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Friday, October 2, 2009

Court orders cops to show seized Kugan material

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, Oct 2 –The High Court here today ordered police to produce toxicology samples of A. Kugan, who died in police custody, before the magistrate's court next Friday.

The samples were seized by police from the University Malaya Medical Centre on April 6 when they raided the office of the pathologist who had conducted the second post-mortem on the 22-year-old who died on Jan 20.

High Court Judge Datin Yeoh Wee Siam ruled that the search was legal but the police should have produced the samples before a magistrate.

Yeoh said the magistrate on Friday will decide what should be done with the samples and if Kugan's family should keep them.

A policeman was charged yesterday on two counts of causing grievous hurt on Kugan on Jan 16, four days before he died.

Eleven policemen were suspended from duties for their involvement in his interrogation linked to a suspected car theft syndicate.

More to come

A. Kugan’s murder in police lock up but no prosecution for murder. Sack AG and IGP.

HUMAN RIGHTS PARTY (HRP)
NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245 Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com

01st October 2009

YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Block Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax : 03-8888 3444
62502 Putrajaya.
E-Mail : najib@pmo.gov.my

Y.B Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law),
Pejabat Y.B Menteri,
Tingkat 15,
Menara Parlimen,
Fax : 03-20781719
50680 Kuala Lumpur.
E-Mail : padangrengas@parlimen.gov.my

Re: A. Kugan’s murder in police lock up but no prosecution for murder.
Sack AG and IGP.

We refer to the above matter and wish to bring to your goodselves kind
attention of the following items which has been brought to our
attention for onward transmission to your goodselves as the general
public concerns:-
1) Prosecute all the police murderers in Kugan’s case for murder
and not limiting it to V. Navindren alone.
2) Prosecute also the four of the police personnel who had
witnessed Kugan being beaten up for aiding and abetting the murder as
they have up to date failed to lodge a police report upon witnessing
the crime.
3) Prosecute all 21 police personnel who had had contact with
Kugan in police detention for aiding and abetting the murder (Refer
NST 1/10/09 at page 4)
4) Prosecute the Investigating Officer ASP Mohd Marzukhi Mohd
Mokhtar for aiding and abetting the cover up of this murder.
5) Prosecute pathologist Dr. Abdul Karim Tajuddin for
fabricating evidence and covering up for the police in this Kugan’s
murder. It is because of Pathologists and doctors like this that has
encouraged the police to take the law into their own hands over the
years and resulting in hundreds of such custodial deaths and assaults
in police custody getting away scot-free.
6) Prosecute the Director General of the Health Ministry Tan Sri
Ismail Mercian for covering up for the police in this Kugan’s murder
in the Malaysian Medical Council Independent Investigation Committee.
7) Why only RM10,000 bail and V. Navindren’s International
passport was not impounded for a murderer when it was RM50,000.00 bail
and passport impounded in P. Uthayakumar’s Sedition charge, the
Attorney General making a personal appearance and objecting to bail
for mere Seditious words uttered which maximum fine is a mere
RM5,000.00 (but bail at ten times the maximum fine was imposed) (Note:
Karpal Singh’s bail for a similar Sedition charge drew only a bail of
a mere RM2,000.00 and his passport was not impounded).
8) After all, 31 Hindraf peaceful assemblers at Batu Caves were
charged for the attempted murder of one policeman who “allegedly”
suffered a head injury. Further Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail
again appeared in person to oppose and bail was indeed denied to all
31. Why a different rule and standards when it is the other way round
and involving real police murderers, criminals, pathologist and the
Secretary General of the Health Ministry? This is in direct violation
of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees Equality
before the law and equal protection under the law.

Since our Police Watch and Human Rights Committee Memorandum “Assault
and death of Tharma Rajen A/L Subramaniam (19) and hundreds of others
in police custody. Are we heading towards a police state? dated
01/07/02’, we have even recorded one death in police custody in every
two weeks Refer Malaysian Indian Minority and Human Rights Violations
Annual Report 2008 to Pravasi Bharathiya Divas International
Conference at Chennai, India 7th – 9th January 2009 at page 13 and 14
and thereafter leading to amongst others this brutal murder of A.
Kugan.

In the circumstances and in the light of the ever alarmingly
increasing crime rate in Malaysia, injustices, bioused, vindictive and
malicious arrest detention and prosecution, failure in uploading law
and order we now call upon the Attorney General and the Inspector
General of Police to be sacked forthwith by your goodselves.

Kindly direct the necessary prosecution and action and revert to us accordingly.

Thank you.

Your faithfully,



________________________
P.Uthayakumar
Secretary General (pro-tem).

At least 1,100 dead from Indonesia quakes, UN official says

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- At least 1,100 people are dead in Indonesia as a result of two large earthquakes in as many days, United Nations humanitarian chief John Holmes told reporters Thursday.

Family members mourn in front of a collapsed school in Padang on Thursday.

Family members mourn in front of a collapsed school in Padang on Thursday.

Hundreds more are believed to be injured, Holmes said. "These numbers, I fear, will rise as more information becomes available," he said. "It's still feared that thousands of people are trapped under damaged houses and many buildings."

Telecommunications are difficult into the region, roads are cut off and the hardest-hit area, including the city of Padang, lacks power and other services, Holmes said. Heavy rainfall also has hindered search and rescue efforts.

Corpses lay stacked outside hospitals in Padang as night fell Thursday, casting nearly the entire city in darkness.

The 6.6 magnitude quake Thursday hit South Sumatra (9:52 p.m. Wednesday ET), about 100 miles (160 km) from Bengkulu, the U.S. Geological Survey said. An earlier quake Wednesday had a magnitude of 7.6.

Worst hit was the West Sumatran capital of Padang, where officials estimate 376 people perished.

Rustam Pakaya, the head of the Ministry of Health's crisis center, said thousands of people may be trapped by collapsed buildings and houses.

Officials say casualties could surpass those of the massive Yogyakarta earthquake three years ago, given the intensity and the spread of the damage this week. The second set of tremors Thursday only magnified the scope of the disaster.

In May 2006, a 6.3 magnitude quake centered in the central Java city of Yogyakarta killed more than 5,000 people and triggered fears of an eruption of a nearby volcano.

On Thursday, many people were wandering the streets of Padang "stunned and dazed," said CNN's Mark Phillips. Some were searching the rubble for survivors, he said, but "there's also a feeling that there aren't that many survivors left."

Wednesday's quake reduced buildings to rubble in Padang, a city of nearly 1 million. People used hammers, chisels and bare hands to dig through debris. Staff at a local hospital treated the injured outside the semi-collapsed building as bodies lay in makeshift morgues.

The earthquakes caused widespread power and phone outages, making it difficult for authorities and aid organizations to evaluate damage.

Thursday evening, the only light came from generators at Padang's hospital and airport. Several of the hospital's buildings were severely damaged, said CNN's Dan Rivers. Damage in the town itself was spotty; some buildings remained intact near others in ruins.

In Padang, thousands of people slept outside Wednesday night for fear of more tremors, said Yenni Suryani of Catholic Relief Services. She said rain fell Wednesday night and people are in desperate need of adequate shelter.

Amelia Merrick, the operations director for World Vision Indonesia, described the situation as "quite devastating."

"Bridges have gone down, phone lines are in total disrepair," she said. "It's difficult for us to assess the situation."

Wayne Ulrich, the Red Cross disaster management coordinator in Indonesia, said hundreds of houses were damaged, the extent still unclear.

"We have concerns that a hospital has been partially damaged; a market has caught on fire; the airport was closed down for inspection because of the fear if they landed any planes" it might cause problems, Ulrich said.

He said access to the impacted areas was obstructed in parts.

It's "blocked by all kinds of problems: frightened people out in the streets, cars and people trying to get out of the city."

Wednesday's quake was felt in nearby cities including Medan and Bengkulu, where people panicked and ran outside in search of higher ground, fearing a tsunami. But it was also felt as far away as Singapore and Malaysia.

"I did feel the tremor in the office today somewhere between 5 and 6 p.m.," said Ratna Osman, who works in a single-story office building in Petaling Jaya, just outside Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur. "I asked [a co-worker] if there's an earthquake somewhere -- either that or I was hallucinating.

