Sunday, August 2, 2009
But we shall make them all pay for this. When the government falls we shall see a lynching a la the French, Bolshevik, Iranian, etc., revolutions. This revolution may yet turn bloody. We never know. But Umno is certainly pushing its luck and one day it will push too far and blood will flow on the streets like it did once in 1969.
Written by Ali Cordoba, WFOL.com
Ali Cordoba: Riau Islands, Indonesia. Wfol.tv, 2 August 2009:- Exclusive - No Holds Barred and Straight Forward...this is the very first interview of World Future Online TV with Raja Petra Kamarudin, the famous Editor of the most popular blog on the Malaysian webscene. This interview is brought to our many, many readers in a bid to get a better understanding of the Malaysian political scene and more interviews of Malaysian figure heads (opposition or government) will follow. (Note: Interview was carried via email exchanges with RPK)
Wfol.tv: The Teoh case: What is your personal opinion on this matter? We have read your articles on the issue yet we feel that it is better to ask you directly what you think of the whole thing? We do not want to ask if its murder or suicide. What we want to hear from you is do you think this will influence local politics? In what way?
RPK: It would certainly have a great impact on Malaysian politics. Teoh’s death epitomises what the non-Malays have to endure at the hands of the enforcement agencies. Indians and Chinese suffer the most when it comes to detention and other matters related to the Malaysian authorities. They treat Malays gentler compared to the non-Malays.
The fact that Umno says the Chinese opposition to what the MACC did to Teoh translates to the Chinese challenging Malay political power strengthens this argument. The MACC and all other agencies of its ilk are perceived as Malay agencies and this is supported by Umno’s own argument. To challenge the MACC means you are challenging the Malays. Therefore, what happened to Teoh can also be translated as the Malays oppressing the Chinese. Even Umno agrees with this.
Teoh’s death may have been the thing needed to really turn the stomachs of the Chinese. His death is most unfortunate. But his death woke up the Chinese like never before. Now the Chinese realise that their lives are cheap.
Wfol.tv: The racial issue: What should the government do to put an end to the race problems that has arisen in Malaysia after the 2008 elections? We are asking you due to the fact that you are known to be a person who do not put race ahead in your political, citizen and journalistic concerns. In short, do you think this current government can end the race problems in Malaysia?
RPK: Certainly not. Barisan Nasional is perpetuating racism. The very foundation of Umno, MCA and MIC, the three leading component members of Barisan Nasional, is race. They need race to remain relevant. Minus race, who needs Umno, MCA and MIC?
See what happened on March 2008. When the races united, Barisan Nasional suffered a beating. Only when the races are divided can Barisan Nasional excel.
The only way to eliminate racism would be to eliminate Barisan Nasional. You end the plague by burning the rats.
Wfol.tv: The Malays are being blamed for the 'race' troubles in the country. However, we see little done by the non-Malaysia in particular to try to cement the races. We are thinking of the rich and loaded Chinese citizens of Malaysia who were given the opportunity to make it and reap the benefits of the years of economic boom. Today they are filthy rich, so to say, but yet they want more and they are not helping the country in any ways. What we mean is they are taking and asking more but they are giving much less to the country. Think of the list of 40 top richest people in Malaysia for example.
RPK: You are of course talking about the Barisan Nasional Chinese and Indians. They are as corrupt and racist as the Umno Malays. Umno, MCA and MIC are cut from the same cloth. Yes, not only are the Malays to blame. The ‘running dogs’ of the Malays are equally guilty.
You are right. The Chinese and Indians are no less guilty, in particular the Chinese who put money before all else. These people would sell their daughters for money. They know what Umno stands for. Yet they support Umno because of money. They are traitors to their own race.
Wfol.tv: Tun Mahathir has turned the 'race' issue as his horse battle. Is he really gunning for 'Malay' power or is he simply trying to gain attention once again in the already competitive political landscape in Malaysia? What would be your advise to local politicians who are outright playing the race card to win support, votes and attention?
RPK: Many Chinese and Indians became super-rich during the time of Dr Mahathir. Mahathir is a racist when it comes to politics but not when it comes to money. He uses race to garner Malay support but works with the Chinese and Indians when it comes to business.
Mahathir is man of many facets. And he can switch from one to the other whenever the situation demands it. That makes Mahathir a good politician. Good politicians must know how to play to the gallery and how to change colours like a chameleon. And Mahathir can do this.
Take that as a positive statement on my part.
Wfol.tv: The sodomy II case: Do you think the case is already lost by the Anwar Ibrahim camp?
RPK: That depends on whether you are talking about the legal system or the court of public opinion. Anwar would probably lose his battle in court. That would not be a surprise to most of us. And we would not be too worried about that. Anwar is, after all, collateral damage.
I know this sounds very cold; but maybe the best thing for Pakatan Rakyat is for the government to send Anwar to jail, yet again, on trumped up charges. Teoh’s death was a boost to the opposition, as much as this may sound insensitive and cold-blooded of me to say so.
In a revolution we can’t avoid victims. People get hurt. And let’s face it; what we are seeing in Malaysia today is a revolution of sorts. So we will see victims. Teoh was a victim. Anwar is also a victim. We shall be seeing many more victims before this revolution is over.
But we shall make them all pay for this. When the government falls we shall see a lynching a la the French, Bolshevik, Iranian, etc., revolutions. This revolution may yet turn bloody. We never know. But Umno is certainly pushing its luck and one day it will push too far and blood will flow on the streets like it did once in 1969.
Wfol.tv: The rise of pro-Umno blogs: Will this phenomena be an additional plus to the Umno and the BN or will it sink them further due to the nature of these blogs, which borders on pure racism with an extreme right nature? Would you qualify yourself as a 'left-wing' political activist?
RPK: Ummo admitted it did badly in March 2008 because it lost the Internet war. So, if you can't beat them, join them. And Umno too wants to fight in the Internet arena. But it is causing more damage than helping it cause. It is like giving a man a gun and he shoots his own side.
Starting a Blog is one thing. But the popularity of your Blog depends on its content. And this is what Umno can’t understand. It has no content worth reading.
Wfol.tv: The authorities are curbing on the Internet, attempting at collecting all information possible on anti-government bloggers and so on. Will this affect websites like Malaysia Today? Or do you feel the authorities are actually fighting against the windmills?
RPK: I suppose when the ‘committee’ made the decision that I should go underground and avoid being sent back to Kamunting this is exactly the reason why. I was in fact preparing myself for a long stint under ISA. The ‘committee’, however, felt that my two months under ISA from September to November 2008 did not do Malaysia Today any good.
No, Malaysia Today will continue, in spite of what they are trying to do to silence us. We shall continue hitting Barisan Nasional and Umno until it is forced out of office. That is my mission and vision. And there is very little Barisan Nasional and Umno can do short of sending an assassin to put a bullet in my head.
