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Monday, September 7, 2009

Sri Lanka expels UNICEF official, agency says

(CNN) -- The Sri Lankan government has ordered a UNICEF official to leave the country, accusing him of spreading propaganda supporting Tamil rebels, the agency -- the United Nations Children's Fund -- told CNN Sunday.

A Tamil mother walks with her children as civilians wait for food at the Manik Farm refugee camp, May 26, 2009.

A Tamil mother walks with her children as civilians wait for food at the Manik Farm refugee camp, May 26, 2009.

UNICEF denies the allegations against its spokesman in Sri Lanka, James Elder, an Australian citizen, and officials with the agency are scheduled to meet with government officials on Monday in hopes of keeping Elder inside the country, said Sarah Crowe, UNICEF spokeswoman for South Asia.

There were no details about Elder's status from the government.

Crowe said Elder has often spoken to the media about the agency's concerns about children caught up in the country's civil war and the conditions they endure at camps for the displaced.

"James has been our voice and impartial advocate of the most vulnerable women and children. We want him to remain in the country and continue his work," she said.

UNICEF will appeal the expulsion to the "highest level" if it stands, Crowe added.

The Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers this year. The rebels -- formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) -- waged war for an independent state for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka since July 1983. As many as 70,000 people were killed in the conflict.

In February, Elder told CNN that children as young as 4 months old were being treated in hospitals for shrapnel injuries and other wounds of war. The fighting created a "nightmarish" situation for civilians in the conflict zone, Elder had said at the time.

"There is just intense fighting in a small area where children and other civilians are," Elder said. "The space (where conflict is taking place) is shrinking and the fighting is augmenting."

Probe into cow's head incident ends

(NST) KLUANG: The police have completed their investigation into the cow's head incident during a protest against the relocation of a Hindu temple at Section 23 in Shah Alam last month.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the investigation paper had been submitted to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

"However, I would like to reiterate that the investigation is only on the cow's head incident, not on the residents' protest regarding the relocation of the Hindu temple in the area."

He said the cow's head incident was a sensitive issue that needed to be handled delicately to prevent any untoward incidents.

"The residents' protest on the relocation of the temple is something that cut across political boundaries as there are Umno, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Pas members at the protest," Hishammuddin said after attending the Rahmat Ramadan programme in Taman Sri Lambak here yesterday.

At the event, he distributed aids to the needy and the disabled,

Hishammuddin said the government had been consistent on the cow's head matter and had taken action based on the country's laws.

"Our actions have always based on justice.

"We have never been biased and will take action against those guilty regardless of their race, religion or political belief."

13 in Kg Buah Pala want money instead of house

(The Star) GEORGE TOWN: In yet another twist, 13 households in Kampung Buah Pala want a RM300,000 compensation each from developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd instead of a double-storey terrace house.

Village residents association chairman M. Sugumaran said the money would enable them to build a heritage village by themselves on a nearby piece of private land.

“Some well-wishers have come forward to help us secure the land measuring about 2.4ha.

“Since the state government is not honouring its promise to preserve the village as a heritage village, we will use the compensation money to build it ourselves,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Sugumaran said the company had claimed that the cost of building the double-storey house was RM130,000 each and the land for each house costs RM130,000.

“This totals up to RM260,000. We added the RM24,000 rental payment for two years and came up with a round figure of RM300,000.

“We conveyed our proposal to the developer last week and they are expected to give us a reply tomorrow,” he said, adding that it was better to receive a one-off payment instead of waiting two years for the houses to be ready.

“There is a risk waiting that long as we might not get anything,” he said.

Sugumaran said if the developer agreed to their proposal, they promise to leave the place after “settling” with the families living in the households and move out.

“If our proposal does not work out, we will still move out since we have signed the letters to move out, but we will continue to fight from outside,” he said.

Sugumaran denied that the households have accepted the double-storey houses.

Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy had said that Nusmetro executive director Thomas Chan informed him that about 11 families were interested in accepting the double-storey house deal after the demolition of three houses in the village on Thursday.

State government to buy land for temple?

(Sin Chew Daily) PETALING JAYA, Sept 6: "The Selangor state government is considering purchasing a plot of private land at Shah Alam's Section 23 to relocate the Hindu temple at Section 19 in order to appease the dissatisfaction of local residents."

The MP for Shah Alam, Hj Khalid Abd Samad of PAS said, the state government's previous site proposal on PKNS land was met with strong objection from local residents. As such, the state government would now consider buying a piece of private land for the purpose of building the Hindu temple.

He said the state government had agreed on the solution of acquiring private property located near a factory, adding that state government officials would inspect the site soon.

Khalid said a preliminary concept would be achieved in two to three days' time, but the prerequisite was that the site must be agreed by everyone so that events similar to last week's cow-head protest would not recur.

"Many people have offered alternative solutions. We even have the private sector offering us the land.

RPK strikes back with videos

By Leslie Lau - The Malaysian Insider
Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 – Fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin is taking his fight to the government with a series of video interviews that are expected to be posted on the Internet from this Thursday.

His popular Malaysia Today website began airing a trailer yesterday to promote the video interviews. In the short trailer, RPK, as he is popularly known, is shown talking about what he claims is government persecution against him.

“They already decided on my crime and the punishment I am getting without investigations,” he is shown saying.

He also comments on the continuing debate about Islam. He says in the trailer: “Muslims are the biggest enemies of Islam, not the kafir (infidels).”

The Malaysian Insider understands that the interview lasts for up to two hours, but is likely to have been edited down into a number of shorter segments.

It is unclear where the video interviews were recorded. RPK’s whereabouts remain a mystery.

Malaysian police are seeking the help of Interpol to apprehend him, suggesting the authorities believe he is overseas.

RPK went on the lam in April when he failed to turn up for his sedition trial. There is also a second warrant of arrest issued against him for failing to turn up for his criminal defamation trial in May.

Despite being a fugitive, RPK continues to taunt the authorities and remains a thorn in the side of the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Both his sedition and criminal defamation trials are related to his allegations that Najib was involved in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the former mistress of the prime minister’s associate.

RPK continues to write regularly on his Malaysia Today website, giving his take on political developments and criticising the police and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

According to a news report in May, police said they believed RPK was in Brisbane, Australia, together with his wife.

But in July, a Sessions Court was told that RPK was believed to be in the country and not in Australia as reported by the media.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar said police investigation revealed that RPK, 59, had never left the country.

It is unclear if the video interviews will offer any clues as to RPK’s whereabouts.

APH – Another PKFZ?

By Umnocovering Corruption

APH stands for Asia Petroleum Hub (APH) and it is located off the coast of Tanjong Bin in Johor. Targeted as the largest private-owned oil storage and blending facility in the world, the government and the major players are quickly turning this project into yet another fiasco.

So who owns APH? Umno is supposedly a covert 15% owner (via Trek Perintis). KIC Oil and Gas Sdn Bhd is supposed to be a 40% owner. Seaport Terminal (35%) and Teori Selatan (10%) are supposed to make up the rest of the shareholders.

This was not so at the beginning of the project when KIC together with Trek Perintis (TP) was awarded the project. KIC used to own 90% while TP the other 10%.

Let’s investigate the project from the start. Tanjong Bin is the most southernest tip of peninsular Malaysia. Located right across the river from Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), it nonetheless escaped initial attention and interest owing to its swamp and mangrove covered area and zero accessibility. Its close and vital vicinity to major shipyards like Keppel and Hitachi-Jozen in Singapore however made it quite obvious that this parcel of land will not stay invisible for long. Initially owned by Pedoman Gading Sdn Bhd (which list amongst its shareholders one Tun Ghaffar Baba), it has explored the possibility of turning this area into a major international shipyard (in a joint venture with an unknown privately held company called S2000 Venture Sdn Bhd.) An environmental impact study was conducted to access the viability of this option after obtaining the Johor State Government and Federal Government approvals to develop this land. So far so good.

