over the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) that organisers say will culminate with memorandums being handed to the King on the 49th anniversary of the security law.

The one-million-strong Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is ordering all its members to take part in a planned rally today to protest against the use of ISA, despite police warnings that the gathering would be illegal.

Another rally is being called by maverick politician Ibrahim Ali to support the law that allows detention without trial, which ironically kept him twice in detention.

Police said all rallies are illegal, vowing to ensure they will keep the protesters off the streets.

“We are making it compulsory and commanding all our members to take part in the rally,” PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub told reporters yesterday

Despite the order for all PAS members to show up, only 50,000 are expected at the rally which will also be attended by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, along with PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Democratic Action Party leader Lim Kit Siang.

The Abolish ISA Movement, the organiser of the rally, is hoping for a massive turnout to call for the end of a law that allows for indefinite detention without trial while Salahuddin said PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Abdul Hadi have decreed that the rally was not forbidden in Islam.

“It is not forbidden in Islam as the objective is to abolish the ISA. It is a noble intention,” said Salahuddin.

Protesters will gather at the Sogo shopping mall in the heart of the old city centre here before marching to the palace to hand over a memorandum to Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, urging him to repeal the Act.

While Salahuddin vowed that it would be a peaceful gathering, the authorities remained concerned about possible tensions arising between the anti-ISA demonstrators and a second group which will also march today in support of the ISA.

Pewaris, an umbrella body of Malay and Muslim non-governmental organisations, will stage its own gathering in Kuala Lumpur to fight for the retention of the security law. It is also planning to march towards the palace.

The Home Ministry has warned that it would not hesitate to take stern action against the participants of the illegal rallies.

“If they violate the law, stern action will be taken against them, no matter if they are pro-ISA or contra-ISA,” Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein warned.

“I will not compromise on this until the security and interests of the country are assured.”

Yesterday, police started setting up roadblocks at key entry points into the city as part of efforts to prevent supporters from entering and causing massive traffic jams around Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring areas.

“All those planning to attend the illegal gatherings must be prepared to face stern action from us, regardless if they are for or against the use of the ISA. We will not compromise as far as security is concerned,” said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

KL police chief Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman has also warned that police will stop and detain buses suspected of ferrying protesters.

Critics have said that the ISA is being used by the government against political opponents. The government has argued that it is a crucial tool in fighting terrorism and ensuring national security.

Human rights groups estimate at least 17 people remain in detention under ISA, mainly for alleged links to Islamic militants and forgery. - The Malaysian Inider

Lawyer who knows her rights gets to enjoy them

Unlike Puspawati Rosman, this protesters does not know his rights so he gets to ride a police lorry. - Picture by Choo Choy May

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 – Legal Aid lawyer Puspawati Rosman thought it was going to be just another day, watching over protesters who turned up for the anti-ISA rally in the city centre. She was wrong.

The police who turned up to head off a rally against the security law took an interest in her as she began distributing Bar Council pamphlets on “Police and Your Rights” to people near the Masjid Jamek Light Rail Transit (LRT) station.

They stopped and detained her, making her among the 60-odd held up to 12.30pm around the city for suspected involvement in a rally planned for 2pm.

But she knew her rights, all laid down in the sheaf of pamphlets in her hands as she talked to the police.

Police also kept journalists there away from her while her colleagues negotiated to free her. Minutes later, she was free. She knew her rights.

But the police are still continuing to detain others – who may or may not know their rights – as more stream into the city despite closed roads and heavy police presence.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends

by Nathaniel Tan

Beautiful day for staying at home innit? :P

Well, I bet all those people locked up in Kamunting would love to spend their Saturday afternoon at home with their families too.

Sorry I won’t be here to give updates. Try Facebook, Malaysiakini, the usual sources.

I’m off! See you on the other side :)

BERNAMA Temporarily Suspends Involvement In 24-hour TV News

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- Bernama, the Malaysian National News Agency, will temporarily suspend its involvement in Bernama TV Synergy Sdn Bhd, a joint venture which provides a 24-hour news channel on Astro TV, with effect from today, a Bernama spokesman said.

"The decision is to minimise the exposure of Bernama to losses incurred by Bernama TV Synergy, which is a joint venture between Bernama Bhd (33 per cent), Silver Ridge (Multimedia) Bhd (27 per cent), Standard Code Sdn Bhd (20 per cent) and Hallmark Entertainment Sdn Bhd (20 per cent)," he said.

The spokesman said the decision would not in any way affect the quality and delivery of its services as the national news agency.

"Bernama will review its options on its involvement in Bernama TV Synergy as soon as the financial issue affecting the parties in the joint venture is resolved," he added.

Meanwhile, Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Annuar Zaini said in a statement that it was with much regret that he had to announce the temporary suspension of the national news agency's involvement in Bernama TV Synergy.

"We have decided on this course of action after a thorough evaluation of the current financial situation affecting Bernama TV Synergy.

"As chairman, I would like to assure that the delivery and quality of Bernama's existing services in its operation as the national news agency will continue to be maintained at the highest level," he said.

GMI: Ini 'non-violent protest'

MANSUH: Penganjur tidak pernah cabar penyokong ISA

Pakatan's sudden interest in Maika shares, a ruse

By Wong Mun Chee,

I'm just wondering after all this years, suddenly everyone in the opposition is ready to take on the Maika shares issues that has been lingering around for 20 over years.

Do I smell a ruse to deviate from the Kg Buah Pala issue? Yes. As more facts are being uncovered on the shady transaction of Kg Buah Pala, the DAP led opposition in Penang needs a diversion.

As usual the Indian MP mandores need to play their part to bury the current Penang government's fault in the Kg Buah Pala issue with a diversion.

Why the diversion, I can give you many reasons. No action was initiated on the fraudulent land transfer; no assistance was rendered to the residents in their fight against the developer when the latter is not even the legal owner of the land.

No state authority had raised the issue on the transfer of the trust land to the state land nor do documents exist to prove it. So what about this rule of law? Close an eye for the poor and defenceless.

Then what about the premium that was paid way after when it should be paid? It does not matter.

How plausible that development plan is approved when it subjected to a premium being paid within time or even without the land having been transferred.

Yes KSK did it, but what did the LGE government do to question all this to safeguard the residents and question the fraudulent transaction or invalidate it.

There are many legal nitty gritty that LGE could have pursued to expose the fraudulent land transfer if he was serious in saving Kg Buah Pala.

The icing on the cake, now since it is public, one lawyer comes out states that "The temporary title document (Borang 11AK), registered with the registrar of land titles and issued on March 27, 2008, contains a clause "Sekatan-sekatan kepentingan", which states:

"Tanah yang diberi milik tidak boleh dipindah milik, cagar, pajak, pajakan kecil atau sebarang bentuk urusniaga"

So, what happened Guan Eng, all your propaganda with your Indian kuncu-kuncu that the state government needs to fork out RM150 million to the developer.

The game is up Guan Eng, we are not so stupid anymore as we have citizen vigilantes to question the fair and just moves rather than playing politics.

The truth is there is no RM150 million to pay, nor was there any real attempt by the present Penang government to actually safeguard the interest of the residents in Kg Buah Pala. It was all an eye wash for the public.

By raising the Maika isues, it is very clear that it is but a camouflage to hide the inherent flaws that is so obvious in the Penang government which is supposed safeguard the interest of the poor and defenceless.

Since when in history have the opposition been interested in the Maika battle that has always been internal. You walk on a thin line in misinterpreting the judgment of the public with your actions.

Don't insult our intelligence and what we can grasp when more truth is exposed on the shaddy deal around Kg Buah Pala and your government's inaction.

Sure, I don't want an Umno-led BN to rule Penang, but expect you to be truthful in your dealing with residents in Kg Buah Pala rather than diverting the attention with your load of hocus pocus.

