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Monday, September 21, 2009

Probe into leaked Cabinet paper to narrow on place where it happened

(The Star) PUTRAJAYA: Police investigations into the posting of classified Cabinet papers on the Internet will focus more on where the leak occurred rather than who was responsible for making them public, said Home Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

He also warned that the police would even probe ministers if they were suspected to be involved.

Hishammuddin said since the papers were classified, the person responsible for the leak would have to be "someone on the inside" and as such would have to face action.

He said the act of leaking the papers was serious as it jeopardised the government’s decisions on how to lead, manage and administer the country and it was something that could not be tolerated.

“The papers were leaked before they were even discussed in cabinet and there is a possibility that they may not even have been discussed but leaking the papers has compromised the cabinet.

“There is a reason why the Official Secrets Act (OSA) was created and all those within the Government have a responsibility to respect the law and the confidentiality of the documents.

“I have told the police to conduct an all out and thorough investigation and investigate even ministers if they are suspected to be involved,” he told reporters when met at the Hari Raya open hosted by the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers here on Sunday.

On another matter, Hishammuddin said the police had already handed to the Attorney General’s Chambers investigation papers on the allegations by Tunku Nadzimuddin Tunku Mudzaffar, grandson of the late Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan, that the Raja Muda of Johor Tunku Ismail Idris had put a gun to his head and hit him.

The minister said the police had thus completed their work and it was now up to the AG’s chambers to decide on the next course of action.

Asked why the police took more than 11 months to conclude investigations into the case, he said that the papers had been handed in earlier but the AG’s chambers had then requested for additional information over the case.

“I was also told that the two sides had one point tried to resolve the problem on their own but what is wrong is wrong and the papers have now been handed to AG’s chambers and it is up to them to decide on the next course of action,” he said.

Tunku Nadzimuddin had claimed that he was hit in his head and face, had a gun pointed at his head, and suffered a fractured nose and other serious injuries as a result of the incident while his lawyer friend, Shamshuddhuha Ishak, who was knocked out, lost two teeth.

He had also hit out at the police for failing to act after having assured him that they would investigate the case and take the necessary action.

Police hoping no more foreign terrorists on RI soil

(Waspada Online) - The Indonesian police are hoping that with the elimination of Malaysian-born terror mastermind Noordin M Top, Indonesia will never again have to deal with foreign terrorists on its own soil. "We do not want to be bothered by any other nation. Let there be no other Noordin M Tops," National Police Headquarters spokesman Insp Gen Nanan Soekarna said here Thursday (Sept. 17).

Therefore, he said, the Indonesian police would send Noordin`s body back to his own country as soon as possible, "so we are finished with this business."

Hishamuddin denies M’sia is supplying arms to terrorists

(The Star) - Claims that Malaysia has been supplying arms to terrorists in the region are untrue and made with mischievous intent, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia had a very good intelligence gathering system aimed at avoiding threats within the country and he was confident that such activities would have been picked up by the authorities.

He said Malaysia started building a good intelligence gathering system during the communist insurgency and later during the rise of racial tensions in the country, and these had been constantly upgraded over the years.

“You can see that the majority of the Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees being held for terrorist related activities are foreigners, so to say we export terrorists or arms is mischievous and factually wrong.

“We have built a strong team of people (in intelligence gathering) to ensure Malaysia is safe.

“If anyone has proof of us exporting terrorists or arming them, they should provide it to us and we promise we will take the necessary action.

“We do not tolerate acts of terror, no matter what the grounds - racial or religious - and we have always worked with countries in the region through bilateral and regional cooperation to fight the menace and we will continue to do so,” he told reporters when met at the Hari Raya open house hosted by the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers here Sunday.

He said finger-pointing would not help solve problems like terror and no one country could be blamed for it because it was a network and a global problem that could manifest in any country.

Defence Minister Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, when met at the same function, also denied that the armed forces had ever been involved in any effort to supply arms to any party outside Malaysia.

He said Malaysia only owned slightly above 60% of the arms it actually needed and therefore the question of it having excess weapons to sell to third parties did not even arise.

