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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Buah Umno: Buah Pala

The tragedy of tale of Kampung Buah Pala is – as it should be – a reminder to us all of the utter failure of the Umno/BN regime to live up to its commitments to the people. Fighting poverty has presumably been one of the pillars of the Umno rhetoric for decades. But instead they have indulged in toxic communalism and almost irreparably damaged the social harmony of the country.

As much as the current state government in Penang is understandably having to resolve a messy dilemma manufactured under the watch of the previous BN regime, and as much as I sympathise with the predicament that DAP-led state government has been put into by the previous BN regime, surely every reasonable Malaysian ought to appreciate the tragedy that has unfolded for these residents of Kg. Buah Pala.

And as my Auntie Maalini has rightly reminded me, perhaps it is worth remembering that there are far too many poor Malaysians – and to be quite candid about it, especially non-Malays - who know that they are not the ones who are typically prone to getting the attention of the government and receiving aid when they are in dire straits.

I’m sure there must been some deep apprehension among the residents that once displaced, they might well become part of the pool of discarded poor, non-privileged Malaysians who have never been the beneficiaries of special BN programmes that would afford them special housing loans, allowances, or low-cost housing. These residents must surely fear that unless they put up a fight, like countless other underprivileged Malaysians whose rights under the BN regime apparently don’t seem consequential, they too will fall through the cracks and become part of the statistic of poor Malaysians deemed unworthy of help.

And the proof is in the pudding. How often have we seen the pathetic MIC falling over itself trying to grab publicity about helping some destitute family or another once their plight is exposed? How often do we hear some high-and-mighty BN minister blabbering about the welfare of the poor? But alas, within days, as soon as the television cameras move on, all is forgotten. These afflicted poor – living in desperation - are left stranded and without options. Without real options, because the BN regime finds them unworthy to be provided with low-cost housing or some such programme, these residents - like other squatters who have been neglected for much too long - find themselves in a state of desperation.

When developers and fat-cat politicians make deals to boot-out these poor, why would they not get upset? And where are the multi-billion ringgit housing schemes for these non-privileged people, who because of their race, are blatantly deemed suitable to be treated with contempt?

But fate has also conspired against the DAP, such that it has found its hands tied by the legal bind and mess that the previous BN regime put in place regarding Buah Pala. Hence, the demolition of Buah Pala, which the DAP has been forced to oversee, might cost it some popularity points, but we’ll only be fooling ourselves even more if we once again complacently fail to see through the flawed and failed BN rhetoric about dealing with poverty across the board in this country.

Yes, maybe the MIC has a point – if only in trying to deflect blame from itself – that the BN has failed in its promises. But one has to wonder at the ineptness of these MIC politicians who – despite repeated failures and neglect by the Umno/BN regime – insist, nevertheless, on getting into bed with them.

I can clearly see Auntie Maalini’s point: the poor – like the residents of Buah Pala know - that once they’re browbeaten to give up what little they have, they can kiss goodbye to any chance of getting it back. But their response reflects what most poor people know about the way the BN regime does things.

Just maybe, Guan Eng’s government in Penang will show all Malaysians exactly how a just and morally responsible government should act in addressing the plight of the residents of Buah Pala - and the poor.

G. Krishnan

Man behind slippers row says he gets carried away

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 – The man at the centre of a raging quarrel between MIC and Umno for wanting to hang a garland of slippers on a photograph of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is nonchalant about the storm he has sparked.

Peter Sugumaran, 56, the deputy head of the Paya Besar MIC division in Kuantan, Pahang, told The Malaysian Insider by telephone today that he was deeply hurt by Tun Mahathir’s criticism of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

“I was deeply hurt when Tun said Datuk Seri (Samy Vellu) had done nothing for the Indian community,” Sugumaran said. “It is Tun who had done nothing for us. Datuk Seri has done so much for us.”

”I admit I was carried away by emotions when I stood before the delegates. It was a big hall and there were so many people…I had to say something important,” Sugumaran said by telephone.

“I agree I have to apologised to Tun but I have to work it out in a proper manner, perhaps in a face to face meeting,” said Sugumaran, a balding, thick-set, bespectacled delegate.

He asked that his photograph was not published as a condition for talking to The Malaysian Insider. “I have this problem with my mouth…sometimes I get carried away and over speak,” he said.

Sugumaran works in a giant utility company and had faced several disciplinary hearings at work and was demoted for speaking up vocally on certain matters. “I always speak up and get hurt,” he said.

Current Sugumaran is on a better footing with the utility company although there had been rough patches.

The company is helping out with his medical problems and he is careful to watch what he says about company affairs.

Married with two grown up children, Sugumaran suffers from a slip disc and needs constant care. He is also involved in a tussle with Socso for help over the ailment.

He blames his latest controversy on his love for politics in India from where he took the idea of a garland of slippers.

There the “garland of slippers” phrase is used metaphorically and accepted universally as meaning unhappiness or dissatisfaction with someone.

“It is a common phase and when I was speaking about the problems faced by the Indian community and how the government has done little in the past 20 years, the phrase suddenly leaped to my mind,” Sugumaran said.

“Without a second thought I uttered the phrase,” he said. “It is not meant to be understood literally or seriously…I hope people understand this.”

Sugumaran said he has received numerous telephone calls including from the Special Branch and MIC leaders.

“I called Datuk Seri (Samy Vellu) and I apologised to him for getting him into trouble,” Sugumaran said. “Datuk Seri advuised be to remain cool and not get worked up and watch my health.”

“Datuk Seri is a great man,” Sugumaran said admitting he is Samy Vellu’s diehard supporter. “He dominates my life.”

Umno leaders and Malay NGOs have been castigating Samy Vellu and Sugumaran, demanding the party president offer a personal apology to Dr Mahathir, who had criticized Samy Vellu and urged delegates to support arch rival Datuk S. Subramaniam, in the run-up to the Sept 12 MIC elections.

Samy Vellu had returned the favour by slamming Dr Mahathir and Subramaniam and worked to deflect their criticisms.

In the end Samy Vellu’s team romped home in the party polls, defeating Subramaniam and his entire line-up.

Ex-ISA detainee looking forward to Aidilfitri with family

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — After seven years of welcoming Syawal without his family, Mat Sah Mohamad Satray is grateful to be able to celebrate the coming Hari Raya with his loved ones.

“I can’t wait to see my only son, who is now 16 years old. When I left him, he was only nine years old,” he told reporters when met at his father’s house in Ampang.

His wife and son are in Sabah.

Mat Sah was among five members of the Jemaah Islamiah Malaysia who were released from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) today.

Mat Sah said he was informed that he would be released four days ago. — Bernama

There can be no meaningful 1Malaysia when Malaysia Day Sept. 16 is regarded as a Sabah and Sarawak event rather than as a national celebration

By Lim Kit Siang,

For the 46th year today, Malaysia Day is commemorated in national disunity rather than national unity.

This should not be the case as five months ago, when Datuk Seri Najib Razak become the sixth Prime Minister, he had proclaimed the new motto of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”.

Najib had the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past 45 years with the people of Sabah and Sarawak marginalized from the mainstream of national development although it was the support of the people of Sabah and Sarawak in the political tsunami of the March 8, 2008 general elections which had kept the Barisan Nasional Federal Government afloat.

In the general elections last year Barisan Nasional won 140 Parliamentary seats as against the Pakatan Rakyat’s 82, but 54 of the BN parliamentary seats came from Sabah and Sarawak (Sabah 24 and Sarawak 30).

Without these 54 parliamentary seats from Sabah and Sarawak, BN would be reduced to 86 seats out of 222 MPs in Parliament, evicting the BN from Putrajaya into the Opposition and Najib today would have been Parliamentary Opposition Leader instead of Prime Minister.

So long as Malaysia Day is regarded as a Sabah and Sarawak event rather than as a national celebration, there can be no meaningful 1Malaysia for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or territory.