It is still not too late Guan Eng, do the right thing for the residents and we will respect you for it, for we will appreciate that you stood by them even in your time of despair for political survival.



Berikut adalah Enam soalan yang telah di ketarakan dalam memorandum kepada Ketua Eksekutif Maika Holdings :

a) Hanya 3 orang Ahli Lembaga Pengarah Maika Holdings kini berkhidmat iaitu Vellpari , Ketua Eksekutif , Peguam Vijayakumar dan Dr Thambiraja. Jadi siapakan yang membuat keputusan penting berkaitan Maika Holdings ?

b) Berapakah Jumlah Hutang yang harus di bayar oleh Maika Holdings ?


c) Apakah langkah-langkah yang telah diambil untuk membayar balik wang saham kepada pelabur-pelabur ?

d) Adakah jangkamasa pembayaran balik wang pelaburan telah di tetapkan?

e) Apakah kaedah pembayaran balik wang pelaburan ? Melalui kaedah “gulung tikar” atau melalui pengurangan

Saham syarikat?

f) Apakah Nilai setiap Saham sekiranya pembayaran balik di buat?

Syed Ibrahim: Cukuplah 49 tahun ISA mengganas

"Tahun ini, usia ISA masuk 49 tahun, cukuplah setakat itu akta tersebut digunakan ke atas rakyat Malaysia," kata Syed Ibrahim ketika memulakan sidang akhbar di bangunan Pejabat Agung PAS petang semalam.

Norlaila Othman, Harakah

"Pergi jahanam dengan GMI", tajuk berita dari M-Star dan "Umat Islam diharamkan menyertai himpunan jalanan", dari Berita Harian adalah dua bentuk provokasi dan ancaman yang dikeluarkan oleh media arus perdana menjelang Himpunan Aman MANSUH, esok 1 Ogos.

Sesiapa saja yang membaca berita-berita tersebut, terutamanya penduduk Malaysia yang tinggal di kawasan yang tidak mendapat liputan internet, pasti akan merasa kurang selesa untuk hadir ke Kuala Lumpur, Sabtu ini.

Oleh sebab itu, Pengarah Himpunan MANSUH, Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh sekali lagi menegaskan bahawa Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA(GMI) yang mewakili 83 gabungan parti politik dan NGO tetap akan meneruskan perhimpunan tersebut.

Pihak penganjur sentiasa mengambil sikap berjaga-jaga dan faktor keselamatan akan ditingkatkan, agar himpunan tersebut bebas dari sebarang provokasi yang boleh mengganggu dan melibatkan para demonstran.

"Himpunan MANSUH ini adalah satu platform yang disediakan supaya rakyat dapat menyuarakan dan meluahkan rasa tidak puas hati mereka terhadap penggunaan akta tahan tanpa bicara, ISA yang telah menganiaya lebih 17 ribu rakyat malaysia dari pelbagai kaum dan latar belakang.

"Tahun ini, usia ISA masuk 49 tahun, cukuplah setakat itu akta tersebut digunakan ke atas rakyat Malaysia," kata Syed Ibrahim ketika memulakan sidang akhbar di bangunan Pejabat Agung PAS petang semalam.

"Aktiviti GMI bukan bermula semalam. Ianya telah dimulakan sejak tahun 2001 lagi. Pelbagai aktiviti dilakukan untuk memberitahu pemimpin yang sedang berkuasa sekarang bahawa akta tanpa bicara ISA amat zalim kerana ia mencabul hak asasi mangsanya, sepatutnya segera dihentikan penggunaanya.

"Di Malaysia sudah ada terlalu banyak undang-undang yang boleh digunakan terhadap apa juga jenis kesalahan justeru itu, ISA sudah tidak diperlukan lagi kerana akta itu terbukti lebih banyak mendatang mudharat kepada rakyat," tambah Syed Ibrahim lagi.

"Pertubuhan bukan kerajaan seperti PEWARIS dan MAGARAN yang menyokong ISA juga berhak untuk berhimpun walaupun ianya diadakan secara 'kebetulan' pada tarikh dan masa yang sama dengan himpunan MANSUH ISA anjuran GMI.

"Namun, yang amat jelas, himpunan GMI telah dirancang beberapa bulan lebih awal dan pihak jawatankuasa kerja MANSUH telah bertemu dengan pelbagai NGO serta parti politik untuk menerangkan, memberitahu dan memohon sokongan terhadap penganjuran himpunan tersebut.

"GMI telah berkunjung kepejabat Menteri Dalam Negeri, SUHAKAM , Bar Council, Mahasiswa, Persatuan Cina, Hindraf dan parti politik Pakatan Rakyat. Siri ceramah 'roadshow' yang dianjurkan oleh Pemuda Pakatan Rakyat di seluruh negara pula adalah khusus untuk memberitahu orang ramai tentang ISA dan seterusnya memohon sokongan seluruh rakyat Malaysia yang cintakan keadilan dan bencikan kezaliman supaya turun ke Kuala Lumpur untuk sama-sama menyatakan bantahan terhadap akta drakonian itu," kata Pengerusi GMI itu.

"Kami juga telah menyerahkan sepucuk surat pemberitahuan tentang himpunan ini kepada Polis dua hari lepas. GMI memohon, pihak polis turut membantu memudahkan dan melancarkan perjalanan para demonstran di himpunan aman tersebut. Tiada sesiapa, terutamanya dipihak GMI yang mahu berlaku sebarang kejadian yang tidak diingini.

"Berilah sedikit ruang pada rakyat untuk melakukan sesuatu yang menjadi hak mereka iaitu kebebasan berkumpul sepertimana termaktub di Perlembagaan Persekutuan," demikianlah beliau mengakhiri sidang media tersebut.

Turut hadir di sidang media itu ialah Timbalan Pengarah MANSUH, Kamaruzaman Mohammad Setiausaha Pemuda PAS Pusat, Ustazah Nuridah Ketua Muslimat PAS Pusat, Aiman Athirah, Ketua Penerangan Muslimat PAS Pusat dan Nashita Mohd Noor, Bendahari GMI.

Separation of powers


Of the four Branches of Government, the judiciary is the most crucial. When all else fails you want to know that you at least have one last bastion of justice, the courts.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I know Malaysians are not happy. But do Malaysians know what they are not happy about? Malaysians realise there is something wrong with this country. But very few can actually put their finger on what it is that is wrong.

Two days ago, we published a pretty long report called Can Malaysian judges meet these standards? Knowing that Malaysians do not quite like reading, especially when it comes to reading long ‘academic’ reports, many probably did not grasp the message in that report. Let us, therefore, talk about that issue from another angle.

A ‘good’ country is one that practices separation of powers. This can be summarised simply as power should not be monopolised in the hands of one man, the Executive. In Malaysia, this Executive would mean the Prime Minister.

Malaysia has four Branches of Government -- the Executive (the Prime Minister), the Legislature (Parliament), the Judiciary (the Judges) and the Monarchy (the nine Rulers plus the Agong). These four Branches of Government are supposed to be ‘independent’ of each other and work in tandem without overlapping. This means one Branch should not dictate what the other does or interfere or influence another Branch.

In Malaysia, however, this does not happen. In Malaysia, the Executive can tell the other Branches how he wants things done. And this became even more so during the tenure of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he was Prime Minister for 22 years.

We of course still remember the Umno party crisis (Team A vs. Team B), the Constitutional Crisis (twice), the sacking of the judges, Operasi Lalang (where more than 100 dissidents were detained), the Constitutional amendments, etc., in the 1980s that resulted in power eventually becoming concentrated in the hands of one man.