“We do purchase weapons through open and also negotiated tenders but we have always kept the process transparent and my ministry has never been involved in any cases of weapons smuggling,” he said.

However, he said, having fewer weapons than the amount country needed did not mean that the defense of the nation was neglected as most countries kept the same percentage of weapons.

“Most countries only meet between 60 and 70% of their weapons needs because, at the speed that the weapons’ technology grows, it does not make sense meet all the weapons needs due to the quickly expanding weapons technology,” he said.

Speaking on Suhakam’s call to close the ISA detention camp in Kamunting due to the very small number of detainees there, Hishammuddin said the problem was not the number of detainees held now or the current level of threat to national security.

He said the camp was necessary to ensure that there was a facility available to hold those who threatened the peace and security of the nation when such a threat arose.

“Let us talk to Suhakam first to see what they are actually calling for because in our previous discussions they had agreed that there was a need to retain ISA although it should be amended.

“Them claiming there is no need for a detention facility now does not seem be along the lines of all that we have discussed and agreed upon during our discussions,” he said.

Pak Lah failed, Najib striving not to follow

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — By consensus, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has failed miserably and squandered Barisan Nasional's historic 2004 mandate because he became a prisoner to Umno. His successor is trying hard to cut free from the party.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is barely warming his seat as Umno president and prime minister for six months but is already facing the push back from the party warlords even sooner than Abdullah.

Abdullah, or Pak Lah as he was known to all, is on record as the shortest-serving prime minister but served a while longer as Umno president than founding president Datuk Onn Jaafar. The reasons for most Umno presidents leaving office can be eerily similar.

Some say that his fear of what his party felt set in after the 2004 party assembly when he realised that he could not stop the practice of money politics. Others say it was a year into his office when Abdullah succumbed to the wishes of the warlords.

Najib has not had the pleasure of at least a year to run his ideas or stamp his authority on the nationalist Malay party that has won every election since before independence in 1957. His 1 Malaysia remains a slogan, the economy sputtering despite two stimulus packages and the Cabinet is distracted by fractious fights within coalition partners.

The troubles within his ruling Barisan Nasional coalition prompted him to appeal for unity in his first Hari Raya Aidil Fitri message as prime minister yesterday as he sought to regain the initiative to keep the ship together in troubled waters.

His efforts have been in vain.

April 3 file photo of Abdullah waving as he leaves his office while new Prime Minister Najib watches with his wife Rosmah Mansor in Putrajaya. — Reuters pic

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng paid him a back-handed compliment last week, telling the Financial Times that Najib is better than Abdullah in getting things done.

Even MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who is facing calls from Umno to step down after a record 11 terms at the helm, has praised Najib in the face of scorn from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who recently ticked off the veteran leader as a liability for Barisan Nasional.

But those platitudes have not made Najib's job any easier, especially as the son of the country's second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein has been a cautious and risk-averse politician since succeeding his father, who died in 1976, in the Pekan parliamentary seat. His only political setback was in 1999 when he won the seat with a 241-vote majority.

Since then, he has grown from strength to strength and took over as prime minister last April 3, promising the end to big government, reforms in the economy and furthering Bangsa Malaysia through his 1 Malaysia concept.

And while he knows that selling equity in government-linked-companies (GLCs) like Sime Darby to foreign investors is the prudent thing to do, Najib is worried about upsetting the Umno ground, calling the deal a speculation and pre-empting a decision when it was reported by The Malaysian Insider.

Similarly, privately he is upset with the action of party members involved in the cow-head demo and has told Cabinet members of the perception that Umno is becoming right wing. But he appears unwilling to haul up the right wingers and recalibrate party to the centre.

Just like Pak Lah, Najib seems content to deliver inclusive sounding speeches on the national stage but is wary of hitting too hard at the party base.

But without a doubt the warlords are fighting back. They don't think much of 1 Malaysia, were upset that Datuk Idris Jala was appointed to the Cabinet and showed their true colours at the recent by-election in Permatang Pasir.