The 52nd National Day on August 31 came and went under very subdued and even somber circumstances, not only because of the A (H1N1) pandemic but because of a recrudescence of communalism, chauvinism and religious intolerance in the country like the cow-head protest sacrilege in Shah Alam three days before National Day.

Everyone noticed the absence of national flags throughout the country whether on buildings or vehicles.

Najib’s 1Malaysia could not have a worse start with this year’s National Day and Malaysia Day.

There can be no meaningful 1Malaysia when Malaysia Day Sept. 16 is regarded as a Sabah and Sarawak event rather than as a national celebration.

Pakatan Rakyat has pledged to do what the Barisan Nasional has failed to do – to declare September 16 as a national public holiday.

This will mean that Malaysia will have two National Days – August 31st as Merdeka Day and September 16 as Malaysia Day.

Malaysia will then join the rank of countries like India and Pakistan which commemorate two National Days a year as national public holidays.

A traitor again?

By Hussein Hamid

Yesterday I received an email that disturbed me. It disturbed me because of the venom that it spewed on me. It said that as a Malay I am a disgrace to my race. That I deserved to be put in ‘neraka’ (hell) for advocating that the Malays no longer should be with UMNO. Do I not know that the orang Cina, India and ‘others’ together with DAP want to take over this country – that it is not ‘keadilan dan demokrasi’ that they want. What they want is the Political Power that now is in the hands of the Malays. We are the Malays! Are you not a Malay…they ask me?

Then I am reminded of the screaming newspaper headlines that I see in the “National” Malay newspapers.

  1. “Ketuanan Melayu Tercabar”
  2. “Jangan Persoal – Ketuanan Melayu bukan jenaka yang boleh dipermainkan”
  3. “Bangkitlah Melayu – Bersatu hadapi tuntutan kaum lain yang makin keterlaluan”

To those that understand Bahasa there is no need for me to translate. To those that do not I will not translate lest I am accused of inciting racial discord.

This is not the first time that I have received emails of this nature. In the past I have patiently read through what they send them and try to understand where they were coming from. We are all entitled to out point of view and it is not only the Malays that have these ‘ultras’ so do the Chinese, the Indians and others. So why did I linger over this particular email? Something clicked in my head. Why not try to reason with this person and bring him to my way of thinking? Not possible. A face to face meeting would probably result in me being verbally abused at best or physically abused at worst. Two things I dislike – rejection and pain! And meeting him will probably expose me to both. I made a cup of green tea and went back to the email and I decided to write this.

In the beginning my first conscious memory of this racial thing was when I was around six years old living in Pendang in Kedah. I remember clearly that our house was beside the road that the Chinese Funeral procession will take on their way to the cemetery. I remember the wailings and the long processions – sometimes with a band. And I remember that the Malays did not say “Cina mati” …but “Cina mampus” – a derogatory term of death not use by the Malays unless it is to denote disgust for the dead. That memory has stayed with me until now that I am 63 – but only the memory for many years ago I stopped using the term ‘mampus’ to describe the Chinese who have died.

Is it not natural that those who have been bought up to dislike – or even to hate another race for whatever reason – that this dislike, this hate will stay with him or her for a very long time? So what will chage them? It cannot come from within them. It must come from without. For me the beginning was my education at MCKK. This was an all-Malay boarding school in Kuala Kangsar but we had wonderful teachers of all races. Race was never an issue. I left MCKK completely at ease with being amongst the ‘others’ around me. And after MCKK I never looked back to those Pendang days.

Now I am even more aware what we Malays need to do to achieve our own level of comfort amongst the others in Malaysia. But it is my own personal goal wherever I am. I always want to better myself whether I am in London, Bombay, Adelaide or Kuala Lumpur. Race has got nothing to do with it. We must each educate our children of this. How we tell our children to see others will make the difference between the Malaysia that we see now and the Malaysia that we want. It will take one or two generations to make that change but it starts with us and it starts with the right education.

Then we will know that in the time to come our children will not be receiving the kind of emails that I got this morning – an email that is a sad commentary of what UMNO has made some Malays into. A Malay obsessed with Kutuanan Melayu. A Malay haunted with the worry that PAS and Anwar will give DAP ‘kuasa politik Melayu’ and control over the Government in this country. A Malay unable to understand that for the ‘others’ to love Malaysia they must be given equal opportunity and Justice in all things Malaysian because to do otherwise would not be ‘adil’ to those that call Malaysia “HOME”.

The Nut Graph's Malaysia Day Awards

By The Nut Graph team
thenutgraph.com

NO, The Nut Graph did not forget that 16 Sept is Malaysia's real birthday, and that in 2009, Malaysia turns 46, not 52. Discussions on 16 Sept seem less passionate and visible this year, unlike last year when the date was also the subject of a much-hyped takeover of the federal government by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

This does not make Malaysia Day any less meaningful, however. So here, to commemorate Malaysia's real national day, The Nut Graph presents our pick of the 10 best cultural expressions of Malaysia for our inaugural Malaysia Day awards. Like our Merdeka Awards, we do not claim that this is a definitive or exhaustive list. Share with us some of your picks in the comments section.

Tugu Drum Circle


(Tugu logo courtesy of Paul Lau)
Started by two dudes named Paul Lau and Salim, Tugu Drum Circle is a group of people who gather in a park to bang on drums, pots, pans, buckets and anything else with a surface to drum on. So what's uniquely Malaysian about this? The answer is deceptively simple: try going to the National Monument or Tugu Negara at the Lake Gardens on Sundays, around 6pm-ish, and see for yourself.

Watch how men and women, girls and boys, of all ages, races, religions and even nationalities, delight in making rhythm together. When the headlines have been all about cow-head protests, whipping and bitter politicking, we dare you to tell us you're not cheered up by seeing Malaysians — and non-Malaysians — making music together.

13 May, 1969

At the polar opposite end of Tugu Drum Circle's feel-good expression of Malaysia is the late Redza Piyadasa's troubling visual art work, 13 May, 1969. Malaysians have heard enough about 13 May — mostly from BN politicians and official textbooks — being the reason why we can't talk about race.

In Piyadasa's imagining, though, 13 May is represented by an upright coffin wrapped in the Malaysian flag. So, was 13 May the day Malaysia died? It's a question Malaysians must answer sincerely if a better Malaysia is what we want.

Mak Bedah


(Courtesy of Options / The Edge)
During the March 2008 general election, the Women's Candidacy Initiative (WCI) fielded the late Zaitun (Toni) Mohamed Kasim as its candidate. Toni was a non-partisan activist who championed the rights of the marginalised — women, Orang Asli, migrant workers, transsexuals, people with HIV/AIDS, you name it. And then Toni was hospitalised on the eve of nomination day, only to be diagnosed with terminal gall-bladder cancer later.

Instead of despairing, WCI decided to field a symbolic candidate anyway — the totally fictitious and utterly lovable Mak Bedah.

Clad in a purple selendang, Mak Bedah could be seen going to the various ceramah, asking candidates if they would respect true democracy and human rights if they were elected, among other things. Therefore, despite not being an actual candidate, Mak Bedah helped spread an important message: that the everywoman has every right to participate in politics, with intelligence, humour and poise to boot. Given the increasingly intense politicking between the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the PR since March 2008, this is a timely message indeed for all Malaysians.

Shanon Shah was part of WCI, and The Nut Graph forgives him for trying to rap in one of WCI's YouTube videos.

Sepet

Sepet was the film that really made Malaysians sit up and notice the late Yasmin Ahmad. The writer-director's story of a gutsy Malay Malaysian girl who falls in love with a sensitive Chinese Malaysian VCD pirate is not without its flaws. For one thing, do Malay Malaysians actually behave and talk like Orked and her family?

But given Yasmin's overarching vision — that of a diverse Malaysia in which people are free to love and be loved — the suspension of disbelief is something many Malaysians willingly gave in to.