P Apalasamy said given that the village land was under the Brown Housing Trust, the owners must collectively give a written consent, which would constitute a legal document to dissolve the trust.
“Without the legal document, no government can dissolve the trust and alienate its land to another party.
“The current DAP government should produce this legal document publicly to prove that the trust was dissolved in accordance with the law,” said Apalasamy, who has been a lawyer in United Kingdom since moving from Sitiawan, Perak over 20 years ago.
He told this to Malaysiakini during a 40-minute demonstration held by the UK branch of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) in London yesterday in a show of support for the embattled Kampung Buah Pala villagers.
Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy was also present at the demonstration, which was held outside the Tourism Malaysia Office at Trafalgar Square.
“DAP is duty bound to save and preserve Kampung Buah Pala. There is no two ways about it,” he said.
Time is running out
The villagers face eviction tomorrow to pave way for luxury condominium project, called the Oasis, to be built by Nusmetro Venture.
The developer has given the villagers until Aug 3 to move out before their 20-odd houses are demolished to make way for the project.
However, the Penang government has last week revoked the development order and it is unclear whether the developer will proceed to evict the villagers tomorrow.
The state government hopes to buy more time with the move. Nusmetro has earlier agreed to put off their demolishment for a month after winning a court order. But despite the one-month delay, there has not be any resolution to the dispute.
The villagers have been adamant in refusing to yield to the eviction order, and called on the Penang government to acquire the land and preserve the village as a heritage site.
The villagers, civil societies and Hindraf have argued that the site was a 200-year-old Indian traditional village, which is also popularly known High Chaparral due to its population of cowherds, cattles, goats, other live stocks, and lively Tamil cultural features and festivities.
The London demonstration yesterday was a timely boost for the Kampung Buah Pala residents.
A small group carried placards depicting slogans such as 'Kg Buah Pala – The Last Remaining Hindu Tamil Heritage Village. Save It', 'Barisan Nasional and DAP are Cheating the People of High Chaparral' and 'DAP ... What Happened to Your Pre-Election Promises.'
Villagers not represented by lawyers
Apalasamy also pointed out that the state government failed to respect the legal rights of the residents if it had indeed not allowed legal representation for the villagers before obtaining their consent.
The 54-year-old further stressed Indian Malaysians in London were dismayed with the new state government for betraying the trust of Indian voters in Malaysia.
“Indian voters backed DAP and its allies in Pakatan Rakyat in the last general election hoping for a change in their political and socio-economic fortunes.”
Meanwhile, Kampung Buah Pala resident K Murugan, who submitted a memorandum to the Unesco's Paris Desk on Wednesday, has received a written assurance from a heritage official that the world body would seriously look into the issue.
Murugan has submitted the memorandum seeking Unesco's help to save his village from demolition.
On Friday, he received a letter dated July 31 from the World Heritage Centre's Asia Pacific Unit chief Giovanni Boccardi, who assured that the centre would study the appeal and consult with relevant Malaysian authorities and Icomos, an advisory body to the centre.
In his appeal, Murugan called on the Unesco heritage centre to include the village as a heritage site.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Faizudin Hamzah, a 16-year-old who was arrested in yesterday’s anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) rally, will be remanded for four days, causing an outrage among rights groups who decry the detention as “tyranny at the highest level”.
The police also arrested two 13-year-olds in the mammoth protest and detained them overnight together with Faizudin in an adult lockup at the Petaling police station. The two 13-year-olds were however released this morning.
Legal Aid Centre lawyers have claimed the juveniles were denied food last night.
Faizudin was arrested at the KL Sentral Station at about 11.55pm and no reason was given during his arrest. According to lawyers, the police have yet to record his statement.
It is also said that the remand order was served without giving the teenager the right to defend himself. He was asleep at the time.
Human rights lawyer and PKR communications director Jonson Chong, who is monitoring the situation, said the detention violates United Nations International Convention on Children's Rights, of which Malaysia is one of the signatories.
"This is definitely political persecution and retaliation on the part of the government. Children must never be used as a political bargaining chip," he told The Malaysian Insider.
Legal Aid Centre lawyer Puspawati Rosman also told The Malaysian Insider the police must immediately contact the Welfare Department and have its officers sent to assist the children but this was not done.
"When we contacted them, an officer by the name of Daing Terpateh Khairi refused to come to see the boy, stating that he does not have instructions from the police despite having been informed that a child's right has been abused," said Chong.
Although the police have arrested juveniles before, remanding them for four days or even detaining them overnight is highly unusual.
The children are currently being taken to the Bukit Jalil police station where some 63 other, including PKR vice-president and Subang MP R. Sivarasa, are currently being detained.
Newspapers reported that a total of 589 people were arrested at the rally and 526 of them have been released. Lawyers are currently working towards getting them freed but there is a likelihood that they would be remanded until tomorrow to be charged in court.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — The brutal scene of police beating PAS lawmaker Hatta Ramli, which was captured on camera during yesterday's anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) rally, and the force in which the authorities put down the protest will certainly leave a black mark on Datuk Seri Najib Razak's fledgling rule.
The arrest of some 400 demonstrators including women and youths, the sight of tear gas fired towards peaceful demonstrators will not do much good for a prime minister who is just about to enjoy a bit of support from a sceptical public.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders will definitely ride on the public anger generated by the excessive force used by the police to crush a peaceful rally that saw some 20,000 people taking to the streets to protest against the ISA.
Ultimately the protest was a larger attempt by the federal opposition to reclaim its reform agenda from the Najib administration.
Since taking power, the prime minister has portrayed himself as a reformer, by pledging to review the ISA, making concessions for the non-Malay communities and taking steps to free up the economy.
The force with which the protest was crushed yesterday will certainly provide fodder for PR to say that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government does not tolerate any dissent.
It will also provide an opportunity for the opposition to use the ISA as a symbol of BN's intolerant approach in governance.
The city was transformed into a war zone yesterday, much of it due the fact that the authorities were not prepared to tolerate what was planned as a peaceful march.
Tear gas filled the air and the streets were covered with chemical-laced water sprayed towards demonstrators, forcing them to scurry for cover in nearby malls.
Shops were closed and businesses were brought to a halt. Instead of entertaining customers, shop owners and their staff had to cover and wet their faces constantly as tear gas seeped into the malls.
There were scenes of mothers trying to calm their crying children hurt by the burning sting of tear gas and chemical-laced water sprayed all over them.
"Oh God, please help us," one of the mothers was heard calling out. About a few metres away from her was a young man with blood all over his head, cut by the tear gas canister that hit him.
The violence could perhaps have been avoided if Najib had responded to a letter requesting for a meeting to discuss among others, the ISA , sent by PR leaders.
And instead of looking for a middle ground or a diplomatic approach, BN ministers defiantly defended the police action and insisted that the ISA would remain.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, in an immediate reaction to the rally, showed no sympathy towards those brutalised by the police, saying they had been forewarned not to join the rally.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said there was no way the government was going to repeal the ISA, declaring that "as long as BN rules, the law stays."