The initial planning by S2000 was to create a shipbuilding facility and a township (to be called Bandar Sultan Iskandar Shah). This would later be appended by a commercial area, an industrial area and a container storage area over a 7-year development period. Approvals by various government agencies including the DPM’s office and the Ministry of Transport were obtained. The US$1.4 billion (RM5 billion) project would include investors from all over the world including Evergreen (Taiwan), Rolls Royce (UK) and Damen Shipyards (Netherlands). Plans were drafted, contractors were summoned to give quotations, funding was obtained, soil samples were tested, project management teams were organized, consultants were appointed, technical experts were being interviewed, the administrative team was formed, etcetera. Final approval was thence being obtained.

The trouble started when the PM’s department (final approval) did not endorse this project. The year was 2001. Why? There was no reason given and none would be forthcoming even if asked. After a period of almost a year of attempts to obtain final approval (without success), the investors withdrew their funding. S2000 went bankrupt as the company has invested quite a hefty sum in it. Instead, a small parcel of that land was sold by Pedoman Gading to Tenaga, which built a coal-fired power station there. Now, why would Tenaga do so unless this piece of land was targeted and fast-tracked as a potential “development area”? If so, why was the Pedoman Gading-S2000 Venture’s proposal (complete with funding) rejected? The plot thickens.

In 2002, the land was bought over by a MMC (owned by Syed Mokhtar) which proceeded to develop the land. This time the approval was consented with ease. Superfluous land and trash were dumped off the coast and in fact so much of it was dumped at this spot that it became a land filled island. This is the “island” which APH will be built on. 64 various sized petroleum tanks (the largest approximately 75m diameter) including facilities to blend and bunker oil was to be built here. The total capacity of APH will be approximately 1 million cubic meters.

Why was TP awarded the project instead of MMC? According to some sources, this was because Syed Mokhtar was initially not interested in the RM1.4 billion project as its projected earnings were “pittance” and that he would rather concentrate on his pet company (PTP) which was fast becoming a major international container port. If one thinks that this is bizarre, one should look at the ownership of APH. KIC’s initial share of 90% (2005) were trimmed to 40% (2009). New shareholders were introduced by the Cabinet including Seaport Terminal and Teori Selatan, each with 20% holdings. Then Trek Perintis’s 20% was trimmed to 15% and Teori Selatan’s 20% was trimmed to 10%. Seaport Terminal gained the 15% and now holds 35% and all this happened when APH is still being under construction.

So who owns Seaport Terminal and Teori Selatan? The former is owned by Syed Mokhtar and the latter by Tengku Mahkota Johor (Johor’s Crown Prince). Why must a private company’s (KIC) interest (APH Project) endure being split by the government? Why indeed?

Let’s look at the structure of the major players. KIC and TP are the owners-developers. CIMB is the funder. Mott Macdonald is the project consultant. ZAQ Construction is the Lead Contractor. Nam Fatt, Muhibbah and Kencana are the other contractors. QIpmc is the operator (after completion). Note any similarities? KIC is owned by Abdul Rashid Isa (CEO). TP is a proxy of Umno and under the control of party treasurer, Datuk Azim Zabidi (former chairman of Bank Simpanan). Amongst its directors is one Datuk Zulkifly Rafique . Abdul Rashid Isa and Datuk Azim Zabidi are childhood friends. ZAQ is owned by Zainal Rafique. QIpmc is part of ZAQ and shares similar directors, amongst them one Zamani Rafique. In fact they have their offices in the same building in Jalan Ampang.

Of course there is nothing wrong with brothers and friends cooperating on a major RM1.4 billion “private” project but the question remains why Umno is calling the shots if this is indeed a private project. Could there be anything more in it that meets the eye?

Syed Mokhtar’s sudden interest in this project is yet another unanswered question. He could have easily gotten it when TDM was PM but why did he wait until AAB was PM that he eventually made his claims? CIMB has threatened foreclosure on KIC as the company has already drawn down almost RM800 million of its RM1.4 billion financing facility without much to show for. If KIC was thrown out of the picture, who will claim the 40% equity KIC owns? Could Syed Mokhtar’s close ties with TDM been one of the factors why the bank is planning to withdraw its facilities? (The APH Project was scheduled to be completed this year but hardly half has been finished as unconfirmed rumors have it that Nam Fatt was not performing and was subsequently dismissed as a contractor with Rotary of Singapore being the new contractor.)

KIC of course claimed that the ownership crisis and the subsequent government’s intervention plus the caveat by Tunku Ibrahim Ismail (TMJ) have prolonged the project. Additionally, the company said that piling works has started and development is on schedule (in accordance to the new schedule). CIMB’s threat of foreclosure might have frightened off any developer but KIC, it seems, is standing firm (with rumors from sources that said that the company has obtained overseas funding from a Middle East prince).

Is this yet another PKFZ in the making? Or is it a case of mere fumbling by all parties involved, each with their own agenda?

Wan Azizah slams cow-head protestors for defiling Ramadan

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Sept 7- Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail today condemned the conduct of the cow-head protesters who disrupted Saturday’s town hall meeting on the relocation of the 150-year-old Sri Mahamariamman temple.

The PKR president said the chaos and acts of violence which “polluted” the dialogue session was very saddening.

“Only a week ago, Malaysians were shocked at the images of a bull’s head being dragged and desecrated by Umno supporters, while on Saturday the dialogue session held to resolve the issue was disrupted.”

She said the purpose of the meeting at the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) was to explain and gather feedback on the state’s proposal to relocate the temple from Section 19 to Section 23.

However a group which attended had no interest in finding a solution to the issue, she said.

She said they only wanted to instigate and behave wildly towards other residents of Section 23 as well as the panelists which included Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad and Batu Tiga assemblyman Rodziah Ismail.

“Pictures and videos of their behavior are all over the internet and I do not have to elaborate,” Wan Azizah said.

She said the jeering and provocative actions by the group were disappointing especially since this is the holy month of Ramadan.

“PKR’s stand is justice for all. The actions of the protesters will not derail the party’s objective of striving for a Malaysia which is fair for all, regardless of race and religion.”

Hindu Sangam disappointed with MB's decision - Malaysiakini

Hindu religious umbrella body Malaysian Hindu Sangam today expressed its disappointment with Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim over his decision to shelve the relocation of a 150-year-old temple from Section 19 to Section 23, Shah Alam.

"We are upset by his decision because as far as we are concerned, Section 23 is a suitable place," its president S Mohan told Malaysiakini.

Based on his personal visit to the proposed site, Mohan said he observed that it was located 600 metres away from the residential area and not 200 metres as announced by Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.

"Besides, there is a playground and a hall between the site and the residential area. I also heard that there is a factory going to be built in between. So (technically) the temple will be nearer the factory rather than the houses," he said.

He added that the future of the temple could be bleak as there could possibly be no suitable area to relocate it in the Malay-majority Shah Alam.

"The decision made yesterday also shows that a Hindu temple cannot be built anywhere in Malaysia as we don't have many non-Muslim majority areas (except) for jungle sites or the river sites. It is not fair to the (Indian community)," said Mohan.

Wanting to meet Najib

The newly appointed head of Hindu Sangam however said the religious body was willing to talk to Abdul Khalid and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to discuss about the matter and resolve the relocation issue that has been going on for the past 26 years.

"We would really love to meet the prime minister as he is also the right person to talk about this and we are waiting for (the opportunity)," he said.

In a related development, Mohan also expressed his dissatisfaction with the police and the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail for not charging the people who staged a 'cow-head' protest last week.

"This is another sad part of it all. Until now, there is no action against the protesters. The AG said he wanted to come up with a report but we can't see anything so far. I don't know what is going to happen next," he said.

Menteri besar Abdul Khalid had yesterday put the temple relocation proposal on hold until the state could find another suitable place following a fierce objection from the residents during a two-hour public dialogue that was held in the morning.

Earlier today Najib said that he will not interfere in the matter as relocation of the temple was under state jurisdiction.

