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Sunday, September 20, 2009

PM to meet MIC chief on succession plan - Malaysiakini

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will meet S Samy Vellu to discuss the succession plan of the MIC president who has been helming the party since 1981.

Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chief, said Samy Vellu had indeed, met him prior to the MIC election in June, in Kuching this year to discuss the leadership change plan.

mic election 120909 najib"At that time, he told me that he could not step down and if he did, then it would destablise the party. But that was before the party election.

"But now after the election, I will discuss with him again but this should not be seen as BN's interference in the internal affairs of the MIC," he said.

The MIC held its party polls last week to pick a deputy president, three vice-presidents and 23 central working committee members. Samy Vellu won the party presidency for a record 11th consecutive term in March this year.

'We want Indian community's support'

Earlier this week, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad described Samy Vellu as a liability for the BN, in the ruling coalition's effort to win back the support of the Malaysian Indian community.

samy vellu exclusive on tamil schools 080708 06To this, the MIC president had said that Mahathir should not issue statements about the party leadership and that he had discussed with Najib on the party's succession plan in June, this year.

"I have to discuss with him (Samy Vellu) again on the matter. We, in the BN, want the support of the Indian community.

"But at the same time, we should not be seen as meddling in the affairs of the MIC. We want MIC to win back the support of the community," said Najib.

The prime minister said he would discuss the appropriate steps to be taken by the MIC chief on the matter.

However, he declined to reveal what was discussed between him and Samy Vellu during their meeting in June, saying that it was a private discussion.

Don’t use EGM to destroy party, Najib tells MCA

Najib greets MCA president Ong Tee Keat during the Hari Raya open house at Seri Perdana today. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 20 — The MCA’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Oct 10 is aimed at solving woes besieging the second largest political party in the country, and not meant to rekindle issues, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said here today.

Reiterating that while it was not the intention of Umno or Barisan Nasional (BN) to get involved in MCA’s leadership tussle, Najib, who is also BN chief, said it was important for MCA to solve its problems, as failing to do so would directly affect the people’s support for the ruling coalition.

“They have to hold the EGM to solve the party’s internal crisis, and not destroy the party.

“The EGM is to ensure that the party regained its strength and emerges stronger,” he told reporters at the Hari Raya open house hosted by the prime minister and the Cabinet at Seri Perdana here today.

The MCA EGM was called following the sacking of its deputy president, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, last month.

Yesterday, the MCA central committee decided to suspend Dr Chua for four years with immediate effect, revising the presidential council’s decision on Aug 26 to sack him.

The EGM would deliberate on five resolutions, namely to move a motion of no-confidence against MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat; to annul the presidential council’s decision to expel Dr Chua; to reinstate Dr Chua as party deputy president; to revoke any appointment made before the EGM; and that no disciplinary action be taken against the EGM requisitionists.

On another issue, Najib said the latest landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa in Kuala Lumpur had caused fear that there would be another major landslide in the area.

On Dec 6, last year, a landslide at Taman Bukit Mewah, Bukit Antarabangsa claimed four lives, destroying 14 bungalows in its wake.

“We are worried that it would lead to a bigger disaster damaging assets. The area has undergone too much development and is exposed to danger.

“Efforts should be undertaken to strengthen and stabilise the hill slope in the area,” added the prime minister. — Bernama

In The Spirit of Eid ul Fitra

By M. Bakri Musa

I applaud Prime Minister Najib Razak for releasing five more prisoners held under the unjust and abominable Internal Security Act (ISA). That he did it in the last Ashra (ten days) of Ramadan, and within days of Hari Raya, captures best the true spirit of Ramadan and the generosity of Eid ul Fitra.