"At first, I thought the chair I was sitting on had a screw loose or something," Osman said.

The region is accustomed to earthquakes, and locals have been taught to identify safe places in case of a tsunami, according to Sean Granville-Ross, the Mercy Corps country director for Indonesia.

"We hope that preparation is now paying off," he said.

Earlier this month, an earthquake in West Java killed 57 people.

The Web site for one of Indonesia's main newspapers, The Jakarta Globe, crashed for a while, partly as a result of the heavy traffic from people trying to find out about the quake, the paper said in a Twitter post.

Aid agencies kicked into gear to help those in need.

"We had aid ready because this area of Indonesia is susceptible to this type of tragedy," said Jane Cocking, humanitarian director for Oxfam. "Communications with the quake-zone are difficult, and we are hoping for the best but having to plan for the worst."

Ex-IGP: Include IPCMC core features into SCC

BBC Radio 4 video: Race Relations in Malaysia



Syarie Lawyers want action against SIS, WAO for questioning Syariah

(Bernama) - The Malaysian Syarie Lawyers Association (MSLA) is demanding that action be taken against Sisters in Islam (SIS) and the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) for questioning the implementation of the Syariah law, said.

MSLA president Mohamad Isa Abdul Ralib said their remarks can be deemed as insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay rulers as the heads of religion in the country and the states respectively.

He said WAO executive director Ivy Josiah’s call for a comprehensive review of all laws pertaining to Syariah criminal offences, with a view to repeal such law, was uncalled for.

SIS executive director Dr Hamidah Marican’s statement that the whipping sentence against a part-time model for drinking beer as a torture and a breach of human rights was tantamount to ridiculing the Syariah law, he said at a news conference here today.

Present were representatives from the Islamic College Alumni Association (Alkis), Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) and the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association.

SIS and WAO made the remarks at a news conference yesterday. It was attended by members of the Joint Action Group (JAG) for Gender Equality, of which WAO is a member.

Other JAG members present were the All Women’s Action Society, Women’s Centre for Change, Suara Rakyat Malaysia and the National Human Rights Society.

Mystery DNA on Teoh belonged to another dead man

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Oct 2 — A government pathologist identified this morning one of the DNA profiles found on Teoh Beng Hock’s coat and belt as belonging to another man who had been autopsied in the same hospital.

Dr Seah Lay Hong told the coroner’s court investigating Teoh’s death that it was possible the DNA could have been picked up if the autopsy table was not properly sterilised.

She said that the other DNA profile found on Teoh was still unknown. The identified profile belonged to M. Gopala, who was the victim of a car accident.

Gopala’s DNA profile was found on Teoh’s blazer.

The 30-year-old political secretary to state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah was mysteriously found dead on a 5th-floor landing outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Selangor office at Plaza Masalam here on July 16, after being questioned overnight into claims his boss abused state money.

His family and employer claim foul play was involved.

Tunku Aziz: Government can be effective with right leadership

Tunku Aziz shows his new book to Tan Sri Robert Phang (left) and Tun Haniff Omar (centre). — Picture by Jack Ooi

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysia Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Known for his straight talk, the former chairman of Transparency International, Tunku Abdul Aziz, said the government could be effective if it had the right leadership.

The national vice-chairman of DAP added that in order for a society to be rid of corruption, fundamental principles such as transparency and integrity must be applied in every context.

When asked what he thought about the government’s performance thus far, he said: “It is still early at this moment. They are doing their best. In the course of carrying out investigations, they might have made some mistakes along the way.

"However, that is the nature of things. People are bound to make mistakes."

He was speaking at the launch of his book — aptly titled "Straight Talk" — at the Royal Selangor Golf Club yesterday.

The MACC was also brought into the discussion, with Tunku Aziz commending the organisation for making an effort to become more transparent.

“There has been some improvement with the MACC. They are becoming aware of what has to be done in strict accordance with the law.”

The book is a collection/compilation of articles written by Tunku Aziz in the New Straits Times over the years.

The articles provide an in-depth commentary and analysis on the socio-political landscape of Malaysia at a point in time where corruption, power and crony feudalism were at their highest level.

Letter from the Hindu American Foundation to Anwar Ibrahim

The letter from HAF..

Honorable Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Opposition Leader and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia

Dear Mr. Anwar Ibrahim,
Malaysia has already been a country of particular concern for our Foundation in light of the numerous Hindu temple destructions, custodial battles in Shariah courts involving at least one Hindu parent, the arrest and persecution of Hindu-Malaysian leaders, and Bumiputra laws that discriminate against the minority communities.
More recently, we wrote to Ambassador Karuppannan to protest the vulgar, religiously provocative, and racially incendiary act by a Muslim-Malaysian mob demanding that the government rescind the orders for relocating
the Sri Mariamman temple in Section 23 of Shah Alam. The countenance by local police of Muslim provocative acts is added cause for alarm in a country that is already facing volatile racial and religious issues. We are gravely concerned about the law and order situation in the country, and the state's unwillingness to firmly clamp down on the religious bigotry of the Muslim majority. Such tensions only bring about a greater sense of insecurity amongst the Hindu residents.
The Hindu American Foundation is pleased to have noted your concern about the “Arabisation” of Malaysia. Therefore, we hope that you will pressure the Malaysian government and Malaysia’s state and local officials to do
more to protect the rights of Hindu Malaysians and to ensure that Hindu temples will not be desecrated or destroyed. We also urge you to do more to ensure full equality for all Malaysians by ending discrimination in the
allocation of public funds and land for places of worship between Muslim and minority religious groups.

We also urge you to work for repeal of the Internal Security Act and not allow peaceful Hindu protestors to be detained under this repressive Act.
Our Foundation has made the following recommendations to the U.S. and British governments and human rights groups:

1) Religious freedom should be allowed and encouraged for ethnic Malays and the minority religious populations in the country.

2) Religious minorities should not be forced to deal with the country’s Islamic Sharia’s courts.

3) The United States, United Nations, the international community, and human rights groups should pressure the Malaysian government to protect Hindu temples from desecration and destruction. Hindu places of worship that existed prior to independence should be designated as temple property and title to
the land should be handed to the respective temple trustees/committees as has been done for preindependence era mosques.

4) The Malaysian Government should be urged to not discriminate in the allocation of public funds and land for places of worship between Muslim and minority religious groups.

5) The Internal Security Act must be repealed and Hindu leaders prosecuted under the repressive Act should be immediately released.

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is an advocacy group providing a progressive voice for over two million Hindu Americans. The Foundation interacts with and educates leaders in public policy, academia,media and the public at large about Hinduism and global issues concerning Hindus, such as religious
liberty, the portrayal of Hinduism, hate speech, hate crimes and human rights. By promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism, HAF stands firmly against hate, discrimination,defamation and terror. The Hindu American Foundation is not affiliated with any religious or political
organizations or entities. HAF seeks to serve Hindu Americans across all sampradayas (Hindu religious traditions).

I would be pleased to meet further to discuss the issues concerning our Foundation and other human rights groups about Malaysia and to hear your views.

Sincerely,
Mihir Meghani, M.D.
President and member of the Board of Directors,
The Hindu American Foundation

A night out with Rela

By Mien Ly
thenutgraph.com

Rela volunteers praying for a smooth raid
(All pictures and videos courtesy of Mien Ly)

"BUKA pintu! Buka pintu!" shout the volunteers through the grill door, into the hallway of the shop lots in Pudu. They are from Rela, a civil volunteer corp formed by the Malaysian government in 1972 to help preserve "peace and national security". They are conducting a raid on undocumented migrants here, in the middle of Ramadan, on 2 Sept 2009.

Rela's tools for raids — wire cutters, very big torch lightsA man comes sleepily to the grill door. The three Rela volunteers, dressed in their green combat-like uniforms, demand that he opens the door fast or they will cut it. They speak in Bahasa Malaysia. The man seems to understand them — he slowly comes out of his daze and realises what is going on. He responds in English, "Wait, wait, I go get the keys."

When he retreats, another Rela volunteer arrives on the scene with a cutter. The Rela volunteers cut the lock on the grill door. When the man returns with his keys, the Rela men say to him in Malay, "You're slow, we had to cut."

