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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Press Conference: Proof of lies, claims Waytha's lawyer







Press Conference: Proof of lies, claims Waytha's lawyer

Ex-detainee: 8 reasons why Indians should vote PAS - Malaysiakini

Ex-ISA detainee and Hindraf activist K Vasanthakumar has spelled out eight issues which will help sway the Indian community in PAS' favour at the upcoming Bagan Pinang by-election.

The eight issues are Tamil schools, Hindu death rites and rituals, unregistered temples and churches, job opportunities and agriculture, low-cost housing, Indian heritage villages and community halls, and poverty.

PAS Negeri Sembilan chief Zulkefly Mohd Omar is facing former Umno vice-president Mohd Isa Samad in the Oct 11 by-election for the state seat where Indians make up more than 20 percent of voters.

bagan pinang by election 021009 vasantha kumar“There are seven Tamil schools of which one is a fully-aided school. Several of them are located in estates managed by government-linked corporation Sime Darby, and yet none of these schools have complete facilities,” said the Hindraf activist who was released from Internal Security Act detention four months ago.

“One school has no access road and another - SRJK(T) Sungai Salak Lukut Estate - is the only Tamil school in Malaysia that occupies a shoplot where the Parents Teachers Association is currently forking out RM1,600 monthly for rental,” he lamented.

“The school, formerly in the Sungai Salak Lukut Estate, was supposed to be relocated but nothing has been done,” added Vasanthakumar.

He also blamed the BN government for the lack of a fully maintained and proper burial and cremation ground in the constituency.

The current one - the Sri Mahamariamman Temple Cremation and Burial Ground - is in a dilapidated shape, said Vasanthakumar.

According to him, the Indian community does not have an allocated area in Port Dickson to conduct prayers for the dead.

As for the temples and churches, Vasanthakumar quipped that “these place of worship would be demolished soon as most of them are located on plots along the roadsides on land that don't belong to them”.

Job opportunities for the Indian minorities are also severely lacking in the government sector.

“These people are hoping to join low-level entry jobs in the government and yet none get the jobs. These people end up as labourers. A few are taxi drivers or run sundry shops,” he said.

Vasanthakumar also complained that Isa Samad has failed to provide low-cost housing in his more than two decades as menteri besar.

The failure of the BN to declare three Indian-majority areas as heritage villages is also a sore point for the Hindraf activist as there is already an Orang Asli village.

The lack of a common hall for the Indian community is also a point of contention.

Vasanthakumar added that the BN administration failed to uplift the economic standing of the Indians as most of them are still living below the poverty line.

Uthayakumar to launch boycott campaign


These are the issues that would be raised by Vasanthakumar when he addresses approximately 1,000 Indians at the Sungai Salak Lukut Tamil school tonight as part of the by-election campaign.

Vasanthakumar appeared unfazed when asked about the prospects of him being detained again as the restrictions imposed on him after his ISA release have yet to be lifted.

“I am ready to face any consequences for the betterment of the Indian society,” he said. However, the authorities have lifted the restrictions on fellow detainee and Kota Alam Shah state representative M Manoharan early this week.

NONEMeanwhile, former brother-at-arms P Uthayakumar who now leads Human Rights Party (HRP) refused to comment on Vasanthakumar's action, who will be campaigning for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in Bagan Pinang.

According to Uthayakumar, he “doesn't want intra-fighting among Indians since their common enemy is Umno.”

Vasanthakumar and Uthayakumar have a public falling out where the former was accused for being a turncoat.

Sources close to Uthayakumar disclosed that the Hindraf leader and his followers would be asking the Indians in Bagan Pinang to boycott the by-election because “while Umno is race-based, Pakatan Rakyat is vote-based.”

The HRP is expected to start their boycott campaign this weekend by distributing VCDs on the Shah Alam cow-head protest and Kampung Buah Pala.

Proof of lies, claims Waytha's lawyer - Malaysiakini

Lawyer N Surendran has provided a letter which purportedly shows that the British Home Office received instructions from the Malaysian government to return Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy's passport.

NONE"Waythamoorthy's (left) passport was returned to the Malaysian government upon their request," said Surendran, who is representing the Hindraf leader.

Referring to a letter from the UK Border Agency, Surendran said the Malaysian government had revoked the Hindraf leader's passport on April 21, 2008 and therefore he was refused exit and detained for two days at Gatwick airport.

His passport was seized by the British immigration and handed over to the Malaysian authorities.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had said on Oct 1 that Waythamoorthy's passport was never cancelled nor confiscated, and that it was kept at the Malaysian embassy in Britain.

Apology sought from Hisham

P Uthayakumar, elder brother of Waythamoorthy and Hindraf legal adviser, has demanded both the current and former home ministers to apologise for "lying about the status of his passport".

waytha passport pc uthayakumar and coWaythamoorthy left for London two years ago to flee from being allegedly detained under the ISA.

The Hindraf leader has continued with his activism in London for what he calls 'the marginalised Indian community.'

He has been granted political asylum in Britian and currently travels on a British document which does not allow him to return to Malaysia.

waytha passport pc wife shantiWaythamoorthy's wife, Shanti (left), who was also present at the press conference, said the separation with her husband had deprived her young daughter of her father.

An emotional Shanti said that her "husband has committed no crime and I am very proud of him for standing up for the Indian community."

"We call on the government to give an explanation to the lies perpetrated by Hishammuddin," said Surendran.

Hujan rahmat for supporters

It's Umno vs PAS in Bagan Pinang

The corruption of Mahathir

SOROS REPLY TO MAHATHIR

adapted from Bangkok Post
I have always said Dr Mahathir is a menace to his own people. Now
only you can see the effects of his foolishness when the ringgit has
halved its value overnight and your economy goes kaput. Single
handedly you have caused hardship to millions of your own people. You
have built useless mega projects at tremendous cost to the country.
The telecoms tower in Kuala Lumpur and the highest building in the
world show how stupid you are. Not only does it cause massive traffic
jam, it has totally no purpose. If you need high ground for telecoms
antennae a nearby mountain is there for free. This tower has no
purpose from the ground up to 300 metres. The satelites make this
totally unneccesary.

A fool and his money are soon parted. The only thing is you are the
fool and the money belongs to Malaysians. You make 20% in evey
project, you have real estate in Japan and billions of shares
corruptly acquired. Your 3 sons are worth 8 billion US$. Where do
they get this money? Of course, corruption. You are known as the
Marcos of Malaysia, having enriched yourself to the tune of billions.
You dare to shed crocodile tears during UMNO delegates meeting about
the ills of corruption. Yet you are the most corrupt of all the prime
ministers before you. A thief is crying thief and hopes people look
the other way. Who dares to say anything when the chief is caught
with his hands in the candy jar?

You said wisdom is not the monopoly of the West. So is foolishness.
You have more foolishness than most people would believe. Billions
are used to build two high rise Petronas buildings that benefit
nobody. It now stand tall, a symbol of stupidity and irresponsibility
Instead they just add on to traffic jam. What is this reclamation of
10 islands off Kedah? Totally absurb and stupid. Of course your
benefit is 20%. And the bridge across from Malacca to Sumatra across
international waters? Why not build a bridge to the moon? I am sure
you still can get your 20%.

You called me a Moron. How can a Moron make so much money. By
allowing short selling and borrowing millions of shares from your
banks we fund managers made millions out of your inexperience and poor
regulations. You lose all Malaysians money, therefore you are the
Moron. Now you know too late and start crying over split milk. In
Australia you are known as the recalcitrant ego maniac; in UK the
corrupt bastard because of your stupid purchase of our movie studio
and the 290 million ringgit Lotus racing car plant and the shady
Pergau dam loans from the UK.

They are useless to us and you still want to buy them. What about buying British reject submarines through your agent, of course. The agent/ broker is designed to make millions
out of Malaysian government. Your purchase of our battleships is at least 50% more than others are paying. Your purchase of 9 hospitals from UK lock, stock and barrel does not support your local architects or your industry and the British send you obsolete medical equipment.
The design is atrocious, one end to the other is half a kilometer and
there is no CT-scan, an absolute necessity. In the Uk your face
appears in no less than 17 newspapers as a corrupt dictator. In
Malaysia you are known as the (IBM) International Big Mouth. In Japan
they call him the 'smallest one' (brain size). In Pacific island the
Santa Claus (giving advice left and right). In south America they call
him the parrot (he talks a lot but does not know what it is about). In
Manila the living Marcos.

In Malaysia they are spending millions to lure tourists and you talk
rubbish scaring every foreigner away. 'When he is dumb he is doubted
a fool, when he opens his mouth it removes all doubt.'
While I agree the West does not have the monopoly to wisdom, your
actions are not the wisest either. Your EAEC has totally no support
even in Asean. Your South-South dialogue mets with the same fate and
what is this I hear of the Bridge from Malaysia to Indonesia covering
20 miles across International shipping lanes? How crazy can one get?
Even the Japanese don't have the money. This world's stupidity seems
to be concerntrated in one man's mind - yours.