Najib’s generous gesture illustrates another important point. Leaders do not need to resort to catchy slogans or grandiose gestures in order to demonstrate the greatness of our faith. His releasing the prisoners (this latest group of five, plus the earlier 13 set free on his assuming office and the 16 a few weeks later) did more to enhance the image of Islam than all the pontifications of his predecessor and self-styled Imam of Islam Hadhari, Abdullah Badawi. Abdullah’s frequent recitations of the ideals of Islam notwithstanding, he did not release a single prisoner during his tenure.

The only sour note to this latest action was the idiotic (what else is new?) comment by Home Minister Hishammuddin. He threatened “to fill Kamunting to the brim” if that was what it would take to protect the nation’s security. Despite his long years in government he has learned nothing; he still has the same perverted priorities.

Hishammuddin and others of his persuasion must be reminded over and over, for they are prone to forget, that the greatest threat to our nation’s security, and indeed our well being, remains our corrupt and ineffective institutions, including and especially the police and the anti-corruption commission. Both agencies are under Hishammuddin’s direct purview.

Two of the five just released had been detained for nearly eight years. That is a very long time to be deprived of one’s freedom, and to be away from one’s loved ones. It is well to remember that one of the purposes of Ramadan is to remind Muslims to feel for the pains of hunger of those less fortunate. In this regard, the wife of one of the men released, Mat Sah, had dutifully blogged (Merah Hitam: the sufferings she and her son Suhaib endured during the nearly eight years that the family was without a husband and a father.

I suggest that Hishammuddin and others who favor the ISA read her blog. If their conscience is not at all pricked by the running accounts of this young mother, then I suggest that they read Kassim Ahmad’s The Second University: Detention Under the ISA, and Syed Hussin Ali’s Two Faces: Detention without Trial.

If Hishammuddin is still not persuaded as to the evilness of the ISA, then I respectfully suggest that he is not entitled to be the beholder of the title “Yang Berhormat,” let alone be a minister in charge of such an important portfolio.

For every individual the government sends to Kamunting without affording him or her due process means a failure of our security apparatus and other institutions. Had our institutions, especially our intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies been effective, we should have been able to secure enough evidence to charge and convict them.

We are told that there are nine more still detained under the ISA. Until they too are released, or charged in open court, their detention will remain a blemish on the nation’s record. Nor should we remain quiet as to their plight, for the authorities are only too eager to read our silence as tacit approval.

We should not rest or take comfort until Kamunting is emptied and the ISA repealed.

One of those still detained is a fugitive from Singapore, Mas Selamat. Hishammuddin should entertain an extradition application from that republic. If nothing else that would give us an opportunity to evaluate the conviction of Mas Selamat down there.

If Hishammuddin feels strongly that the current detainees are a threat to Malaysia’s security then he should share the evidence he has with us and be prepared to charge them in court. Like his many predecessors, Hishammuddin has not demonstrated any credibility for us to believe merely his utterances.

Those citizens were deprived of their basic dignity and human rights by the decision of one man: the Home Minister. There is no provision for a judicial or other review of his pronouncement. His word is supreme. In our faith, only Allah has that power.

That is an awesome responsibility to put on any human being. Only the reckless and conscienceless would shoulder that responsibility lightly and thus would make flippant comments as wanting “to fill Kamunting to the brim.”

In the words of the Sudanese reformist Mahmoud Mohamad Taha (1909-85), “No person is perfect enough to be entrusted with the liberty and dignity of others.” Hence we need an effective system of checks and balances to minimize the risk of miscarriage of justice.

Tradition has it that once while Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., was leading a prayer, there was some confusion over the verse he had recited. After the prayer he turned to his companion Umar and inquired, “Where you present with us [during the prayer]?” When Umar replied in the affirmative, the prophet then asked him, “Why then did you not correct me?”

Muslims rightly regard Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., as the embodiment of the perfect human being. Our leaders and ministers are far from that. Thus we must not be fearful of or even hesitate in correcting our leaders when we think they have gone astray. The sooner we do this the less likely they would lead us further down the wrong path.