They proceed down the hallway, and knock on all the other doors. Another door opens, revealing a senior man and teenage boy, both equally dazed from being awakened. The Rela volunteers demand to see their identity cards (ICs) or any documents. The older man asks to see a search permit. The volunteers say, "The police are down there, the immigration [officers] are down there, go ask permits from them."

Woman stopping Rela personnel at door to ask for warrantThe teenage boy produces their ICs — MyKads. "My son," the old man explains when the Rela volunteers ask about the boy. "I live with my family." The Rela volunteers demand that the older man open all the doors to see if he is harbouring any undocumented migrants or what they call "Pati" — pendatang asing tanpa izin, or literally "foreign migrants without permission". No "Pati" is found here. A Rela volunteer apologises for the inconvenience. The rest go upstairs to knock on more doors. The older man swears in Cantonese under his breath at this intrusion, and possibly also because he now has to buy another lock.

At another apartment, a group of women are awakened from their sleep, asked to change out of their pyjamas and bring their passports down for immigration officers to check. Five men in Rela uniforms wait outside their room, constantly knocking, and sometimes threatening to knock the door down if they don't hurry up. The women only comprehend when a Rela volunteer speaks in Mandarin to them. One woman asks, "Can't you check now? I've to leave early in the morning to Penang for work." The volunteer responds that he is unable to check their passports — only immigration personnel can — and that it will only take five minutes. The clock on the wall says 2am. The women grudgingly oblige, change into t-shirts and shorts and go downstairs with a Rela volunteer.

Rela's ark


Watch videos of Rela's raid here

On the street downstairs, the women are asked to line up with the other migrants that have been ushered down from nearby apartments. The Rela volunteers ask the migrants to hold their documents. Some people are holding up Malaysian ICs. When a journalist asks about this, Rela volunteers explain that these people were staying with migrants and are thus "suspicious". Their ICs will be checked by the National Registration Department, whose officers are also part of the night's raid.

The men and women are lined up, two by two. Some look disorientated or confused, some anxious and annoyed, and some fearful. Accompanied by three Rela women volunteers and a few more Rela men volunteers, the group walk together towards a main post set up by the Malaysian Immigration Department and Rela for the night. During that five-minute walk, sounds of Rela volunteers fill the night. They shout for doors to be opened, for documents to be shown, and at migrants running away. The rest of the neighbourhood is asleep.

People waiting for documents to be processed

The main post is at a corner of some shop houses, two doors from a nightclub that is playing loud techno music. Three immigration officers sit at a portable table. They have a briefcase with a laptop inside it. Beside them, rows upon rows of migrants are made to squat in line. Rela volunteers collect the documents from the migrants and bring them to the immigration officers. The officers then type out the numbers on the documents into their laptop. If the document — whether it is a passport or work permit — does not show up in their machine, the document is considered invalid and thrown into a plastic bag. The person who owns that document will be hauled into one of the three trucks there — two for men, one for women.

Arrested migrants waiting in trucks

The truck looks exactly like the ones used for prisoners — with planks for seats and grills all around. An Indonesian man in the truck is very upset — he says he has been paying around RM3,000 every year for his work permit. He shows his work permit card for the past three years that proves he has been working in Malaysia and says it has never given him problems.

This year, however, his boss gave him the I-Kad instead of the usual work permit. The immigration officer didn't tell him what was wrong with his I-Kad, just hauled him up the truck. He didn't get a chance to borrow someone's phone to call his employer, who is holding his original passport. He says he tried to talk to a Rela volunteer guarding his truck, and was told to keep quiet and stay in the truck.

Raid leaders Johan and Aminuddin

"The quota for tonight is 50 people. We have surpassed it already — it's time to close shop," says an officer who identifies himself as Major Aminuddin. He is the top man for tonight's raid. He points at his watch — it is now 3am. As the briefcase is being packed, a man arrives, seeking to release his employees. Two women come down from the truck and go off with the man after 10 minutes of negotiations with Rela and immigration. Meanwhile, the people whose documents check out are given back their documents and are told they can now go home. They happily disperse into the quiet night. The trucks that are crammed with people now head back to Rela's office.

Women waiting in rela's officeBack at the office

At the office, Rela volunteers segregate the migrants into rows according to nationality. "It is for documentation purposes," says a volunteer. "I am a refugee," says a Myanmarese man repeatedly to anyone who is near enough to listen, and repeats the number of his registration card issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Three Rela volunteers come over to reprimand him for not keeping quiet.

Just three hours before this, before heading off for the raid, an officer who identified himself as Lieutenant Johan said, "If the person holds a UNHCR card, he [or she] will be released." But there are UNHCR cards in the plastic bag containing the "invalid" documents and the owners of the cards, mainly Myamarese, are squatting among the migrants here.

Rela officer telling a person 'you sit there'

When asked about this, Johan says that it is the jurisdiction of the immigration department — if immigration says bring them in, Rela has to bring them in. The documentation here is to be filed as a police report, and then all those rounded up will be taken to the Lenggeng detention camp.

A man, squatting at the back, holds himself tightly and shivers. No one takes any notice. He continues squatting and shivering — he does not have the right documents.

Kg Tanjung Tokong's fate in balance - Anil Netto

Mahmud Yusoff, who grew up in Kg Tanjung Tokong in Penang, shares with us his thoughts on the village’s uncertain future:

As I was born and grew up in the kampung until Form Five, and later left for further studies and work in KL, my heart is never far from developments in the kampung i.e. through regular visits and involvement in local NGOs for the sake of villagers’ rights…

Back in 1974, the federal government (during the leadership of the late Tun Razak) decided to develop Tanjung Tokong through the Urban Development Authority (Uda). Thus, the state government transferred 48 acres of the land for a token RM1. The traditional villagers who have been there for the last 200 years were declared “squatters” through Uda’s affidavit filed in the Penang High Court on 10 December 2008. Are they doing justice to the villagers?

As mentioned in the Penang Land Office’s letter ref. Bil: (44) dlm. PTG/PM/DTL/76 dated 13 February 1984, the land transfer was on condition “the land hereby alienated shall be used solely for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and renewal of Tanjung Tokong village”. Lawyers argued over the condition, which did not necessarily mean a revamp of the village into totally high-rise housing/commercial projects.

Can’t we consider the rehabilatation, reconstruction and renewal of the kampung so that it provides a more presentable image that could be a living heritage with a touch of tourism, village industries, and homestay? If we could maintain (definitely with some improvement) Weld Quay and Little India as they are, why not Tanjung Tokong village (i.e. the oldest village on the fringe of George Town)?

Uda was “rewarded” with another 52 acres of coastal reclaimed land (adjacent to E & O’s Sri Tanjong Pinang Development) by the previous state government, where high-end condominiums, terrace houses (under construction) and a commercial complex (in planning stage) are in the pipeline. Uda should also build low- and medium-cost flats within that area to ease the plight of the real “squatters” and new young families who reside in Tanjong Tokong Village. Isn’t that an option to solve the problem?

Several meetings and presentations have been made to the PR state government, even to LGE, on the Tanjong Tokong villagers’ (not the real “squatters” or imported residents) aspirations through the Persatuan Penduduk Tanjung Tokong. Having saying that, during the rule of the BN government, memorundums submitted and several meetings resulted in the delaying of the projects but the real voice of Tanjong Tokong residents has still not been ‘properly’ heard.

The next step, without neglecting the PR state government’s assistance and cooperation, is to seek a meeting with the late Tun Razak’s son so that he can consider the Persatuan Penduduk Tg Tokong’s proposals through a new memorundum to be submitted soon.

A revival opportunity for BN

My SinChew
By Lim Sue Goan / translated by Soong Phui Jee

Eventually, BN decided to field former Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Tan Sri Isa Samad for the Bagan Pinang by-election. He was picked as the BN candidate based on the voters’ wishes. It is what BN needs. Only by winning the by-election, the party's morale can be boosted and Pakatan Rakyat's winning streak can be stopped. As for the “aftermath”, they will deal with it only after the by-election.

Based on personal networks, it is an advantage for Isa to have been raised locally. He has high affinity and voters here emphasise on sensibilities. On the other hand, PAS candidate Zulkefly Mohamad Omar is not locally born or raised. Naturally, he is incomparable with deep-rooted Isa. In addition, 34% (4604 votes) of the total voters are military voters. If BN keeps the two advantages, it may gain the first victory after the 8 March general elections.