Today, the Prime Minister and not Parliament decides on the appointment of the Chief Justice, the police chief, the MACC chief, the AG, and whatnot. Ideally, Parliament should be the Branch that decides on these appointments and the Parliamentary Committee should not be one that is monopolised by the ruling party Parliamentarians but those from the opposition bench as well. The appointment of senior judges should be by the Judicial Commission and senior police officers by the Police Force Commission that also report to Parliament.

This is what Malaysiakini reported three days ago:

Teoh Beng Hock's death has raised the question as to whether the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) uses force to extract information from witnesses.

A former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) senior officer has claimed that the corruption watchdog used to be a "civil and gentleman's organisation" that has never been accused of abusing or assaulting witnesses or suspects.

"We don't work like the police. We don't resort to using force to extract a confession. But I don't know (what it is like) now," said Mohamad Ramli Manan in an email interview with Malaysiakini on issues raised by Teoh's death.

"If you are a good investigator, you don't need a confession at all. You prove your case from other evidence."

The ACA was upgraded to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in January.

Ramli had stunned the nation in early 2007 when he alleged that then ACA director-general Zulkipli Mat Noor was involved in corruption and a sex offence.

Ramli had served as ACA deputy chief in three states - Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan - before being appointed to head the agency in Kelantan, Malacca, Johor and Sabah.

Zulkipli was cleared by Attorney-General Chambers but his contract was not extended when it expired in March 2007.

Ramli said the ACA, created in 1967, had never resorted to handcuffing suspects or arrested persons. Unlike the police who deal with hardcore criminals, the anti-graft agency deals with white collar crimes where there is minimal risk of suspects escaping.

However, there was a departure from this practice early this year when two Perak Pakatan Rakyat state executive councillors were arrested.

"We were shocked to see that the exco members who had voluntarily surrendered to the MACC and other suspects were handcuffed for their remand proceedings.

"I would venture to say that the Perak exco suspects were handcuffed just to embarrass them. That speaks of the mentality of MACC officers compared to ACA officers."

Ramli, who retired in 2006, agreed that the ACA had always practised selective investigation.

"They are so afraid to investigate Umno ministers, excos and menteris besar unless they get the green light from the top. Officers who try to do so might find themselves facing trouble.

"MACC would not dare to do what they have done in Selangor and Perak in any of the BN states. They would not dare to handcuff an Umno exco member. That is a fact which nobody can deny."

The one-time senior man of the ACA admits that the police do resort to violence to extract confessions from ‘witnesses’ and suspects. And now it appears like the ACA (now MACC) also resorts to the same tactics, even arresting and handcuffing those they want to ‘talk’ to.

So you see what happens when the Executive decides on the top jobs? The judiciary, the police, the MACC, the AG, and everyone can be told what to do. And they will do whatever serves the interest of the ruling party. And because of this carte blanche they can practically do what they like, both within and outside the law. And we have seen a lot of evidence of this over the last 11 years since 1998.

Of the four Branches of Government, the judiciary is the most crucial. When all else fails you want to know that you at least have one last bastion of justice, the courts. The police, the MACC, the AG, UMNO, the Prime Minister, or whomsoever can choose to fix you up. But as long as you can depend on the courts you will still be guaranteed justice. But when this last bastion of justice is itself perverted and subverted, then there is no hope left. You might as well just leave the country because Malaysia will be extremely untenable.

I can write a book about this. Nevertheless, without turning this article into a thesis, maybe I can offer you one example of what I mean. Rest assured there are many more examples. But all these examples would merely be more of the same thing.

Let us look at one case, which is the most recent. Unfolding before us in a hushed and hurried manner is the case of KLHC Civil Suit: S1-22-1311-2005; Dato’ Gopal Sri Ram vs Dato’ C Vijaya Kumar and seven others where the great Sri Ram is suing his former partners in a dispute over a library. Imagine a scene of a Federal Court Judge sitting daily before a junior Judicial Commissioner, Harminder Singh, instructing how justice is to be delivered.

Why could it not wait until he retires in less than six months? Is the CJ not aware of this? Such negative impressions on the judiciary were already previously commented on, specifically mentioning his name on pages 28-30 of The Report on the Malaysian Judiciary by the IBA. And yet we have a repeat of such events away from public glare.

Who is this revered Federal Court Judge? Well, he was the one who opened the floodgates to high damages in defamation cases following his judgment in the case brought by Tan Sri Vincent Tan against Hassan Hamzah and others.

In affirming the RM10 million award by the High Court, he wrote:

“I must record my strong disapproval of any judicial policy that is directed at awarding very low damages for defamation...But I do hold the view that injury to a person’s reputation may occasion him at least as much, if not greater, harm than injury to his or her physical self."

And, not long after that, his wife sued the International School of Kuala Lumpur for RM6 million. Is there a plot we are missing? Dignity of the judiciary must surely come with integrity of the holders of that august office. And that was exactly what Murray Hiebert reported on. As if in retaliation, his other brother-judge, Low Hop Bing, cited Murray Hiebert for contempt. This received attention from no less than the former US President Bill Clinton and the international community (see letter below).


Dear Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad,

I am writing to express my deep concern over the recent criminal conviction of journalist Murray Hiebert and to ask you to take immediate steps to protect freedom of expression and press freedom in Malaysia.

As you know, Mr. Hiebert, the Canadian-born Malaysian bureau chief of the Hong-Kong based Far Eastern Economic Review, was recently given a three-month jail term for writing an article which mentioned details of a civil suit brought by Datin Chandra Sri Ram against the International School of Kuala Lumpur. Chandra was suing the school for dropping her son, Govind, from its debating team. On 10 March, the school apologised and the suit was withdrawn.

Before that point, however, Hiebert had written about the case in an article entitled "See You in Court" which examined an apparent increase of litigation in Malaysia. The story noted in part that Chandra's husband is a Court of Appeals judge and that the case had moved with unusual swiftness through the judicial system.

On the basis of these two statements, Chandra brought a suit against Hiebert alleging contempt of the Malaysian judicial system.

Hiebert was found guilty on 30 May by Judge Low Hop Bing. In his decision Low stated that "it is high time our judiciary shows its abhorrence toward such contemptuous conduct as is illustrated by the facts of this case."

I believe this conviction to be a significant miscarriage of justice. The disputed comments appear factual and well within the realm of internationally accepted norms of responsible journalism. It is also problematic to allow a private citizen to lay criminal charges on behalf of the Malaysian judicial system.

I also believe that Mr. Hiebert's conviction demonstrates that there are inadequate safeguards in Malaysia to protect freedom of expression and press freedom.

It is very possible that media outlets will be forced into self-censorship by this type of judicial action. This will have a detrimental impact on the free flow of information in Malaysia, undermining the rights of your citizens to be fully informed.

I urge you to take immediate action to ensure that the legal and judicial limits placed on press freedom and freedom of expression do not stifle journalism in Malaysia. I understand that Mr. Hiebert's conviction is under appeal and that there are limitations on how the government can become involved at this time. Nevertheless, I ask that all appropriate steps be taken to assist Mr. Hiebert and, if possible, to have the criminal charge against him withdrawn.

I would appreciate a response to this letter.


The Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists


Hiebert was jailed for contempt of court for his article in the Far Eastern Economic Review on the case of Datin Chandra Sri Ram, wife of the judge. He wrote an article on the International School of Kuala Lumpur dropping her son from its debating team. Hiebert's article entitled "See you in court" was treated as scandalising the judiciary and lowering the integrity of the judiciary and it sent him to jail for six weeks. Clinton criticised the decision, saying that putting a journalist in jail for doing his job undermines press freedom that plays such a critical role in building a democratic society. This led to Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah, as CJ, to scale back awards in defamation lawsuits, saying that it could threaten freedom of the press.