It is also incumbent upon leaders to straighten those under them who have strayed or demonstrate a tendency to do so. In releasing this latest batch of ISA detainees, Najib Razak demonstrated best the spirit of generosity and forgiveness that is the essence of Ramadan and Eid ul Fitra. He should not hesitate to correct the waywardness of those under him, beginning with his cousin and Home Minister Hishammuddin.

1Malaysia Spirit In The Air As Malaysians Celebrate A Joyous Aidilfitri

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- Muslims in Malaysia on Sunday celebrated a joyous Aidilfitri with family members and friends and the open house tradition, bringing forth the new 1Malaysia spirit.

The celebrations began early in the morning with millions of Muslims nationwide performing the Aidilfitri prayers in mosques.

This was followed by the open house tradition, a unique feature among the multiracial people where Malaysians would open their houses to guests to share the joyous occasion.

The open house tradition is given a greater significance this year through the 1Malaysia concept mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

In KUALA LUMPUR, the prime minister and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor attended a breakfast with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah at the Istana Negara.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong later proceeded to the National Mosque for the Aidilfitri prayers with the people.

In SHAH ALAM, the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, performed the solat sunat Aidilfitri together with over 10,000 people at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim also performed his prayers at the mosque and later held an open house at the Shah Alam Convention Centre.

In KUALA TERENGGANU, the head of the Terengganu Regency Advisory Council, Tengku Penglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman Sultan Mahmud, performed the Aidilfitri prayers with 2,000 people at the Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Mosque.

He was accompanied by Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, State Secretary Datuk Mokhtar Nong and members of the royal court.

He later visited the royal mausoleum at the mosque's compound. Meanwhile, Ahmad held an open house at Sri Iman, in Batu Burok.

In KOTA BAHARU, Kelantan Regent Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra performed the solat with over 3,000 Muslims at the Muhammadi Mosque.

This is the first time that the Sultan of Kelantan, Tuanku Ismail Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra, is unable to celebrate the Aidilfitri with the people as he is receiving treatment at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore since May 24.

Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat led the prayers at the Pulau Melaka Mosque.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed and Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin will hold their open houses on the third day of Hari Raya at Darul Falah, Jeli and Perupok, Bachok, respectively.

South African official lied about Semenya gender tests

PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) -- The president of Athletics South Africa has admitted that he lied about gender tests on runner Caster Semenya before her gold-medal win at the World Athletics Championships last month.

Caster Semenya celebrates her gold at the world championships in Berlin.

Caster Semenya celebrates her gold at the world championships in Berlin.

The national sports body has always denied that it agreed to the tests before the race in Berlin, Germany -- an event that kicked off international controversy over the 18-year-old Semenya's gender.

But after South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper printed e-mails on Friday showing that ASA President Leonard Chuene was aware of the tests, he held a news conference to apologize.

"I now realize that it was an error of judgment and I would like to apologize unconditionally," Chuene said on Saturday, according to South Africa's SAPA news agency.

After receiving the results of the tests, the South Africa team doctor requested the 18-year-old Semenya be withdrawn from the 800-meter race she ended up winning, Chuene said.

But Chuene said he refused to do it because the sport's international governing body did not request withdrawal. He also said withdrawing Semenya might have looked bad.

"If we did not let her run, we would be confirming that she is not normal," Chuene told the news conference in the capital, Pretoria.

The e-mails printed by the Mail & Guardian are an exchange between team doctor Harold Adams and ASA General Manager Molatelo Malehopo, with Chuene copied in.

"After thinking about the current confidential matter I would suggest that we make the following decisions," Adams wrote on August 5, more than a week before the Berlin race.

"1. We get a (gynecological) opinion and take it to Berlin. 2. We do nothing and I will handle these issues if they come up in Berlin. Please think and get back to me ASAP."

An e-mail response from Malehopo to Adams, sent the same day, says: "I will suggest that you go ahead with the necessary tests that the IAAF might need."