The beautiful Malay - Haris Ibrahim

Marina Mahathir had a posting entitled “The Ugly Malay” up two days ago.

She was referring to the uncouth, uncivilised behaviour of the same ‘cow head’ protestors who made their way to the Selangor state government dialogue last Saturday, hijacked the same and allowed no room whatsoever for the voices of reason from within the section 23 community to be heard.

More of my thoughts on that dialogue in another post.

Here, I want to share with you about a little gathering last Friday in Shah Alam that, for me, at least, put on display all that is beautiful about our people.

Including the Malays.

It will help us to take heart that the ugly Malay that Marina spoke of and that we all have had to painfully witness is not your typical Malay.

On Thursday last week, I received the following e-mail from a Malay friend.

“We are very concerned about last week’s protest against the construction of a Hindu temple through cow heads. As individuals we are very disturbed by this and the implications it has on the unity of Malaysia. We are therefore inviting our Muslim friends and colleagues to join us in an attempt to show our solidarity to the Hindu community in Shah Alam and our refusal to allow these provocative and disgraceful acts to be done in the name of Islam. Please join us this Friday,the 4th of September, 8:30 pm in front of the De Palma Inn Hotel in Shah Alam where we will be picked up by someone from the temple to take us there”.

Take us where?

To the temple in section 19, Shah Alam. The temple that was proposed to be re-located to section 23. The temple that sits in the eye of the controversy.

Jaya, Robert, Danny and I set out for the De Palma hotel on Friday evening. Dominic and Chin Huat were going to get there on their own.

We were all at the temple a little after 9pm.

Bearing flowers and fruit that Mas and friends had put together, we were greeted by temple committee members and welcomed into the temple even as prayers were going on.

Jaya leading the way

Jaya leading the way

Very quickly, I made two new friends.

Ramesh serves on the temple committee

Ramesh serves on the temple committee

I asked Lechumanan if I could take photos within the temple and he helpfully took me on a quick tour to the inner rooms where the deities were housed

I asked Lechumanan if I could take photos within the temple and he helpfully took me on a quick tour to the inner rooms where the deities were housed

Lechu mentioned the names of the deities but, except for one, I can;t remember the others. Sorry, Lechu

Lechu mentioned the names of the deities but, except for one, I can;t remember the others. Sorry, Lechu

This, I think, is Lord Ganapathy, sometimes also called Lord Ganesha. If I'm wrong, forgive me, folks

This, I think, is Lord Ganapathy, sometimes also called Lord Ganesha. If I'm wrong, forgive me, folks

d3d4d5

Prayers were underway so we sat on the floor and joined the congregation.

prayersprayers1prayers2

gatheringgathering2

Food, Not Bombs activists at the back. Chiin Huat in front

Food, Not Bombs activists at the back. Chiin Huat in front

If I remember correctly, Joanna on the extreme left whilst Hafizi is on the far right. Didn't get the names of the two ladies in the middle. Slacking in my old age

If I remember correctly, Joanna on the extreme left whilst Hafizi is on the far right. Didn't get the names of the two ladies in the middle. Slacking in my old age

Another Food, Not Bombs activist

Another Food, Not Bombs activist

Mas on the right

Mas on the right

As the prayers proceeded, temple committee member Selva and Shah Alam local councillor Uthayasoorian

shared with us the problems that the devotees faced.

Temple committee member Selva

Temple committee member Selva

Local councillor Uthayasoorian

Local councillor Uthayasoorian

The issue of relocating the temple has been hanging over their heads for almost two decades.

If special prayers to be held might draw a larger than usual crowd, a police permit must be sought.

A police permit to pray?

They are not permitted to effect repairs to the temple floor, although some parts clearly could do with some repair.

Ramesh pointed out to me a zinc fencing next to the temple.

zinc fence

“The area now fenced in used to be an open space where devotees could park their cars when they come for prayers. In December last year, Pewaris came and fenced off the open space, so that devotees now have no place to park.”, he said

Chin Huat made a lovely suggestion that given that it was the holy month of Ramadhan, how about picking a day where the Hindus could also fast and then host a buka puasa of vegetarian food so that more Muslims who wanted to share fellowship with their Hindu brothers and sisters could come and buka puasa at the temple.

Mas told me today that she will liaise with Selva and see if Chin Huat’s suggestion might be taken up.

After the prayers, we mingled with some of the not-so-shy devotees.

Fellowship after the prayers

Fellowship after the prayers

More fellowship

More fellowship

Before we left the temple, we got together for a group photo.

Danny's behind the camera. Some were camera-shy. 6 non-Muslims. One not sure. The rest Muslim

Danny's behind the camera. Some were camera-shy. 6 non-Muslims. One not sure. The rest Muslim

Outside the temple, someone spotted a Pewaris signboard just outside the fenced-ff area that Ramesh had alluded to and thought that this would be an ideal place to hold a peaceful demo.

Demo

poster

Cow-head protest sacrilege – Hishammuddin just does not get it

By Lim Kit Siang,

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein protests too much. He said he has evidence that the cow-head protesters involved both members of the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties of PKR and PAS.

Hishammuddin just does not get it – that he is accused of double police standards illustrated by the instant police arrest of 16 persons for peaceful candlelight protest at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday night while cow-head protestors are still scot-free 10 days after the Shah Alam sacrilege.

Hishammuddin’s latest claim that the cow-head protestors come from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat parties, which is not proven, does not answer the charge that the Home Minister and the Police had failed their most elementary duty of being independent, impartial and professional in discharge policing duties which is not influenced by any personal, party or political bias.

Why is the Police still tip-toeing over the cow-head protest in Shah Alam on August 28, which not only put Malaysia in the dock of world opinion with adverse international media reports scaring off intending investors with the spectre that Malaysia is on the verge of greater racial and religious polarisation and intolerance, but spoilt the national mood for the 52nd National Day celebrations three days later.

Is this because of Hishammuddin’s earlier defence and justification for the cow-head protestors?

Can Hishammuddin and the Police explain why they had no time for niceties when arresting 16 peaceful candlelight protestors at Dataran Merdeka on Saturday night as compared to the kids-glove “special treatment” for the cow-head protestors, enjoying immunity and impunity for their deplorable action in the past 10 days?

If Hishammuddin is right that the cow-head protestors come not only from Barisan Nasional but also from Pakatan Rakyat, then all those guilty of the religious sacrilege to Hinduism which is a sacrilege to all religions in plural Malaysia, then let actions be taken against all the culprits concerned!

Bar lauds action against judges

by Shaila Koshy - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Bar welcomes the recent firm action taken by the Chief Justice against grossly inefficient judges and called for the publication of an annual report of how complaints against judges have been disposed off.

“The Bar has been waiting for such news for some time now because past complaints against certain misbehaving judges do not appear to have been acted on,” said its vice-president Lim Chee Wee, adding that a few bad apples had tarnished the image of the majority who are honest and competent.

He, however, said the publication of the number of complaints lodged and action taken should be on a no-name basis.

He was commenting on the article in the Sunday Star in which Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi confirmed two senior High Court judges had been asked to resign on their own accord.

“Misbehaving judges plague any judiciary but what distinguishes them worldwide is whether and how such judges are dealt with,” he said, adding that recently in the United States a Federal Court judge, Samuel Kent, was removed for repeated sexual molestation of two female court staff.

“Taking public disciplinary action (namely establishing a Tribunal to investigate and if found guilty to remove the judge) against misbehaving judges requires a certain will to rid the judiciary of such judges.

“When I was the KL Bar chairman I lodged a complaint to the then Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz (Sheikh Abdul Halim) against a High Court Judge who made highly inappropriate comments (with sexual references) in his Chambers to a few pupils and international school students.

“When the former CJ requested for a statutory declaration of the event, a very courageous young lady unhesitatingly did so.

“Unfortunately, no public disciplinary action has been taken against this judge although I understand he was admonished and asked to resign, which he refused to do.

“It is at this stage if removal is too harsh a sanction – although my view is that the consistently bad behaviour of this particular judge necessitates removal – the lesser sanctions envisaged by the Judges Ethics Committee Bill may be timely,” he said.