His critics argue that he is more interested in showboating and earning column inches in the newspapers. His supporters counter that he is one of the few judges with the legal brain to understand complex issues and the confidence to make decisions in tough and controversial cases and overturn judgments, which are patently unjust. Already, the Vincent Tan, the ISKL, the Murray Hiebert cases, etc., cast a big shadow on the actual person of Sri Ram. He has only fortified that with this recent case against his former partners. Over what? A Library?

It is these antics that erode confidence in the judiciary, especially the superior court judges when some gems were just beginning to show at the Sessions and High Court bench. Exactly for this reason Malaysia Today felt the need to highlight the Bangalore Code as follows:

“175. A judge has the right to act in the protection of his or her rights and interests, including by litigating in the courts. However, a judge should be circumspect about becoming involved in personal litigation. As a litigant, a judge runs the risk of giving the impression that he or she is taking advantage of his or her office. The judge also risks having his or her credibility adversely affected by the findings of judicial colleagues.”

It appears that all the four Branches of Government in Malaysia are in dire need of reforms. With the Perak Crisis involving both the Sultan and the Judiciary, the almost 2,000 deaths in custody over the last five or six years, the indiscriminate use of laws where the rule by law rather than rule of law applies, and so on, the case for supporting reforms just can’t be disputed.

Let me repeat what I said. The courtroom is the last bastion of justice. The rest can be corrupted as hell for all I care. But as long as we still have the courts to turn to then there is still hope. But when the judiciary itself is a ‘gone-case’, then there will no longer be any hope for you and me in seeing justice. And that is the mark of a failed state, when the judicial system has broken down.

ISA: Najib wants ideas, not protests

A day before planned ISA-related protests, police have set up roadblocks on major roads leading to Kuala Lumpur. - Picture by Choo Choy May

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak today urged organisers of tomorrow's anti-ISA rally to give their views on how the act should be improved instead of holding protests.

“The government has decided and I have announced when I took over the leadership that ISA will be amended,” the prime minister told a press conference after chairing an Umno supreme council meeting here.

In April, after he was sworn in as the prime minister, Najib in a televised address promised to amend the act that allows for detention without trial.

“Give suggestions, views, on how this law can be improved, and in the process there is no need to demonstrate,” said Najib when asked about the anti-ISA rally.

“It should not be politicised ... most importantly, we can amend the law to be consistent with current needs,” he added.

Najib said it is up to the police to handle the protesters tomorrow.

The rally is organised by anti-ISA group, GMI, which plans to gather at the Sogo shopping centre, the national mosque and near Masjid Jamek at 2pm tomorrow before marching to Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum to the King.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Awang, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are expected to lead the protest.

PAS had instructed its members to attend the rally, and the party expected to be able to mobilise at least 50,000 people.

A pro-ISA rally will also take place at the same time tomorrow and will be led by independent Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who stood on a PAS ticket.

Letter to MB of Kelantan on oil royalties

The Menteri Besar of Kelantan wrote me on July 15 seeking my view on the Kelantan State Government’s claim for oil royalties from PETRONAS.

Below is my answer, which was hand-delivered to the Menteri Besar this morning.

TRH/U/Phb/Kel/18 Bh.9

30hb Julai, 2009.

8hb Sya’ban, 1430.

Y.A.B. Tuan Guru Dato’ Haji Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat,

Menteri Besar Kelantan,

Pejabat Menteri Besar,

Blok 1, Tingkat 1,

Kota Darulnaim,

15503 Kota Bharu,

KELANTAN. Dengan tangan/Fax No.09-7442748


Y. A. B. Dato,


Saya panjatkan do’a ke Hadrat Allah S.W.T. agar Y.A.B. Dato’ berada dalam keadaan sihat walafiat.

Sukacita saya maklumkan bahawa surat Y.A.B. Dato’ yang bertarikh 15 Julai, 2009, yang disampaikan kepada saya oleh Y.B. Dato’ Hj. Husam Musa pada hari Jumaat, 17 Julai, 2009, telah selamat saya terima dan diucapkan berbanyak-banyak terima kasih.

Apabila Malaysia ditubuhkan dalam tahun 1963, bidang kuasa (jurisdiction) ke atas luar pantai Malaysia di antara Negeri dan Persekutuan tidak ditentukan untuk negeri-negeri Sabah, Sarawak dan Singapura oleh kerana Malaysia ditubuhkan dalam suasana di mana kita telah diancam oleh negara tetangga. Ini menyebabkan Kerajaan Negeri Sarawak telah mempertikaikan hak bidang kuasa Kerajaan Persekutuan ke atas luar pantai Malaysia di perairan Sarawak. Nasib baik dengan adanya Akta Kemajuan Petroliam 1974 pertikaian ini telah dapat diselesaikan dalam suatu perundingan yang diadakan dengan Kerajaan Sarawak. Saya telah mewakili Kerajaan Persekutuan untuk merundingkan masalah ini dan tanpa memilih jalan yang sukar, iaitu untuk meminda Perlembagaan Negara bagi menentukan bidang kuasa untuk Negeri dan Persekutuan yang tidak sempat dibuat sebelum ini mengenai kawasan luar pantai Malaysia , maka Seksyen 4 Akta Kemajuan Petroliam telah diguna bukan sahaja untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini tetapi telah dapat juga mengatasi kemungkinan ianya ditimbulkan oleh negeri-negeri seperti Sabah selain daripada Sarawak.

Akta Kemajuan Petroliam mempunyai keistimewaannya tersendiri. Ia telah menyebabkan ujudnya satu perjanjian dalam mana Kerajaan-kerajaan Negeri dan Kerajaan Persekutuan telah sanggup meletak hak selama-lamanya kepada PETRONAS mengenai petroliam yang ditemui sama ada di dalam atau di luar pantai Malaysia. Sebaliknya PETRONAS sanggup membuat bayaran tunai kepada Kerajaan Persekutuan dan juga Kerajaan-kerajaan Negeri sebanyak 5% daripada nilai petroliam yang ditemui dan dijual tiap-tiap tahun menurut Perjanjian itu. Bagi Negeri Kelantan, Allahyarham Dato’ Hj. Mohamed bin Nasir, selaku Menteri Besar, telah menandatangani perjanjian ini dan saya bagi pihak PETRONAS telah menandatangani perjanjian yang sama dalam tahun 1975.

Jelas sekali, dengan tafsiran yang dibuat dalam kedua-dua perjanjian ini nampaknya tidak ada keraguan lagi mengenai bidang kuasa dalam dan luar pantai Malaysia mengenai petroliam. Jelas sekali PETRONAS terikat dengan perjanjian-perjanjian ini begitu juga Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan dan oleh itu PETRONAS wajib membuat bayaran tunai sebanyak 5% daripada petroliam yang diperolehi daripada luar pantai Malaysia yang bersetentangan dengan Kelantan kepada Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan. Kalau tidak silap saya, sebahagian daripada kawasan luar pantai Malaysia yang diusahakan oleh JDA (Joint Development Authority) sekarang ini pernah diberi kepada syarikat asing untuk mencari gali minyak dalam tahun enam-puluhan dahulu tetapi diserahkan balik kepada Kerajaan Persekutuan apabila didapati ianya tidak ekonomik oleh kerana kos mencari gali minyak di ketika itu melebehi harga pasaran minyak dunia. Untuk makluman Y.A.B. Dato’, saya telah meminta Perdana Menteri, Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak, untuk mengguna pakai Seksyen 4 Perjanjian di bawah Akta Kemajuan Petroliam ini supaya PETRONAS menandatangani dengan setiap negeri di Semenanjung Tanah Melayu untuk menseragamkan perjanjian-perjanjian yang dibuat oleh PETRONAS di bawah Akta tersebut. Apatah lagi disedari bahawa negeri-negeri di Pantai Timur masih kurang maju yang memerlukan bantuan untuk pembangunan dan sudah tentu akan mendapat manfaat daripada bayaran tunai daripada PETRONAS.. Pada masa itu difikirkan ada kemungkinan kawasan luar pantai Malaysia berhampiran atau bersetentangan dengan Kelantan, Terengganu dan Pahang mempunyai petroliam dan/atau gas asli mungkin memberi harapan yang baik kepada rakyat dan negeri-negeri tersebut sekiranya petroliam ditemui di luar pantai Malaysia berhampiran negeri-negeri itu.