The controversy over Semenya erupted after she crushed her rivals in the 800 meters and secured victory in one minute, 55.45 seconds -- the best women's time in the world this year.

Semenya's masculine build and dominant performance fueled existing questions about her gender, and the International Association of Athletics Federations -- which oversees the sport worldwide -- ordered tests on her.

Reports in two newspapers last week said the results of the tests showed Semenya has both male and female characteristics. The IAAF declined to confirm those reports and said a decision in the case would come in late November.

The IAAF said it sought tests on Semenya's gender before the Berlin championships because questions had been raised after her winning performance at the African junior championships in July.

South Africans have rallied behind Semenya, angrily dismissing reports about her gender. Semenya's relatives and the South Africa team manager have maintained she is female.

This week, South Africa's minister for women, children and people with disabilities wrote to the United Nations to complain that Semenya had not been treated in line with international protocols on gender and quality.

Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya sent a letter to the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women, urging it to investigate, SAPA reported.

"The questioning of her gender is based on a stereotypic view of the physical features and abilities attributable to women," she wrote in the letter, according to SAPA. "Such stereotypes demonstrate the extent of patriarchy within the world's sporting community."

The process of gender verification has undergone big changes since it was first introduced for international competition in the 1960s, the IAAF said.

The first mechanism involved "rather crude and perhaps humiliating physical examinations," which soon gave way to mouth swabs to collect chromosomes.

There were too many uncertainties with mouth swabs, so the IAAF abandoned them in 1991 and the International Olympic Committee discontinued them in 2000.

A proper test has yet to be found, the IAAF said, and the current tests are considered a good interim solution.

Hindraf on Mahathir's 'sin' against Indians - Malaysiakini

Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy said Umno and its former president Dr Mahathir Mohamad were pinning the blame on MIC president S Samy Vellu in order to 'cover up their own sins' with regards to the Indian community.

p waythamoorthyCommenting on the 'slipper garland' controversy, the Hindraf leader said he also understands why Mahathir was not interested in an apology from the MIC delegate who made the remark.

"Having observed Mahathir ever since I heard him speak at a student function in London in 1989, I know how the man thinks," Waythamoorthy told Malaysiakini.

"When Mahathir says he's not interested in something, I know he means it."

According to this school of thought, Mahathir did not do anything at all for the Indian community during his 22 years as prime minister. Hence, he does not expect Indians to be grateful to him.

"So, if any Indian insults him, he knows that he has to just grin and take it," said Waythamoorthy.

"In fact, he's probably surprised deep down that he has not been insulted at all so far and Samy (Vellu) instead gets all the blame, a situation he encourages."

'Covering up sins'

The Hindraf chief noted that Samy Vellu has come under all around fire including from Mahathir and Umno for not doing enough for the Indian community "but this is just to cover up their own sins."

"The fact remains that Samy Vellu is not the prime minister of Malaysia. If he were, we can blame him for not doing enough or anything for the Indian community," he said.

samy vellu and mahathir"It is Mahathir who should be blamed. He's trying to shift the blame on to Samy Vellu. Mahathir failed to be the prime minister for all Malaysians. He was more interested in his own petty racist agenda."

So, it's not surprising that someone in MIC suggested a 'garland of slippers' for him, he added.

Waythamoorthy also called on the MIC president to stop parroting about Mahathir being a great leader, a great man, a great statesman and a builder of the nation, among others, "since he (Mahathir) didn't do anything at all for the Indian community and in fact set out to hurt them and others as well."

"After all the prime minister is supposed to be the leader for all Malaysians, under the Federal Constitution, not just for some Malaysians," he said.

On Umno's claims that the government had allocated considerable funds for the Indian community but Samy Vellu did not pass them on, Wayathamoorthy wanted the claims to be backed up by facts and figures and other relevant evidence.