The multimedia super corridor - MSC -. Well in USA its most stupid
concept because we Americans, would have thought of it light years
before. Even if it makes money, we can copy this concept can't we?
Why do you want to spend your hard-earned money doing questionable
projects? It will be like the Bakun project. Abandoned fund wasted
and another white elephant. I always say politicians should not be
involved in business. Your ministers are also businessmen and almost
every official is enriching himself. Look at Rafidah Aziz, selling
thousands of Approved Permit for cars each worth 20-30 thousand
Malaysian dollars. Why not your government sell them and make the
money?She has acquired millions of shares meant for bumis for free
before she agrees to list them. Look at your Selangor Chief Minister
collecting millions for approving high rise buildings from
businessman. He is worth a few billions. Unfortunately he was caught
with a few millions pocket money in Australia.Every Chief minister is
awarding useless projects to his cronies then collecting secret pay
offs on the side.The Land development Boards and the Economic
Development Boards are used to bailout any loses suffered by
politicians.The profits they keep, the loses they force the Government
bodies to absorb.How can your poor ever close the gap when every good
deal is snatched by your politicians?How can your country get out of
poverty if all the billions of corruption money is taken out of the
country?

Look at the Sarawak Chief Minister selling billions worth of timber
concessions under the table; selling every piece of state land to
businessman without tender; using his own companies to obtain
lucrative government contracts; selling approval signatures for a fee
'you pay I approve'. He has 8 billion US stashes overseas. Thousands
of acres of land are given to one or two companies while thousands of
poor people still live in cardboard makeshift homes; have no water and
shit into the river. Thousands of acres of land are sold to companies
for plantations while the native don't have even one acre to their
name. He is selling sand near the beaches to one company for earth
filling and then ask the government to spend millions to protect the
coastline when erosion occurs. He lost 300 millions of the sarawak
government money trying to make computer chips. He has built a port in
Northern sarawak town in water so shallow it needs dredging every
year.

The Prime Minister built highways without tender, your cronies get the
deal and the price double. Your Langkawi airport runway is built is
double the cost by your own company Ekran.
The Malaysian nation has lost at least 30 billions during your last
10 years of corrupt rule. One billions lost from the purchase of
phantom skyhawk war planes nobody has ever seen (are they still in the
Nevada desert USA?). 3 billion lost from the London tin scandal (you
thought you could corner the London tin market without knowing the
Americans have a stockpile! Stupidity at its best. 6 billion Perwaja
steel mill where nobody even know where the money goes, 3 billion bank
Bumiputra scandal where George Tan bribed all the bank officials to
lend him the money. 6 billion forex lost by Bank Negara (the fool and
his money are soon parted) and 6 billion to build three of the worlds
tallest buildings (built by Japanese and Koreans and furniture
imported from France - not Malaysia) and 1 billion lost from purchase
of British warship including fees paid to the broker and under the
table. Add the 10 billion you stole and 5 billion taken by Ministers.
In the 1997 the World Journalists meeting voted Dr Mahathir the Prime
Minister of the Decade. It sounded strange to everybody until it was
revealed those who voted against are threatened by IRD officers and
with losing their jobs. In New York the United Nations 1997 meeting,
the most corrupt Prime Minister of the decade is President Suharto and
second Dr Mahathir (Actually Dr Mahathir should take first place but
bribed the Indonesian to take honour of Number One.
There are Fifty thousand of your university students are not given
places in Malaysia but are good enough for places overseas resulting
in billion of dollars lost.The British and the Australians are
thinking how stupid.Your best students are sent overseas raising their
standards while as in most countries the best are kept in local
universities and the rejects sent overseas. A university student in
Hong Kong is much more prestigeous than any Australian counterpart.
You have been colonised by the British so long you cannot even educate
your own people. Look at Hong Kong or Singapore less than 5% study
overseas. All the money saved. Your country could save billions if
every student overseas is recalled to a local university, and at the
same time raising your own standards.
Your people are still without shoes, without land to farm, without
homes, bathing in rivers shitting in hole in the ground, without water
and electricity. Your cities are concrete jungles without greenery
and open spaces. Your KL is jammed with traffic. Yet you still keep
on building high rises. You should come down from the clouds and stop
daydreaming and firmly plant your feet in the ground. Your schools
are cramped 500 students to an acre and thousands of acres are given
free to some politician who leaves them idle. Your parks are being
taken by politicians to build shophouses and every cabinet minister is
a landgrabbing businessman who build roads only to their cronies'
land.

The Malaysians' prayer
'Ya Allah, we thank you for your gifts of timber, oil and grain.
But then the devil sent us corrupt Mahathir without a Brain
And look we are back to square one again
So just take Dr Mahathir back to Hell
And we will be alive and well.'
In China people have been shot for embezzling one thousand dollars.
With 8 billions you have stolen therefore you would be shot 80
thousand times.

Now you are leading an anti-corruption campaign. We all know what you
should do. Look yourself in the mirror. You see the crook there?
Then use your left hand and handcuff your right hand.
You have put the opposition leader and his son in jail when they said
in parliament you are the richest PM in the world. And his colleague
Mr Karpal Singh too for 2 years. So I get a reward or bribe if I now
say you are the poorest PM in this world?

Your 3 sons are sitting in the board of directors of more than 200
companies. They must have been educated in Harvard school of business
and obtained distintions? Or is it 'you don't know me you don't do
business in Malaysia' law that applies. Billions of ringgit of
Employee's Provident Funds and public Petonas funds are used to bail
out your sons who make losses investing in every venture you thought
you could make money. How unethical and corrupt.

Every one of your politicians are sitting on the boards of tens of
companies making thousands without any effort, lending their VIP names
to borrow millions from local banks without collateral. Now these have
become non performing loans. Now you want 20 millions Malaysian to
sacrifice for the folly of ONE man? Why not the fool resign and admit
he wasted and took most of the money. I could teach you how to put
your economy on tract but first you must apologize to the Jews and the
Malaysian people as well.

'SOROS'

We are damned!

Why would someone want to generate electricity through a giant hydroelectric plant in an area that does not demand that massive supply? Answer me that question and you can stop reading.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Hakim Joe

Why would someone harness the power of moving liquid and transform it into a clean and usable energy? The answer is of course for the electricity that is utilized to operate the multitude of electrical and electronic devices that we have. Simple answer.

Now comes the harder question. Why would someone want to generate electricity through a giant hydroelectric plant in an area that does not demand that massive supply? Answer me that question and you can stop reading.

The Bakun Hydroelectric Plant (BHP) is located on the wrong side of the divide. The requirement for more energy emanates from the power-hungry residents of West Malaysia where flashing neon lights and air-conditioned shopping centres swallow them up by the megawatts, and not the East Malaysians where everything is rather subdued. How much electricity does one require to light up a longhouse anyway? (That was meant to be a joke…continue to vote BN and they will make certain that you people remain in longhouses watching Charlie Chaplin reruns on black and white television sets without a remote control in a congested room full of houseflies.)

Seriously though, even the West Malaysians have more than sufficient electrical energy to run all their electrical components simultaneously without having to rely on those generated by the BHP. In fact, we are drowned in it up to our nostrils that Tenaga Nasional had to payoff the Independent Power Producers (IPP) to stop their respective plants generating more electricity into the national power grid. So, why the urgent need for a hydroelectric plant capable of generating another 500 megawatts of electricity (originally 2,400MW), a plant so massive that it is only eclipsed by China’s Three Gorges Dam in Asia?

Even the original plan of rerouting the excess electricity back west through undersea cables was flawed. Yes, hydroelectric generated power is far cheaper and cleaner than the coal-fired or diesel-fired plants but when has the Malaysian government ever cared about the pollution levels in the country? (Even Petronas sells their cleaner and more expensive petroleum overseas and imports the cheaper high sulphur petroleum for use locally and the introduction of the environmental less-unfriendly RON95 was only done this year.) About the only time when they start caring is when their drivers and bodyguards find it hard to look past the windshield of their limousines.

Okay, so the West Malaysians do not require this clean energy here but what about the East Malaysians? Do they not deserve clean fresh air with their electricity? Well, of course they do but someone’s got to pollute the environment there and all the smokers and recalcitrant backyard dry leaves and rubbish burners are just not up to it, hence the intervention of the government.

To make up for cleaning the air through the production of clean hydroelectric energy (instead of coal-fired), Putrajaya in partnership with the Sarawak State Government has plans on the pipeline to retain the environmental status quo by developing a humungous pollution and toxic fumes (hydrogen fluoride, sulphur dioxide, tetrafluoromethane, hexafluoroethane, nitrogen dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter PM-10 and PM-2.5) generating, electricity devouring aluminium smelter within its borders, a really gigantic one judging by its proposed production capacity of a maximum of 1.5 million tons a year.