Sekian, terima kasih. Wassalam.

Yang ikhlas,

(Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah)



TRH/U/Phb/Kel/18 Bh.9

30 July, 2009

8th Sya’ban, 1430

Y.A.B. Tuan Guru Dato’ Haji Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat

Chief Minister of Kelantan

Office of the Chief Minister

Block 1, 1st Floor

Kota Darulnaim

15503 Kota Bharu



Y.A.B. Dato,


My prayers to Allah, s.w.t. for your good health.

Thank you for your letter dated July 15, 2009 and conveyed to me by Y.B. Dato’ Hj. Husam Musa on July 17, 2009.

Malaysia was formed in 1963, in the teeth of armed opposition from a neighbouring country, without our having had time to clarify the demarcation between State and Federal jurisdictions offshore. This discrepancy eventually led the Sarawak State Government to dispute the Federal Government’s jurisdiction over waters offshore of Sarawak in respect of petroleum resources.

In talks between the State Government of Sarawak and the Federal Government, we solved this problem within the framework of the Petroleum Development Act of 1974. I represented the Federal Government in these negotiations. Instead of going by the complicated route of amending the Federal Constitution to demarcate State vs Federal jurisdictions, we applied Section 4 of the Petroleum Development Act to apportion the value of petroleum resources offshore (and onshore) between them. The same agreement was used for Sabah.

The Petroleum Development Act is thus of unusual significance. It makes possible an agreement whereby the State Government first vests irrevocably all its “powers, liberties and privileges” in respect of Petroleum lying onshore or offshore of its territory in PETRONAS. “In return” says a second agreement, PETRONAS “shall make to the Government a cash payment in the form of a yearly sum amounting to 5% of of the value of the petroleum won and saved in Kelantan and sold by Petronas or its agents or contractors.” The late Dato’ Haji Mohamed Bin Nasir signed on behalf of the State of Kelantan as Menteri Besar and I signed on behalf of PETRONAS as its chairman.

There is no ambiguity at all in this pair of agreements about the demarcation of jurisdictions on or offshore of Malaysia with respect to Petroleum. It is very clear that PETRONAS is bound to these agreements just as the State Government of Kelantan is, and therefore that PETRONAS must pay the Kelantan State Government the cash payment of 5% of the value of petroleum resources extracted from Malaysian waters offshore of Kelantan.

As I recall, in the 1960’s the Federal Government assigned a portion of the offshore area now being exploited by the JDA (Joint Development Authority) to an international oil company. That company returned the concession to the Federal Government after they found that the cost of extraction would exceed the market price of oil at the time.

I sought and obtained the consent of the Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak, to sign the same agreements under Section 4 of the Petroleum Development Act with each state in Peninsula Malaya for the sake of uniformity under the Act, and with a view to the fact that our East Coast states were less developed and would benefit from receiving these payments.

At the time we already anticipated finding oil and/or natural gas in Malaysian waters offshore of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang and looked forward to the benefit that such resources might bring to the people and to these states.

Thank you. Wassalam.

Yours sincerely

(Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah)

We, the people, shall be heard on 1-Eight

Amri, from Shah Alam, walking in the BERSIH rally on 10-Eleven

Amri, from Shah Alam, walking in the BERSIH rally on 10-Eleven


The people on 10-Eleven

The people on 10-Eleven

The people on 10-Eleven

The people on 10-Eleven

Yes, these are the voices who opposed 10-Eleven, cut from the same cloth with those who now oppose 1-Eight.

Why we must 1-Eight?


Cos we say no more


banner isa - Copy

Anti-ISA vigil in Kamunting in June last year

Anti-ISA vigil in Kamunting in June last year

by Haris Ibrahim

Penan Starvation: People First, Performance Now?

by Augustine Anthony

Time and again I have said that our country is a land of milk and honey but we now suffer a well entrenched system of governance that betrays its own people.

The news report in Utusan Online under caption “Lebih 3,000 Penan kebuluran” is one by product of a system failure.

Malaysia is seen on many occasions as a generous contributor whenever there are calamities around the world. Some of the aids that are despatched are laudably swift, perhaps within days or weeks of such calamities.

Of course we welcome such generosity of Malaysia. But what about our own backyard?

It is reported that more than 3,000 Penan natives from 5 settlements numbering about 264 families are in starvation for the last three months.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that the Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development in announcing the plight of the Penan natives had even revealed that some of the natives had resorted to eating wild plants.

It is also reported that the cause of the starvation is the destruction of the natives’ padi plantations by wild monkeys.

Read more here.

This revelation beckons many disturbing questions.

  1. How is it that more than 3,000 natives in settlements endure starvation for the last three months without being noticed by a long chain of government officers from various departments including the health authorities?
  2. What were the Rural and Regional Development Ministry officers doing all this while?
  3. Why blame the monkeys for such starvation? Are the monkeys convenient scapegoats for the indiscriminate destruction of forests in Sarawak by those who are in the logging businesses and those who earn a living by destroying the forests?
  4. What is happening to the land including the forests around these settlements that had resulted in a great numbers of monkeys suddenly destroying the padi cultivation?
  5. Why the sudden mass movement of monkeys in search of food in these areas?

Of course now attempts are made to channel food supplies and other needed items to the affected natives but it must not stop there. We need to find out what is the real reason for this tragic unfolding of event.

Those responsible for this reckless omission to care for the need of the starving people and those who brought about this disaster unto the Penan natives must be severely dealt with.

It is only then people will have some sense of assurance that the system of governance is improving for the sake of people’s well being.

Another test for our Prime Minister’s slogan “People First, Performance Now”

MIC Cites Political Motive For Protest Over MAIKA Shares

KUALA TERENGGANU, July 31 (Bernama) -- The MIC on Friday claimed that yesterday's protest over the Maika shares issue at the MIC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur was purposely held to divert attention from the Kampung Buah Pala issue in Penang.

Both MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and party secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam spoke in the same vein on the matter after they had opened the Terengganu and Kelantan MIC delegates conferences here and in Kota Baharu, respectively.

Samy Vellu said here the protest was not due to the demand for money back by shareholders of Maika Holdings Berhad, the investment arm of the MIC, but was in retaliation for MIC's offer to help settle the issue of eviction faced by villagers of Kampung Buah Pala, the site of which is to be developed.

The protest was led by several leaders from the DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), including Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy, purportedly to hand over a memorandum on claims by Maika Holdings shareholders.

Samy Vellu gave an assurance that MIC was prepared to pay back the Maika shareholders but it could not do so now because of an injunction obtained by Koperasi Nesa Serbaguna Berhad, Maika's single biggest shareholder headed by former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam, against the sale of Maika Holdings' subsidiary, Oriental Capital Assurance Berhad.

"I believe Subramaniam has to answer to the people (Indian community) on the Maika Holdings shares," he said.

He also said that the Penang government helmed by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should be held responsible for the Kampung Buah Pala issue.

In KOTA BAHARU, Dr Subramaniam said Ramasamy had tried to divert attention away from the unresolved Kampung Buah Pala issue and advised the Indian community not to be influenced by the DAP's actions.

"By gathering the Indians (at the MIC headquarters), one could divert the attention of the Indian community from the real issue of Kampung Buah Pala, which involves the interests of Indians in Penang.