The first of Mahathir's'sins' against the Indian community and Malaysians in general, stressed Waythamoorthy, was to distort and deviate from the New Economic Policy (NEP) and introduce racist elements which set the nation on a slippery slope and the Indians among the worst-hit victims.

As an example he cited the withdrawal of recognition for degrees from overseas medical institutions which had a large number of Indian Malaysian students.

He noted that the special privileges meant for the Malays, and by extension other natives, only covered four areas - intake into the civil service, intake into institutions of higher learning, government scholarships and opportunities in business.

"The special privileges were only meant to ensure that the Malays and other natives were not left out as the nation developed since there was this fear at independence," said Waythamoorthy. "It is not a carte blanc (blank cheque) to grab the whole pie in the four areas mentioned and other areas as well."

Mahathir will not apologise

In any case, Waythamoorthy doesn't expect Mahathir to apologise to the Indian community for past hurts and sleights "although time is running out for him."

mahathir at bum 2009 bloggers conference talking about sex and old age 290509 05Similarly, he does not expect Mahathir to apologise to his former heir apparent, Anwar Ibrahim, for doing everything possible to destroy not only his political career but the man himself.

"Samy Vellu himself has labelled Mahathir as the destroyer of deputies," said Waythamoorthy.

The Hindraf leader said Mahathir is more concerned about Umno leaders insulting or humiliating him and getting away with it.

In short, that's why Mahathir is using the "garland of slippers" insult as an excuse to name all those who had insulted or humiliated him in the past and are still walking around scott-free.

His suggestion that he would not hesitate to drop them from the cabinet if he had his way, suggested Waythamoorthy, was a strong hint for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak "to do what is necessary to avenge his hurt pride".

OSA to protect PKFZ?

By P. Ramakrishnan (Aliran President)

Malaysia is perceived to be one screwed up nation. There is no doubt about it. It is difficult to fathom what is our priority and what we should be concerned about. Should our priority be safeguarding secrets or exposing corruption?

We are taken aback by the NST report yesterday – 'Probe into expose of port govt secrets' – that investigations are underway to determine who was responsible for leaking the cabinet papers on the PKFZ that were posted on the Malaysia Today website.

The information contained in the 18-page document that was made available by this webpage for the benefit of the public could potentially implicate the cabinet and put the blame squarely on ministers and prime ministers.

This information throws light on why the cost escalated and how the project was grossly inflated. The Port Klang Free Zone project has squandered billions of ringgit of public money and has seemingly received the blessings of people who have been entrusted to be guardians of our finance. People who were expected to be accountable, transparent and responsible have failed us miserably.

It is these failings that they want to keep hidden by going after those who had a hand in revealing their complicity in this sordid affair.

They are not interested in investigating the element of corruption that is raised in this expose but they are only intent on punishing those responsible for leaking the corruption involved in the PKFZ project.

Is this why the OSA was legislated - to protect the corrupt and the guilty?

Shouldn’t the investigation focus on the incriminating contents of the document and bring to book all those who are guilty of corruption? But the police and the Attorney- General are allegedly directing their energy elsewhere to nail those who had the audacity to expose this corruption.

Shouldn’t what was exposed be of interest to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission? Wouldn’t this be of vital importance in their investigation?

But let it be known that history has shown that the messenger may be stopped but the message can never be suppressed.

MCA overturns Soi Lek’s sacking, suspends him 4 years

By Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — The MCA central committee has overturned a presidential council’s decision to sack Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek with a four-year suspension, a bid seen to knock the wind out of his campaign to unseat party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

The presidential council decided on Aug 26 to sack the 62-year-old deputy party president for tainting the party image via a sex video scandal, triggering off a backlash from Chua’s supporters who initiated an EGM to reinstate him and remove Ong. The EGM will be held Oct 10.

“In dealing with any disciplinary action, whether or not there is an appeal, the central committee has the power to review the presidential council decision and make a final decision on the matter,” said Ong after a seven-hour central committee meeting.