Lim added that the criticisms of the Bill – that there is too much power vested in the Chief Justice and the lack of a requirement for the publication of an annual report – should be addressed before the Bill is tabled in Parliament.

“The CJ has to deal with grossly incompetent or inefficient judges who are unable to keep up with the higher disposal rates he has set.

“It may be the case that these judges will also have to resign or if they are judicial commissioners, they will not be confirmed as judges,” he said.

Stressing that the speedy disposal of cases had to be balanced with the right to a fair hearing, Lim said Malaysia had no option but to increase the standard of the Judiciary and the Bar in order to improve confidence in its justice system and global competitiveness.

Government To Ensure Welfare Of Its Employees - Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 7 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today told the country's civil servants that their welfare will continue to be taken care of according to the government's affordability.

He said the 'People First' concept that he introduced recently also included the civil servants and that their wellbeing would be looked into based on the government's financial capacity.

"Last Saturday, I visited the JKR (Public Works Department) quarters and was saddened with what I saw. The JKR build houses for others, but their staff live in one-room houses, some even add the bedrooms on their own.

"I feel this cannot go on. I said that new projects must be carried out, and will be implemented. When I did the walkabout, when I introduced the 'People First' it includes the civil servants too. We will do it according to the goverment's affordability," he said at the monthly assembly of the Prime Minister's Department (JPM), here on Monday.

On the monthly assembly, Najib said the gathering this time was most meaningful because it was held in the month of Ramadhan, it was also on the day of 'Nuzul Al-Quran' and that the nation celebrated its 52nd year of independence in the fasting month a week ago.

As such, he said Muslims must appreciate the special significance of the Ramadhan and use it as an avenue to develop their inner strength to carry out changes.

The Prime Minister also said that Islam stressed on the principles of social justice and mutual understanding between the people of various religions and ethnic groups.

He said if the Muslims practised these principles, Islam and the Muslims would be more respected and Malaysia would become a successful role model as a Muslim country.

Najib also noted a small but significant change at the assembly this morning when civil servants adhered to punctuality as they had arrived exactly at the time before the commencement of the programme.

"When I arrived here three minutes before schedule, I did not see any civil servant who were still climbing the hill. This means that you had maintained punctuality despite the month of Ramadhan.

"I see this as a transformation. I congratulate all of you," he said.

The Ugly Malay

By Marina Mahathir


What else can we describe these people but with the word 'ugly'? How do you dialogue (ie have a two-way conversation) when these people's main intention is to shout you down? How do you solve anything if you refuse to allow anyone to speak?

Would they be happy to have their children watch them behave like this? Or their mothers?

They should read the Quran.

4:36 (Y. Ali) Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;-

Meanwhile,


Uthayakumar (being carried) and several others have been arrested while trying to make their way to a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Police have arrested 14 people including Human Rights Party leader P. Uthayakumar who were attempting to march from Masjed Jamek to Dataran Merdeka here tonight to hold a candlelight vigil protesting last week’s cow-head demonstration by Section 23 residents in Shah Alam.

Authorities had closed off access to the square to prevent the group of about 50 demonstrators from carrying out the vigil.

Police moved in to detain the protesters, among them Uthayakumar’s fiancĂ©e, despite the group heeding police orders to disperse and leave the area.

According to sources from Hindraf, three people from the group were injured during the arrests. All 14 are currently being held at the Dang Wangi police station

In last week’s protest in Shah Alam, around 50 residents from Section 23 marched towards the Selangor state secretariat building after Friday prayers to protest the planned relocation of a Hindu temple to their housing area.

The protesters brandished a severed cow’s head during the protest, which was observed by the police. No arrests were made then or since.

Today, Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced the relocation will now be temporarily put on hold, following an abortive Shah Alam town hall meeting called this morning to discuss the growing controversy.

Temples which were demolished

There is a response to the article, which says the following temples were demolished in Malaysia.
1. The Sri Ayyanar Sathiswary Alayam Temple (more than 65 years) Jalan Davies was demolished on 22.2.2006 and the statues buried at site.

2. The Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman Temple Pantai(more than 100 years) was demolished on 17.4.2006 by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

3. The Vaalmuniswarar Rajaamman Kovil(more than 60 years) at Lady Templer Hospital demolished on the 3.05.2006 by City Hall Kuala Lumpur.

4. Sri Kaliamman temple at Midlands Estate, Seksyen 7, Shah Alam (more than 100 years) was demolished by the Shah Alam City Hall on 9.5.2006.

5. The Sri Balakrishan Muniswarer temple in Setapak (more than 60 years) was partly demolished on 11.05.2006 by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

6. The Sri Balakrishan Muniswarer temple in Setapak was completely demolished and deities broken up on 8.6.2006.

7. The demolished Sri Kaliamman temple at Midlands Estate, Seksyen 7, Shah Alam was demolished for a second time on the 12.06.2006 wherein 3 main Hindu deities were hammered and smashed up to pieces with a sledge hammer by the Shah Alam City Council enforcement officers.

8. On 1.08.2006 the Om Sri Sakti Nagamma Allaya Hindu Temple in Taman Sri Manja, PJS 3/30 Petaling Jaya, Selangor was demolished by the Petaling Jaya City Council.

9. Demolishment of the Sri Subramaniam temple in Country Homes, Rawang, Selangor, Malaysia on 29.09.2006.

10. On 31.10.2006 Sri Muniswarar Temple (more than a 100 years old) which was built on private land in Bandar Rinching, Semenyih Selangor was demolished.

11. The demolishment of the Devi Sri Karumaniamman Hindu Temple, Petaling Jaya Utara, Section 21, Kampung Taman Aman on 30.11.2006.

12. On 29.12.2006 Sri Muniswarar Temple (more than a 100 years old) which was built on private land in Bandar Rinching, Semenyih Selangor was demolished.

13. On 22/2/2007 the Sri Maha Nageswari Hindu Temple in Taman Cahaya 7, Ampang, Selangor Darul Ehsan was demolished.

14. On 15.5.2007, the JKR Sri Muniswarar Hindu Temple, Jalan Kapar, Klang was demolished.

15. On 13.6.2007 the Sri Kaliaman Hindu temple in Midlands estate Shah Alam was demolished.
FOUR (4) OTHER DEMOLISHED HINDU TEMPLES LOCATED OUTSIDE KLANG VALLEY BUT WITHIN PENINSULAR MALAYSIA:-

16. The Demolishment of the Sri Maha Sivalingaeswarrar Hindu Temple, Batu 7,Gemas Tampin 10/04/2002.

17. The 80 year old Sri Muthumariamman Alayam Hindu Temple in Skudai JohorBahru was demolished in August 2006.

18. Statutes from Sungai Wangi Mathurai Veeran Temple (60 years old) in Sitiawan, Kampung Tirali, 9th Mile Jalan Air Tawar, Sungai Wangi Estate, Perak were hammered, smashed up and thrown into a drain and temple demolished on 17.10.2006 by the Manjung District Council.

19. The 55 year old Kaliaman Alayam Hindu Temple in Taman Impiana Mengelembuin Ipoh was demolished on 27/11/2006.
THIRTY ONE (31) HINDU TEMPLES WITHIN THE KLANG VALLEY THAT HAS BEEN THREATENED WITH DEMOLISHMENT NOTICE:-

20. Kuil Hindu Sri Mariaman di Seksyen 11, Shah Alam has been given notice to the demolished on 26.4.2006 from the Shah Alam Municipal Council.

21. The Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Taman Intan Baiduri Selayang has been given notice to be demolished recently (Nanban June 2006)

22. The Sri Subramaniam Temple Kg.Jawa Klang(107 years old) has been given notice to be demolished (June 2006).

23. The Mariamman Temple Jalan Meru Bandar Setia Alam, Shah Alam (101 years old) has been given notice to be demolished (June 2006)

24. The Kg.Jawa Mariamman Temple (more than 120 years) has been given notice to be demolish (June 2006).

25. The Sri Maha Laxhsmi temple in Sunway has been given notice to be demolished by the Petalaing Jaya City Council in June 2006.