Kinabalu Series

There is a giant digital print in Sabah-born Yee I-Lann's Kinabalu Series called Anak Negeri, in which a diverse group of Sabahans face the spectator, amid a desolate and cloudy landscape. The artwork is large and sumptuous, but it also asks a host of questions about the very concept and foundation of Malaysia.

The series as a whole asks, figuratively rather than literally, where is East Malaysia in this nation called Malaysia? Yee has exhibited all over the world, including at the Tate Modern in London, the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, and also Galeri Petronas. It is easy to see why.


Yee I-Lan, Anak Negeri Kinabalu Series, 2007 (Courtesy of Yee I-Lann)

15Malaysia

The 15Malaysia website describes this short-film project as a collection of "funky little films made by 15 Malaysian voices for the people of Malaysia". In the era of 1Malaysia, this is a subtle reminder that perhaps Malaysians need to think about unity and diversity in more creative and inclusive ways.

The filmmakers include, among others, Amir Muhammad, Ho Yuhang and Yasmin, and some of the subjects and actors include PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin. Diverse indeed!

P Ramlee – the Musical

Enfiniti Productions' P Ramlee the Musical allowed Malaysian theatre audiences to discover a few things. But the most intriguing aspect of this musical is its signposting of Malaya's independence, and the eventual birth of Malaysia, as the background to P Ramlee's life story. Yes, when Malaysia was born, funky Malaysians, including Malay Muslims, were partying, too!

The Other Malaysia

Spearheaded by Malaysian scholar-activist Dr Farish Noor, The Other Malaysia (TOM) is a resource website that aims to uncover untold and even repressed Malaysian stories and history. That the website has been chugging along regularly for some years now is proof not just of Farish and gang's tenacity, but of the site's relevance to thinking Malaysians.

TOM casts a wide net indeed, from its own critiques of current Malaysian politics to talking about Sir Salman Rushdie's controversial knighthood in 2007 and revealing to Malaysians the problematic origins of the Jalur Gemilang.

50:44

When the pre-March 2008 BN government was busy trumpeting "Malaysia's" 50th anniversary as a nation in 2007, a coalition of civil society groups begged to differ. They organised a 10-day festival, 50:44, at the Annexe at Central Market to commemorate the "everyday people" who helped build this nation "for the past 50 years since Independence and 44 years since we became Malaysia".


(Pic courtesy of Amnesty International Malaysia)

The festival consisted of talks, film screenings, performances and discussions on a range of issues, including refugee and migrant workers' rights, gender and sexuality, freedom of religion and expression, and indigenous people's rights. The Nut Graph remembers and salutes this attempt by Malaysians to reclaim Malaysia from political elites.

Fast for the Nation, Peace for Malaysia


(Pic by cyborg1us / sxc.hu)
A small but diverse group of Malaysians — of all faiths, races, and with a healthy balance of men and women — are fasting and going vegetarian today, 16 Sept 2009, for peace and harmony in Malaysia. Fast for the Nation, Peace for Malaysia is a symbolic act; it will not change policies and politics overnight. But it is also an attempt by a humble group of Malaysians to light up the candle of inclusiveness so that the rest of us do not have to curse the darkness.

“Penang” tak boleh! - Anil Netto

Yesterday, I wrote “Penang boleh!”

I spoke too soon. It should be “Penang” tak boleh! Apparently, any group, publication or event that wants to use “Penang” in its name must now get approval from the state government?

What???

“People should know that ‘Penang’ is not a name that they can simply use,” the Chief Minister is reported as saying in theSun. “The Penang government is the sole authority to decide whether anyone can use the state brand.”

What nonsense is this? Who appointed it the sole authority? The name of a place belongs to its people, not to the state government. Just because of a few abuses, it wants to control the usage of the place-name and claim ownership over it.

Since when has Penang become a “brand”? (Want to copyright and patent it?) Such giveaway words reflect a corporate-business mentality, not a people-centred mind-set.

It is this same kind of corporate developer-friendly mentality that allows a private company to block and close a public road – Jalan Kaki Bukit – just because the firm is carrying out a construction project. (Is this a permanent or temporary closure? Don’t tell me the road has been sold as well! If that’s the case, use the Land Acquisition Act to reacquire the road as it is for a public purpose.) Where is the CAT?

The Companies Commission and the Registrar of Societies already have their own requirements on the usage of place names. Is there a need for other “approvals” now? What is the criteria for such “approvals”?

What is the state government’s position on websites such as Penang Story, Penang Media and Penang Watch?

What about the civil society event called Penang Forum, organised by Penang-based NGOs after the general election last year?

What if someone opens a blog or magazine called Penang Char Koay Teow or Kuih-muih Pulau Pinang? Is the state government now saying that such names now require “approval” – because it supposedly owns the Penang “brand”? Give me a break.

SUHAKAM has the power of recording statements of witnesses both civilian and police officers

Contributed by Adilah Ariffin

On 11 September 2009, Dato’ Muhammad Shafee Md Abdullah, on behalf of the SUHAKAM Panel of Inquiry delivered the written decision on:

(a) whether the SUHAKAM Commission has the power under the Human Rights Commission Act 1999 (Act 597) to compel witnesses to have their statements recorded and affirmed for purposes of being used subsequently at the hearing in the Inquiry?

(b) in the event witnesses refuse to allow their statements to be recorded, are there available remedies or powers of enforcement with SUHAKAM to discourage such refusal with threats of legal consequences?

This SUHAKAM Public Inquiry is in respect of the five members of the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur) who were arrested on 7 May 2009 when they requested access to persons detained at the Brickfields Police Station. The Public Inquiry convened on 14 August 2009 and continued on 15 and 16 August 2009. On 29 August 2009 when the Panel reconvened, a matter arose with regards to the fact that most of the police witnesses had refused to give authenticated written statements or any written statements at all.

It was in this context that the Panel heard arguments on the issues listed above on 2 September 2009.

In its finding and opinion, specifically in relation to sec 14 (1)(a) of the Human Rights Commission Act 1999 (under Powers relating to inquiries), the Panel of Inquiry declared that SUHAKAM has the power:

(a) to procure and receive all such evidence;

(b) to decide if evidence is to be either written or oral;

(c) to examine all such persons as witnesses;

(d) as SUHAKAM thinks necessary or desirable to procure or examine.

In conclusion, the Panel of Inquiry stated, among others, that,

“Section 14(1)(a) grants Suhakam with the power of recording statements of witnesses, whether they are civilians or police officers”

and the panel directed that,

“the relevant named police officers who have been subpoenaed to appear before the [Panel of Inquiry] to provide written statements of their interview with Suhakam officers … these statements must be recorded and authenticated before the 19th September 2009.”

For more information, please refer to the attached full written decision.

Malaysian woman, 107, fears hubby No. 22 will leave her

(CNN) -- Afraid that her husband will leave her for a younger woman, a 107-year-old Malaysian woman is looking to marry again -- for the 23rd time.

Wok Kundor: "I am an aged woman. I don't have the body nor am I a young woman who can attract anyone."

Wok Kundor: "I am an aged woman. I don't have the body nor am I a young woman who can attract anyone."

Wok Kundor has been happily married for four years to her husband, a man 70 years her junior.

But since he left their village in northern Terengganu state for a drug rehabilitation program in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, Wok has had a gnawing feeling.

"She said that she has been feeling insecure lately and she needs to find out whether he still loves her or not," said R.S.N. Murali, a reporter for The Star. The English-language Malaysian daily was among several local media outlets reporting on the lifelong romantic.

"She is worried he might not come back after his program and find himself a younger wife," Murali said.

If so, Wok has her eyes set on a 50-year-old man, but hopes it does not come to that.

"I realize that I am an aged woman. I don't have the body nor am I a young woman who can attract anyone," she told the newspaper.

"My intention to remarry is to fill my forlornness," particularly during the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, she said.