"The group would not have gathered if not for political interests because the people have been informed of the truth," he said.


makkal osai 310709

Rethinking Malaysia’s sodomy laws

By Claire Brownell

THEY'RE colonial relics, they're rarely invoked, and other Asian countries have effectively taken them off the books. But because Malaysia's sodomy laws are tangled up in politics and religion, they're probably not going anywhere for a while.

In 2007, Singapore modified their sodomy laws, expressed in Section 377a of the island-state's Penal Code, to exclude heterosexuals who perform consensual oral and anal sex. On 2 July 2009, India repealed its own Section 377. In contrast, Malaysia's most recent addition to the history of sodomy laws is its second charge against parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

When asked what it would take to get Malaysia to follow suit and repeal its sodomy laws, gender and sexuality rights activist Alina Rastam laughs. "A miracle?" she asks. Nevertheless, could the time finally be right for Malaysians to rethink the relevance and righteousness of sodomy laws?

Simranjit (Courtesy of
Simranjit Kaur Gill)
Simranjit Kaur Gill of the Women's Candidacy Initiative says the group has researched charges brought under Section 377 of Malaysia's Penal Code. The act criminalises "carnal intercourse against the order of nature", or oral and anal sex. Their research found seven charges from 1938 to the present. Four of those seven charges are connected to Anwar.

So why does Malaysia need a miracle to repeal an act that is mainly used to persecute a political opponent of the government?

Zulkifli Noordin, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)'s Kulim-Bandar Baru Member of Parliament, says Section 377 shouldn't be judged by the number of charges laid. The act should remain in place because it is consistent with the Islamic values shared by the majority of Malaysians, he says.

"It has been in human civilisation to treat sodomy as an offence [for thousands of years]. So there must be some reason why," he tells The Nut Graph.

"It's stated there in the Bible, it's stated there in the Old Testament, it's stated there in the Al Quran. So I think, to be safe, we should just follow God's law."

Ironically, the Barisan Nasional government also has little motivation to repeal a tool that has proved useful against its most powerful opponent.


Latheefa Koya, who is PKR's information chief and a member of Anwar's legal defence team, says the charges were politically motivated. It's hard to see its disproportional use against Anwar in any other way, she says.

A sodomy charge hits at the root of Anwar's credibility, Latheefa says. "He had an image of someone of high moral standing, who's Islamic in his background. So the best way to destroy that is trump up a charge with sexual connotation in it. And if you can't get that person to be seen with women, then you might as well deal with sodomy."

When contacted by The Nut Graph, the Attorney-General's Chambers declines to offer an explanation. Its public relations officer says in an e-mail that the office could not reply to inquiries connected to an ongoing case.

Latheefa says she personally thinks Section 377 should be repealed because there's no point policing the private actions of consenting adults. But PKR would not be pushing for the law to be taken off the books any time soon, she adds.

"It would be wrongly seen that we are only trying to get rid of the law because Anwar is being charged. So in that context, it is complicated," she says.

It's also clear that there are major differences in opinion even among PKR members about Section 377, as seen in the differences between Latheefa's and Zulkifli's views.

Anwar's trial has created a classic catch-22. The government is politically motivated to keep the law the way it is. And the opposition is afraid that challenging the very law that is making their leader look un-Islamic would be seen as, well, un-Islamic.

More legal complexities

Section 377 isn't the only act criminalising homosexuality and sodomy in Malaysia. There are also many parallel offences under state-level syariah laws. These range from improper conduct in public spaces to sexual relations between persons of the same gender.

When deciding whether to prosecute Anwar under civil or syariah law in 1999, the High Court referred to a decision from a case in 1884 called Brett MR in R v Tonbridge Overseers. The judge in this case stated that where an offender commits an offence triable by either the civil court or a syariah court, he or she may be prosecuted in either one. What is less clear is who decides which court will try the case, and how that decision is made.

"There's no official policy. It's decided on a case-by-case basis," says Edmund Bon, chairperson of the bar council constitutional law committee and another member of Anwar's legal team.

Bon (Courtesy of Edmund Bon)
But The Nut Graph has to go through four different answers from four different lawyers before Bon's final explanation that there is no formal procedure in place. The differences between these answers cannot be explained by lack of experience or expertise.There's really only one conclusion to be drawn: the system is complicated, often arbitrary, and full of ambiguous legal grey areas.

Potential for crackdowns

The combination of Section 377, the syariah laws, and the Internal Security Act (ISA) gives the police and Islamic departments a powerful arsenal to crack down on "unnatural sex", and any attempt to challenge the definition of "unnatural sex", if they want to. The broad scope of these laws means they can be applied to heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

But Latheefa says that's not a scenario Malaysians need to worry about. Islamic law requires four witnesses for offences related to sex and sexuality, because charges are intended to be infrequent. Charges under Section 377 are meant to be rare for the same reason, she says.

"The whole philosophy behind such offences is to say that we look at it very seriously, but in order to establish it, you would probably have to [commit] it in public," she says.

Zulkifli makes a very similar point: "I don't think the government is interested to barge into all these gay clubs and whatnot, unless somebody lodges a report," he says. "But if it's rampant, if people start having [homosexual] sex at every corner, then maybe we will take action."

That may be how Zulkifli defines "rampant," but keeping the law the way it is means the police and government have the power to arbitrarily decide.

Alina says giving them that power without checks and balances is dangerous. "Anything that is discriminatory is disturbing. Having these laws remain is an issue, even if they're hard to enforce," she says.

Ironically, Alina says Anwar's sodomy trials have helped sexuality rights activism to develop in Malaysia. The 1998 trial pushed the issue into the public eye. Today, many non-governmental organisations are taking stands on sexuality rights, and are even starting to conduct training workshops on the issue.

Nevertheless, Alina says the movement is still in its infancy 10 years later. "There have been advances since Anwar's trial in 1998, but they're really just a drop in the ocean."

That said, many people thought it would take a miracle to change India's sodomy laws, too. Look what eventually happened.

Will to review ISA waning?

By Tony Pua

DATUK Mukhriz Mahathir has defended the Internal Security Act (ISA) and lamented that the public fails to see the benefits of a controversial law that allows for preventive detention without trial.

Once again, the influential Barisan Nasional (BN) deputy minister took the decades-old stance that the law ensures the country remains peaceful and harmonious. He said Malaysians were actually fortunate because the nation's political situation was better compared with many other countries.

No one disputes the fact that the intent of the law, when it was first enacted, was to maintain peace and harmony at a time when we were facing a communist insurgency. But the threat has long disappeared, and unfortunately the ISA is now used for political suppression by putting away political activists deemed a threat to the BN's hold onto power.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak had in his inauguration speech promised that the draconian law would be reviewed, caving in to pressure from civil society. However, the will to reform now appears to be waning, and may have been written off the agenda altogether. [This would] mark [a] breach of promise by the new prime minister.

At the end of April 2009, Najib announced the formation of the Law Reform Committee under the chair of Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong. Not only has task been designated to a mere deputy minister, but in a committee that is supposed to look at everything, it appears that the ISA is not part of the agenda at all. This does not bode well.

With the influential Mukhriz, a deputy minister, defending the ISA outright, it has served to confirm that the BN government has chosen to ignore the rakyat's call for the ISA to be abolished.

The DAP will continue its call and pressure to abolish the ISA, and will directly support the submission of a memorandum by Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA to the royal palace on 1 Aug 2009, to ensure that the new prime minister will not renege on his promise to the people on ISA reforms.

Tony Pua
Member of Parliament,
Petaling Jaya Utara
DAP National Publicity Secretary

31 July 2009

ISA March - Stand together, before there is no one left to stand with us

by Nathaniel Tan

Remember, remember the 10th of November.
- Bersih, and V.

I find myself short of inspirational words, the day before this event.

I find myself remembering what it’s like to sit behind bars, and never know for sure when one might walk free again.