Whether these BN ministers know it or not, it will be precisely such statements that could make the public forget about the problems in PR and give them enough ammunition to rally the public behind them.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — PKR vice-president R. Sivarasa spent the night under arrest at Bukit Aman after allegedly taking part in yesterday's anti-ISA protest which was violently put down by the police.
According to party information chief Latheefa Koya, Sivarasa was already scheduled to be released last night but the police decided to hold him back, supposedly after a police report was lodged against him.
"Apparently the person who lodged the police report claimed Sivarasa had participated in an illegal gathering and gave a speech there which is untrue," she told The Malaysian Insider.
Latheefa also said police sources had informed her that the decision to detain Sivarasa overnight came from Bukit Aman's legal department which means that the Attorney-General's office is involved.
The PKR vice-president is one of the lawyers representing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his Sodomy II trial which has seen the opposition leader accuse the A-G Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail of having fabricated evidence in the black-eye beating 10 years ago.
Latheefa said she and other lawyers are preparing for the worst case scenario where the police would be seeking to extend his remand order until Monday where he could be charged in court.
Also detained with Sivarasa are 51 other protestors. According to Latheefa, the rest of those detained have been released after they had their statements taken at the Federal Reserve Unit headquarters in Cheras.
A total of 438 people were arrested including women and youths at the rally which saw the city turned into a battle zone.
JOHOR BARU, Aug 2 — The MIC will evaluate the programmes and policies introduced so far by the government for the Indian community under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) to ensure they are well implemented, said party president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu today.
He said the special committee formed by the party to chart new and additional policies and programmes for the Indians under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) would spearhead the move.
The committee will be headed by Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, he said.
“So far, government policies and initiatives for the Indians have tremendously benefited them and we are very happy with it.
“However, we want to ensure that the initiatives have reached every segment of the community, especially the poor,” he said when opening the Johor MIC delegates conference in Skudai here.
Also present was Human Resources Minister and MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam.
Samy Vellu said the MIC was thankful to the government, especially to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, for initiating several new programmes and policies for the Indians such as the share allocations under Amanah Saham Malaysia and Amanah Saham 1Malaysia.
“Our feedback showed that many of the targeted groups have benefited directly from these initiatives but some still need financial help to buy the shares and also start a business,” he said.
The MIC, through its social arm the Social Strategic Foundation (Yayasan Strategik Sosial), has undertaken several studies in identifying the groups that needed assistance, he said.
“I will leave it to the committee to come back to us with their report,” he said.
Samy Vellu also said the MIC would rope in Indian-based non-governmental organisations to assist the party in identifying “problem areas” within the community. — Bernama
YB Dr. Hatta Ramli of Parliament Kuala Krai is being saved by YB Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad from Parliament Kuala Selangor and others demonstrators after the MP being beaten by Undercover and uniform Police Personnel during yesterday Anti ISA Rally. Photo by Jack Oii Courtesy of Malaysian Insider
“If A Group of Mostly Malay Policemen can do this to a Malay MP in public, just imagine what they have done to Kugan and the rest behind closed door in their custody!”
Musa Hassan wreaking personal vengeance against me and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders for the Parliamentary Roundtable last week calling for a new IGP t
I come straight from Kuala Lumpur where this afternoon tens of thousands of Malaysians of all races participated peacefully in a mammoth gathering to demand the repeal of draconian laws, in particular the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA).
For the first time in 43 years in politics under six Prime Ministers from Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdulah Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir, Tun Abdullah and Datuk Seri Najib Razak, I experienced first-hand today the indiscriminate police use of tear gas and its corrosive effects.
Is this an indication that the Najib premiership is going to be the most draconian of all Prime Ministers since Merdeka in 1957?
It was clear that the cause of breach of peace and public disorder in Kuala Lumpur today was not the peaceful tens of thousands of Malaysians who merely wanted to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Prime Minister that draconian laws like the ISA must be removed from the statute books, but the police who indiscriminately fired tear gas and chemically-laced water cannons at the peaceful masses, in utter disregard of human rights of Malaysians to freedom of speech, expression and assembly.
The police has announced that a total of 438 people had been arrested including 37 women and 38 juveniles.
This is a great shame to the police and the new Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as they had outdone the black chapter of the May 7 Day of Infamy in the Perak illegal power grab, where the legitimate Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar in Speaker’s robe and Speaker’s chair was physically dragged of the Perak State Assembly, with mass arrests of 64 people on that day.
They have even outdone the notorious Operation Lalang mass arrests in October 1957 when 107 people were detained under the crackdown.
But the P:olice want to do even more.
The Police have announced that they are looking for me and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders like Parliamentary Opposition Leader and PKR chief, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang.
Clearly, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan is wreaking his personal vengeance against me and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders as last week I had convened on behalf of Pakatan Rakyat a Parliamentary Roundtable which resolved, with the unanimous support of PR MPs and NGO representatives who attended, that Malaysia needs a new IGP to create a safe Malaysia and demanded that Musa Hassan should not be given a second renewal of term of service as IGP in September.
(Speech by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor Lim Kit Siang at DAP Kuantan DAP Branch dinner in Kuantan on Saturday, 1st August 2009)
Photos by Kavitha Sitartha & Seira Sacha Abu Bakar
The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) this afternoon tear-gassed, sprayed chemical water and the Police arrested some 400 anti-ISA protestors. 25 lawyers from the Bar Council Human Rights Committee (BCHRC) Monitoring Team headed by the Chairman, Andrew Khoo, were present to observe the anti-ISA rally, where the Police and FRU violated the people’s right to a peaceful assembly to deter them from protesting a draconian detention without trial law that violates the people’s right to a fair trial.
The BCHRC Monitoring Team were broken-up to small groups to monitor the treatment received by the protestors around 3 principal locations in Masjid Jamek, SOGO and Masjid Negara where the anti-ISA supporters had been gathering since morning and at Padang Merbok (Jalan Parlimen) where, we were informed, the Pewaris members were supposed to gather for their pro-ISA counter rally.
This, in turn, coupled with the road closures since early morning by the police, caused massive traffic jam around Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding areas.
The BCHRC Monitoring Team also observed the disquieting reasons used by the police to justify the arrests. Puspawati Rosman, a lawyer from the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (LAC) Urgent Arrest team was arrested for distributing the Bar Council flyers called, the Red Book – Police and Your Basic Rights. A lot of the protestors were arrested for wearing or possession (tucked inside their bags) of the anti-ISA t-shirts in the absence of any form of aggressions. The former violates the people’s right to legal aid and the latter violates the people’s right to freedom of expression.
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA activists, Norlaila Othman and Narshita Md Noor together with their children were detained as early as 12.30 pm today, for standing around Masjid Jamek area, before the rally had even started.