Several Penang warlords sent word that their support can only be guaranteed if they were put back on the gravy train of contracts. The choice of candidate was also dictated by warlords despite his disbarment being an issue in the Permatang Pasir vote.

The Bagan Pinang vote on Oct 11 will be a key test of Najib's success to turn the party to do his bidding. He might get them to accept a bigger base to vote in party officials but finding the best candidate for elections seems to remain at the hands of the warlords.

If they continue to hold the party to ransom, Najib could go the way of Pak Lah — both men trying to save a party from itself but remaining a prisoner to its desires. But Najib must not fail or Umno and its allies will, in the next general election.

Mas Selamat ‘happy to be detained in Malaysia’

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militant Mas Selamat Kastari is happy to be detained in Malaysia, but he hopes to see his wife and five children during the Hari Raya celebration, according to Suhakam vice-chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun.

Sipaun told The Straits Times that Mas Selamat, who is currently detained under the Internal Security Act, did not have any complaints about the detention centre in Kamunting, Perak, when he visited him on Friday.

“He said he did not get tortured or beaten in the detention centre,” he said, in a telephone interview yesterday.

“He only wanted his family to visit him, but so far, they have not visited him yet.”

Sipaun said Mas Selamat, 48, looked calm and happy. The latter believed that the Singapore authorities had confiscated his family's travel documents; hence, they could not leave Singapore, he said.

Sipaun said Mas Selamat also claimed he had been drugged while he was in detention in Singapore. He said he did not feel normal most of the time and was always dizzy.

According to Sipaun, he met Mas Selamat for half an hour as part of Suhakam's routine checks on the detention centre.

He said he had not known that the detainee he was talking to was Mas Selamat until he said he was from Singapore.

“There were only nine detainees there and we were talking to eight of them. When Mas Selamat mentioned that he was from Singapore, I realised he must be the terrorist. I never knew what he looked like,” said Sipaun.

Suhakam is a human rights commission headed by government-appointed commissioners. Sipaun was once the Sabah Public Service Commission chairman.

Suhakam carries out regular checks on detention centres and prisons throughout the country to ensure there is no violation of human rights.

But it is often criticised for lacking the power to act against local authorities when cases of human rights violations exist.

The Star newspaper, in a recent report, said Suhakam is under intense pressure to keep its A status, which lets its members participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council, instead of merely being observers.

Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam confirmed yesterday that his ministry would allow Mas Selamat's wife to visit him in Kamunting.

“We have no problem. As long as she has the proper travel documents, she can visit him anytime,” he said.

A Kamunting detention centre spokesman told The Straits Times that Mas Selamat's wife had not contacted them on whether she was planning a visit.

For its part, Suhakam did not plan to contact Mas Selamat's wife or children, said Sipaun.

“Unfortunately, our duty is only to make sure that there is no human rights violation in the detention centres and we're not planning to meet Mas Selamat's wife,” he said.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the passports of Mas Selamat and his family members had been seized since 2005, for security reasons, as well as because of immigration offences they had committed while on the run from the authorities.

The request by Mas Selamat's family for travel documents to enable them to visit Mas Selamat at the Kamunting detention centre was currently being assessed, it said.

“We will have to consider, given the family's past immigration offences, Mas Selamat's terrorist activities and plots against Singapore, and the fact that Mas Selamat's wife was also a member of the JI, whether it is in our national security interests to grant the family travel documents to leave Singapore to visit him in Malaysia,” it said.

As for Mas Selamat's claims of being drugged, it noted that “all detainees are examined daily (on weekdays) by a doctor”, and “they may also ask for a doctor at any time”.

No report of any ill-treatment had been received, whether by the government, the doctors, or his family members who visited him, noted MHA.

Analysts said detainees at the Whitley Road Detention Centre would be treated better than those at normal prisons because the centre's aim is to rehabilitate detainees.

“If you treat them badly, their resentment will grow,” Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of Singapore's International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said.

Just last week, MHA announced the release of two JI detainees following their successful rehabilitation.