26. The Sri Angineer Temple in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur built on a private land has been given notice to be demolished by the Kuala Lumpur City Manager(June 2006).

27. Sri Mahamariaman Hindu Temple in Kg Semarak, Old Klang Road has been threatened with demolishment five (5) times before on TOL Land-Nanban(6/7/06) pg. 12

28. Sri Sai Bala Raman Hindu Temple in Klang Jaya is being threatened with demolishment - Nesan (7/7/06)

29. 101 year old Dewi Sri Karumari Aman Temple in 4 1/2 Mile Jalan Meru, Klang was ordered closed by Selangor State Government on 10.07.2006 and thereafter the said temple is threatened to be demolished to make way for housing development.

30. The 101 year old Thevy Sri Karumariamman temple’s Bandar Setia Alam, Shah Alam access road to be closed on 10.7.2006 by the Selangor State Government and later to be demolished to make way for a private housing development.

31. Arun Estate Temple in Shah Alam- Nesan (12/7/06) pg. 6

32. In July 2006 the 110 year old Tepi Sungai JKR Mariaman Temple was given notice to be demolished.

33. In July 2006 the Sri Muniswarar temple in Jalan Air Panas Baru Setapak was given notice to be demolished.

34. In July 2006, the Sri Jada Muniswarar Hindu Temple in Danau Kota, Kuala Lumpur was given notice to be demolished.

35. Jedda Manismanar Hindu Temple in Jalan Setapak was informed to vacate is being threatened with demolishment - Nesan(17/8/06)

36. Sri Maha Megeswari Hindu Temple in Lembah Jaya, Ampang is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan(20/8/06)

37. Muniswarar Hindu Temple in Bandar Baru Ampang is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan(20/8/06)

38. Sri Sakti Vinayar Hindu Temple in Kampung Ampang Indah is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan(20/8/06)

39. Mariaman Hindu Temple in Kg Tasik Permai, Ampang is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan(20/8/06)

40. Siti Subramariam Hindu Temple in Kg Tasik Permai, Ampang is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan(20/8/06)

41. Sri Mariaman Temple (60 years old) in Section 18 given notice to relocate on 18/10/2006.

42. Sri Kaliaman Temple (80 years old) in Section 18 given notice to relocate on 18/10/2006.

43. Sri Vinayagar Temple (80 years old) in Section 18 given notice to relocate on 18/10/2006.

44. Sri Mariaman Temple (109 years old) in Section 19 which has a sacred 100 year old tree given notice to relocate on 18/10/2006.

45. Sri Mariaman Temple (100 years old) in Section 15 given notice to relocate on 18/10/2006.

46. Sri Maha Mariaman Hindu Temple in Section 11 given notice to relocate on 18/10/2006.

47. The 80 year old Sri Athi Muniswara Temple in Jalan Semarak, off Jalan Gurney in Kuala Lumpur was given notice to be demolished on 19.10.2006.

48. On 21.11.2006 the Sivaksakthi Linggeswara Hindu Temple in Kampung Tropikana, Jalan Padang Tembak, Subang Jaya given notice to be demolished.

49. The Sri Kamatchie Amman Telecoms Temple Cheras (more than 100 years) is being threatened with demolishment.

50. Despite receiving recognition from UNESCO, Nageswari Hindu Temple in Bangsar is being threatened with demolishment.

SEVENTEEN (17) OTHER HINDU TEMPLES LOCATED OUTSIDE THE KLANG VALLEY BUT WITHIN PENINSULA MALAYSIA THAT HAS BEEN THREATENED WITH DEMOLISHMENT:-

51. The Sri Muniswarar Aalayam Seremban (150 years) and a 150 year old Raintree have been threatened with demolishment since March 2006 by the District and Land Office .

52. On 26.6.2006 the 110 year old the Sri Chinna Karuppan Temple in Masai Johor was given notice to be demolished.

53. The 60 year old Saiva Muniswarar Temple Temple in Sg.Petani Kedah given notice to be demolished (Nanban 29.6.2006 pg 4)

54. Sri Muthumariaman Aman Skudai Hindu Temple (70 years old) in Lindon Estate risks being demolished- Nesan (3/7/06) pg. 7

55. Sri Muniswarar Temple in Slim River- Nesan (14/7/06)

56. On 15.7.2006 the Muniswarar Temple in Sitiawan was given notice to be demolished- Nanban(15/7/06)

57. Hindu Temple is being threatened with demolishment - Nesan (19/7/06) pg. 6

58. Sri Nageswari Amman Alayam Hindu Temple is being threatened with demolishment - Nesan (19/7/06) pg. 6

59. Muniswarar Hindu Temple is being threatened with demolishment - Nesan (19/7/06) pg. 6

60. Sri Sakti Viyanayagar Hindu Temple is being threatened with demolishment - Nesan (19/7/06) pg. 6

61. Sri Maha Mariaman Hindu Temple is being threatened with demolishment - Nesan (19/7/06) pg. 6

62. Sri Subramaniam Hindu Temple is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan (19/7/06) pg. 6

63. Muthu Mariaman Hindu Temple in Liutan Estate Skudai threatened to be demolished on 13.08.06.

64. Sri Subramaniam Hindu Temple in Kampar is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan(21/8/06)

65. Bangi Mariaman Hindu Temple is being threatened with demolishment -Nesan(23/8/06)

66. Taman U Hindu Temple in Skudai, Johor Bahru was on the verge of being demolished when about 600 Hindu devotees protested on 23.08.06.

67. Sri Mathuraimeeran Hindu Temple in Kampar Taman, Sri Wangi is being threatened with demolishment -Nanban(25/8/06).
THREE (3) HINDU TEMPLES THAT HAVE BEEN BURNT TO THE GROUND:-

68. The Ganggai Muthu Karumariaman temple in PMR Batu Buntung Estate Kulim,Kedah on 15.5.2006 was torched by unknown / mysterious criminals.

69. The Sri Kalikambul Kamadeswarar temple in Ebor Estate Batu Tiga, Shah Alam Selangor.

70. The Sri Kalkattha Kaliamman temple in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, 47400 Petaling Jaya.
SIX (6) TEMPLES FORCED TO BE RELOCATED NEXT TO SEWERAGE TANKS:-

71. The Sri Muneeswarar JKR Temple, Batu 5/12, Jalan Kapar, 42100 Klang, Selangor (73 years old) was given notice to be demolished forced to be relocated next to a severage tank (June 2006). (Hindraf)

72. Sri Kumaravel Hindu Temple in Kampung Medan, Petaling Jaya, Selangor was forcibly relocated next to a sewarage tank, electric station (TNB) and high voltage cable on 14.07.2006 . (Makkal Osai 15.7.06)

73. Mariaman Hindu Temple in Bukit Beonang, Taman Bukit Melaka forced to relocate next to sewerage tank.(Nanban 25/8/2006)

74. Sri Raja Rajeswarar Hindu Temple in Taman Tunku Jaafar, Senawang, Seremban. (Hindraf)

75. Mariaman and Perumal Hindu Temple in Puchong Perdana, Selangor. (DAP sources)

76. Mariaman Temple in Desa Mewah, Sunway Semenyih forcibly relocated next to a septic tank. (Bandar Rincing, Semenyih Temple Chairman)
THREE (3) HINDU TEMPLES WHERE DEITIES FORCIBLY REMOVED:-

77. Statues from 73 year old JKR Sri Muniswarar Temple, Jalan Kapar Klang Temple was forcibly removed and taken away under mysterious circumstances in July 2006.

78. Deities from the Devi Sri Karumariaman Hindu Temple, Petaling Jaya Utara, Section 21, Kampung Taman Aman forcibly removed and left in a construction site.