Despite being severely impaired by the tear gas and having suffered from the chemical water sprayed by the FRU while monitoring from the sidelines, the BCHRC Monitoring Team received noteworthy treatment from the Police, as there was no direct aggression or arrest attempts against the BCHRC Monitoring team throughout the assignment.
As at 12 am Sunday (2/8/2009), about 15 lawyers from the LAC Urgent Arrest Team, together with the new CEO of the Bar Council, Rajen Devaraj, were at the Bukit Jalil Police Station where they are seeking to provide legal representation to MP Sivarasa and 50 others who are still being detained.
Watch this space for more detailed reports and photos from both the BCHRC Monitoring Team and LAC Urgent Arrest Team.
by Shahanaaz Habib
Much to its dismay, Malaysia has found itself blacklisted in the US State Department 2009 Trafficking in Persons report. Its Tier 3 ranking indicates that Malaysia has just not done enough to combat human trafficking. US ambassador to Malaysia James Keith shares his views on the situation.
Q: Since the release of the US’ Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report 2009 that downgraded Malaysia to Tier 3, have the Malaysian authorities come to the US embassy to see what needs to be done?
The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has already established a shelter. There is a very real palpable sense that the Malaysian government has decided it really needs to do something. You can see that – from the words of the Foreign Minister highlighting the issues at the NAM summit to actions like the Malaysian authorities sitting down to talk about specific issues and the arrests announced just days ago. So we are seeing across the board a very clear and tangible sense that the Malaysian authorities want to use the anti-trafficking law in a way that is meaningful.
>But some of the language coming out of Malaysia has been to ask the US why the downgrade when the country has done a lot?
>It’s an evolving situation. Certainly, much of the information must have been available to the Malaysian authorities because they were able to take action and make the arrests. We would continue to share whatever information we can and do everything in our power to make this a partnership. Secretary of State (Hilary) Clinton made it clear when the announcement was made that our desire is to partner – to relieve the suffering of these victims.
>Have the authorities shown the political will to address trafficking of labour, particularly of migrant workers?
>In Malaysia, there are three areas we have been working on. We have a good track record of working with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry on the sex side of it, and we’ll keep working on that. The ministry was kind enough to let me visit one of the shelters for women and one next to it for children. This is an area where we have established good foundation and I am very confident we will continue to build on that.
No doubt you are familiar with the Senate Foreign Committee’s report on allegations of officials’ complicity in the trafficking of refugees and this is related to the most recent arrests (of five senior Johor immigration officials for allegedly trafficking Myanmar refugees).
It is quite clear in this area too that the Malaysian authorities have decided that they have enough evidence to act and there is genuinely the kind of activity that deserves official scrutiny.
The third major area is labour. This is a lot more complicated. In Malaysia there are provisions for both trafficking as we define it –“victims who are coerced” and people who are smuggled – who are not victims but willing participants who evade and break the law – which is a very different set of problems. Both are captured in Malaysia’s anti-trafficking law and both are very serious problems that deserve serious attention. But the main one we are talking about is coercive trafficking of victims. This is an important distinction. They are victims and that’s why shelters are so important. They need to be removed from the criminal element and housed with other victims, not with criminals. So it’s been important for us to work through the complexity on the labour side. One thing we think is important is that shelters be established for men in connection with labour trafficking.
There is a serious problem associated with trafficking and men, women and children are potentially involved in labour trafficking either in agriculture or in factories. So it’s both in the countryside and an urban phenomenon. We have had good interaction with the police, Attorney-General’s chambers, the Foreign Ministry and other interested parties. And, of course, the NGOs are focusing on this area too.
> A shelter for trafficked men?
> If you are mixing criminals of different sorts, that’s one thing. But if you are mixing victims with criminals, that’s a mistake even from a fully rational point of view. What the police is trying to do is remove the victims from bad elements, including associations with those who trafficked them. If you mix the perpetrators and victims, that, of course, has a chilling effect on what the victims are willing to say. But if you can separate them in shelters, that gives you an opportunity not only to care for them – because they are not criminals – but also, before they return to their home countries, to get evidence or ensure you can get access to them over time so that they can collect evidence to prosecute the criminals who are responsible. So the shelters are an integral part. The Malaysian government is more than willing to recognise that and is talking about the creation of more shelters.
> But doesn’t this seem to be at a very surface level? So far only 141 victims have passed through the shelter (for women), which is a very small number.
> I don’t pretend to know the true dimensions of the problem. That is something we will find out as the Malaysian authorities tell us. But if the implication is that we need more shelters, that is a good conclusion to draw. From my perspective, we are farther along on the women and children’s side because we have been working at it together for longer. I just don’t know what precisely the plans are but it seems having shelters for men trafficked – which would be more on the labour side – but also more shelters for children is appropriate as part of the next step. I really do think the numbers (trafficked) are larger than the numbers of those in the shelters.
> Immigration officials were charged for human trafficking only after the TIP report was out. Is this a reaction to the Tier 3 status?
> You have to ask the Malaysian authorities about the timing. The Senate Foreign Committee report is something of a comment about globalisation. The first response lies with the Burmese authorities. They are the ones responsible for their citizens coming in from Thailand to Malaysia as refugees. Malaysia deserves credit for helping the UN process the refugees. There has been a long period of back and forth with the Malaysian government on this subject. I suspect the Malaysian authorities have had a long time to develop the information that came out. It did not develop over just several weeks. I have to leave it to the Malaysian authorities to reflect on the precise timing of the announcement. Regardless, this is a very welcome development. The Malaysian authorities deserve credit for taking on a serious problem in a serious way.
> Is there a time period for Malaysia to respond to the report?
> Hundred days (Oct 1) from the announcement, but we shouldn’t be focused on that. That’s a process on the American side but I wouldn’t put it as a timetable for Malaysia to respond. It is not a coercive tool from the Americans.
Malaysia is getting serious for its reasons – to protect its own interests and citizens. I think the investigations done and resources applied show a seriousness of purpose. Looking at the American process, there are annual reports that are put out and a review period in which we take a look at the decision, ramifications and after-effects. And there is an opportunity for us to review. It is a relatively short period of time and it is rare that there would be a change in a short period of time. What matters is not really what the American ranking is or timing for the next ranking but the situation on the ground and the extent to which it changes.
Many years ago, South Korea was in Tier 3. A year later they were in Tier 1 because they took on with absolute conviction a programme to reverse the situation that existed years ago. Obviously, we’d love to see Malaysia match the record and move very quickly not because of any American perspective but solely out of concern for the victims.
These are very serious issues we are talking about.
On the labour side, there is a process and it takes time for the Government and societies to work out. We are not looking so much at the tier system but at getting a dialogue or disccussion on these serious issues. That is what our partnership is based on – mutual interest and mutual respect – with the Malaysian authorities to change the situation on the ground so that trafficking is less of a problem not only here but in the region. This is an important issue for Asean to take up because it is an important regional issue. It starts in Burma (Myanmar) and spreads to other countries in Asean. But first and foremost, the Burmese government should take some responsibility for this.