Ha! Ha! You guys over there really thought that you are going to enjoy a breath of clean air, eh? Well, think again!

Oh, by the way, the largest existing aluminium smelter being built in the world is the Emirates Aluminium (Emal) plant in Abu Dhabi, capable of producing 1.4 million tons a year when it becomes operational after 2010. When the Malaysian plant becomes operational, it will be the largest in the world – Malaysia Boleh! (A Heads of Agreement has been signed between Rio Tinto and Cahaya Mata Sarawak Berhad in 2007.) More on CMS later.

Before we start with the serious stuff, let us look at the damned dam. If anyone reading this article thinks that a dam lasts almost forever, think again. Hydroelectric plants are not considered a renewable plant where constant maintenance will keep it going perpetually. (The engineers might think that their magical skills are all that is required to keep the dam going on indefinitely but this is a hypothetical scenario as the oldest serving dam is only 110 years old.)

The water might still flow but the dam cannot be salvaged after its expected lifespan and require decommissioning. Similar to our Buatan Malaysia products, they tend to be problematic right past their expiry date. Concrete under constant pressure fails after a fixed period of time. Nothing lasts forever and even God does not build things to last forever.

The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) predicts a lifespan of 100 years (under present engineering designs) for those that are not maintained at all and double that for those that are well-maintained. It goes without saying that these predictions are made with the clause that the dams exist in a perfect environment. The ICOLD tracks all large dams (over 100-meters tall) in the world and at least 300 have experienced accidents. These were not all catastrophic failures, but if you are an engineer in charge of building an enormous dam, you definitely want to give some thought to what can go wrong. Remember Murphy’s Law.

Even the World Bank is sceptical of such mega load-bearing structures that they had stopped financing it completely. Additionally, if you are a resident living downhill where the dam is situated, you must seriously want to consider the calibre of Mara graduates. (That was another joke! To all Mara graduates, “stay cool lah!”)

Maintaining a dam is not easy either. With such a massive structure and its corresponding parts, a lot of predetermined inspection periods must be conducted properly and diligently. The powerhouse equipment can and will suffer a breakdown, the spillways will erode, the steel pipes might crack, the valves will fail, the retaining concrete wall might also suffer a crack at the bottom, the water will silt up, the sluice gates might get jammed, and a hell of a lot of other things can happen like someone might do a 911 with a hijacked plane or Thor might have forgotten to wear his bifocals and accidentally strikes it repeatedly (with lightning). Additionally, did you know that the construction of a large dam can artificially cause earthquakes to happen in areas previously thought to be seismically inactive? (28 earthquakes were registered in Sabah and Sarawak in the period between 1965 and 1994, the highest being a 5.8 tremor in 1976.)

The most powerful artificially induced earthquake caused by the construction of a huge dam (over 100-meters in height) is thought to be the 6.5 tremor that had it epicentre directly under the 103-meter Koyna Dam reservoir in Maharashtra, Western India in 1967 which flattened the village of Koynanagar causing 180 deaths. There have been 24 dams which have induced earthquakes of magnitude 4.4 and above (in recorded history) and in 17 cases, the tremors occurred within three years of initial Impoundment of the water. The Bakun Dam is 205 meters high, over twice the 100-metre height regarded by dam experts as likely to trigger off seismic activities.

The two worst accidents happened in 1963 and 1975 in Italy and China respectively. A huge rock fall into the Vajont Dam reservoir in Italy sent an enormous splash of water over the top causing a tsunami more than 80 stories high, sweeping downstream and wiping out several villages causing the deaths of almost 2,000 people. Massive rainfalls (record 41.7 inch within 24 hours) caused the failure of the Banqiao Dam in China where millions were left homeless and a victim count exceeding 200,000. Altogether this 1-in-2,000 year chance flood caused 62 dams to fail in a domino effect where the accumulated water from one uphill dam crashes into the following dam and the accumulated water from both dams crashes into the third dam and so forth. Nothing to do with a lack of maintenance and the Banqiao Dam was designed to handle an additional 12 inch of rainfall a day (which was already an overkill) but the sedimentation caused by the rainfall choked the spillways. Overall, 15.738 billion tons of water was released triggering a 10km wide wave only 7 meters high rushing downhill at a speed of approximately 50km per hour and wiping out an area 55 kilometers long, 15 kilometers wide, and created temporary lakes as large as 12,000 square kilometers. BTW, the 1-in-2000 year deluge was caused by Super Typhoon Nina (T7503), the second deadliest tropical Pacific typhoon in history with winds up to 250km/h at its peak.

Okay, enough of the horror stories let us now look at the initial profits before construction starts. What? Oh yes, this is one of those rare construction projects that earns money from the onset. To facilitate the site being ready, the area surrounding the construction site must initially be cleared and that means timber. In fact, access roads leading to the site must be built and that means more timber as the BHP is located inside the virgin rainforest of Sarawak’s interior. Let us do a wee bit of math here – the shortest route between two points is a straight line but why settle for clearing only the trees that is in the way between these two points when one is able to maximise profits if the route takes us past the densest rainforest in the region? So, instead of clearing the forest between Point A and Point B, we can reroute it from Point A to Point C onwards to Point D and then to Point E before we make a sweeping curve back to Point B. The overall yield is estimated to be in the region of 12 million cubic meters of timber from the deforestation of 56,000 hectares of virgin rainforest. The harvest is estimated to be able to fetch RM1.2 billion in total (1995 estimates) of which a quarter was harvested.

Enough said. Let us look at the history of the BHP. Initially conceived in the early 60’s, it finally got the go-ahead in 1986 when TDM gave it the thumbs up (as opposed to the thumbs down given to Mohd Isa in the Bagan Pinang by-election) and preliminary studies were conducted to assess the feasibility of constructing a 205-meter high dam capable of producing 2,400MW of hydroelectric juice annually. This was at a time when Malaysia was slowly recovering from the 1985 recession and by 1990, the boasts of having the largest hydroelectric dam in Asia (China’s 3 Gorges Dam was not conceived yet) came back to haunt the Malaysian government as they were forced to shelf it due to the low demand for electricity and high cost of building it. Strike One.

As a stubborn man who can never accept no for an answer, TDM revived the US$5.2 billion “deal of the century” project again in September 1993 and awarded it to Ekran Berhad (without a public tender exercise) in 1994. (Ekran’s CEO’s wife is the now infamous “I don’t know what is projected cashflow” former PKA General Manager and PKFZ MD Datin O.C. Phang.) One of the major shareholders of Ekran is Rasip Harun. Who is he? Rasip is the business partner of Tun Daim Zainuddin (who happens to be the Finance Minister at that time). Coincidence? Rasip is also the partner of Robert Tan Hua Choon (another one of Daim’s business partners) who controlled Jasa Kita Sdn Bhd, a company involved in the Maika Telekoms share diversion. Remember Samy’s proxy company Clearway Sdn Bhd? Robert Tan’s driver (Baharuddin M. Arip) happened to be a director of that company. Rich driver indeed! (Probably comes to work in a Lamborghini.)

How did a Chinaman from Sarawak lay his hands on “the deal of the century”? TDM is after all no Cina Apek lover and his continuation of support for the NEP only serves to reinforce his ambition to see his cronies get enriched in government projects, and there are certainly more than enough of these people to serve his needs. Okay, one good deed deserves another and TDM is merely reciprocating a “debt of honour”.

The story goes like this. Ting Pek Khiing was a two-bit small time construction subcontractor picking up low-margin construction jobs in Sarawak but he had a reputation as the “Speed Demon” where no jobs are too complicated or too short a period to complete. His “never say die until you meet the God of Hades” attitude soon caught the eye of Emperor Abdul Taib Mahmud, and they soon found each others’ company “enriching”. Being a crafty Chinaman, he soon latched on to the Emperor’s two princes (Mahmud Abu Bekir and Sulaiman Abdul Rahman) and they formed a company seeking timber concessions from the Sarawak government. To Ting, it seemed like all his Christmas(es) have arrived together. On the other side of the horizon, TDM found himself in a pickle after sending out gilded invitations to the high and mighty of the international aerospace industry to kick off his inaugural international air show on Langkawi Island. No, there is nothing wrong with the air show except that the construction of the new convention resort is ambling along at such a pace that the invited guests might start fighting for the park benches after their arrival. The ever so helpful Taib knew of this and recommended Ting to TDM. Now, TDM does not suffer fools gladly and Ting’s “can do” motto was soon put to the test. Ting went on to slap together the remainder of the resort in a record breaking three months, saving TDM the embarrassment of ever having his invited guests sleep in the open, and earned himself the nickname of Ting Pek “Speed” Khiing. A star is born (no, not Barbara Streisand).