79. Kaliamman Hindu Temple, Jalan Matin Batu 5 Seremban (more than 28 years) deities and temple bell was removed. (Nanban - 3.9.2006)
http://malaysianindian1.blogspot.com/2008/01/list-of-hindu-temple-demolished.html"

Anwar Ibrahim: The Future Of Malaysia 05/09/2009

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Hisham: Pakatan members too objected temple

The 'cow-head' protest against a temple relocation proposal in Shah Alam has surpassed political consideration as it involved members the opposition as well as Barisan Nasional (BN), said Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said the Home Ministry knew the numbers of PKR, PAS and BN members involved in the protest and would divulge the information when the time was right.

"The protest has surpassed political consideration. It is a localised issue," he told reporters after presenting aid to Kampung Melayu Niyor residents in Kluang today.

He was commenting on the chaotic dialogue session between Shah Alam's Section 23 residents and Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim over the proposed relocation of a temple from Section 19 to the Muslim majority area in Section 23.

Hishammuddin said the previous Selangor government had proposed another site for the temple to be relocated but it was rejected as it was said to be very far.

"The Selangor government should not blame BN as we had tried to solve the problem. They should blame themselves for not seeking the views of Section 23 residents on the relocation proposal.

"We also have information that they (the state government) had held several dialogues with residents before making the proposal to relocate the temple to Section 23," he added.

On the cow-head protest, he said it was not appropriate and the police would take action on those involved as cow was a sacred animal in Hindu.

He said the investigation paper had been submitted to the Attorney General's Chambers.

- Bernama

Vicious double standards in police reactions: Decapitated cows vs. candles & roses

by Nathaniel Tan

Candlelight vigil of love:

Cow protest of hate:

People bring roses and candles, the police attack them.

People step on the decapitated head of an animal sacred to millions of Malaysians, the police stand and watch.

Is this fundamentally a problem of race?

No. This is fundamentally a problem of politics.

Someone is trying to create trouble, and the police and other authorities are in on it.

Looks like they tried the Chinese first: the crackdown on DAP vigils for Perak, and the DAP Selangor “corruption” investigations.

Not having gained much traction, it appears they may be trying the Indians next.

Hindraf acted quite wisely in designing their vigil, and not falling for the trap. But there are others that seem intent on escalating this.

(Also see how Khir Toyo manages to say that the cow’s head wasn’t meant to offend Hindus, and yet call cows stupid in virtually the same sentence).

Our country is being ripped apart by thieves and brigands, who will play the most hateful cards just to turn a small profit.

In the cow head video, I saw a little boy, in an orange T-shirt - the same colour of the Hindraf group - being brought up in hate.

It filled me with such sadness.

But also resolve.

I’m not about to let this country be stolen by hate - you and me, we gotta find a way to take it back.

How to make millions by ripping off poor Indians

Image

The Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED), MIC's education arm, has been mired in controversy after it was found that the cost of the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) in Semeling, Kedah, which opened its doors two years ago, had ballooned from an earlier estimate of RM230 million to over RM500 million. Let us see why.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Samy Vellu gives MIED CEO show-cause notice, again

MIC's Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED) chief executive officer P. Chitrakala Vasu has been issued a show-cause notice by party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

The notice, which demands a reply within 14 days, is for Chitrakala to explain some discrepancies in the accounts of MIED, which runs the party's Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) in Semeling, Kedah through a subsidiary company, MIED Capital Sdn Bhd.

"Yes, I received the notice a few days ago and am currently preparing a letter to explain the whole accounts procedure. Actually this is not the first time he (Samy Vellu) has given me such a notice.

"He issued about seven notices against me dated Dec 31, 2008 and at that time I was only given a day to reply. I replied to all the seven notices on Jan 2. This second round is only one notice, which I received on Jan 29. I will reply this notice too within 14 days," she said today.

Breaking her silence since the fiasco erupted in late December, Chitrakala said after she replied the seven show-cause notices, she was "advised" to go on leave by Samy Vellu.

Asked whether the show-cause notices pertained to the MIED accounts, she said it was not only on the book-keeping of the MIED but also "the whole thing".

"I think he (Samy Vellu) wants me out of MIED. I have been with the MIED for 14 years and now he is looking for things to kick me out. It is like a fault-finding mission," she added.

She said there was nothing for her to hide as everything which she undertook during her tenure as MIED CEO was based on instructions from the MIED board of directors, which Samy Vellu chairs.

MIED, the party's education arm, has been mired in controversy after it was found that the cost of AIMST, which opened its doors two years ago, had ballooned from an early estimate of RM230 million to over RM500 million.

Late last month, Tan Sri M. Mahalingam, a signatory of MIED cheques, was removed as MIC treasurer-general by Samy Vellu, who said the move was part of MIC's rebranding exercise and that there was a need to inject new blood into the party. Chitrakala Vasu has been on leave since.

The party top echelon had, last month, appointed a three-member independent panel of lawyers to investigate the financial woes of the MIED and the reason for the increase in costs.

The panel was also entrusted with the task of reviewing all MIED contracts given out for the construction and maintenance of AIMST.

There had been news reports that some irregularities had taken place with regard to the awarding of the contracts, especially those which involved landscaping and security.

Last week the saga took an unexpected turn after MIC vice-president and MIED director Datuk S. Sothinathan lodged two police reports over missing files belonging to MIED.

The reports, lodged at the Dang Wangi police station and the Sentul district police headquarters, alleged that files pertaining to the AIMST contracts were missing from the party headquarters in Jalan Rahmat, off Jalan Ipoh, here. — Bernama, 3 February 2009

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MIC and MIED in turmoil over AIMST tenders

http://poobalan.com/blog/

This is really a tale of two sides. On one side there’s The Star's version of the issue, and on the other side the Malaysiakini version.

Let’s look at them both. The Star first:

1. The report says that a three-member panel has been formed to investigate “alleged misappropriation” in the award of contracts by MIC’s education arm, the Maju Institute for Education Development (MIED) concerning the party’s Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST).

2. MIED board of directors appointed former MIC treasurer-general Tan Sri K.S. Nijhar to head the panel with MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel and party disciplinary committee chairman Tan Sri G. Vadiveloo as members. It seems that Samy Vellu had instructed during the meeting for the panel to be formed.

3. Samy Vellu was concerned as three contracts seemed to be have been given out at inflated values. The sources said the panel would also investigate two contracts given to companies linked to a senior MIC leader.

4. Nijhar said:

“I am just looking through all the documents and have not gone into the details of the contracts."

“The panel will meet once I have sorted out the documents. The panel is not out to get anyone in particular, but to ensure everything is in order,” he said.

It was learnt that the panel had obtained all files on the alleged misappropriation from the MIED office.

5. The report then mentioned Tan Sri Mahalingam’s name (he was the MIC treasurer until replaced recently by SK Devamany) – “Mahalingam, when contacted, said there was nothing to hide and he would answer queries from the panel”. So, is Mahalingam the “senior MIC leader”? Your guess is as good as mine.

Let’s shift to Malaysiakini’s report:

1. MIC has been rocked by a scandal involving its education arm, Maju Institute for Education Development (MIED), over alleged irregularities in the awarding of contracts for maintenance of the party-run AIMST University. [OK, similar with The Star report]

2. Sources said the trouble started when MIED was instructed to revoke two contracts given out based on an ‘open tender’ system. Instead, its managers were told to reassign these to persons close to MIC president S Samy Vellu. [Big difference here. Samy's name is implicated]

3. The two contracts were respectively for grass-cutting services and to operate a canteen at the university. Sources said the sum quoted by the new parties – one of whom is based in Ipoh – was considerably higher than that in the bids already accepted.

4. The contracts were among five awarded by MIED for various services last year. [We get the figure of 5 contracts. The Star reported 3+2, so is it the same contracts?]