Malaysian media, which has previously reported on the woman, said Wok has been married 22 times. That would make her marriages last an average of four years.

Wok would not discuss past relationships, Murali said.

"Some of her better halves have passed away or have divorced, but she doesn't want to talk about them or her children," he said.

Wok and her current husband, Mohammed Boor Che Musa, hail from the same village and met there.

Muhammad, 37, was quoted in an earlier report as saying the couple fell for each other because it was "God's will."

On Monday, he told The Star that he is still very much in love with his wife and cannot dream of life with someone else.

But Wok wants to hear him say it, Murali said.

Soon, the centenarian plans to make the journey to Kuala Lumpur -- if she can find a neighbor to drive her there.

Buah Pala: Police report lodged against developer - Malaysiakini

Kampung Buah Pala residents lodged a police report last night against the land owner and Oasis project developer for allegedly committing contempt of court by demolishing occupied homes in the village yesterday.

NONEThe owners of the 12 houses demolished by developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd yesterday lodged separate reports with similar contents in Jelutong police station.

In their reports, the residents alleged that the developer and land owner - Koperasi Pegawai Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang - have violated the court written order issued on June 16 this year.

They claimed the court had only allowed the land owner for vacant possession of their village land, but not demolishing their homes.

They have accused the developer and cooperative society of causing criminal damage on their livelihood and properties.

A similar report was also lodged by the Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association assistant secretary C Tharmaraj on the behalf of villagers at the Brickfields police station, Kuala Lumpur around midnight yesterday.

In his report, Tharmaraj accused the developer of using terror tactics to put fear and intimidate the villagers in order to evict them.

He claimed the rampaging demolition team had caused an estimated RM4 million loss to the residents in damage to their properties.

Social activist and writer A Thiruvenggadam, who accompaned Tharmaraj to the police station, said that a delegation from the association met Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak yesterday for some 30 minutes to brief him on the villagers' predicament.

"The Prime Minister expressed his concern and had promised us to take whatever action within his powers to end the crisis in a peaceful manner.

"I think he was sincere in wanting to help the villagers," Thiruvenggadam told Malaysiakini.

He however did not mince his words against the Penang government headed by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"All this while, Lim has always claimed that he and his state government had nothing to do with the demolition exercises carried out by the developer.

'Demolition during compensation talks' claim


"Yesterday's demolition and the three previous exercises clearly showed the he had been behind them all.

"He incites the developer to resort to aggressive tactics and use violence on the villagers while he lives in his comfort zone," alleged Thiruvenggadam.

He said the developer had also breached a gentleman's agreement with the villagers by tearing down their houses while negotiations were still going on to resolve the compensation issue amicably.

"It clearly showed that the developer wanted to scare the villagers and coerce them into accepting the compensation.

NONE"The villagers are being robbed, intimidated and humiliated by the developer with tacit support from the state government," accused Thiruvenggadam (being restrained in photo).

He alleged that he was manhandled, assaulted and detained by the police during an earlier demolition exercise on Sept 3.

He said Lim's mishandling and mismanagement of the village crisis reflected his immaturity and inexperience in political governance.

'Not being greedy but cautious'

He said Lim had betrayed the people after assuming power despite the help of popular support for Pakatan Rakyat in last year's general election.

"The state government was popularly elected by Penangites. It is now fast losing its credibility," he said.

NONEBased on his comparative study on style of governance, he said Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim was so much better than Lim in tackling controversies.

"Khalid is not arrogant, a good listener and takes extra care in not breaching natural justice and social rights, unlike Lim," said Thiruvenggadam, an ex-PKR municipal councillor in Petaling Jaya.

Although Lim and Nusmetro have claimed that a 'double-storey house' has been offered to the villagers, he said there had not been any concrete compensation offer tabled to the villagers.

"The offer did not reveal specific details of the double storey houses, but rather was tainted with all sorts of conditions.

"It's wrong and slanderous for certain quarters to accuse the villagers of being greedy without knowing the truth," he said, referring to certain online bloggers and commentaries criticising the villagers' refusal to take up the offer.

Five more ISA detainees released

Chua: Ong's his own worst enemy

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Harapan melihat Umno terkubur sejak tahun 60an - Nik Aziz

Kugan Going to Palace

Car Theft suspect Kugan Ananthan’s mysterious death while under police custody entering ninth month without any arrest. Both Police and Attorney General office playing cat and mouse game simply to let who ever the murderer was to manoeuvre among Malaysian Public.

The unprofessional act officers and government leaders protecting those culprit raises possibilities they trying to cover up something despite public outcry. The only choice, left is seeking His Royal Highness approval to form Royal Commission of Inquiry to identify real culprits behind the death of Kugan.

We need to know why and how Kugan was killed? Does the police or even any enforcement authority have right to Kill suspects while under custody?

After consulting former ISA Detainees and Lawyers P. Uthayakumar and Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M Manogaran and Teluk Intan Member of Parliament we have decided to submit a memorandum to His Royal Highness Yang DiPertuan Agong to seek his consent of establishing Royal Commission of Inquiry. The said memorandum submission is planned to take place on October 3, 2009.

Planning is underway to obtain Injunction against Police and Attorney General Police from disturbing public make effort to submit memorandum to His Royal Highness. I’m sure those culprits behind will use all means available within law to threat and arrest including himself from getting nearer to national Palace. If this happens, it’s very much clear Kugan was murdered.

Rakyat akan tolak parti bodoh sombong - Dr Mahathir

(Harakah) - Janji pembangunan dan perbuatan menabur wang tidak akan berkesan lagi apabila rakyat membenci parti yang bodoh sombong dan mengamalkan rasuah, kata bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dalam apa yang dilihat sebagai respon segeranya terhadap sanggahan Presiden MIC, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu terhadap peringatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Tun semalam menulis mengenai "orang politik yang berpendapat jika dapat jadi Presiden parti maka kemenangan mereka dalam pilihan raya terjamin".

Walaupun tidak menyebut nama Samy Vellu, tulisan terbaru Dr Mahathir dalam blognya dilihat sebagai ditujukan kepada bekas Menteri Kerja Raya itu.

Sebelum itu, Samy Vellu membidas peringatan Najib yang juga Pengerusi Barisan Nasional (BN) ketika merasmikan Perhimpunan Agung MIC Ke-63 Sabtu lalu.

"Perdana Menteri cakap, bila popular di dalam parti sahaja tak mencukupi. Perlu popular di kalangan rakyat juga.

"Biar saya cakap ini. Kalau popular di dalam parti baru anda bercakap di luar, dengan rakyat. Kalau tak, mereka akan tanya, siapa kamu?" kata beliau.

ImageDalam responnya itu, Dr Mahathir mendedahkan, orang politik yang percaya kedudukan sebagai presiden parti akan menjamin kemenangan pilihan raya itu "berusaha untuk menentukan kemenangan mereka melalui penyingkiran ahli yang tidak menyokong mereka, mengguna wang untuk membeli sokongan atau mengguna apa-apa kuasa yang ada pada mereka untuk menyogok, menjanji sesuatu kepada yang akan menyokong atau mengugut".

Hasilnya, kata bekas Presiden Umno itu, mereka menang dalam parti.

"Tetapi rakyat memerhati segala tindak-tanduk pemimpin dan ahli seperti ini.

"Apabila rakyat lihat perjuangan parti bukan lagi untuk rakyat; apabila mereka lihat rasuah dan ugutan yang menentukan kepimpinan, maka kepercayaan kepada parti dan pemimpinnya akan terhakis dan mungkin hilang lenyap," katanya.

Beliau mengingatkan, apabila pilihan raya umum diadakan maka rakyat dan ahli-ahli parti sebagai pengundi akan menyatakan kekecewaan mereka walaupun mereka tidak dapat membuat apa-apa terutama apabila mulut mereka tertutup.