He added that all five proposed resolutions for the upcoming EGM will remain intact.

This means that the future of both Chua and Ong in the party will still be determined at the crucial EGM.

The decision to change the sacking to a suspension is perceived by some as an attempt to reduce the level of sympathy among some delegates who were upset at the way Chua was booted out of the party.

Some of Ong's supporters were also dismayed by the strong action against the popular Chua.

With tonight' decision, none of the delegates to the EGM can claim that Chua has been sacked.

However, the second proposed EGM resolution, if adopted, will annul the decision by the central committee to suspend Chua.

Chua was not immediately available for comment.

In an immediate reaction, Loh Seng Kok, one of those who had pushed for the EGM, said that it was “not appropriate” for the central committee to review presidential council’s decision as Chua had already submitted his fate to the general assembly at the EGM.

He added that the four-year suspension was to prevent Chua from holding any party posts and also from contesting in the next party elections.

Ong claimed, however, that it was normal procedure for disciplinary cases to be reviewed by the central committee.

Asked for reasons for the sacking to be turned into a four-year sentence, Ong replied that it was because of “due diligence” by the central committee.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is on Sept 20

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 – Muslims in the country will celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri tomorrow, Sept 20, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal announced today.

“As ordered by Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, after obtaining the consent of the Rulers, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal has declared that Hari Raya Aidilfitri for all states in Malaysia falls on Sunday, Sept 20, 2009,” Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Engku Tan Sri Ibrahim Engku Ngah said.

The announcement was carried over Radio Television Malaysia. – Bernama

Uthaya's call to the Government one more time - resolve the stateless status of the many Indian Malaysians

The Human Rights Party today called on the government to set up a special committee to resolve the stateless status of many Malaysians, mostly Indians, in this country.

According to HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar's estimation, the country has at least 150,000 Malaysians of Indian origin without birth certificates and identity cards.

"They and their family members were born here and have been living in this country for generations without identification documents. They are facing a stateless dilemma.

"The government is duty bound to resolve this problem," he told Malaysiakini.

Citing a statement by former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, he said Selangor alone had 50,000 stateless Indians.

Uthayakumar said since their ancestors did not have or were denied identity documents, the current generation and their children too were denied of their basic rights.

"The worst scenario is that they cannot legally get married because their children too will be denied birth certificates. The cycle goes on to the third, fourth and fifth generations.

"They don't have birth certificates and identity cards because they were not issued such documents by NRD (National Registration Department) counter officers," he said.

"They were denied these basic rights from the time they were born until they die in this country. This can only happen in Malaysia," added the lawyer turned politician.

Risk of arrest looms

Without these basic identification documents, Uthayakumar said a person cannot seek education even at the primary level, cannot obtain a driving licence, cannot secure a decent job or run a business, cannot get married and have children, and cannot own properties and vehicles.

He said a stateless person was at risk of being arrested and jailed for being "an alien in his own country" by the police or immigration officers.

He accused the government of practicing double standards in its national identity policies following the recent move by the Home Ministry to grant citizenship to 92 people.

Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced that the government was forming the special committee under the NRD to speed up citizenship applications by foreigners, mostly Muslims.

"If the government can form a special unit to process and approve citizenship applications for Muslim foreigners, why can't it do the same to process birth certificate and identity card applications of Malaysian born Indians?" asked Uthayakumar.

He noted that the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Malaysia is a signatory, emphasised that a child shall be granted the basic right of obtaining a birth certificate.

However, Uthayakumar said Malaysia failed to protect this right even after 52 years of independence.

Thousands of cases go unreported

He cited a recent case where an Indian girl, whose parents were themselves denied birth certificates, was told to leave school and denied of her right to sit for the SPM examination because she did not have a birth certificate and identity card.

He said due to much begging and media limelight on the issue, the girl, who was at the absolute mercy of the Education Ministry officers, was treated as a special case and allowed to sit for the exam.