5. Heads are expected to roll – in fact, the summary dismissal of party treasurer M Mahalingam two weeks ago is said to be one outcome, although Samy Vellu had attributed it to “routine change”. On December 23, Mahalingam also had to relinquish his post as chairperson of MIED Capital Sdn Bhd, the company that runs the AIMST University located in Semeling, Kedah. [I bet this was not publicised anywhere. So, Malaysiakini links Mahalingam in this case]

6. Insiders said the situation over the contracts has pitted Mahalingam and MIED chief operating officer P Chitthirakala Vasu against Samy Vellu. It is learnt that both were unhappy with the manner in which they were forced to re-issue the contracts, and had repeatedly raised the matter with Samy Vellu. [Unlike The Star's version, this paragraph indicates that it is not Mahalingam who is the alleged "senior leader" in The Star, but its Samy himself!]

7. Chitthirakala is said to be under pressure to submit her resignation as well, but has refused to do so. She has told close friends that she will fight Samy Vellu “until the truth is known”. [she has now gone "on leave" and the Deputy CEO has taken over the running of MIED. I have a copy of her coffee table book on Samy Vellu]

8. “This is an explosive matter. The president is worried that this matter will be used against him in the party polls later this year and has decided to act against the duo,” said a source.

9. Sources said Samy Vellu has questioned the huge debt amassed in running the university, and that he has blamed the MIED top management for this.

10. Samy Vellu has since set up a three-member panel to investigate the alleged irregularities in awarding three of the five contracts, which he claimed had been given out at an inflated value. Details of the three contracts are not known. Set up following a meeting of the MIED board of directors last Friday, the panel is headed by former party treasurer KS Nijhar (right). The other two members are deputy president G Palanivel and party disciplinary committee chairperson G Vadiveloo. All three of them are considered to be Samy Vellu’s loyalists. Athough Nijhar and Palanivel had a fallout with Samy Vellu recently, insiders said that they are back in his good books. [Similar with The Star report]

11. The panel is also expected to look into why the cost of constructing the university had increased [extra duty of the panel].

12. The sources also said that Mahalingam, who had attended the meeting, had asked the panel to investigate the two contracts given to companies linked to Samy Vellu. [The Star did not mention that Mahalingam was at the meeting]

13. It seems Mahalingam has said:

“He has said that he has nothing to hide and that he had only followed the president’s instructions,” said an aide. “Mahalingam has also urged Samy Vellu to hand over the matter to the newly-established Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, but the president wants the matter to be probed internally.”

14. Sources, however, see the sole purpose of the panel was the removal of Chitthirakala – “The panel is in place so that Samy Vellu is not implicated in the (alleged) financial irregularities of MIED. It is not just a witch hunt against the top people in MIED, but also to clear Samy Vellu of wrongdoing,” said a source.

So, reading both reports gives us more information to digest. What we can agree is that there’s a 3-member panel who will investigate 3 (or 5) contracts. 3 contracts alleged to be given out at inflated values, and the other two instructed to be given to companies linked to senior MIC leader (Samy Vellu?). The target of the panel is to investigate whose fault it is. For me, if anyone can instruct MIED to do this and that, the investigation becomes easier. We are looking at the top people in MIED, MIED Capital, and MIC. 3 companies, 3 names.

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A pandemonium in the shape of a meeting

About 1,100 Maika Holdings’ shareholders today came to the company’s annual general meeting hoping to hear some good news about their investments. Instead the meeting ended with more questions and uncertainties over the future of the MIC’s troubled investment arm.

The main agenda for the meeting today was to obtain the shareholders’ approval for the sale of the company’s golden goose, insurance company Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd, for RM129.8 million.

By now, just entering the third minute into the meeting, a shouting match started where almost everyone had something to say. One even questioned if Abdul Rashid should remain Maika chairperson if he could not communicate in the language of the shareholders.

In the midst of this, one shareholder claimed that there were many non-members in the hall and demanded Abdul Rashid, who chaired the meeting in English, to remove them. According to the shareholder, these non-members and security personnel were intimidating the shareholders.

Others defended the security personnel and claimed that everyone in the hall was a member.

It was strange indeed that there were many ‘young and stern looking’ shareholders in the crowd. Their job, on most occasions, was to silence shareholders asking questions on financial matters.

Up to this stage, the chairperson had not said a word and was instead watching the ensuing commotion like an observer.

By the first half hour, Abdul Rashid totally lost control of the floor. Just about everyone in the floor had something to say - and no real attempt was made to discuss the items in the agenda.

It was at this stage that former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam walked up to the microphone to say something. While he was about to talk, someone drowned his words by speaking into another microphone.

Subramaniam’s supporters got angry and started heckling the culprit. Similarly, the former deputy minister too was heckled by others.

Only the authoritative voice of Wilayah Persekutuan MIC leader M Saravanan helped to bring the chaotic situation under control and the meeting continued with the chairperson reading out Maika’s financial report for last year.

Asked on his performance as CEO, Vel Paari said, “If you ask me, I have done well for the company. But if I was really allowed to do my work, instead of spending more time at the commercial crime and the anti-corruption office, I think I would have done better. No regrets. “My conscience is very clear. I came to do a job. We got back our money. At least everybody is getting RM1.00 minimum,” he said.

Meanwhile, several shareholders expressed outrage at today's proceedings, which were marred with several outbursts and scuffles. Several shareholders were escorted out by security personnel after speaking from the floor. Some were cut off mid-way, including Subramaniam.

"It is just a farce. The board of directors did not explain what has gone wrong with Maika. They did not explain why in the last 24 years, Maika has been operating at a loss," said DAP legislator M Kulasegaran. "They were only ten policemen around and they did nothing when microphones were pulled away from shareholders after they raised certain matters," he said.

Another shareholder, Kumarasen, an accountant, said that shareholders who oppose the sale were not allowed to speak at length of their disgruntlement. "It looks like the shareholders have been ripped off. At the end of the day, the last remaining finance license will go into the hands of people who have no idea what they are getting into," he said.

"This is the remaining asset for the Indians. This is no racist undertone. But this should be a lesson that corporate governance is needed in a listed company. There was complete ruckus inside. In the name of security, you have people bashing other people up," he added.

A shareholder from Perak, who did not wished to be named said he did not expect to get much returns from the disposal. "Five of my family members invested into Maika. For all of us, it is a big loss. Even if we were to get our money back, it would still be a loss because of inflation. The money could have been put to better use in this 24 years," he added.

Maika was established in 1982 to increase the equity of Indian Malaysians. The company raised RM106 million in 1984 from 66,000 investors. Maika has only paid its shareholders cash dividends on seven occasions to date, the last being in 1995. It will not be paying dividends this year.

Several shareholders were escorted out by security personnel after speaking from the floor. Some were cut off mid-way, including Subramaniam. - Malaysiakini, 30 August 2007

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So, if you want to know how Samy and son siphoned out millions and left the Indians so much poorer, take a look at these documents. Then try and figure out how RM36 million became RM40 million and then ended up as RM500 million. I really have no idea!


Unjust and Hypocritical Malaysian Shari’a Court

Sample Image

All these would have remained hidden had it not been for Kartika. We owe her an immense debt of gratitude for exposing this flawed and misguided system. She has done her part, but I do not see the nation doing its share. Instead we are consumed with the minutiae of her caning and ignore the huge elephant in the room: a hypocritical and an unjust Shari’a that is ill suited for our needs.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

M. Bakri Musa

It took a diminutive but courageous 32-year-old nurse and mother to expose what has been obvious to many but conveniently ignored: a grossly unjust and frankly hypocritical Malaysian Shari’a court system.

Subjecting a first offender – and a young mother at that – to six lashes of whipping for drinking beer in public cannot be considered a “just” punishment. Bluntly put, it is barbaric. And if something is not just, it cannot be Islamic. It is that simple. I wonder if those advocates for caning could tell me under what of the 99 attributes of Allah would caning a young mother fall under. Certainly not Ar Rauf (The Compassionate) or Ar Raheem (The Most Merciful)!

A Profile In Courage

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno is truly a profile in courage, a genuine heroine. She did not seek out to be one; the circumstances could easily have tuned her into an angry rebel, or worse.