> Are the other countries also in Tier 3 taking the report seriously? Some would say what’s the big deal about being in Tier 1, Tier 2 or 3?
> In some ways, I agree it is not about the tier system but the situation on the ground. But if you see the victims and talk to them – these are people whose lives are just shattered. Most of them have been completely sincere and honest in the way they got into this. They thought they were paying someone to help them in a legitimate way or were getting a legitimate job only to discover they have been cast into a personal hell. They are really shattered people who need help. It’s not about tiers and government. It’s about people in the end.
Certainly tradition, history and culture are bound up in this in many countries and some take the suffering of these victims more seriously than others. I am gratified to see the Malaysian authorities take the suffering of these victims so seriously.
Semalam, puluhan ribu rakyat berpecah di lima kawasan sekitar Kuala Lumpur berhimpun secara aman dengan hanya satu tujuan, iaitu untuk menyerahkan memorandum kepada Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong agar Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) dimansuhkan.
Puluhan ribu rakyat yang berani ini sekadar berhimpun dan berarak. Sangat mendukacitakan apabila saya dimaklumkan lebih 500 orang ditahan, dan di saat catitan ini dinukilkan, YB Sivarasa Rasiah antara mereka yang masih belum dibebaskan.
Tidak kelihatan pada mereka yang menyertai perhimpunan tersebut senapang gas pemedih mata, tidak juga penyembur air kimia, apatah lagi untuk sewenang-wenangnya menangkap orang awam yang sedang melaksanakan hak mereka yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Mereka hanya ada suara serta hanya mampu mengacung tangan menumbuk ke langit luas, tanda protes terhadap kezaliman puluhan dekad lamanya dengan harapan untuk melihat Malaysia menjadi sebuah negara yang adil untuk semua.
Jelas, tiada apa yang berubah di negara ini; tiap kali ada perhimpunan aman, pihak polis masih terus dijadikan tunggangan olih elit kuasa UMNO-BN dengan menggunakan pendekatan sama sebagaimana lalu untuk menghalang rakyat dari menyatakan pandangan.
Mereka yang tidak sehaluan dengan pemerintah dianggap musuh durjana, ancaman keselamatan dan harus dihukum sekeras-kerasnya. Hari ini, rakyat menyaksikan sekali lagi keangkuhan penguasa UMNO-BN memperalat pihak keselamatan demi mengekalkan kuasa dan mempertahankan kebejatan mereka.
Watch ISA Update on mmail.com.my: Video from the Ground by Shamsul Yunus
and Updates on Public Nuisance by Syed Akbar Ali
Pic of PAS' Unit Amal
by T. Jit K.
No pics from Jinggo. Jurugambar dan blogger jinggo diragut kameranya brnilai rm19 ribu oleh penunggang motosikal ketika kami sama sama sdg jlnkan tugas di jln kinabalu.
Teargas near the Press Club. BH 01/08: FRU terpaksa lepas gas pemedih mata ke arah 6,000 penyokong GMI yang enggan bersurai bagi bantah ISA di depan Bank Rakyat, 2.40 petang tadi.
Updates on blog tv. Shamsul Yunus has video of march, here.
Live from KL. Eyewitness Parpu, here.
Miles away from the ISA marches, I wondered if Laila of Gerak Mansuh ISA, or GMI, was alright. She sms-ed back, from the back of a police truck! She'd been kept there with 7 others for the last two hours.
Meanwhile, Azam, the pro-ISA organiser, is still a free man. "Saya belum kena cekup," he text. They have called off the pro-ISA march but Azam and a group of friends from his Alliance of Malay Grads are walking as planned.
By 2pm, about 80 people - both anti-ISA and pro-ISA - had been picked up by the police, according to The Star. Laila told me she was picked up near the Pertama Complex, together with his 15-year old son, Shuhaib.
Laila's husband has been detained under ISA for over 6 years.
Kapar Member of Parliament Manikavasagam suggest to MIC President of starting a new Maika Holdings in Andaman Islands. Manikavasagam was responding to Samyvelu’s statement that he will be the first to react towards any Indian problem globally even at Andaman Island.
Probably, Samyvelu has forgetten that he is no longer a Federal Minister of any country. He also hide himself when Malaysian Indian angrily shouting seeking explaination on Maika Holdings recently. Why poke your Nose to Andaman when there is plenty of problem in Malaysia including stateless Indians, temple demolishment, poor tamil school facilities and planned ethnic cleansing here itself.
Settle Maika Holdings Bhd (in Malaysia) first then he may seek settlement in Andaman Island to start a fresh New Maika Holdings (Andaman) there. Maybe he should consider giving fresh opportunity to satisfied Malaysian Maika holdings shareholders especially those gathered last thrusday in support of his son’s administration of managing Maika holdings without knowing that the boat may sink pulling Oriental Capital Assurance Berhad simultaneously with it.
Some 25 years ago more than 66,000 shareholders mostly estate labours trusted Samyvelu’s mellifluous promises that Indians will benefit by investing with Maika Holdings. Even after 25 years Samyvelu unable to keep his word or make any attempt to settle Malaysian Indian problems. Don’t it will be laughable matter when he cann’t solve some 25 years problem in Malaysia but wanted to settle Andaman Indian’s problem. Why choose peaceful Andaman not Sri Lanka where thousand of Tamilian died? He cann’t even suggest Malaysia to condemn against Sri Lanka while holding Cabinet position?
This Samyvelu plead to poor Indians to subscribe Maika Holdings Share and trusting him Malaysian Indian gave some RM100 million. He went to hide behind the scene by claiming that Maika Holdings is a private business entity although earlier he promises that for each RM 1, shareholders will get RM1.30. It’s notable that he runs entire Maika Holdings Annual General Meetings though he doesn’t sits on Maika’s board.
Even his son, Vellpari Maika’s CEO admitted that his fathers has not link with Maika Holdings and he promise to settle shareholders within three months years ago. Like father like son where both wanted us to believe their statements as it’s all full of empty promises that even wind reluctant to carry it.
I wish Samy’s new venture Andaman’s Maika Holdings shares will be oversubscribed so that both Father and Son will continue their honeymoon forever in Andaman leaving Malaysian Indian peacefully.
Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, Harakah
Angkatan Muda Keadilan Malaysia mengecam sekeras-kerasnya tindakan ganas pihak polis menyerang, mengganasi dan menangkap rakyat Malaysia yang melaksanakan hak mereka untuk berhimpun secara aman di Kuala Lumpur hari ini, menuntut pemansuhan akta zalim ISA.
Angkatan Muda Keadilan Malaysia mengutuk tindakan ganas polis yang sama sekali tidak perlu. Ia adalah di luar batasan amalan demokrasi dan hak asasi rakyat Malaysia untuk menyerahkan memorandum ke bawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Malah pihak polis tidak menghormati Baginda kerana temujanji untuk menyerahkan memorandum tersebut kepada wakil Baginda telah ditetapkan pada hari ini.