Recently, he said one young pregnant Indian Malaysian woman gave birth at the Semenyih immigration depot where she was detained for being without identification documents.

"These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of cases that go unreported," he said.

He pointed out that in a circular in 2008 the Education Ministry warned all Tamil schools not to enroll any Indian children without birth certificates for elementary schooling.

Previously, Tamil school headmasters exercised their discretion and enrolled these Indian children.

"But eventually they were still excluded from secondary schools for being without documents," said Uthayakumar, who is also Hindraf's legal advisor.

However, he said he was informed that children of Burmese Rohingya Muslim refugees and south Thailand Muslims in detention camps were provided full time education.

Uthayakumar urged the Home Ministry to include achieving zero percentage of Indians without birth certificates and identity cards within a 60-day time frame as part of its key performance index (KPI) target.

"Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must include issuing birth certificates and identity cards to all these working class Indians and their children as part of his 1Malaysia agenda," he said.

How to make 1Malaysia motto a meaningful slogan instead of being the butt of ridicule, derision and contempt

By Lim Kit Siang

Happy Hari Raya Aidilfiltri to all Muslims in Malaysia.

As the first Hari Raya under new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, it should be an occasion for Malaysians regardless of faith, race or political beliefs to give real meaning to his 1Malaysia slogan so that it will not be short-lived and the butt of ridicule, derision and contempt like the slogans of previous premiers.

However, Najib’s praise for Utusan Malaysia for being “the voice of the people, especially the Malay community” could not have come at a worse time with a more disastrous consequence, when Utusan Malaysia had been most guilty in fanning racial and religious ill-will and misunderstanding in recent months.

Malaysia’s international competitiveness recently came under a cloud with two adverse global rankings – falling three places from 21st to 24th ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2009-2010 and a drop of two places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2010: Reforming Through Difficult Times from 21st to 23rd placing.

With institutional efficiency, independence and professionalism a major factor in Malaysia’s fall in international competitiveness rankings, and no signs of meaningful institutional reforms as evident from the prolonged crisis of confidence in key institutions like the judiciary, the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, the Elections Commission and the public service, Malaysia’s future in the global arena is grim.

A meaningful slogan, programme and policy of 1Malaysia is one response – but not when 1Malaysia is mere rhetoric contradicted at every turn of reality that it stands for the very opposite of an united, harmonious and competitive Malaysia.

Some food for thought.

[2009 Hari Raya Message]

Samy Vellu Is A Liability To BN, Says Dr Mahathir

Sarawak: Between spin and reality - Anil Netto

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has delivered a special message to mark the festive season. Among his comments is a comical demand which will no doubt add to the merriment: stop criticising the government!

According to Bernama:

“If there are (sic) chaos in the country, it will be impossible for us to celebrate any festivity. We should therefore take stock of what the government has done for us,” he said in his Hari Raya message.

He also said that Malaysians were fortunate to have a prime minister “who has the qualification and a leader who cares for the people’s well-being”.

These remarks coming from a Colombo Plan Australian-trained lawyer, no less.

Adding further to the merriment, Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu has cast doubt that the 600 signatures in a memorandum on Murum dam (titled Rakyat Didahulukan, Projeck Empangan Murum Dihentikan’) belonged to the Penans affected by the mega project.

The Borneo Post quotes him as saying:

Do you really believe that all the signatures in the memorandum belong to the Penans? To me, I don’t believe it. I totally do not believe it.

When contacted, Raymond Abin, the director of the Borneo Resources Institute, insisted these were genuine Penan signatures and thumb prints in blue and black ink. In other words, they were not from phantom Penan.

“I don’t know how he (Jabu) came to that conclusion when he and the Chief Minister did not come to receive the memorandum,” said Abin, who was among 15 activists and Penan reps arrested when they tried to submit it to the Sarawak leaders.