Mas Selamat escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre in February last year. He was captured by Malaysian authorities in Johor in April this year, following intelligence from Singapore. — The Straits Times

Aborigines Chiefs Must Be Knowledgable To Protect Community's Rights

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 21 (Bernama) -- Aborigines community chiefs in Sabah must equipped themselves with the latest knowledge so that they can protect the rights of the community, said Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos) director, Anne Lasimbang.

She said, various bodies including Pacos had organised many programmes to improve the economy, education and health of the aboriginal people but not leadership development to the village chiefs.

"The aborigines are at ease to take their problems to a leader or village chief because of their experience and wisdom," she told Bernama, here.

According to Lasimbang, the aborigines are mostly categorised as hardcore poor and faced with a multitude of issues including land issue.

Despite the lack of fund, she said, Pacos continued to implement its programmes, including bringing community leaders to the town to expose them with current issues and empower them to use the knowledge learned to bring about changes in their communities.

Critics Must Give Rajagobal Time And Support

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 (Bernama) -- The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) wants sports critics in the country to support National coach K. Rajagobal and give some breathing space while he prepares for the Laos SEA Games.

FAM Secretary-General Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said it was necessary although critics have their own rights and views on the status of Malaysian football and its international standing.

"Once in a while there need to be some encouragement, since Rajagobal had just taken over as National coach in April, while the players are still young," he told Bernama.

Azzuddin said critics must forget the past because there were signs of a revival, especially the performance of the National Under-23 squad.

"Though the National squad rolled out some favourable results against Kenya (0-0), China (0-0), Manchester United (lost 2-3 and 0-2), Saudi Arabia (lost 1-2) and drew 0-0 with Jordan, critics have claimed that such results were achieved because their opponents did not field their full sides.

"However, I feel the gap is becoming smaller, especially the slim 1-2 defeat against Saudi Arabia who fielded their full team since they were preparing for the 2010 World Cup," he said.

Azzuddin said he cannot guarantee that the Under-23 squad would win the gold medal in Laos but even if they failed, there will be no stopping the team from trying in the following edition.

"If they fail, we have to look at what went wrong but to FAM, the current squad is on the right track," he said.

He added that the FAM would not rush into setting a target for the team.

Meanwhile, FAM Deputy President Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad had said that the National team's target would only be set after the draws for the competition in November.

The last time Malaysia won a SEA Games gold medal in football was back in the 1989 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games after beating Singapore 3-1.

Mahathir takes another dig at Pak Lah

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was glad that the Prime Minister's Hari Raya open house had returned to Seri Perdana, the official residence of the Prime Minister, after a five-year lapse.

The elder statesman, clad in a pinkish baju Melayu, attended the Hari Raya open house hosted by the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers, with wife Dr Siti Hasmah at about 2.45pm and spent about 30 minutes at Seri Perdana.

"I am glad (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) decided to host the Hari Raya reception here. There was no such reception over the last five years.

"The public like to come here (Seri Perdana) as this is one of the places they like to see. This place belongs to the people," he said when approached by reporters at the event.

Over the last five years, the Hari Raya open house was held at the Putra World Trade Centre, in Kuala Lumpur, when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the Prime Minister.

Mahathir had been a vocal critic of Abdullah, fondly known as Pak Lah, in that five years.

Samy did not apologise

Speaking on another matter, Mahathir said he met MIC president S Samy Vellu at Istana Negara this morning at the Hari Raya reception hosted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

"We shook hands. No, he did not apologise...I think that (the apology) is not necessary," said Mahathir with a smile when asked whether Samy Vellu had apologised to him.

Last week, Mahathir said that Samy Vellu should step down as MIC chief after helming the party since 1981 and that the MIC supremo was a liability to the ruling Barisan Nasional.

Prior to his call, a delegate at the MIC annual general assembly last weekend, had suggested that a slipper garland be hanged around Mahathir's portrait for interfering in MIC's affairs.

The delegate has since been suspended from the MIC and Samy Vellu publicly announced that he would apologise to Mahathir for the delegate's statement.

- Bernama

Is a marriage on the cards?

At one level, Pakatan Rakyat politicians are openly at war with each other but at another, the leaders are planning to commit the parties to a formal coalition.