Ting, whose total knowledge about building a dam can probably fit on a single line on an A4 paper, hired Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) of Zurich and Companhia Brasileira de Projetos e Obras (CBPO) of Brazil as the contractors and formed a construction consortium consisting of Ekran Berhad, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), the government of Sarawak, Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation (Sesco), and Malaysia Mining Corporation Bhd (MMC) – Syed Mokhtar was bound to have some kind of involvement in TDM’s projects.

So, how does one go about building a dam? Well, first you need to clear the land, and I mean “clear the bloody land” and that includes any indigenous people living there. Wildlife? Get rid of them all. Foliage and vegetation? Clear them out. Man-made structures? Flatten them. Timber? Keep and sell them.

Negotiations soon started between the indigenous people and state government. The almost 9,000 natives will be relocated to Sungai Asap under the Asap Resettlement Scheme (Operation Exodus) and each family be given 3 hectares of land gratis. This is of course pending on the outcome of the EIA report. (The natives eventually received 3 acres each, not 3 hectares as promised – suckers!)

Financing of this massive project was shady, to say the least. Investment capital was announced as a matter of fact stating only that the Sarawak government together with Ekran will provide 51% of the financing and the remaining 49% will be harvested from money-growing-trees. Okay, fair enough but how will abang-adik provide for the 51% which amounted to RM7.65 billion? Initially, Ekran launched a rights issue to finance the building of the dam, but it was pitifully undersubscribed (Ting had to eventually payout RM500 million). Well, EPF allegedly chipped in RM3 billion, the Pension Trust Fund for Bakun contributed RM400 million, and Hicom and TNB made up the rest. More of it later on.

Let us look at the two main contractors. First, ABB. Not a very good sign already. This is the same company under the same management that sold seven gas turbines valued at $500 million for $1 billion each to TNB. (Wonder where the excess money went to.) Then there is CBFO, the company that built both the Itaipu and Xingu dams in Brazil. Both went over budget by 488% and 100% respectively. Great, eh? And then there is the preliminary work performed by South Korea's Dong-Ah Construction and Industrial Co, the same company that built the Songsu Bridge over the Han River in central Seoul which collapsed killing 32 people in 1994. Getting better, right? Fortunately the 1997 Asian economic crisis brought things to a screeching halt after construction started in 1996. Strike Two.

Due payments were then made to Dong-Ah (RM400 million) for completing the river diversion tunnels, Global Upline (RM60 million) for completing the auxiliary coffer dams and an undisclosed sum (rumoured to be in the region of RM1.8 billion) to Ekran as compensation for kicking them out. The government had also turned over a sum of RM1 billion to the Bakun Dam Consortium for the purchase of 8 hydropower turbines (the contract eventually went to IMPSA of Argentina and Alstom of France). BTW, Global Upline belongs to Ting as well.

IMPSA managing director Juan Aguero later revealed that they had secured the contract to design, manufacture, assemble and commission 4 of the 8 turbines at the Bakun project for RM300 million. The math doesn’t work out correctly, agree? If 4 turbines cost a total of RM300 million, 8 turbines should cost twice that amount, i.e. RM300 million times 2 equals RM600 million. So, where is the other RM400 million? Maybe the dog ate it or is this a case of what we call “escalating inflation”?

In 2000, plans were renewed to revive the project. Sarawak Hidro, a 100% government-owned company was established to take control of the construction of the Bakun Dam. The initial plans to transmit the additional electricity back to West Malaysia was now abandoned as the cabling project cost more than the remaining construction of the dam.

In 2002, the new main contractor was named. The Malaysia-China Hydro JV (MCH), a 70:30 consortium led by Sime Engineering Berhad of Malaysia (a subsidiary of Sime Darby) and Sino-Hydro Corporation of China. Other members of the consortium are WCT Berhad, MTD Capital, Ahmad Zaki Resources, Syarikat Ismail and Edward & Sons. Dato' Mohamad Shukri Baharom is the Chairman of this company and also the executive VP of Sime Darby Group's Energy & Utilities Division. The new completion date was summarily revised to February 2008.

Two years later, the engineering consulting firm JR Knowles of the UK (no relation to the sexy “PAS kata haram” BeyoncĂ© Knowles) was hired to study the delays in the construction of the dam. The spanking newly revised and freshly amended completion date is now sometime in 2010 (probably February the 30th.) Also in 2004, Global Upline (owned by Ting) was allegedly awarded the contract to clear the biomass in the flood basin. One company (under the name of Pacific Chemicals and also owned by Ting) had already “cleared” a quarter of it (in 1995) and another was “just coming back to finish off the job” in an alternative form.

Let us leave the construction side of things and access the feasibility of using the excess energy being churned by the 8 turbines. Here is where the aluminium smelter comes in. Forget about the non-income generating toxic gases for awhile and concentrate on the electrical usage. This mega smelter requires 50% of the total electricity produced by the Bakun Dam and that means a huge and constant income for Sesco (1,200MW at a selling price of RM0.286 per unit equals RM343.2 million a year. The current IPP selling price to TNB is RM0.017 per unit. The total margin would be RM322.8 million a year.). Additionally, it will provide an extra 4,700 jobs. Wow! We can even construct huge fans in arrays and blow it in the direction of Indonesia if they do not control their annual forest fires! Double Wow!

As mentioned above, the two suspects in this joint venture are Rio Tinto (largest aluminium manufacturer in the world) and CMS. Never heard of Cahaya Mata Sarawak Berhad before? Well, it was called Cement Manufacturers Sarawak Berhad when it started business in 1974 producing Portland cement as a state-owned firm. It was in the 90’s that it was privatised from a state-owned public-listed company into a private sector public-listed conglomerate. Why would someone takeover such a dull company? Let’s look at what CMS owned before they were privatised - PPES Quarry, Steel Industries Sarawak and PCMS, all profitable companies. After the takeover, CMS continued consolidating their company by purchasing Syrakusa Sdn Bhd and Concordance Sdn Bhd, via cash and share swaps. In a reverse takeover, the owners of these two companies acquired CMS and began injecting their other assets into it including Bank Utama, Sarawak Securities and Archipelago Shipping. CMS is now a diversified conglomerate involved in stock brokering, road construction, water filtration and treatment, quarry operations, civil and structural engineering, steel bar manufacturing, trading of construction materials, cement production, technology, education, financial services and investment holdings. No prizes for guessing who owns CMS – the Mahmud family. Oh, by the way, Taib Mahmud’s spouse Laila and his children are the majority shareholders of Sitehost Plc, Australia, which owns the 380-room Adelaide Hilton Hotel. Company records dated December 2000 show them holding 95 percent of the company or 9.5 million (Aussie dollars) fully paid up shares. One question: How much does a hotel cost anyway? Another family member (Taib’s brother Onn Mahmud) along with his daughter and son in law owns SAKTO Corporation, a major real estate operator of non-residential buildings in Ottawa, owning and managing more than half a million square feet of prime office space with affiliate offices in the US, UK, Asia and Australia. They also own SAKTO Development Corporation, a multi-million dollar development and construction company in Ottawa.

Back to the construction site. In 2007, the government once again revived the cabling project. The new estimates (from TNB) are approximately RM9 billion. Others put it as high as RM20 billion, depending on the number of cables involved. These include the Bakun to Bintulu HVAC double circuit overhead lines for a distance of 160 km, Bakun to Tanjung Parih HVDC overhead line for a distance of 670 km, Tanjung Parih to Tanjung Tenggara submarine cable for a distance of 670 km and the Tanjung Tenggara to Kuantan landline to connect to the national grid. The government in fact invited Sumitomo Corp of Japan to do a feasibility study report and assist in the laying of the submarine cable. The longest existing submarine cable is the 580km NorNed undersea connection linking Norway and the Netherlands.

The once revised 500MW capacity is once again back to the original figure of 2,4000MW with 1,600MW being rerouted back west and the completion date has been pushed further back by another year. This is done with the assumption that Rio Tinto would back out of the aluminium smelter deal. However plans are being drawn to construct yet another dam (the 1,000MW Murum Dam in the Upper Rejang Basin of central Sarawak) and concept studies are being prepared for the construction of an enormous 20,000MW hydroelectric dam along the Rejang River rivalling China’s 22,500MW Three Gorges Dam.

In 2008, Sime Darby announced that the company will not be taking up the offer of an equity stake in the Bakun project. This prompted the government to search for another shareholder and at the beginning of this year, TNB and Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) were granted permission by the federal government to form a special purpose vehicle to jointly takeover the entire project from Sarawak Hidro through a leasing agreement. Additionally, the Xinhua News Agency published a report on its website revealing that four Chinese state-owned enterprises, including China Sinohydro Corp, had been "downgraded" because of "safety or environmental pollution accidents". Sinohydro is one of seven firms in the Malaysia-China Hydro Joint Venture consortium working on the Bakun Dam.