Meanwhile, the Borneo Post reports that the Penan have “agreed to end a nearly month-long anti-logging blockade in the Tutoh-Apoh region yesterday after key negotiators Telang Usan assemblyman Lihan Jok and Miri Resident Dr Ngenang Janggu assured them the government would bring development to their community”.

But a lawyer acting for the Penans, See Chee How, disputes this version of events. In a press statement carried by Hornbill Unleashed, he expressed shock and disgust with Lihan Jok, saying that the state assembly member “did not tell the truth when he reportedly said that the Penans had agreed to dismantle blockades and to allow logging to resume in the timber concession areas”.

As for the Borneo Post itself, what else can you expect from a news organisation that is linked to a major timber company (KTS) with interests in logging in native customary land?

Have A Safe Journey, Says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has reminded the people to be careful on the road during the "balik kampung" rush in conjunction with the Aidilfitri.

"Let the homecoming be greeted by tears of joy and not tears of sadness," the prime minister said in his Hari Raya message.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat also urged motorists to drive carefully and observe traffic rules.

"Balik kampung is a happy occasion and let's not turn it into a tragedy. Think of your loved ones, as what you do will impact them. Drive safely," appealed Ong in his Hari Raya message.

Ninety-three deaths were recorded throughout the country since Sunday.

No Supporters Group In PPP For Murugiah - Info Chief

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 (Bernama) -- People's Progressive Party (PPP) National Information Chief A. Chandrakumanan said Saturday there was no such thing as a "supporters group" in the party for Senator Datuk T. Murugiah who was sacked as supreme council member in May.

"If he has supporters out there, go and form a team and do what you have to do or form a party. There is no such club, don't try to confuse the public on matters like this," Chandrakumanan, who is also Federal Territory PPP president, told Bernama.

He was commenting on a media report quoting Murugiah as saying that he was working on a plan to secure his political future with a "supporters' group" of party members.

After he was sacked, Murugiah convened an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and was elected president, but last month, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) recognised Datuk M. Kayveas as the rightful president of the party and declared the EGM null and void.

The deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department is appealing to the ROS to review the decision.

MCA CC Overturns Decision To Sack Dr Chua

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 (Bernama) -- The MCA central committee (CC), the party's top decision-making body, on Saturday overruled an earlier decision by the Presidential Council (PC) to sack former deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Instead, following a seven-hour meeting, the CC lifted the council's decision to sack Dr Chua -- although the former health minister did not appeal -- and only handed him a four-year suspension from the party post, as well as party membership, with immediate effect.

"The CC collectively resolves to suspend Dr Chua for four years, with effect from today, and that his party post is also suspended.

"The CC, being the body conferred with the powers of the General Assembly, is a platform for its members to express their independent views and opinions and make the appropriate considered decision," party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat told reporters here.

Ong said, in dealing with any disciplinary action, whether or not there was an appeal, the CC had the power to review the PC's decision and make a final decision on the matter, pursuant to the party constitution.

Ong explained that this was not the first time the CC had overturned a PC decision as in the past, there were precedents where the committee had overturned the council's decision.

Asked for the reason why the decision (by the council) was overruled, Ong would only say: "Both the PC and CC will always provide good platform to deliberate any disciplinary case."

Asked whether there was a chance that the five agendas would be included for the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) scheduled for Oct 10, Ong replied that the agenda would remain intact.

One of the five agendas for the EGM is to reinstate Dr Chua as party deputy president and party member.

"The motion will not be redundant. It will still be relevant as we still need to go for due deligence," said Ong.

Meanwhile, one of Dr Chua's supporters and requisitionists for the EGM, Loh Seng Kok, said it was not appropriate for the CC to review the sacking decision anymore, as Dr Chua had submitted to the EGM to decide on his fate in the party.

"The decision to review Dr Chua's sacking by replacing it with suspension, is meant to stop him from contesting in the next party election. It's meant to get sympathy for Ong," he said, when contacted.