By JOCELINE TAN, The Star

IT is no secret how PAS strongman Datuk Mustafa Ali feels about Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Mustafa, the secretary-general of PAS, has always been lukewarm towards Anwar and, at one point, was critical of the Opposition leader.

Saying ‘I do’: Anwar (far left) started the ball rolling to make Pakatan Rakyat a formal coalition along the lines of the Barisan Nasional. He is seen here with (from right) PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, Lim and PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa during the Permatang Pasir campaign.

But the two men recently put up an impressive united front in a move to cement Pakatan Rakyat as a coalition.

Many were surprised to see Anwar and Mustafa sitting so cosily together at a Pakatan presidential council meeting earlier last week. Mustafa’s distinguished silvery mane was often huddled in close conference to Anwar’s well-groomed head.

The ripples between them seem to have smoothened out and the ball has begun rolling to formalise Pakatan along the lines of the Barisan Nasional.

They plan to go into the next general election as a formal alliance rather than the loose grouping that they are now.

“It’s not just about an electoral arrangement; it’s also about transforming the political environment,” said PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who is heading the Pakatan secretariat on the coalition.

Zaid, a multi-millionaire lawyer and former Umno minister, was one of the most high-profile crossovers to PKR.

But is he about to walk into one of those Mission Impossible scenarios given the divergent issues between PAS and DAP?

“There are disagreements among some leaders but most of us work well together. As the Malays say, sedangkan lidah lagi tergigit oleh gigi (the teeth sometimes bites the tongue),” said PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar.

Zaid is hoping to hammer out some broad agreements in time for a tri-party convention by December that will be attended by about 500 delegates each from PKR, PAS and DAP.

The eventual coalition is also mulling over ideas such as direct membership by individuals and the use of a common logo.

A coalition needs to comprise at least seven parties which, according to Zaid, is an administrative requirement on the part of the Registrar of Societies.

Pakatan leaders are said to be looking at several parties, including SAPP of Sabah and obscure parties like Hamim, Akim and Berjasa, as possible partners.

A couple of the smaller parties are said to be parties in name only and one of them is believed to have only five members.

One reason for the Pakatan surge for a more committed alliance has to do with the endless hiccups and flare-ups between the component parties, especially those in Pakatan states.

Governance has not been a strong point for the Pakatan states. Apart from Kelantan, the others are still groping their way through the affairs of state.

Some of them behave and talk as though they are still the opposition. They are still trying to impress the public by attacking and criticising the Barisan rather than with their ability to govern, perform and deliver.

The Selangor government, in particular, has been awashed with talk that it will not last a full term because of infighting.

Divided over liquor ban

PAS and DAP are openly at loggerheads over whether sale of liquor should be allowed in Malay majority areas in Selangor. Some PAS hardliners even want the liquor ban to be extended to all Pakatan states.

Talk that PKR vice-president Azmin Ali would replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Mentri Besar was so rife that Anwar had to quash it during a PKR supreme council meeting.

Anwar is hoping that a clear-cut mission statement governing the ties among PKR, DAP and PAS will make them more committed to each other.

That way, even if they have major differences about day-to-day issues or policies, they will still stick together as an entity.

The political tsunami in Japan that swept a completely untested party into government has also given Pakatan fresh hope.

Pakatan leaders saw the outcome of the Japanese polls as a sign of the times – that the current generation of Asians are less reticent about change than that of their parents.

The Najib factor also has something to do with Pakatan taking a serious step forward. Pakatan leaders admit that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has been on top of his game barely months after he took over as Prime Minister.

He is experienced, alert and knows what has to be done and how to go about it. Najib is no push-over and the Pakatan boys know they are up against a political sifu.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng conceded as much in an interview with the Financial Times of London. He said that Najib would be tougher to take on than Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi because “he can get things done better than Abdullah.”

They are also worried about the way Najib has moved to secure the ground in Sabah and Sarawak.

Lim’s suggestion that Pakatan could appoint an East Malaysian as one of two deputy prime ministers was obviously aimed at countering Najib’s inroads into Sabah and Sarawak.