However, BN is facing some adverse factors, too. Would MIC President S. Samy Vellu's refusal to step down and the “cow-head” issue affect the 20% Indian votes? Meanwhile, it depends on MCA to fight for the 11% Chinese votes. But MCA is currently facing a party crisis, would the leaders of the two factions, who are busy with the party's Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), put all their efforts to assist the by-election? Would some Chinese voters give up voting?

"The by-election will as well show whether PAS is able to gain support from non-Malay voters."

Also, the Opposition will stir up issues like DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock's death and the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal. But it is not sure yet whether these issues will resonate with voters. As long as BN does not disarray itself, I believe that it can win the by-election with the basic, military and homeland sentimental votes.

As for PAS and Pakatan Rakyat, the significance to win the by-election or reduce BN's votes are:

1. As a PAS leader said, this is the first by-election in the southern Peninsular Malaysia. It can test Pakatan Rakyat's strength in the states located below Selangor and Kuala Lumpur,. It is also a touchstone for the next general elections. The southern Peninsular Malaysia is a stronghold for BN, as well as the protective screen for the BN federal government. Thus, the Bagan Pinang by-election may be regarded as an attack and defence battle.

2. PAS is able to build its bridgehead in “Malay states” like Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah but it has failed to lay a sound foundation in multi-racial states. PAS contested for 13 state seats in Negri Sembilan during the 8 March general elections and won its first state seat in the state. If PAS wins the Bagan Pinang state seat this time, it is able to establish a firm footing in Negri Sembilan. The by-election will as well show whether PAS is able to gain support from non-Malay voters.

The recent words and deeds of PAS have revealed its conservative thinking and theocratic belief, Chinese voters may convey their feelings through the by-election.

3. The by-election will test the partnership between DAP and PAS. There have been many disputes between the two parties. For example, Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Ali criticised the Select Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) headed by Selangor state assembly Speaker Teng Chang Khim (DAP). In order to win the by-election, PAS needs the support from DAP, which is having the greatest strength in the state, would DAP “return good for evil”?

The Bagan Pinang by-election is having its political significance but the by-election results will not change the political situation. The struggle will continue after the by-election. (By LIM SUE GOAN/Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/Sin Chew Daily)

HUKUM ALLAH


1. Apabila sesuatu dilakukan dengan nama Islam, ramai yang cepat berkata ia adalah hukum Allah yang perlu kita lakukan. Kita jarang bertanya samada sesuatu itu benar-benar hukum Allah.

2. Saya tertarik dengan rencana bekas mufti Perlis (baca disini) berkenaan dengan kononnya Islam melarang gosok gigi di bulan puasa. Kononnya mulut yang bau busuk kerana berpuasa sebenarnya harum seperti bau kasturi. Ini diulangi berkali-kali dalam televisyen.

3. Benarkah pendapat ini adalah hukum Allah?

4. Sebenarnya hukum ini tidak terdapat dalam Al-Quran. Mungkin ada hadith yang menyarankan bahawa ini adalah ajaran Islam (yang diwajibkan). Tetapi kita tahu banyak hadith yang diterima oleh sesetengah daripada orang Islam adalah lemah atau bukan hadith yang sebenarnya.

5. Sebab itu kita dapati banyak perbezaan daripada segi kepercayaan dan amalan oleh orang Islam di negara-negara Islam. Ada negara Islam di mana purdah atau hijab diwajibkan walaupun oleh perempuan yang sudah tua. Al-Quran tidak mewajibkan wanita tutup muka dan tangan. Bolehkah kita kata amalan pakaian purdah ini adalah hukum Allah?

6. Larangan bagi wanita bersekolah untuk menuntut ilmu juga tidak terdapat dalam Al-Quran atau hadith sahih.

7. Membunuh wanita kerana memalukan keluarga juga tidak ada. Tetapi di beberapa buah negara Islam dilapor berkenaan dengan wanita dibunuh oleh bapa atau abangnya kerana perbuatan tertentu. Islamkah ini? Hukum Allah kah ini?

8. Dalam melaksanakan hukum Islam, Al-Quran menyebut tentang hukuman yang setimpal. Demikian mata dibalas dengan mata, telinga dengan telinga dan seterusnya jiwa dengan jiwa. Dalam pada itu Al-Quran menyebut sesiapa yang melepaskan hak membalasnya, maka itu menjadi penebus dosanya.

9. Sesungguhnya Allah s.w.t. menyukai orang yang bertimbangrasa dalam mengena atau melaksana hukum. Yang diutamakan dalam Al-Quran ialah apabila menghukum, hukumlah dengan adil. Terdapat 43 ayat yang menyebut tentang pentingnya hukuman yang adil. Beberapa ayat lagi menegah perbuatan yang zalim.

10. Seperti yang kita semua maklum, alim ulama memahami dan membuat tafsiran berpandu kepada isi kandungan Al-Quran dan hadith dan kitab tulisan ulama silam. Oleh kerana alim ulama bukan rasul kefahaman dan tafsiran mereka tidaklah selalunya sama antara satu dengan yang lain. Demikianlah kelainan antara pendapat dan kefahaman mereka sehingga berlaku perpecahan dan permusuhan dikalangan orang Islam dan rusuhan serta bunuh-membunuh antara mereka.

11. Soalnya apakah mungkin semua alim ulama benar-benar berpegang kepada hukum Allah apabila memberi pendapat atau membuat fatwa? Jika ya, kenapakah ajaran mereka tidak sama dan begitu bertentangan antara sesama mereka?

12. Atau apakah ada diantara mereka yang secara sengaja atau tidak sengaja, telah membuat tafsiran yang salah berkenaan apa yang dikatakan hukum-hukum Allah. Kerap ternampak mereka seolah-olah tidak puas hati dengan kesederhanaan dan kelonggaran yang terdapat dalam Islam.

13. Oleh kerana ada kemungkinan salah tafsiran berlaku janganlah kita terlalu cepat berkata bahawa hukum yang ditentukan oleh alim ulama adalah hukum Allah dan dengan itu kita tidak boleh mempersoalkannya dan kita akan berdosa jika kita abaikannya.

14. Oleh itu sebelum menghukum atau menjalankan hukuman tidak bolehkah kita bertanya dahulu adilkah hukuman yang dikenakan? Dan benarkah hukuman yang dikenakan adalah hukum Allah?

15. Kita juga harus diberitahu dari mana puncanya hukuman yang dijatuhkan, sebelum kita terima hukuman berkenaan adalah hukum Allah.

16. Dan janganlah kita lupa bahawa Allah suka kepada mereka yang bertimbangrasa dan tidak keterlaluan dalam melaksanakan hukum.

17. Juga harus kita jaga kebaikan nama Islam dan tidak melakukan sesuatu yang akan mencemarkannya.

18. Kita disuruh berdakwah dan mengembangkan agama Islam. Kita sendiri berbahagia kerana menganut agama Islam disebabkan pedagang Islam dari negara Arab dan India telah menunjuk kebaikan dan keadilan dalam Islam. Jika kita melakukan sesuatu yang sebenarnya bukan dari ajaran Islam dan ini menyebabkan orang lain menjauhkan diri dari Islam, apakah kita mematuhi tugas berdakwah yang diwajibkan keatas kita semua?

Wallahua'alam.

Desperate Hunt For Survivors From Indonesia Quake

By Sunanda Creagh

PADANG, Indonesia, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Rescue teams resumed a desperate search Friday for scores of people feared trapped under the debris of buildings shattered in an earthquake in the Indonesian port of Padang.

Aid to thousands of displaced survivors started trickling in.

Rescue operations in and around the West Sumatran capital of 900,000 have been hampered by power blackouts and a lack of heavy equipment to shift fallen masonry.

The 7.6 magnitude quake struck Wednesday, toppling thousands of buildings. Telephone links remain uncertain, making it hard to determine the extent of destruction and loss of life.

A social ministry official put the number of confirmed deaths at 529, although officials expect this to go far higher, possibly into the thousands. The national disaster management centre said 2,181 people had been injured and 2,650 buildings damaged.

Australia, South Korea and Japan were among nations offering help.