The proposed public tender for the undersea cable laying process is expected to be held next year. The manufacture of these RM4 billion cables was promised to FCW Holdings way back at the onset of the project by TDM but anything could happen now that the government is under a new administration. (FCW Holdings is owned by Ting and allegedly also by one of TDM’s son.)

One last thing, the planning of the dam was conducted with no public accessibility to vital feasibility studies, no process of public feedback on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and limited consultation procedures with the indigenous peoples. Feasibility studies and reports commissioned by the government on the Bakun project have been classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), meaning it is a criminal offense for anyone to see or use their information. Not all of the appendices, interim and final reports of the EIAs have been made accessible to the general public. Project proponents have refused to meet critics in any open discussion.

Cost overruns? Maybe, but one won’t get to hear about it as this information is classified (unless MT gets their hands on it). Let’s just put it this way – if a RM1.8 billion project situated in nearby Klang can balloon to a staggering RM12.5 billion, what are the chances that a US$5.2 billion (approximately RM26.3 billion) project situated in the middle of the forest in Sarawak, coming in on budget?

Jinxed dam? Perhaps, but one thing is certain – we (the taxpayers) are damned.

Hurt festers despite Umno hug fest

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — Top leaders from Umno's 193 division met for three days in Janda Baik and ended their retreat yesterday with several rivals hugging each other in a show of unity for the next general election.

But other leaders were cynical about peace and harmony returning to the party particularly in the fractious Terengganu Umno where internal fighting has let to speculation that several state lawmakers may walk out.

Both Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said and his predecessor Datuk Idris Jusoh hugged each other at the retreat after party elders pointed that internal fighting was the main impediment in winning the next elections.

"They might have hugged each other but the body language showed how uncomfortable they were with each other," one Umno warlord at the retreat told The Malaysian Insider.

Others who also made up were Bukit Bintang Umno chief Datuk Azim Zabidi and his foe, division vice-chief Datuk Ab Rauf Yusof, while Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin buried the hatchet with Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil over issues in the Lembah Pantai Umno division.

Idris

But their differences continue to fester, the warlord added.

"There are no illusions among the party leaders that this show of unity is only at face value. The Terengganu situation remains dire," he said.

Senior party officials have told Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak that only the removal of Ahmad Said will satisfy state assemblymen aligned to Idris, whom the Terenggany royalty dumped as mentri besar after Election 2008.

Shahrizat

However, Ahmad Said continues to enjoy the favour of the Terengganu palace and will be hard to remove, forcing Umno colleagues opposed to him to consider walking out and precipitating a crisis in the oil-rich state.

Both deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein have been trying to solve the split and quash talk of defections but have drawn a blank.

Party leaders have also been trying to solve bad blood between Rauf and Azim, who was formerly the party treasurer and Bank Simpanan Nasional chairman, apart from the tiff between Shahrizat and Raja Nong Chik, who was surprisingly named minister early this year.

"It will take more than kiss and a hug to get everyone on the same page for the party. Personality conflicts always happen at the top," another division leader observed.

He warned that Umno has little time to get its act together and members united to face political rivals PKR and PAS in the next elections.

"Disunity caused us votes in some of the by-elections. At least this time in Bagan Pinang, we are united with one candidate," he pointed out, referring to Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Samad's candidacy for the Oct 11 by-election.

Bagan Pinang campaign begins today

By Adib Zalkapli- The Malaysian Insider

PORT DICKSON, Oct 3 — Campaign for the Bagan Pinang by-election begins today with Umno’s strongman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad facing Negri Sembilan PAS chief Zulkefly Omar in a straight fight.

Returning officer Abdul Wahab Samsuddin announced the acceptance of their nominations at 11.20am, saying that the Election Commission received only two objections and both were rejected.

Former PKR member Shahruddin Abdul Wahab, who had announced his intention to stand, failed to submit his papers as his proposer is not a voter in the Bagan Pinang state constituency.

PAS is expected to manipulate Isa's tainted past and the fact that the former Negri Sembilan mentri besar's candidacy was also opposed by Umno veteran Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“The basis of a clean government is a clean candidate,” said PAS's Datuk Husam Musa, adding that he does not see bringing up Isa's past as a personal attack.

“If it is related to governance, the public has the right to know,” added the Kelantan state executive councillor.

Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told the press the party will handle all issues raised by the federal opposition including on corruption.

He reiterated his stand that Isa is the best candidate who understands local issues.

“I am not a recycled candidate, I only did not contest in 2008; the PKR leader did not contest for six years, so who was recycled,” said Isa, referring to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was imprisoned for six years.

“I'm here only to serve the people,” he added when asked if he will seek to be reappointed as mentri besar if he wins.

Zulkefly, who had contested and lost three times before, also defended his candidacy just minutes after it was confirmed.

“I was born and raised in Negri Sembilan,” he told reporters when asked about his chances as he is a registered voter in the Lenggeng state constituency.

BN and PAS supporters outside the Bagan Pinang nomination centre in Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Earlier, supporters of both parties started gathering as early as 7am at their respective meeting points just outside Port Dickson to march to the nomination centre at the municipal council building.

Police too started blocking the road leading to the nomination centre and traffic along the major federal road connecting this coastal town to Malacca was reduced to a crawl.

The thousands of supporters who were marching to the nomination were then greeted by heavy rain just before the nomination began at 9am.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim arrived with Zulkefly at about 8.30am amid heavy rain.

While Isa arrived just a little before 9am accompanied by BN election chief Muhyiddin, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and BN component party leaders Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

The Bagan Pinang by-election was triggered by the death of BN’s Azman Mohammad Noor on Sept 4.

In March last year, Azman defeated Ramli Ismail, of PAS, by 2,333 votes.

BN is currently ruling the state with a simple majority after winning just 21 of the 36 state constituencies.

This crucial by-election is expected to end PR's winning streak in all elections in the peninsula since last year.

It will also mark the return of Isa to mainstream politics since his suspension from Umno in 2005 after he was found guilty of vote buying by the party's disciplinary committee.

Most of the 14,000 Bagan Pinang electorates will cast their votes on Oct 11, while some 4,600 postal voters will go to the polls on Oct 8.

Umno losing faith in Barisan partners

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — Umno’s patience and confidence with the current power-sharing agreement with its partners in Barisan Nasional is wearing thin, judging by sentiments expressed during a closed-door retreat in Janda Baik.

During this rare three-day gathering of Umno divisions, which ended yesterday, a common refrain heard was that Umno should be less generous in giving up Malay-majority seats to representatives of MCA, MIC, Gerakan and other component parties.

The general view among division chiefs was that the component parties were much weaker than Umno and would not be able to swing votes from the non-Malays or the Malays.

In contrast, a strong Umno was better placed to win in Malay-majority seats.

The Malaysian Insider understands that party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and senior party officials who attended the retreat — aimed at boosting the morale of grassroots leaders — were non-committal on the request for Umno to be less charitable in seat allocation with BN component parties.

If they do agree, it would represent a major departure from the power-sharing agreement that has been the hallmark of the BN coalition, and could be the death knell of MCA, MIC, PPP and Gerakan — political parties which have been allowed to field candidates in Malay-majority seats across Peninsular Malaysia.

Several Umno officials who attended the retreat told The Malaysian Insider that the most important consideration should be to field a candidate who can enhance the possibility of victory at the next general election.

“If a seat has 55 or 60 per cent Malay voters, it makes sense to field an Umno candidate. In the last election, we gave seats in Perak and Selangor to other parties and they were not able to deliver.

"These parties still have internal issues and will not be able to deliver the votes from the non-Malays. So it will be better if an Umno candidate is fielded to try and get the maximum possible support from Malay voters,” said an official, who requested anonymity due to the retreat being a closed-door affair.

During the retreat, officials were also in agreement that Umno’s/BN’s fortunes rested on the ruling party strengthening its standing among Malay voters — a backhanded acknowledgment that it was not pinning much hopes on getting support from non-Malays at the next general election.

This sentiment is consistent with the growing right-wing tendencies that party officials have exhibited in recent months.

There was little substantive discussion on how the party can reach out to Chinese and Indians who Umno officials have alienated in recent months.

Still, the mood during the retreat was one of optimism with Kelantan Umno declaring that it would be able to snare the state from PAS at the next polls. PAS has been helming the state since 1990 but Umno officials from Kelantan believe that the momentum is swinging their way.

Also confident was Perak’s Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir. Beneficiary of a power grab, he was certain that Umno/BN would be able to hold on to the state.

Less hopeful about their future prospects were Umno representatives from Penang and Selangor.