Perkara itulah yang telah berlaku pada Pilihanraya Umum ke 12 pada 8 Mac tahun lalu, katanya.

"Apakah kekecewaan rakyat disedari oleh pemimpin dan parti-parti politik. Hingga kini tidak ternampak yang parti dan pemimpin sudah betul-betul sedar.

"Yang merebut jawatan masih merebut dengan penggunaan cara-cara lama. Pembersihan parti tidak juga dilakukan. Pengamal politik wang masih diterima dan diberi tempat.

"Ahli-ahli biasa parti tidak memprotes sikap lama diteruskan. Bahkan ramai juga ahli yang berpendapat apa salahnya menabur wang. Mereka juga akan dapat sedikit habuan," kata Dr Mahathir.

Bekas Pengerusi BN itu mengingatkan bahawa kelebihan undi sedikit sahaja kepada parti lawan akan menyebabkan kekalahan.

Dr Mahathir bagaimanapun tidak mengulas luahan kemarahan seorang perwakilan perhimpunan MIC itu yang mahu mengalungkan selipar pada gambarnya.

Seolah-olah membela tindakan itu, anak lelaki Samy Vellu, Vell Paari berkata, tindakan itu adalah semata-mata luahan kekecewaan terhadap Dr Mahathir dan pihak-pihak lain yang cuba campur tangan dalam urusan dalaman MIC.

Apa yang disifatkan sebagai luahan kekecewaan oleh Vell Paari itu berpunca dari pandangan Dr Mahathir sebelum itu.

Ketika diwawancara akhbar Tamil, Makkal Osai, Dr Mahathir berkata, masyarakat India mengundi pembangkang dalam pilihan raya umum lalu kerana marahkan Samy Vellu.

"Jika masyarakat India mahu kemajuan dan melangkah ke hadapan, mereka mesti singkirkan Samy Vellu," katanya.

Vell Paari juga mengulas kenyataan Najib yang dibidas ayahnya.

"Para perwakilan juga kecewa dengan ucapan (perasmian) Najib yang tersirat kritikan terhadap Presiden MIC dan menggesa dilakukan perubahan di dalam parti, seolah-olah beliau mahu pasukan presiden dikalahkan," katanya.

Kecaman perwakilan MIC terhadap Dr Mahathir itu bukanlah kecaman pertama kali dari dalam BN terhadapnya.

Tiga tahun lalu, Dr Mahathir pernah merungut terhadap penghinaan dan sekatan Umno terhadapnya.

"Ada yang panggil saya beruk, ada panggil iblis, ini budaya Umno yang baru".

Beliau juga berkata: "Yang itu (sekatan) lebih pelik, lebih menghina saya bahkan jadikan saya pariah dalam Umno. Saya bekas Presiden jadi pariah dalam Umno".

Perarakan di London lebih bertamadun - Nik Aziz

(Harakah) - Walaupun bimbang adanya dalang di sebalik tunjuk perasaan memperingati tragedi runtuh menara berkembar World Trade Centre (WTC) di London 11 September lalu, PAS menyifatkan ia lebih bertamadun berbanding perarakan kepala lembu di Shah Alam.

Mursyidul Am PAS, Tuan Guru Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat berkata, perarakan di Shah Alam tidak bertamadun kerana ia membangkitkan isu perkauman dan penghinaan terhadap agama lain.

Baru-baru ini demonstrasi antiIslam diadakan berdekatan Masjid Utama Harrow, barat laut London dianjurkan Pertubuhan Hentikan Pengislaman Eropah (SIOE).

Seorang anggotanya, Stephen Gash dilaporkan menegaskan tidak mahu sebarang masjid dibina sehingga isu kebencian diselesaikan.

Demontrasi itu mencetuskan kemarahan kira-kira 1,000 pemuda Islam sehingga berlaku ketegangan antara kedua-dua pihak sehingga memaksa polis menahan 10 orang yang terlibat ketika menyuraikan keadaan.

Kebimbangan mengenai keganasan kian meningkat selepas berlaku pergaduhan ketika perarakan menentang fundamentalisme Islam oleh sebuah kumpulan pelampau kanan, Liga Pertahanan England di Birmingham.

ImageNik Aziz Khuatir kalau-kalau demonstrasi didalangi Yahudi yang mahu melaga-lagakan penganut agama Islam dan Kristian.

Menteri Besar Kelantan itu berkata, sejarah menunjukkan terdapat seorang rabbi Yahudi mengakui menjadi punca kepada setiap kejahatan yang berlaku.

"Hal ini dicatatkan dalam sejarah pada zaman Rasulullah saw, di mana terdapat seorang paderi Yahudi yang bernama Kaab bin Ashraf pernah memberitahu mengenai perihal pengakuan kejahatan yang dilakukan pihaknya.

"Semua peristiwa itu terakam dalam ayat 51, surah An Nisa'," katanya ketika ditemui di pejabatnya di sini, hari ini.

Oleh itu Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz tidak menolak kemungkinan penglibatan Yahudi yang cuba untuk melaga-lagakan antara golongan Kristian dan Islam di London.

"Benarlah Yahudi merupakan golongan penghasut untuk mengadu domba dengan menggunakan pelbagai alasan yang remeh-temeh.

"Tunjuk perasaan yang berlaku di London sebenarnya bukan masalah keganasan yang dituduh terhadap umat Islam tetapi ia merupakan dendam kesumat golongan yang tidak suka kepada Islam," katanya.

Beliau juga berkata, keganasan sengaja dibangkitkan pihak tersebut sebagai kerana Islam kini semakin mendapat tempat dalam masyarakat di seluruh dunia.

Menurutnya puak pelampau terbabit sengaja menggunakan alasan memperingati tragedi serangan 11 September untuk menanam kebencian terhadap Islam.

Beliau juga berharap pendakwah-pendakwah Islam di London dan Eropah tidak lagi mengharap pendakwah yang datang daripada luar untuk menyebarkan agama suci itu di tempat mereka.

"Bahkan suatu hari nanti kita akan melihat orang-orang Inggeris menjadi pendakwah sesama mereka, lebih-lebih lagi orang Inggeris memiliki pemikiran yang terbuka," katanya.

Beliau juga mahu perbezaan agama diselesaikan menerusi perbincangan secara ilmiah.

It’s a matter of civility and etiquette

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Malaysians have a lot to learn about the concept of agreeing to disagree. Today, I am bitterly opposed to Najib. But I still give him the respect due to him although I whack him to kingdom come. And I have told Najib’s brother that I quite like the man although I am opposed to him and will not slow down on the Altantuya issue.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

When I write, I always refer to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as just Anwar Ibrahim (the Umno Blogs call him BABI, though, short for Brother Anwar Bin Ibrahim). But when I meet Anwar face-to-face I address him as ‘Datuk Seri’.

And the same goes for all those others who hold Datuk, Datuk Seri or Tan Sri titles as well -- whether they are from the ruling party, the opposition, or the head of the police like Musa Hassan. When I write, I refer to them by their names. I even refer to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, without the ‘Datuk Seri’ title (although I don’t drop the ‘Tun’ in his father’s name and add ‘Prime Minister’ in front of his name).

This has been my normal practice. Friends and foes alike are referred to by their names without their Tan Sri, Datuk Seri or Datuk titles. Tunku Abdul Rahman is referred to simply as ‘the Tunku’. That is because there is only one First Prime Minister of Malaysia and he is fondly called ‘the Tunku’ by all and sundry.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asked to be called Pak Lah. So, in keeping with his wishes, I refer to him as Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the first time he is mentioned, and thereafter as Pak Lah whenever I further mention his name in that same article. As for the others such as Tun Razak Hussein, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, I always include the ‘Tun’ in their names the first time I mention them and thereafter I refer to them just by their names.

In short, only the ‘Tun’, the highest title in the land, gets mentioned while all other ‘lower’ titles need no mentioning. But when I am talking to them then I address them by their titles. This is proper etiquette and the most civilised thing to do, even if they are ‘the enemy’.