Workers rigged up floodlights overnight and brought in a giant excavator to try to make their way to students trapped in a three-storey school that had collapsed. Sixty schoolchildren had been attending extra-curricular lessons when the quake struck, the Jakarta Post reported.

FUEL, FOOD, WATER IN SHORT SUPPLY

Padang has at times descended into chaos, with fuel in short supply, some shops running out of food and many residents scrambling to find clean water. Many roads in the region have been severed by landslides.

Conditions in Pariaman, nearer the quake's epicentre, may be even worse with reports of buildings flattened. Conditions in more remote areas were unknown.

A two-storey clinic at Padang's main hospital collapsed, but was empty after closing a few hours before the quake.

Patients from adjacent wards were evacuated to nearby tents, while a makeshift open air morgue was set up, with lines of corpses placed in yellow body bags.

Operations were being performed in nearby white tents.

"We have done hundreds of operations since the earthquake," Dr Nofli Ichlas said Thursday. "Some broken bones, some with limbs completely cut off. Fractured skulls, abdominal trauma too - when something has stabbed into the patients body." President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono flew to the stricken region after arriving back from the G20 meeting Thursday and stayed overnight to help oversee the rescue.

A 6.6 magnitude quake hit another part of Sumatra island on Thursday, causing fresh panic but no reported deaths. The second quake's epicentre was about 225 km (140 miles) southeast of Padang, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Elshinta radio reported that 12 people were hurt in the town of Jambi and 60 houses damaged.

© REUTERS 2009

Mystery man's DNA to be known tomorrow

Wife defends embattled MIC boss

Kugan's death: Cop charged

Kugan's case: Cop charged, pleads not guilty - Malaysiakini

Nine months after A Kugan died in police custody, constable V Navindran was charged at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court today with causing hurt to the 23-year-old detainee.

Navindran claimed trial to two counts of causing "grievous hurt" while trying to extract a confession or extract any information to secure a conviction on two separate occasions on Jan 16.

Alternatively, he was accused of causing "hurt"to Kugan.

kugan court case 011009 uthayakumar.jpgThe alleged offences took place at the interrogation room of the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya-- the first at 7am and the second at 4pm.

If found guilty of causing "grievous hurt", he is liable to a fine and a jail term of up to 10 years, while for "causing hurt," the maximum sentence is seven years.

DPP Idham Abdul Ghani requested that the bail be set at RM10,000 with one surety.

Navindran, 28, who looked unperturbed during the proceedings is represented by a team of three lawyers led by Sallehuddin Saidin.

The others are Suraj Singh and Rajpal Singh while lawyer Gobind Singh Deo is holding a watching brief for the Kugan family.

Kugan's grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle along with close relatives were present in court to catch a glimpse of the man allegedly responsible for his death.

Sallehuddin submitted that his client is married and with a child. He is a constable and had cooperated with the police in their investigations and was present in court of his own free will.

"Being a constable there is less chance of him absconding bail. I would like to suggest bail at RM1,000 with one surety as his uncle is willing to post bail."

Idham told the court that the offence was serious and had attracted wide media coverage.

Sessions judge Aslam Zainuddin set bail at RM10,000 for both charges and fixed Nov 5 for mention.

Navindran, wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt and blue denim jeans, entered the court about 9.25am.

He was said to have arrived at 6.30am at the newly renovated Petaling Jaya court complex, to evade photographers.

Police light strike force personnel were present behind the court complex maintain security.

Navidran was attached to Taipan but has since been transferred to the Shah Alam Police Contingent Headquarters.

Gobind: Legalising police brutality

kugan court case 011009 gobind singh.jpgGobind (left), when met outside the court, said he and his client's family were disappointed that the other policemen who had been involved are not facing any prosecution.

"I will write to the Attorney General to seek a clarification why others who allegedly were involved in the beating were not charged, just one. I do not find the Attorney General's explanation convincing.

"You cannot imagine the suffering that Kugan went through in his ordeal under the hands of these men who were trying to extract a confession. I also do not believe this is the work of one person," he said.

Gobind who is also Puchong MP objected to Section 330 and 331 of the Penal Code, as it seems to be legalising police brutality in extracting confessions.

He said this has to stop as innocent people are being killed with such harsh interrogation tactics.

"I will bring this matter up in parliament for the MPs to deliberate the reviewing of the two sections," he said.

Gobind said the prosecutors should have charged Navindran with murder and not a lesser charge.

"Why not charge him with murder and let the court decide whether to move to a lesser charge?," he asked.

No murder charge

Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail in a press statement yesterday said Navindran was to be charged under Section 331 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort confession from the deceased and alternatively Section 330 for voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession from him.

lingam tape panel meeting 031007 abdul gani patailAccording to Abdul Gani (right), out of 92 witnesses questioned by the police, four identified Navindran as the one who had inflicted the injuries on Kugan on those occasions.

"On both occasions, the suspect was said to have beaten the deceased with a rubber hose and four days later Kugan met his death," he said.

Abdul Gani also took pains to explain why Navindran was not charged with murder.

"There is no evidence that the deceased suffered instant death. Instead, the deceased died four days after the alleged beating.

"Therefore, there was a wide gap in between and a charge of murder could not be preferred against the suspect.

"The finding of the medical report did not show that the deceased died due to the injuries suffered by him. But the result of acute myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart," he said.

Kugan died on Jan 20 at the USJ Taipan police station, five days after he was arrested.

Malaysiakini, was among the first media which highlighted the incident, resulting in a public outcry.

Kugan's grandmother G Muthama, 62, said she cried daily haunted by the memory of the manner in which her grandson had died.

'The law is dead'

kugan court case 011009 grandma g muthamai 2.jpgMuthama (left) said putting up the RM10,000 bail money was nothing compared to the loss of a life.

"The police are supposed to protect the people and now we see them beating others to extort confessions. How can this be? What sort of police and government do we have?" asked Muthama.

"What about the rest of the policemen who took part in the beatings why are they not charged? I want to see all of them charged with 302 (murder) and not this."

Kugan's auntie S Renuka, 31, also questioned the high handed police action in arresting him.

"They arrested him on allegations of car theft. However, after six months and Kugan's death, they said there is no case against him.

"To make matters worse, Kugan's valuables including jewellery kept in his car and also his pants and shirt are all missing."

"How can we be satisfied as we had lost a loved one and only one person is charged," Renuka said.

N Indra, who is Kugan's mother was also present but did not speak to the press.

MS Mahendran, 47, another uncle of Kugan's, remarked sarcastically that this was the 1Malaysia called by the country's leaders.

"If this was truly 1Malaysia, they should be fair to everyone. We are also human but why is the law not acting for us in seeking justice for Kugan. The law is dead."

Wife defends embattled MIC boss - Malaysiakini

Since her husband's defeat in the last general election, Indrani Samy Vellu has kept a low profile. But now, she feels compelled to voice her thoughts in the wake of the mounting criticisms against her husband of 49 years.

What hurt her most were the scathing remarks by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whom she considers to be almost like family.

indrani interview 300909In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini yesterday, Indrani, 69, said it was not proper for Mahathir to state, among others, that in Japan, defeated leaders would have committed 'harakiri' (killed themselves).

"He did not say it directly... but what if he (Samy Vellu) had taken it seriously. It may not affect my husband but such statements do leave an impact on our family," she said.

Indrani also disagreed with Mahathir and others describing her husband as a liability for Barisan Nasional.

"He (Samy Vellu) lost his parliamentary seat (in Sungai Siput) once (in the last general election) because of certain events, including some who worked towards ensuring his defeat.

"But he was not the only BN leader who lost... so why single him out?" she asked.

Indrani, who repeatedly stressed that Mahathir is a great leader whom she and her husband admired, called on the former premier and other BN leaders to be more judicious in their criticism.

Why didn't they say something sooner?


"He (Samy Vellu) is not saying that he will not step down as MIC president. He will step down when the time is right.

"Other coalition party members also suffered major losses, so it is not acceptable to say that BN's failure is because of Samy Vellu alone," she said during interview which was conducted in Tamil.