I have never been arrested under the ISA, and neither have you. But if they do come for us, I don’t want there to be no one left to speak for us.

2pm, Saturday (I suggest going really, really early), time to stand and be counted.

Map -

Guide (they thought of everything!) -

Perkara yang perlu anda bawa/sediakan

1. Kad pengenalan, lesen memandu, satu kad ATM sahaja.

2. Duit-maksimum RM 100 sahaja.

3. Memakai pakaian yang sopan-Baju berwarna Hitam/Merah-Sebaiknya ada logo Mansuhkan ISA

4. Setiap peserta diwajibkan memakai kasut.

5. Aksesori kempen-Button, riben, topi, kopiah arm band, bendera kecil, banner dan placard yang ada Logo atau Slogan Mansuhkan ISA boleh digunakan.

6. Bendera Malaysia atau negeri masing-masing.

7. Air mineral, sedikit makanan ringan atau gula-gula.

8. Sedikit garam-ia penting dan boleh dimakan sedikit (bukan sapu dimuka) bagi mengembalikan tenaga terutamanya jika Pihak Polis sembur air dari Water Canon atau Gas pemedih mata.

9. Kain tuala kecil basah untuk tutup mata dan hidung untuk elak terkena gas pemedih mata.

10. Digalakkan memakai penutup mulut dan hidung jenis N100 Respirator, N95 Respirator dan Surgical facemask untuk mengelak penularan wabak Influenza H1N1 dan juga menghindarkan sedutan gas pemedih mata yang melampau.

11. Jika anda mempunyai asma atau alahan sila bawa inhaler atau ubat sendiri.

12. Sila bawa beg plastik sampah kecil bagi mengelakkan anda membuang sampah merata-rata.

13. Sila bawa pen dan kertas (mini note pad) bagi mencatat nama dan no. pengenalan Polis atau perkara-perkara yang mencurigakan.

14. Jangan lupa bawa kamera, video cam atau handphone berkamera bagi merakamkan suasana himpunan – gambar-gambar atau klip video boleh dihantar kepada kami selepas himpunan di email Setiausaha untuk rekod dan disiarkan.

Perkara yang tidak dibenarkan

1. Jangan bawa kad matrik pelajar bagi student atau pass kakitangan bagi pekerja Kerajaan dan Swasta.

2. Jangan bawa terlalu banyak wang atau kad kreadit untuk elakkan penyeluk saku, tercicir atau hilang semasa perhimpunan atau ditahan.

3. Jangan memakai pakaian yang menjolok mata dan tidak sopan.

4. Jangan memakai selipar, kasut tumit tinggi atau sandal untuk memudahkan pergerakkan.

5. Jangan memakai kain atau skirt, digalakkan memakai seluar.

6. Jangan memakai barang kemas atau aksesori yang tiada kaitan dengan kempen mansuhkan ISA

7. Jangan bawa sebarang banner, placard, bendera yang melambangkan logo parti dan organisasi.

8. Sebarang slogan yang tiada kaitan dengan Kempen Mansuhkan ISA tidak dibenarkan.

9. Jangan bawa sebarang benda tajam kecuali pen.

10. Jangan bawa bahan-bahan yang boleh meletup atau mudah terbakar seperti, mancis, molotov cocktail dan mercun.

11. Tidak dibenarkan merokok semasa perhimpunan kerana akan menganggu orang lain.

12. Jangan bawa sebarang senjata seperti kayu, besi, rantai besi, pistol dan yang merbahaya.

13. Bagi yang membawa anak-anak, anda tidak dibenarkan membawa permainan yang berupa seperti senjata seperti pistol, senapang atau pisau mainan.

14. Jangan bawa anak-anak yang berumur 10 tahun ke bawah bagi mengelakkan sebarang masalah.

Perkara yang perlu anda lakukan sebelum perhimpunan

1. Servis kenderaan dan periksa peralatan yang perlu dibawa.

2. Jangan makan atau minum terlalu banyak sebelum perhimpunan.

3. Pastikan anda telah menunaikan ‘hajat’ sebelum memasuki perhimpunan.

4. Bagi yang Islam, Lakukanlah solat taubat dan hajat, semoga Allah berkati perhimpunan ini dan yang bukan Islam boleh berdoa mengikut ritual masing-masing.

5. Pastikan anda telah mengunci rumah atau meninggalkan pesanan-pesanan penting kepada keluarga atau jiran anda yang tidak pergi perhimpunan.

6. Maklumkan mereka tujuan anda keluar.

7. Maklumkan mereka nombor telefon sahabat lain yang bersama anda jika handphone anda tidak dapat dihubungi nanti.

8. Jangan lupa charge bateri handphone dan kamera.

9. Pastikan anda berniat kerana Allah (bagi yang muslim) sebelum keluar rumah.

10. Pastikan anda tahu arah tuju anda iaitu tempat berkumpul yang ditetapkan; Sogo, Masjid Jamek, atau Masjid Negara.

11. Pastikan anda datang awal untuk elakkan kesesakan jalan raya atau terpaksa berbaris panjang untuk beli tiket tren LRT atau Komuter.

12. Datang secara berkumpulan, jangan bersendirian.

13. Sekiranya perjalanan anda dihalang dari memasuki pusat bandar anda boleh meletakkan kenderaan dan berjalan kaki ke Sogo, Masjid Jamek, atau Masjid Negara (Jangan terus ke Istana Negara bersendirian).

14. Jangan memakai baju Mansuhkan ISA sebelum perhimpunan bermula.

Semasa perhimpunan dan perarakan

1. Berkumpul di tempat pertemuan yang ditetapkan (Sogo, Masjid Jamek, atau Masjid Negara) dan tunggu arahan dari Field Commander yang dilantik.

2. Ikutilah arahan dari Unit Amal atau Field Commander sepanjang program. Jangan pedulikan arahan lain tanpa merujuk kepada Field Commander.

3. Jangan berganjak dari tempat perhimpunan melainkan dengan arahan Field Commander.

4. Laporkan pada Unit Amal bertugas jika terlihat sesuatu yang mencurigakan.

5. Jangan tolak menolak sepanjang perhimpunan dan perarakan.

6. Elakkan mencerca, memaki hamun atau menunjukkan isyarat lucah semasa perhimpunan berlaku.

7. Raikan perhimpunan ini dengan aman dan harmoni.

8. Pastikan anda memberikan keutamaan laluan kepada kenderaan yang lalu lalang dan tidak melintas sesuka hati dijalanraya.

9. Pastikan anda memberikan keutamaan, membantu dan melindungi warga emas, orang kurang upaya atau kanak-kanak yang hadir bersama.

10. Maklumkan sahabat anda jika anda ingin keluar dari perhimpunan disebabkan hal kecemasan atau kerana ingin ke tandas bagi mengelakan masalah lain.

11. Pastikan anda dapat duduk semasa pimpinan berucap.

12. Pastikan anda tidak bersembang semasa pimpinan berucap kerana kemungkinan bunyi sound system akan tenggelam dengan suara ratusan ribu peserta.

13. Ikutilah laungan pimpinan jika perlu.

14. Pegang bendera Malaysia atau negeri anda sepanjang perarakan.

15. Jangan buang sampah merata-rata sepanjang perhimpunan. Masukan dalam beg plastik yang anda bawa.

16. Rakamkan suasana himpunan – gambar-gambar atau klip video boleh dihantar kepada kami selepas himpunan di email Setiausaha untuk rekod dan disiarkan.

17. Kalau boleh rakamkan sekali wajah-wajah polis yang bertugas atau tragedi-tragedi penting seperti keganasan atau provokasi Polis jika ada.