When I met Tunku Rahman on his 80th birthday celebration in the Park Royal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur back in the 1980s, I kissed his hand in spite of the fact I was opposed to him and felt that he could have done more for this country but did not. And I also kiss Dr Mahathir’s hand whenever I happen to meet him face-to-face, as I would any ex-prime minister of Malaysia and someone who is much older to me.

Heck, I even refer to MGG Pillai as Mister Pillai and I address him so when I am talking to him face-to-face. He is Mister to me because he is older than me. And he used to address me as just Petra and not as Raja or Tengku whenever we met, which was quite often before he died.

I acknowledge the status and age of the ex-Prime Ministers of Malaysia, even the ones I don’t like. And I give them the respect due to them. We can disagree with these people on the basis of ideology and principle. But that does not take away the fact that they hold a certain position in our community plus the fact that they are older than us. And because of that we must conduct ourselves in a certain manner when in their presence and give them due respect befitting their age.

This probably makes me ‘old Malay’. And I mean old in values rather than in age when I say this. Therefore, garlanding Dr Mahathir with slippers is not something I would do, never mind what I may think of him.

My friends are extremely puzzled as to why I appear to give Dr Mahathir that amount of respect. They would imagine after what happened to me at the hands of Dr Mahathir during the Reformasi years I would spew insults on the man.

Sure, I was probably one of those who opposed Dr Mahathir bitterly. And I paid for that by getting arrested and one month later getting detained under the Internal Security Act back in 2001. “So why have I not demanded my pound of flesh?” ask my very confused friends.

Malaysians have a lot to learn about the concept of agreeing to disagree. Today, I am bitterly opposed to Najib. But I still give him the respect due to him although I whack him to kingdom come. And I have told Najib’s brother that I quite like the man although I am opposed to him and will not slow down on the Altantuya issue.

Does this sound strange? How can I like Najib yet in the same breath swear to bring him down? Well, I never said I was not a strange person.

Once, when Khairy Jamaluddin walked into the room and came over to my table, I stood up and offered him a seat. And I did not sit down until he had first sat down. You would imagine that after what I had written about him we would have come to blows rather than sit and smoke cigars together and engage in a matured and gentlemanly two hours discussion on the Malaysian political scene.

His Highness the Sultan of Selangor is my cousin, twice removed. Tuanku’s father, the late Agong, and my late father were cousins. The late Agong referred to my late father as ‘Abang Din’ (meaning ‘Elder Brother Din’ – Din is short for Kamarudin). Tuanku’s grandfather was the younger brother to my grandmother. That was why my late father was ‘abang’ to the late Agong.

In that sense that makes His Highness the present Sultan of Selangor my adek (younger brother) as well. But Tuanku does not call me ‘abang’. First of all he is the Sultan, so he is higher in rank than me. Plus, our ages are almost the same, maybe only three years or so difference in age. Therefore, I call him ‘Tuanku’ and he calls me Petera.

When my late father went into conflict with the late Agong, my father reminded the Agong that he (my father) is abang while Tuanku is adek (actually, that was how the conflict started). So Tuanku had better not forget that. Invariably, my father was dropped from the palace ‘protocol list’ and never again received an invitation to the palace till the day he died. In fact, the Agong did not even attend my father’s funeral although he was buried in the Royal Mausoleum in Kelang.

I know the Sultan of Selangor is very upset with me for mentioning this a few months ago in one of my articles. But that is a fact of history, which can never change however you may wish to rewrite history. And I also know that the Sultan whacked me in the presence of many senior Selangor government officials, the Menteri Besar and EXCO members included. My nemesis the IGP was also there and he was smiling away with delight just like the cat that had swallowed the canary to see me get whacked in public by no less than the Sultan himself.

I disagree with what the Sultan did. I have, in fact, never forgotten or forgiven Tuanku and his late father for ‘boycotting’ my father’s funeral. But he is the Sultan, as was his father before him, and I ‘allow’ him that prerogative of demonstrating his displeasure against one of his subjects even if that subject is senior to you. And my late father is a subject of the Sultan of Selangor. I even have his old certificate to prove it.

I received a command, a royal command, through my family. And that royal command was to apologise to the Sultan of Perak on what I wrote about the Perak Constitutional Crisis that resulted in the collapse of the Pakatan Rakyat state government. If I refuse to do that then the family would insert full-page advertisements in the mainstream newspapers chiding me for my actions, which the family regards as treason.

In Malaysia, treason is punishable by death, as what happened to the Al Maunah crowd who were found guilty of treason against the Agong and subsequently hanged. For a member of the royal family, treason against the Ruler is punishable by banishment from the state. In the past, many members of the royal family, a few Sultans included, were banished from the state and sent into exile on various islands in the Indian Ocean where they would end their sorry days.

In fact, if you were to read the history of our National Anthem, Negaraku, you will know that this song was 'created' by the Sultan of Perak who was then living in exile in the Seychelles.

As I said, I am ‘old Malay’. And ‘old Malays’ do not garland people with slippers. And as I have displeased the Ruler and since the family has labelled me a penderhaka, someone who has committed treason, then I accept the punishment for treason befitting a member of the family. I do not condemn the Sultan and call him binatang (like what Umno Terengganu did) or garland his picture with slippers.

MIC should have taken action immediately, not only after the brouhaha and only after it looked like Samy Vellu needed to engage in damage control. The action that MIC has just taken is too little, too late. The damage has already been done. MIC must learn how to agree to disagree with proper etiquette and protocol.

MIC has demonstrated biadap (insolence). Suspending the member who committed the offence many days later is too little, too late.

Saudara Lim, maybe I can help reply to your question

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“The government must punish all those lawbreakers, only then can it regain the public’s confidence. In the past, the public did not see those who abused their power getting punished, resulting in more abuses of power. As such, it (making the PKFZ audit report public) is a good start,” said Tun Daim Zainuddin.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

It is a great disappointment that the MCA Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is not being used for a united MCA call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal to bring to book all MCA, Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders implicated in the “mother of all scandals”.

When former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin could say that the PKFZ fiasco provides the Barisan Nasional government the best opportunity to fulfill its promise of cracking down on corruption, abuse of power and mismanagement, why are MCA, Umno and other Barisan Nasional component parties dragging their feet when they should be acting decisively to identity and punish the wrongdoers, without fear or favour and regardless of their present or past position or status?

Daim speaks with great authority, knowledge and experience when he said:

“The government must punish all those lawbreakers, only then can it regain the public’s confidence. In the past, the public did not see those who abused their power getting punished, resulting in more abuses of power. As such, it (making the PKFZ audit report public) is a good start”.

(READ MORE HERE: Daim: PKFZ fiasco provides best opportunity)

Daim cannot be more right as witnessed the five-fold multiplication of the first major financial scandal in the Mahathir premiership some three decades ago – the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal – to the present RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal!

The Cabinet decision last week to set up a super task force, headed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, to take over all investigations into the PKFZ scandal is not a demonstration of political will to get to the bottom of the “mother of all scandals” but the opposite.

I see it as a major step backwards in public accountability and good governance, as it smacks of being a super “cover up” task force for the PKFZ scandal.

What is needed is a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a comprehensive and no-holds-barred investigation into the “mother of all scandals” including relevant Ministerial and Cabinet aspects of the scandal instead of trying to sweep the whole issue back under the carpet.

In the first place, is Mohd Sidek the most appropriate person to head the super task force on the PKFZ scandal?

Before Mohd Sidek takes up this appointment, he should explain to the Malaysian public why he had failed in the past two years to carry out the Cabinet decision in July 2007 when it resolved on the RM4.6 billion bailout of PKFZ, including giving retrospective approval to the four illegal Letters of Support unlawfully given by the two previous Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, that the Chief Secretary should conduct an inquiry as to how the four Letters of Support could have issued unlawfully and to take the necessary disciplinary actions against the culprits who have now landed the country with a RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

Did Mohd Sidek carry out such an inquiry as not a single culprit had been identified, let alone penalised for the unlawful issue of the four Letters of Support in the past two years?