Keganasan hari ini yang menindas dan menekan suara rakyat Malaysia ternyata mendedahkan omongan kosong '1 Malaysia' yang dilaung-laungkan oleh Perdana Menteri.
Angkatan Muda Keadilan Malaysia menggesa Dato' Seri Najib Razak untuk membuktikan bahawa pentadbiran beliau bukan hanya berasaskan slogan-sloganan semata-mata dengan membuka ruang demokrasi dan bersuara kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia.
Sebagai langkah pertama, hampir 500 orang rakyat yang ditahan hari ini ketika melaksanakan hak mereka yang dijamin oleh Perlembagaan, mesti segera dibebaskan.
Ketua Polis Negara dan pegawai-pegawai utama polis yang mengarahkan keganasan hari ini, mencabul hak perlembagaan rakyat dan bertindak biadap terhadap Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, perlu digantung tugas dan siasatan bebas dilaksanakan terhadap mereka.
Najib perlu bersedia membuktikan bahawa beliau berhasrat untuk benar-benar menjadi Perdana Menteri kepada semua rakyat Malaysia dengan segera mengambil langkah-langkah perlu untuk menentukan kehendak sebenar rakyat mengenai ISA dengan mengadakan pungutan suara (referendum) bebas.
Tatacara pengendalian pihak polis terhadap rakyat yang berhimpun mesti dikaji semula bagi memastikan mereka mengawal keselamatan dan bukan bertindak liar mengganasi rakyat.
Sudah sampai masanya tindakan pemerintah memperalatkan polis untuk kepentingan sempit mereka dihentikan dan polis seharusnya menjaga keselamatan rakyat dan bukan mengganasi mereka.
Sekiranya Najib enggan melaksanakan perubahan-perubahan ini, ternyata beliau mengemukakan gagasan '1 Malaysia' hanya sekadar untuk mengabui mata rakyat dan memperdayakan Malaysia bahawa kerajaan hari ini sudah berubah.
And that, my dear rakyat, is why Malaysia is fucked, when Islam is reduced to catching people fucking.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Did Norman, Memey commit khalwat?
This was a case of 'he only suspects but cannot prove it'.
The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) operations chief has testified that he only suspects artists Norman Hakim and Memey had committed the khalwat (close proximity) offence on Oct 30 last year.
“I cannot prove the celebrity couple did indeed commit khalwat at around 3am at an office in Taman Ukay Perdana, Hulu Klang,” Abdul Rahman Lai told Syariah Court DPP Muhamad Nazri Basrawi.
Abdul Rahman said he only suspected that Norman or Mohamed Norhakim Zaidon, 33, and Suhaiza Suhaimi, known as Memey, 21, had committed the offence.
He added that he saw Memey sitting in a chair at a counter on the ground floor at 2.45am, while Norman was seen upstairs.
He also admitted that no evidence was collected at the scene when the couple were detained.
However, Abdul Rahman told the Lower Syariah Court in Gombak that his officers knocked on the door grill for 30 minutes without getting an answer.
Long time to answer the door
“Both the accused took a long time to answer the door. In that long time, any possibility could have happened,” he said as reported on mStar, the Malay online news portal of The Star.
The proceedings became heated when defence lawyer Fakhrul Azman Abdul Hassan objected to Abdul Rahman’s testimony as the latter brought up new facts not raised at the start of the case.
The Jais officer said he saw pillows and a mattress inside the room where he found Norman.
Abdul Rahman added that Norman, who was wearing a T-shirt and tight shorts, was uncooperative with Jais officers.
He added that he did not know that one of his officers, Khairul Nizam, had given a statement on a television show.
Norman and Memey are contesting the khalwat charge. The proceedings before Syariah judge Salehan Yatim will resume on Aug 28. - Malaysian Mirror
The religious authorities are so concerned about who you and me are fucking. They send spies to peep into our houses to see whether any ‘unauthorised’ people are in that house. And if we are entertaining guests, that can only mean one thing; that we are fucking.
So they will quickly swoop on the house and knock on the door and demand that we open the door. And if there are others in our house whom they consider should not be in that house then they will arrest us and charge us in court for close proximity.
That is the work of the religious authorities; amidst spying on Christians to make sure they do not convert a single Muslim into Christianity. And if they suspect that a certain church is about to convert Muslims into Christianity they will send SMSess to everyone and soon a huge crowd will assemble in front of the church ready to lynch those guilty of converting Muslims into Christianity.
You fuck with Islam and you are fucked, is the simple message these Christians are sent. Try to pinch Muslims and turn them into Christians and see what happens. We will burn the church down and you with it as well.
That is what Islam is all about, at least to these types of Muslims. They are not concerned that, today, many Muslims were fucked by the Malaysian police, the majority who are also Muslims. And these Muslims were fucked because they oppose a law that is un-Islamic.
You see; Islam forbids detention without trial. No one is supposed to be imprisoned unless proven guilty in a proper trial and with enough evidence of a crime being committed. The Internal Security Act, however, allows the government to dispense with trials and evidence and they can hold you indefinitely just because they feel like doing so.
So many Muslims together with Malaysians of other faiths took to the streets today to oppose what Islam opposes and Muslim police fucked them good and proper. But the religious authorities are not concerned about all this. They don’t care that Muslim police fucked the rakyat who were just doing what Islam asked them to do. This is because they would rather peep into your house to see if anyone in that house is fucking. And if they suspect you may be fucking then they will arrest you. So who has time for other things when all the time is spent peeping into houses to catch people fucking?
And that, my dear rakyat, is why Malaysia is fucked, because Islam has been reduced to catching people fucking.
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider
The opposition pact’s leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today police reaction to the peaceful protest was “unwarranted” as hundreds have been arrested while demonstrators, including him, were teargassed and fired with chemical-laced water but maintained that they prevailed in “proving the point.”
“(Datuk Seri) Najib Razak said ISA opposers should give opinion instead of demonstrating but apparently he has not heard of the hundreds of suggestions and testimonials of those tortured while being detained under the ISA,” Anwar told a press conference held at PAS headquarters amidst an on-going street battle just outside the building.
He said letter had been sent to the prime minister requesting a meeting be held between PR leaders and him to discuss, among many, the issue of ISA in which today’s rally would have been called off should Najib respond. He did not.
PR and rally organisers, the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) then resorted to holding a rally at various points in the capital and planned to march towards the National Palace to hand over a resolution to the King but failed after police and riot squads blocked off all major routes leading to the palace.Salahuddin Ayub, vice-president of PAS, said even though they did not manage to send the resolution to the King, he still considered today’s event a success as it had managed to mobilise some 20,000 participants.
More than 150 protestors have been arrested and taken to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.
Another PAS vice president, Datuk Mahfuz Omar who was among those present at the press conference demanded the release of all detainees.
He also said the party has prepared a legal team to handle their arrest.