They have to step up their game to face a Najib-led Barisan in the next elections.

“It is not going to be easy. Some of our leaders at the state level are not comfortable about it,” said a top PAS figure.

Even the idea of using a common logo has not gone down well among PAS politicians who have asked why PAS should opt for something new when their green and white symbol is such a big part of their identity.

The confidence among some Pakatan leaders that the three key parties can reach an agreement by November seems rather optimistic.

“It sounds tough but if you go through the issues logically, it is very possible,” said DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong.

According to Liew, there are three areas to be sorted out.

The first is the agenda on political reform and democratic change, with which all three parties are in agreement.

In second place is the economic agenda which the parties also have no problem with.

Third is the religious and social agenda –and this is where the stumbling block lies.

DAP and PAS are poles apart on a number of these issues. PAS wants a clear stand on Syariah and the Islamic state, and within PAS there is a split in opinion between the hard-line and moderate segments.

Optimists like Liew think there can be a give-and-take way out of this but for others, the Islamic state is a non-negotiable issue.

Still, this is politics and, as they say, very little is impossible in politics.

It explains why Anwar is now actively engaging Mustafa, who is arguably one of the most influential men in PAS. Some even refer to him as the “de facto president” of PAS and he will play a decisive role in determining whether PAS sticks with Pakatan or goes its own way.

Ulama factor

But even as plans are afoot to bind Pakatan, Anwar is moving to make PKR a force on its own.

The consummate politician in Anwar knows that if PKR means to be the big boy of Pakatan, it has to loosen its dependence on PAS and DAP. His party needs to have its own political personalities who hold sway over the different ethnic groups.

He has given PKR’s image a boost recently with big-name imports like MCA leader Datuk Seri Chua Jui Meng and MIC’s Datuk S. S. Subramaniam.

“What he needs now is the ulama factor. He wants to attract credible Islamic scholars to PKR. Then he needn’t rely so much on PAS,” said a close associate of Anwar.

In the meantime, the three parties are still heavily dependent on one another.

The supremo is still Anwar. No one else in Pakatan has his finesse or charisma to bring the group to another level or, for that matter, to hold it together.

PKR and DAP are all ready to walk down the aisle but can Anwar persuade PAS to also say “I do" to the marriage?

In The Spirit of Eid ul Fitra

Image

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.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

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 anticorruption 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: www.lailagmi.blogpsot.com) 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.

Bus rapid transit vs subway - Anil Netto

A bus rapid transit system can carry as many passengers as a subway system, as the city of Curitiba in Brazil has shown.

I like this quote in the above video clip: “The problem is not the people who use the buses but the people who use the cars.”

Surely our urban planners can learn something from Curitiba.

More links from soohuey for anyone who would like to know more.

This video explains how things are done in Curitiba a little better

Some of our leaders might find it useful to read Step #2 – Action from ‘How to Make Cities for People? : 7 Steps for success’. Haha!

Also while you’re there, check out statements here.

Night Out For Food Ends In Tragedy For Two At Restaurant

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- A decision by two men to buy food at a restaurant in Desa Petaling, Cheras ended in tragedy this morning when one was killed and another admitted in critical condition after being attacked by two other men.

Kuala Lumpur CID Chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah said during the incident, both the victims had gone to the restaurant to pack some food, but were later attacked by two men who came on a motorcycle.

"At about 5.30am both men, from Desa Sri Puteri Flats in Salak Selatan had gone to the restaurant to buy food but since it was closed, they decided to return.

"However, in his haste to start the car, one of the victims broke the key. He then called his friend to bring a spare key and waited. At that moment, two men on a motorcycle came by to find out what had happened but instead an argument broke out among them and the men left on their motorcycle.

"The duo who had left the scene, however, came back and attacked the victims with helmets and iron rods before fleeing the scene," he said when contacted.

One of the victims, aged 21 died upon arrival at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital (HUKM) while the second victim, 22 has been admitted at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) in critical condition while police are investigating the motive for the attack.