"The BN leaders are now saying that he has not done anything for the community but nobody seems to remember the years he sacrificed to bring upliftment to the community," she said.

samy vellu exclusive on tamil schools 080708 06"Samy Vellu was not the only minister in the cabinet, there were other ministers and there was the prime minister... if they are saying now that he failed the community, why didn't they say something sooner or reprimand him for lagging?

"He did all he can to help the people... but sometimes you have to help yourself too, he can't be knocking on everyone's door to give aid. All we can do is teach them how to fish and feed themselves, we cannot be spoon feeding them," she added.

The mother of two also stressed that her husband was a man of his own making, who worked very hard to get to where he is today.

On the claim that Samy Vellu was grooming their son Vell Paari to enter politics, Indrani said that was up to her husband.

Breaking into laughter, she quipped that Samy Vellu, whom she described as being a temperamental person, never even gave her a single award.

"When I asked to be recommended for an honorary title, he asked me why do I need one and where do I plan to stick it (the badge)," she said.

"But then, is it wrong for Vell Paari to come into politics? The other politicians also groom their children to be leaders one day.

"My husband knows that Vell Paari has the capability and my son does contribute to society without any publicity," she added.

Vell Paari is not a cruel person


Meanwhile, Indrani was also asked about her son being implicated in the death of drama actress K Sujatha.

"Frankly speaking I hardly knew her. But to say my son had forced the poison down her throat is ridiculous," she said, adding that Vell Paari was incapable of such cruelty.

NONEShe recalled how her son had even balked at the idea of slaughtering a chicken to cook a meal at home, and this was one of the reasons why he opted to pursue architecture instead of medicine.

"Her (Sujatha's) own family members had testified that she committed suicide, if that was not the truth wouldn't they fight for justice," she asked.

Indrani also lashed out at PKR MP S Manikavasagam who had pursued the matter, saying that it was a political ploy to attack the father by using the son as a scapegoat.

She also took a Tamil daily to task for running reports on the Sujatha case by splashing photographs of the deceased.

"It was wrong of them to disrespect the girl in that way. They could have run the stories without using her photos, but they chose to print all sorts of photos in order to attract readers," she said.

Ex-MIED CEO gets a lashing


Indrani also defended her husband against the accusations by P Chithirakala Vasu, the former chief executive officer of MIC's education arm MIED.

Last week, Chithirakala said that Samy Vellu will leave behind an 'empty shell' for his chosen successor G Palanivel.

Commenting on this, Indrani sarcastically said that while she lauded Chithirakala's concern for Palanivel's future, the former MIED CEO should not forget that she was given the 'Thirupathi Undiyal' by her husband.

Thirupathi is a holy shrine in India, where the 'undiyal' or donation box is known for raking in millions of dollars.

p chithirakala on mied 280209 02"He had given her the utmost respect and treated her like a daughter... But she now makes all these baseless allegations against him, the man who sponsored her education and gave her everything that she has today," she said.

According to Indrani, Chithirakala left MIED some three years ago after expressing unhappiness with Samy Vellu.

"Then she asked for her job back and despite my disapproval, he forgave her saying that she was a young girl who did not know better, and took her back.

"But look at how ungrateful she is, and now she makes all sorts of accusations against my husband," she added.

Passport bungle: Waytha rubbishes Hisham's claims - Malaysiakini

Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy today rubbished Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's denial that the Putrajaya administration revoked his international passport.

The London-based activist also denied Hishammuddin's claim that he had surrendered his passport to the Malaysian high commission in Britain.

He slammed Hishammuddin for allegedly parroting lies spread by the previous home minister Syed Hamid Albar that his passport was not revoked.

NONEWaythamoorthy said he has two official letters from the British Home Office to prove the cancellation of his valid passport.

He said the British Home Office had submitted to his London solicitor a written letter confirming that his international passport was revoked by the Malaysian government on April 21, 2008.

Waythamoorthy added the matter was raised at the British high commission in Kuala Lumpur and the British immigration acted upon that communication and refused him exit via Gatwick airport.

"On April 21, the day it was confirmed that my passport was revoked, the home office withheld and impounded my passport upon request by the Malaysian government," he said.

He said upon receiving the confirmation letter from the home office, his solicitor - Imran Khan and Solicitors - had written a letter to the Malaysian high commission seeking answers for the sudden and unexpected revocation of his valid passport.

Passport 'foolishly sent to lawyer'

The solicitor's legal letter (letter before action or letter of demand in Malaysia) to the home office was sent in view of initiating a British court action against the Malaysian government.

Waythamoorthy said the Malaysian high commission however failed to reply and explain professionally the questions that were raised in the letter of demand.

Instead, he said the high commission acted foolishly by dispatching his passport to his solicitor's office.

The high commission, said Waythamoorthy, had delivered the document by hand, perhaps thinking it would end the matter and stop him from instituting legal action against the Putrajaya administration.

Shocked by the Malaysian government's action in returning the passport, his solicitor then sent it back to the high commission office.

He said the solicitor had enclosed a covering letter seeking answers, explanations and an apology from the Malaysian high commissioner over the matter.

"The Malaysian government's action of re-sending my passport through the back door after revoking it was an act of cowardice of the highest order.

"The Putrajaya administration cowardly did it to avoid responsibility and accountability because the then home minister knew he had bungled up the matter. Thus I was made the country's first political refugee in Britain by the Umno government," he said.

Detrimental to diplomatic ties


Waythamoorthy said he was not pursuing any legal action on the matter yet because he does not wish to embarrass the Malaysian government "for all its lies".

He said it would also affect the diplomatic relations between London and Putrajaya.

He challenged Hishammuddin to confirm that the Malaysian government did not revoke his passport and that the British government had lied.

"Hishammuddin should confirm that the British government lied to me when the London Home Office told me that the Malaysian government had conveyed the information on the cancellation of my passport to its high commission in Malaysia and sought the return of my passport.

"Would he be agreeable to choose London as the forum of convenience for my civil suit against the Malaysian and British governments?" he asked.

PKR TOLAK MURUGIAH

Laporan akhbar Sinar Harian bertajuk “ Murugiah Tolak Sertai Pembangkang” dirujuk. Saya rasa ianya patut dirujuk sebagai PKR Tolak Murugiah.

Kenyataan T Murugiah seakan beliau tamakkan tawaran jawatan sebelum memutuskan parti yang akan disertainya. Setahu saya tidak ada pihak dari Parti Keadilan Rakyat membuat tawaran kepada beliau , sekiranya adapun PKR tidak memerlukan pemimpin yang tamakkan jawatan tetapi mereka yang benar-benar percaya akan lunas-lunas perjuangan parti.

Adalah lebih baik kita tawarkan jawatan kepada akar umbi Parti Keadilan Rakyat yang taat setia bersama parti mengharungi ombak perjuangannya.

Kedegilan beliau untuk terus mengekalkan jawatan Timbalan Menteri walaupun dipecat oleh parti asalnya itu sendiri telah memecahbelahkan penyokongnya terutama terutaman orang India seperti diinginkan oleh Perdana Menteri.

Sekian.

Between farce and faith

Image

If ‘religionists’ can understand this then the world would be a much better place. Malaysia would be a much better place. And those hundreds of millions who were slaughtered over the last 3,500 years in the name of the ‘true religion’ need not have died needlessly.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

If I were to say that a certain very senior military officer told me that………..many -- in particular those from the legal fraternity -- would say that this is hearsay. If I relate something that someone else told me then that is not admissible as ‘evidence’.

In court, if I relate what I have been told, this is not strong enough. The person who told me that story has to be subpoenaed to appear in court. He or she would have to personally relate whatever it is he or she told me. My ‘second-hand’ version is not acceptable. And he or she has to be a witness to the event. It has to be what he or she saw, and not what he or she was told by yet another party. If not, this would, again, be hearsay.

The same goes for documents. If I adduce a document in court and say this is what was given to me, this too can’t be accepted as evidence. The maker of the document must be subpoenaed to court to testify that he or she is indeed the maker of the document and that it is his or her signature on the document. Even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had to go to court to testify in a Bank Negara forgery case back in the early 1980s when he first became Prime Minister. Without Dr Mahathir’s testimony that he did not sign that letter and that the letter is, in fact, a forgery, the prosecution would not be able to prove its case and obtain a conviction.