GMI chairman and rally chief coordinator Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said although Najib had promised to review the law, the group have longed believe that the ISA, which allows detention without trial, should be abolished altogether.
“The law violates human rights and we reiterate our demand that it be abolished once and for all and all those detained under it be released,” he said
Police fired tear gas and water cannons at the protesters who gathered in various areas, including Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka, the National Mosque and along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, for their peaceful march headed towards the Istana Negara.
Attempts by the GMI to hand over the memorandum were, however, unsuccessful.
The GMI supporters began converging to the city as early at 7am and gathered at Masjid Jamek, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Kinabalu, Dataran Merdeka, before walking towards the Sogo shopping centre at 2pm to proceed to Istana Negara, but was stopped by the police.
Among those seen in the group were Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Wira Mohammad Sabtu Osman said police would investigate opposition leaders who had delivered their speeches in front of the GMI supporters at the PAS headquarters at Jalan Raja Laut at about 3.55pm.
They included PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, Lim, Anwar, Terengganu PAS Commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ali and PKR vice-president Tian Chua.Mohammad Sabtu said the situation in the city now was under control.
Meanwhile, a group which claimed to support the ISA, Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris), complied with the police order and cancelled a gathering it planned to hold at the Central Market.
Its spokesman, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, said Pewaris was still sending 10 representatives to hand over a memorandum in support of the ISA to the Yang Dipertuan Agong.
“Only the gathering has been cancelled because we do not want to create a tense situation,” he added.
Mohd Khairul, who is also the legal adviser for the Pembela Negara Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations Council (Magaran), was however arrested by the police at 7pm when he attempted to enter the Istana Negara compound to hand over a memorandum to retain the ISA.
Brickfields deputy police chief Supt Azri Abdul Rahman, who confirmed this, said Mohd Khairul Azam would be released after police had recorded his statement.
Meanwhile, traders in Jalan Masjid India and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman were affected as they were forced to close their business. A survey at the affected areas at 6.30pm found traders there and at the Sogo shopping centre, which was ordered closed by the police at 1.30pm, resuming their business.
Ahmad Husin, who has been operating his business at Masjid India for the past 15 years regretted the enforced closure and felt it was irresponsible.
The LRT stations at Bandaraya and Masjid Jamek were also closed temporarily from 1.55pm to 6.20pm because of the incident.
“The stations are back in operation. We had to close them earlier because of security reasons,” RapidKL general manager of communications Ebi Azly Abdullah said. – Bernama
BANGI, Aug 1 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told Umno members not to blindly support party leaders' decisions, in a sign that the former prime minister is slowly showing his dissatisfaction with Datuk Seri Najib Razak's leadership.
“Sometimes we make unwise decision, like cancelling the crooked bridge project, and to build a third straight bridge, which was rejected by the Sultan of Johor, but this was not a wise decision,” said Dr Mahathir at a forum on the position of the Malays organised by Serdang Umno division here.
“I beg you to evaluate your participation in the party, to support for the sake of party unity does not guarantee victory,” the country's longest-serving prime minister said at the end of his speech.
Dr Mahathir said that his reminder did not mean that he was trying to make the party leaders unpopular.
“Maybe some of you will think what I just said is not good, as it will reduce the support level of the leaders, but if we support our leaders blindly, others will not.
“I find it hard to make explanation, as I don't want to be accused of jeopardising the party's popularity,” he added.
Dr Mahathir who was the strongest critic of Tun Abdullah Badawi administration has been blamed by some within the party for the party's worst electoral performance last year.
Recently he had openly criticised Najib's liberalisation efforts and government's move to scrap the teaching of mathematics and science in English policy, introduced during the final year of his administration.
“Sometime leaders make decision that we do not agree to, but we still support for the sake of party unity,” he added saying that such practice is bad for the party.
“We must remind our leaders who do not do good to their own race, if we Umno members think that we have to always unite behind our leaders, believe me we will not succeed,” said Dr Mahathir.
He reminded some 1,000 Umno members present how the party performed very badly in the last general election, because members had failed to warn their leaders.
“We still do not understand why we lost the support, as long as we support our leader, as long as the party remains united, we feel we are safe,” he added sarcastically.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — Police have crushed an anti-ISA rally that turned the capital into a battlezone with tear gas and water cannon while allowing a pro-ISA activist through to the Istana Negara as Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz defiantly said Barisan Nasional will keep the security law as it was “necessary”.
“As long as Barisan Nasional is leading the government, the ISA will not be abolished,” Nazri told reporters in Kota Kinabalu, in an immediate reaction to the rally in the capital city.
The Prime Minister’s Department minister claimed the rally was an attempt by the opposition to undermine the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has promised to review the security law passed 49 years ago.
The 15,000-strong crowd at various flash points later dispersed under the watchful eyes of the police as an eerie calm smothered a chaotic afternoon of clashes and chases.
Pakatan Rakyat leaders such as PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PAS chief Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, who could not make it to the Istana Negara, headed to the PAS headquarters in the city that was locked down to prevent the rally.
They earlier sought shelter from baton-wielding riot police as panicked shopkeepers hurriedly shuttered their outlets.
Police had fired tear gas and used water cannons at several flashpoints nearby to quell a rally protesting the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA).
But surprisingly, the police allowed the legal adviser of the pro-ISA group, Mohd Khairul Azamdin, to go through their iron circle and hand a memo to the palace in support of the law that allows detentions without trial.
As at 6pm, KL police chief Datuk Mohd Sabtu Osman said that police had arrested 438 people, including 37 women and 38 juveniles.
Hadi Awang had earlier argued with police as his supporters clashed with them at the Sogo complex.
DAP Socialist Youth chief Anthony Loke was earlier arrested there by police, who say 157 have been held up to 1.30pm.
Thousands more are blocked between the National Mosque and Dataran Merdeka where they were to converge with others to protest on the 49th anniversary of the security law that allows detention without trial.
Several major roads leading to the city centre were closed earlier 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.
Samy Vellu leading the attack on Maika shareholder Nadaraja more than 10 years ago
The struggle continues till today for Nadaraja who has to face Samy Vellu’s lapdogs on the loose at MIC head quarters.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Yet another protest against Maika Holdings by opposition politicians and shareholders has come and gone with the usual angry confrontation, condemnations, police barricades and submission of memorandum.
By now it is a familiar routine for most shareholders and their numbers have been dwindling over the years. Many are old and infirmed, others have died and some are frustrated by the endless infighting and keep away.
Maika was their ticket to a better life but for all intents and purposes it is now an eyesore.
There is a strong case here for the government to intervene and end the controversy, shareholders said, by doing a due diligence, ascertain the company’s NTA, try to salvage what is salvageable and pay shareholders, if possible, ringgit for ringgit.
“Just return the RM3, 500 I had invested and I would be happy,” said shareholder S. Kalaisundaram, 68.