Selepas perhimpunan

1. Pastikan anda bersurai secara perlahan-lahan dan dengan aman selepas diberikan arahan bersurai.

2. Pastikan sahabat atau saudara dan anak-anak anda ada bersama selepas perhimpunan. Jika tiada, sila datang ke Pejabat Agung PAS untuk membuat laporan dengan Unit Amal bertugas.

3. Jika ada sahabat atau saudara anda ditahan, jangan terus balik. Dapatkan maklumat di Pejabat Agung PAS atau ke Balai Polis berkaitan untuk bebaskan mereka.

4. Jangan tinggalkan apa-apa sampah ditempat perhimpunan. Pastikan semuanya dibuang ke tong sampah atau dibawa balik dan dibuang dirumah.

5. Berikan ucapan terima kasih kepada pasukan Keselamatan bertugas jika perhimpunan berjalan lancar.

6. Jangan lupa sebarkan gambar dan berita perhimpunan kepada semua sahabat-sahabat terutamanya yang tidak hadir. Segala info dan maklumat bolehlah diemailkan kepada kami di email Setiausaha

Apa anda perlu buat jika kumpulan Pro-ISA buat Provokasi

1. Jangan pedulikan mereka, diam dan teruskan mengikut arahan Field Commander Unit Amal.

2. Jangan menyahut provokasi mereka, jangan baling apa-apa, jangan tunjukkan isyarat apa-apa pada mereka. Anggap mereka tidak wujud pada hari berkenaan.

3. Jangan hampiri mereka.

4. Jika mereka bertindak agreasif secara tiba-tiba, tahan, jangan pukul tetapi serahkan mereka pada pihak Polis.

5. Jangan lupa buat laporan Polis terhadap mereka jika anda dicederakan atau diganggu.

6. Buat rakaman wajah-wajah mereka jika perlu.

Apa anda perlu buat jika polis buat provokasi dan serbuan

1. Jangan lari atau keluar dari perhimpunan melainkan dengan arahan pimpinan, anda akan mudah ditangkap jika keluar dahulu.

2. Jangan bersendirian, pastikan anda bergandingan tangan dan berdiri rapat-rapat bila polis acah nak buat serbuan atau tembakan water canon.

3. Duduk jika pimpinan arahkan.

4. Basahkan tuala anda dengan sedikit air, dan tekup dimuka bila gas pemedih mata dilepaskan. Basuh muka anda dengan air dan makan sedikit garam jika terkena air water canon berwarna kuning.

5. Jangan melawan atau cuba bertikam lidah dengan polis bila mereka provoke…hanya diamkan diri.

6. Ambil gambar mereka jika sempat.

7. Buat laporan Polis jika anda dikasari.

Apa yang anda perlu buat jika ditahan

1. Jangan banyak cakap dengan polis. Diamkan dan tenangkan diri.

2. Minta nama dan nombor polis yang menahan anda dan tanya dia sebab anda ditahan, seksyen berapa yang digunakan.

3. Berikan maklumat asas sahaja jika diminta seperti nama, no kad pengenalan, alamat rumah (berikan ikut alamat dalam IC sahaja).

4. Jika mereka tanya soal pekerjaan, jawap yang ringkas sahaja. Jangan bagi maklumat yang lengkap.

5. Bagi pelajar, jika mereka tanya anda masih belajar atau tidak, anda hanya perlu jawab “Masih tengah cari kerja” atau berikan jawapan lain yang sesuai. Elakkan mengaku sebagai student. Biar mereka siasat sendiri jika mereka perlukan maklumat lanjut. Jangan jawab soalan yang tidak perlu.

6. Bagi kakitangan Kerajaan jika mereka tanya tempat kerja anda, jawab ”Saya kerja swasta atau kerja sendiri”. Biar mereka siasat sendiri jika mereka perlukan maklumat lanjut. Jangan jawab soalan yang tidak perlu.

7. Minta berjumpa dengan peguam sebelum beri apa-apa keterangan. Peguam akan menunggu diluar balai jika anda ditahan.

8. Kalau boleh jangan beri terlalu banyak keterangan, anda hanya perlu jawab “saya akan bagi keterangan di Mahkamah sahaja”. Ingat! Apa yang anda cakap di Balai Polis boleh dijadikan bahan bukti di Mahkamah. Anda berhak untuk tidak memberikan sebarang keterangan kepada Polis melainkan di Mahkamah.

9. Semasa ditahan, jangan pedulikan provokasi polis atau jangan mudah cair bila mereka berlembut.

10. Pastikan anda ingat semua yang berlaku, termasuklah pegawai polis yang tahan dan soal siasat anda.

11. Jangan terlalu risau kerana, diluar balai telah disediakan orang-orang yang akan jamin dan bela anda.

Apa yang anda buat selepas dibebaskan

1. Pastikan semua barang-barang anda dikembalikan oleh Polis.

2. Buat pemeriksaan kesihatan jika ada kecederaan.

3. Buat laporan Polis jika anda dikasari semasa perhimpunan atau semasa ditahan.

4. Ceritakan dan rakamkan pada peguam dan media jika anda dianiaya polis.

5. Jangan lupa catatkan semua yang anda ingat bila balik ke rumah untuk memudahkan anda mengingatinya bila dibawa ke Mahkamah kelak.

6. Pastikan anda ingat dan ambil nombor perhubungan orang yang jamin anda dan juga peguam yang terlibat.

7. Serahkan pada peguam segala maklumat dan gambar yang anda ada tentang himpunan bagi memudahkan pembelaan.

8. Jangan lupa solat sunnat syukur selepas dibebaskan dan kembalilah bertemu dengan sahabat-sahabat seperjuangan.

9. Jangan menyepi dari perjuangan selepas melalui pengalaman ditangkap kerana itu secara semulajadi akan menyebabkan motivasi anda akan menjadi lemah dan anda akan rasa keseorangan.

10. Teruskan perjuangan bersama sahabat-sahabat lain.

11. Sesungguhnya anda akan rasa lebih hebat dan berani lagi selepas ditangkap kerana tidak semua orang berpeluang merasai apa yang anda lalui ketika ditahan.


1. Pihak kami tidak akan bertanggungjawab terhadap sebarang kesalahan atau pelanggaran undang-undang yang tidak ada kena mengena dengan perhimpunan ini.

2. Pihak kami tidak akan bertanggungjawab terhadap sebarang provokasi atau tindakan ganas yang dilakukan oleh mana-mana pihak secara berkumpulan atau individu.

3. Pihak kami tidak akan bertanggungjawab terhadap sebarang kecederaan yang disebabkan oleh kecuaian atau tindakan diluarkan arahan penganjur.

4. Pihak kami tidak akan bertanggungjawab ke atas sebarang penangkapan yang dibuat kerana pergaduhan atau aktiviti agreasif yang tiada kaitan dengan arahan himpunan ini

Secara keseluruhannya, kita berdoa semoga Perhimpunan ini dapat berjalan lancar tanpa adanya sebarang masalah atau tangkapan.

Kita berharap agar dengan sedikit usaha dan kehadiran kita ini akan dapat memberikan kesedaran kepada pihak Kerajaan dan memberikan laluan untuk Agong mempergunakan kuasa yang ada untuk memperbaiki kelemahan sistem perundangan negara kita.

Ingat, Himpunan Bersih dan PPSMI berjaya menyedarkan Kerajaan kerana kesungguhan rakyat. Maka, kini adalah masa untuk kita berjuang bersama untuk memansuhkan ISA.

Pastikan anda mengikuti arahan-arahan yang diberikan. Sebarang masalah anda boleh rujuk kepada Field Commander atau Unit Amal yang bertugas pada perhimpunan ini.

Ingatlah, peristiwa ini adalah peluang untuk anda sekali seumur hidup dan ianya akan kekal menjadi sejarah yang akan menjadi sebutan kepada anak cucu kita. Jangan lepaskan peluang untuk menjadi sebahagian dari sejarah ini.