Clearly, Mohd Sidek had not carried out the Cabinet instruction or there would not be today a merry-go-round of multiple investigations into the PKFZ scandal, but all without the necessary sweeping powers to get to the bottom of the scandal.

Can Mohd Sidek succeed where he had failed in the past two years?

This is why the MCA, as the party which is most implicated in the PKFA scandal as so many MCA top leaders were involved whether as Transport Minister or Port Klang Authority Chairman, should take a stand to ensure that there should be no further cover-up of the PKFZ scandal and its EGM should, among other things, demonstrate the undivided support of the MCA delegates for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to bring to book all MCA, Umno and BN leaders implicated in the PKFZ “mother of all scandals”.

Lim Kit Siang, 15 September 2009

Tony Fernandes takes 1 Malaysia into Formula One

A model of the new 1 Malaysia team car unveiled today in Putrajaya. - Reuters pic

LONDON, Sept 15 — Formula One’s governing body today named Lotus as the 13th team for the 2010 championship. The new outfit will be led by Tony Fernandes of Malaysia, it was announced here.

In Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also confirmed the news and said the team will be known as the 1 Malaysia Formula One team, although Reuters quotes the FIA as calling the new outfit the Lotus F1 team.

According to Reuters, the new team is a partnership between the Malaysian government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs.

The FIA said the team principal will be leading Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes. The 45-year-old set up Asian budget airline Air Asia and, with a net worth of US$220 million (RM770.57 million), is Malaysia’s 15th richest man, according to Forbes Malaysia 2009 rich list.

Investors in the new team are Air Asia co-founders Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and Fernandes as well as SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin of Naza.

Technical director Mike Gascoyne has more than 20 years of experience in Formula One having previously performed the same role for the Force India, Toyota, Renault and Jordan Formula One teams.

As part of its application to compete in the 2010 championship, the Lotus team agreed an engine supply deal with Cosworth.

The team will initially be based in Norfolk, some 10 miles from the Lotus Cars factory in Eastern England.

The team’s future design, manufacturing and technical centre will be purpose built at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, the FIA statement said.

1Malaysia is Najib’s platform for uniting Malaysians irrespective of ethnicity and creating a performance based culture.

The concept has gotten mixed reviews as some have praised its objectives while others have criticised its vagueness, which Najib says is deliberate.

The Malaysian government has gone on overdrive to promote 1Malaysia via billboards and song competitions.

Najib declined to disclose the amount that the public-private initiative will cost.

He added however that the government’s investment will be via proton.

Lotus, one of the most successful and glorious names from Formula One’s past, will return next year replacing BMW-Sauber as the 13th entry on the starting grid.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that, after due diligence and an intensive selection process, it had chosen Lotus.

“The cars will be made in Malaysia, by Malaysians,” the Malaysian government said in a separate statement.

The vacancy arose after BMW announced that they were withdrawing at the end of the season, following a path already trodden by Japan’s Honda.

The FIA said BMW-Sauber, who are still seeking a buyer, had been given a reserve slot to fill any vacancy that might occur between now and the start of the 2010 championship.

“The team will announce its two drivers by October 31, 2009. Currently six local and international drivers have been selected,” the Malaysian government said.

Three teams had been on the FIA shortlist for the 13th slot: Lotus, a BMW-Sauber entry to be renamed under eventual new ownership and Spain’s Epsilon Euskadi.

The original Lotus won seven Formula One constructors’ titles and six drivers’ crowns between 1963 and 1978 under the inspirational leadership of the late Colin Chapman, one of the most innovative engineers in the sport.

Chapman died of a heart attack in 1982 and the company slid into administration in 1994 after giving the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna his first victory in 1985.

British great Jim Clark spent his entire F1 career with Lotus, winning two titles. The team’s other champions include compatriot Graham Hill, Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi and American Mario Andretti.

In 1970 the team’s Austrian driver Jochen Rindt became the sport’s only posthumous champion.

The right to the Lotus F1 name was acquired by David Hunt, brother of the 1976 champion James, while the British-based car company was bought by Malaysian state-owned Proton.

Guan Eng: Najib tougher to beat, compared to Badawi

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has conceded that Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be more difficult to displace as prime minister as he has proven to be a more effective political leader than his predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In an interview with the Financial Times of London published today, Lim, who is already setting his sights on the next general election, said: “There is a chance (of the opposition winning a parliamentary majority), but it is not going to be easy. It is probably harder under Najib than under Abdullah. I think Najib can get things done better than Abdullah.”

The report, written by its Singapore correspondent, Kevin Brown, said the comments of Lim, who is also secretary-general of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), were in contrast with the aggressive rhetoric of Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who had suggested that the Barisan Nasional-led federal government could be forced out before the next election by defections from its parliamentary ranks. Pakatan Rakyat has 83 seats in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat and needs to win 29 more parliamentary seats to take power.

The report said that Najib, since taking over as prime minister in April this year, had been reaching out to woo voters by being more encompassing in his policies for all ethnic groups, speaking out against corruption, freeing political prisoners and focusing campaigning resources on winnable seats.

To drive home the point, the report said Najib recently announced an inquiry into the Port Klang Free Zone, a port development project alleged to be plagued by cost overruns.

Recently, CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, an independent brokerage and investment group headquartered in Hong Kong, said Najib had covered good ground since taking office with a number of positive and impressive policies and actions.

They include liberalising the New Economic Policy, ensuring greater transparency, speeding up the award of government infrastructure projects and improving ties with Singapore to draw more foreign direct investments into Iskandar Malaysia, a development region in Johor twice the size of Singapore.

Labelling Najib’s positive economic and social reforms as “Najibnomics”, given his economics background, it said they were aimed at stimulating the local economy, attracting foreign investments and foreign talent, reducing bureaucracy, tackling crime and corruption, effecting greater accountability and promoting national unity (through the 1Malaysia concept).

With his background on industrial economics from the University of Nottingham, CLSA said, Najib had been quick to effect various fiscal, government and structural reforms. — Bernama

The Dalang behind the Wayang — Dr Farish A. Noor

SEPT 15 — Countries do not behave in a hostile manner against other countries for no apparent reason; and they do not engage in hate campaigns without someone orchestrating them. The downturn in Malaysian-Indonesian relations today has taken place over a series of related incidents, many of which were sparked by news reports of ill-treatment and abuse of Indonesian workers at the hands of Malaysians.

Needless to say, the fact that Malaysia’s own record when it comes to the treatment of foreigners is appalling has given substance to much of the hate-mongering that is taking place in Indonesia today.

But at the same time we need to understand the current goings-on in Indonesia from a more nuanced and detailed perspective, and to identify who are the real actors and agents behind the rise of the newly-minted self-appointed militias and vigilante groups such as the Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat (Bendera) that are currently on the prowl in Jakarta and other cities, looking for Malaysians to ‘sweep’ out of their country.

Let us remember that this year Indonesia witnessed the re-election of President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono (SBY), and the victory of his Partai Demokrat (PD). SBY’s victory comes as an unprecedented and welcomed surprise for the other countries of Southeast Asia, as it demonstrated the maturity of the Indonesian electorate and the development of perhaps the biggest real democracy in the Asean region.

The growth of democracy in Indonesia can only be good news for the rest of Asean, and for the region’s pro-democracy movements as well.

Yet as soon as the results were announced, dissenting voices could be heard from SBY’s competitors and other political parties such as the PDI-P under the leadership of Megawati Sukarnoputri. Since then, the heated discussions about the election results and procedures have continued unabated.