Such is the law of evidence. What someone told you does not count. Even if you can support your statement with a document, that too does not count. The source of the information must personally appear in court and take the witness stand and testify that he or she did in fact say that, or prepared that document, or signed that letter, or whatever.

That is why in my various criminal cases the government chose to charge me under sections of the law where the burden of proof or evidence is not required. Or they chose to detain me without trial where the issue of evidence need not be argued in court. For example, the government says I lied. Yet they won’t charge me for lying -- like for signing a false declaration. Instead, they charge me for sedition and criminal defamation where the truth of the matter is not material to the charge. Even if I told the truth I am still guilty and can be sent to jail.

The government realises that I may have witnesses who are prepared to come to court to testify that they did indeed say what I wrote and that means I did not lie. So, when my lawyers argue about the falsity or truth of what I wrote, the prosecution jumps to its feet and reminds the judge that the court must ignore this argument and just focus on whether I did or did not write what I am alleged to have written (which means I am guilty of a crime) and not whether what I wrote is true or false (because even if it is true I am still guilty).

In court, we dabble at great length on the laws or evidence and about what constitutes hearsay and what is admissible and what is not. And you can get sent to jail just because you related what you were told but fail to bring the teller of the story to court to testify that he or she did indeed relate this story to you. If you say something that is a repeat of what someone else told you, and you can’t drag that person to court to back up your story, then you are in deep shit. You will get sent to jail.

Now, superimpose that onto religion. You tell me that someone told you what someone else told him or her that yet someone else told him or her about what happened 3,500 years ago -- and this story has been transmitted through 14,000 generations over 3,500 years before they even had pen and paper to record all this -- and I am expected to believe it.

That is 14,000 generations over 3,500 years. All of them are of course now long dead and gone. So we have no way of confirming this story from eyewitness accounts. And we call it the gospel. Yet when I relate what someone witnessed three years ago and who is still alive and one week ago he told me what he witnesses, that is a lie and I get arrested and charged for this ‘lie’.

Religion, for all intents and purposes, is based on hearsay. And it is hearsay because none of those people who lived 3,500 years ago is still alive today. And they never wrote down what they are alleged to have witnessed. It has all been related by word of mouth and passed down through word of mouth over 14,000 generations. Have the events and stories the witnesses related 14,000 generations ago been kept intact these 3,500 years or has over time the stories been corrupted?

They did an experiment once. They asked ten people to sit in a row and the lecturer whispered a story to the first person. The first person then whispered to the second person, who then whispered to the third person, and so on till the last person. It took only minutes for the story to get transmitted down the line from the first to the tenth person.

The tenth person was then asked to relate the story back to the first person and the story the tenth person related was a far departure from what the first person had related. So there you have it. In a mere few minutes, a story told by one person has changed so much by the time it reaches the tenth person sitting in the same room a few feet away. Imagine a story related by 14,000 generations over 3,500 years halfway around the world. How much of the story remains uncorrupted?

So religion can never be about facts. Facts would be when the witness himself told you what he saw. After 14,000 ‘mouths’ over 3,500 years, facts no longer exist. And by saying ‘facts’ I am using the standards of the law of evidence applicable in a court of law. Anything other than eyewitness accounts is no longer fact but hearsay. So religion, having happened 3,500 years ago, is therefore hearsay and not facts.

So we need faith when it comes to religion. We can’t apply facts because facts do not exist. How can facts exist when the storyteller has long since died and his story has been passed down by word of mouth over 14,000 generations? If you lack faith you will reject all these stories. If you insist on applying the proper laws of evidence you will never believe what they tell you about events that happened 3,500 years ago where no witnesses to the events remain alive today.

But we live in a democratic society and if you wish to believe that the moon is made of cheese and that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around earth then that is your choice. You are free to believe what you want to believe. And if you wish to believe that something that is said to have happened 3,500 years ago is true in spite of there not being any witnesses alive today who can confirm these stories then that is also your choice. That is what democracy is all about.

However, we have certain people who believe in what happened 3,500 years ago, in spite of the fact they can’t prove it, and then they expect us to also believe this. If we refuse to believe this they will get very upset. They will arrest us. They will kill us. They force us to believe what they believe and will punish us if we do not.

And this is why the world is facing a lot of problems today. The 6 billion or so inhabitants of the world hold dear stories about what happened 5,000 years or 3,500 years or 2,000 years or 1,500 years ago. And they label themselves with whatever religion they subscribe to. Many have since been killed off. The majority exterminates the minority so those who follow minority religions have long since become extinct.

The majority rules; the minorities got sent to their graves many generations ago. So the religions we follow today are the religions of the victors in the game of wipe out all those who do not believe what we also believe. And we now believe the religion of the victors, not the religions of the vanquished. And this is accepted as the correct and true religions because only these religions still exist while all others have been wiped off the face of this earth.

What is truth and what is farce? We don’t know and we don’t really care because we base our beliefs on faith and not on evidence. And our faith is mostly based on what our parents and their parents before them believed in.

I have met a Muslim ulama who took me for lunch in McDonalds in Washington. He ordered a beef burger and I had fish. He laughed and said he understands that I am from Malaysia so I am just doing the ‘Malay thing’ by eating fish and not any non-halal meat. But beef, even though not slaughtered by a Muslim, is halal, said this ulama of Arab descent who is very senior in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

I have met a Muslim ulama who drinks wine. Wine is okay, said the ulama, but not beer, whisky or brandy. And he quoted a verse of the Quran to convince me.

I have met Muslims from Morocco who smoke during the fasting month of Ramadhan but will not eat or drink till the sun goes down.

I have met Muslims who only accept the Quran but not the Hadith. And I have met Muslims who only accept 500 of the Hadith but not the 7,000 that other Muslims accept. And I have met Muslims who take the Quran from its allegorical meaning and not from its literal meaning. And I have met Muslims who translate the Quran from Aramaic and not Arabic, which they say is the correct language of the Quran.

So, even amongst Muslims there are many opinions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Some even say that Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not exist because all three are actually the same religion and that Abraham’s teachings and not the teachings of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad is the correct religion to follow.

Who is right and who is wrong? That is for you to decide. And since it is all based on faith with no evidence -- in the context of the law of evidence acceptable in the justice system that we follow -- then you decide the right and the wrong.

But don’t force others to also believe what you believe. Most religions impose their beliefs on others. Since, due to lack of evidence, you can’t prove what is right and what is wrong, you have no business forcing others to also believe what you believe which is all based on faith.

If ‘religionists’ can understand this then the world would be a much better place. Malaysia would be a much better place. And those hundreds of millions who were slaughtered over the last 3,500 years in the name of the ‘true religion’ need not have died needlessly.

This, the religionists, can’t seem to understand. And this is because they have this high and mighty and righteous attitude where only they are right and all others are wrong. It never occurred to them that maybe they are wrong and the other chap could in fact be right. Or that maybe everyone is wrong because at the end of the day religion is all about unproven stories told 14,000 generations ago and passed down by word of mouth over 3,500 years with no evidence to support the stories or evidence to prove that the stories had not changed or become corrupted over time.

Ku Li says Umno must give power back to members

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah wants Umno to return to democratic principles. – Picture by Choo Choy May

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today urged Umno leaders to give power back to the party’s grassroots and become more democratic.

Tengku Razaleigh believes that the leadership must not only drop the quota system but also the conditions set in nominating a candidate for the party’s top posts.

Party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had proposed scrapping the nomination quotas and opening the vote to branch delegates at this year’s assembly in March when he took over from former president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The quota system was put in place to ensure there would be no popular challenge to the party leadership when Umno was reconstituted in 1988 after it was declared illegal.

“They are told they are prepared to drop the quota system but they are putting a lot of conditions so it is back to square one meaning that the leadership is not serious. “Meaning the leadership is not having much faith in the grassroots leaders so they must go back to the grassroots and give back power to them.

“If you are good, they will elect them. You don’t have to pamper them,” he told reporters after attending the launching of Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s book, Malay Peninsula: Old Photographs of Malaya and Singapore by Kleingrothe, in Concorde hotel.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin looking at some pictures from the Malay Peninsula book that were display. – Picture by Choo Choy May

The Malaysian Insider had reported this morning that Umno’s political bureau has agreed to drop a contentious party election rule on eligibility for top posts when delegates vote on Oct 13 to abolish nomination quotas.