A vote for Pakatan is a vote against corruption

by Thomas Lee

The Bagan Pinang by-election on Oct 11 is an opportunity for the voters to tell the Braisan Nasional in no uncertain term that the practice of corruption and cronyism must be wiped out in the country. They must go all out to ensure the defeat of the Umno candidate.

By fielding a candidate suspended by his own party for corrupt practice, the Barisan Nasional is obviously snubbing the people, indicating that it couldn’t care less about what they think and feel. It is a de facto endorsement of corrupt practices.

By nominating such a tainted candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election, the purported high moral ground on which the Umno leaders have been self-righteously proclaiming has been exposed as a mere hollow sinking ground.

Umno is arrogantly confident and cocksure that it will win the Bagan Pinang battle even with a corruption-contaminated candidate.

The voters of Bagan Pinang must come out in full force to show Umno through the ballot box that the days of its exaggerated sense of superiority are numbered.

It is time the Barisan Nasional be told that:

– it cannot simply grab power by unethical and illegal means, like what had happened in Perak;

– it cannot simply use oppressive laws like the ISA to silence its critics, opposition leaders and the freedom and human right crusaders;

– it cannot simply use harsh enforcement on peaceful unarmed demonstrators and candlelight protestors;

– it cannot simply change the education system at its whims and fancy every other few years, causing confusion among the teachers, parents and students, and creating chaos in the schooling system;

– it cannot simply continue to control and manipulate the press and mass media to promote its own causes, and to run down the opposition and critics;

– it cannot simply allow the corrupt political leaders to go unpunished, especially those using public funds for private holidays to Disneyland and those living beyond their means in great luxury in multi-million ringgit mansions;

– it cannot simply allow investigation into the mysterious death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock to be frustrated by attempts to prevent relevant persons from testifying;

– it cannot simply cover up scandals involving public projects such the PKFZ issue.

Will the voters of Bagan Pinang take the lead and send the message to Umno and the Barisan Nasional that “Enough is Enough” and it’s “Time for Change”?

Tg Tokong: Do we know what we have lost? - Anil Netto

Kakipulau tells us what we have lost – and are still losing – in Tanjung Tokong and elsewhere:

Tanjung Tokong was a beautiful fishing village area and before the land reclamation was done, you could see a natural sand spit going out to sea, formed by the tides. There was also a mangrove forest growing just by the promenade that ran along the road opposite Tanjung Tokong village proper. The fisherman used to anchor their boats in the lagoon formed by the curve in the sand spit.

I’ve lived near there since I was 10 years old and will never forget that beautiful sight or the feel of the wind from the sea. I used to sit there for hours wanting to put that beautiful scene in a painting. It was beyond words and the peace that one feels gazing into the vast expanse of sea and the fishing boats with their gossamer nets, is now only a memory.

Society has become such that it has no time for beauty or to listen to the sound of the sea as if it was sighing. Perhaps it knew its days were numbered. Now all we can talk about (in sharp angry voices) is of the corruption that has been committed, the denial of rights of villagers, the money that has changed hands, the conglomerates, the value of compensation and wheeling and dealing that oppresses.

While we talk, more towers appear, the sea is pushed further and further out, so we can’t see it. The fisher folk have been scattered and housed in boxes called apartments, a far cry from their gracious dwelling of the traditional kampung house that suited their needs and did no harm to our environment.

We have lost the beauty of this land and no matter how much we quarrel, it will not be returned. Whether the blame lies with Federal or State authorities, we will never get back what has been destroyed forever.

This may be a lost cause just like Kg. Buah Pala; the responsibility for the mess does not only lie with the state government but more so on the federal government. No matter who the villagers chose to champion their cause, the result was the same; the developers won out and have gone to the banks laughing. So, what do we do? Who can we hope in?

Cheap stunts threaten to take the shine off the pearl

The Malaysian Insider
By Muaz Omar

OCT 2 — Just as the contentious issue of Kampung Buah Pala has more or less died down, the issue involving the Malay kampung of Tanjong Tokong is now threatening to cause another round of sleepless nights for Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, his deputy Mansor Othman and, to a certain extent, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The political ramification of the Kampung Buah Pala issue has been a pain in the neck for Lim and the state government as DAP and Pakatan Rakyat capitalised on the issue to good effect in the 2008 general election, attacking Barisan Nasional for not standing up for the people in facing the commercially-driven and profit-oriented developers.

After capturing the state, DAP and its Pakatan component members realised that it was not simply an open-and-shut case that can be settled without any implications, financially and legally, in relation to the approval given to the land owner and the development of the area.

The incoming Pakatan state governments of Penang, Selangor, Kedah and once upon a time Perak ill-thought promises of correcting the wrongs done by BN have came back to haunt them as it is evident that promises are easier made than to be realised.

Lim has had to swallow bitter pill as he was unable to play the role of the people's champion which he usually enjoys when he was the free spirit gung-ho oppositionist.

The Pakatan state government has also had to defend itself from accusations of not upholding the rights of the people.

To make things worse, previous allies like Hindraf are now at the forefront of accusing the DAP-led state government of mistreating the disfranchised Indians.

Penang's DCM II Prof P. Ramasamy was given an earful of abuse by the Hindraf leaders for not doing enough for the cause of the Indians. Some of the charges accused the state government of racial discrimination.

Not to be outdone, calls of a “new formula” or rotation of the chief ministership by fringe PKR leader and those wanting to promote themselves as champions of the Malay community have added salt to the sometimes fractious partnership between DAP and PKR.

This came at the behest of the anger by PKR's MPSP councillor on the appointment of a civil servant as the MPSP's president rather than someone nominated by PKR.

The issue of rotating the chief ministership mimics the political one-upsmanship of the previous state government under BN. Previously, Penang Umno had time and again demanded for the chief ministership to be handed over to it rather than being awarded to Gerakan, accusing the Gerakan-led state government of doing little to uplift the status of the Malay community.

Hence, if the rotation calls are true and not merely the overplay by the BN-manipulated media, it will have an impact to the people that there seems to be no difference between the previous and current state government.

One interesting question that comes to mind is that if the biggest party is accorded the post of the chief executive of the state then why has there not been proactive and committed work on the ground to win over not just the Malays as well as other communities in order to become the biggest party and lay a more realistic and rightful claim to the post.

Cheap political mileage like the one we are seeing in Penang bears resemblance to the ruckus that Selangor state exco Datuk Hasan Ali has tried to concoct with his antics of downgrading the same government that he is a part of.

The displacement of the majority Malay community in Tanjong Tokong must be treated as more than just a Malay issue as the solution should be considered from a human rather than a racial perspective.

The plight affecting residents of Tanjong Tokong just like in Kampung Buah Pala or even the new villages in Perak and Selangor are real issues that are affecting disfranchised people and little will be achieved if they are tackled as a race-based problems.

There ought to be a clear departure from the excessive politicking that is the hallmark of the previous government to new politics that is honest and represents hope for the people.

At the same time, governance requires leadership and the courage as well as the political will to do the right thing, ethically and morally not just politically.

After all, people will judge politicians by their act of governing and providing solutions for the welfare of the people rather than polemics and manoeuvres that mean little except for good political trash news.

Whilst Anwar is pushing for a solid and united Pakatan, wayward attempts to destabilise his effort must be kept in line and whipped to ensure the people remain hopeful of change and not disillusioned by similarities to the old regime.

Muhyiddin Chairs Party Machinery Meeting In Bagan Pinang

PORT DICKSON, Oct 2 (Bernama)-- Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday night chaired a closed-door meeting of the Umno party machinery for the by-election for the Bagan Pinang state seat.

Muhyiddin, who arrived at the Port Dickson Golf and Country Club at 9.15 pm, also chaired a closed-door meeting of the Barisan Nasional (BN) machinery for the by-election.

Also present at the meeting were Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, State BN chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hassan, who is also the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar, Umno information head Ahmad Maslan, and the BN candidate for the by-election, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad.

The two-hour BN meeting was also attended by all leaders of the component parties at the national and grassroots level.

Tomorrow is the nomination day for the by-election to be held at the Port Dickson Municipal Council Hall following the death of the incumbent assemblyman, Azman Mohammad Noor from the BN on Sept 4 .

Polling day has been set for Oct 11.

Only Two Candidates Bought Nomination Forms - EC

PORT DICKSON, Oct 2 (Bernama) -- Only two candidates have bought nomination forms for the Bagan Pinang by-election on Oct 11, Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said.

This paved the way for a straight fight between Tan Sri Mohamad Isa Samad of Barisan Nasional (BN) and Zulkefly Mohamad Omar of PAS.

Abdul Aziz told a press conference that former Telok Kemang Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) committee member Shahruddin Abdul Hamid who said he would contest as an independent did not buy the form.

However, Shahruddin who quit PKR today told Bernama his agent bought the form at Seremban EC office three days ago.