It is widely known in Indonesia that SBY and the PD’s victory has been contested from the start till now. Furthermore there are those who wish to use every opportunity to weaken his stand and to discredit him both domestically and internationally. Even during the election campaign, SBY was attacked by Megawati and the PDI-P for not doing enough to protect Indonesian workers in Malaysia and other countries; and SBY was painted as being too ‘soft’ on Malaysia. These are the very same allegations being made against him by the right-wing militias and vigilantes today.

So who are the ones who have been at the forefront of this campaign to demonise Malaysia and discredit SBY and the PD at the same time? Well, for a start, one has to look at the role of the Indonesian media, which happens to be the freest in Asean at the moment. Responsible newspapers and magazines such as the Jakarta Post, Tempo and Republika have been giving objective coverage of the issue, and different voices have been heard in their editorials, giving a balanced coverage of the Malaysia-Indonesia spat.

However one private TV channel — Metro TV — has been at the front of the campaign to highlight the issue, and it was Metro TV “that first blew up the story of the Pendet dance ad used by the Malaysian tourist agency”, according to veteran journalist Yoebal Rasyid. “For me, this is an instance where the TV station was using the issue to give the impression that SBY is weak”. It should be noted that the man behind Metro TV is Surya Paloh, a prominent member of the Golkar Party and who had once put himself forward for the post of President of Indonesia. Paloh is also known as one of the more vocal critics of SBY, and his hugely popular Metro TV remains his most powerful assent in the political landscape of Indonesia today.

Its is also interesting to note that the anti-Malaysian demonstrations have taken on the historically loaded semiotics of the Konfrontasi between Indonesia and Malaysia in the early 1960s. “There are Sukarnoist elements behind the rhetoric”, notes Prof Bambang Setiaji, rector of Muhamadiyah University Surakarta (UMS), who also notes that the dominant theme of the vigilante groups is the “defence of a united Indonesia”, harking back to the nationalist rhetoric of the Sukarno era.

So what seems to be happening at the moment is the conjunction of a range of unconnected but related agendas on the part of a myriad of actors and agents: “Islamic Youth groups that were formerly close to Golkar have also joined in the anti-Malaysian campaign; the PDI of Megawati is cashing in on the issue to rekindle the faded nostalgia of Sukarno, Megawati’s father; and local preman gangsters and thugs are jumping on the bandwagon just to make some quick money too”, noted another prominent Indonesian journalist.

But perhaps the saddest aspect of this latest wayang in Indonesia politics is that SBY and the PD-led government are not the only victims, but more so the people of Indonesia and the image of the country. As Dr Yusron Razak of the Sharif Hidayatullah Islamic University of Jakarta ‘as a result of this, now all Indonesians look bad, and Indonesia’s image is that of an unstable society’. In the days and weeks to come President Yudhoyono will have to bite the bullet and take the militias head-on to demonstrate that it is he, and not them, who was elected to serve as the President of the country.

But in the meantime the dalangs behind the wayang to discredit SBY will also be doing their best to destroy him reputation and image, and that of Indonesia’s too. — www.othermalaysia.org

Dr Farish A Noor is senior fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore and affiliated professor at Universitas Muhamadiyah Surakarta, Indonesia. This article was originally titled The Dalang Behind The Wayang: Identifying the Actors and Agents behind the anti-Malaysian Demos in Indonesia and first appeared in www.othermalaysia.org

Lim Guan Eng, Chinese gangsters & UMNO police force gang up to demolish Kg.Buah Pala

No Birth Certificate & IC, Indian girl disallowed into school & can’t sit for SPM

Statement (No 19) by P. Uthayakumar to the Government of Malaysia for which we expect a reply:

Juana an Indian girl was told to leave school and was also stopped from sitting for her SPM exams because the UMNO controlled Malaysia government deliberately and maliciously in pursuit of their racist and religious extremist policies refused to issue her her due Birth Certificate and Identity Card. The BC and IC should have been given to her as of right as per Article 14 of the Federal Constitution- Citizenship by operation of law, the following persons are citizens by operation of law :- for every person born on or after Malaysia Day. Juana’s parents Gabriel Johnson,55 & Mariah Nathan,50 (The Star 15/09/09 at page N20) were denied their BC and IC. And now Juana face the same problem. And so will Juana’s children and most likely even her generations to come. After an appeal by an NGO Juana has been allowed to sit for her SPM exams but only as an exception. The Indians are now expected to be grateful to UMNO for this. And The Star newsreport like almost all other UMNO controlled print and electronic media gives the impression that all her problems all and all the problems of the Indians have been solved. Juana will next not be allowed to sit her STPM enter a public University or get a study loan or scholarship. Juana’s is not an isolated case. This is only the tip of the iceberg. 150,000 other Indians cannot open a bank account, cannot buy a motorcycle, car or cannot even get married legally because they have unlawfully and unconstitutionally been denied their B.C and I.C. PAS, PKR & DAP does not care either for these working class Indians as they are merely Indians with no political power or economic clout. The Indian Political empowerment strategy is the only way forward.

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Chief Secretary should explain why he had failed in past two years to carry out Cabinet mandate to identify and punish culprits responsible for the un

By Lim Kit Siang,

It is a great disappointment that the MCA Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is not being used for a united MCA call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal to bring to book all MCA, Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders implicated in the “mother of all scandals”.

When former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin could say that the PKFZ fiasco provides the Barisan Nasional government the best opportunity to fulfill its promise of cracking down on corruption, abuse of power and mismanagement, why are MCA, Umno and other Barisan Nasional component parties dragging their feet when they should be acting decisively to identity and punish the wrongdoers, without fear or favour and regardless of their present or past position or status?

Daim speaks with great authority, knowledge and experience when he said:

“The government must punish all those lawbreakers, only then can it regain the public’s confidence.

“In the past, the public did not see those who abused their power getting punished, resulting in more abuses of power. As such, it (making the PKFZ audit report public) is a good start”.

Daim cannot be more right as witnessed the five-fold multiplication of the first major financial scandal in the Mahathir premiership some three decades ago – the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal – to the present RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal!

The Cabinet decision last week to set up a super task force, headed by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, to take over all investigations into the PKFZ scandal is not a demonstration of political will to get to the bottom of the “mother of all scandals” but the opposite.

I see it as a major step backwards in public accountability and good governance, as it smacks of being a super “cover up” task force for the PKFZ scandal.

What is needed is a Royal Commission of Inquiry to conduct a comprehensive and no-holds-barred investigation into the “mother of all scandals” including relevant Ministerial and Cabinet aspects of the scandal instead of trying to sweep the whole issue back under the carpet.

In the first place, is Mohd Sidek the most appropriate person to head the super task force on the PKFZ scandal?

Before Mohd Sidek takes up this appointment, he should explain to the Malaysian public why he had failed in the past two years to carry out the Cabinet decision in July 2007 when it resolved on the RM4.6 billion bailout of PKFZ, including giving retrospective approval to the four illegal Letters of Support unlawfully given by the two previous Transport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, that the Chief Secretary should conduct an inquiry as to how the four Letters of Support could have issued unlawfully and to take the necessary disciplinary actions against the culprits who have now landed the country with a RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal.

Did Mohd Sidek carry out such an inquiry as not a single culprit had been identified, let alone penalised for the unlawful issue of the four Letters of Support in the past two years?

Clearly, Mohd Sidek had not carried out the Cabinet instruction or there would not be today a merry-go-round of multiple investigations into the PKFZ scandal, but all without the necessary sweeping powers to get to the bottom of the scandal.

Can Mohd Sidek succeed where he had failed in the past two years?

This is why the MCA, as the party which is most implicated in the PKFA scandal as so many MCA top leaders were involved whether as Transport Minister or Port Klang Authority Chairman, should take a stand to ensure that there should be no further cover-up of the PKFZ scandal and its EGM should, among other things, demonstrate the undivided support of the MCA delegates for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to bring to book all MCA, Umno and BN leaders implicated in the PKFZ “mother of all scandals”.