The rule that allows only members of the powerful Umno supreme council who have served for at least three terms to contest top posts has drawn the ire of a majority of the party’s 191 divisions.

Commenting further on reforms in Umno, the former finance minister said he was also worried that the public had lost trust in the party after Tan Sri Isa Samad was selected as Barisan Nasional’s (BN) candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election.

“I think people are very concerned about the moral values of leaders today and you cannot dismiss this view point. I think it is best that the leadership really takes this to heart and not do things against the wishes of the people.

“We may win a battle but we might not win the war because I think the long term interests of the country is more important than anything else,” he said.

He added that Umno must democratise itself and gain back the trust of Malaysians because the public had sent a very strong signal in the previous general election.

“You must democratise yourself, you must give power back to the grassroots to elect leaders so that proper people are put up with the aspirations of the people on the ground.

“You can see recently at the annual meetings at the cawangan-cawangan in the run up the general assembly of the party this year, some cawangan did not even have the quorum so that shows that is no more interest among Umno members.”

Noordin Top's burial triggers media frenzy in Pontian

Arina Rochmah of Indonesia, one of the widows of Asia’s most wanted militant Noordin Mohammad Top who was shot dead in a raid in Solo, carries her daughter after viewing her husband’s body at a mortuary in Jakarta

PONTIAN, Oct 1 — The family of Asia’s most wanted terrorist Noordin Mat Top, killed by Indonesian security forces in Central Java recently, today began making preparations for his burial in his village here.

Noordin’s sister-in-law Ubaidah Salimon, 49, said family members had started arriving at their ancestral home in Kampung Kayu Ara Pasong, here, to await the arrival of Noordin’s remains from Indonesia.

“His body is expected to arrive any time now. Some of his siblings and other close relatives started gathering here two to three days ago and more will be arriving,” she said. Ubaidah said the family hoped that the return of Noordin’s remains would be smooth and that they would hold tahlil for his departed soul for three consecutive days.

She said her late brother-in-law was expected to be buried at the Kampung Melayu Pontian Besar Kiri Muslim cemetery, next to the grave of her husband, Arif, who died two weeks ago.

“Since Noordin’s death has received wide media coverage, many of our neighbours, relatives and friends have been contacting me. Those who visited us during Hari Raya also enquired about Noordin’s death and extended their condolences to our family,” she added.

Meanwhile, seen was a marquee erected at the cemetery, where the Islamist militant will be interred, about 150 metres away from the family home.

Scores of local and foreign journalists have started arriving in this town since yesterday, and this afternoon they were seen gathering at the cemetery area in anticipation of Noordin’s funeral.

Noordin, who headed Jemaaah Islamiyah’s radical splinter group known as Tandzim Al-Qoidah Indonesia, was shot dead by Indonesian security forces at a militant hideout in Solo, Central Java, on Sept 17, ending a six-year hunt for the fugitive Islamist militant. The former accountant was said to be responsible for planning and carrying out a series of bombing in Indonesia, including at the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in July, which left nine people dead. — Bernama

Gross Travesty Of Justice in Kugan’s case

The police cannot be be held accountable for anything they do in this country, either for the bribes we all give them daily or for the outright murder of citizens that they commit with impunity, every now and then . They are a law unto themselves. They absolutely are a law unto themselves. This is the way it works in our country now. Outright thuggery by the police. There is no justice whatsoever for the weak and defenceless. The weak and defenceless are daily being preyed on by these salaried thugs.

My heart bleeds when I think of the outright abuses, being committed now, with damned impunity in trying to bring to book, those criminals within the police department who caused Kugan’s death. There were 21 police personnel involved in the death of Kugan one way or another. Finally, one corporal is charged. The Police force is mainly Malay in its composition, but the only policeman charged is an Indian Malaysian policeman. I do not understand what they are trying to project, or say or imply. Are they trying to play down any potential for it appearing like the Malay Police force is involved in cruel acts againts Indian Malaysian citizens.

Then the AG, mind you the AG himself, said the charges preferred against this corporal is causing greivous hurt, and not attempt to murder, and all of that in the light of such damning evidence. Let me quote from a Malaysiakini interview:

“Abdul Gani also took pains to explain why Navindran was not charged with murder."There is no evidence that the deceased suffered instant death. Instead, the deceased died four days after the alleged beating."Therefore, there was a wide gap in between and a charge of murder could not be preferred against the suspect."The finding of the medical report did not show that the deceased died due to the injuries suffered by him. But the result of acute myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart," he said.

Here we have Kugan who is killed while under police custody. Beaten unmercifully. He died of viral infection of the heart, we are told to believe by the seniormost caretaker of the law in our country. What is happening in our country, my inside cries.

Yet those poor chaps at Batu Caves who on the 25th of Nov 2007, were involved in an incident where one policeman was hurt were all charged immediately, immediately, and all of them, not just one and not after eight months, with murder and bail disallowed by this same AG. All of this with impunity.

This is the justice of this country. I cannot write anymore as I am being overcome now with the emotions over the feeling of my helplesseness in the light of such ruthless and gross travesties of justice.

There is no justice whatsoever for the weak and the defenceless.

A. Kugan’s murder in police lock up but no prosecution for murder. Sack AG and IGP

Re: A. Kugan’s murder in police lock up but no prosecution for murder. Sack AG and IGP.

We refer to the above matter and wish to bring to your goodselves kind attention of the following items which has been brought to our attention for onward transmission to your goodselves as the general public concerns:-

1) Prosecute all the police murderers in Kugan’s case for murder and not limiting it to V. Navindren alone.

2) Prosecute also the four of the police personnel who had witnessed Kugan being beaten up for aiding and abetting the murder as they have up to date failed to lodge a police report upon witnessing the crime.

3) Prosecute all 21 police personnel who had had contact with Kugan in police detention for aiding and abetting the murder (Refer NST 1/10/09 at page 4)

4) Prosecute the Investigating Officer ASP Mohd Marzukhi Mohd Mokhtar for aiding and abetting the cover up of this murder.

5) Prosecute pathologist Dr. Abdul Karim Tajuddin for fabricating evidence and covering up for the police in this Kugan’s murder. It is because of Pathologists and doctors like this that has encouraged the police to take the law into their own hands over the years and resulting in hundreds of such custodial deaths and assaults in police custody getting away scot-free.

6) Prosecute the Director General of the Health Ministry Tan Sri Ismail Mercian for covering up for the police in this Kugan’s murder in the Malaysian Medical Council Independent Investigation Committee.

7) Why only RM10,000 bail and V. Navindren’s International passport was not impounded for a murderer when it was RM50,000.00 bail and passport impounded in P. Uthayakumar’s Sedition charge, the Attorney General making a personal appearance and objecting to bail for mere Seditious words uttered which maximum fine is a mere RM5,000.00 (but bail at ten times the maximum fine was imposed) (Note: Karpal Singh’s bail for a similar Sedition charge drew only a bail of a mere RM2,000.00 and his passport was not impounded).

8) After all, 31 Hindraf peaceful assemblers at Batu Caves were charged for the attempted murder of one policeman who “allegedly” suffered a head injury. Further Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail again appeared in person to oppose and bail was indeed denied to all 31. Why a different rule and standards when it is the other way round and involving real police murderers, criminals, pathologist and the Secretary General of the Health Ministry? This is in direct violation of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees Equality before the law and equal protection under the law.

Since our Police Watch and Human Rights Committee Memorandum “Assault and death of Tharma Rajen A/L Subramaniam (19) and hundreds of others in police custody. Are we heading towards a police state? dated 01/07/02’, we have even recorded one death in police custody in every two weeks Refer Malaysian Indian Minority and Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2008 to Pravasi Bharathiya Divas International Conference at Chennai, India 7th – 9th January 2009 at page 13 and 14 and thereafter leading to amongst others this brutal murder of A. Kugan.

In the circumstances and in the light of the ever alarmingly increasing crime rate in Malaysia, injustices, bioused, vindictive and malicious arrest detention and prosecution, failure in uploading law and order we now call upon the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police to be sacked forthwith by your goodselves.

Kindly direct the necessary prosecution and action and revert to us accordingly.

Thank you.

Your faithfully,