Abdul Aziz refuted the claim saying that EC had no records that the nomination form had been bought by another party.

"Only the BN and PAS candidates had bought the nomination forms. The independent candidate did not buy from us or had bought other forms.

"Candidates can still buy the forms before the delivery time expires at 10am tomorrow," he said.

Abdul Aziz who was satisfied with the preparation expected the situation tomorrow to be hot and advised contesting parties not to bring along too many supporters.

BN supporters would gather at Port Dickson District Office while PAS supporters at the Esso petrol kiosk nearby.

He said only 100 supporters from each party were allowed to enter the tent and urged them not to create trouble but to follow the rules set by EC and police.

Mom in tsunami: I saw my daughter floating away

PAS and DAP to meet over S'gor spat

RPK Speaks His Mind - Meeting Altantuya's Father

Kugan’s death- L/Cpl et al is responsible - rights2write.wordpress.com

1. Malaysiakini reported today, “Nine months after the death of A. Kugan, a police personnel was charged at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court with causing hurt to the 23-year-old detainee”. I am sure the police have done a very thorough investigation because it took them 9 months for the AG to finally conclude the matter that took place in a police station.

2. At the beginning when the death, Selangor CPO, Dato Khalid released a few statements related to the criminal nature of Kugan background. The message that he was trying to convey drew public criticism because he implied that the death is acceptable since Kugan is a criminal. He was trying to protect his men as well as the image of the force. Wrongfully, I disagree with him as it has brought shame to the police force.

3. It is not my intent to protect Kugan or defamed the Police. I hope my writing is not being taken as a as indication to protect an alleged or an actual criminal. Whether a person is actually a criminal, he still has rights.

4. The police are regarded as a public protector. In doing their job, they have to face many risk and sometimes has to resort to some extreme measures to extort evidence from uncooperative individuals. In the case of Kugan, the Selangor CPO says that he was a member of a car smuggling syndicate and he was uncooperative. Being uncooperative means he has to suffer in order to extract information. This led to his death. No matter who is being interrogated, no one should die while they are in the police custody. The police role is to investigate but not to pass judgment or sentences. That is the role of the court.

5. After a long lull and intermittent community uproar, I was not surprised to read that a lowly L/Cpl was charged for the death. To charge one person raised more questions than shutting people’s up. Maybe he whacked Kugan with a rubber hose but did he did not do it for the fun of it or did he do it because he was ordered to. Sometimes in a murder, the person who pulled the trigger may be less guilty than the person who ordered the person is to be shot.

6. A long time ago my uncle who had retired as the Terengganu CID chief told us a story on how the police goes about and do their interrogation. Their favorite is to use a rubber hose to whack criminals until they get whatever information they wanted. Apparently using rubber hose is painful but does not leave external physical trauma. The way I see it is that the L/Cpl had acted within the norms of the “approved method to extract confession” or in other words he had acted according to the written or unwritten SOP.

7. Is it really possible that the L/Cpl had acted on his own without orders from any of his superiors? Surely he needs the blessing of the Sjn or the I/O or other officers. Is it really the case that had acted alone? I would be extremely surprised if that is the case. Why is it that the I/O or anyone else was not charged baffles me?

8. In a Police Station there is always an officer in charge of the station. He is popularly called the “OC Balai”. It appears that he has allowed such a thing to take place within his “house”. As a man that is responsible of the happening within the station, he is fully responsible for any illegal activity that takes place in the balai. Then there are other bystanders who probably took the opportunity to add kick,drag punch etc while Kugan was in a handcuff. Shouldn’t these people be charged as well?

9. This lowly L/Cpl is the scapegoat that is meant to appease the angry crowd and to serve as a political tool. I would be very interested to know why the AG has decided not to charge the others on other lesser charges. The family claims that there are a total 11 people involved. I don’t know where they get the numbers from but certainly it is very unusual to have 11 people interrogating Kugan.

10. I do hope when this case goes to court, the truth will be revealed. The methods of interrogation and who are the other players will surfaces. When that happens, the AG will have a bigger headache in trying to justify the public on why they chose to charged a lowly L/Cpl. At the moment the rest (et al) can still sleep in peace for the time being for defaming the image of the Police Force.

18 detainees die each month

(The Star) - Immigration detention centres in the country must observe better health standards to ensure they do not become a breeding ground for viruses, a Suhakam commissioner said.

Suhakam commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam raised the seriousness of the matter, saying that about 1,300 detainees had died in six years from infection.

Siva Subramaniam: ‘Vigilant health checks need to be conducted not only for inmates at these facilities but for officers who work around them’

This means an average of 18 people die at the nation’s 22 centres each month.

“Many of them die because of tuberculosis and chikungunya,” Siva said after visiting the Pekan Nenas centre here yesterday, adding that there were also skin diseases.

He added that if these inmates did not undergo proper medical checks, they might spread diseases locally.

“Deaths in custody is a serious matter and vigilant health checks need to be conducted not only for inmates at these facilities but for officers who work around them,” he said.

So far, no immunisation jabs were provided for immigration officers and those working in the imm­i­gration department, he said.

“Officers working closely with illegal immigrants have also not been given medical inspections.

“We should not put their health at risk,” he said.

He also said that the process of deporting illegal immigrants should be speeded up as this could reduce the spread of diseases within the facility.

“We have even received reports that some foreigners waited almost two years to be deported.”

Malaysian missing in NZ, presumed dead

WELLINGTON, Oct 3 – A Malaysian national holidaying in New Zealand is believed to be missing after he had not returned and checked out from a youth hostel in Aoraki Mount Cook Village, South Island, since last Tuesday.

The Second Secretary at the Malaysian High Commission here, Dzulkefly Mustapha, said Wong Ling Kok, 32, from Taman Bunga Negara, Section 27, Shah Alam, Selangor, was last seen at 4 pm (New Zealand time), last Wednesday.

The local police, who were informed that Wong had not checked out from the hostel after registering last Tuesday, had mounted a search and rescue operation since Thursday and stopped the effort on Friday afternoon, he told Bernama, here today.

“The search and rescue efforts were carried out in the Southern Alps area, a popular area for those who love tramping,” he said.

He said police had interviewed visitors to the area to gather information before deciding to stop the search and rescue operation.

Police also found a bag belonging to Wong and several personal items in the room rented by the Malaysian, he said.

Dzulkefly said Wong was scheduled to have checked out from the hostel on Thursday, and return to Malaysia by flight from Christchurch, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia.

The High Commission had informed Wisma Putra about Wong’s disappearance on Thursday as well as Wong’s family in Malaysia through his elder sister, Wong Fui Men, early Friday morning, he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian High Commissioner to New Zealand Datuk Hasnudin Hamzah said the High Commission would render all assistance to Wong’s family if they wished to come here.

He said Wong’s elder sister had informed them that she might travel to New Zealand.

The New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) reported that the police called off the search for the Malaysian missing in the Southern Alps, who is now presumed dead.

“He was lightly clad and it appeared he may have got into trouble on the first night and perished quite early from hypothermia,” said the incident controller, Senior Constable Brent Swanson of Lake Takepo police.

NZPA also reported that Swanson said the search would be re-activated if further information came to light.

Swanson was also reported saying that they received the medical advice that to have survived the 48 hours would have been slim and “once he gets beyond the 48 hours, basically he would perish by then if he is in the area”. – Bernama

Woman lures 40 loan sharks into police dragnet

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 – On the pretext of settling her massive debts with 40 “Ah Longs” (loan sharks), a woman lured them into a police dragnet.

Upon arriving at the 42-year-old woman's office at separate times in Sungai Besi yesterday, she politely asked the loan sharks to wait at the second floor of her office to enable her to pay them their dues.

When the “Ah Longs” did as they were requested, they walked straight into the waiting arm of the law.

In the six-hour operation, a team of policemen from the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Department arrested the suspects.

Seized from the 40 loan sharks were bank books and automated teller machine cards, among others.

Today, the police obtained a three-day remand from a magistrate's court to detain the suspects aged between 25 and 42 to facilitate investigations.

The 40 “Ah Longs” are being held at the Brickfields police headquarters.

A police officer told Bernama that the woman, who is involved in the printing business, had taken loans of between RM5,000 and RM10,000 from each of the loan sharks to help sustain her business.

“However, when she was constantly harassed by the loan sharks, the woman filed several police reports against them.

“Following our advice to trap the illegal financiers, she contacted them on the pretext of settling all her debts,” said the police officer.

He said that more loan sharks were expected to be rounded up from the Sungai Besi area.– Bernama

Hundreds gather for burial of Noordin Top

The body of Noordin Top lies in a coffin for mourners to view before burial. – Reuters pic

ARA PASONG, Oct 2 – Hundreds of people lined the road to a graveyard in southern Malaysia where militant Noordin Top was buried in his home village on Friday evening.