She succeeded by adhering to our traditional halus (soft) ways. She did not challenge the system; on the contrary she freely admitted to her error and accepted her fate, just like a good obedient Malay daughter was taught to be. She asked only that the whipping be done in public so others could learn from her mistake. How noble and touching!

By those seemingly meek actions she exposed the hypocrisy of the Islamic establishment, and did so far more effectively than all the shrill voices of those in Sisters-in-Islam and other vociferous advocates for reform. More significantly, her Gandhi-like passivity is now noticed by the world.

Thus far what seems to get whipped is the image of Malaysia as a modern tolerant Islamic country. Her submissiveness, reflecting her Islamic faith (Islam after all means ‘one who submits’), also rattled Prime Minister Najib and Women’s Minister Sharizat. It is hilarious if not pathetic to see them scurry for cover.

In urging Kartika to appeal despite having her appeal period lapse, both Najib and Sharizat must feel confident that the sentence would be reversed. What however, if it were sustained? Their utterances imply that they could influence if not control the Shari’a Appeals Court’s decision. That is a scary thought. It bears pointing out that Kartika was sentenced by a court in Pahang, Najib’s home state. Meanwhile Shahrizat is bewildered as to why Kartika refused to appeal. The poor Women’s Minister still has not figured it out.

Home Minister Hishammuddin too joined in with his share of idiocy. When Kartika presented herself to jail for the planned whipping, she was turned away as the prison, under Hishammuddin’s portfolio, was not prepared to carry out the sentence!

The idiocies did not stop there. The Chief Judge of Pahang’s Shari’a Court of Appeal ordered a deferment and review of the sentence “in the interest of justice.” Left unstated was under what statute his order was made. Then there was the Federal Attorney-General also intervening, obviously not realizing that Islam is strictly under state jurisdiction.

There are those who would like us to believe that the ‘Islamic’ version of whipping is not at all cruel. The association of Shari’a lawyers and an umbrella group of Muslim NGOs maintain that “caning, in the context of Muslim punishment, is for the purpose of education and is different from the penal nature of some provisions in the Common laws and the civil courts.” Let’s ‘educate’ them!

Presumably the ‘Islamic’ whipping is closer to the S&M variety. Kartika is assured that she would not be stripped but allowed to wear her baju kurong. How thoughtful! Perhaps they could supply her with a black leather one; she just might like the whipping.

The Perak mufti opined that Kartika should be grateful as she would receive only six instead of 80 lashes that the mufti himself would impose and, I presume, like to administer personally. Thanks to the mufti’s advice, Kartika has now accepted her fate with equanimity, if not his blessing.

In the ensuing furor, the sentence was deferred, “in the spirit of Ramadan!” The piety of these folks is truly touching. Presumably once Ramadan is over, and the furor subsided, the whipping could begin. What is obvious is that the deferment was a relief not for Kartika but the establishment, a chance for them to recover from their collective shame and stupidity.

Expansion of Shari'a

In the past, the Malaysian Shari’a was restricted to family laws with such mundane matters as inheritance, divorce, and adoption. As part of Mahathir’s move at “out Islaming” the opposition PAS, the Shari’a was granted greater jurisdictions such that today it is on par with the secular system, as well as extending into civil and criminal matters.

Malaysia prides itself in being the only nation with a unique dual-track justice system that coexists harmoniously. Both assertions are erroneous. Canada also has a dual judicial system, with Quebec following “civil law” based on the Napoleonic Code and the rest subscribing to common law of the English tradition. However, the Canadian Supreme Court has final authority over both.

As for the harmonious part, Malaysia has yet to resolve the often conflicting jurisdictions of the two systems. It is not at all clear whether the country’s Federal (Supreme) Court has jurisdiction over the Shari’a courts, which gives a special Malaysian meaning to the word “Supreme.” Many maintain that it does not, which makes a mockery of our constitution. This unresolved issue has consequences, often heart wrenching, as demonstrated in many recent well publicized cases.

As the Shari’a now also has criminal jurisdiction, Malaysians are inherently not treated equally under the law; their fate depends not on the crime but their faith. A non-Muslim man caught committing adultery faces only the wrath of his wife, and possibly her vicious divorce lawyer. A Muslim man however, could be whipped, the same ‘Islamic’ whipping that Kartika would face. Now imagine the complications if one partner is a Muslim and the other, non-Muslim.

There are other distressing inequities if not outright hypocrisy. While Kartika would be whipped for drinking beer in public, the Muslim directors of beer companies – the manufactures and pushers, in the language of the drug culture – are honored. I also do not see the Shari’a going after ministers and sultans running away from their gambling debts.

All these would have remained hidden had it not been for Kartika. We owe her an immense debt of gratitude for exposing this flawed and misguided system. She has done her part, but I do not see the nation doing its share. Instead we are consumed with the minutiae of her caning and ignore the huge elephant in the room: a hypocritical and an unjust Shari’a that is ill suited for our needs.

Muslims confuse the concept versus the content of Shari’a. The concept – Shari’a being a body of laws based on the Quran –is accepted by all. It is a matter of faith; no disagreement there. The contents however are the products of human interpretations. As such it suffers from all the imperfections inherent in such endeavors. It also results in the Shari’a of the Shiites being very different from that of the Sunnis, as well as variations within the Sunni Fighs.

The corollary is that the content of Shari’a can be debated. These discussions must necessarily involve all stakeholders, not just the scholars and ulamas, a point emphasized by Abdullahi An Naim in his book, The Future of Shari’a. He suggests that Muslims revisit the Shari’a using the same rigorous intellectual tools used by earlier luminaries while cognizant of today’s universally accepted norms of constitutionalism, gender equality, and human rights, among others.

If that is too ambitious, begin with a more modest one. Get rid of the unjust elements in our Shari’a, like whipping women, and the grossly “un-Islamic” elements in our secular laws, like jailing citizens without affording them due process.

That is the crux of the issue, not caning. Thanks to Kartika, she is forcing us to face this reality squarely. She gently stared at the system, and it blinked.

Koh backs peaceful rallies, says cops should act fairly

Koh hopes the police look fairly at demonstrations. - Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon today urged the police to act fairly in dealing with public demonstrations because of the perception that they are more effective in cracking down on rallies than on crime.

Koh’s criticism is the first from a minister in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration, and comes in the face of mounting public concern over the neutrality of the police.

His remarks also come a day after police arrested 16 people in a peaceful candlelight vigil, a little more than a week after standing by while a group of Malay-Muslims threatened violence and stamped and spat on a sow’s head to protest the relocation of a Hindu temple to their neighbourhood.

Koh said the public was questioning why the cow-head protestors were not arrested.

His words appeared to be at odds with that of his Cabinet colleague Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, the Home Minister, who had defended the police last week.

“Current public perception towards the police is that they are more effective in catching demonstrators than criminals,” said Koh today.

“People who carry out candlelight vigils and people who are sitting in mamak shops wearing black clothes are arrested. I think that is not correct,” he said.

The police have taken a hardline approach by cracking down on dissent, particularly from activists and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters.

During the height of the Perak constitutional crisis, IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan had even said that those wearing black T-shirts would be detained. Opposition activists had adopted the wearing of black T-shirts as a form of protest against what they said was an assault on democracy.

The police, Koh said, should come up with standard procedures to deal with public demonstrations to show they were fair.

He suggested police allow peaceful demonstrations, and use video cameras to record such rallies to later arrest those who break the law.

“If the police act harshly even before there are signs of aggression, not only will this bring displeasure to the group demonstrating but also to the public, who will view this as being unfair,” he said.

He said the police should only act if there were signs of violence erupting.

The police have also come under severe criticism after riot cops used tear gas to break up a mass rally to protest an anti-ISA rally last month.

Scenes of riot police assaulting opposition lawmakers and chasing peaceful protestors through the streets of Kuala Lumpur had severely damaged Najib’s reform image.

After the anti-ISA protests, Najib had suggested that demonstrations be held behind closed doors at stadiums instead.