“We all know it is over for Maika… we know it is dead. But just return the money,” he said at yesterday’s protest. “I have no work, no pension, no children to support me and the money is important.”
“Prime Minister Najib (Razak) should step in and end this controversy once and for all,” he said, expressing the general feeling of Maika shareholders.
Opposition politicians have for years rode on the community’s anger over the failure of Maika Holdings to win support but without offering a solution.
Yesterday’s protest was no different from previous demonstrations since the late 1980s when it was already known that Maika as a business venture had failed.
The protest was in part a tit-for-tat reply by the Pakatan Rakyat to the MIC’s protest against the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government over the Kampung Buah Pala issue.
When the PR protestors, nearly all Indian except for Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu, demanded to know why shareholders have not been repaid, MIC supporters from inside the fenced-off headquarters unfurled banners to question why the DAP had “betrayed” the Kampung Buah Pala villagers.
Both sides had anticipated each other and had came prepared with appropriate slogans and banners.
While they traded insults shareholders like Ramaiah, 78, from Perak, could only watch with frustration from the sidelines.
“They told me this time we could get our money back but we have to show our protest,” Ramaiah said, a retired factory hand who invested RM1, 000.
“It is the same each time… we shout until sore and we go back until the next protest,” he said, urging the government to step in. "All these people are at each other’s throats... what solution can they offer?"
As the confrontation continued outside, Maika Holdings CEO Vel Paari was giving a press conference on the 4th floor office of Maika Holdings, watched on one side by the skeleton staff of the company and on the other, his MIC supporters.
Paari was squarely blaming former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam for all of Maika’s woes.
Incidentally his father Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu was holding another press conference (after a meeting of the MIC central working committee) on the 1st floor attacking Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for "betraying" the Indians.
Prodded by the press, Paari gave depressing financial figures that showed the sorry state of Maika.
Its debts had ballooned from about RM19 million in the late 1990s to RM63 million as of today because of non-payment of interest, default charges and penalties.
Some of the loans were taken using Oriental Capital Assurance Berhad (OCAB) shares as collateral and one bank, Paari said, has issued a notice for foreclosure.
He agreed there was a danger Maika would lose OCAB if the loans are not settled.
“If Subramaniam had not got the injunction to stop the sale of OCAB in 2006 we would have by now sold OCAB and paid off all the Maika shareholders. I blame Subramaniam for the current mess,” Paari said.
“I had a firm offer of RM1.75 per share and it is all gone now,” he said.
Subramaniam’s Nesa Co-operative had obtained an injunction, still in force, to stop the sale because a higher price could be obtained and to keep OCAB in “Indian hands”.
As part of his campaign to get his team elected in the Sept 12 MIC elections, Samy Vellu is also using the “injunction issue” to attack Subramaniam who has tried to explain the “real” reasons why he went for an injunction.
Paari said “as matters stand now” (financially) Maika is unable to pay shareholders ringgit for ringgit.
Outside the MIC headquarters only a shaky fence separated the two groups that traded insults, unfurled banners and pushed and shoved each other.
Some of the most degrading insults in Tamil were exchanged by the two groups as riot police watched in exasperation.
At the end of the two-hour long confrontation a two page memorandum was handed to Paari, the CEO of Maika Holdings since 1999.
By 1999 Maika Holdings was in shambles, most of its business ventures had failed and it was weighted down by huge loans with only one jewel left – OCAB.
OCAB, Maika shareholders say, survived the rot because it was professionally managed and under the eagle eye of Bank Negara.
The confrontation yesterday was not about the shell of Maika Holdings but it was really about what to do with the profitable OCAB.
But with OCAB’s shares under mortgage and banks beginning to foreclose and with the Indian community wracked by massive infighting and unable to agree on anything much, shareholders are in danger of losing the insurance arm.
“Our only hope now is for the government to intervene,” said shareholder Kalaisundaram.
Today is the the day – the deadline given for Kampung Buah Pala residents to vacate their land.
There’s still considerable uncertainty over what will happen tomorrow.
According to one activist, as late as yesterday, the villagers were still hoping for the state to intervene and save their land by acquiring it.
Today, the villagers will be holding Ponggal celebrations with mixed feelings.
They will probably issue a press statement as well.
And then, who knows what tomorrow will bring.
From The Associated Press
By JULIA ZAPPEI – 3 hours ago
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Riot police charged demonstrators with batons and fired tear gas Saturday to disperse thousands of people marching in Malaysia’s largest city to protest a law that allows indefinite detention without trial.
People began massing at Kuala Lumpur’s main mosque, a shopping mall and a train station Saturday morning in defiance of government warnings that police would crack down on demonstrators, who are pushing leaders to scrap the Internal Security Act, which allows the imprisonment of people regarded as security threats. Police said many thousands had taken to the streets, with some news Web sites putting the count as high as 20,000.
Police fired tear gas and chemical-laced water to disperse the crowds shortly after they began marching toward the national palace. The protesters — who chanted “Reformasi,” the opposition’s slogan for political change — had planned to submit a petition to the country’s king, the constitutional monarch, to denounce the security act.
Witnesses said police wielding batons charged the protesters and scuffled with them. Many people ran into alleys and shops nearby to avoid being arrested.
“The police are really brutal,” opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told reporters at the protest. “This clearly shows (the government’s) intolerance to any dissent. … We gather here today to fight a cruel law.”
Before the march started, Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said 150 people — identified as protesters because they were wearing opposition T-shirts and headbands — had been detained to prevent them from taking part. Opposition activists estimated at least 200 people were detained by the time the protest ended.
Government authorities had warned they would not allow the protest, saying it could undermine public peace.
Authorities set up roadblocks across Kuala Lumpur to deter the demonstrators from trying to reach the city center, sparking massive traffic crawls. Hundreds of riot police backed by trucks mounted with water cannons stood outside train station and shopping mall where the demonstrators had arranged to gather.
Restaurants and stores were shuttered on several streets ahead of the rally — the biggest street protest in Kuala Lumpur since a November 2007 when tens of thousands of minority ethnic Indians demanded racial equality.
A police official at the scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said authorities could only estimate that there were “many thousands of protesters.”
The Star newspaper and Malaysiakini news Web site reported a total of 20,000 protesters in three different areas.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has promised to consider amending the security act, though government officials have repeatedly said it is necessary to safeguard national security, and on Friday he urged people not to join the protest.
Nazri Aziz, the Cabinet minister in charge of legal affairs, said Saturday that as long as the National Front ruling coalition “is leading the government, the ISA will not be abolished,” The Star reported on its Web site.
Human rights groups estimate at least 17 people are being held under the act, mainly for alleged links to militants and document forgery.
Activists have long decried the decades-old act, instituted during the British colonial era, saying it is sometimes used to jail government critics and dampen dissent.
Human rights activists have held numerous smaller rallies over the years to protest the security act, but Saturday’s protest received a boost after opposition parties urged their supporters to come out in force.
Associated Press writer Sean Yoong contributed to this report.