The funeral of the man who set up a splinter group of regional militants Jemaah Islamiah and was seen as the mastermind behind bomb attacks on two luxury hotels in Jakarta in July as well the deadly 2002 Bali bombings, came two weeks after he was shot dead by Indonesian police.

The crowd, watched by a heavy police presence, was made up of curious onlookers and few expressed sympathy for the dead 41-year-old, whose wife Siti Rahma wept as he was lowered into the grave in the village of Ara Pasong.

“The only thing different about Noordin was that he was a terrorist,” said a villager who declined to be named due to what he said were fears of police harassment.

When Noordin’s wooden coffin was cut open for family members to have one final look at the body, shouts of “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) rang out several times and many onlookers raised their mobile phones to take pictures and videos.

Family members of Noordin Top offer prayers before his burial. – Reuters pic

Prayers were held before Noordin was buried at the cemetery that was cordoned off by police.

“We are relieved the funeral went well and that he has finally been laid to rest,” his brother-in-law, Supriyo who has just one name, told reporters after the funeral.

“We do not support what he had done, but he was good to our family and a good Muslim. What we are very unhappy about is the fact that his body took so long to return.”

Noordin Top eluded authorities for years and was finally killed in a hail of gunfire on Sept 17 when Indonesian forces raided one of his safe houses in Solo, Central Java.

With his death, security analysts believe terrorism risks in Southeast Asia have declined.

“There really has been impressive progress in tracking down his network. But there remains the chance that militants try to strike back with small-scale attacks,” said Steve Vickers, president and chief executive of FTI-International Risk, a consultancy. – Reuters

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.

On May 28 N. Indra, Kugan’s mother, filed an application to compel the police to return all items, documents, tissue samples and bodily fluids which were seized from UMMC pathology department, on April 6.

Kugan died on Jan 20, after five days in police custody. He had been arrested in connection with a string of luxury car thefts.

Following his death, 11 policemen from the Taipan USJ police station was transferred to desk duty but yesterday only a single constable, V.Navindran was charged for causing grievous hurt to Kugan.

Lawyers acting for Kugan’s family told reports that the samples which was taken by the second pathologist was more crucial now, more than ever, because it may proof that Kugan was actually murdered.

They had argued that the samples should not have been seized in the first place and there is no reason for the Government to keep them.

N.Surendran said they been fighting hard get the samples back so it can be sent to chemist in Australia for analysis.

“The decision by the High Court today, was neither a victory or a loss.”

He added that samples rightfully belong to the family who initiated the second post-mortem and had nothing to do with the police case.

Surendran also lashed out at the Attorney-General (AG) for further “tormenting” Kugan’s family by charging only one suspect and even that, not for murder.

According to him, the AG had also used the family’s court applications to get the samples return as an excuse to explain why it took nine months to charge the suspect.

“This is absurd, he instructed for the samples to be seized in the first place and now he blames the family for causing the delay.”

He added the AG’s claim that the delay was also because of an ongoing probe by Malaysia Medical Council (MMC) into Kugan’s death, was not true.

The MMC inquiry is not about Kugan’s death, he said, but into the professional misconduct of the doctor who carried out the first post-mortem.

“I should know, because I was the one who lodged the complaint with MMC,” he said.

The first post-mortem at the Serdang Hospital indicated Kugan died due to water in his lungs but a second one which was carried out by UMMC revealed he suffered massive injuries and this led to concerns of an attempted cover up.

“The AG is just giving excuses but this is obvious.”

Lawyer M. Manogaran, who is also representing Kugan’s family described the Government’s reluctance to return the samples as “disturbing”.

“We believe the samples may prove he was actually murdered,” said Manoharan, who is also Teluk Intan MP.

Drain water floods Hindu temple in Teluk Intan

Drain water stagnates into famous 100 over year old Muneswarar temple in Teluk Intan despite temple devotees having complained for over the last three years and despite formal complaints to the District Works Department. Foul smell was also complained. UMNO by design has been creating and maintaining these kinds of elementary problems to keep the Indian minds accupied at the lowest possible level so that they are permanently and perpetually kept out and away from the national mainstream development of Malaysia. The Enviroment Department and also the District Council has refused to take any action. Will this be allowed to happen to any Surau or Masjid in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malaysia. This can and will happen only to a Hindu Temple. Worst still scores of Hindu temples has been forced to be relocated next to sewerage ponds and Industrial are “wasteland”. This is how blatant UMNO’s racism and religious extremism can be against the Indians. (Please read the Tamil newspaper report below).

13

Shanti earns RM10.00 per day but has 10 children to feed.

Shanti with ten children earns RM10.00 per day (Tamil Nesan 30/9/09 at page 15) This is just the tip of the iceberg of the Indian poor in UMNO controlled Malaysia’s One Malaysia policy under the able leadership of Prime Minister Najib Razak. Shanti’s family lives in Selayang. Her youngest daughter is just 1 ½ years old. This family has been without water supply for over the last two months as they cannot afford to pay their water bill. Hundreds of other Indians are not being able to even pay their water bills. If only Shanti had been given an opportunity in any of the hundreds of thousands of hecters of agricultural land schemes like FELDA, FELCRA, RISDA, Fama, Kesedar Mada, Kejora, Agropolitan and scores of the other land schemes she would not suffer this fate. There are Indians worldwide in scores of countries but this poverty because of inequality and inequal opportunities happen only in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malaysia. Even the Welfare Department won’t bother because the victim is an Indian. Please read the Tamil newspaper report below.

11

A-G: No murder charge as Kugan’s death not instant

ag

Defence counsel says no indication from A-G’s Chambers that others would be charged

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Indra : Still traumatised by her son’s death

CONSTABLE Navindran Vivekanandan claimed trial to causing grievous hurt to detainee A. Kugan when he was charged in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court yesterday.

Navindran, 28, pleaded not guilty to two principal charges of causing grievous hurt to Kugan to extort a confession from him or any information which may lead to the detection of an offence or misconduct, at the interrogation room of the D9 office of the Taipan police station, USJ Subang Jaya, at 7am and 4pm on Jan 16.

He also pleaded not guilty to two alternative charges of causing hurt to Kugan at the same place and time.

The main charges carry a maximum 10-year jail term and the alternative charges seven years’ jail upon conviction.

Both also carry the liability of a fine. Deputy public prosecutor Idham Abd Ghani asked the court to set bail at RM10,000 with one surety for all the charges, saying that these were serious charges and the case had received wide media coverage.

surendren

Surendran : Delay should not be blamed on the family

Defence counsel Datuk Salehuddin Saidin, however, said media coverage was not a factor for consideration and asked that bail be set at RM1,000 as Navindran had cooperated with the police and also had a wife and children to look after.

Judge Aslam Zainuddin allowed bail of RM10,000 with one surety and fixed Nov 5 for mention.

Salehudin told reporters that so far there was no indication from the Attorney- General’s Chambers that others would be charged in connection with the case.

Meanwhile, Kugan’s mother is disappointed that the police constable is not being charged with the murder of her son. N. Indra, who spoke to Malay Mail yesterday, was in tears, saying that this was an injustice.

“The whole of Malaysia knows that there was more than one person involved in beating up my son and yet it takes so long for them to identify the people and then only charge one of them for causing hurt when it’s also known that my son died because of their doing,” she said.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, in a statement on Wednesday, said the policeman would be charged with voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort a confession from Kugan.

The 23-year-old died on Jan 20 after five days in police custody at the USJ police station lock-up to assist
police in investigations into luxury car thefts.

Indra said as a mother she was still traumatised by her son’s death and all she wanted was justice.

“Everything is before our eyes. The policeman who was charged was even offered bail for such a crime and my son was not even given a chance. What is going on?”

Kugan’s family lawyer N. Surendran, when contacted, disagreed with Gani’s explanation in the media statement on why Navindran could not be charged with murder.

“The reason given by the A-G is that there is no evidence that Kugan suffered an instant death. Instead,
he 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. We refute that claim completely,” he said.

He also refuted the claim by the A-G that referred to the findings of the medical report where it did not show that the deceased died due to the injuries suffered by him, but was the result of acute myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart.

Surendran said the second post-mortem report, which showed the severity of the beatings that led to cellbreakdown, which in turn led to kidney failure, could have easily led to the arrest of the policemen involved.

Surendran added that the A-G’s claim for the delay in pressing charges was caused by the family was “absolutely untrue”.

“Being aware that the family was looking forward to sending the samples to Australia for further examination, why was there a need to order the police to seize the samples?” he asked.

Surendran said the delay should not be blamed on the family but on the A-G’s Chambers for seizing the samples for a toxicology report to be carried out to find out if any poison was administered.

He said the A-G’s Chambers was well aware that the samples were to be sent to Australia. - Malay Mail